In celebration of International Women's Day, hundreds of people—mostly women, but men and children too along with a police escort—came out to Republic Square in Belgrade to show support for women's rights and gender equality.
Today on Capitol Hill, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform assembled a panel to discuss the birth control mandate in President Obama's Affordable Care Act. The committee, chaired by a male, consisted of eight men.
The most straightforward definition of feminism says that is a movement for social, cultural, political and economic equality of men and women. It is a campaign against gender inequalities and it strives for equal rights for women.
A reminder that women in the Democratic Republic of Congo are not just victims, and have an important role to play in shaping the peacebuilding process in their country. After three years of preparation, I finally met the women of the eastern Kivu provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, regions hosting what has been called Africa’s World War. These are women who have seen the worst, but work toward the best. Who have fought and survived despite the too common media story showing them as only helpless, voiceless victims. I had previously confirmed that the victim narrative was baseless despite the very real vulnerability of Congolese women and the pandemic of rape accompanying the armed conflict. I arrived to meet these women who had caught my imagination, to hear their points of view and to learn their reality.
Fresh out of film school Iranian-born photographer Faramarz Beheshti returned to his homeland in 2006 to investigate an unlikely subject: Women’s rugby. The sport, which had just begun to catch on among Iranian women, challenged the strict rules under which they lived and it did not take long before a newly-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s regime began to crack down. Mr. Beheshti’s film, Salam Rugby, also offers a rare glimpse into modern Iranian society where women’s rights are being constantly eroded. The rugby players in the film are rarely allowed to practise outdoors. They practise fully covered, wearing hijabs. Eventually their male coach gets fired after rumours start to swirl about his players ‘loose morals’ and the team ultimately gets disbanded. One of the women who figures prominently in the film is Faezeh Hashemi, daughter of former president Ayatollah Akbar Rafsanjani. An advocate of women's sport, she served as head of the Islamic Federation of Women's Sport. She was eventually removed, and earlier this month, sentenced to six months in jail for spreading propaganda about the Islamic Republic. The punishment, for comments she made, accusing the regime of being run by “thugs and hooligans,” will keep her behind bars during the upcoming parliamentary elections in March. Mr. Beheshti spoke with The Globe about his film and Iran from his current home in New Zealand.
In India, China and many other parts of the world today, girls are killed, aborted and abandoned simply because they are girls. The United Nations estimates as many as 200 million girls are missing in the world today because of this so-called "gendercide".
Vietnam has made remarkable progress toward gender equality but important gender differences still remain, according to the latest World Bank report. The report points out that the gender gap in primary schooling has been eliminated and women have caught up and even surpassed men in terms of attaining college degrees, except in certain ethnic minority groups. However there is a significant degree of segregation of men and women in their fields of study. The improvement in health indicators for women has been remarkable, but the problems of HIV and AIDS and gender violence are still significant, it says. According to the report, sex ratio at birth increased from 106 male births/100 female births in 1999 to 111/100 in 2009.
The gap in labor force participation and earnings has narrowed considerably, with women’s wages now being about 75 percent of men’s – the gap is lower than many other East Asian countries. However, women are also in more vulnerable jobs, for example, own-account work and unpaid family labor, the two categories seen as a minimum estimate of the lack of decent work, the report found. Even though representation of women in the National Assembly is high by regional standards and there is a woman member of the Politburo, there are signs that women do not have an equal voice in the public sphere.
KABUL – It was known as the stadium of death. Ghazi Stadium was where the Taliban held public executions, stonings and mutilations during their brutal rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. This once blood-soaked pitch is now a field of dreams. The stadium was recently reopened after a U.S.- funded refurbishment and thousands of Afghan athletes gathered to celebrate the event. It is impossible to forget the dark history of this arena, but Mohammed Sabher Sharifi is determined to move on. "There were many people killed, especially women. Now it is for the young generation of sportsmen, especially the females,” Sharifi said Sunday as he pointed toward an Olympic flag which stands next to the Afghan flag and will remain there until the 2012 games. As a member of the Afghan National Olympic committee and coach of the women's boxing team, Sharifi faces a daunting task. He wants to create a winning team of female boxers. Every afternoon, in the basement of Ghazi Stadium, in a small, dusty room with battered punch bags and cracked mirrors he oversees 20 teenage girls, as they jump, jog, jab and thrust.
Boxing is an usual choice for any young woman, anywhere in the world, but in deeply conservative Afghanistan, it is an act of courage. “Yes, we have a lot of problems. Here in Afghanistan they think we should stay home, not go to school, and never boxing,” said Sadaf. She said they have received threatening phone calls, but that has not stopped them. Shabnam, her older sister, said she boxes not just for herself, but for her country. “My dream is that I should represent my country all over the world, especially in the Olympics, raising the flag for my country.”
Just over one in 10 women – 13% – say their husbands do more housework than they do, while only 3% of married women do fewer than three hours a week, with almost half doing 13 hours or more. In short, the gender imbalance is alive and thriving in the British household, according to the IPPR, which says its research shows that, for real equality, society needs to see men to pick up the vacuum cleaner and do their fair share. Patterns of housework have changed only slightly. More than eight out of 10 women born in 1958 said they do more laundry and ironing than their partner, while seven out of 10 women born in 1970 agreed. "The revolution in gender roles is unfinished business," said Nick Pearce, director of IPPR. "Women still shoulder the overwhelming burden of household tasks, particularly after they have had children. When they earn more, their bargaining power with their partners increases, so closing the gender pay gap would help. Universal childcare, rather than tax relief for nannies or cleaners, is also the best way forward for a family-friendly, more equal Britain. "On most key issues, the route to modern feminist goals must pass through fathers. Men should work more flexibly, take greater responsibility for caring for their children and their homes, and have the right to reserved parental leave," says the IPPR.
The national focus on the repeal of DADT helped make us more aware as a nation that there's still plenty of inequality within the ranks of the military of this bastion of democracy, home of the free. For instance, the fact that even within DADT, black women tended to be very disproportionately affected, or that trans people's rights to serve aren't protected, or that even after the repeal of DADT, the partners and spouses of queer servicemembers still weren't eligible for the same rights as those of straight people's partners. And lest we forget, both before and during and after DADT, women of all sexual orientations have always occupied a different and unequal space in the military -- a fact that we were all reminded of this week when a Fox News commentator suggested that instead of demanding a solution to the hugely disproportionate amount of sexual harassment and assault they experience, women in the military should "expect to get raped", and Rick Santorum's opposition to opening up any combat positions to women because they have "emotions."
Women aren’t micro--so why do they only get micro-loans? At TEDxWomen reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that women running all types of firms-- from home businesses to major factories-- are the overlooked key to economic development.
Saudi Arabia is building its first stadium especially designed to allow women who are currently barred from attending soccer matches because of the kingdom’s strict public gender segregation to watch games. The stadium in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah is scheduled to be completed in 2014 and will have private cabins and balconies to accommodate female spectators, according to Al Sharq, a state-owned newspaper. “Sources close the stadium said more than 15 percent of the facility will be allocated for families when the facility is fully completed in 2014. Besides families, female journalists and photographers will also be admitted into the stadium and will be allocated exclusive places away from male journalists so they can cover local and international events,” Al Sharq said. Saudi puritan interpretation of Islam prohibits unrelated men and women from mingling in public. Saudi Arabia refers to public areas for women or families as family areas in which men unaccompanied by a female relative are barred from entry. Similarly, women are denied access to areas where unaccompanied men congregate. The building of the stadium comes two months after Saudi Arabia in a bid to avoid being barred from the 2012 London Olympics agreed to send a token female equestrian to the tournament to represent a country that effectively discourages women's sports.
The findings of a new study (pdf) released last week showing that 42% of children under five in India are malnourished call into question some of the most fundamental assumptions of the development community. Countries like India, with robust GDP rates (last year's rate was 8%-9%), are not supposed to have stubbornly high malnutrition rates. Functioning democracies with healthy economies and steadily rising per capital income levels are supposed to provide steadily improving conditions for their children. In layman's terms: rising tides are supposed to lift all ships. But in India, as this study and a host of previous ones – just as devastating – make clear, this is not the case, leading researchers to dub this conundrum the "Asian enigma". Despite progress on many fronts, India's high malnutrition rate, low birth weight and maternal mortality rate continue to rival those of sub-Saharan Africa.
When children are born underweight or are malnourished, they are at severe risk of reduced health and mental capacity. These deficiencies cost India, in economic terms alone, an estimated $28bn per year. There is growing evidence that the reason for India's malnourished children is not just empty pockets – it is, specifically, women's empty pockets. Women in India have a lower status and therefore less control over resources, both land and money, and consequently do not have the leverage to ensure that their children's needs are met.
"In Egypt when the authorities realized women are actually a threat, and maybe even more so than men, they started to react." An interview with photographer Myriam Abdelaziz about her work documenting the Egyptian revolution.
Military servicewomen face shockingly high rates of sexual assault and rape, yet lack access to the most basic reproductive health services. We urge policymakers in 2012 to put politics aside and support the women serving our country through policies that meet their needs and prmotoe their health and well being.
Will protests against ultra-Orthodox Jews' campaign for gender segregation get justice for women in Israel, Palestine? Coming on the heels of the unprecedented and largely secular protests this past summer in Tel Aviv and other cities to press for affordable housing and "social justice" more broadly, and the recent attacks by extremist settlers against Israeli soldiers, this latest conflict has led many mainstream news outlets to talk of a continuing "religious war" in Israel, pitting secular and moderately religious Jews against an increasingly assertive, militant and expanding ultra-Orthodox sector. "It doesn't matter what I look like, someone should be able to walk around in sleeveless shirts and pants, and be able to walk down the street and not be harassed," the young girl's Chicago-born mother, Hadassa, explained. Of course, Palestinians couldn't agree more. But somehow, the vast majority of the Israeli and Western mainstream media seems unaware of the obviously parallels between the treatment of Naama Margolese and Israeli girls and women more broadly by ultra-Orthodox, and the treatment of millions of Palestinians by Israel.
Despite being denied, again, title to the land on which they have labored, there is no quit in this group of women from El Estribo. Hurricanes, coups, fire and political manipulation are not stopping Blanca, Helia, Sofia, Narcisa and Maria from working the land left fallow by the Honduran state university and seeking legal title to it.
Their path to achieve right to land has been full of challenges. There were days they went to bed hungry after working all day in the fields. Nevertheless, this group of tireless women had nothing to lose when they decided to occupy a stretch of unproductive land 10 years ago. Like in a loving family, they encouraged each other to stay put, because their struggle had just begun.
SUVA – Ardent women's rights campaigner and political rights activist Shamima Ali has been named by Islands Business magazine as its 2011 Pacific Person of the Year. This was confirmed in a statement from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre (FWCC) yesterday on a story the magazine published in its December edition regarding Ms Ali’s latest accolade. In the story, writer Samisoni Pareti described the many barriers Ali had faced this year in her pursuit of equal rights for women and a return to democracy for Fiji. He said Ali had her fair share of lonely moments in the past 26 years during which she struggled towards her aim of breaking down a male-dominated and biased society and its varied systems. “She has to put up with name-calling and threats of violence directed at her and her family,” Pareti wrote. “Invitation to weddings of family and friends had dried up as she was deemed a “bad omen” to marital alliances. So-called friends turned their backs on her. But Ali pressed on regardless,” he further wrote. Pareti listed reasons for her selection. Those included: “For the courage to take on Fiji and the Pacific’s mainly patriarchal society and systems, for her determination and battle to put women’s rights on the agenda of every political leader; for the tenacity and sheer stubbornness to take the fight right into the pulse of male-dominated institutions in the military and the police force, all the time never losing her common and compassionate touch for the abused, the poor and the downtrodden.”