What happened in February 2021?

UK: the British selection of Guide Michelin awarded Hélène Darroze and Clare Smyth three stars. This is the first time that two women are awarded three stars simultaneously by the Guide Michelin, which is the highest endowment for restaurants, and which has only been given to five women only: Anne-Sophie Pic (Valence, France), Elena Arzak (Saint-Sébastien, France), Annie Féolde (Florence, Italia), Nadia Santini (Canneto sull’Oglio, Italia) and Dominique Crenn (San Francisco, USA). 

Hélène Darroze’s hotel-restaurant The Connaught in London’s Mayfair district. 

Clare Smyth’s restaurant Core in the Notting Hill district of London. 

France: The French senate allows the reimbursement of Medically Assisted Reproduction (MAR) only for infertile heterosexual couples allowing MAR for lesbian couples without refund. However, this policy excludes single women and others that fall outside the cis-heterosexual category.

The hashtag #SciencesPorcs was launched after a Sciences Po student charged another student with rape. This set foot for the voicing of sexual harassment accusations occurring in the Science Po campuses. Sciences Po is a very prestigious French school known for her elitist course training the future French elites. 

This school was created after WWII to educate the French senior civil servants. In January, the institution went through a similar polemic, when the book La Familia Grande was released in which Camille Kouchner explains how Olivier Duhamel, a well-known political scientist and teacher at Sciences Po, sexually harassed her brother and how everyone stayed silent concerning a lot of people from the school Sciences Po. The hashtag #SciencePorcs put the enormous amount of sexual harassment stories into light with no further action taken by the school. Following these two polemics, the head of the school Fréderic Mion, was forced to resign. 

Ferrari Formula 1: Maya Weug is the first woman accepted into the Ferrari Driver Academy (FDA), the Formula 1 Grand Prix training centre. Maya Weug was born in Spain and started karting at the age of 7. At age 16, she joined a team of eight boys after being selected between 20 candidates. 

Germany: Almost 200 actresses and actors came out in the magazine Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin with their faces on the front page and a title saying “We were already here”. They launched the hashtag #Actout to open a debate about sexuality and Queerness in Germany. Some of them were interviewed and explained issues encountered by LGBTQ+ people.

Iran: More than 7000 girls from 10 to 14 years old got married from April to June 2020, according to the National Statistic Center of Iran (NSC). Child marriages cause physical and psychological problems to young women, especially in underaged pregnancies.

Fashion: Barbara Butch is the new egerie of Jean-Paul Gaultier’s new perfume, “La Belle Intense”. Giving the spotlight to a very important feminist activist and DJ fighting against fatphobia and LGBTQ+phobia. 

You can find the link to her post here:

Saudi Arabia: The Saudi feminist activist Loujain AL-Hathloul was conditionally released after 1001 days in prison. Last December, she was sentenced to more than five years of prison by the anti-terrorist court for her feminist militantism. She was rewarded for the Vaclav-Havel 2020 Human Rights Award and the Freedom Award at the Normandy World Forum for Peace. 

Koweit: The fashion blogger Ascia Al-Faraj launched an online campaign against harassment to encourage women’s testimonies about daily harassment experiences. 

Angola: The country decriminalised homosexuality. 

WTO: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed head of the organisation. She is the first woman and the first African woman to have this position. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was born in 1954 in Nigeria and graduated in Economics at Harvard. She worked for the World Bank and later joined the Nigerian government as Minister of Finance.

Nowadays, only five women are heads of strategic financial institutions with Kristalina Georgieva for the IMF, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui for the OECD, Ursula von der Leyen for the European Commission and Stacey Cunningham for the NYSE. 

Qatar: German beach volleyball stars Karla Borger, and Julia Sude boycott the Qatari International beach volley competition after a bikini ban. 

Japan: The online campaign #DontBeSilent by young activists in Japan against the Tokyo Olympic Chief’s sexist remarks resulted in his resignation. 

India: 22-year-old ecofeminist activist Disha Ravi was arrested on the 13th of February after the Farmers Protest’s toolkit document was published online. A document where farmers demanded a just agrarian law reform. Ravi, like many others, has been accused of separatism and conspiracy against the Indian government. 

New Zealand: NZ Minister of Justice Kris Faafoi has reaffirmed the Government’s Commitment to ban conversion practices. The Ministry of Justice is working on creating a law that will legally knowledge conversion practices into a criminal/civil offence, opening up public consultation opportunities in the process. 

Liechtenstein: Prince Hans-Adam II has expressed his homophobic position in Radio Liechtenstein, where he stated his desire for kids to grow up in a ‘normal family’. Arguing about the dangers of giving same-sex couples the right to adopt, he declared, “Gays can get married, but they can’t adopt”. Locals silently protested by leaving rainbow flags and balloons in the streets.

Peru: Ongoing discussions over indemnification of the victims of the Peruvian forced sterilisations programme. President Alberto Fujimori’s anti-poverty plan, aiming to reduce birth rates among low-income indigenous families between 1996 and 2000. 

Mexico: President Andrés Manuel lópez Obrador defening and supporting candidacy for governor of the senator Félix Salgado Macedonio despite accusations of sexual assault. The president has spoken about women’s rights as one of his campaign’s main themes and then minimised the pressing issue of gender-based violence in the country.

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