Highlighting Feminist Movements and Activists Around the World

Brazilian Women in London Protest in Solidarity with the #Elenao Movement in 2018 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

#Elenao (#NotHim), Brazil

The election of far-right populist leader Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil in 2018 has set off a new wave of feminist protest and activism in the South American country. One such movement, dubbed #Elenao (#NotHim in English), was first launched as an online campaign in protest to the figure, but quickly snowballed into large scale demonstrations in the streets of Brazilian cities. Arising in direct response to Bolsonaro’s rhetoric during his candidacy, the movement was successful in becoming an umbrella movement for other groups who opposed Bolsonaro, including Men Against Bolsonaro and LGBTI+ Against Bolsonaro. The protests were the largest to be held by women in the history of Brazil, and were among one of the largest protest movements against a single candidate. In the wake of the election of Bolsonaro, the movement has largely lost steam in the eyes of the mainstream public, however, the movement’s power and influence cannot be underestimated, as it was able to unite groups across Brazilian society and influence said groups to unite for feminist and antiracist causes. SELIN LEVI

The Women’s Revolt, Sudan

Anti-government protests in Sudan have lasted for three months now, as citizens rally against the thirty-year-long rule of President Omar al-Bashir. The protests have been described by many as a women’s revolution; heavily involved, women make up over half of the protestors and have been referred to as the leaders of the revolt. This should not come as a surprise considering that the female citizens of Sudan have been among the most badly repressed under al-Bashir’s rule. Laws under his regime police women’s dress, legalize forced child marriage, and criminalize “indecent” behaviors such as dancing. Although female protestors have been beaten, harassed, and threatened with rape, many of them continue to defy the regime and risk their lives by taking to the streets in protest. Since the protests began three months ago, images of courageous women facing down soldiers have gone viral over Sudanese social media, and are credited with incentivizing the revolution to continue. MAYA ZREIK

#NotInvisible: Bringing Awareness to Missing Native American Women, U.S.A.

“If I was to go missing or be murdered, my tribe should be notified that one of their citizens of a sovereign nation within the United States has gone missing or murdered…[Law enforcement] would do that if I was a citizen of Switzerland. Why are they not doing that and notifying my tribal communities?”

It is estimated that approximately 4 out of 5 Native American and Alaskan Native women have experienced some form of violence; of this percentage, 1 out of 2 women experienced sexual violence. Native American and Alaskan Native women experience the highest rates of abuse of any demographic within the United States, yet little attention has been given to the issue. There is also an epidemic of missing women, many of which often go unreported by police departments. According to researchers Abigail Echo-Hawk and Annita Lucchesi, only 116 out of 5,712 reports of missing Native American and Alaska Native women and girls were logged into the US Department of Justice’s federal missing persons database. Canada is experiencing a similar epidemic of violence. According to findings from the Canadian police, indigenous women were victims in 25% of homicide cases. Although the 2017 #MeToo movement gave women a platform to discuss experiences of sexual violence, violence against Native American women did not gain nearly as much attention as violence against other groups, such as white women. As a result, #NotInvisible was coined to bring awareness to the issue. Since then, legislation has been introduced to address violence against Native American and Alaskan Native women. Former Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, one of the women who launched #NotInvisible, introduced Savanna’s Act, a bill which, among other things, would require the Department of Justice to include tribal enrollment data in crime information databases. The bill will be potentially passed this year. To read more about missing Native American and Alaskan Native women, visit this page by the Lakota People’s Law Project. MEGAN ROSSITER

Loujain Al-Hathloul, Saudi Arabia

Activists Representing the #FreeLoujain Campaign for International Women's Day 2019 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

29 year old Al-Hathloul is a prominent Saudi women’s rights activist. She actively campaigned for women’s rights issues in the Kingdom and was known for her campaigns working towards women’s rights to drive. Her brave and vocal activism was instrumental in bringing international attention the work of Saudi women and their demands for equal rights. The work of Saudi activists like Al-Hathloul and many others finally succeeded in 2017 when the government officially granted Saudi women the right to drive. Al-Hathloul and a number of other Saudi rights-to-drive activists, however, have been imprisoned since early 2018, when the Saudi government cracked down and accused them of conspiring with foreign governments. The Al-Hathloul case is still developing, and she is intended to stand trial in Riyadh in March of 2019. You can follow the Al-Hathloul case and support her work at her personal website, as well as through the hashtag #FreeLoujain. SELIN LEVI

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