Welcome to “Women Around the World: This Week,” a series that highlights noteworthy news related to women and U.S. foreign policy. This week’s post, covering from June 3 to June 10, was compiled with support from Becky Allen and Anne Connell.
Woman poised to become Rome’s mayor In Italy on Sunday, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement candidate Virginia Raggi, a little-known lawyer and former member of Rome’s city council, won a surprising victory. Raggi, who received over 35 percent of the vote, is now predicted to beat handily the center-left Roberto Giachetti, who came in second this week with 25 percent of the vote, in a June 19 runoff election. A victory will make her Rome’s first female mayor in history and signal a change in the political tides in Italy. Riding the wave of populism sweeping across Europe, as well as capitalizing on public anger over the Italian government’s handling of the refugee crisis, the Five Star Movement advocates for direct democracy, the rejection of special interests in politics, and Euroscepticism. Some experts predict that the movement could firmly establish itself as the main opposition party and even pose a challenge to the federal government in the 2018 general elections.
Gender quotas for Canada’s boards Ontario’s government announced a number of gender targets for provincial agencies and other government organizations this week, including a requirement that women comprise at least 40 percent of all appointments to boards and agencies by 2019. The targets stem from a government-commissioned report released Tuesday by Catalyst, a global non-profit organization that advocates for women in the workplace. Premier Kathleen Wynne, leading the government’s efforts, suggested that regulations or legislation may be enacted to enforce the new targets if they are not met. Premier Wynne will partner with UN Women to serve as a champion of Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value, a new global coalition of government and private sector leaders dedicated to making progress on gender equality in the workforce. While Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has garnered international attention for his vocal support of gender parity in politics, civic participation, and the economy, Canada’s public and private sector boards have significant work ahead: in 2013, women comprised just 16 percent of board members of Canada’s largest companies.
Protests against sexual violence in Buenos Aires Thousands flooded the streets of Buenos Aires last week to protest the gender-based killings of three twelve-year-old girls. The three unrelated cases, as well as a recent gang rape in Brazil, have brought significant attention to the issue of endemic violence against women in Argentina and across Latin America. The Argentinian protests come barely one year after similar demonstrations erupted following the murder of a pregnant fourteen-year-old girl, allegedly beaten to death by her boyfriend. While Argentina passed an amendment in 2012 to include femicide in its criminal code, one independent research organization reported that violence against women has trended upward each year since, with one woman killed every thirty hours by gender-based violence in Argentina in 2014. Rights groups have called for urgent action from the government to improve implementation of prevention and prosecution measures.