What happened in April and May 2022?

By Lisa Verberne


Hungary: right-wing and conservative Viktor Orbán wins his fourth consecutive term as prime minister. Orbán is widely criticised for his extremely conservative views, his tampering with the voting system and for not condemning Putin’s war on Ukraine.

UK: after stating that there would be no ban on conversion therapy, prime minister Boris Johnson now says that he wants to push for a ban on conversion therapy which does not include transgender people. He also said that trans women should not participate in women’s sports. These events are the latest in a long line of transphobic bills, statements and actions of the UK government.

USA: the state of Florida passed the so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ which forbids the discussion of non-normative gender identities and sexual orientations in primary schools. Only a week later, Alabama voted to ban gender-affirming health care for young people.

Turkey: a Turkish public prosecutor is trying to shut down a feminist organisation trying to fight femicide, the We Will Stop Femicide Platform.

Japan: a female journalist who was sexually assaulted by a civil servant has received a compensation of 150.000 euros, a rare victory for victims of sexual abuse in the country.

El Salvador: a woman in El Salvador has been sentenced to 30 years of prison for “murdering her unborn child” after seeking medical help for her miscarriage. El Salvador might have the most strict abortion legislation in the world.

The Netherlands: for the first time, more women completed a PhD programme at Dutch universities than men.


International: the month of May was kicked off by labour protests and celebrations around the world on May 1st, International Labour Day. During the demonstrations, workers raised awareness for inflation, housing prices and stagnant wages. after two years of the Covid pandemic, this is the first year that the May 1st demonstrations were at full force again.

France: members of the French feminist collective Les Coulleuses protested femicide during the film festival in Cannes. The members displayed a list of 129 names of women who have been murdered since the last festival.

Afghanistan: after promising to respect the rights of women after taking over Afghanistan, the Taliban is now forcing female news presenters to cover their entire faces. The presenters protested this decree but when they were threatened with losing their jobs, they had to give in.

USA: the US Supreme Court is looking to overrule Roe v. Wade, an important ruling that was used to legalise abortion in the US. This repeal would allow states to make individual decisions on abortion legislation, something that conservative states have already been working on. At the same time, Republicans are also targeting educational institutions by banning any discussion on oppression, race, sexism and queer rights.

Spain: the Spanish cabinet is approving a bill that grants paid leave for workers who are on their period. Moreover, a new bill criminalises any form of non-consensual sex, making it easier for victims to prove that they were assaulted or raped, even in the absence of physical violence. Other bills improving reproductive rights are also in the works: currently, the Spanish government is working on distributing free contraception and ending the requirement for parental consent for minors who want to terminate a pregnancy.

Palestine: the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that the Israeli army can evict 1000 Palestinians from an area of the West Bank, a decision that is heavily criticised by humanitarian organisations. The military will repurpose the land for their own ends.

The Netherlands: the Dutch cabinet has admitted that there was a problem of structural racism in the tax service. The fiscal office used people’s ethnic minority status as an indicator of tax fraud and forced families into extreme debt by asking them to pay back the childcare benefits they had – rightfully – received.,Cannes%20today%20(May%2022).,Palestinian%20territories%20began%20in%201967.

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