Advancement of Women – October 4, 2017

Ottawa unveils new feminist foreign-aid policy

Government of Canada: Canada is adopting a Feminist International Assistance Policy to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as the most effective way to reduce poverty and build a more inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world.




UN General Assembly Adopts Declaration Affirming Commitment to End Human Trafficking, Amidst Calls for Victim-Centered Approaches

UN News – September 27, 2017: Survivors of human trafficking today recounted painful stories of kidnapping, violence and rape — often the result of criminals exploiting their hopes for a better life — as the General Assembly adopted a Political Declaration aimed at combating that brutal practice.

The Assembly endorsed the “political declaration on the implementation of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons” by consensus at the outset of its two‑day high‑level meeting on human trafficking, which many speakers described as “modern-day slavery”. Member States reaffirmed their commitment to that instrument, and to the related 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In particular, they agreed to address the many social, economic, cultural and political factors that increased people’s vulnerability to trafficking, including poverty, unemployment, inequality, conflict, humanitarian emergencies and gender discrimination.

Saudi Arabia Agrees to Let Women Drive

New York Times – September 26, 2017: Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it would allow women to drive, ending a longstanding policy that has become a global symbol of the oppression of women in the ultraconservative kingdom.

The change, which will take effect in June 2018, was announced in a royal decree read live on state television and in a simultaneous media event in Washington. The decision highlights the damage that the ban on women driving has done to the kingdom’s international reputation and its hopes for a public relations benefit from the reform.

Saudi leaders also hope the new policy will help the economy by increasing women’s participation in the workplace. Many working Saudi women spend much of their salaries on drivers or must be driven to work by male relatives.

Tunisia Just Took A Big Step Forward On Muslim Women’s Rights

Huffington Post – September 15, 2017: A new law allows Muslim women to marry outside the faith, just like their male counterparts. For decades, Muslim women in Tunisia have been forbidden to marry non-Muslim men. But that’s about to change.

The government of the small North African country announced Thursday that the ban on such marriages was being abolished.

“Congratulations to the women of Tunisia for the enshrinement of the right to the freedom to choose one’s spouse,” presidential spokeswoman Saida Garrach wrote on Facebook, according to a translation by Al Jazeera.

A previous law, dating back to 1973, mandated that if a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man wished to marry, first he had to convert to Islam and show documented proof of his conversion. A Muslim man, however, was legally free to marry a non-Muslim woman without her joining the faith.

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