What happened in January 2021?

  • India: Arya Rajendran was elected mayor of the capital city of Kerala. She is 21 years old and in her second year of a bachelor in Math. She is the youngest mayor in the state Thiruvananthapuram. Because of her young age, it was her first time voting
  • Brasil: The artist Juliana Notari painted a 33-meter vulva in a rural art park. She called her art “Diva”. She explained that it was questioning the link between culture and nature in a “phallocentric and anthropocentrique Western society”. This is also in reaction to the increasing intolerance since Bolsonaro is president. Her art created controversy, she got a lot of criticism mainly from right-wing supporters but was also supported by a large group.
  • Moscow: Women are allowed to become train drivers again. There was a law which prohibited jobs to women, for which they were deemed too physically weak to perform. The last woman to work for Moscow’s metro left in 2014 and the metro’s organisation stopped hiring women in the 1980s. The 1st of January, 12 women joined the metro network.  
  • Pakistan: Virginity tests on rape victims were declared forbidden by a regional court. Human rights campaigners explained that this test had no scientific value and was just humiliating. This test is done to check if the woman is sexually active and to what extent which is taken into account in a case of sexual violence. If a woman is sexually active she can be discredited during a trial. Campaigners explained that it was a way to put the blame on women when there is sexual violence.
  • For the first time, at the World Championship of men’s football clubs, women will officiate during the Asian football cup.
  • Iran: The government accepted a law project criminalising sexual violence and harassment against women. Activists in Iran have been waiting for this kind of law for a long time. Moreover, the problem encountered by women is that consensual sex outside of the marriage is forbidden and punished. Thus, women were scared to reveal that they were raped because they could be accused of adultery.
  • Seoul: The government advised pregnant women to make sure that their husband has enough clothes and food while they are giving birth. It also advised against pregnant women gaining too much weight. Undoubtedly, there were a lot of angry reactions to the guidelines posted on the government’s website, and they were removed soon after.
  • Great Britain: A pregnancy test for partially sighted women was created. It uses raised bumps to communicate the result of the test. 
  • Mali: Four NGOs defending women’s rights brought the government to the Justice court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) because the practice of excision is still not prohibited by the Malian government. Mali is one of the last African countries not to criminalise excision. 
  • Denmark: Sexual consent has been signed into law. This helps the grey zone issue because the sexual relationship is deemed to be rape under this law without clear consent. 
  • France: Camille Kouchner published the book La Familia Grande by in which she explains that her brother was being sexually assaulted by her stepfather Olivier Duhamel, a very well known political scientist. This has launched a hashtag on the same model as MeToo in 2017: #MeTooIncest. People testify their story about incest sexual assaults.  
  • Sudan: Mobilisation against rape culture after a woman was raped by 20 men.
  • US: Rachel Levine was appointed assistant secretary for health. She is the first transwoman federal official. 
  • France: There will be soon a stamp with Simone de Beauvoir on it. 
  • Portugal: Portuguese public figures posted pictures of them wearing makeup to protest against sexism because the far-right party was attacking the woman candidate – Marisa Matia -with sexist comments. 
  • Honduras: Abortion and same-sex marriage are totally banned as part of the constitution. Hardly changeable.
  • Estonia: first country in the world with women as both president and prime minister 
  • Poland: the government has enforced the controversial near-total ban on abortion.


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