Taiwan Elects First Female President

Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen gives a speech during a news conference in Taipei

Taiwan’s main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen gives a speech during a news conference in Taipei April 15, 2015. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

Taiwan hit a milestone last week: Citizens elected Tsai Ing-wen, making her the first female president of the country. She heads the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), and won 56% of the vote.

Tsai’s concerns for the country including growing the economy and ensuring that China respects Taiwan’s democracy. It’ll be interesting to see how she implements these measures, and how both Taiwan and China react.

Saudi Women Win 20 Seats in Elections

Saudi Woman voting (Haaretz)

Saudi woman voting (Haaretz)

In Saudi Arabia, women have now gained a step towards equality: holding office.

In the recent elections held on Dec. 12 of last year, 20 women were elected to municipal seats. They comprise almost 10% of the 2.1K seats available. These seats were the only ones Saudi citizens vote for.

This was the first time women were allowed to vote in municipal elections. The most recent elections were held in 2005 and 2011.

Women were allowed to campaign for seats, albeit in a limited manner. They were not allowed to give out material that showed their faces (though this applied to both men and women), and could not speak to male audiences directly. (A candidate would have to speak from behind a partition or enlist a male relative to speak for her.) Women comprised 979 out of 7K candidates, or nearly 14%.

Around 130K+ women registered to vote, with the voting age being 21. There are 12.2M+ total women, and election officials estimated around 5M women would be eligible to vote. The country’s total population is around 30M.

This speaks to some good progress being made, and I hope there’s more on the horizon. This could happen: Before King Abdullah died, he decreed in 2013 that the Consultive Council, an appointed body that advises the king, be made up of 20% women.

Trans Teen Jazz Jennings is the New Face of Clean & Clear

Trans teen activist Jazz Jennings (The Mary Sue)

Trans teen activist Jazz Jennings (The Mary Sue)

2015 continues to be a big year for the trans community as they make strides towards heightened visibility. Now, the community can add one more mainstream accomplishment: teen models.

Fourteen-year-old Jazz Jennings was named the new face of skincare line Clear & Clear last week. She’ll be fronting their “See the Real Me” promotional campaign, and tells her personal story in a video in an effort to encourage others to share their stories via social media.

Assigned male at birth, Jennings is the first trans model to represent the brand.

Jennings had already made a splash 10 years ago, when she became the youngest-known person diagnosed with gender dysmorphia. As she’s grown up, she’s been very active in advocating for LGBT rights, specifically for teens. Jennings has also written a book “I Am Jazz” detailing her story, and she was named to “Time”‘s Most Influential Teens List in 2014.

I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more from Jennings as she grows up and continues to accomplish great things. And we won’t have to wait long: Cable channel TLC will air a docuseries on her titled “All That Jazz.”



#ThrowbackThursday: Alfred Kinsey’s “Time” Cover

Alfred Kinsey, 1953.

Alfred Kinsey, 1953.

Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the father of sexology research, was featured on the cover of “Time” magazine for the Aug. 24, 1953 issue.

His book “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female” was published that year, and was the second of two Kinsey Reports.