#MeToo Goes Global
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
More than a year after Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace, the #MeToo movement is still reverberating around the world.
By Fiona Zublin
The #MeToo movement has fallen somewhat out of U.S. headlines, replaced with border battles, trade wars and Brexit’s stagger to the finish line. But the message that sexism isn’t okay and that speaking out can make a difference hasn’t done leaving its mark. From Kyrgyzstan to Malaysia, this OZY original series has sought out women who are working to change all kinds of industries and environments, and shine a light on communities that need #MeToo and haven’t yet seen big changes.
From stand-up comedy to the corporate sector, the #MeToo movement has made big changes in India, toppling powerful men and allowing women’s voices to be heard despite deeply ingrained misogynistic ideas governing social mores. But now the movement is struggling to implement systemic change. The next steps, say advocates, will require both men and women to speak out, educate themselves and keep fighting against sexism wherever they witness it.
Meet Swara Bhaskar, the face of #MeToo in India. At the age of 30, she’s a celebrity for both her acting and her activism, using her fame to raise the profile of sexual harassment cases and calling on the government to do more to prevent outdated social mores from dictating its behavior. While some see her as inviting not just controversy, but potential violence, Bhaskar’s not content to keep silent.
It’s exactly what it sounds like: In this former Soviet republican, young girls are routinely kidnapped and forced into marriage, and while some claim it’s an ancient tradition research contends it’s less than 70 years old. Either way, it’s illegal — but it still happens, and activist Gazbubu Babaiaorva, a documentary filmmaker, is trying to raise awareness and outrage about the practice, which on average happens every 40 minutes.
Women in the service industry are among the most vulnerable when it comes to harassment. But home care workers, who work with elderly, ill and disabled clients, find themselves in a tough situation: Women in this sector in Denmark, the UK and US report being harassed in huge numbers … but the harasser is usually their patient, who may not be in control of their own faculties, further complicating the situation.
With both public transit and traditional ride-hailing services rife with harassment in many Asian cities, women have taken matters into their own hands, with the launch of several female-only cab services and apps. But businesses like this — also launched in the U.S. and Canada — are already running up against anti-discrimination laws for insisting on female drivers.