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.

We pay little attention to the waves of the sea, yet they are the greatest unused source of renewable energy in the world. Meet ISWEC and Power Buoy, two interesting new technologies used to harness this energy. Learn more about the extraordinary power of waves in this episode of Eni's Energy Shot series, where we investigate interesting facts and trends about energy.

Ukraine is once again in a tough spot.

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Vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens before the rest of the world, has been effective for rich nations like the United States and Israel. But leaving behind so much of the global population isn't just a humanitarian issue. It could prolong the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization's Chief Scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, who argues that what the global vaccination effort most urgently lacks are doses, not dollars. In a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World, she calls for a large increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and suggests we may be seeing alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Listen: Soumya Swaminathan calls for a massive increase in the global vaccine supply in order to prevent the rise of more dangerous and vaccine-evading super-variants, in a wide-ranging interview with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast. Dr. Swaminathan, Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization, argues that vaccine nationalism, where countries prioritize their own citizens ahead of the rest of the world, will only prolong the pandemic because a virus does not stop at any national border. She also weighs in on a controversial new WHO report investigating the origins of COVID-19 and discusses when she thinks the world's children should get vaccinated. In addition, she suggests we may see alternative vaccine forms, like nasal sprays, sooner than we think.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.

India, the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide, is one of the countries worst affected by climate change. But it takes issue with those now asking it to clean up its act. Why, the Indians ask, should we give up our right to get rich by burning fossil fuels like you developed economies have done for generations?

That's precisely the message that India's energy minister had for the US and other wealthy nations at a recent Zoom summit after they pressured Delhi to set a future deadline for net zero emissions. For India, he explained, such targets are "pie in the sky" aspirations that do little to address the climate crisis the country faces right now.

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The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are nearly a year away, but discussion of a potential boycott is already stoking tensions on both sides of the US-China relationship. Officials in Washington and other Western capitals are coming under mounting pressure from activists to respond to human rights abuses in China. An increasingly assertive Beijing, meanwhile, vigorously rejects any foreign criticism of what it regards as internal issues.

The last time the US boycotted an Olympics was in 1980, when it withdrew from the Summer Olympics in Moscow to protest the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. Four years later, the Soviet Union repaid in kind by skipping the Games in Los Angeles. Would the US and its allies do something like that again? And how might China respond? Eurasia Group analysts Neil Thomas and Allison Sherlock explain the drivers of the boycott movement and its possible fallout.

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In two weeks, US President Joe Biden will be hosting an online "climate summit" to mark Earth Day. He'll ask China and India to sign up to America's ambitious new plan to slow down climate change. Will they go for it? China is the world's largest polluter, but Beijing is rolling out solar and wind power as fast as it's burning coal. India, meanwhile, is loathe to pick up the slack for rich countries that polluted their way to wealth and now want everyone else to agree to emissions cuts. No matter what happens, any successful plan to reduce global emissions will require buy-in from these three nations which, along with the European Union, account for almost 60 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions nowadays. Here's a look at emissions by the world's top polluters compared to everyone else over the last two decades.

Two big Andean elections: This Sunday, Ecuadorians go to the polls for the second time this year in a close presidential runoff, while Peruvians will vote in the first round of their own presidential election. In Ecuador, the matchup is between the leftwing-populist frontrunner Andrés Arauz, who has pledged to blow up the country's IMF agreements and boost national oil production, and Guillermo Lasso, a pro-business candidate who is seen as the choice of continuity with the current market-friendly government. Voter abstention is likely to be high, and the final result could very well be close and contested in a polarized country that was struggling with massive social unrest even before the pandemic struck. Meanwhile in Peru — which recently went through three presidents in the space of a week — the candidate field is hugely fragmented. Those with a decent shot to make it to the second round include "change" candidates like the leftist former lawmakers Yohny Lescano and Verónica Mendoza, as well as the prominent neoliberal economist Hernando De Soto, who has recently risen in the polls. Former soccer star George Forsyth is also in the mix, as is Keiko Fujimori, daughter of authoritarian former president Alberto Fujimori. Both of this Sunday's elections will serve as a kind of bellwether for the political mood in a region that has been devastated by the public health and economic impact of the pandemic.

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