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The Arab Spring has failed to deliver greater political power to women in the region or to offer them better protection from sexual harassment, but may yet yield female-friendly reform, a conference on women’s rights heard on Tuesday.
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"NGOs criticise Islamist-led government for trying to revise a long-awaited bill aiming to fight violence against women.
Women's rights activists in Morocco have criticised the Islamist-led government for excluding them from drafting a proposed legislation to combat violence against women and for seeking to dilute the bill through changes.
The long-awaited bill is currently under study in Morocco.It comes after the adoption of a new constitution in 2011 that enshrines gender equality and urges the state to promote it.
A preliminary version of the bill, which is still in the drafting stage, threatens prison sentences of up to 25 years for perpetrators of violence against women. In addition, the bill would take unprecedented steps towards criminalising sexual harassment, risking possible three-year prison terms for suspects."
"Gender equality is still often considered a “women’s issue”. Furthermore, in the past, gender issues and gender equality policies have been contextualised mainly as a women’s issue."
"While there's been plenty of discussion surrounding whether or not women can truly be effective foreign correspondents given their female parts, a new study indicates that the place they face the most trouble isn't reporting in the Middle East: it's in the office.
The International News Safety Institute coupled with the International Women's Media Foundation to survey almost 1000 people working in the media, the majority of whom were women across the globe. Of the women who responded, 64.48% said they'd been harassed in the workplace, predominantly by their male bosses, supervisors or coworkers:..."
"The French government is expected to pass a bill that punishes the clients of prostitutes, rather than the sex workers themselves.
The bill is being led by women's rights minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. She said: "We are changing the attitude to the prostituted person. We don't see her as guilty because the prostituted person is a victim."
Under the new bill, the client would be fined €1,500 (£1,250) for a first offence. If caught a second time, the fine would be increased to €3,000.
Proposed laws will follow the "Nordic Model' of prostitution policy, which has worked effectively in parts of Scandinavia."
Students examine the concepts of gender roles, cultural convergence, and cultural divergence in the context of Jewish and Muslim religious cultures.
"Twelve years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan's government is considering bringing back a gruesome spectacle that became synonymous with Islamist cruelty: the use of public stoning as a punishment for sex outside marriage.
The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country's penal code being drawn up by the ministry of justice."
The ‘traditional’ (read: patriarchal) family model of the breadwinning father and stay-at-home mother is leaving children in poverty, according to new research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF). Traditional two-parent families, where one parent – usually the father – ‘goes out to work’ while the other stays at home to care for the children, are the UK’s largest group of households with children living in poverty.
The research shows that almost a third of the 1.3 million families with children living in poverty are conventional families with a single breadwinner; 400,000 compared to 210,000 dual-income families and 105,000 lone working parents. According to the report, the number of single breadwinner couple families has been falling in recent decades, largely due to social change and the fact that more women want to work, but in some cases it says, women have been forced to work in order to make ends meet for their family.
This is a stupendously awesome commercial from a toy company called GoldieBlox, which has developed a set of interactive books and games to “disrupt the pink aisle and inspire the future generation of female engineers.”
"Feature about British couple is left out of December issue in Russia for fear of breaking 'homosexual propaganda' law.
Ikea has been accused of cowardice after removing a British lesbian couple from the Russian edition of its monthly magazine.
The December issue of the magazine, which will be distributed in most countries in which Ikea operates, contains a long feature about the lives of Clara and Kirsty, a Dorset-based lesbian couple and their Ikea-filled interiors. "We're two mums bringing up our baby boy in Clara's loft," says Kirsty in the story. "We're not your average family in your average home, but if my nan can raise two sons in a tiny caravan, we can make it work in our little loft."
Russian Ikea shoppers, however, will be shielded from information about the lives of the two British lesbians, in case it is deemed to fall foul of the country's controversial new law banning "homosexual propaganda"."
High unemployment in countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece is hitting young people hardest as they take jobs below their skill level and seek work abroad.
"A project of IUCN, the Environment and Gender Index (EGI) measures government performance implementing international policies on gender and environment.
On November 19, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will launch the first-ever quantitative tool to monitor and assess implementation of mandates that mainstream gender equality issues in the environmental sector – the Environment and Gender Index. The Environment and Gender Index was developed in response to the realization that while much progress had been made in a variety of global and national forums, no comparative, comprehensive monitoring tool existed to assess the implementation of these policies – until now."
Commentary: European countries have adopted a landmark convention on preventing and combating domestic violence. But Hungary hasn't signed on.
Three women who were forced to travel to Britain to terminate their pregnancies following diagnoses that their babies would not survive outside the womb are taking their cases to the United Nations.
Amanda Mellet, Ruth Bowie and Siobhain Murphy, members of the Terminations for Medical Reasons (TFMR) group, will hold a press conference in Dublin on Wednesday outlining their cases.
On the same day papers will be filed in Geneva with the UN’s Human Rights Committee, which monitors member states’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The women will allege that the fact they were forced to leave Ireland to terminate their pregnancies – following diagnoses of fatal foetal abnormalities – amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
"The French lower house of parliament has passed a reform of prostitution law imposing fines on clients, a shift to tougher rules which has split the country and angered some sex workers.
Politicians voted 268 in favour and 138 against to give France some of the most restrictive legislation on prostitution in Europe – a radical switch away from the nation's traditionally tolerant attitude.
Those seeking to buy sex will now face a €1,500 (£1,240) fine, while the act of soliciting itself will no longer be punished."
The idea that men and women's brains are "wired" differently is wrong. As long as our children’s brains are in the process of developing and forming connections, don’t we owe it to them to give them the best chance possible of escaping pre-determined, limited roles in an unequal society?
"Research from WorldPay Zinc shows that Britains still associate particular roles and characteristics with particular genders. So are men braver and do women make better nannies?
Imagine a surgeon getting ready before an operation. They're checking in with their patient, scrubbing in, putting on the mask. Tying back their hair. You didn't imagine that? Were you thinking of a man?"
"Handan Yorulmaz has a new rule at her plastics manufacturing company in Ankara: She’ll only hire women if they have children older than 10, or none at all. “I can’t risk losing time and money,” she said from the Turkish capital, where she employs 10 women and six men at Arti Plastik & Ambalaj.
Regulating the mothers on the payroll is her response to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s campaign for women to have at least three children -- preferably five -- and his push for laws to encourage people to marry earlier and procreate more. He’s backing measures to forgive newlyweds’ student loans and offer them low-interest credit, and to allow mothers with three offspring to retire early with tax breaks for their families.
Erdogan frames his crusade for more babies as an economic movement to ensure growth by creating a larger and younger population. Business owners and economists predict it will have the opposite effect by keeping mothers out of the workforce."
Does anyone else find their blood chilling at the idea of a crusade for more babies?
"A Canadian author will become the first Muslim-born woman to lead a mixed-gender British congregation through Friday prayers tomorrow in a highly controversial move that will attempt to spark a debate about the role of female leadership within Islam.
Raheel Raza, a rights activist and Toronto-based author, has been asked to lead prayers and deliver the khutbah at a small prayer session in Oxford.
She has been invited by Dr Taj Hargey, a self-described imam who preaches an ultra-liberal interpretation of Islam which includes, among other things, that men and women should be allowed to pray together and that female imams should lead mixed congregations in prayer."
"The horrific case of the three women freed from a London house could provide a means to break the silence that keeps victims trapped.
If you are shocked by the proposition that there are slaves in modern Britain, think again. Today’s “slaves” are not out in the open, like the Africans transported to the US in the 18th and 19th centuries, and except in the most extreme cases they do not wear chains.
They live in unremarkable houses and flats where they are forced to do hard physical labour, provide sexual “services” or, in some cases, both. Last week’s announcement that police had rescued three women from alleged domestic servitude in south London is startling because of the time-scale, which apparently covers three decades. Not much is known about this extraordinary case but it has focused attention on a problem which is mostly hidden from view."
"Men and women are equal nowadays, right? Not so much, says Laura Bates, founder of the popular Everyday Sexism Project.
Bates and her team of volunteers have collected over 10,000 women's daily experiences of gender inequality since the project kicked off about 18 months ago, after Bates was harassed three times in just one week and decided to do something about it.
"Again and again people would tell me: "Stop making a fuss", or "Maybe you’re a bit frigid" or "You don’t know how to take a compliment"," she said at an event in London this week.
Bates said that such comments stem from the widespread belief that men and women are equal in our society and that episodes such as catcalls, groping and harassment in the workplace are often attributed to women “overreacting”."
European Commission - Press Release - Brussels, 20 November 2013 -
"The European Parliament has voted with an overwhelming majority (459 for, 148 against and 81 abstentions) to back the European Commission’s proposed law to improve the gender balance in Europe’s company boardrooms. The strong endorsement by the Members of the European Parliament means the Commission’s proposal has now been approved by one of the European Union’s two co-legislators. Member States in the Council now need to reach agreement on the draft law, amongst themselves and with the European Parliament, in order for it to enter the EU statute book."
Breaking the glass ceiling above women in Europe.
"Journalism is changing, and so is the role of women in the workplace. But the two are not always evolving in harmony. Women substantially outnumber men in journalism training and enter the profession in (slightly) greater numbers, but still only a relative few rise to senior jobs. The pay gap between male and female journalists remains stubbornly wide, and older women - especially if they have taken a career break - find it difficult to retain a place in the industry.
Women in journalism still cluster around particular subject genres. Historically, they were almost totally confined to “pink ghettos”, but as more women entered the industry, there was an expectation that their opportunities would expand and that they would duly embrace areas that had been traditionally male, like hard news, crime or politics.
But a byline analysis of UK national newspapers in 2012 indicates that some areas still have very few women, in particular politics, sport and opinion writing. These findings are also supported by qualitative interview data. There are similar lacunae in the US press."
Why are some 'beats' still inhospitable to women? Clearly it is not the topics, women js are equally interested in politics, so maybe it is the practice of journalism in these arenas? Locker room based sourcing in sports? Boys drinking networks in politics? Byline analysis is the starting point, we need to figire out the 'why' also?
The digital print skew the picture, given the lower pay to digital writers.
Forget body image for a moment, women's magazines are perpetuating stereotypes about women and tech and it's dated, lazy and damaging.
"[...] Fashion, cosmetics, celebrities, lifestyle and attractive men: These are the only topics that we women care about – at least according to the UK's eight top-selling women's print 'glossies.'
Lady Geek's own analysis of this month's women's magazines (including Glamour, Elle and Marie Claire) exposes a near absence of technology topics or gadgets. We found that on average, fewer than 2% of pages refer to anything tech-related, and not a single page in November's editions has an article primarily about technology.[...]"
Shafilia Ahmed wanted to be a lawyer and to make her own relationship choices. But her parents judged the 17 year old's aspirations to be shameful to the family, so they killed her and made their other children watch the consequences of perceived dishonour.
Banaz Mahmod had been forced into an abusive, violent marriage. When she fled and was seen kissing another man in public the so-called honour code was applied. She was raped, garrotted and her body packed in a suitcase.
When Surjit Atwal sought refuge from her abusive arranged marriage by enjoying nights out with friends she'd made through a new job, her mother-in-law arranged for her to be lured out of the country and killed.
What country? India? Pakistan? The Middle East?No. All three of these victims of honour crime grew up in England.
Egypt is now the worst country for women's rights in the Arab world, according to a poll of gender experts.
The study found sexual harassment, high rates of female genital mutilation and a growth in conservative Islamist groups contributed to the low ranking.
The Comoros islands came top in the survey, which was conducted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The poll surveyed more than 330 gender experts in 21 Arab League states as well as Syria. It is the foundation's third annual study focusing on women's rights since the Arab Uprisings in 2011.