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This Belarusian great-grandmother is one of Lukashenko’s fiercest critics

Belarusian president Lukashenko dismissed his female opponent's campaign because, he said, society was "not mature enough to vote for a woman." The weight of the presidency, he added, "would cause her to collapse, poor thing." In fact, women have emerged as the protest movement's greatest force, taking over the streets wearing white and carrying flowers and colorful umbrellas. One 73-year-old great grandmother has become a symbol of the protest movement: Nina Baginskaya, who has fearlessly stood up to police during Lukashenko's brutal crackdown.

Watch the episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: The fight for democracy in Europe's last dictatorship

Can gender quotas counter sexism in Australian politics?

In recent months, Australians have grown accustomed to stories of sexual impropriety by their politicians dominating the news headlines. Instances of groping, rape, and even a man masturbating on a female colleague's desk at Parliament House have become so ubiquitous that Prime Minister Scott Morrison called this week for a "shake-up" to address systemic sexism in Australian politics.

But what are the proposals currently dominating the political conversation, and where might they lead?

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The "global obsession" with controlling women’s bodies

When asked what most surprised her when she became the UN's top global advocate for gender equality, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka didn't hesitate. "The obsession about controlling women's bodies is really something that also shocked me when I got to the UN." The constant objections she fielded around women's rights and reproductive rights, regardless of where in the world they were coming from, was not something Mlambo-Ngcuka was prepared for. And that's especially true, she says, for the United States.

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The fight for gender equality

A look at the impact the pandemic has had on women's equal rights globally. How much progress in gender equality has been eroded in the wake of job losses and a rise in gender-based violence and economic inequality? And how can that trend be reversed as societies rebuild?

Watch the GZERO World with Ian Bremmer episode: Why the pandemic has been worse for women: UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

How education has improved women’s lives around the world


What has been the driving force for improving women's lives around the world in the last decade? It's education, says UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. "The macroeconomic policies of most countries are not gender-responsive," says Mlambo-Ngcuka, but "women have been increasingly graduating at the top of their classes, and in many countries doing better than boys." She joined Ian Bremmer to discuss how the global fight for gender equality has progressed over the past decade and how the pandemic has turned back the clock on so much of that fight.

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Why the pandemic has been worse for women: UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

The global fight for gender equality wasn't a resounding success before the pandemic hit, but progress was being made. In many corners of the world, however, COVID-19 turned back that clock significantly. Violence against women—especially in the home—has been skyrocketing over the past year, says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and the UN's top advocate for gender equality. And the toll on girls has been just as severe, says Mlambo-Ngcuka, with the UN estimating that as many as 11 million girls who left school during the pandemic will never return. At the same time, it has been women who have shepherded the world through the worst pandemic, as they occupy the majority of frontline healthcare jobs. Mlambo-Ngcuka joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Podcast: Why the pandemic has been worse for women: insights from UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Listen: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director for UN Women, joins Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to discuss the toll COVID-19 has taken on the global fight for gender equality, especially on girls. In fact, the UN estimates that as many as 11 million girls who left school because of the pandemic will never return. At the same time, it is women who occupy the majority of frontline and healthcare jobs.

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