Gender Equality

Sports
Qatar withdraws dress code for women at beach volleyball tournament in Doha
Qatar withdraws dress code for women at beach volleyball tournament in Doha
Credit: unsplash.com / Braedon McLeod

Following international criticism of the dress code rules for women at the beach volleyball tournament in Doha, the organizers have now withdrawn the originally planned restrictions on women's workwear. Qatar Volleyball Association (QVA) has "confirmed that there will be no restrictions on female players wearing standard uniforms during the event in Doha if they so wish" according to a spokeswoman for the world federation

Regional News • Oceania
Starting June 2021, period products will be free in New Zealand schools
Starting June 2021, period products will be free in New Zealand schools
Credit: unsplash.com / Natracare

New Zealand schools across the country will be stocked with free period products from June, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti announced at Fairfield College in Hamilton on Thursday.

”There’s lots of barriers that shouldn’t exist for our young people,” Ardern said. “And one of the things stopping our young people from going to school is an issue called period poverty. One in 12 of our students possibly miss school because they don’t have access to period products. That’s just not right and not in a country like New Zealand.”

Regional News • World
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala confirmed as WTO's new Director General
DG selection process 2020- Press conference - Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria
DG selection process 2020- Press conference - Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria Credit: World Trade Organization/Jay Louvion, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The World Trade Organization has confirmed Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert, as its new director general. She is the first female and the first African to hold this position.

Diversity & Inclusion
German all-female publishing house wants to turn the industry upside down : Ecco publishes and employs exclusively women
German all-female publishing house wants to turn the industry upside down : Ecco publishes and employs exclusively women
Credit: Ecco Verlag

The new Hamburg-based Ecco publishing house wants to help women gain a greater presence in the literary world and empower them. It will launch its first program in March and publishes books exclusively by female authors and employs only women. "We want to focus on the female gaze and perspective with our content," Magdalena Mau, producer on the Ecco team, told the press.

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
United Kingdom abolishes "tampon tax" after leaving EU
United Kingdom abolishes "tampon tax" after leaving EU
Credit: unsplash.com / Josefin

With the end of the post-Brexit transition period, the UK is no longer obliged to levy a minimum tax of five percent on hygiene products, as required by EU law. With that the country has now abolished the VAT on tampons and sanitary towels in the United Kingdom.

Lifestyle • Religion
Religious leaders call for end of gay conversion therapy
Religious leaders call for end of gay conversion therapy
Credit: Jmquez, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Over 370 religious leaders from around the world are calling for an end to the criminalisation of LGBT+ people and a ban on gay conversion therapy, the pseudoscientific practise of trying to change an individual's sexual orientation. The leaders stated that "certain religious teachings have often, throughout the ages, caused and continue to cause deep pain and offence" to LGBTQ+ people and further have "created, and continue to create, oppressive systems that fuel intolerance, perpetuate injustice and result in violence."

Among those who signed are eight archbishops, including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu; over 60 rabbis, including former Chief Rabbi of Ireland David Rosen; the Catholic former president of Ireland Mary McAleese and various senior Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Hindus.

Science • Space
ARTEMIS: NASA Has Picked Astronauts for new Moon Mission
ARTEMIS: NASA Has Picked Astronauts for new Moon Mission
Credit: NASA

We're going back to the Moon! 18 astronauts, nine of them women, are training for NASA's upcoming Artemis missions to travel to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars. The group includes the first woman who will walk on the lunar surface in 2024.

Diversity & Inclusion
Lithuania appoints first female prime minister
Lithuania appoints first female prime minister
Credit: Rokasdarulis / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Lithuania has appointed Ingrida Šimonytė as its first female prime minister. She had been proposed by the liberal and conservative coalition with a majority of 62 to 41 votes. The 46-year-old is said to be impartial and has already served as finance minister.

Sports • Soccer
Stephanie Frappart becomes first female referee in the Champions League
Stephanie Frappart becomes first female referee in the Champions League
Credit: El Loko Foto / via Wikimedia Commons

Stephanie Frappart from France is the first woman to whistle the Men's Champions League. The 36-year-old whistled 3-0 in the match between Juventus and Dinamo Kiev and received much praise for her unagitated and assertive performance.

Law
Gender discrimination becomes illegal in the Philippines
Gender discrimination becomes illegal in the Philippines
Credit: Ramon FVelasquez / via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Manila's mayor Francisco Domagoso signs a decree making discrimination based on sexual identity or sexual orientation a criminal offence. In addition, the capital of the Philippines is working to establish gender-neutral toilets and will soon decide on same-sex marriages. The Philippines is the largest Catholic-influenced region in Asia, so these decisions are expected to have a pulling effect.