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The official appointment of Wonder Woman as honorary U.N. ambassador will take place on October 21. (Facebook/DC Comics)


The Week in Women: Passport checks for pregnant women, the return of Chibok girls, and Wonder Woman’s U.N. debut

October 14, 2016

The 2016 presidential race has officially devolved into a toxic sinkhole of misery, and we certainly wouldn’t blame you if you never wanted to hear the word “election” again, thank you very much. But stay with us, as we wade through a week of women in politics. We promise to make only one passing allusion to Republican nominee Donald Trump. So let’s get started, shall we?

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has supported a controversial initiative that would require pregnant women to show their passports before receiving treatment at hospitals. The plan is intended to stop conmen who help pregnant women — primarily from Nigeria — give birth in the U.K., where the National Health Service supports the cost of labor. Opponents of the scheme worry that passport checks will deter some women from getting essential care, but May asserted that requiring pregnant women to show identification will “ensure that, when people should be paying because they don’t have the right access to free care in the health service, they do.”

A certain male candidate running in a certain presidential election has inadvertently prompted millions of women to speak out about being sexually assaulted. After He Who Must Not Be Named was caught bragging about forcing himself on women, author Kelly Oxford asked her female followers to share their stories of sexual assault. She received 27 million replies. Some prominent women have also opened up about their experiences with sexual abuse, among them celebrity evangelist Beth Moore and actress Amber Tamblyn. How has it come to this? Even Michelle Obama is confused. As she put it during a rally in New Hampshire for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton: “I can’t believe I’m saying that a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women.”

The Nigerian government successfully negotiated the release of 21 Chibok girls who were kidnapped by Islamist militants Boko Haram two years ago. It is the first time the government has secured a mass release of prisoners since Boko Haram snatched 276 Chibok girls from their school in Borno state. Dozens of captives have escaped on their own, and approximately 197 girls remain in the clutches of the extremist group. It is not clear how many are still alive. After the 21 girls were freed this week, local activist Professor Hauwa Biu said: “We thank the federal government and, like Oliver Twist, we ask for more.”

Just after the United Nations finished rejecting seven women for the position of Secretary General, the organization announced that Wonder Woman will be its newest ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. Dozens of countries had urged the U.N. to elevate a woman to the position of Secretary General. The job was, however, awarded to Antonio Guterres, former prime minister of Portugal and definitely a man. But fret not: the U.N. will use Wonder Woman’s image on social media to promote messages of empowerment, because no living, human woman could possibly serve as a source of inspiration for young girls. Are there any spots opening up on the Human Rights Council? Because we hear Lois Lane is free these days.