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The Maastricht Diplomat

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A Women's week

This Sunday Summary is brought to you by a university student currently drowned in midterms. Yet, amid this week’s academic challenges, some international intricacies and political protests managed to seep through my study isolation – supposedly those of significant magnitude. So here come the international affairs of this sunny first week of March that even a busy university student can’t afford to miss.


France has guaranteed the right to abortion in the constitution. On Monday, the amendment passed with overwhelming majority in the Palace of Versailles, sparking huge waves of celebration and support all over the country. Even the Eiffel Tower glittered on-theme that night, showing the words “mon corps mon choix” – my body my choice. France is the first-ever country to enshrine the right to abortion in a national constitution, a very avant-garde move in women’s rights. And even though many speculate that President Macron was mainly politicking, fishing for bonus points for the next election, the country just set a powerful example in the hopes that others will follow suit.


Across the Atlantic in the United States, however, things are looking very different. There, the right to abortion was removed by the Supreme Court in 2022. And with recent developments in the electoral race, it seems women’s right to their bodies might go further down the drain. Candidate Nikki Hailey dropped out of the presidential contest on Wednesday, thereby ceding her Republican nomination to former president Donald Trump. At the ballot, Trump will face his 2020 vanquisher Joe Biden, but this time (and despite facing 91 criminal charges), the Republican lies slightly ahead of his opponent in current polls. And although Trump has so far refrained from any public statement on the heated topic of abortion, it is rumored that he supports the 16-week ban. Biden, on the other hand, during his State of the Union address on Friday, pledged to restore nationwide abortion rights in case of re-election.


Right on-theme, this school week ended with the International Women’s Day on Friday, the 8th of March. The feminist fight day originates from women’s labor movements at the turn of the twentieth century. It is a celebration of the FLINTA people and honors the historical struggle for gender equality while continuing the fight, with a long history of powerful strikes and marches. Accordingly, feminists all over the world have united to protest ongoing gender inequalities and oppression. In Maastricht, too, a crowd assembled at the Vrijthof and made its way through the city, protesting gender-specific violence in Gaza.


And so, this Women’s Week comes to an end. But before I return to my midterms (and make use of my access to education which my predecessors have fought for), it remains important to remember that the struggle continues beyond a week like this. Every day can be a feminist fight day, and every week a women’s week!


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