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New Guidelines Raise Alarms for Reproductive Rights

The State Council, China’s cabinet, in its “Chinese Women’s Development Guidelines” for 2021-2030, announced today, identified “reducing non-medically necessary abortions” as a step toward women’s development. It’s unclear what specific policies…
A promotion for China's defunct one-child policy remains on the outer wall of a government office in Bobai, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, August 26, 2021.
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Few Toilets, No Menstrual Hygiene Supplies

When “Mi Mi” (a pseudonym) prepared for anti-coup demonstrations in Yangon in late February, she carefully chose to wear a pair of jeans and sneakers so she could run from the abusive security forces. The last thing on her mind was to carry menstrual…
An official with a megaphone during the release of prisoners from Insein prison after a presidential pardon in Yangon
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World Body Should Reject Beijing’s False Narrative

The Chinese government is facing a barrage of bad press for its systemic abuses against Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims in China’s western Xinjiang region. Journalists have been spotlighting links between forced labor in Xinjiang and global supply…
201712asia_china_xinjiang2 Police officers check the identity cards of a people as security forces keep watch in a street in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, China on March 24, 2017.
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Adopt Real Solutions for ‘One Child Policy’ Problems

This week an economics professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University offered up a novel proposal to solve China’s very serious gender imbalance: polyandry – women having multiple husbands. It’s an interesting idea, but we don’t think polyandry would…
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Workers Fear Increase in Union Busting at Factories During Covid-19 Lockdown

In previous years on May 1, workers across Myanmar would rally and march in solidarity for workers’ rights and justice. But this May Day the streets will be quiet, as no marches are allowed with Covid-19 lockdowns and curfews in place. Most…
Workers shout slogans during a May Day march in Yangon, Myanmar, May 1, 2019.
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China’s Gender Imbalance Having Devastating Regional Consequences

What do Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, and Vietnam have in common? The answer is tragic. There’s compelling evidence that all have become source countries for a brutal business –…
A young woman who was trafficked at age 17 by a friend’s mother who promised her a well-paid child care job and then sold her to a family in China as a “bride.” Once purchased, she was confined and subjected to sexual slavery, but managed to escape after
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Allegations of Sale of Women to China Echo Abuses Elsewhere

Pakistan’s government should be alarmed by recent reports of trafficking of women and girls to China. These allegations are disturbingly similar to the pattern of trafficking of “brides” to China from at least five other Asian countries…
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Overwhelming Evidence of Military Role in Hundreds of Sexual Assaults

Despite a mountain of evidence to the contrary, the government of Myanmar denies their armed forces raped Rohingya women and girls in a campaign of ethnic cleansing that forced more than 740,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee the country…
A Rohingya woman walks through Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, March 22, 2018.
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Judge Denies Abused Woman Divorce, Citing ‘Traditional Values’

“In principle, in divorce cases, the first time one sues for divorce, it won’t be granted. [Marriage is] a traditional value,” said Judge Zhang Yanbin in the Chinese city of Chengdu, ruling against a woman’s petition for divorce. “We made the ruling to…
A woman wearing a protective mask makes her way on a heavily polluted day in Beijing, December 26, 2015.
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Montreal Summit Provides Important Platform to Support Global Justice

In a first-of-its-kind summit, the world’s female foreign ministers will meet in Montreal today and tomorrow to discuss a range of global challenges, from advancing peace and security to eliminating violence against women and girls in…
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#MeToo Gains Momentum, But Little Public Confidence in Legal Remedies

Among the over 50 million court verdicts from 2010 to 2017 available publicly, only 34 focused on sexual harassment, according to a June study by the Beijing Yuanzhong Gender Development Center. Among those 34 cases, only two were…
A vendor sells #MeToo badges a protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California U.S. November 12, 2017.
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How Unions Help Workers Worldwide

How can a mango craving spiral into a labor dispute? I was talking with garment workers in Cambodia when I heard the mango story. A pregnant garment worker had been caught sneaking mangoes into the factory despite a rule forbidding food…
Garment workers take part in a May Day demonstration in Phnom Penh, Cambodia May 1, 2017.
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Firms Pledge Stricter Reviews of Ads in Wake of Human Rights Watch Report

The response to the release this week of a major Human Rights Watch report on gender discrimination and sexual objectification in Chinese advertising has been surprisingly quick. Alibaba, Baidu, Huawei, and Tencent appear to have deleted many of…
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Secretary-General Report Details Sexual Violence as Weapon of War

The United Nations secretary-general for the first time has included Myanmar’s military, or Tatmadaw, in his annual list of parties that have committed sexual violence in armed conflict. Presented today to the UN Security Council, the…
Rohingya refugees walk across a bamboo bridge in the Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh, February 11, 2018.
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Refugees from Burma Lack Access to Crucial Services

“Sanctuary.” What does that mean to you? Probably not a massive camp made of bamboo and tarps with muddy paths, exposed to torrential rains and disease. But for more than 650,000 Rohingya refugees who fled the Burmese…
Rohingya refugees walk inside Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh January 8, 2018.
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Beijing Professor Suspended After Accusations of Sexual Harassment

On January 1, Luo Xixi, a Chinese scientist living in the United States, along with four other women, accused Chen Xiaowu, a professor at Beijing’s prestigious Beihang University, of sexually harassing them when they were his students. The…
A vendor sells #MeToo badges a protest march for survivors of sexual assault and their supporters in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California U.S. November 12, 2017.
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Ineffective Anti-Discrimination Mechanisms Hinder Women’s Progress

“History has proved that women don’t belong in academia,” wrote Feng Gang, a prominent sociologist and professor at Zhejiang University, on his  Weibo social media account in October.“If a woman in her life time has fewer than two…
A woman reads a company flyer at an open air job fair for college graduates and the general public in the centre of Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, China, February 6, 2017.
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Beijing Urging Women to Quit Their Jobs, Focus on Family

On August 21, Chinese women’s rights activist Wu Rongrong went to a police station in Shanxi province to check on her application for a travel permit to Hong Kong, where she has been accepted to graduate school. Police denied her application because Wu—…
Poster hung in the Beijing marriage registration office.
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Government Boasts of Equality Ring Hollow

On International Women’s Day two years ago, the Chinese government demonstrated contempt for women’s rights by arbitrarily detaining for over a month a group of avowed feminists who had tried to raise awareness about sexual harassment on public…
A woman wearing a protective mask makes her way on a heavily polluted day in Beijing, December 26, 2015.
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Last week in Burma’s commercial capital, Rangoon, the Ta-ang Women’s Organization had to cancel the launch of a report because the authorities deemed its subject matter too sensitive. The report, “Trained to Torture,” documents Burmese military abuses…
A woman is silhouetted as she stands outside her hut near the bank of Yangon River March 18, 2012.