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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Nottingham chapter.

The meme created by Megan Thee Stallion, and characterised by embracing freedom wildly, has not been felt as widely as we might have first hoped in the Summer of 22.

As the year started, while I was aware of many areas in need of reform regarding the liberation of women and defence of women’s rights (Iran in particular), I had come to the consensus that at least there was something resembling steady universal advancement. Two steps forward and one step back still equated in forward, still equated to progression.  Then it all started to unravel, one crisis reared its ugly head, another followed, and then another, and another… A whack-a-mole of women’s and human rights offences came in to being. While a domino line of horrific headlines made world news, failing to be granted time to recover from the last… before the next, I fear we became desensitised to it all.

Here’s a reminder:


  • The Taliban impose a decree requiring Afghani women to wear Islamic hijab and fully cover their faces when outside.


  • The US Supreme Court overture Roe v Wade removing abortion the status of constitutional right and making it a state level ruling.


  • Two women in Zimbabwe arrested for holding placards at the side of the road; these signs called for a better Zimbabwe. The women were later charged on account of holding a protest without clearance and with intentions to incite public violence and cause a breach of the peace.


  • The murder of a 17-year-old girl by a group of men sparks anti-violence against women protests in Sierra Leone.


  • Mahsa Amini dies in Iranian police custody igniting major protests.
  • Concern increases over abortion rights in Italy as Giorgia Meloni’s run for Prime Minister gathers pace.


  • News breaks that students who have taken active roles in Iranian protests are being taken by ‘morality police’ to psychiatric institutions (euphemistically termed ‘re-education centres’) for reform from their anti-social behaviour.

In the middle of all this, one more thing happened, closer to home. Yet, despite it also marking a major regression in human rights upon the international platform, it failed to make major headlines. I’m talking of a revision of the UK’s International Human Rights Statement given by the FCDO. The revision removed commitments to abolishing discriminatory laws that, on the grounds of religion, belief and/or gender, infringe on women’s reproductive rights. In addition, a more passive stance has been given on sexual and reproductive health rights and bodily autonomy changing from a commitment to abolish to merely “challenge”.

What all this policy means is that the UK government no longer commits to an explicit zero-tolerance policy regarding women’s reproductive rights. The consequence, religious beliefs could now be considered ample justification for discrimination against women.

 The change was not unnoticed by the international community with 18 counties departing from the statement since this revision. One country has joint however, Malta. Malta practices a total ban on abortion and is the only EU member state to do so.

Some noticed this subtle rephrasing, and in response opened a petition. In the first few days I watched numbers quickly ascend to 6,000 and then stop.

For reference, petitions need 10,000 signatures for a government response and 100,000 to be considered for parliamentary debate. The deadline for this petition is 22nd February 2023 and I’d implore everyone to read into this subject more and sign if they wish. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get enough signatures; it just matters that it does get enough. Our countries government should represent and stand for our values and must be held accountable if it does not.