Solidaritas #58

Can the private security industry help end gender-based violence in PNG?

Good morning!

It’s me, Kate, with your fortnightly round-up of news on women’s rights, gender, and feminism in Asia and the Pacific. I hope you are well and also standing in solidarity with Palestine.

If you’re enjoying Solidaritas, paid subscriptions are available for US$5/month or much cheaper at US$40/year. Just click the subscribe button below! Or you can send me a few dollars via PayPal if you’d prefer not to subscribe :)

The newsletter takes me several hours a week to compile, so any support is appreciated.

- Kate

A post shared by @everydayafg

On the never-ending argument over US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Rina Amiri argues that structuring the question in terms of abandoning or defending Afghan women is a false choice. Related: this editorial from The Guardian on how withdrawal cannot mean abandonment.

There is a fierce debate in Australia right now about whether the country should pursue legislation on criminalising coercive control. Many women’s rights advocates support the idea, but Indigenous women argue the legislation is likely to have a negative impact on First Nations families.

Multilingual women are working hard to counter vaccine hesitancy in Victoria.

Proposed research into the conduct of Queensland police on GBV cases was blocked by the police in 2019, reportedly because they thought it was unnecessary.

How a 39 question-long risk assessment tool has revolutionised police handling of GBV cases in Victoria.

How technology is making domestic violence worse in Australia.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sadly forced many female small business owners to close up shop.

The ‘Mother Nature Cambodia’ activist group has been convicted for inciting social unrest.

The Chinese government is continuing to push Muslim women in Xinjiang to have less children. Related: China’s population is growing at the slowest rate in decades.

The number of women who are unhappy in their marriages has almost doubled since 2012. Now, 20% of married Chinese women say they are unhappy.

A post shared by @tourismfiji

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has experienced a 60% increase in GBV reports in the past three weeks.

In worrying economic developments, the pay gap in India is actually increasing:

The estimated earned income of women is only one-fifth of their male counterparts, according to this year’s Global Gender Gap report. In its 14th edition, the report said India had dropped 28 places to take 140th among 156 countries. The only other South Asian country trailing India was Pakistan, at the 153rd spot. The same report highlighted how India was one of the countries with largest economic gender gap (32.6%), and that only 22.3% women are engaged in the labour market.

What does the dismal number of women elected in recent elections tell us about gender equality in India? Positively, though, women voting in blocs seems to be having a major impact.

How climate change is affecting the work of nearly 2,000 female seaweed divers in Tamil Nadu.

Turns out increased farm work negatively affects women’s nutritional status.

Remembering 1998, when hundreds of Indonesian women of Chinese heritage were assaulted and raped.

A 22-year-old woman has died after her boyfriend set her on fire. The attack was the second such attack in a month.

Why members of ‘Aisyiyah, Indonesia’s oldest Muslim women’s organisation, are planting trees.

Where are all the women leaders in the corporate world?

Meet the Malaysian women who love their heavy duty motorbikes and want to show the world that women can ride big bikes, too.

The Maldives
Gender gaps remain wide and many in the Maldives.

A great piece of solutions journalism: women working at water stations in Ulaanbaatar are being trained to keep an eye out for signs of domestic violence.

How women protesters are subverting gender stereotypes to their advantage. Related: What might the coup mean for gender equality?

A female detainee accused of involvement in several bomb attacks has been sexually abused and tortured in jail, her former cellmate says.

Nepali police are encouraging victims of domestic violence to come forward and report their abusers.

New Zealand
A great profile of NZ’s first woman and first Indigenous woman to be Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta.

The long-term impact of the global gag rule on reproductive health services in Pakistan:

Tariq sees patients with unintended pregnancies almost every day. After each consultation, she tells women about their family planning options. Most patients don’t have access to any long-term birth control method, often because husbands or mothers-in-law don’t allow it or because they can’t easily afford it. Just 34 percent of married Pakistani women use contraception and only 25 percent rely on modern methods. “They are poor. They have seven to eight kids. The access to family planning services is not there,” Tariq said. “What comes out of this? Unwanted pregnancies.”

Pakistan’s #MeToo leaders and who inspires them to keep fighting.

Disgusting: an Indian YouTube channel livestreamed Eid photos of Pakistani women without their consent and “rated” them.

Papua New Guinea
Can the private security industry help end GBV in PNG?

In terms of personnel, the industry is bigger than all of PNG’s security forces – the police, defence force and corrections – combined. On this basis, private security guards are more likely to witness and potentially be in a position to respond to GBV as their thinly spread counterparts in the police. This means that despite the for-profit nature of the private security industry, it has potential to significantly augment efforts to address GBV in the country.

The Philippines
The evolution of women’s roles and the idea of motherhood in the Philippines.

Female frontline responders in the Pacific: how can we best support them in during and after the pandemic?

The Supreme Court has thrown out the Samoa electoral office's decision to appoint an extra woman member of parliament, meaning that the country’s newest political party, FAST, has won the election. Looks like Samoa is getting it’s first female leader!

The Solomon Islands
This is pretty cool: almost 30 women gathered in Honiara last week to develop gender-inclusive recommendations to the Traditional Governance, Customs and Facilitation Bill (TGCFB).

South Korea
Female comedian Park Na-rae made a graphic gesture with a male doll on her YouTube show. Men are now accusing her of sexual harassment, but her female supporters say she’s a victim of double standards.

As in the story about female seaweed divers in India above, climate change is also affecting female divers in South Korea, who collect sealife like abalone.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka’s first female Olympian Thilaka Jinadasa wants to inspire more girls and women to play sports.

Cabinet has approved plans for Muslim women’s face coverings to be banned. The draft law will now go to parliament to be voted on.

Taiwan’s fertility rate is now estimated to be the lowest in the world.

The killing of Tongan LGBTQ+ activist Polikalepo Kefu has led to urgent calls to repeal homophobic laws and change mindsets.

A post shared by @virsine