In today’s WDD: women senators in the States call for action on sexual harassment; a women’s only members club is being investigated by an anti-discrimination commission; and Malala Yousafzai has returned to Pakistan for the first time since being shot in 2012.
Every single female senator in the US calls for action on sexual harassment
There are 22 female senators in the US. Their gender doesn’t mean that they always agree on policy issues (18 of their number are Democratic, while four are Republican), but this week they came together to demand that the US Senate does more to help people who work in Congress pursue claims of sexual harassment or discrimination.
The women made the demand of Senate majority Mitch McConnell in an open letter, telling him: “Inaction is unacceptable.”
They added: “Survivors who have bravely come forward to share their stories have brought to light just how widespread harassment and discrimination continue to be throughout Capitol Hill.” The women also said they felt “deep disappointment that the Senate has failed to enact meaningful reforms” to how sexual harassment claims are handled.
Allegations of sexual harassment in Congress emerged in the wake of the #MeToo movement. At least seven members of Congress have resigned or decided not to seek re-election after being accused of sexual misconduct.
Read more on this story at The Guardian.
A women-only members club is being investigated for potentially breaching anti-discrimination laws
Yes, you read that correctly. The New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR) has initiated an investigation into famous Manhattan women’s member’s club The Wing, apparently because it suspects that its no-men policy might be breaching the city’s human rights legislation.
NYCCHR exists to investigate potential violations of New York City’s human rights law, which states that most businesses, including some (but not all) private members’ clubs, cannot discriminate against customers because of their gender. Seth Hoy, a spokesperson for the NYCCHR, said that it was “looking forward to working with The Wing to ensure that they are in compliance with the law”.
The Wing has denied that the investigation is an investigation, even though NYCCHR has described it as such. Instead, it says that it is plans to “sit down and have a conversation” with the commission.
However, many have criticised the commission for investigating a woman-only, woman-friendly space at a time when allegations of male-on-female sexual harassment in the workplace are at a high.
“I think it’s patently absurd for New York’s human rights commission to be focusing on The Wing when we’ve had, over the last six months, numerous complaints about workplaces being absolutely hostile to women in terms of pervasive and endemic sexual harassment,” said Melissa Murray, a professor of law currently teaching at New York University.
Jezebel has more on this story here.
Malala Yousafzai returns to Pakistan for first time since being shot
Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai has returned to Pakistan for the first time since she was shot in the head by the Taliban, more than five years ago.
Yousafzai, now 20, was attacked by a Taliban gunman in October 2012 for advocating education for girls. She was airlifted to Britain for medical treatment, and until this week had not set foot in her native country again.
But this week, Yousafzai travelled with her father and younger brother to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, and gave a tearful speech on national television in which she emphasised the continuing importance of education.
“It’s the happiest day of my life. I still can’t believe it’s happening,” she said. “I don’t normally cry… I’m still 20 years old but I’ve seen so many things in life.”
Sahid Khaqan Abbasi, the prime minister of Pakistan, said that Yousafzai was a national hero. “Welcome home,” he told her. “When she went away, she was a child of 12. She has returned as the most prominent citizen of Pakistan.”
Read more on this story here.
Images: Getty Images