December: News Roundup

IN POLITICS 

Donald Trump to Be Inaugurated Amidst Continuing Concern

Everyone is waiting with anticipation or caution to see what president-elect Donald Trump will do once he gets into office. Some of his actions have raised the concern that he does not know how to pick his battles and spends his time on things that are not important, including this thread responding to Trump’s tweeting displeasure at a recent SNL impersonation of himself. Some of the things Trump said about women during the debate have also not been forgotten in this powerful photography series. The concern for the impact Trump might have has extended well beyond America too. Chinese feminist Zheng Churan wrote a letter to president-elect Trump to let him know how his words affect the world.

At the same time, Trump has been selecting women, albeit primarily white women, as part of his new administration. He is considering Carly Fiorina for national intelligence director, and Kellyanne Conway will become the highest ranking woman in the White House in her new role as a counselor to the president.

Takeaway: This election season did not break the glass ceiling as some had hoped for, but it has been a huge feat for women nonetheless. With the president-elect’s previous record of derogatory comments against women, feminists will be watching him and ready to stand their ground on important equality issues. 

The Heartbeat Law in Ohio

This proposed bill in Ohio would mean that once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically happens at about six weeks, women would not be able to safely obtain an abortion. Six weeks into pregnancy can often be before a woman is even aware that she became pregnant. Abortion could be a necessary choice for a variety of reasons, including the safety of the potential mother. While Ohio governor John Kasich vetoed this particular bill, he did sign into law a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A law that would similarly deter women from safely obtaining abortions through medical facilities has been approved in Texas. This law requires medical facilities to treat an aborted fetus as a deceased person, which can cost thousands of dollars for cremation or burial. One woman shared her experience with miscarriages in detail to combat the bills in Ohio and Texas.

Meanwhile, in the global fight for individual rights, Brazil decriminalized abortions. To make abortions illegal would be “incompatible with various fundamental rights” and the Federal Constitution of 1988 (article I, III) said that, “All individuals — man or woman — have a legitimate right to privacy in which it is up to them to decide how to live by their values…the state nor society have the right to interfere.”

Takeaway: As the article on Brazil’s decriminalization of abortions said, “Baby steps are frustrating for full grown women but this is a vital and unprecedented step towards legalizing abortion.”

IN POPULAR CULTURE

How Toxic Masculinity Dominated 2016

Toxic masculinity is the set of social norms that indicate how men should be and, when imposed on society, they “create a culture in which violence is prized, women and LGBTQ people are seen as inferior, and men are discouraged from expressing…emotions.” Some forget that feminism doesn’t only benefit women, but men are equally restricted by patriarchal ideals. The end of year video from the Representation Project demonstrates just how toxic masculinity is perpetuated by specific events of the past year.

Takeaway: We need to remember that the goals of feminism are beneficial to all and how the patriarchy affects men as well as women and the LGBTQ community. By exposing various events of the past year, the Representation Project highlights how far we still have to go. 

Scarlet Johansson is 2016’s Highest Grossing Actor

In a year where the glass ceiling was more evident than ever, Scarlet Johansson has been named by Forbes as the highest grossing actor in 2016, bringing in $1.2 billion at global ticketing sales. This follows news from June 2016 that Johansson was the first woman to break into the top ten of highest grossing actors of all time.

Takeaway: While women still have far to go in achieving equality in the workforce, entertainment, politics, and in general, Johansson’s success this year should be celebrated as an example of talent and ambition leading to a woman’s success in male dominated industries. 

National Geographic Features Transgender Kid on the Cover

Women come in all shapes, races, and forms. National Geographic published its first cover of a transgender girl. Not only does it feature the story of transgender Avery Jackson, but also the discussion going on worldwide about the gender spectrum. Toxic masculinity hurts men and other genders too. National Geographic covered this topic with care and showed how gender really isn’t black and white.

Takeaway:  The issues surrounding feminism are plentiful and harmful to many diverse groups of people. There is not one right way for people to live and express themselves, as National Geographic explored in its latest magazine. 

IN THE WORKFORCE

Study Shows Female Doctors Are Superior

A recent study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine has shown that if male physicians were as adept as females, some 32,000 fewer Americans would die every year—among Medicare patients alone. To explain the discrepancy, the researchers refer to additional studies showing:

  • Females physicians are more likely to provide preventative care and psychosocial counseling.
  • Female doctors are also more likely to adhere to clinical guidelines.
  • Female physicians have a more patient-centered communication style, are more encouraging and reassuring, and have longer visits than male physicians.

Takeaway: Salaries for female physicians average around eight percent lower than those of male physicians and male physicians receive more research funding and are twice as likely to become full professor. This study is the first to compare gender differences in meaningful outcomes as death and hospitalization. With this research, disparities historically attributed to the effects of disproportionate domestic responsibilities have been refuted.

IN ACADEMIA

Minnesota Football Team Boycott Amid Sexual Assault Allegations

Earlier in December, the University of Minnesota football team staged a boycott of their popular bowl game because of the suspensions of ten teammates for sexual assault allegations. When announcing the boycott, the remaining team members claimed their colleagues had not been afforded due process. Once they learned of the contents of the full report alleging the crimes of their teammate, the team announced they would be playing the big game under certain some conditions.

This case may sound familiar among all the university sexual assault scandals that have arisen in the past year. One such scandal, that of the Stanford Rape Case, was brought to light again recently as the judge Aaron Persky was cleared of misconduct regarding the case’s sentencing.

Takeaway: This tired trend of university sexual assault scandals has to end. Only when universities and other organizations learn to value the victim as much as the athletic/academic/whatever potential of the perpetrator will we hopefully see the number of cases diminish.

AROUND THE WORLD

The Iron Lady of Tamil Nadu, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds Die

Jayalalithaa Jayaram, a Tamil film star known for challenging the state’s male-dominated politics before becoming chief minister, died earlier this month. Jayaram was the state’s first female opposition leader, eventually rising to become Tamil Nadu’s first female chief minister. While in office, she reduced the rate of female infanticide by creating centers where parents could anonymously surrender their child.

December closed out with the deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds just days apart. While known most for her role in Star Wars, Fisher made a lasting impact as a feminist and mental health advocate.

Takeaway: While these women come from very different walks of life, they each leave a legacy that should be admired and used as inspiration for generations to come.

Buenes Aires Catcalling Law

Any catcallers caught in Buenos Aires will be charged a $60 fine, including anyone who commented about or made reference to a woman’s body parts. This law was unanimously approved and the push for it by Aixa Rizzo and many stories like her made it possible. 

Takeaway: It is easy to feel like your voice alone does not make a difference, but Rizzo showed that you have the power to do something about the issues that affect you. If you speak up, it will encourage others to come forward too, and that is how change happens. 

WRAPPING UP 2016

The 10 Best Things That Happened for Women in 2016

25 Most Incredible Moments in 2016 for Women

17 Badass Women You Probably Didn’t Hear about in 2016

11 Women Who Dominated In 2016

New Years Resolutions That Can Make a Big Feminist Difference

IN OTHER NEWS


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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