THREE STORIES IN THE KEY OF: WOMEN AND POLITICS

THREE STORIES IN THE KEY OF: WOMEN AND POLITICS

A year into the #MeToo movement, gender equality issues are both prominent and polarizing in US politics. With the 2018 mid-term elections approaching, more women are running for office than ever before, and one seasoned pollster says that the gender gap between the Republican and Democratic parties could be the largest in modern American history – 58% of women support Democratic candidates against just 35% for Republicans. The supreme court confirmation hearings of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, whom psychology professor Dr. Christine Blasey Ford has accused of sexual assault, have further inflamed partisan rancor. But the US isn’t the only place in the world where women are at the center of politics these days. Here are three more:


#NotHim in Brazil. Rightwing firebrand Jair Bolsonaro’s tough talk, conservative values, and law and order approach have struck a chord among millions of Brazilians fed up with widespread corruption and surging crime. But the leading Brazilian presidential candidate’s nostalgia for military dictatorship, alongside his racially tinged and misogynistic comments – he once told a fellow congresswoman he wouldn’t rape her because she did not “deserve it” – have also alienated huge swaths of the population. Half of Brazilian women say they would never vote for Bolsonaro. There’s even a hashtag, #EleNao, Portuguese for #NotHim. Meanwhile, Women Against Bolsonaro, a Facebook group that helped organize anti-Bolsonaro protests of hundreds of thousands this past weekend, counts some 4 million members. Bolsonaro heads into the first round of the election this weekend almost assured of a runoff against left-winger Fernando Haddad. But in the most polarized and unpredictable election in Brazil’s recent history, the female vote could prove decisive in the final round.

Grieving mothers vs tear gas in Turkey. In 1995, a group of mostly Kurdish women known as the “Saturday Mothers” began weekly vigils in downtown Istanbul, demanding information about their sons, who had disappeared in official custody during clashes between the state and Kurdish separatists. Police crackdowns put the vigils largely on hold from 1999 to 2009, but since then they had gone ahead every Saturday until troops recently showed up to disperse them with tear gas, arresting dozens of now-elderly women. The government says they are a security threat associated with the insurgents of the PKK, a Kurdish party designated as a terrorist group. But activists say the crackdown reflects President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian bent. Mothers’ movements can certainly be politically powerful – whether it’s exposing the atrocities of Argentina’s dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s, or helping to end (temporarily) Russia’s disastrous Chechen wars in the mid-1990s. What, precisely, is Mr Erdogan afraid of?

#MeToo goes to court in China. Last week, a high-profile #MeToo case in China headed for the courts as a famous male TV star accused of groping a female intern is now… suing that intern for defamation. The case will be a test of how Chinese authorities handle harassment cases after a summer in which the country saw several major #MeToo scandals – including one whichbrought down one of the country’s most famous up-and-coming Buddhist monks. China’s authoritarian government is wary of granting too much power to grassroots movements of this kind, particularly given that party structures are heavily male dominated. But in a country where more than 80 percent of women say they have suffered harassment, the authorities are under pressure to respond at some level. New draft laws would strengthen and clarify the vague anti-harassment laws currently on the books. Whether those laws are implemented consistently is another question entirely.

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for Eurasia Group, shares updates on recent COVID-19 policy developments:

The Biden administration extended an eviction moratorium even after the Supreme Court said they couldn't, what's next?

Well, the CDC imposed a nationwide eviction moratorium in light of increased risk from evicted people because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court in June ruled that they (CDC) overextended their authority in doing so and mandated that the moratorium expire on schedule in July. A group of progressive activists weren't happy about this and raised a huge stink in Congress, but Congress recessed for their August vacation before they could solve the problem, putting big pressure on President Biden to extend the moratorium even though he said he didn't think that it would pass constitutional muster. The CDC did it anyway, extending the moratorium until October 3rd, which is a time that's short enough to probably avoid it being overturned by lawsuits, but long enough that Congress has time to figure out how to either extend it on a bipartisan basis or put more money into a rental assistance fund that few people have taken advantage of so far. This whole incident shows the power of progressive activists in the Biden administration who were able to elevate the profile of this issue and potentially prevent millions of people from losing their homes this summer.

More Show less

This week, the market value of Tencent, China's biggest video game company, nosedived after a state media outlet suggested that online gaming was as addictive and destructive as opium. Tencent immediately pledged to cap the number of hours people can play, and to keep minors off its platforms.

It's the latest example of a months-long crackdown on major Chinese technology firms that until recently were viewed as some of the world's most powerful and successful companies, as well as a source of national pride. Beijing's about-face on its own tech titans could have big implications for China, and beyond.

More Show less

Iran was involved in two naval incidents in the Gulf of Oman in recent days. The US, UK, and Israel have blamed Iran for a drone attack that killed two European nationals. Iran has rejected the accusations. Iran is also suspected in the "potential hijack" of a tanker off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

These provocations are happening just as Iran inaugurates a new president, Ebrahim Raisi, and as talks continue over the possible US re-entry into the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. What's the connection between these events? We asked Henry Rome, Eurasia Group's deputy head of research and a director covering global macro politics and the Middle East.

More Show less

Whenever Burkina Faso is in the news, it's often about how the crisis-ridden country has got caught up in the crosshairs of horrific jihadist violence plaguing the Sahel.

But this week, the nation of 20 million was celebrating because Hugues Fabrice Zango won its first-ever Olympic medal after finishing third in the men's triple jump in Tokyo.

More Show less

Should people get COVID vaccine booster shots? Not yet, says the World Health Organization, which is pushing for rich nations or those with access to jabs to hold off until at least the end of September so all countries get to fully vaccinate at least 10 percent of their populations before some jump ahead with boosters. But the WHO's call has fallen on deaf ears in nations like Israel, France, Germany and Russia, which are already planning to offer boosters, in part to better protect people against the more contagious delta variant. What's more, mRNA vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna are recommending supplemental doses for the same reason. The problem is that, beyond the obvious moral imperative for equal access to vaccines, if the rich continue hoarding jabs while vaccination rates stay low elsewhere, the virus will continue to thrive — and mutate into new, potentially even more infectious variants that sooner or later will reach every corner of the planet.

More Show less

80: If polar ice caps continue to melt at their current pace due to climate change, 80 percent of all emperor penguins will be wiped out by the end of the century because they need the ice for breeding and keeping their offspring safe. American authorities want to list emperor penguins, which only live in Antarctica, as an endangered species so that US fishing vessels will be required to protect them when operating in their habitat.

More Show less

On GZERO World, Ian Bremmer takes a look at the yin and the yang of alcohol's role in high-level diplomacy and society at large. Alcohol can bring people together just as easily as it can tear them apart. From a 1995 Clinton/Yeltsin Summit where a drunk Yeltsin almost derailed Bosnian peace talks, to Obama's Beer Summit and the recent G7 Summit, booze plays a part in how world leaders interact. Globally, alcohol consumption has been steadily increasing, by over 70 percent between 1990 and 2017, according to one report. . Low and middle-income nations like Vietnam, India, and China are a driving force behind that trend, with drinking in Southeast Asia rising by over 34 percent between 2010 and 2017. And yet, amidst this global booze boom, the world has only grown more and more divided.

Watch the episode: The (political) power of alcohol

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

Does alcohol help bring the world together?

GZERO World Clips

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal