2021 as year of women: From Me Too movement to protests, events that exhibit female strength

Written By: Akanksha Arora | Updated: Dec 12, 2021, 04:35 PM IST

From protesting against abortion laws to demanding basic rights, here is how 2021 turned out to be a year for women. 

Women protest against abortion laws

Abortion laws have been one of the most debated topics this year. However, in a small win that came during early December, the US Supreme Court allowed the abortion providers to challenge the ban in federal court.

The controversial Texas abortion law prohibits the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy. The law came into effect on September 1 and garnered criticism from several women right's group and activists.

This is what led to mass protests. Women were seen protesting in high numbers, holding banners and chanting slogans. 

Meanwhile, earlier in November, there were heavy protests in Poland against the Abortion law. This came in after the death of a 30-year-old pregnant woman in hospital. Protestors were seen holding banners and shouting, “her heart was beating too.”


Me Too movement

From what started as a way for survivors of sexual harassment to share their stories, has now become a global movement that has sparked significant changes worldwide. Several known personalities have been coming forward to narrate their stories. 

As a part of a social media post on November 2, the very known Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai claimed that China's former vice-premier Zhang Gaoli had "forced" her into sex during a long-term on-off relationship. However, her post on Weibo was deleted within 30 minutes. 

Once the social media post went viral, many came forward in support of Shuai, including Japanese star Naomi Osaka and American professional tennis player Serena Williams. They raised concerns over the whereabouts of Shuai after she went missing. 

In another incident, the former British Prime Minister David Cameron quit software company Afiniti after a 23-year-old former employee accused the firm’s founder of sexual assault. He further claimed that he did not know about these allegations.


Women protest against Taliban

Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, the situation for women has been worsening. While this time the Taliban promised that it will not be the same as how it was 20 years back, their actions portrayed the opposite. 

Showing their bravery, women of Afghanistan took to the streets as they protested against the Taliban. Wearing colourful headscarves, the women chanted slogans, "Don't politicise education."

The women were seen holding placards as they were accompanied by children.

For some time, the authorities allowed the women to walk freely for around an hour and a half. However, they stopped the protest as soon as they felt it had started gaining momentum. The authorities were seen beating journalists and even pointing guns at women.



Spain cabinet passes bill to tighten rape law

Earlier in July, Spain's cabinet approved a draft bill laying down strict rules against rape under fake consent. As per the new law, only a direct 'yes' can be justified as consent for sexual intercourse.

The government states that a 'no' will not be counted as 'justifications' in rape cases.

The new law defines rape as a forced sexual activity performed without the consent of the victim. 

This bill was introduced after an 18-year-old woman was gang-raped by five men at a bull-running festival. 


Right to education

A Finnish teacher recently opened up about teaching children of people linked to the Islamic State (IS) through WhatsApp amid the ongoing pandemic. While speaking to BBC, she said, "Whoever the children are, they have a right to education."

Illona Taimela started teaching a few children from al-Hol camp. The children who have been stuck in these tents for years saw a ray of hope through the woman's teachings.


Demanding basic rights

Demanding basic rights, hundreds of women in Pakistan's Gwadar district took to the streets as part of the Gwadar Ko Huqooq Do Tehreek (Movement for Gwadar's rights). Various images and videos that went viral on social media showed women holding placards that read - "Gwadar ko haq do". 

The demonstrators, included female students, political workers and several working women.