As India Becomes the Most Populous Country, Women Remain Underrepresented
India’s surge in population growth is expected to surpass China’s record, which the country has held since the 1950s. Despite this upward trend, women remain underrepresented in India’s workforce, with an estimated 670 million women being left behind as India’s female labor participation rate dropped from a peak of 31 percent in 2000 to 23 percent in 2021. While many hope population growth will promote economic development and combat financial insecurity, the reality is that antiquated values often relegate women to the role of caregiver, keeping them in the domestic space; a national job crisis is compounding the problem. The Indian workforce currently consists of 361 million men, compared to only 39 million women—which amounts to roughly 10 percent of eligible working-age women. Mahesh Vyas, director at the Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy, believes that the lack of good quality jobs is also helping keep “women out of the workforce as they or their families may see more benefit in taking care of the home or children, instead of toiling in low-paid work.”
U.S. Courts Battle Over Access to Abortion Pill
A federal judge in Texas ruled to invalidate the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 2000 approval of mifepristone, the first in a two-pill medication abortion regiment. However, within an hour, a U.S. district court judge in Washington state issued a contradictory ruling ordering the FDA not to roll back access to the drug, causing confusion. The U.S. Department of Justice has already appealed the decision and, along with Danco Laboratories—the pharmaceutical company that makes the drug—asked the Supreme Court to intervene. This request would stop the lower court from limiting mifepristone’s availability in 17 states and the District of Columbia. Any ruling will likely impact every state, including those with traditionally strong abortion protections. In anticipation of a ruling that could limit access to mifepristone, some states are stockpiling the drug, as well as misoprostol, the second drug used in medication abortions.
Social Media Influencers Arrested in Egypt
The Egyptian government arrested Salma Elshimy, a TikTok celebrity, on vague charges of “spreading immorality” under the Parliament's 2018 cybercrime law. This is not the first time that Elshimy has been censored by the government. She was previously held for a month in 2020 for posting a photo shoot outside the Saqqara necropolis in ancient Egyptian attire. The Egyptian government has arrested more than a dozen female social media influencers for posting online content that allegedly “undermine(s) public morals” or “family values.” “These serial arrests of women send a chilling signal about the state of women’s rights in Egypt,” wrote Rothna Begum, a senior women’s rights researcher at the Human Rights Watch. “Instead of tackling pervasive domestic violence, sexual harassment, and violence, Egyptian authorities appear intent on reinforcing societal discrimination by persecuting women and girls for how they appear online or what they say.”