News Archives

Domestic Abuse Cases Rise as COVID-19 Lockdown Turns into Captivity for Many Women

Deccan Herald - New Delhi, India, 3/31/2020

Domestic violence cases in India have increased since the March 24, 2020 lockdown, according to the National Commission for Women (NCW), which has received 58 complaints from March 23 to March 29, 2020, by email. NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said that the real figure was likely to be greater since the bulk of complaints come by post, and the number of postal complaints has reduced because of the lockdown. State commissions have also reported an increase in the number of domestic abuse cases. All India Progressive Women’s Association secretary and rights activist Kavita Krishnan said that women who were vulnerable to domestic violence could have moved to safer places if the government had given some prior warning of the lockdown.

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High Court Dismisses All Three Challenges to Section 377A

Channel News Asia, Singapore, 3/30/2020

On March 30, 2020, a High Court judge dismissed the appeals of three men against Section 377A of the penal code, which criminalises homosexual sex. According to the colonial-era law, any man who commits any ‘act of indecency’ with another man in public or in private can be jailed for up to two years. In a case summary released by the court, Justice See Kee Oon rejected arguments that the law is unconstitutional. He added that the rarely used law cannot be said to be redundant simply because of its non-enforcement. Bryan Choong, one of the three men who had challenged the law, said he was disappointed by the ruling, but his eyes were ‘firmly on the road ahead’.

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JAL Steps Down from High-Heel Rule for Female Flight Crew

The Straits Times - Tokyo, Japan, 3/29/2020

Female flight attendants working for Japan Airlines (JAL) will be allowed to wear trousers and abandon high heels from April, 2020, the company has said, in response to a feminist campaign advocating for this. The airline becomes one of the first major Japanese firms to announce the shift after a campaign known as #KuToo last year openly rejected mandatory high heels at work, drawing more than 32,000 signatures in an online petition. The #KuToo campaign has highlighted the rigid beauty standards faced by women in Japan. In another social media outcry, Japanese women in November, 2019 took to Twitter to demand the right to wear glasses to work, after reports of employers imposing bans on spectacles for female employees.

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Pitch in with Housework, Mexico Tells Men at Home Due to Pandemic

Reuters, Mexico, 3/28/2020

Mexico’s government is calling on the nation’s men to take on more household responsibilities while they are staying home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Four female officials spoke out at Mexico’s daily COVID-19 briefing on March 26, 2020 to remind people that women do almost three times more housework and family care than men. Nadine Gasman, head of the National Women’s Institute INMUJERES, said that housework would have to be redistributed equally between women and men while families were staying home to practice social distancing, with men doing more than usual to reduce the burden of housework women often take on singlehandedly. Gasman was one of the four women speaking at the briefing, a rare sight in a country where all-male panels are far more common.

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Indian LGBT+ Group Launches Appeal for Sex Workers in Coronavirus Lockdown

Reuters - Mumbai, Maharashtra, 3/27/2020

An LGBTQIA+ rights groups launched a fundraising appeal on March 26, 2020 for sex workers in Mumbai whose income has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The Jimme Foundation stepped in after a distress call from a charity helping sex workers in Mumbai. Harish Iyer, the founder of Jimme Foundation, said the group had identified nearly 200 families of sex workers in need of help and was seeking funds to provide them with essentials such as rice, wheat flour, oil and soup. Sex workers in other countries have also struggled due to measures to stop the spread of the virus. On March 23, 2020, women working in one of the world’s largest brothels in Bangladesh appealed for emergency funding after an official ban on customers.

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