Brie Larson in 'Captain Marvel', which surpassed box office records on opening weekend.



This Week in Women: Captain Marvel & Planned Parenthood

Captain Marvel commanded major kudos after an opening weekend that surpassed box office records, coming in second only to Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity Wars. Cheering on Brie Larson was Wonder Woman Gal Gadot, and we’re living for this kind of real girl power support.

“I’m so happy for you sister! Congrats,” Gadot posted to Larson on Instagram stories, using an image by Maxy Artwork.This week we’re calling our women heroes to lead the battle against new Trump administration Title X guidelines and responding to calls-to-action by the United Nations and Women’s Voices for the Earth. Whip out your cape, it’s time for This Week in Women!

Planned Parenthood Rallies For Legal Battle Against New Title X Guidelines 

As the Trump administration and Health and Human Services department promises new Title X guidelines to take effect in May 2019, Planned Parenthood and other groups are promising immediate legal action. The impending guidelines specifically state that grant-funded Title X services that include family planning and reproductive health measures will prohibit abortion, stating, “None of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”

Planned Parenthood says that these guidelines will severely impact four million patients, 41 percent of who are Planned Parenthood patients — limiting reproductive healthcare choices, block patients from receiving care, and fall hardest on people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people who live in rural areas.

“Imagine if the Trump administration prevented doctors from talking to our patients with diabetes about insulin. It would never happen,” said Dr. Leana Wen, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “Reproductive health care should be no different. Reproductive health care is health care and health care is a basic human right.”

United Nations Addresses Parity in Leadership

On Tuesday, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres held a special town hall meeting entitled “Women in Power” that was attended by civil society activists. “Power is not given, power is taken,” he said.

“We will only be successful if we are able to combine the institutional approaches, like the ones the U.N. develops, with the approaches at the civil society [level], the grassroots movements and the public opinion in general,” Guterres explained, citing that the U.N. leadership is almost at parity with the senior Under-Secretary-General (USG) and Assistant-Secretary-General (ASG) levels now at 53 percent men and 47 percent women.

Gutteres said sexual harassment is being used as a way to keep women and girls as “double victims” because of “power relations.” He said that while progress was being made within the U.N. for more parity, there was a regression on a global-scale as more human rights violations were committed in the form of persecution of women defenders, online hate speech and bullying, harassment, and legislation that stripped away reproductive freedoms.

U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka encouraged female candidates and lawmakers, saying, “(Gutteres) called on us to push back against the pushback — so we just have to be stronger in pushing back against the pushback ourselves.”

Prestige Removes Harmful Colorants from Summer’s Eve

Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) announced that in response to public pressure and their “Summer’s Deceive” campaign, highlighting concerns that harmful colorants were being used in vaginal washes, Prestige Brands has updated the Summer’s Eve product line.

“When a popular brand like Summer’s Eve removes toxic chemicals from products, it’s a huge win for public health,” said Sarada Tangirala, Director of Corporate Accountability at Women’s Voices for the Earth. “Prestige Brands made no announcement about this latest development, but our research has confirmed that Summer’s Eve products have been quietly reformulated.”

The harmful ingredients included FD&C Red 33 and Ext Violet #2, which under FDA guidelines are prohibited for use in products that come in contact with vaginal mucous membranes; Yellow #5 requires a specific safety warning regarding allergic reactions when used in drugs that are applied vaginally. WVE reports that their research shows these chemicals recurrently show up in washes designed for vaginal use. WVE worked with Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, to include a request to the FDA to respond to WVE’s petition in an amendment to key appropriations legislation. The FDA has ruled it as not a priority; however, some companies are taking individual actions to improve their product lines.

“Summer’s Eve products are marketed more aggressively towards women of color. When products like these are pushed on us, they not only perpetuate the idea that we should be ashamed of our bodies, but also, egregiously, put our health and well-being at risk,” said Maria Ignacia Miranda Santis, Community Organizer with Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) and member of WVE’s advisory committee. “Removing these dangerous dyes from washes is the right thing for Summer’s Eve to do and we hope this trend continues across the entire menstrual and personal care market. But the personal care industry still has leaps and bounds to go when it comes to addressing the safety of these products and the damaging misogynistic and racist notions of what a person’s body should look and smell like.”

Featured image via Popsugar 

Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.

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