The Feminist News Feed: Wins for Women, War, and More

Wins for Women, War, and More The Feminist News Feed

The Feminist News Feed is a podcast where we discuss the biggest news stories affecting gender equality through a feminist lens. A summary of our discussion for the second half of February 2022 can be found below.

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Ketanji Brown Jackson Nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court

President Joe Biden has nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first black woman to serve on the US Supreme Court. While this doesn’t change the ideological makeup of the 6-3 conservative court, the benefits from an expressive perspective and as a role model for future justices cannot be understated. Justice Jackson’s point of view is also likely to give new strength to dissenting opinions.

Justice Jackson comes from the US court of appeals for the District of Columbia circuit. Her appointment had bipartisan support from a few Republican senators.

A Harvard law graduate, Justice Jackson’s work as a public defender will bring a unique perspective to the bench which has typically been composed of judges with prosecutorial backgrounds. She has also served as the vice-chair of the US Sentencing Commission where she focused on reducing sentencing disparities. She was seen as the most progressive candidate on Biden’s shortlist.

War in Ukraine

The war in Ukraine is ongoing and new developments are happening by the hour. But how war affects civilian populations, especially women and children, in general never changes.

Women suffer particularly when there is an influx of arms into a country, both in being victimized by armed forces and through the escalating nature of intimate partner violence. When a gun enters a house where intimate partner violence is already present, the chance of a woman dying jumps dramatically.

It will be important to keep an eye on the outcomes for women and children through the war and after it, and to disaggregate the data being reported to see who is affected how, and why. We hope that the women of Ukraine have the space, energy, and support to fight back.

New Zealand Bans Conversion Therapy

In a massive victory for the LGBTQIA+ community, New Zealand has banned the practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy uses different mechanisms to try to dissuade someone from feeling, expressing or exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity. A lot of these mechanisms can be considered inhumane treatment, and can cause lifelong harm.

Unfortunately, this prohibition does not include conversion therapy being practiced at home among families. We hope that the New Zealand government follows this up with education, outreach campaigns, and preventative measures rather than simply relying on punishment. Educating parents who may genuinely love their children but are misguided in their views about sexual orientation and gender identity, is one way to prevent this practice.

Man pleads Guilty to Murder of Sabina Nessa

Sabina Nessa was found dead in Cator Park, London, on the 18th of September 2021. She was killed while on her way to meet her friend at a nearby pub. While no outcome will ever bring Sabina back, we are glad that her family will not have to go through the pain of a trial which could see Sabina on trial just as much as her killer. The prosecutor has asked for a minimum sentence of 30 years for the convicted murderer. While 30 years is substantial, it’s important to remember that Sabina’s family has a life sentence.

Sabina’s murder reminds us that our society exposes women to the risk of being raped and murdered simply when out in public. It is so normalized that you ask someone to walk you home, text your friends, or stay on the phone with a loved one. And when you think of how restricting this is for the public life of women, it’s horrifying.

Colombia Legalises Abortion

A 5-4 ruling from the constitutional court in Colombia has legalised abortion up to 24 weeks, longer than a lot of western, liberal countries. including New Zealand. This ruling comes on the heels of similar abortion reform victories in Mexico and Argentina in recent times.

Before this ruling, abortion in Colombia was allowed only when there was a risk to the life or health of the pregnant person, the existence of life-threatening fetal malformations, rape, incest, or, disturbingly, non-consensual artificial insemination.

Reproductive rights groups estimate that as many as 400,000 abortions are performed each year in Colombia, with only 10% carried out legally. During 2020, at least 26,223 unsafe abortions were carried out across Colombia, according to Profamilia, a local reproductive healthcare provider. This story reminds us that abortion prohibitions don’t stop abortions, they simply stop safe abortions and deny pregnant people life-saving healthcare.


Primary News Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/feb/25/ketanji-brown-jackson-supreme-court-nomination-biden-pick

https://www.theguardian.com/world/ukraine

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/127780028/parliament-passes-law-banning-conversion-therapy-with-near-unanimity

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/feb/25/koci-selamaj-pleads-guilty-murder-of-sabina-nessa

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2022/feb/22/colombia-legalises-abortion-in-move-celebrated-as-historic-victory-by-campaigners


Photo by Produtora Midtrack from Pexels.

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