from Women Around the World and Women and Foreign Policy Program

Women This Week: Codifying Consent

Women wear bows at a demonstration in Stockholm, Sweden April, 2018. REUTERS/TT News Agency

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 May 26 to June 1, was compiled with support from Alexandra Bro, Rebecca Hughes and Rebecca Turkington.

June 1, 2018

Women wear bows at a demonstration in Stockholm, Sweden April, 2018. REUTERS/TT News Agency
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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

Sweden Strengthens Rape Law

Last week, the Swedish parliament passed a law that defines any sex without explicit consent as rape. Under the previous law, prosecutors needed to demonstrate that a perpetrator used force, threats, or was taking advantage of a person’s vulnerable situation in order for a case to qualify as rape. In recent years, the number of reported sexual assault crimes in Sweden has grown, from less than one percent in 2012 to 2.4 percent in 2016. Sweden’s justice minister said the change represents “modern legislation based on modern relationships.” With the new law, Sweden joins nine other Western European countries with consent-based legislation, including Belgium, Ireland, Cyprus, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Rohingya Women Bring Atrocity Case to ICC

Twenty pages of thumbprints serve as the signatures of Rohingya women and girls who are demanding the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigate atrocities committed against their community. On Wednesday, the group Shanti Mohila—or “Peace Women”—submitted the request on behalf of four hundred women refugees, asserting that the Myanmar government is conducting “a genocidal campaign that spans both Myanmar and Bangladesh.” Women and girls face devastating and systematic sexual violence, with many arriving in Bangladeshi camps pregnant and lacking adequate maternal care. One of the signatories of the petition told The Washington Post she was “proud to be one of the women taking action to get justice for my people.” Although Myanmar is not a signatory to the ICC, the group’s lawyers argue that crimes persist after Rohingya women travel to Bangladesh, a country that does fall under the court’s jurisdiction.

Indian Government Addresses Violence against Women

More on:

Women and Women's Rights

Women and Economic Growth

Sexual Violence

Myanmar

Sweden

Amid public outcry over a string of brutal assaults, the Indian Home Ministry announced the creation of a new division to address issues related to security of women. From 2007 to 2016, crimes against women in India surged 83 percent. Though lawmakers have introduced measures to expand the definition of sex crimes and speed up the prosecutions of rape cases, survivors of sexual violence still face significant barriers to justice and support services. India’s high rate of violence against women is not only detrimental to human rights, but also to economic growth: in a series of interviews with Bloomberg, Indian women cited fear for their own or children’s safety as their reason for leaving the workforce. McKinsey Global Institute estimates that India could increase its GDP by $770 billion by 2025 by closing the gap between men and women in the economy. 

More on:

Women and Women's Rights

Women and Economic Growth

Sexual Violence

Myanmar

Sweden

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