In a staged marriage in New York's Times Square, YouTube celebrity Coby Persin offered a social experiment designed to draw attention to the 33,000 girls around the world who are forced to marry every day.
Child marriage in the U.S. Between 2004 and 2013, around 4,500 children under the age of 18 got married in Virginia; more than 200 of them were aged 15 or under. A law this year sets the minimum age at 18. Activists have been attempting to curb forced marriage, human trafficking and statutory rape disguised as marriage, indicating that previous abusers could evade investigation by convincing parents to let them marry their victims. Similar bills have been introduced in California, Maryland, New Jersey and New York. UNICEF indicates more than 700 million women worldwide were married as children.
Source: Washington Post
Compiled by Mikki Morrissette
Buddhist nuns bike for change Buddhist nuns from India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet completed a 2,485-mile bicycle trek to raise awareness about human trafficking. "We wanted to do something to change this attitude that girls are less than boys and that it's okay to sell them," said one, adding that the bicycle trek shows "women have power and strength like men."
They are part of the Drukpa Order, which also delivers food to the poor, helps villagers get medical care, and is dubbed the "Kung Fu nuns" because of their training in martial arts. Over the last 12 years, the number of Drukpa nuns has grown from 30 to 500, largely due to the progressive attitudes of the head of the order, 53-year-old Gyalwang Drukpa, who was inspired by his mother to become an advocate for gender equality.
Experts say post-disaster trafficking has become common in South Asia as an increase in extreme weather events caused by global warming and earthquakes leave the poor more vulnerable.
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation, Business Insider
Street books and conversation The Free Black Women's Library, founded by Olaronke Akinmowo in Brooklyn, is a mobile library of 450 books all written by black women. As a child, she found refuge in the public library from a violent home life. Since then, she's wanted to do something that uses books to engage community in a way that is not "overly academic or cerebral."
She arranges library pop-ups thematically, as conversation starters. At one, a topic developed about whether it is possible to experience healthy love in a society that is patriarchal, racist, and violent. "That conversation was so deep, and so intense, and lasted for hours," she said. "And these are just strangers coming together to share some of their most intimate thoughts and feelings with one another, and then, they go home."
Driving Miss Norma A 91-year-old woman who skipped cancer treatment to take a cross-country road trip died recently after her year-long adventure. Rather than undergo painful treatments, Norma Jean Bauerschmidt toured the United States in a motor home captained by her son and daughter-in-law. "I'm 90 years old," Bauerschmidt said. "I'm not interested in going through that. I'm hitting the road." She took a hot air balloon ride, went whale watching and enjoyed a view of the Grand Canyon.
Striking out in Poland An estimated 6 million women throughout Poland protested government plans for a ban on abortion. The country's abortion laws are already among Europe's strictest - women are allowed to have an abortion only if the pregnancy is due to incest or rape, or if the life of the woman or fetus is under threat. Under the proposal, there would be fewer exceptions and women and doctors could face five years in jail.
A few days later Poland's Parliament voted down the bill 352 to 58.
Source: NPR, VOX