June: News Roundup

HISTORY IN THE MAKING:

Hillary Clinton is the Presumptive Democratic Nominee

Ninety-six years after women were awarded the right to vote, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to capture a major-party nomination for president as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Having previously been accused of “playing the woman card,” Clinton has faced more than her fair share of sexism during the 2016 campaign and unfortunately, it’s no surprise. Her speeches are described as “shrill” and she’s always “shouting.” Women in politics are viewed as unqualified, despite most female politicians being more qualified than their male counterparts in a 2013 study. Clinton is facing a double standard where men are not judged for the same things.  These attacks are nothing new, as this comprehensive guide to the sexist attacks from her 2008 campaign show.

“’You’re required to be touchy-feely and smiley and also required to grow a hide like an elephant,’ said Tina Brown, the journalist. ‘Which is it?’

An impossible combination, they complain — and if she managed all that, there would no doubt emerge some other vital quality that she was failing to display, because there is no template yet for a female United States president.” – 

Takeaway: No matter your political affiliation, it has become obvious that female politicians are treated very differently than their male counterparts. The 2016 election season has been one full of sexist remarks and backtracking on equality, so having a female presumptive nominee is a historical occurrence that should be noted. 

Senate Approves Women Registering for the Draft

As an amendment to a $602 billion defense bill, women might be required to register for the military draft soon. This is the first time in history that women registering to be drafted has been proposed. The bill still has to make it through

This addition was proposed by Rep. Duncan D. Hunter with the intent to protest the recent policy change allowing women to serve in combat roles. His plan backfired when committee members approved allowing women registering for the draft. The mentality is that if women are to achieve parity in all positions of the military, their equality must be in all aspects including the draft.

Other historic firsts for women in the U.S. military this year included the first women Army Rangers, the first woman Army infantry officer, the first Marine enlisted infantry women and the first woman combatant commander.

Takeaway: Women are achieving greater equality in the military. While having women register for the draft is controversial, true equality requires equal treatment.

SCOTUS is on a Roll

In two different cases, the Supreme Court has made headway in punishments for domestic abuse and women’s rights to abortion.

In a move that shows a start in cracking down on domestic crimes, SCOTUS rules that domestic abusers are banned from owning firearms. Similar domestic abuse laws currently exist in 34 states and D.C., triggering the federal weapons ban.

As the gun control and abortion debates rage on, SCOTUS ruled in favor of Texas women by declaring the Texas Legislature’s abortion crackdown unconstitutional. The case centered on medically unnecessary restrictions in Texas’ anti-abortion law (HB2) that would have made seeking an abortion nearly impossible in the state. This ruling could not only affect access to abortion in Texas, but across the country.

Takeaways: Though much of the United States legal system is outdated and lags behind in terms of equality, both of these rulings are a major step in the right direction. 

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN:

Amber Heard’s Domestic Violence Allegations Against Johnny Depp

Amber Heard filed for a divorce from Johnny Depp, and a few days after pursued a restraining order and alleged abuse. Fans of both celebrities quickly took sides, but the coverage of the case revealed a certain bias towards Johnny Depp as a revered actor and “nice guy.” Heard has been outspoken and stood her ground during the ordeal, while Depp has responded mainly through representatives and did not address the divorce or related allegations during his first interview since everything unfolded.

Joanna Pepin, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland, studied media coverage of domestic abuse the bias favoring white male celebrities. She found that such coverage typically included “victim-blaming statements, failed to contextualize domestic violence as larger social problem, and commonly portrayed domestic violence as a couple’s problem.”

Takeaways: This case joins a massive amount of other celebrity domestic abuse cases and highlights two large problems in our society. One, celebrities tend to be more easily forgiven no matter the severity of their crime. Two, domestic violence can affect anyone, elite or not, and is not an issue to be doubted when a victim comes forward. 

Stanford Rape Case

The highly publicized Stanford rape case brought to light the ongoing issue of sexual assault on college campuses. A former Stanford swimmer sexually assaulted an unconscious woman, was caught in the act, and still only sentenced to six months in jail because the judge believe a longer sentence would have “a severe impact on him.” Describing the severe impact the assault had on her, the victim read a now viral letter in court.

In the days following the sentencing, the victim’s letter ignited almost unanimous outrage and a demand for harsher sentencing and for the presiding judge to step down. A statement from the accused, as well as letters from his father and mother of the accused emerged, as did a letter from a friend, adding to the fire by being completely unapologetic and blaming alcohol and political correctness for the incident.

Public backlash resulted in the accused’s friend’s band being removed from various gigs, condemnation of the accused’s mother and father and their failed responsibility as parents, and a call for an investigation and removal of the judge.

Takeaway: Rape culture is prevalent across the world, in universities, and even in courtrooms. While the public outrage at this case was admirable and the voices of victims and advocates are growing louder, justice is extremely difficult to attain, even in a case with solid eye witness evidence like this one. 

ENDING ON A POSITIVE NOTE:

Today Is a Great Day for Menstrual Justice in New York City 

In an important move to remove the stigma from a normal bodily function that half of the population have (periods), New York City will now ensure access to free pads and tampons in public facilities like schools, shelters, and prisons. Pads and tampons are “as necessary as toilet paper” for women to be able to go about their day-to-day lives. New York become the sixth state to eliminate sales tax on the women’s sanitary products last month.

Takeaway: Laws are now being put in place to prevent the unfair cost of simply being born a women.

Inspiring Campaign Highlights The Power Of Women Helping Women

In a celebration of women helping women, Lean In founder and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s launched the new Lean In initiative called Together Women Can. While the media frequently seems to pit women against each other, this campaign serves as a reminder that women are allies, not rivals and that when we work together we are unstoppable.

Takeaway: Following a trending set of posts from Tumblr on the ways in which women help protect other women, this movement further enforces that solidarity makes us stronger. 

OTHER ITEMS COVERED IN BRIEF:


Did we miss something huge? Let us know! Submissions are always welcome and comments are highly encouraged and will be approved to further discussion as long as they follow our guidelines. Please keep an open mind and respect your fellow humans. 

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