This week, Miss Peru contestants made good use of their time on stage by sharing gender violence metrics in a move of social protest.

World

11.3.2017

This Week in Women: Miss Peru Gets Political

This week comes with some real truths for governments who seek to hold back women and the LGBTQA community, with an extra side of Michelle Obama-wisdom fresh from the Obama Foundation Summit. Let’s dive in with This Week in Women! 

District Court Blocks Provisions of Trump’s Transgender Service Member Ban

Trump’s controversial directive that would prevent transgender individuals from serving in the United States armed forces has been partially blocked by a US District Court for the District of Columbia. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled on Monday that the plaintiffs “have established that they will be injured by these directives, due both to the inherent inequality they impose, and the risk of discharge and denial of accession that they engender.”

In a 76-page opinion, Kollar-Kotelly knocked the lack of supporting facts for reinstating the transgender ban, and included screenshots of Trump’s tweets. “The Court finds that a number of factors—including the sheer breadth of the exclusion ordered by the directives, the unusual circumstances surrounding the President’s announcement of them, the fact that the reasons given for them do not appear to be supported by any facts, and the recent rejection of those reasons by the military itself—strongly suggest that Plaintiffs’ Fifth Amendment claim is meritorious,” wrote Kollar-Kotelly.

“If this ban were allowed to stand, that precedent would be used against transgender people in every context you can imagine, from family law, to immigration, to employment law. So the stakes here are really high,” said Shannon Minter, who is Legal Director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights and one of the lead attorneys for the plaintiffs, in an interview with them. “The threat to our community is about as extreme as it gets. So yes, as a transgender person, and also just as someone who cares about human rights and human dignity, I am so relieved and grateful to this court for recognizing what’s going on here, for recognizing this for what it is, which is an irrational attack on a vulnerable group of people.”

Miss Peru Contestants Share Gender Violence Stats (Instead of Measurements) 

The 23 contestants in this year’s Miss Peru contestant used the stage as a social protest. Beginning with “My measurements are…,” each contestant shared a fact about violence against women, such as “2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years,” “25 percent of girls and teenagers are abused in their schools,” and so on.

The Thomas Reuters Foundation ranked the Peruvian capital, Lima, as fifth riskiest “megacity” in the world for women—citing polling results that showed Lima to rank the worst for access to reproductive healthcare, as well as a lack of economic opportunities and education for women, harmful cultural practices (including forced marriages and genital mutilation), and an increased risk of sexual violence.

“We definitely had wanted a different Miss Peru,” Luciana Olivares of Frecuencia Latina (the TV network that aired the competition) said in an interview with NPR. “But it was only during the last weeks where it became obvious that we needed a cry against violence on women.”

Twitter users responded with the hashtag #MisMedidasSon, in support of the pageant’s message.

Michelle Obama’s Headliner Remarks at The Obama Foundation Summit

Time and again, former First Lady Michelle Obama has been an exceptional source of accessible wisdom (who can forget, “When they go low, we go high”?!), and this week she joined her friend, poet Elizabeth Alexander, on stage at the 2017 Obama Foundation Summit to talk about what inspires her, as well as pursuing a life of public service. She also had some powerful words on pushing girls for perfection, and perhaps, letting boys off easy.

“The problem in the world today is that we love our boys and we raise our girls. We raise them strong and sometimes we take care not to hurt men. And I think we pay for that a little bit and that’s a we thing because we are raising them, and it’s powerful to have strong men but what does that strength mean? Does it mean respect? Does it mean responsibility? Does it mean compassion? Or are we protecting our men too much, so they feel a little entitled? And a little, you know, a little self-righteous sometimes, but that’s kind of on us, too as women and mothers as we nurture men and push girls to be perfect.”

Michelle’s speech resonated with many as it also called upon men to “get some friends” that would help them deal with “messy” issues and help straighten each other out, much like she relied upon her girlfriends when she was dealing with the pressures of the White House.

Featured image via NPR

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

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