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The Action Thread Part Two

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India Rules Sex With a Child Bride Is Always Rape in a Massive Win for Girls’ Rights

It’s a landmark change to India’s marital rape laws.

India’s top court has ruled that sex with a child is always rape, quashing a clause that allowed men to have sex with underage girls if they were married to them. 

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision on Wednesday closed a legal loophole that has historically allowed perpetrators of rape to escape punishment.

While the age of consent in India is 18, there was a clause in India’s rape laws that lowered the age of consent to 15 if the girl was married. 

But the court has now ruled that the clause is “discriminatory, capricious, and arbitrary”, and “violates the bodily integrity of the girl child”. 

Take action: No Girl Should Be Forced to Marry. Tell Bangladesh to Close the Loophole on Child Marriage

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“This is a landmark judgement that corrects a historical wrong against girls,” Vikram Srivastava, the founder of campaign group Independent Thought, told the BBC. “How could marriage be used as a criteria to discriminate against girls?”

Girls under 18 will now be able to report their husbands for rape, as long as they lodge a complaint within a year of it happening. 

“The judgement is a step forward in protecting girls from abuse and exploitation, irrespective of their marital status,” Divya Srinivasan, from women’s rights organisation Equality Now, told Global Citizen. 

“This positive decision by the Supreme Court will hopefully encourage the Indian government to protect all women by removing the marital rape exemption in all cases,” she said. 

Read more: Men Will Suffer If Marital Is Outlawed, India Government Argues

Commentators say the ruling will be difficult to enforce in the country, however, due to the high rates of child marriage. 

India is ranked 10th in the world for child marriage, with an estimated 47% of girls married by the time they turn 18, according to the campaigning organisation Girls Not Brides

Girls are often seen as an economic burden, particularly in poor, rural areas, and many parents marry off their children in the hope of improving their financial security. 

There is also a shame associated with pre-marital sex that can lead to girls’ parents forcing them to marry their rapists, according to news agency AFP

Read more: Palestinian Girl, 14, Escapes Child Marriage After Being Sold to Man 20 Years Her Elder

Child marriage is a serious barrier for the girls involved, often leading to them dropping out of school to focus on their domestic responsibilities, or suffering health problems from giving birth at a young age.


(Caption: A young actress plays the role of Giorgia, 10, forced to marry Paolo, 47, during a happening organised by Amnesty International to denounce child marriage, on October 27, 2016 in Rome.)

India’s rape laws have, prior to this ruling, specifically excluded married couples. Men can currently still have non-consensual sex with their wives without it being classed as rape. 

While Wednesday’s ruling represents progress, there are still steps to be taken in criminalising marital rape.

Read more: 6 Unbelievable Things That Girls Have Been Traded for in Child Marriage Cases

A challenge to the laws on marital rape is currently going through the Indian courts, reported AFP, but the government has said it opposes criminalising marital rape as it would damage the institution of marriage. 

The government has said that criminalising marital rape could “destabilise” marriages and could be used by wives as “an easy tool for harassing the husbands”.

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the Global Goals, including Goal No.5 for gender equality. You can join us by taking action here


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Three men who want to live together will get their wish - but they have one more request

“The reaction last time was incredible"

Heather PickstockNorth Somerset reporter
  • 15:05, 13 NOV 2019
  • UPDATED15:58, 13 NOV 2019
0_James.pngLeft to right: James, Callum and Joe
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Three young men whose quest to find a home went viral will be moving in together for Christmas.

James Mutter, Callum McLellan and Joe Walker, who have Down’s Syndrome, put an appeal on social media in the summer looking for a new home to share.

The post, which appeared on the community news website Nailsea People, went viral with people sharing it in a bid to help the trio, who met on a hospitality course.

Now the mates have managed to secure a property in Nailsea and are looking forward to moving in together by Christmas.


The friends wanted to move on after studying for the last three years at the Foxes Academy in Somerset.

The trio were studying hospitality and will be looking to gain new jobs in the field once they are settled into their new home.


Older brother Sam who helped the trio find their new home told Nailsea People: “I'm pleased to announce that the lovely people of Nailsea came through, and they've now got a home.

“It was all down to the huge amount of attention they gained from social media.

Joe Walker

“The landlord is prepping it now for them and they'll be moving in soon.

“They're now looking for social workers to come and help them out, something that I'm sure shouldn't be too hard considering they got a house.

“The reaction last time was incredible.

"It just goes to show the power of social media."

There were also lots of offers of help in response to the original appeal including job opportunities.

Coates House boss Alastair MacLeod said this week: "We’re delighted to hear that James, Callum and Joe have managed to find a house locally.

James Mutter

'We are looking forward to moving in'

"We look forward to meeting them to discuss their experience and to explore how we might be able to help one another out."

Sam helped the young men prepare a thank you message.

It says: "Thanks to your kindness, we were able to find a home in Nailsea, and are looking forward to moving in.

“We are now looking for support workers to help us be as independent as possible in our new home and support us in our quest for employment.

Callum McLellan

“We are very sociable and have many similar interests such as going to the cinema, watching and playing sports, music, drama and going to the gym.

"We also like to party together."

 If you think you may be interested in this fun and rewarding role please contact the Brandon Trust at natalie.blake@brandontrust.org.


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5 things you can do to make the world a better place in 2019

19 December 2018 6:57PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO


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To say there’s a lot going on in the world right now might be an understatement. That’s why we’re vowing to be bigger, better and bolder in our fight to make the world a better place in 2019. But, creating big change requires a group effort and we’ll need you to get involved!

Here are 5 things you can do to make sure we start tipping the scales:

Find a cause.

Start the new year off on the right foot by supporting the cause (or causes!) you believe in. Not sure where to start? Here are a few of our favourite organisations that fight for causes we can get behind: The Nadia Initiative, Love Our Girls, New Faces New Voices, Restless Development, the African Women’s Development Fund, and Global Fund for Women.

Learn something new.

Educating yourself is one of the first steps you can take to make the world a better place. Set aside time in the new year to learn about the issues that get you fired up and seek out a better understanding of how your involvement can help push a movement forward.

Start conversations.

Put your newly acquired knowledge to the test by engaging in conversations about the issues at hand with everyone (think grandparents, best friends, classmates, workout buddies, etc.) you know. Speaking to others is one of the best ways to gain insight into how other people feel and can give you the power to understand what barriers lay in the way of solving the issue and where opportunities exist to leverage change. Plus, it’s a great way to spread information to people who may not otherwise have been reached!


Participation in change making is all about giving one thing: time. Here are a few ways you can get involved: sign a petition, volunteer, show up to the march, write a letter to the editor or follow your favourite organisations on social media.

Get out of your comfort zone.

Here’s the truth: fighting to make the world a better place isn’t always the most comfortable task. But if there was ever a time when the world needed its citizens to challenge themselves and fight for what’s right, it’s now. We have some big issues to tackle and your actions and voice are important to creating change and holding our leaders accountable. The good news is determining how far out of your comfort zone you go is up to you.

Fired up? Become a ONE Member to get in on our world-changing actions in 2019.

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Meet ‘the Hijab DJ’ breaking gender stereotypes in Tanzania

7 November 2019 9:25PM UTC | By: SAM VOX


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Zanzibar’s teenage girls are often expected to assist with cooking and housekeeping. But 15-year-old Aisha Bakary had a different idea of how to spend her time. As the oldest of nine siblings, she would find spare moments to turn up the volume on the TV or the radio, listening to lounge, house, afro and traditional taarab music.

Nearly 10 years later, 24-year-old Aisha has made music her career. “There are no women DJs here in Zanzibar, so I thought I could do something different and surprise the world,” she says. Her unusual career path caught the eye of Women Future, who named Aisha Woman of the Year for 2019.

As Zanzibar’s only female DJ, she hopes to inspire other young women to pursue their dreams.


“As a woman in Zanzibar, you are born, you study, you marry, you give birth and you die. I want to break that cycle. We are known for our amazing cultural roots and female artists like Bi Kidude and Siti Binti Saad. Zanzibar is for ladies,” she says.

After she finished a course in computer science at Zanzibar University in 2017, Aisha worked as a presenter at the local radio station and as master of ceremonies at weddings. She intended to pursue journalism — until one of her friends introduced her to DJing. Zanzibar’s local label, Stone Town Records, offered training in mixing songs, and Aisha soon learned to control the Dj mixer.



Aisha doesn’t resemble the common image of a club DJ. She wears a hijab and an abaya, a traditional loose dress, as she carries around a DJ mixer to assignments at weddings, events and small festivals in her native Zanzibar and the Tanzanian mainland. Through music, she hopes to change conditions for women in Zanzibar.

In the Muslim majority archipelago of Zanzibar, women have traditionally remained at home, while men have been the income earners of the family. These roles are slowly changing, as women gain financial independence as seaweed farmers or learn how to sew and start their own businesses.



But a career in music is still off the charts. Often considered forbidden in Islam, instrumental music can be a divisive issue in Zanzibar, especially for a woman. Aisha knows this all too well.

“On my Instagram and Facebook profiles, there are people who comment that I shouldn’t do this immoral work. It is because they haven’t heard of a female DJ before. But they will come to know,” she says with a determined smile.

Aisha insists on being both truly Zanzibari, a good Muslim and a successful DJ with international aspirations. When she recently played at a concert venue in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam, she was named “The Hijab DJ” on flyers. On stage she wore a matching red abaya and hijab while mixing a flow of dancehall, reggae and afrobeat to a swaying crowd.

“Muslim women can work with music or be fashion icons, because Islam is a matter of believing, not about clothes or jobs,” she says.



Although DJing is known to be a male-dominated field, a few African women have broken through the glass ceiling. Among these are the Ugandan DJ Rachael, who has founded the collective Femme Electronic to increase women’s presence on the electronic music scene in East Africa. Aisha hopes to do something similar in Zanzibar. She has already initiated an informal training in Zanzibar’s Stone Town for girls and young women to learn DJ skills.

“We need a new generation of female DJs. My mission is to motivate women to be what they want to be,” she says.

Aisha-Picture3.jpgWhile Aisha’s image as the Hijab DJ spreads among Zanzibar’s youth on social media, her career choice isn’t well supported in her family. “My mum is quite religious, and she would say that it is bad to go to places with music and alcohol, which are both not allowed in Islam,” she explains.

While Aisha’s mother makes a living off selling rice, beans and soft drinks from a small eatery on the outskirts of town, Aisha hopes to provide for her through DJing.

“One day I will buy her a house and it will be from DJing,” she says.




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NOV. 15, 2019



How Canada Is Funding Women’s Health Around the World

In 2018, Canada contributed $128 million to the UN family planning fund to empower women and girls.

Why Global Citizens Should Care
Although Canada contributed over US$128 million to empower women and girls through the United Nations Population Fund in 2018, the country still falls short on foreign aid compared to other countries with a comparable Gross National Income (GNI). Canada currently commits 0.28% of its GNI to foreign aid, when the UN target is 0.7%. An increase in aid would help achieve the SDGs by 2030. You can join us in taking action on this issue and more here

The Canadian government reiterated their commitment to funding women’s global health at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) this week in Kenya.

Delegates from over 160 countries gathered to discuss women’s sexual and reproductive health at ICPD25, a summit organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), taking place from Nov. 12 to 14 at the Kenya International Conference Center in Nairobi.

The event marked the 25th anniversary of the ICPD first held in Cairo, Egypt, where governments adopted an action plan for women’s empowerment and sexual and reproductive health for all.

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“We still have a long road ahead of us in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, and we know the SDGs will only be attained if we fully realize the goals of ICPD’s [action plan] along the way,” Lisa Stadelbauer, Canada’s high commissioner to Kenya, told Global Citizen.

Although Canada is considered a core donor of UNFPA as it is one of the top 20 donor countries, in 2018, its contributions fell behind Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark, Japan, Germany, Finland, and Switzerland.

In 2018, Canada contributed over US$128 million, in both core funding and co-financing contributions. A UNFPA spokesperson said this amount is distributed amongst the agency’s various funds: the Maternal and Newborn Health Thematic Fund, the Humanitarian Action Thematic Fund, and UNFPA Supplies.


🇨🇦 is at the #NairobiSummit on #ICPD25 because we’re committed to ensuring that gender equality and sexual and reproductive health rights are not a privilege for the few.

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UNFPA Supplies is a thematic program dedicated to expanding access to family planning in 46 of the poorest countries around the world, which have high rates of maternal mortality.

To date, Canada has supported UNFPA Supplies with an investment of US$15.3 million, according to a spokesperson for the agency. This investment is estimated to have averted 1.3 million unintended pregnancies, 400,000 unsafe abortions, and 24,000 mother and child deaths.

Canada is also on the steering committee of UNFPA Supplies.

Related StoriesNov. 15, 2019World Leaders Recommit to Transform the World for Girls and Women by 2030 at Nairobi Summit

“When we sit with Canada to plan, they ask us to pay attention to the countries with the greatest needs, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mali — and they give us [UNFPA Supplies] additional resources for those countries,” Dr. Gifty Addico, chief of commodity security branch in UNFPA’s technical division, told Global Citizen.

She shared that in recent years, while “other countries fell back on their support, Canada stepped forward and said it would make a significant contribution.”

Canada’s involvement in UNFPA Supplies has been essential to the fund’s rights-based approach, according to Addico.

Related StoriesJune 19, 2017CHIME FOR CHANGEWhat Canada's Female-First Foreign Aid Policy Really Means for Women

“It’s not just about increasing numbers, but empowering women and upholding their rights and upholding their choices. This [reminder from Canada is] what we value about Canada’s contribution to this program,” she said.

Canada adopted a Feminist International Assistance policy in 2017, placing gender equality at the centre of the country’s foreign aid priorities. It committed funds to combat gender-based violence, to respond to sexual violence in conflict zones, and to increase access to health care services such as family planning, contraception, and safe and legal abortion.

In June, the government announced a 10-year commitment to reach an average of CAD$1.4 billion in annual investments by 2023 to support the health of women, adolescents, and children around the world.

Addico said Canada’s multi-year commitment has helped UNFPA Supplies stretch the money further.

Related StoriesApril 27, 2018Enough Pandas: Video Asks Justin Trudeau to Share His Plan for His ‘Feminist’ Agenda

“When we have visibility of funding we can reduce processes and negotiate [better costs on supplies] with governments, so it helps our supply chain be more efficient,” she explained.

Although the government’s feminist foreign aid announcement made headlines, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who identifies as a feminist — is widely considered to be globally conscious, Canada falls short on foreign aid.

The United Nations’ target for foreign aid from developed countries is 0.7% of a country’s Gross National Income (GNI). Canada currently sits at 0.28% — and the country's foreign aid spending has been wavering in recent years. Canada’s foreign aid contribution peaked in 1987, when the country dedicated 0.5% of its GNI to aid, nearly double the current rate. 

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Ikea to Use Mushroom Packaging That Will Decompose in a Garden Within Weeks

And it's not the only big company turning to this fungi packaging.

The furniture retailer is looking at using biodegradable mycelium “fungi packaging” as part of its efforts to reduce waste and increase recycling. 

It’s no secret polystyrene is devastating to the environment. But, do you know how exactly that is so? According to a fact-sheet provided by Harvard, polystyrene – which is made from petroleum, a non-sustainable, non-renewable, heavily polluting and fast-disappearing commodity – is not biodegradable, as it takes thousands of years to break down. In addition, it is detrimental to wildlife that ingests it.

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Despite this well-known data, humans continue to toss more than 14 million tons of the stuff into landfills every year, according to the French ministry of ecology.

Sadly, until every individual decides to “be the change” and live consciously, styrofoam pollution will continue to be a problem. In fact, it’s already estimated that by 2050, 99% of birds on this planet will have plastic in their guts.

This is unacceptable. Thankfully, the Swedish company Ikea clearly agrees.

Aware of the environmental devastation polystyrene creates, the furniture retailer is looking to use the biodegradable mycelium “fungi packaging” as part of its efforts to reduce waste and increase recycling. 

Ecovative-B1.pngImage: Ecovative

Mycelium is the part of a fungus that effectively acts as its roots, reports National Post. It grows in a mass of branched fibers, attaching itself to the soil or whatever surface it is growing on.

The American company Ecovative is responsible for developing the alternative styrofoam. "Mushroom Packaging," as it’s called, is created by letting the mycelium grow around clean agricultural waste, such as corn stalks or husks. Over a few days, the fungus fibers bind the waste together, forming a solid shape. It is then dried to prevent it from growing any further.

Ecovative-B2.pngImage: Ecovative

The ingenious, eco-friendly packaging is truly a revolutionary invention, and it is one Ikea is intent on utilizing.

Joanna Yarrow, head of sustainability for Ikea in the U.K., relayed to the press that Ikea is looking to introduce the mycelium packaging because a lot of productsthat traditionally come in polystyrene cannot be recycled with ease or at all.

Mushroom Packaging, on the other hand, can be disposed of simply by throwing it in the garden where it will biodegrade within weeks.

The mushroom-based packaging was invented in 2006 and is manufactured in Troy, New York. Already, Ecovative is selling its product to large companies, including Dell – which uses the packaging to cushion large computer servers. In addition, it is working with a number of companies in Britain. 

Ecovative-B3.jpgImage: Ecovative


“The great thing about mycelium is you can grow it into a mould that then fits exactly. You can create bespoke packaging,” said Yarrow.


Ecovative-B4.jpgImage: Ecovative

In the past, Ikea launched a vegetarian substitute for meatballs as a more eco-friendly alternative to the Swedish dish served in its cafes. The incentive to do so wasn’t purely to please more consumers but to reduce carbon emissions caused by supporting animal agriculture.

This article was first published on True Activist by author Amanda Froelich.

Check out Ecovative's mushroom packaging process:


The views expressed here are not necessarily those of each of the partners of Global Citizen.

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FEB. 28, 2018



Doctors Finally Acknowledge Period Pain Is as Painful as a 'Heart Attack’

It’s what women have been saying all along.

An article in which a male doctor called period pain “almost as bad as having a heart attack” is going viral on social media and raising an important question from women around the world:

Why didn’t you listen to us before?

Take Action: #ItsBloodyTime to End the Taboo Around Menstruation


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In the original article, published by Quartz two years ago, University College London reproductive health professor John Guillebaud said cramping pain is as “almost as bad as having a heart attack.

When the article resurfaced on social media, women responded with a mixture of anger that it took a man’s statement to legitimize their concerns and relief that their symptoms might be taken more seriously.   

The article also prompted a column in Marie Claire, which acknowledged the doctor for accurately depicting dysmenorrhea — the clinical term for menstrual cramps — but decried the need for a man to validate and confirm women’s experiences.

“Although we know that [period pain] can feel like you're being repeatedly punched in the stomach from the inside out, explaining this to other people (read: generally men) can feel like a lost cause,” wrote columnist George Driver. “Ignoring women's pain has been a concerning medical practice for, well, forever, with research showing that doctors generally take it less seriously than men's.”

Around the world, at least 20% of women and girls experience dysmenorrhea painful enough to disrupt their daily life and as many as 176 million women experience endometriosis, a painful affliction where tissue typically found in the uterus grows on other female reproductive organs and peels.

But, the Independent reports, there has been little research related to period pain, which means doctors often ignore or discount women’s complaints.

Global Citizen campaigns on ending gender discrimination and ensuring that every girl and woman’s voice is heard. You can take action here.

Read More: 12 Pads Per Month? Arizona Legislature Will Vote on Restrictive Menstruation Rules


patients were the ones who likened their menstrual cramps to a heart attack but also shitty that a woman's word isnt truly enough nje nje when describing the kind of pain she is in when experiencing cramps https://twitter.com/marieclaire/status/968488463350796289 


Women on social media have compared their period pain to childbirth or like a “blender is slowly ripping my insides to pieces.”


Doctors Have Finally Ruled Menstrual Cramps Are as Painful as Heart Attacks http://mrie.cl/wj36CBk 

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When I was in labor with my first child, I didn't know I was in labor because the pain wasn't as bad as my monthly cramps!!


Read More: Stock Images of Women in Pain Are Making Period Shame Worse, Study Suggests

But it seems that, finally, men are starting to listen.


It's about time that the people who don't get period cramps realise we are not just being dramatic. We get on with it and continue our day to day lives. Imagine the amount of pain of a heart attack for 1 full week of every month, just to tell someone they aren't pregnant? https://twitter.com/marieclaire/status/968488463350796289 

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