2- Logan Paul posts an apology for filming a video of a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest- also called the “suicide forest” for the high number of suicides that occur there every year.

Aokighara forest
(Photo credit: CNN)

4- Egyptian prosecutors detain singer Laila Amer and charge her with public indecency and “inciting debauchery” in her new music video


January 4- Zainab Ansari, a 6 year old girl in Pakistan, is abducted, raped, and murdered. Her murder sparked protests against sexual violence in Pakistan, as well as many Pakistani celebrities coming forward with their own stories of sexual harassment and violence. The hashtag #JusticeForZainab went viral on social media.

Zainab Ansari
(Photo credit: BBC)


January 9- South Korea refuses to renegotiate a deal with Japan over so-called comfort women who were “forced into sexual slavery by Japanese colonial forces”. Under this deal, Japan agreed to pay $8 million to a fund that supported the victims, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe would apologize for “the actions of its troops during Japan’s brutal rule of the Korean peninsula between 1910-1945”


11- Saudi Arabia opens a car showroom just for women


12- Saudi Arabia allows women into a soccer stadium for the first time


January 17- Legendary Hong Kong actress Kara Wai receives the 2018 Asian Film Awards’ Excellence in Asian Cinema award, after a career “spanning more than 40 years”


January 18- The Sri Lankan Finance Minister, Mangala Samaraweera, restores a ban on selling alcohol to women in Sri Lanka


January 18- South Korea and North Korea release a joint statement saying that their women’s hockey teams will compete as one Korean unit

(Photo credit: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)


January 27- Gulalai Ismail, a Pakistani activist and founder of the NGO Aware Girls, is accused for insulting Islam (thereby violating the country’s anti-blasphemy laws), which she denies. She then seeks legal action against her accuser, breaking tradition.


January 30- The world learns that North Korea’s delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics will include an “army of beauties”: a cheering squad of women who exactly fit East Asian standards of beauty, were selected from “elite universities, and have no relatives living abroad”. This group includes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s wife, Ri Sol Ju. Many critics said it was pure propaganda, and intended to put a literal pretty face on  the North Korean regime.


January 31- A “bikini flight” causes massive outrage in Vietnam, and around the world. The plane that flew the Vietnam national soccer team was filmed with women clad in bikinis dancing down the aisle of the plane, presumably as “entertainment” for the soccer team returning victorious from a match.




1- Authorities in the Indonesian province of Aceh order female Muslim flight attendants to wear headscarves, or hijabs, when flying into Aceh

2- A video breaks showing footage of a “morality school” for Chinese women. The video showed the women “getting up at 4:30 a.m. to scrub floors and being taught not to resist if their husbands beat them”. The women were also told “Don’t fight back when beaten. Don’t talk back when scolded. And, no matter what, don’t get divorced”. The video was shot on a hidden camera at Fushun Traditional Culture School. According to researchers, such schools are growing in popularity.


9- The former Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Khaleda Zia, is sentenced to five years in prison on corruption charges, after being convicted of embezzling money from a trust fund intended for an orphanage, during her tenure as prime minister.


9- Bollywood superstar Akshay Kumar stars in “Pad Man”, a movie about the taboo around menstruation in India, the complete lack of accessibility to feminine hygiene products in rural areas, and how one man set out to change it.


12- Pakistani human rights champion Asma Jahangir dies at 66 of cardiac arrest. She was a ferocious critic of the Pakistani military, which landed her in jail for a time. Some called her a champion of human rights, and a national icon. Her unabashed hatred of totalitarianism, corruption, and sexism made her a popular target for controversy and name-calling


12- US figure skater Mirai Nagasu makes history at the PyeongChang games as the first woman ever to land a triple axel in the Olympics


12- At the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, a South Korean nun, Sister Droste, has set up a hotline for sexual violence at the Olympics


24- Legendary Bollywood actress Sridevi dies at 54 in Dubai. The official cause of death was given as drowning.


28- The United Nation sets up a “helpline” for sexual harassment occurring within the organization





4- Krishna Kumari is elected to the Pakistani senate, making history as the first Hindu woman elected, in addition to being from the lowest level of the caste system (which is still prevalent in India and Pakistan)

Krishna Kumari
(Photo credit: Saudi Gazette)

4- China is accused of arresting and detaining Muslim women married to Pakistani men. This happened mainly in the Xinjiang province, on the border with Pakistan


5- UNICEF releases a statement that India’s child marriage rate has dropped dramatically, contributing “significantly” to a global decline in child marriage. According to Javier Aguilar, UNICEF’s chief of child protection, “India accounts for the highest number of child marriages in South Asia given its size and population.”


8- On International Women’s Day, rallies were held around the world to protest the harassment, exploitation, violence, and discrimination women face every day.

(Photo credit: International Socialist Organization)

21- Ahed Tamimi, a 17 year old Palestinian girl, is sentenced to 8 months in prison after slapping an Israeli soldier in December 2017


23- For the first time, a transgender news anchor, Marvia Malik, presents the primetime news in Pakistan. She is the first and only transgender news anchor in a country where transgender people are mocked and expected to make their living by dancing or working in the sex industry.


28- Nobel peace laureate Malala Yousafzai returns to her native Pakistan. It is her first trip since she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman

Malala Yousafzai
(Photo credit: The Globe and Mail)



6- Park Guen-hye, the now impeached president of South Korea, is sentenced to 24 years in prison for abuse of power, coercion, and bribery


15- Thousands protest across India, demanding justice for two young girls who were raped

(Photo credit: Aaj News)

17- The rape and murder of a six year old in Pakistan sparks riots across the country


23- Chinese Tech firms make a pledge to end sexist job advertisements, which included saying men were preferred or luring candidates with the promise of working with “beautiful girls” and “goddesses”


25- An Indian spiritual guru, also called a “godman” (a term for an individual who gains popularity through branding themselves as a link to God) with millions of followers is sentenced to life in prison for raping a teenage girl




7- A team of Afghan schoolgirl coders design games to “fight opium and inequality”

30- The United Nations says female victims of violence in Afghanistan rarely receive judicial recourse  


30- Saudi Arabia approves a draft bill that outlaws sexual harassment




4- The first Saudi Arabian women get driver’s licenses


24- Saudi Arabia officially lifts the ban on women driving

(Photo credit: Asia Media International)

25- Sushma Swaraj, India’s foreign minister and the top ranking woman in the Indian government, speaks out against abusive tweets directed at her


25- India is named the most world’s most dangerous country for women in a survey of global experts




11- A ruling lawmaker in India is charged with raping a teenage girl, after bragging on national TV that he would be proven innocent


16- An aviation school in Saudi Arabia agrees to train women for the first time


22- An Indonesian teenager raped by her brother is jailed for getting an abortion


25- East Timor holds its second annual LGBTQ+ Pride parade, cementing its reputation as one of the most accepting countries in Asia




2- Chinese actress Fan Bingbing disappears from social media amidst rumors of a tax scandal

Fan Bingbing
(Photo credit: Vogue)

5- Four Palestinian girls win the finals of a competition, and go to Silicon Valley to pitch their app


14- South Korea marks the first ‘comfort women’ day


15- ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, the first majority-Asian cast movie in America since the 1990s, is released and becomes an instant box office hit and cultural phenomenon

The cast of ‘Crazy Rich Asians’
(Photo credit: The New York Times)



3- ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ tops the Labor Day box office in the  US


6- Homosexuality is decriminalized in India

(Photo credit: Dawn)

24- Vietnam appoints its first female head of state, Dang Thi Ngoc Thin, as acting president, and later vice president


28- The Indian Supreme Court lifts a “centuries old ban” on women and girls between the ages of 10 and 50 entering one of the holiest Hindu temples in south India




1- Overachiever Magazine is founded


5- The Nobel Peace prize is awarded to Nadia Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist, and Denis Mukwege for “their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict”

Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege
(Photo credit: The Wall Street Journal)

18- Exiled Vietnamese blogger Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, also known as “Mother Mushroom”, arrives in Texas


30- Harvard University’s Kennedy school says Nobel Prize winner and education activist Malala Yousafzai will be awarded the 2018 Gleitsman award for her work in promoting girls’ education




4- The first issue of Overachiever magazine comes out


6- A group of young Kyrgyz women build Kyrgyzstan’s first satellite


9- Former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos is convicted of Graft

Imelda Marcos
(Photo credit: Fox News)

14- Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone marries actor Ranveer Singh


22- Luxury fashion brand Dolce&Gabbana anger Asian consumers over first a video that painted an Asian women in a negative light, and then what appeared to be Stefano Gabbana (one of the founders and owners) using racial slurs and insensitive language about East Asian people.

(Photo credit: Branding In Asia)



2- Global superstar Priyanka Chopra marries former child star Nick Jonas

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas
(Photo credit: CNN)

23- A tsunami strikes Indonesia, killing hundreds

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Thu Jan 3 , 2019
January 2- Logan Paul posts an apology for filming a video of a dead body in Japan’s Aokigahara forest- also called the “suicide forest” for […]