Women This Week: Finland’s All-Female Coalition Government
Finland Elects Woman-Led Coalition Government
This week, Finland’s newest Prime Minister took office, leading a coalition government in which all five party leaders are women. At 34, Sanna Marin is the world’s youngest head of state, and three of her other coalition leaders are also younger than 35. Twelve of the nineteen new Finnish cabinet members are women, meaning Finland’s government has the second-highest percentage of female ministers in the world, after Spain. Prime Minister Marin represents the Social Democrat Party, and previously served as Transportation Minister after being elected to parliament in 2015.
Saudi Arabia Ends Gender-Segregated Entrances for Restaurants
Restaurants in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to maintain entrances segregated by sex, said authorities on Sunday. Previously, restaurants were required to have separate entrances for women and family, and men for their own—a rule symbolic of the conservative restrictions governing public space. The change follows other small reforms on women’s rights since the authorities allowed women to drive and travel abroad without a male guardian's permission. Meanwhile, leading women’s rights activists including Loujain al-Hathloul, Samar Badawi, and Naseema al-Sada remain in detention, and the Saudi state security agency recently deleted a video in which it categorized feminism as an extremist ideology.
Rape and Murder Cases Reignite Protest in India
An Indian rape victim died last Sunday after being set on fire by a gang of men, including her alleged rapist. The 23-year-old woman was on her way to attend a court hearing over her rape case which was filed with Unnao police in March. Her death was the second such case in only two weeks, after another 27-year-old woman was gang raped and burned to death on her way home from work in early December. The case prompted a wave of public vitriol across the country with protests in Hyderabad, Delhi, and Bangalore. Activists say the crisis of sexual violence is only getting worse.