In South Korea polls, top presidential candidates are rallying for the anti-feminism vote, and other stories
#WomenLead (Issue 87): Your weekly round-up on women in politics
Hello, and welcome to Issue 87.
What a terrifying and grim week this has been. All our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine as they defend themselves against the brute violence unleashed on them by Russia. And we really hope that the international community can step up and help bring this war to an end at the earliest.
In this week’s edition we bring you updates from Israel, UK and USA. And the spotlight is on South Korea where soon-to-be-held Presidential polls have unleashed a rather ugly politics against women’s rights. In case you missed last week’s edition, you can read it here.
🛑 DANGEROUS LIES: In the UK, opposition MP Zarah Sultana is facing the impact of Russia’s attack on Ukraine in a different and disturbing way. She has received death threats filled with racist abuse calling her Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “whore”. Sultana was one of eleven MPs who had been critical of NATO’s expansion. BBC carried a report which misrepresented her stance alleging that she had suggested that NATO was responsible for the crisis in Ukraine (BBC apologized later). Some other leaders and some anonymous sources (inaccurately) furthered this narrative, calling her an “agitator for Putin’s Russia” and a “mouthpiece for the Kremlin”.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Sultana wrote about the death threats in the context of the assassination of two UK MPs in recent years, and said she was “acutely aware” of risks to her safety as a young Muslim woman.
🤢 MINDLESS INSULTS: In the USA, Jim Lyons of the Republican Party tweeted two pictures comparing the mayor of Ukrainian capital Kyiv with Michelle Wu, the current mayor of Boston. (Yes, we know what you are thinking, “But why?!”).
Lyons apparently thought that it would be a good time to insult Wu. Wu’s picture is of her wearing a mask and at a food table, while Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko is shown in military attire holding a weapon. We still don’t know what he was thinking but Wu was spot on in reminding him in a reference to Donald Trump, “Jim, your pal was impeached for withholding military aid to Ukraine. We’re with you, Mayor Klitschko!”