Women protest in Iran
In recent weeks, a growing number of Iranian women have engaged in civil disobedience, removing veils in public and posting veil-less photos on social media to draw attention to women’s rights. Rising activism among Iranian women was spurred by anti-government protests mounted earlier this winter—the largest demonstrations in Iran in nearly a decade—which focused on the stagnant economy, rising cost of living, and President Hassan Rouhani’s recent decision not to appoint women to his cabinet. The mass demonstrations subsequently sparked the so-called Girls of Revolution Street protests, with one woman removing her hijab and waving it during a public gathering, which became a rallying symbol for young people, spreading via viral hashtags on Twitter. In response, Iranian police announced that they would not arrest women rejecting the mandatory dress code, yet reserved the right to bring legal action against repeat offenders; already, Narges Hosseini, a 32-year old activist arrested last week for protesting Iran’s compulsory hijab, faces a penalty of up to a decade in prison.
Justice for sexual violence survivors in India
In India, dozens of support centers will soon open for female victims of sexual violence through a new “Justice for Her” initiative, which aims to improve access to justice for survivors in four states. The initiative comes five years after a brutal gang rape and death of a young woman in New Delhi sparked mass protests of the government's failure to ensure safety for women. Since then, India has implemented legal reforms in an effort to address the scourge of sexual violence, and more women have reported instances of rape to authorities. Nevertheless, survivors of sexual violence continue to face significant barriers in accessing justice and support services, with one recent study showing that Indian women are forty times more likely to die as the result of sexual assaults than American women.
Sexual harassment fuels wage gap globally
A growing body of research suggests that sexual harassment widens the gender wage gap, with one recent study finding that women who report sexual harassment are 6.5 times more likely to leave their jobs than women who do not. When harassed women do land a new job, it is often in a less lucrative position or industry, which undermines women’s earning potential throughout their working careers. Hostile work environments also fuel the phenomenon of “occupational segregation,” which pushes women out of male-dominated industries that historically pay higher wages—this contributes to an average global wage gap of 19 percent between men and women. New research evaluating sexual harassment and violence in global supply chains, for example, finds that up to 60 percent of Bangladeshi garment factory workers and 55 percent of women in Ecuador’s export-oriented flower industry experience harassment, leading high rates of women to leave those occupations.