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Female Driving Ban Ends in Saudi Arabia
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia lifted a longstanding ban against women driving, marking an end to one of the world’s most conspicuous examples of gender discrimination, and a victory for Saudi women activists who have spent decades campaigning for the right to drive. This advance for Saudi women, however, was overshadowed the simultaneous government crackdown on human rights advocates, including eleven prominent women who represent the vanguard of the Saudi women’s rights movement. The spate of arrests has succeeded in silencing other activists in the country and constitutes ominous sign for future reform of other discriminatory laws—including the restrictive Saudi guardianship system, which prohibits women from starting certain businesses, obtaining a passport, or traveling abroad without male permission.
Women Candidates Under Attack in Mexico
In Mexico's upcoming July 1 election, women are running for office in historic numbers—and being targeted for it. In June, three women were murdered in a 24-hour period, bringing the total number of female candidates assassinated this year to 17. Claudia Olivas, running for mayor of Chalchihuites in Zacatecas, dropped out of the race after her niece was raped and beaten. This spate of violence has blighted an election year in which women have relied upon a new affirmative action law to compete in Mexican politics in record numbers: over 3,000 women across the country are running for office, and 5 of the 7 Mexico City mayoral candidates are women. According to Mexican Senator Martha Tagle, the attacks “constitute political violence based on gender."
Women’s Workforce Participation Decreases in India
In India, where rates of reported sexual violence are on the rise, women’s labor force participation is decreasing. A new study suggests that the two phenomena are related, and that women are less likely to travel to work in regions where incidence of sexual violence is higher. In 2016 alone, crimes against women jumped 26 percent, while the number of unreported crimes is estimated to be much higher. A recent survey conducted by Thomson Reuters found that many experts rank India as the most dangerous place in the world to be a woman.