“My ambition is to see a woman as Mayor of Baghdad. A woman is capable of doing anything she wants. She has the character of a leader, whether at home or as teacher.”
Amina al-Asadi, a primary school teacher running for a seat in Baghdad’s Provincial Council.
More than a quarter of the 14,431 candidates registered for Iraq’s provincial council elections are women, but voters see few women’s faces on the poster plastered across their neigborhood. College student, Fatma Imad said “Even if I want a woman, where are these women?” I don’t see any poster for women candidate”. In a January 31 provincial poll that will set tone for a national election due later this year, election law ensures women will be represented: each party wins seats must give every third spot to a woman. But in a country that was once one of the most progressive for women’s rights in the middle east and where black candidates plan to run for election for the first time, female candidates say the quota gives them a little clout.
The General Elections Commission (KPU) announced that since they already have the government’s support, it plans to stand firm on its proposal that a government regulation-in-lieu-of-law be issued to ensure that a minimum number of women are elected in the national legislative elections on April 9. State Minister for Women’s Empowerment, Meutia Hatta said the regulation would provide a legal basis for the commission to proceed with its plans to support female candidates. “We have to understand that this is affirmative action”, Meutia said. “The Constitutional Court verdict was a step backward for affirmative action but we hope this move by the KPU will work”. Last month, the court struck down an article in the election law to establish a majority-vote situation, under which successful candidates would be elected based on ranks set by their own parties.
Women councilors announced that they would hold a protest in front of the Parliament House on March 8, the World’s Women’s Day, to demand increase in their seats in local, provincial and national assemblies. The announcement was made in a meeting attended by a large number of women councilors, City District Nazim Raja Javed Ikhas, Potohar town Nazim Nawaz Raja and Rafa Foundation Chairman Brig Oayyum and others.Women Coucilors Network (WCN), which was established with the help of Pattan Development Organization arranged the meeting. The network is operational in 24 districts and 3,000 women councilors are its members. They were asking the government to increase women’s seats from 33 to 50 percent in the legislature. The increase in women’s seats, they said, would help women participate in politics at grassroots level.
Women MPs have condemned the absence of females from the list of new ambassadors and from a top level team named to streamline the affairs of the Grand Coalition Government. The MPs said the appointments were a blatant violation of the 30 percent representation principle and called on the coalition principles to revise the lists. Addressing a press conference at Parliament buildings, members of the Women Parliamentarians Association, who included cabinet minister, Esther Murugi and nominated MP Millie Odhiambo, said women had to be involved in the reconciliation process. The minister said that despite presenting a list of over 20 women for appointment to State corporations and ambassadorial jobs, none had been considered.
A record number of over 100 newly-trained women police officers, making up two-thirds of the cadets completing the training for the Liberian National Police (LNP) prompted a senior UN official to hail the progress made since the first batch of recruits passed through the gates of the National Police Training Academy for 2005. “LNP now has 3,800 officers trained in modern policing methods and techniques”, said Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, the Deputy Head of the UN Mission in Liberia, speaking at the graduation ceremony. The total exceeds the initial UN target of 3,500 she added, including 150 new officers of which 104 are women, which takes the female representation in LNP to 449 officers or 12.6 percent of its current strength.
A former Supreme Court Justice, Joyce Adeline Bamford Addo, has been appointed as the Speaker of the 5th Parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana. She is the first woman to assume such responsibility. Justice Addo served at the Supreme Court for 16 years before retiring in 2004. The 71-year old legal gem started her early education at Ola Boarding and Government Girls’ school in Cape Coast, Central Region and continued to Holy Child High School also in Cape Coast. From there she proceeded to London to study law and was called to the Inner Temple in 1961 where she continued practicing her trade until 1963 when she returned home. On 27 December 1963 she was appointed Assistant State Attorney and later became Director of Public Prosecution, a position she had until she was elevated to the Supreme Court in 1991.
Speakers at a two-day conference on the “Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)” organized by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) demanded steps to select disabled women as members of parliament in the reserved seats and formulate a committee on disability in the parliament to ensure the rights of people with disabilities. They highlighted the discrimination that the physically and mentally challenged people have been experiencing for the lack of a suitable law and for not implementing the UNCRPD. They also made some recommendations so that 10 percent of the population with disabilities can enjoy their rights property.
A major initiative to boost South Asian food security through crop development was launched last week in Manila, Philippines. The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) aims to speed up cereal production in a region where almost half of the children under ficve are malnourished. Announced by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the project will endeavor to develop and deploy new cereal varieties and promote sustainable management technologies and agricultural policies. IRRI says the goal is to produce an additional five million tons of grain annually and increase the incomes of about 6 million farmers by at least US$350 per year.
An expedition to trap moths on Mount Kinabalu in Borneo in 1965 has helped to illustrate the growing impact of climate change and underlined the risk of extinction some species face. York University has now repeated the research and found that, on average, species had moved uphill by about 67 meters to cope with changes in climate. The work is believed to be the first demonstration that climate change is affecting the distribution of tropical insects—the most numerous group of animals on Earth–and represents a major threat to global diversity. PhD student I-Ching-Chen—first author of the new study–said, “Tropical insects form the most diverse group of animals on Earth but to date we have not known whether they were responding to climate change.”
The first satellite devoted to measuring greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere arrived in space Friday after launching from the island spaceport in Southwestern Japan. The Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite or GOSAT, was deployed from the upper stage of an H-24 rocket about 16 minutes after blast off, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. GOSAT is also nicknamed Ibuki which means “breath” in Japanese. Scientists say greenhouses are akin to Earth’s breath. Greenhouse gases are produced by natural and human sources, including geological activity, biological activity and the burning of fosil fuels. Scientists believe greenhouse gases trapped in Earth’s atmosphere are responsible for rising global temperatures. Carbon gases can trap heat that would normally radiate into space, driving up the planet’s average temperature, according to climate researchers. That was the primary impetus behind the development of the $206 million mission.
The Indian Ocean could be due another massive earthquake within the next 30 years—one that could rival the magnitude of the one that cause the Indian Ocean tsunamin in 2004. Researchers made the prediction after studying corals, which show rings of growth from which past sea levels can be inferred. Earthquakes pushe the land up, depressing the sea level in the area preventing corals from growing upwards. Sea levels then rise as the land subsides, leaving the history of the earthquake imprinted in the coral growth patterns. The scientists analyzed coral growth over the last 700 years in the shallow reefs along the 700-kilometer “Sunda Megathrust fault”– a boundary between tectonic plates off the Mentawal Islands in Western Sumatra, Indonesia.
Under the theme “Climate Change Adaptation in Land and Water Management”, experts from Southeast Asian countries and international organizations discussed recommendations for climate change adaptation and management of land and water resources, which are under severe pressure in most developing countries. The pressure will be further aggravated by the impact of climate change. According to Danish Ambassador to Vietnam, Peter Lysholt Hansen, the one and a half day workshop is part of a Strategic Policy Dialogue process on Climate Change initiated by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recommendations from the process will serve as input to the climate change negotiations in the upcoming 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the UN Climate Change Convention, scheduled to take place in Copenhagen, Denmark in December this year, he added.
Forests in the Pacific Northwest are dying twice as fast as they were 17 years ago, and scientists blame warming temperatures for the trend, according to the new study. The data for this research was gathered by generations of scientists over a 50-year period at multiple sites in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and southwestern British Columbia. Seventy-six forest plots, all more than 200 years old, were monitored by scientists doing some of the most rudimentary research—counting trees.
Thousands of residents in Tajikistan’s capital city of Dushanbe went without sleep one night recently–kept awake by a bogus rumor about an impending earthquake. Non-governmental organization activists says the incident showed that Tajij officials need to improve both the means of disseminating accurate information, as well as enhance natural disaster preparedness. The trouble began in early January when rumors began to swirl about the city that a major quake was about to strike. One particularly powerful rumor was that a respected, though unnamed scientist had pinpointed the time of the tremor, 3:30 am on January 10. Another rumor had it that a Tajik psychic had gone on Russian television and foretold of a major disaster.
Although Goa boasts of one of the highest literacy rates–between 82 and 83 percent in the country—the state has some gender disparity in education in favor of boys, in the school age population in Goa, as informed by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) for Goa, However, it is now very pronounced, adds the survey. In all, 83 percent of girls aged 6-17 attend school as compared to 87 percent of boys in the same age group, the NFHS-3 informs, pointing out that in both, urban and rural areas, gender disparity in education in favor of boys 2-4 percentage points among children 6-10 years and 11-14 years age groups but increases to 5-6 percentage points among children aged 5-17 years.
One morning, two months ago, Shamsia Husseini and her sister were walking through the muddy streets to the local girls school when a man pulled alongside them on a motorcycle and posed what seemed like an ordinary question, “are you going to school?”, then the man pulled Shamsia’s burqa from her head and sprayed her face with burning acid. Scars, jagged and discolored, now spread across Shamsia’s eyelids and most of her left cheek. These days, her vision goes blurry, making it hard for her to read. But if the acid attack against Shamsia and 14 others—students and teachers—was mean to terrorize the girls into staying at home, it appears to have completely failed.
It cannot be overstated how unnecessary and illegal this war is. Although Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza strip in September 2005, Israel still controls all of Gaza’s borders, its airspace and territorial waters. Following the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Authority elections in 2005, Israeli and international economic sanctions have been imposed, creating an ongoing humanitarian crisis and since 2007 Gaza has faced total collapse amid an Israeli blockade. The Gaza strip, therefore, not only remains under active Israeli occupation, but is entirely at its mercy. Israel is, and has long been, in flagrant violation of its responsibilities to the people of Gaza under the fourth Geneva Convention.
In Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel American Wife, the First Lady blackmailed by a former acquaintance into defying her husband’s anti-abortion stance and going public with her own pro-choice views. Leaving blackmail out of it, the incident is based on Laura Bush’s own short statement she believed in a woman’s right to choose. Abortion is as much more political issue in America than in Australia but there is one thing the countries have in common—both have banned spending government aid money on reproductive health. This includes abortions but also some forms of contraception, resulting in many organizations funded by the Federal Government being too scared to run basic family planning programs.
Women are less likely to receive kidney transplants than men, and researchers at John Hopkins have found that this gap primarily affects older women—even though they fare as well or better than men their age after a transplant. The researchers examined data from the United States Renal Data System, including a list of 197 patients who developed end-stage kidney disease from 2000 to 2005 and they calculated the likelihood of getting on a transplant list, adjusting for factors that would affect the patient’s survival after surgery. They found that women 45 and younger were as likely as men to be placed on a transplant waiting list. But as women aged, their chances of getting on the list dropped, getting worse with each decade, said the lead author, Dr. Dorry Segev, a transplant surgeon at John Hopkins.
Nepalese feminist Uma Singh, journalist of Radio Today FM was attacked by 15 armed men inside her house on the early evening of January 11, 2009 in Dhanusha, Kathmandu. Because of the gravity of the injuries, her body was disfigured. Singh died on the way to the hospital. Singh had been hosting “Garmagaram Chai”, a radio programme on violence agaisnt women (VAW). Singh often feature letters from listeners, most of whom are VAW survivors. Sometimes the stories of the survivors include the identity or background of the perpetrators. Singh was also an active campaigner, speaking about VAW in various communities. Her colleague, Jyotsna Maskay, programme coordinator for the Women Human Rights Defenders Campaign (WOREC) described Singh as “an active journalist and a woman human rights defender working on the issues of human rights and women’s human rights. Her tool of advocacy was through the radio from where she spoke about VAW openly with defiance”.
The Federal Government of Nigeria is to establish a National Gender Data Bank (NGDB) that will document the required statistical data necessary for an effective national planning which will guarantee gender parity in public affairs and ensure sustainable national development in the country. The Director General of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Dr. Aisha Usman Mahmoud, who announced this when the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Salamatu Suleiman, paid a working visit to the centre recently in Abuja, also stated that the project was expected to serve as an important tool for promoting and monitoring progress towards gender equality and contribute to the national quest for equitable development.
Making Governance Gender Responsive (MGGR) Training
Inclusive Dates: 23-30 July 2009
Venue: Asian Institute of Management Conference Center Manila (ACCM), Philippines
Description: Making Governance Gender Responsive (MGGR) is a generic course that can be adapted and modified to suit the needs of the different countries. The goals of the training are: to enhance the participants understanding of gender and development and governance concepts, gain appreciation of gender-related governance issues and concerns, identify gender biases in governance, acquire skills in identifying and analyzing gender biases and concerns through case examples of strategies and practices to address gender biases, identify gender biases in the participants’ sphere of influence (a change management approach) and formulate action plans, both institutional and individual.
For more information and to download the training’s registration form, please visit: http://www.capwip.org/training/mggr.htm
World Wellness Women’s Congress
Inclusive Date: 20-22 March 2009
Venue: Chennai, India
Description: This project is jointly organized by the World Wellness Open University (WWOU) in India, the California Mind and Body International Clinic and the United World for the International Protection of Children and Women’s Rights (UWICR) from USA and Germany. This Congress seeks to bring in women together to create social consciousness and to raise awareness about spiritual, social and economic responsibilities toward health, wellness and safety of women and their children all over the world. It seeks to provide a global platform for women of all nations, cultures and groups, especially those involved in social organizations, wellness and health to help solve the problems of poverty, safety and health and to establish an international network through committees that will be formed during the Congress which in turn will be directing and supporting wellness projects in continents and the next World Wellness Congress in 2010.
2009 Sasakawa Award Call for Nominations
Deadline: 18 March 2009
Description: Nominations are now open for the 2009 Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction. Nominees should be individuals and institutions from around the world who have contributed to building the resilience of nations and communities to natural hazards through innovative practices and outstanding initiatives. In its 20th year of being awarded, the Sasakawa Award has been updated to better reflect the Hyogo Framework for Action, to broaden the group of potential nominees, give greater focus to community-based work and advocacy, and to better reward those who produce sustainable results in disaster risk reduction.
Gender and Development (Gender and Organizational Change)
Inclusive Dates: April 20 to May 1, 2009
Venue: University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom
Description: This short course is aimed at individuals and teams working on ‘gender mainstreaming’ in the context of their own organisations. The focus is on understanding what needs to change and who does the changing. The course is participatory. Participants work in groups to design case studies rooted in their own projects and programmes. For example, in a recent training course (October 2008), a group of Nigerian Gender Focal Points from different government ministries, developed case studies on access to resources for HIV positive, rural, and trafficked young women and girls in Nigeria.