What’s Current: Google employees walk out in protest over response to sexual harassment

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news roundup.

  • Thousands of Google employees around the world staged a walkout to protest the company’s handling of executives accused of sexual misconduct.
  • The Medical Council of Canada is reviewing its practices after being criticized for forcing women to hand over tampons and menstrual pads before taking exams.
  • Human Rights Watch reports that North Korean women are routinely subjected to sexual violence by male officials:

“I was a victim many times … On the days they felt like it, market guards or police officials could ask me to follow them to an empty room outside the market, or some other place they’d pick. What can we do? They consider us [sex] toys … We [women] are at the mercy of men. Now, women cannot survive without having men with power near them.”

  • Studies show that public restrooms around the world endanger women. One in three women do not have access to a toilet at home, and have to rely on public or community toilets, which sometimes lack locks, robust doors, or facilities to dispose of sanitary products. Traveling to these facilities can also put women at risk of being raped.
  • Women’s rights activist Meaza Ashenafi is named to head Ethiopia’s Supreme Court. Ashenafi is known for trying a court case that resulted in outlawing the tradition of kidnapping girls to be forced into marriage. 
Meghan McCarty

Meghan McCarty is an undergraduate student and aspiring journalist living in the United States.

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  • FierceMild

    I think you’ve put your finger on the pulse of this story.

  • unfashionable

    Here’s a bit more information:

    https://www.voanews.com/a/ethiopian-film-abduction-of-young-girls-for-marriage/3028490.html

    It seems the girl actually was charged in perp’s murder, and her trial lasted 2 years; she was acquitted, first time in Ethiopian history. Her women’s-rights lawyer took the case without pay.

    Reportedly, she was in school, and her parents were not seeking a marriage for her, so perhaps they provided some emotional support, although they were very poor and had no knowledge of lawyers. During the televised trial, all of Ethiopia was talking about the trial and its issues — sounds like this was the first time a public discussion in Ethiopia had centered on the tradition of kidnap/forced marriage for children. And the sensational topic and the televised trial — with a sympathetic face and a feminist lawyer to provide a new script for an old horror — may have created the perfect storm for changing the law.

    I still have questions: How did the kidnapper-rapist’s friends not kill her on the spot? How did no harm come to her while in the custody of the disapproving local police? But overall, I’m starting to understand the mechanism here; and it cheers me that one brave girl and one feminist lawyer achieved a riveting televised trial, and that the public was ready to watch and discuss and call for change.

  • Nadja Penaluna

    Regarding the Google walkout: Notice that the employee demands do not include any criticism towards the aggressive censorship campaign implemented domestically, and overseas (Project Dragonfly, China), or the human rights issues raised by the weaponization of AI for drone strikes (Project Maven)? There won’t be any radical change unless the anti-democratic and the increasingly authoritarian policies advanced by Google are addressed, which includes a company culture that condones sexual harassment. These issues are all connected and effect all of us. Down with Google’s censorship! Down with war!