This Week In Women: The Most Diverse Congress In History
Congress is back in session and we have been living for all of the pictures of the newly elected women on Capitol Hill. This week we are covering the new political scene, Lifetime’s shocking new documentary, and the protests that are rocking Kerala, India. It’s time for This Week in Women!
116th Congress is Now in Session
While the effects of the historic midterm elections have been shifting power dynamics since November, the swearing in of the many newly elected and re-elected representatives and senators happened on Thursday, January 3.
The most diverse Congress in history convened with 23.47 percent women elected to the US House (89 Democrats, 13 Republicans) and 25 percent women elected to the US Senate (17 Democrats, 8 Republicans), this session is already seeing more parity and more collaborative representation for women’s and younger generations’ interests. Over winter break we received regular updates of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) calling out the status quo, including offering paid positions for her interns ($15 per hour).
On the first day, the US House passed a bill to reopen the government (without funding for the border wall) and a House rules package that included highlights, such as addressing sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, as well as permitting House members to wear religious head coverings. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-California) also reclaimed the gavel and was voted as the House Majority leader on the first day of the 116th Congress. “We enter this new Congress with a sense of great hope and confidence for the future and deep humility,” Pelosi said after the vote, suggesting top priorities around addressing gun violence, LGBTQ discrimination, and climate change. “Two months ago, the American people spoke and demanded a new dawn.”
Surviving R. Kelly Documentary Premieres on Lifetime
This week the Lifetime Movies channel debuted a much-anticipated, three-part documentary about R. Kelly and the “true story” of his past that is riddled with allegations, rumors and stories of abuse, pedophilia, and more. The documentary includes over 50 interviews with family members, former partners, musicians, and other celebrities.
“This program falls under Lifetime’s commitment to provide a platform to give women a voice where they have previously been unheard to bring awareness to the abuses and harassment of women,” said Lifetime in an official statement.
The documentary is part of Lifetime’s “Stop Violence Against Women” campaign, which brings together “leading advocacy organizations, women directly affected by violence and political leaders to place a national spotlight on ending the vast problems of domestic violence, harassment and sexual assault.”
#SurvivingRKelly has catapulted conversations on Twitter:
I only sat with the survivors for a few hours (and then lived with their footage for months in post), I and I'm sure most of the women in #SurvivingRKelly want to thank Co-EP @thetamrasimmons for believing in & holding their stories before there was a show.
— dream hampton (@dreamhampton) January 4, 2019
“Women’s Wall” Protest in Indian State of Kerala
Women are taking a stand in the Indian State of Kerala as a centuries old ban was lifted, so that women could enter the temple. Five million women created a 620 km chain across the Southern state of Kerala, after the first two women entered the temple since the lifting of the ban in September.
The state of Kerala is ruled by the Communist party, while India is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). BJP has maintained that women of menstruating age (10 to 50 years old) are banned from entering the temple. In late September the Indian Supreme Court issued a landmark decision to uphold Kerala’s decision to lift the ban for the Sabarimala temple, which has ignited protests on both sides of the issue.
Featured image via Medium
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.