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.

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The supply chain mess is hitting all of us. Inflation is now the highest it's been in over 30 years.

The costs of food, gas and housing are going through the roof. What's more, almost everything made outside of America is now in short supply — like semiconductors for our cars.

Why is this happening? A lot of it has to do with the pandemic. Asian factories had to shut down or thought there would be less demand for their stuff. So did shipping companies. But then online shopping surged, and now there's a lot of pent-up demand to spend all the cash we saved during COVID.

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The economic consequences of high inflation are already bad enough.

But for Larry Summers, sometimes the psychological trauma that comes with it can do even more damage to a society.

"A society where inflation is accelerating is a society that feels out of control."

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Should you believe the hype(rsonic)?

Over the past few months, US officials have become increasingly alarmed about a new type of killing machines called "hypersonic weapons."

The top US General, Mark Milley, said that China's successful test of an advanced hypersonic weapon earlier this year was "very close" to a "Sputnik moment" – referring to the Soviet Union's surprise launch of the world's first artificial satellite in 1957, which raised fears that the US was lagging behind a formidable technological rival.

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Marietje Schaake, International Policy Director at Stanford's Cyber Policy Center, Eurasia Group senior advisor and former MEP, discusses trends in big tech, privacy protection and cyberspace:

What is Facebook planning with the metaverse?

Well, my sense is that Facebook mostly prefers a virtual reality over the actual situation the company is in, with overwhelming criticism about the many harms to people it is causing all over the world. The metaverse at launch would be added to a number of services and experiences online in a more virtual and augmented reality setting. Think about what the gaming sector has done, but now, also, other big tech firms are jumping on the bandwagon. The thing to remember is that the user experience would be more immersive.

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Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, shares insights on US politics:

Why did President Biden renominate Jay Powell to be the chairman of the Fed, and who's his No.2, Lael Brainard?

Well, Powell by all accounts has done a pretty good job of managing the Fed through the coronavirus pandemic. He dusted off the playbook, first pioneered by Chairman Bernanke during the financial crisis, and he's largely continued the relatively easy monetary policy of his predecessor at the Fed, now Treasury Secretary, Janet Yellen. With inflation growing the way it has over the last several months, Biden now owns the policies of the Fed and is essentially endorsing what Powell has been doing and giving Powell the political cover to continue to keep rates low for longer, or as many people expect, raise them slightly over the next 12 months in order to fight inflation.

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When Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted on all counts, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, who created the "1619 Project" tweeted: "In this country, you can even kill white people and get away with it if those white people are fighting for Black lives. This is the legacy of 1619." In an upcoming interview with Ian Bremmer, she explains why she saw the verdict as a consequence of this country's long history of double standards when it comes to racial justice. "The fact that we own more guns in this country than any other country is certainly a legacy of 1619" Hannah-Jones says. "This idea that white Americans can patrol, that they have the right to open carry, this is not something that Black Americans can engage in, in the same way." Watch her full conversation with Ian Bremmer in an upcoming episode of GZERO World.

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on global politics this week with a look at Peng Shuai's public appearance, El Salvador's "Bitcoin City," and Americans' Thanksgiving celebrations.

Why has China silenced its famous tennis player, Peng Shuai?

Well, they haven't completely silenced her in the sense that the head of the IOC, the International Olympic Committee with Beijing Olympics coming up, basically told the Chinese government, "hey, what is the absolute minimum that you can do so that we can get Beijing Olympics back on track?" And they did the absolute minimum, which was a half an hour phone call with her that felt like kind of a hostage phone call. But nonetheless, she says that she is fine and is private and doesn't want to talk about the fact that she had accused the former Vice Premier of sexually assaulting her. That is a fairly heady charge. It was clear, going to get a lot of headlines in the run-up to the Olympics. And she wasn't heard from after that. So big problem for the Chinese in the run-up to the Olympics.

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How did we get to today's supply chain mess?

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