When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

TOPIC: gender equality

Society

Welcome To Umeå, The Swedish City Designed By And For Women

Umeå in northern Sweden is a veritable feminist city. And the initiatives go much deeper than just policies and promises — they shape how the city is built.

UMEÅ — For years, this university town in northern Sweden has been working towards building a city truly made for women as much as men. The task is a lot more difficult than you might first imagine. In addition to ensuring safety in public spaces, the municipality also aims to correct the biases inherited from the past.

In the Umeå town hall square, the movement is symbolized by a striking sculpture. With its muscles flexed, a sharp feline glares angrily at passers-by from a pedestal set on metal rods that signify the bars of the cage from which it has just escaped. Blazing red, the sculpture by artist Camilla Akraka, which Umeå residents have dubbed "the puma" since its unveiling in 2019, was commissioned by the municipality as an allegory for the#MeToo movement.

Its title, "Listen," means that even in a country known to be very progressive and ahead of the curve on gender equality issues, there is still work to be done.

"In Umeå, we do not have an equestrian statue of a king or a general, but an angry feline who has reason to be," says smiling Linda Gustafsson, in front of the "puma", while readjusting her hat as the first flakes of the season flutter in early November.

The gender studies graduate bears a rather unique title: she is one of the two "gender equality officers" at the town hall. The position has existed since 1989 in Umeå, the country's 13th largest city with a population of just over 131,000, almost a quarter of whom are students.

So when conservatives called for the removal of the "puma" during the municipal election campaign, which was held at the same time as the parliamentary elections in September 2022, the Social Democrats made it clear that the animal would remain in its place if they were re-elected.

Watch VideoShow less

This Happened - March 7: Amanda Gorman Is Born

American poet and activist Amanda Gorman was born on this day in Los Angeles in 1998.

Keep reading...Show less

Toy Guns And Dolls, And My Pink-Loving Son

The father of a four-year-old boy thought the idea of colors and toys for boys and girls was a thing of the past. Turns out he was wrong.

“Papá, is pink for girls?” asked Lorenzo, my four-year-old son.

Lorenzo usually listens attentively to the stories we read at home. Sometimes, I think it seems like a paradox, because the rest of the time he can't sit still (literally, I'm not exaggerating). I wonder if it's that, as he listens to the stories, his body is relaxed but his head is doing somersaults.

He often interrupts his night-time stories — I suspect in the hopes of stretching the ritual out as long as possible so as not to fall asleep. “I don't want to sleep anymore, I just want to play,” he told me last Sunday, as we were walking home at night after having spent the whole day playing with his friends.

But back to pink. This time, his interruption of the reading had an edge of concern — his frown and serious tone showing a mix of sadness and distress.

Keep reading...Show less

LGBTQ+ International: Lithuanian Fairy Tales, Egypt Dating App Gangs — And Other News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

Keep reading...Show less
Society
Ignacio Pereyra

Can Men Help Breastfeed Their Children?

In a tribe in central Africa, male and female roles are practically interchangeable in caregiving to children. Even though their lifestyle might sound strange to the West, it offers important life lessons about who raises children — and how.

The southwestern regions of the Central African Republic and the northern Republic of Congo are home to the Aka, a nomadic tribe of hunter-gatherers who, from a Western point-of-view, are surprising because male and female roles are practically interchangeable.

Though women remain the primary caregivers, what is interesting is that their society has a level of flexibility virtually unknown to ours.

While the women hunt, the men care for the children; while the men cook, the women decide where to settle, and vice versa. This was observed by anthropologist Barry Hewlett, a professor at Washington State University, who lived for long periods alongside the tribe. “It is the most egalitarian human society possible,” Hewlett said in an interview.

Watch VideoShow less
Society
Ignacio Pereyra*

Diaper Diary: Why Parenting Division Of Labor Still Stinks For Moms

Why are men still avoiding tasks that women don't want to do either?

A few months ago, at the beginning of spring in Greece, I was taking a stroll with my three-year-old son at a playground in Voula, in the southern outskirts of Athens, facing the sea. Suddenly, Lorenzo ran a few meters to the beach.

Watch VideoShow less
Future
Rachel E. Gross

Injecting Feminism Into Science Is A Good Thing — For Science

Feminists have generated a set of tools to make science less biased and more robust. Why don’t more scientists use it?

-Essay-

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, a mystery played out across news headlines: Men, it seemed, were dying of infection at twice the rate of women. To explain this alarming disparity, researchers looked to innate biological differences between the sexes — for instance, protective levels of sex hormones, or distinct male-female immune responses. Some even went so far as to test the possibility of treating infected men with estrogen injections.

This focus on biological sex differences turned out to be woefully inadequate, as a group of Harvard-affiliated researchers pointed out earlier this year. By analyzing more than a year of sex-disaggregated COVID-19 data, they showed that the gender gap was more fully explained by social factors like mask-wearing and distancing behaviors (less common among men) and testing rates (higher among pregnant women and health workers, who were largely female).

Watch VideoShow less
Society
*David Nemer

Jair Bolsonaro, A Perfect Example Of Why Autocrats Hate Women

Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Jair Bolsonaro all share what seems a natural antipathy toward women — yet it is ultimately because they fear them. And with good reason: When women participate in political movements, they are more likely to succeed — which is bad news for authoritarianism.

-Analysis-

SÂO PAULO — In the first televised debate between the candidates for the Brazilian presidential elections, on August 28, the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro offered yet another demonstration of his misogyny. He was asked by journalist Vera Magalhães about the drop in vaccination coverage in the country and its connection to the misinformation about vaccines, which the president himself spread during the pandemic.

“Vera, I couldn’t expect anything else from you," he responded. "You sleep thinking about me, have some kind of passion for me. You can't take sides in a debate like this. You make lying accusations about me. You’re an embarrassment to Brazilian journalism.”

Watch VideoShow less
Society
Elaine Unterhalter

With Taliban Back In Power, Brave Afghan Girls Again Risk Everything For An Education

Certain teachers and female students face extraordinary risks in clandestine schools for girls, recalling similar secret education operations when the Taliban were in charge before 9/11.

In August 2021 the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan, and since then secondary education for girls in the country has been banned. However, there have been reports of clandestine girls’ schools operating despite the ban. Teenage girls are reportedly taking extraordinary risks to attend lessons. Their teachers bravely share knowledge, even if they do not have extensive experience or the backup of an education system.

Education for girls was also banned during the previous era of Taliban rule in Afghanistan (1996-2001). In this period, too, girls attended secret schools.

Not much was known about these schools during Taliban rule. A 1997 report noted that the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan supported 125 girls’ schools and 87 co-education primary schools and home schools. An article in the Guardian in July 2001 stated that aid agencies had estimated 45,000 children were attending secret schools.

After the defeat of the Taliban in 2001, the educational work of the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), which they carried out during Taliban rule, was much documented.

Before 9/11, there was very limited international knowledge of these secret schools for girls. But after 9/11, the misogynistic actions of the Taliban regarding women’s rights and girls’ education became a pillar of the argument for the U.S. War against Terror.

Watch VideoShow less
Vietnam

LGBTQ+ International: Good And Bad News From Singapore, Great Gatsby Makeover — And The Week’s Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

Watch VideoShow less
Society
Ignacio Pereyra*

Invisible Work: The Weight Of A Family That Men Don’t See

A father’s role is not to help the mother out, but to take on the “mental load” of knowing what needs to be done.

Last winter in Greece, I ended up spending several full days with Lorenzo, my now three-year-old son, because he had been sick and could not attend daycare. My wife is the main breadwinner in the house and I am the one who gets to leave behind work in case there are emergencies like that.

When Lorenzo got better, we went to a café in the outskirts of Athens. I envisioned a win-win situation where I could have a break — eat lunch, check emails, answer some messages — while he could play in an area designed for children — with a ball pit, tables for drawing and painting, a book corner… how important it is to have such spaces!

Watch VideoShow less
LGBTQ Plus
Laura Valentina Cortés Sierra, Lila Paulou, Emma Albright, Chloé Touchard, Bertrand Hauger and Lisa Berdet

LGBTQ+ International: Opposing "Don’t Say Gay," Amsterdam Pride — And Other Top News

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

Watch VideoShow less