Women This Week: U.S. Judge Blocks Biden Administration Protections for LGBTQ+ People
from Women Around the World and Women and Foreign Policy Program

Women This Week: U.S. Judge Blocks Biden Administration Protections for LGBTQ+ People

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 covers July 16 to July 22.
People take part in the 2022 NYC Pride parade on June 26, 2022.
People take part in the 2022 NYC Pride parade on June 26, 2022. Jeenah Moon/REUTERS

U.S. Federal Judge Pauses Enforcement of Biden Administration’s LGBTQ+ Protections

A U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Tennessee issued an order temporarily blocking the enforcement of Biden administration directives aimed at protecting LGBTQ+ workers and students. Following the landmark 2020 Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia [PDF], the Biden administration had instructed federal agencies to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The Department of Education (DOE) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) subsequently determined that Title VII and Title IX protections extended to LGBTQ+ people. They also called on schools and companies to allow transgender people to use bathrooms aligning with their gender identity, among other matters. Twenty state attorneys general had previously filed suit against the legal interpretations of the DOE and the EEOC.

Women Protest Proposed Bill Legalizing Polygamy in the Ivory Coast

After a member of the Ivory Coast’s parliament introduced legislation to legalize polygamy for men last month, women’s rights groups have organized in opposition to the bill. Yacouba Sangaré, the bill’s sponsor, said that the proposed legislation is designed to confer legal protections to women who are in unsanctioned marriages with legally married men. Feminists have voiced skepticism concerning the bill’s purpose and have questioned why female polygamy is not under consideration as well. Both women’s rights advocates and the United Nations say that male polygamous marriages discriminate against women.

Turkish Court Issues Ruling Upholding Exit From Istanbul Convention

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The top administrative court in Turkey decided to uphold President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to withdraw Turkey from the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Women’s rights organizations and other groups had petitioned the court to overturn Erdogan’s decision, arguing that Erdogan did not have the legal authority to unilaterally withdraw from the convention. Erdogan’s supporters have claimed that the Istanbul Convention threatens family values and promotes homosexuality. Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the main opposition party leader, said that Turkey would rejoin the convention should he win the presidency in the July 2023 elections.

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