I had an article about democratic backsliding and authoritarian trends in Indonesia published by Foreign Policy last week, if you’re into that sort of thing. tl;dr: not a lot of good news on that front, unfortunately.
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A female educator and activist reflects on how swiftly women’s lives have changed in Afghanistan:
I am not safe because I have been too vocal and visible. I am an Afghan educator, and I run a nonprofit that seeks to empower women. I feel a responsibility to speak out. I was not silent under the previous government; nor will Afghanistan’s new rulers silence me. In interviews with the BBC, CNN and other international media, I have spoken frequently about the challenges that Afghanistan’s women face. I’m in hiding, not because I’ve submitted; I’m in hiding because it’s the only way my voice remains free.
You wouldn’t know it from much of the Western discussion, Afghan women have a long history of taking leadership and fighting for their own rights:
Pundits continue to ask, did Biden, the U.S. and its NATO allies abandon Afghanistan and its women too soon?
As Afghan American women scholars, we are concerned that this rhetoric presents Afghan women as victims in need of saving, suggesting all women experience life in Afghanistan the same way, without accounting for their activism and political resistance.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has slammed the Taliban’s “broken” promises to Afghan women and girls, and urged the world to inject cash into Afghanistan in order to prevent its economic collapse.
Foreign ministers from several Muslim-majority countries are planning to go to Kabul in part to urge the Taliban to recognise that the exclusion of women and girls from education is a distortion of Islam.
An independent review has been ordered into the Mackay Base Hospital obstetrics department after complaints from women about complications following caesareans at the facility and suggestions of patient harm.
An investigation has revealed mass trafficking of women out of Bangladesh.
A woman detained by Myanmar’s military regime has been hospitalised after she being beaten during her interrogation. Ma Soe Mie Mie Kyaw is a former English student at Dawei University and records the donations made to People’s Defense Forces.
A man has been sentenced to death after a court found him guilty of killing his former wife, Lhamo, a 30-year-old Tibetan woman, while she was livestreaming on social media last year.
Leta Hong Fincher reflects on abortion, women's rights, and the resilient feminist movement in China.
Young women are dumping their boyfriends after seeing their negative reactions to outspoken female comedian Yang Li.
Lots going on online: The Chinese word yuan refers to “beautiful women”. But the word’s recent usage, especially on social media platforms, is anything but complimentary, writes Sixth Tone; feminists on Weibo are fighting back; and AI boyfriends and girlfriends are becoming popular, as anxiety and loneliness lead people to seek comfort online.
COVID-19 has resulted in hunger and malnutrition for many people across India. Among the hardest hit are Dalit and tribal women, who often “eat last and least”.
Meet Manjula Pradeep, who has been fighting for Dalit women’s rights for over 30 years. This year, she founded the National Council of Women Leaders:
“The entire criminal justice system is prejudiced against Dalit women. In courts, there is a lot of victim shaming - questions like, ‘Why would men from the upper caste rape her? She is an untouchable. She must have invited them for a sexual liaison.’”
A man who used a cobra snake to murder his wife has been sentenced to life in jail in what prosecutors called the "rarest of rare" cases.
Srijana Singh Takuri’s dad didn’t want a daughter - he wanted a son. Now that Srijana has made Nepal’s women’s soccer team, she sits down to explore how patriarchal values held her dad back.
Papua New Guinea
PNG has ranked the lowest in the Pacific for girls’ rights and leadership, according to new research from Plan.
Maria Ressa won the Nobel Peace Prize! Foreign Policy describes it as a ‘call to action’. Why? Well, the last time a working journalist was honored, it was a German editor as World War II loomed. Ressa is also only the 18th woman to win the Prize in its 126-year history.
Busuanga Island, in the western province of Palawan, has an effective mangrove restoration program that is spearheaded by Indigenous women. The women play a key role in planting, monitoring and protecting the forests.
On ending period shame and period poverty in Asia.
How is the business community helping improve women’s leadership in the Pacific?
An increasing number of Singaporean women are seeking help for vaginismus.
A new survey into justice mechanisms in Solomon Islands shows that significant advancements have been made, but also that much more needs to be done.
Two recent suicides in the ranks of the South Korean armed forces — and the perceived delay in accountability — have sparked public outrage, forcing the country to confront its institutions’ treatment of women and sexual minorities.