1. South Africans bid farewell to anti-apartheid politician Winnie Madikizela-Mandela
Following 10 days of national mourning for the death of politician and anti-apartheid politician and activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, thousands of South Africans gathered in Soweto to attend her memorial service. Her state funeral will take place on Saturday.
Madikizela-Mandela passed away peacefully at the age of 81, leaving behind a legacy as powerful and controversial as her life was. Marked by a fierce devotion to the liberation of her country’s majority Black population, the “Mother of the Nation” fought relentlessly to dismantle apartheid. She lived in Soweto at the heart of the struggle, becoming the face of the movement after her late former husband and anti-apartheid revolutionary, Nelson Mandela, was imprisoned for 27 years.
Even as her activism inspired millions of South Africans, especially women, Madikizela-Mandela’s militancy and complicity in human rights violations drew strong criticism.
2. Women in Thailand speak up against sexual harassment during New Year celebrations
Happy New Year! Across Thailand, people are celebrating Songkran with epic water fights to symbolize washing away bad luck from the previous year. While people of all ages partake in the revelry, these water festivals have also become scenes of sexual harassment for women and girls. Hoping to stay ahead of the curve, a government official had advised women to dress modestly to prevent sexual harassment. (Cringe.)
Recalling her own experiences during Songkran, Thai-American model Cindy Bishop launched the reactive social media campaign #DontTellMeHowToDress to raise awareness of sexual harassment and challenge victim blaming. Since then other women have shared their own stories of sexual harassment from Songkran as well as in everyday life. Each woman and each story is unique, but the underlying message is clear: Sexual assault happens regardless of what a woman wears – because it stems from patriarchal assumptions, not a woman’s wardrobe choices.
3. Villagers in India reject female feticide and plant trees for every girl born
Families in the village of Piplantri in Rajasthan, India, are fighting female feticide 111 trees at a time. In a country where boys under age 6 outnumber girls by seven million, commonly due to aborting female fetuses, these villagers are taking an unconventional stand: every time a baby girl is born, her family would plant and cultivate 111 trees. They do this as a celebration of her life and as a rejection of male preference. Beyond its symbolic meaning, growing these trees is also helping to restore green cover that was cleared for marble mining near the village.