WomenStats’ most improved countries award goes to…

Papua New Guinea wedding: Photo by Timothy Allen, BBC Photographer. http://www.humanplanet.com

Papua New Guinea wedding: Photo by Timothy Allen, BBC Photographer. http://www.humanplanet.com

The idea for the WomanStats Awards was first created at the 2014 Summer Co-PI meeting in an effort to help our data reach a larger audience. We wanted to inform, educate, and acknowledge our readers about countries and individuals who made strides, or a lack thereof, in the field of women’s rights throughout the year. All nominations and categories were provided by our coders over a period of 6 months. All final decisions were made by a panel of our co-principal investigators. These awards will be publicized across all forms of WomanStats social media, and also submitted to several online news media platforms for potential publication.

Click WomanStats Annual Report 2014 to for more interesting international facts.

MOST IMPROVED COUNTRIES AWARD:

Morocco: The Moroccan Parliament repealed a controversial amendment of Article 475 of the Penal Code, which allowed a rapist to escape prosecution if he married his victim.

Philippines: In defiance of the Catholic Church, the Supreme Court in the Philippines upheld a law that requires free contraception to be available at government health centers. This law also mandates after-abortion care for women and reproductive health education in government schools.

Papua New Guinea: In July 2014, Papua New Guinea outlawed polygamy. Under an amendment to the Civil Registration Act, all marriage must now be registered, including customary marriages. Any person who practices a polygamous relationship is guilty of an offence.

Bizarre fact:

India: An 18 year old woman marries a stray dog at the behest of her parents in an effort to ward off an evil spirit. Village elders believed that the woman possessed bad luck and this was the only solution available. According to the custom, the evil spirit will be passed to the dog, leaving the woman free to marry later on life without divorcing the dog.

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