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, from October 16 to October 22, was compiled by Valerie Wirtschafter and Katherine Hall.
Outrage in New Delhi After Three Young Girls are Raped, One Killed
A number of recent reports of rape involving very young children have shaken New Delhi, India, this week, resulting in local protests and social media outrage around the world. Police arrested two teenagers on Sunday after they allegedly raped and killed a two-year-old girl. The police also arrested a teen in a separate incident involving a five-year-old girl. This comes after a similarly disturbing report of a four-year-old girl who was raped and left badly cut near a railroad track last week. New Delhi residents have expressed outrage, accusing the government of inefficiency and failing to protect women and girls. The fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student in 2012 sparked similar outrage throughout India. Since then, the government has attempted to strengthen anti-rape laws by doubling the maximum prison sentence for rape to twenty years and creating six new courts to prosecute rape cases more quickly. The reporting of rape cases has increased by nearly 900 percent in India, but sexual assault of women and children continues to be underreported across the country. In 2014, 13,766 rape cases of minors were reported in India, with over 1,000 cases in New Delhi alone.
Women and Climate Change
Earlier this week, the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security released a report, Women and Climate Change, highlighting the disproportionate impact of climate change on women, and the important role women play in contributing to mitigation efforts in many parts of the world. The report found that while women bear some of the greatest costs of climate change, they have been systematically excluded from decision-making processes. Despite formal exclusion, women are already leading climate change efforts in many parts of the world by creating innovative and localized solutions, resulting in more resilient communities. One major opportunity for greater gender inclusion in climate change discussions could come next month, as France hosts the twenty-first Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21/CMP11), otherwise known as “Paris 2015,” with the goal of achieving a new international agreement on climate applicable to all countries.
Marine Corps Study Finds Mixed-Gender Combat Units are not Detrimental to Morale or Performance
Last month, the Marine Corps released a four page summary of findings from a year-long study to assess the impact of gender-integration on combat units. The summary noted that all-male units performed better than mixed squads, and that including women in these units could undermine combat readiness. The report sparked significant controversy, and Marine Corps’ leaders indicated they would use the findings to seek an exemption for opening up certain combat positions to women. Immediately following the release of the summary, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus questioned the study’s design and findings. Criticism has only grown more vocal following a leak of all 380 pages of the report earlier this week. While the full report indicates that women were not as physically strong as their male counterparts, it also demonstrates that the Marine Corps could successfully integrate women into all combat positions without harming morale or performance.