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Online Women Bulletin, July 5, 2009

WOMEN IN POLITICS

India: Dalit , Muslim Women Bodies For Sub-Quota For Women in Bill

Contending that the Women’s Reservation Bill in its present form will benefit only those from affluent sections. Dalit and Muslim bodies demanded a sub-quota for women from weaker sections to ensure fair representation. At a convention in New Delhi, representatives of the All India Milli Council, the Muslim Welfare Organization, Dr B R Ambedkar Sewa Dal and Samajik Nyan Morcha among others said a quota without a sub-quota will augment inequalities in the country and fail to serve its purpose. “While we welcome the proposal of reserving seats form women, we strongly believe there should be a provision ensuring that Muslim and Dalit women, who are the most backward in the country and need representation, get their due share in proportion to their population,” said Manzoor Alam, General Secretary, All India Milli Concil. Alam said in its present form, the bill will further strengthen and empower, “the already educated and economically empowered ladies” and those who belong to families with political background

Lebanon: Where’s the Woman’s Place?

If you think Lebanon is a complicated place, the state of Lebanese women’s political participation should be no surprise. Lebanese women won the right to vote and to participate in national elections in 1952, 19 years b efore women in Switzerland. Yet, today, political participation by Lebanese women remains dismal at the national level. In the June parliamentary elections, only 12 women ran for office and only 4 were elected out of 128 seats. Since suffrage, in fact, only 77 women have served in Lebanon’s parliament. The reasons are complicated but male domination if the country’s politics is one major reason. Another is that political parties are f ocused in sectarian interests, marginalizing women’s voices.

Fiji: Interim Government Approves New Women’s  Groups

Fiji’s leading women’s advocacy group says a new interim government endoresed women’s group will not take the place of existing institutions. In a statement, Fiji’s interim government says the new “Fiji Women’s Federation”, will be the advocate for, and representative of, women’s rights in the country. The coordinator of one of the longest serving women rights groups, the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Shamima Ali, say previous governments have tried and failed to create something similar, ” Often these things have fallen by the wayside because of lack of funding, lack of the political will of the government”, she said. The interim government says the membership of the federation will be nade up of women’s non government organizations, which meet a set criteria. But no detail of what that criteria is has been made public. Ms. Ali says the federation’s creation won’t mean groups like the Crisis Centre, vocal critics of the interim government, will be sidelined.

Iran: Women Leading the Charge for Change

Iranian women’s visible presence in protests over their country’s political turmoil is likely to strengthen the cause of opposition leader Mr. Hussein Mousavi. That became clear this weekend after 26-yeald Neda Agha-Soltan was shot in the chest while attending a protest rally. The video of her  bloody death on Saturday has circulated in Iran and around the world and prompted an outpouring of sympathy. President Obama in a White House press conference said, “We have experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the street. While this lost is raw and extraordinary painful, we also know this: Those who stand up for justice are always on the right side of history.” Ms. Agha-Soltan apparently wasn’t a political activist but has become a stirring symbol of anti-government movement. And her gender seems to be heightening worldwide sympathy for the protesters.

Indonesia: Head Scarf Emerges As Political Symbol

The three (3) parties competing in Indonesia’s presidential election next week have plastered the city with campaign billboards and posters depicting, predictably, their presidential and vice presidential choices looking self-confident. But one party, Golkar, has also put up posters of the candidates’ wives next to their husbands, posing demurely and wearing a Muslim head scarves known here as jilbabs. The wives recently went on a jilbab shopping spree in one of Jakarta’s largest  markets and published a book together titled, “Devout Wives of Future Leaders”. Most polls suggest that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Democratic Party will be reelected  next Wednesday’s vote, after running a smooth campaign based on his economic policies and a popular anticorruption drive. Despite television debates, the personality-driven campaigns have focused little on differences over policies or ideas, except regarding the wearing of the jilbab.

Nepal:UK’s Permanent Secretary For International Development Interacts With Constituent Assembly (CA) Members

The Permanent Secretary at the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), Minouche Shafik, who concluded a two-day visit to Nepal on July 1, met women constituent assembly (CA) members at the Center for Constitutional Dialogue (CCD). During the meeting, Shafik heard about women’s role in the constitution-writing process and the challenges they faced in a traditionally-male dominated society. The CA members hoped to make the most of their numbers in the CA (33% of the total seats) by ensuring greater equality for women, including in access to state resources such as education and health care, teh DFID in Kathmandu said. Shafik reiterated DFID’s willingness to continue to contribute to making the voice of women and other marginalized groups heard, such as by sharing international experience of women’s role in parliament.

Mongolia: Draf Law on Gender Equality Presented

Government Cabinet Secretary Chief B. Dolgor submitted Friday a bill to ensure gender equality to Parliamentary Speaker D. Demberel. Mongolia has joined a number of international treaties and pacts, including international pacts on civic and political rights, on economic societal and cultural rights, a convention to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, a convention on women in politics, as well as the 1993 Vienna Convention. These make Mongolia responsible for creating a favorable legal environment to refute any acts and customs allowing gender discrimination, satisfying and guaranteeing equal gender rights equality and equal attitudes, taking required measures and approving relevant legislation. Mongolia’s government action plan for 2009-2012 includes drawing up a bill to ensure gender equality.

GENDER IN CLIMATE CHANGE AND DISASTER RISK REDUCTION

UN Habitat’s Executive Director Wins Prestigious Environmental Award

UN Habitat’s Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka has been named one of the three (3) winners of the 2009 Goteborg Award, the prestigious “Nobel Prize in Environment”. The Goteborg Award now celebrating its tenth year conferred its jubilee prize of one million Swedish Kroner (USD 126,775) to be shared equally between Mrs. Tibaijuka, Mr. Enrique Penalosa, the former  mayor of Bogota, Colombia, and Mr. Soren Hermansen of Samso, Denmark, who was named by Time Magazine as 2008 Hero of the Environment. Last year’s winner included Mr. Al Gore the former US Vice President and global environment champion.

West African Sub-Region Vulnerable To Climate Change

Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology said that the Western African Sub-Region would be the most affected region by climate change, as long as it remained one of the poorest in the world. He said over the last three or four decades, impact of climate change has revealed the region’s vulnerability and stressed the need for consensus actions to reduce the looming danger. Droughts, floods and storms are likely to increase, not only in frequency but also in intensity. Rainfall patterns are still changing and in coastal areas, sea level rise and rising temparatures will threaten coastal areas and ecosystems”, he said. He emphasized the prospective impacts on society and economies across the sub-region were likely to be huge, thereby negatively affecting all sectors and groups of people with women, the poor and marginalized being the most affected.

Ordinary Men and Women Will Pay Price of Addressing Climate Change

The leader of Caritas Internationalis, the international consortium of Catholic relief agencies, warned in a recent address that attempts to address climate change will reduce the standard of living of the “ordinary men and women of the developed world”. Secretary-General Lesley Anne Knight said that “even if it is too early to say for certain that man-made climate change is causing an increase in humanitarian emergencies, one thing is certain: If it continues, it most certainly will”. She grants that there is disagreement over whether the increasing scale and frequency of climate-related humanitarian emergencies can be scientifically attributed to man-made cliamte change. But a number of points are clear: We are witnessing an increase in climate-related emergencies. Increasing climate vulnerability is making some parts of the world more susceptible to climate-related disasters. Factors such as poverty and conflict are making populations more vulnerable to the effects of climate-related disasters.

Irish Women Act on Climate Change in Africa

The Women of the ICA are helping to raise funds for the stoves and are also off-setting the carbon footprint–all through this green, women-focused initiative. With the help of a part-EU funded Irish NGO, “Vita”, these stoves are now being installed in homes in rural Eritrea. And as part of its drive to encourage innovation and green programmes, the European Commission Representation in Ireland hosted a meeting in Dublin this week, between the designer of this innovative stove, the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, and “Vita”. The ICA was presented with a letter of thanks from the Eritrean Women’s Union for agreeing to help women in Eritrea achieve today what the ICA did in Ireland in the 1950’s. The letter was presented by Dr. Debesai Ghebrehiwet, who is the designer of the award-winning stove.

OTHER NEWS

Afghanistan: Women Battle Heavy Odds in Struggle for Freedom and Dignity

Rona Tareen sits among the many couches lining her Persian carpeted office and, with the press of ink-stained thumbs, allows what some Afghans consider sacrilege: letting a young woman move away from her husband with her family in Kabul. Tareen, a mother of six and women’s affairs director for the province of Kandahar, where Canadian forces are based, oversees many family judgments in a country steeped in patriarchy. Afghan women—particularly in the volatile south, where the Taliban was born—rarely appear in public without burkas and often show deference to the opposite sex, lowering gazes to the floor, almost shrinking when a man approaches. Given that some hard-line Islamists believe the Koran decrees women to be subservient to men, improving conditions for women in a war-torn country with one of the world’s lowest literacy levels requires more than education. It requires social engineering.

India: The Cases of Human Trafficking

As per the women and child development estimates, 3 million women in India fall prey to trafficking annually in the country and 40% of these are minors. The country needs to face its moment of truth. India has been placed on the US human trafficking tier 2 watch list for not doing enough to curb human smuggling. “Whatever makes a man a slave takes half his worht away”, Pope said. Indeed,  a human trafficking is a modern day slavery where human beings are exploited by treating them like commodities for profit. It is contrary to the fundamental belief of all societies that people everywhere deserve to live in safety and dignity. Victims of human trafficking who comprise of young children, teenagers, men and women are subjected to involuntary servitude and sexual slavery by force, fraud or coercion. Human smuggling, especially of women and children has become a matter of serious national and international concern.

Pakistan: Women in Fata Find A Voice

In a small recording studio in Peshawar, Asma rushes around with a minidisc recorder. She has to finish editing a news bulletin and make it back to her home in Nowshera before it gets dark. “If I do not get the bulletin done in time for this evening show, the station will not let me continue as a radio journalist”, she says. “But if i do not get home on time, then my parents will not let me continue working either”. Asma is one of the 15 reporters for Radio Khyber, a Jamrud-based FM radio station, and one of the few legal media outlets in Pakistan tribal belt. The station, which is supported by the Fata Secretariat, aims to counter the extremist, pro-jihad and anti-West programming that is typical of dozens of illegal radio stations run by hard-line clerics throughout the tribal agencies.

Bangladesh: Prime Minister Seeks UN Help for Improving Health and Women Empowerment

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has sought enhanced assistance from the United Nations for improving child and maternal health and empowering the women folk in the country, as she listed some setbacks in the population sector in recent times. She made the call when Representatives of UNFPA in Bangladesh Arthur Erken on the eve of the World Population Day , paid a courtesy call on her. The Prime Minister reiterated her government commitment to establish social-safety net through creating huge employment opportunities and empowering women, providing quality health services to people of all walks of life, particularly to mothers and children. She said in line with the dream of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman of building a healthy nation, the last Awami League government had taken a project of setting up 18,000 community health clinic across the country and some 4,000 of the clinics were made functional in full swing.

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OnlineWomenBulletin, 20 June 2009

she said

“Many people in Morocco believe in change, in a better tomorrow and we, women have what it takes–talent and energy along with so many others. Women know more than men how to organize. They are more patient, stronger. They are also more reasonable and more attentive to the needs of children, women and men.”

Koutar Benhamou, a woman candidate in Morocco’s Municipal Elections

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Morocco: Election To Mark Another Step for Women

She’s young, at ease in Arabic, French or English, travels, love scuba diving, campaigns in a T-shirt and jeans and is bent on winning a seat in Morocco’s municipal elections on Friday. Kaoutar Benhamou, who turns 34 the same day, says she embodies modern Morocco. But she is also riding the kingdom’s latest wave to promote the role of women in this conservative Muslim state. For the first time, the government stipulated a 12 percent quota for women in Friday’s municipal polls–a major leap over the 0.58 percent or 127 women, now holding local council seats across the country, according to interior ministry figures. “I’ve never been involved in politics before,” says Benhamou, behind the wheel of her white four-wheel drive vehicle as she drums up support in the town of Bouknadel, 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the capital, Rabat. She is running for the new, reformist Authencity and Modernity Party or PAM, an alliance of five smaller groups facing a first electoral challenge it views as a litmus test for general elections three years away.

Bangladesh: To Increase Women’s Seats in Parliament to 100

Even as Indian political parties fail to reach a consensus over the Women’s Reservation Bill, Bangladesh is all set to increase by more than double the number of reserved seats for women in parliament. “The number of reserved seats for women in parliament will be increased to 100 and there will be direct election in these seats,” Finance Minister A M A Muhith told the House while presenting the budget for 2009-10 yesterday. The women MPs have so far been nominated by political parties on the basis of the proportion of their representation in parliament. At present, only 45 seats are reserved for women in the Bangladesh parliament. Muhith said in line with its election commitment, the Sheikh Hasina government has started working to ensure recruitment, promotion and placement of women in top positions of the administration, armed forces, autonomous bodies, educational institutions and judicial service.

India: Parliament Might Have 33% More Women

An Indian parliamentary standing committee on Law and Justice, headed by Rajya Sabha Parliamentarian Sudarshan Nachiappan (Congress),  has found acceptable a proposition to increase the number of seats for women in parliament by 33 percent. Since reserving seats for women in parliament, and for state legislatures, had always been a skewed issue in India, the parliamentary panel emerged with the solution while examining a reservation bill pending in the Rajya Sabha (upper house). People like Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and Janata Dal (JD) chief Lalu Prasad opposed the plan because there was no quota for women from the lower castes. However, the panel could not complete its report because of the Lok Sabha (lower house) elections, and would now work with members of the new lower house to resume work on the plan. Acceptable: The idea of increasing seats in teh Lok Sabha was also supported on the grounds that the strength of the House was fixed at 545 when India’s population was 300 million. However, the figure had now swelled to over 1 billion. Hence, an increase of 33 percent seats would result in better representation for the people.

Australia: Gillard Hopeful For Equality in Politics

It won’t be long before being a woman in politics is no big deal, says Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Australia’s highest-profile woman politician says it won’t be long before female politicians get no extra attention for their gender. “In the time I’ve been interested in politics going back of course, through the Fraser government, the Hawke government, Keating government, Howard government, now into Rudd government….a lot has changed for women in politics,” she told Sky News on Wednesday. “It’s much more usual for women to be in politics, we’re there in greater numbers. I think there is still some level of differential attention but it is changing very quickly.”

Lebanon: A Dwindling Show by Women in Politics

A seductive woman looks out from the billboards that line Beirut’s highways proclaiming, “Be Beautiful and Vote”, one political party’s appeal to women in this beauty-obsessed nation’s upcoming parliamentary elections. Women’s rights activists have fumed that the ad is demeaning. An opposing party has put up billboards with a more feminist message, “Be equal and vote,” though featuring, of course, an equally sexy model. A lingerie brand jumped in with its own mock election ad: a woman in silky underwear urging, “Vote for me”. Lebanon’s election campaign is full of women–except where it counts. Only a handful of women are among the more than 580 candidates vying for parliament’s 128 seats, and after Sunday’s voting, the number of women in parliament is likely to drop to four, down from the current six. Lebanon may look like one of the most liberal countries in teh deeply conservative Middle East but patriarchal attitudes still reign, women activists say. Women’s poor showing also reflects a wider problem: although Lebanon has the trappings of a modern democracy, its politics are dominated by former warlords and family dynasties. Often only each clan’s appointed heirs—usually men–stand a real chance of getting elected.

South Africa: Woman Shakes Up Racial Politics

Helen Zille has a sharp tongue and a short fuse, and she doesn’t dodge a fight. In apartheid times, she enraged South Africa’s white rulers and lately she has ruffled South Africa’s black political establishment. Having won plaudits as Mayor of Cape Town, she is now leader of the main opposition and her province’s premier–a striking example of democracy at work in a country that is ruled by blacks but leaves room for white  politicians like Zille. In the April provincial election, Zille won just over 51 percent of the vote to seize control of the wealthy Western Cape province from the African National Congress, breaking the ruling party’s monopoly on power. In voting for the national parliament, her Democratic Alliance party’s share rose to nearly 17 percent and helped deny the ANC its coveted two-thirds majority. Now the 58-year old workaholic says her goal is to run Western Cape so well that voters will be persuaded to ditch the ANC in other provinces. “The Western Cape will set an example for democracy in South Africa,” she told cheering supporters after the results were announced.

Canada: Women in Politics Take Center Stage

Progress is slow but sure for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Standing Committee for Increasing Women’s Participation in Politics, as the number of female representatives in local government’s increased by one percent in 2008, from 22 percent to 23 percent. The goal of the organization is to reach a plateau of 30 percent—consistent with a United Nations directive on women in democracy that determined that 30 per cent was the minimum number or “tipping point” required for women to have an effective voice. While politics may be gender-neutral, the issues are not. For example, female politicians tend to be more effective when it comes to representing women’s issues like childcare, playgrounds, facilities for nursing mothers, etc. At the committee’s presentation in Whistler on Saturday, standing committee chair Pam McConnell, listed the committee’s  main achievements the past year—including notably, the promotion of the group as a full standing committee within the FMC framework.

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Gender Issues Gain Momentum at Climate Talks in Germany

Communication lines with Mother Earth have become complicated. Our practices of thousands of years are becoming difficult, implored an indigenous man from Bolivia, on behalf of his government’s delegation, as Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) met from 1-12 June in Bonn, Germany, to advance negotiation of a climate change framework for post 2012. References to the human dimension of climate change and the policies needed to address it are increasingly common at the ongoing UNFCC international climate change talks, expected to culminate in an agreement at the Conference of Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen, Denmark in December. Gender advocates, indigenous peoples, labor representatives and the youth have become increasingly visible and coordinated in their efforts to build awareness of the human face to climate change, as well as the need to include all stakeholders in designing and implementing an effective response. And, governments are increasingly reflecting these aspects in submission to the text under negotiation.

Women Are The Energy Decision Makers

While Congress is contemplating a new energy policy, American women are paying the electric bills at home and making the critical decisions on energy use in their homes and businesses, according to the national Women’s Survey on Energy and the Environment, the first in-depth women’s survey on attitudes and awareness about energy. The nationally representative survey of 801 women 18 years or older, commissioned by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) in collaboration with the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) shows that women want the country to move toward clean energy sources and more than half (57%) are even willing to pay $30 more per month for it.  Yet they don’t completely understand the electricity sources we use today, the impact of electricity on clean air and what is causing global warming.

From Early Warning To Early Action in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is the most vulnerable country in the world to tropical cyclones. In addition, mortality risk from cyclones is approximately 200 times higher in developing countries like Bangladesh. The combination is deadly, for both lives and livelihoods of those living in coastal areas of Bangladesh such as Noakhali. Changes in cyclone behavior have also been noted: they are impacting further inland over a greater geographic area, with increased frequency and severity, probably attributable to climate change. At the same time, effective early warning systems have been shown to save thousands of lives. The cyclone that ravaged the coastline in 1970 killed 500,000 people. In 2007, cyclone Sidr killed 3,000, a difference in death toll that is largely attributed to effective disaster preparedness measures such as the Bangladesh Red-Cresecent’s Cyclone Preparedness Programme (CPP) and the British Red Cross co-funded Building Community Disaster Preparedness Capacity (BCDPC) project implemented with European Commission funds. The project, running for the past 3 years, supports 85 communities along the coastal areas of Bangladesh to develop their capacity towards disaster preparedness and response, with focus on addressing the specific needs of women and children.

Climate Change is Pushing Malawi Further into Poverty, Women Are Hit Worst

Climate change in Malawi is pushing people further into poverty and women are suffering most, according to a new report from international agency, Oxfam today. The report, The Wind of Change: Climate Change, Poverty and the Environment in Malawi, says that an increase in temperatures and intense rain in Malawi over the past 40 years has led to drought and flooding, causing shorter growing seasons, poor crop yields, food shortages, hunger and the spread of disease in a country where 29 percent of people already live in extreme poverty. As women have multiple roles in Malawi as farmers, child carers, providers of food, water and firewood, they are affected most by the changing climate according to the report. Women’s weak position in Malawian society also means that generally they have less access to income and credit and no voice in decision-making, making it difficult for them to find other sources of income or influence action on climate change in Malawi.

Human Rights Council Holds Panel Discussion on Climate Change and Human Rights

The Human Rights Council held a panel discussion on the relationship between climate change and human rights during which participants raised a large number of issues including the barrier that climate change posed to development in some countries; how climate change impactedon the right to life, food, safe water and health, home , land, properties, livelihoods, employment and development; and how the poor in the developing countries were the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and the responsibility of developed countries which had caused the climate change to help them mitigate climate change effectes. Kyung-wha Kang, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, in an opening statement, said climate change posed an immediate and far-reaching threat to people and communities around the world. The human impact of climate change was not only related to environmental factors but also to poverty, discrimination and inequalities. The human rights perspective, focusing on the right of everyone to dignified life based on the fundamental principles of inequality and discrimination, was particulary well-suited to analyze how climate change affected people differently.

China’s Toxic Harvest: Noxious Chinese Dryway Believed To Contain Smokestack Contaminants

Since late 2008, media coverage of problems resulting from toxic drywall imported from China has increased rapidly, with more details unfolding. This substandard drywall can be found in as many as 25,000 homes in 13 states in the USA. As homes sustain corrosion in electrical wiring, HVAC units, and even jewelry, their owners experience a myriad of illnesses and symptoms. The effects are particularly hazardous to children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with pre-existing respiratory illness.

Maldives Debates on Climate Injustice at UN

UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday debated, in full-session, on the impacts of climate change on full enjoyment of human rights, especially in vulnerable countries. The debate tabled by the Maldives, sought to portray climate change not solely as a scientific issue, but also as a matter of global injustice and human rights, with the poor and vulnerable suffering because of the pursuit of wealth in richer parts of the world. During the debate the Maldives presented a joint statement on behalf of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) outlining the massive negative impacts of global warming on their communities, calling on large emitting States to honor their international legal obligation not to interfere with the enjoyment of human rights in other countries, and urging UN human rights mechanisms to hold such countries accountable. US, EU, Brazil, China, Canada, Mauritius, Bhutan, Uruguay, UK, Russia, Costa Rica, Bangladesh, Philippines, Indonesia and around thirty other States took part in the debate.

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Fiji: Workshop Calls for Laws To Halt Abuse of Women

A workshop on violence against women has sparked calls for legislation encompassing all abuse against women. The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre hosted the Pacific Regional Meeting on Violence Against Women in Fiji last week with 60 attendees from 11 Pacific countries. The Deputy Coordinator of the Centre Edwina Kotoisuva says the links between human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault of women are strong. She says there is much support for an integrated approach in terms of legislation to combat the issues.

Iran: Women on Front Line of Street Protests

The iconography dominating global television coverage of Iran’s biggest demonstrations since the 1979 Islamic Revolution is stunning; women are on the front line of the protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s allegedly frauduletn re-election. It is no surprise. They feel most robbed by his “stolen” victory. “We feel cheated, frustrated and betrayed,” said an Iranian woman in a message circulated on Facebook. Iran’s energetic female activists are using the social networking site to mobilize opposition to Mr. Ahmadinejad. Iranian women also have a dynamic presence on the country’s blogosphere– the biggest in the Middle East–which they are using to keep up popular momentum against the election outcome. Many Iranian women will suspect that a prime reason the election was “stolen” was to keep them in their place. To the regime, their demands for equal rights are inseparable from the opposition’s drive for greater democracy.

Saudi Arabia: A Vow To  Help Women

Human Rights Watch said Friday Saudi Arabia has pledged to improve women’s rights by eliminating gender discrimination. Human Rights Watch said in a release Saudi Arabian leaders have agreed also to attempt to end the country’s current system of male ownership of women and grant women in Saudi Arabia a full legal identity. “Saudi women have waited a long time for these changes,” Nisha Varia, deputy director of the non-governmental organization’s women’s rights division. “Now they need concrete action so that these commitments do not remain words on paper in Geneva, but are felt by Saudi women in their daily lives.” The decision by Saudi Arabian leaders came during a review by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Human Rights Watch said members of the UN recommended in February that Saudi Arabia attempt to improve the rights of the country’s female population.

Turkey: Women’s Groups Urged Mobilization on Gender Equality

Women’s organizations have called for gender equality education for all in society starting from the top levels, including the President and the Prime Minister, and down to the bottom, including private citizens, police officers, judges and prosecutors in the wake of a landmark European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decision that punished Turkey for failing to provide its citizens with bettter protection from domestic abuse. Hulya Gulbahar, chairwoman of the Association for Educating and Supporting Women Candidates (KA-DER) said society needs to be educated on the issue of gender equality to overcome domestic violence. “There must be gender equality education for the whole of society including the President and the Prime Minister,” she said speaking at a press conference organized by the TCK Woman Platform, which had successfully lobbied for changes in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) to protect women’s rights. Gulbahar added that all ministries should be mobilized to guarantee gender equality.

Pakistan: 56 Percent Women Get Share in Property

According to Gilani Research Foundation survey, 56 percent Pakistanis believe that women in Pakistan get their share in family property while 44 percent claim of women not receiving their due property share. A nationally representative sampleof  men and women from across the country were asked, “In your view, do women in your household or in families around you get their legal share as prescribed by the Islamic Law (Shariah)”? The data reveals that an equal percentage of both men and women believe that women in their family or in other families receive their proper amount of share as prescribed in Islamic Law. It is also seen that a proportionately higher percentage of urbanites that ruralites and respondents from higher income groups have claimed that women in their families or in families around them are given their proper share in the family’s property.

Uganda: Brides Pay Price of Being Bought?

The chilling story of Nathan Awoloi, a hunter from Palisa district in Eastern Uganda who allegedly forced his wife, Jennifer Alupot, to breastfeed puppies, has triggered Ugandan women activists into calling for outlawing the long held tradition of bride-price. Apparently, Awoloi claimed he had paid his two cows which were previously giving him milk to feed his puppies as bride price to his wife’s family, he reasoned that the bride should breastfeed his dogs. The bizarre incident has since led women activists to claim that the practice of bride price has dehumanized, enslaved and trapped women in the hands of men. They wan the ministry of Justice and parliament to push for laws regarding gender equality and bride price to change people’s attitude. The activists are convinced the practice is no longer fashionable.

Malaysia: More Women Choosing Entrepreneurship As Career

More women in Malaysia are choosing entrepreneurship for a career despite the various challenges they face such as lack of financial support and competitiveness in the market, Deputy Women, Family, and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun said. She said the government was concerned about these challenges and the relevant ministries has tasked to identify the factors which impeded one from progressing in business. Chew said 99 per cent of the small and medium enterprise companies in the country were involved in the services, manufacturing and agricultural sectors and women owned 16 percent of the companies, primarily in the services sector. 

OnlineWomenBulletin 07 June 2009

she said

” It would be my endeavor that I am completely impartial in my conduct and I will give opportunity to all members to express their views. There should be meaningful debate in the house. My election to this post showed India’s indication of giving women their due recognition. These are indicators of a genuine intention to make the position of women stronger in India.”

Meira Kumar, India’s First Woman Speaker of the Parliament

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India: Meira Kumar Becomes First Woman Speaker

Meira Kumar was unanimously elected the Lok Sabha Speaker on Wednesday, becoming the first woman to hold the post. While Congress president Sonia Gandhi proposed her name, and Leader of the House and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee seconded it, leaders of other parties—BJP’s L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj, Trinamool Congress’ Mamata Banerjee, DMK’s T R Baalu, SP’s Mulayam Singh Yadav, JD (U)’s Sharad Yadav, NCP’s Sharad Pawar and NC’s Farooq Abdullah—lent their support to her candidature. With no other candidates, Meira was elected unopposed amidst thumping of desks. She was escorted to the Speaker’s podium by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia and Advani. And in her first action as Speaker, Meira expunged the remakrs of RJD Chief Lalu Prasad and JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav as they engaged in verbal duel. Hailing her election as a historic moment, the Prime Minister referred to his association with Meira’s father, Jagjivan Ram, and said she possessed the wisdom, knowledge and experience which defined his personality.

Pakistan: Women in Parliament Push for Space

“Politics is no rocket science,” says Yasmeen Rehman, a woman parliamentarian in Pakistan’s Lower House, adding, “It is not as difficult as it is made out to be.” A new study by Aurat Foundation (AF), a women’s group that evaluates women MPs performance between 2002 t0 2007, is full of praise for female lawmakers. Rehman lead a group of 25 MPs as the most active on the floor of the house in making the most interventions. Women account for 21.6 percent of MPs in Pakistan’s parliament. In 2002, the figure was slightly lower at 21.1 percent. But it still compares favourably with the rest of Asia, where female participation in parliament was calculated at 17.8 percent, by the Geneva-based Inter Parliamentary Union. The global avergage was 18.3 percent in 2008. The year 2002 was a watershed in women’s political representation in Pakistan. For the first time, they got 17 percent representation in both the national and provincial assemblies based on nominations by their parties.

Indonesia: New Female Envoy to Ukraine Vows To Boost Economic Ties

Diplomacy was a man’s world until recently. Women, who constitute half of the world’s population, have slowly but surely made their way to the highest positions in diplomacy. Indonesia is no exception to this global trend. Indonesia’s new ambassador to Ukraine, Nining Suningsih Roechadiat, says gender is no longer an issue in modern-day diplomacy. “More and more women are joining the foreign service. Gender equality is very good in the Indonesian Foreign Ministry. We have three women in the highest rungs of the ministry now,” Ambassador Nining told the Jakarta Post  in a recent interview in Jakarta. Nining epitomizes an Indonesian woman. She is a religious person and wears Islamic attire. Like most Indonesians, she mixes religion with modernity. She sent her three children to the Netherlands for their education. She joined the Foreign Ministry in 1975, has worked in Britain and Singapore and has held several positions at the Foreign Ministry and the Office of the State Minister for Women Empowerment.

Lebanon: Quota or Not

When six women were elected to Lebanon’s 128-member Parliament in 2005, female representation doubled to an all-time national high of 4.7 percent. This figure falls for short of the 17.2 percent global average and ranks Lebanon 125th out of 136 countries in terms of female parliamentary representation. To rectify this representational imbalance, the 2006 National Commission on Parliamentary Electoral Law Reform (known as the Boutros Commission) suggested that each party list in the proposed proportional representation constituencies include at least 30 percent female candidates. When the Boutros Commission’s proportional representation system failed to be implemented in the Parliamentary Election Law adopted in August 2008, the proposed female quota was shelved. Abla Kadi, coordinator of a UNDP project, believes a quota for female candidates should be implemented temporarily. “We don’t believe in the quota as a permanent solution, but we believe that it will be a stepping stone toward accepting female representatives in parliament,” Kadi said.

Cambodia: Mu Sochua, One of Cambodia’s Precious Gems

When Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen publicly insulted an unspecified female politician recently, he got more than he bargained for. His implied target turned around and sued him. The prime minister’s insult might be considered typical in a country with continuing gender inequality, but that didn’t  mean Mu Sochua was going to take it lying down. For 20 years, Sochua has been a voice for exploited Cambodians. As the Vietnam War spread to Cambodia in 1972, the then 18-year old was exiled, with no chance to say goodbye to her parents, who later vanished under the Khmer Rouge regime. She spent 18 years overseas, studying and working in Paris, the US and Italy and in refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border. Since her return in 1989, she has been hands-on in rebuilding her homeland, first as an activist and now as a politician, focusing on women’s and children’s issues. “I had the choice of being part of the reconstruction of Cambodia and I took that choice,” said Sochua, a member of parliament for the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP), the leading opposition to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

Bangladesh: Special Budgetary Allocation for Women Development Demanded

Speakers at a pre-budget views-sharing meeting on Tuesday, called for special budgetary allocation for women development in the greater interest of mainstreaming them in the nation-building process. In this regard, they also viewed that withouth enhanced allocation in the budget, development of the vulnerable section of the society along with ensuring their legitimate rights could not be possible. ” There are no rules and regulations to obstruct women to take part in any social development work but the existing social practice has been blamed for creating the hindrance,” they said adding that emphasis should be given on creating a sound working environment for them as they constitute half of the total population. Rajshahi district and Rajshahi University units of Bangladesh Mohila Parishad (BMP) jointly hosted the meeting titled “Want specific allocation in the 2009-2010 budget for women development” at the conference hall of Gender Development and Resource Center.

UAE: Continue To The Path of Women Revivalism

The United Arab Emirates  reiterated before the world community, its determination to continue the march in the path of women revivalism. Addressing the annual full-day discussion of the Human Rights Council women’s human, the permanent representative of the UAE at the United Nations Office in Geneva Obeid Salem Al Za’abi said that since the formation of UAE under the presidency of late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the leadership of the country was fully aware of the fact the women is an equal partner in the process of national development. The leadership of the country, inspired by its faith in gender equality, adopted a strategy of empowering women in cultural, social and economic fields, Al Za’abi said.

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India’s Electrifying Women

In India, teams of “barefoot solar engineers” are bringing electricity to rural villages. The project—- part of a larger campaign to help Indian villagers be self-sufficient–trains women to build and maintain solar energy units. The solar power initiative is run by Barefoot College in Tilonia, a village in Rajasthan, India. Founded by Indian activist Bunker Roy in 1972, the college helps Indian village become self-sufficient and puts special emphasis on developing women’s skills. “Many have been inspired by women in nearby villages who left for Tilonia with hope and returned grasping the power of light,” reports by Sathya Saran in an article for Ms Magazine. “Most of the women are unlettered, extremely poor and often widowed or abandoned. But their eyes blaze with newfound confidence. “Rural women from India, Afghanistan, Ghana and Syria are trained at the college and then dispatched to train other village women—who in turn pass on their knowledge–to construct and run solar energy units.

Telstra Women Join “1 Million Women” on World Environment Day

Three (3) of Telstra’s most senior female executives are urging the thousands of Telstra women to join the 1 Million Women campaign to cut 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, CO2, in the global effort to tackle climate change. As Ambassadors for the 1 Million Women campaign, Telstra’s Andrea Grant, Group Managing Director, Human Resources; Holly Kramer, Group Managing Director Telstra Product Management; and Amanda Johnston-Pell, Executive Director Brands and Marketing Communications are uniquely placed to harness the power of two formidable resources—women and telecommunications—to help reduce Australia’s carbon emissions. As Telstra’s Head of HR, Andrea Grant says care for the environment is a Telstra priority and environmental initiatives have always been well supported by Telstra staff. Telstra is Australia’s leading telecommunications and information services company.

Climate Change is Sexist

Women make up 70 percent of the world’s poorest people, pointed out Sirkka Haunia, Finland’s chief negotiator. More women die in weather-related natural disasters. ” Seventy percent of subsistence farmers in my country are women,” said William Kojo Agyemang-Bonsu, Ghana’s chief negotiator. “When climate changes rainfall patterns, they will be the ones who will be most negatively affected.” There is no quick fix to overcoming climate change’s sexist tendencies. As several int meeting pointed out, it is akin to a running a marathon or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. “It’s a sad state of affairs when only 16 percent of the scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are women,” said a female  member of the IPCC, the body charged with assessing the state of climate change science for policymakers.

Climate Change Now “Biggest Global Health Threat”

Climate change is currently the biggest global health threat, a leading medical journal has said, noting that water scarcity, shifting food resources and extreme weather will drastically affect the world’s poor unless development efforts are stepped up. “We call for a public heath movement that frames the threat of climate change for humankind as a health issue,” said an editorial in The Lancet medical journal. “Apart from a dedicated few, health professionals have come late to the climate change debate.” The poor are more at risk from the connections between climate change and public health, explained the independent research organization, Worldwatch. The indirect effects of water scarcity, shifting food resources and extreme weather now cause about 150,000 deaths each year in low-income countries.

Climate Change Claims 300,000 Lives A Year, Report Warns

The “silent crisis” of climate change already claims an estimated 300,000 lives a year around the world with annual deaths expected to reach half a million by 2030, a report published in London warned. Rising temperatures due to the changing climate already affected the lives of 325 million people around the globe—a figure  set to rise to 660 million or 10 percent of the world’s population in 20 years’ time, the report by the Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF) said. Former United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan, President of GHF, described climate change as the “greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time”, at the launch in London Friday. “Climate change is a silent human crisis”, said Annan. It caused suffering for hundreds of millions of people, most of whom were not even aware that they were victims. The world’s poorest people, particularly women and children, were the worst hit, “although they have done least to contribute to the problem.” The report, entitled The Anatomy of A Silent Crisis was published ahead of preparatory talks in Bonn, Germany, on a follow-up agreement to the Kyoto Protocol which expires in 2012.

Climate Change Poses Threat To Mid-East Security

Climate change poses potential threat to security that could lead to conflict in the Middle East, a report presented Tuesday at the American University of Beirut (AUB) by Oli Brown of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), says. Brown co-wrote the report, which is entitled “Rising Temperatures. Rising Tensions: Climate Change and the Risk of Violent Conflict in the Middle East”. Brown said the report’s aim was to explore potential connections between climate change and conflict in the region and to generally raise awareness of the issue. He added that IISD had conducted fieldwork on climate change and conflict in West Africa, and that the potential linkages between the two issues were comparatively “more serious” in the Middle East than in West Africa.

Africa Plans New Strategies To Combat Climate Change

Six (6) months before the crucial negotiations on climate change in Copenhagen, African Ministers of Environment meeting here Friday attained a major milestone on the road for combating climate change on the continent. The Nairobi Declaration adopted at the just-ended special session of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) on climate change highlighted major challenges and opportunities in the negotiations for a more equitable climate regime. The Declaration provides African countries with a platform to make a strong case for support at Copenhagen 2009. The declaration reminded all parties and particularly the international community that increased support for Africa should be based on the priorities for Africa which include adaptation, capacity building, financing and technology development and transfer.

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Afghanistan: The Way Forward For Afghan Women

After thirty (3o) years of war and destruction, Afghanistan remains on the bottom of the human development index, with the worst social indicators among women. The way to empower women in Afghanistan’s traditional society is through enhancing their access to primary and higher education inside or outside the country. In the United States and Europe, women were not fully enfranchised as early as last century— until they were able to acquire higher education and became financially independent. Afghanistan has much to do to catch up. Indeed, Afghanistan’s economy could hardly grow on a sustainable basis without half of its population contributing to the reconstruction and development of the country.

Fiji: NGO Says Report Show Deterioration of Pacific Women’s Status

A women’s community organization based in Fiji says its report on women, peace and human security shows deterioration in teh status of women across the Pacific. The coordinator of Femlink Pacific says it’ll present the first quarter report for this year to a meeting of regional women’s community media networks. The meeting brings together peace women from Bougainville, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Fiji. Sharon Bhagwan Rolls says she hopes the report prompts Pacific countries to improve women’s security. “When we’re correlating the human security framework if you look at the issue of personal security of women closely linked to that is the issue of violence to women and the threat to women. So rape is high on the agenda of just some of the very real threats that women are living under. You know in Fiji in January the news was the gang rape of a young girl so those are just some of the issues that are coming through not  just from our own women media’s network but being reported through the mainstream media as well.”

Cambodia: Women in Health Battle

In Cambodia, five (5) women die every day because of inadequate health care during childbirth–making it a leading cause of death among women of child-bearing age. The government is trying to improve the health services but it is proving a long slow process. Lvea Village, in north-western Cambodia, is a collection of wooden stilt-houses along a dirt track, hectic with dogs, piglets and chickens. Most of the women there have been told to have their babies in the local health centre. So one woman , Low’t, went into labour recently with her ninth child, she made her way there too. Eighty percent of Cambodia’s population lives in rural areas and the public health system is weak. In recent years, the government has made it a priority to strengthen its network of trained midwives. They now attend more than half of all births–a significant increase. Many local clinics function better even if they’re still poorly equipped. But midwives are paid very little—and can be distracted by running private businesses too.

Bangladesh: Single  Mother Caned Over Paternity Row

A 22-year old unmarried Bangladeshi woman who was caned 39 times for alleging a neighbour was the father of her son is fighting for her life in hospital, police said. The case has shocked the impoverished Muslim-majority nation, with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ordering the woman to be shifted from her village home to the capital for proper medical treatment. Local police chief Moshiur Rahman told AFP that the woman, from Comilla, 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of the capital Dhaka, had angered Islamic clerics when she told friends that a neighbour had fathered her six-year old son. They called her and the alleged father to appear before a makeshift Islamic court, but the man denied paternity claim, Rahman said.

Philippines: Sending of More Women Peacekeepers

The Philippines will deploy more women for the United Nations peacekeeping efforts given this year’s UN theme of greater involvement of women in peacekeeping missions, according to Foreign Secretary Roberto Romulo. “Filipino peacekeepers are recognized by the United Nations for their outstanding performance and tireless commitment to maintain global peace and security,” Romulo said during the observance of the International Day of UN Peacekeepers at the Department of Foreign Affairs on Friday. He assured the UN that woman peacekeepers were at par with their male counterparts.

USA: Women Led-Firm Coping Better With Recession

Challenged by the economic downturn, Rachel Sapoznik knew she had to get creative. Sapoznik, wanted to continue growing revenue at her employee benefits business, but she wasn’t willing to cut staff. Instead, she needed to think strategic. She began looking harder for new customers, selling more products to her existing accounts and creating alliances with other firms who will recommend her services. “I’ve done everything in my power to be proactive, to be out there,” said Sapoznik, CEO of Sapoznik Insurance in North Miami Beach. “If I had debt, forget it.” Her strategy is in line with most women leaders in Florida. A survey released Thursday shows women-led businesses are surviving the recession than most other businesses, according to Florida International University’s Center for Leadership and The Commonwealth Institute South Florida. The reason: women-led businesses traditionally have taken on little debt and therefore have the flexibility to maneuver during tough times. Instead of going to banks for help, women leaders are overcoming challenges by using their own cash from operations to finance growth.

Asia: Women Workers Hit Hard By Economic Slump

Across Asia women are bearing the brunt of the global economic downturn as export manufacturers shed workers. The United Nations’ International Labor Organization and labor rights groups say Asian governments need to boost social protection programs for women and workers vulnerable to the global recession. Asia’s export-driven growth over the past 30 years had drawn millions of women into the work force, making consumer goods for the world. The work lifted families out of poverty and gave women greater independence and opportunities. Now the global economic downturn means tens of thousands of women are losing their jobs, as slow demand forces factories making everything from clothes to electronics to shut down. Kee Beom Kim, an economist with the ILO, says women in export industries the region are especially vulnerable to the current economic climate. Kim says the consequences are wide ranging.

 

 


OnlineWomenBulletin, 31 May 2009

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“Women candidates drew all the votes in the last category, showing that voters saw in women hope for a new direction in Kuwait’s politics. Now women have made it to the parliament and the government has to break the glass ceiling imposed on women and allow them to handle more responsible positions in the public sector.”

Dr. Nada Al-Muttawa, a women’s rights activist and academician, on her reaction to the result of the recent parliamentary elections in Kuwait.

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Kuwait: Results of 2009 Election Indicative of Change

The results of election 2009 are encouraging and are indicative of change, says Dr. Ali Al Baghli, former oil minister. Al Bahgli was talking to the Arab Times Sunday, sharing his views about Saturday’s elections. While, he said, women’s representation in the Parliament is a positive sign, the return of many of the former MPs makes him a little skeptical “as the threat of the old conflicts between the legislative and executive bodies is looming large.” It would be best for the MPs to act rationally this time instead of provoking HH the Amir to bring about another dissolution, which would affect the credibility of the National Assembly beyond repair.  About the successful bid of women to the Parliament, the former minister said it is a historic event, “and we hope there will be positive developments in the country following women’s entry into the Parliament

Bangladesh: Appointment of the First Female Police Officer-in-Charge

Recently, the government appointed the first ever Officer-in-Charge (OC) police station in the history of Bangladesh police force. Hosne Ara Begum was assigned as the OCC of a police station in the capital city of Dhaka and started working in her new position on May 18, 2009. Hosne Ara Begum started her challenging career with the Bangladesh police as a sub-inspector back in 1981. In her long 28 years of service, she had worked in many regions of Bangladesh, in different police jurisdictions and departments, including the intelligence Branch of the Bangladesh police. The Bangladesh police introduced its first female officers back in 1974, with only 14 officers. After 35 years, the numbers of female police members are now 1, 937 and among them 1,331 police constables the minor label member.

Solomon Islands: Campaign for Ten (10) Parliamentary Seats for Women in Full Swing

The Solomon Islands National Council for Women says a public campaign outlining why seats should be set aside for women in parliament is in full swing. The campaign is for 10 seats to be added to the existing 50 seat Parliament with elected women representing the capital, Honiara, and each of the 9 provinces. The Women’s Affairs Ministry last week launched a public campaign to inform the community about the plan. The council’s spokesperson Sarah Dyer says it’s important to get the information out as there’s considerable opposition to the seats, but she says this is based on misunderstanding.

Myanmar: Suu Kyi Marks Six (6) Years of Detention As Trial Continues

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi marked six years of continuous detention by Burma’s military regime today as she defended herself in court accused of sheltering an uninvited American. Ms. Suu Kyi (aged 63) insisted yesterday that she did not break the law. The trial in Rangoon, which is expected to culminate in a guilty verdict, has continued despite an international outcry that included unprecedented criticism from neighbouring governments in Asia. Ms. Suu Kyi’s latest term of house arrest was to have ended today, according to her supporters. The regime argues that it would have expired in November, but in any event has cancelled her house arrest order, apparently because this is required by law when a suspect is charged with a crime.

India: Kartanaka’s Women Panchayat Leaders Unite for Good Governance

Over 600 elected women leaders of village across Kartanaka’s 21 districts gathered on Wednesday to launch Sugrama—-a unique federation to secure their rights and further the interests of the rural communities that they serve. “This is history in the making. Sugrama becomes the first federation, not only in India but South Asia, to focus on the rights and interests of women panchayat leader,” Rita Sarin, country director of The Hunger Project told a packed auditorium at the inagural function. Sugrama is facilitated by The Hunger Project, in collaboration with Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL) International and Swedish Institute for Public Administration (SIPU). “The idea of Sugrama is to empower elected gram panchayat women representatives and bring about gender justice and equality in the society,” said Sarin.

Australia: Funding For Rural Women Leadership

The Federal Government has announced more than $1 million to help more women take on leadership roles in rural and regional Australia. Agriculture Minister Tony Burke revealed the funding under the Recognising Women Farmers Initiative, while attending the Australian RIRDC Rural Women’s Awards 2009 in Parliament House, Canberra. He said in its first 18 months, the Government had increased the representation of women on our rural research and development corporation boards from 20 percent to 43 percent, but there was much more work to do. “Women across the country are determined to help lead their communities through future challenges, including climate change,” Mr. Burke said.

Botswana: Political Women Urged To Use Media

Women in politics were on Friday urged to focus on issues at hand instead of concentrating on their political parties. Pamela Dube-Kelepang said this during a workshop that was held at Tati River Lodge aimed at exploring advantages that the media has on politics. Dube-Kelepeng said women are undermined because they have a tendency of shying away from issues that are to be addressed. “Lets’ give politics a try. Let them reject us. Let them write about us. Politics is a dirty game,” she said. She cited an example by Keabonye Ntsabane, who is fighting for women’s rights in politics though she is not active in politics. Thought it was the final leg of the training, after the ones that took place in Gaborone and Ramotswa, the participation was a disappointment. A handful attended but the BDP women dominated with their bright red colors. The women were equipped on utilisation, networking and inviting the media to their activities. They were also trained in writing press releases and taught on skills for reaching out to the media.

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Women, Your Planet Needs You

Women hold the answer to cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new campaign which aims to echo the women’s movement of the 1970s and harness female power to fight climate change. The plan may provide an antidote t male apathy: polls show fewer men are excited by the issue. The “one million women” campaign, launched in Sydney yesterday, aims to get at least one in every eight Australian women to join an online program of weekly carbon cuts. “We want to build on the unique strength of women, and we’re urging all women to use their networks to actually do something about climate change,” said the campaign’s organiser, cosmetics entrepreneur Natalie Isaacs.

Helping Women and Children Be Prepared for Natural Disasters in Uzbekistan

Through a partnership with the European Commission, UNICEF is seeking to reduce the risks posed by natural disasters and man-made disasters in Uzbekistan. More than 300 schools in 36 vulnerable communities are now working to assess and mitigate the risk of disasters. UNICEF has also delivered nine minivans to Civil Protection Training Centres in the nine regions to help extend the reach of the training programmes to remote villages. “This disaster risk reduction project began providing training equipment and other major supplies that have dramatically helpled support training sessions,” said the head of the Civil Protection Training Centre in Ferghana, Tokhtasin Yusupov. “This leads to greater disaster awareness. It is obvious that if local communities improve knowledge, experience and skills in emergency prevention and response, more lives will be saved.” Currently, the pilot project is focusing on Uzbek provinces that are most at risk. “Women and children are the most vulnerable in any disaster,” said UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan Mahboob Shareef. “We are helping people help themselves in some of the most remote communities and are boosting the government’s disaster-preparedness plans.”

Pelosi Says Climate Change Could Change US-China Game

Ties between the United State of America and China could be transformed by cooperation on climate change, US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, linking environmental concerns to human rights and the rule of law. Pelosi told an audience in the Chinese capital that the two nations—the world’s top emitters of greenhouse gases—must work together to fight global warming. “China and the United States can and must confront the challenge of climate change together,” she said at a meeting organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Beijing. “I think that this climate change crisis is a game-changer in the US-China relationships. It is an opportunity that we cannot miss.”

Forty (40) Killed As Cyclone Aila Hits India and Bangladesh

The death toll from Cyclone Aila reached 40 on Tuesday after it lashed eastern India and Bangladesh and stranded thousands in their flooded villages, officials said. The storm destroyed nearly 3,000 thatched and mud houses and toppled a large number of trees in nearly 300 villages across India’s West Bengal state, said Kanti Ganguly, a state minister. He said 34 people were killed in West Bengal. The cyclone also caused high waves to hit coastal areas in neighboring Bangladesh, killing at least six people, said a statement by Bangladesh’s Food and Disaster Management Ministry. The country’s leading newspaper, Prothom Alo, said tens of thousands of people were stranded as waters submerged their homes. With the storm weakening overnight, authorities restored train and air service and reopened schools in most parts of West Bengal state on Tuesday, Indian officials said. Ganguly said soldiers were deployed on Monday night to evacuate stranded villagers.

Climate Change To Kill Coastal Tourist Attraction in Australia

Super Cyclones. Heatwaves. Catastrophic coastal flooding in North Queensland. Ski slopes with no snow. This is the grim scenario being laid out as a warning to Australian tourism leaders as they plan strategies for the industry’s survival over the next 40 years. Some Australian and international scientists believe tourism will be critically affected by climate change from as early as 2030. But they say there has been little scientific debate on the issue in Australia and virtually no action. Climate change specialist Stefan Gossling, from Sweden’s Lund University, said some businesses had started carbon neutralizing schemes but there was little debate in the scientific community about the impact of climate change on Australia’s tourism assets. “Tourism will be more severely affected by climate change than any other (industry) sector because it is more reliant on climate,” Dr. Gossling said. “From the alpine regions to Kakadu, there will be significant loss of biodiversity and business operations.”

Leading Women NGO in Papua New Guinea Says People Are Dying of Hunger

The National Council of Women in Papua New Guinea says people of all ages are dying from starvation despite the government’s comments that nobody is lacking food or water. During a recent interview Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare stated that people in Papua New Guinea are not short of food or water. The President of the National Council of Women Scholla Kakas disagrees, saying Catholic Bishops, who work closely with the community has spoken of how people are actually dying from starvation. “This is spreading all over the country where there is urban drift from the rural villages into the urban areas into the towns of Papua New Guinea. And what is happening in Port Moresby is true; there are people dying of poverty.” Scholla Kakas says the government should send out officers to investigate people’s living conditions and confirm for themselves that people are really starving to death.

Uphill Struggle Boosting Disaster Risk Reduction Efforts

The Middle East has its fair share of natural disasters, but the notion of disaster risk reduction is new, and it is often difficult to persuade governments that funding it is worthwhile, experts say. “The region is affected by disasters such as drought, cyclones, landslides and earthquakes. There are earthquake prone areas in North Africa and the Jordanian Valley. Floods are also a common hazard and have been occurring more frequently in recent years,” said Luna Abu-Swaireh, regional programme officer of the Cairo-based UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). Rapid economic and urban development has also concentrated people in hazard-prone cities, where little effort has gone into boosting risk reducing capacities, she said. The impact of climate change is also felt, “Syria, for example, was severely affected by the worst drought ever (in 2008 and 2009).” In April, UAE had heavy rains and even very low temperatures on high ground, Abu-Swaireh said.

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Timor Leste: Resisting To Legalized Abortion

The predominantly Catholic nation of Timor Leste is under pressure from the United Nations for its law that penalize abortion, even in the case of rape and incest. The Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute reported last week that Timor Leste’s policies are being scrutinized by the UN committee responsible for overseeing compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Form of Discrimination Against Women, which will meet for its 44th session in  July. The country’s new penal code, which will take effect at the beginning of June, continues to penalize the practice of abortion, though it adds an exception for cases where the mother’s health is in jeopardy. A report from Timor Leste to the committee states that abortion is a “sensitive issue” in the country, “especially given the traumatic events of recent years” when a 24-year Indonesian occupation enforced family planning programs that were “widely resented” by the people.

Pakistan: Women Are Unpaid Family Workers

Urban men in the country, in contrast to urban women, spend five minutes more on economic activities such as house maintenance, care for children, sick and community services. However, rural women spend more time on economic activities as compared to rural men. Urban men and women spend more time on socio-cultural activities compared to men and women of rural areas. These are the findings of a time use survey. The survey is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Japan: Slump Causing Extra Hardship for Women

An increasing number of women are being directly affected by the current economic downturn, with some losing their jobs and places to live. However, this reality tends not to come to light because women are less likely to use consultation services or other support programs aimed at people facing such difficulties— highlighting the need to improve support targeting such women. A 45-year old woman from Tokyo, who has been doing clerical work as a temporary worker for more than 10 years, has spent some nights recently at all-night restaurants or internet cafes. While the woman used to be a regular employee of a company, she switched to working as a temporary so she could make more use of her English abilities. Although she had an annual income of more than 3.5 million yen, the contract on her last position was terminated when the economic situation deteriorated.

Afghanistan: Afghans Losing Hope Amid Declining Respect for Women’s Rights, MPs told

Afghans are losing hope in the future of their country as security deteriorates and women’s rights erode, a member of Afghanistan’s human rights commission warned MPs Tuesday. Soraya Sobhrang, speaking by teleconference link from Kabul, said respect for the rights of women is regressing in her country and conditions are coming to resemble life under the Taliban, whose extremist regime was toppled in 20o1. Ms. Sobhrang has been an outspoken critic of the Kabul government’s adoption of a law in March that legalized marital rape. After pressure from Canada and other countries, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has vowed to change it. “We are going back to something like the Taliban situation in Afghanistan,” Ms. Sobhrang, a commissioner focusing on women’s rights, told the House of Commons special committee on Afghanistan.

Fiji: The Bold and Brave Women

The Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre has been a pillar of strength for women in Fiji for more than two decades. It is a bold and brave non-government organization that goes the extra mile to give women justice. Not only the work it does is admirable, the people who work in the centre are brave and admirable. FWCC co-ordinator Shamima Ali said the four main pillars of their principles were human rights, democracy, rule of law and the Constitution. When there are breakthroughs, when resistance to women’s rights eases, when gender sensitive policies and legislation are introduced and when conservative forces start talking about women’s human rights positively, are some of the challenges FWCC works on says Ms. Ali. FWCC provides crisis counseling and legal, medical and other practical support services for women and children who are sufferers and survivors of violence committed against them by men. The centre is also involved in public advocacy and community education on gender violence.

Malaysia: No More Name-Calling For Husbands In the Proposed Law

Malaysian husbands who say their wives are ugly may soon face the heavy hand of the law, once proposed amendments to a local marriage act have been approved, a news report said. The government’s Women Development Department would be submitting a proposal for emotioanl abuse to be included in a 15-year old domestic violence act, said department director general Noorul Ainur Mohamad Nur. Noorul said the current law only protected women from physical abuses from their spouses, adding that emotional violence was just as harmful as it would scar a woman and lower their self-esteem, dignity and self-confidence. “It could be a case where her husband tell his wife she is ugly or humiliates her until she feels emotionally pressured,” she was quoted as saying by the Star online news portal. She said the proposed amendements would be tabled in parliament for approval, but declined to say when they would come into force or the penalties faced by the guilty parties.

Philippines: Woman’s Surrogacy Ordeal Highlights Lack of Legal Protection

A 31-year old Filipino woman who was promised $5,000 to carry a child for a Cypriot couple has been sent back to her country with only $1,000. The woman, whose visa documents showed she came to Cyrus to work as a housemaid, claimed she was forced into agreeing to bear the couple’s child and that she was threatened and made to leave the island fearing for her life. The woman’s half-sister who lives permanently in Cyprus brought the 31-year old to the island through a Cypriot agent on the pretext that she would work as a housemaid at a Stovolos house for four years. Meanwhile, the woman’s half-sister convinced her to become the surrogate mother for the Cypriot couple, who had promised to employ her in exchange for the $5,000 that she was told she would receive in full, regardless of whether she would be able to fall pregnant and give birth. The 31-year old alleges that she was forced to agree to this in order to pay off a debt to her half-sister. 

OnlineWomenBulletin 23 May 2009

she said

” The breakthrough in Saturday’s elections are the culmination of four decades of Kuwaiti women’s struggle for their rights and political participation. Frustration with the past two parliaments pushed voters to seek change and here it comes in the form of this sweeping victory for women.”

Dr. Massouma al-Mubarak, one of the four women elected to the Parliament of Kuwait. She’s also Kuwait’s first female Cabinet Minister.

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Kuwait: Women Won Four (4) Parliament Seats, First Time

Women have won four (4) seats in Kuwait’s parliament, the first women to do so in the Gulf Arab state’s history, official election results showed on Sunday. Kuwaiti women were first given the right to vote and run for office in 2005 but failed to win any seats in the 2006 and 2008 elections, held in Kuwait where politics is widely seen as man’s domain. There were 16 women among the 210 candidates for the 50-seat assembly in Saturday’s election. The official KUNA news agency said liberal candidates Aseel al-Awadhi and Rula Dashti came in second and seventh place in the third constituency, giving them both seats in the house. Former health minister Massouna Al Mubarak, who became the first Kuwaiti woman minister in 2005, and another female candidate, Salwa Al Jassar, also secured seats in Parliament.

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India: Four (4) Women Candidates Register Wins In Gujarat

Four out of five women candidates fielded by the two national parties–Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)– in Gujarat, have emerged victorious in the Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat. For the 15th Lok Sabha elections, Congress fielded two women candidates while three women from BJP were in the fray. While all BJP contestants won their respective seats, only one Congresswoman was successful. The BJP had fielded women candidates from the Kutch (reserved for SC), Mehsana and Surat constituency, while the Congress had put up women candidates from Dahod (reserved for ST) and Amreli. BJP’s Poonam Jat contesting from SC reserved constituency of Kutch defeated Congress’ Danicha Valjibhai with a margin of 71,343 votes.

Iran: Will It Get A Female President? 

 On June 12, Iranians will go to the polls to elect a president and this year there is a possibility that one of the prominent contenders will be a woman, Rafat Bayat. According to Kamran Daneshjoo, the head of Iran’s election committee, there have been some 475 registrations including 42 women. Women registered as candidates in the 2001 and 2005 presidential elections but were later barred from running in the final contest. This year things seem more hopeful particularly since the supervisory Guardian Council stated in April that there is no restriction on women standing. The final approved list of presidential candidates is expected within a few days, but Bayat’s staunchly conservative credentials should stand her in good stead with the selection committee.

New Zealand: Women Learn About Leadership

Leadership is not about holding positions and power, says a New Zealand renowned figures in politics, governance and public service, Dr. Marilyn Waring. She highlighted this when addressing a gathering of women who work in different government ministries, recently, “Leadership is a fragile and fleeting dynamic. “Those who lead to change from moment to moment, as our purpose and process calls to different experience and skills. But leaders are expected to be social,” said Dr. Waring. She advised participants that none of them should be intense to see discrimination of women voice as many women stood for the reason and women in the Solomon Island should also stood for the same reason. Dr. Waring explained that leadership is a great deal to do more process and to give in with the team. “It is about being available to make a final decision and putting in personal boundaries.”

Indonesia: More Women Lawmakers But Change Not Their Agenda

Indonesia’s direct legislative election in April was a resounding success for women candidates. But instead of rejoicing, activists and political observers say it is unlikely to help the cause of women’s rights. Titi Sumbung, Executive Director of the Indonesia Center for Women in Politics (ICWIP), says more women in the legislature are welcome, but the majority of female lawmakers lack political experience. The non-governmental ICWIP aims to promote gender equity in the country. “We are pleased with the result, especially because it was unexpected,” Sumbung remarks. “But it seems that women with a proven track record in defending women’s issues did not manage to win seats while actresses, singers and relatives of powerful politicians did.” Results of the April 9 poll showed a significant increase in the female legislators—-from 11.8 percent to between 17 and 19 percent in the 560-member House.

Lebanon: Where Are Our Women MPs?

Out of the 587 candidates running in the Lebanese parliamentary elections this year, only 12 are women. If half of the female candidates make it, which, judging by previous elections results and current alliances, is highly unexpected, female representation in parliament would amount to mere four percent. Increasing female political participation has been listed practically every single political platform, from Hezbollah’s to Future’s, but Lebanese women still show dismal numbers in parliament, something their sisters in many countries across the globe surpassed a long time ago. Of the 12 women who are running this year, only a few are listed on the tickets of political parties.

Zimbabwe: Play Active Role in Constitutional Process, Women MPs Told

Senate President Edna Madzongwe has underscored the need for women parliamentarians to play an active role in the constitution-making process. Addressing participants at a four-day workshop organized by Women in Politics Support Unit in Nyanga, the Senate President emphasized the need for women parliamentarians to unite so that, “Unity plays an important role and experience has shown that all successful liberation movements the world over used the principle of unity to attain their goals.” “Likewise, women parliamentarians need not reinvent the wheel in order to successfully participate in the constitution making process, but we need to unite and form a common front in order to articulate issues effectively,” she said.

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Climate Role Is Urged For Women

Efforts to tackle climate change must take into account the needs of women, who will be among the hardest hit by warming temperatures across the world, the Women’s Institute (WI) urged. Women also have a unique role to play in addressing the problem, in their position in-charge of households and as consumers and guardians of natural resources. WI leaders have called on the Government to give women a greater role in efforts to tackle climate change . The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) is launching a postcard campaign today urging ministers to take account of the needs of women in climate change policies and recognize the threats they face in the developing world.

Women-Led Recycling Initiative Wins An International Environment Prize

When young women group together they can make great, positive changes. Through her Bali-based NGO Bali Fokus, Yuyun Ismawati, and her followers  have created programs to help the environment and change the future of the island. They recycle solid waste into useful, profitable merchandise and have become actively involved in the waste management of the region’s ubiquitous pig farms. But these are just some of the planet-saving initiatives they are engaged in. Yuyun’s efforts to recycle began in 1996 and have earned her international acknowledgement as this year’s recipient of the Goldman Environmental Prize, complete with US$150,000. The Goldman Environmental Prize is an award dedicated to environmental heroes whose efforts to protect the world’s natural resources are increasingly critical to the well-being of the planet we all share.

More Women Think Warming Occurring

Women at Ohio State are more likely to think global warming is happening than men, according to a recent survey of 3,568 undergraduate students. The random, scientifically, valid survey conducted by Erik Nisbet, an assistant professor in the School of Communication, found that almost 93% of women agree global warming is happening while 87 percent of men say the same. More significantly, women attribute the cause of warming to humans more than men. Nearly 72 percent of women say global warming is caused mostly by human activity, while just 54 percent of men blame humans. More men say natural changes in the environment cause global warming and more men believe global warming is not happening at all. Furthermore, women are much more worried about the harm global warming might cause animals, people in the USA and their families.

Solahart Industries Urge Australian Women To Fight Against Climatic Change

A new movement of Australian women of all ages and backgrounds—from school children to celebrated elders and local community stalwarts to business and political leaders–has united to drive practical action on climate change. The 1 Million Women Campaign, which is sponsored by Solahart Industries, will engage, empower and motivate women to cut carbon pollution in their daily lives–through the home, food, shopping, transport and travel. The two-year national campaigns aims to recruit 1 million women in Australia to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 1 tonne each. This will stop 1 million tonnes of CO2 pollution from entering the atmosphere and will be equivalent to taking 250,000 cars off the road for 12 months–enough pollution to fill 2.1 billion wheelie bins or 20 billion balloons.

Living With Disasters in Bangladesh

The Fourth Assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that as many as 1 million people of Bangladesh will be climate refugees by 2050 due to sea level rise in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins in Bangladesh. In the short run, however, the report has predicted severe changes in weather patterns resulting from global warming, which would lead to increased frequency of natural disasters like drought, flood, tornado and cyclone in Bangladesh. Therefore, both in the short-run as well as in the long run Bangladesh will have to bear with the effects of climate change. Who is affected by this? The answer is clear—children are the most affected group, followed by women and the elderly.It is therefore, important to understand the impact of climate change from these perspectives.

India Gears Up for Battle on Climate Change Funds

The United Nations (UN) will release this week the negotiating texts for the December summit on climate change in Copenhagen, marking another milestone in the countdown to a grueling battle over the funds developing nations need to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The texts, to be relased by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), will be debated by ministerial delegates when they meet in Bonn, Germany, next month, one of a slew of meetings running up to the Copenhagen summit that will be attended by 190 countries. The pages of text will be scrutinized, bitterly disputed, erased, rephrased and bracketed many times over before any agreement is reached. A key issue is a proposal for “long term cooperative action” that would spell out the action to be taken by developing nations to reduce emissions. The mitigating action is to be funded by advanced countries held responsible for most of the emissions responsible for global warming.

Asia-Pacific Nations Agree To Protect Reef Network

Six (6) Asia-Pacific countries agreed Friday on a wide-ranging plan to protect one of the world’s largest networks of coral reef, promising to reduce pollution, eliminate over-fishing and improve the livelihoods of impoverished coastal communities. The agreement at the World Oceans Conference creates a voluntary management plan for an area defined as teh Coral Triangle, which spans Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. It accounts for a third of the world’s coral reefs and 35 percent of coral reef fish species. Several governments committed money to the plan during the two-day meeting including the United States, which pledged $40 million over five years. The agreement, known as the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security, follows a symbolic memorandum signed earlier in the meeting by government officials from 80 countries. It calls for improved efforts to protect oceans from over development and illegal fishing.

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Philippines: “Reduce Maternal Deaths”—UNICEF

The UN children’s agency urged the Philippines to do more to reduce the high rate of maternal mortality in the Southeast Asian nation. UNICEF country representative, Vanessa Tobin, on a visit to a Manila hospital where she saw babies being delivered, said the agency was puzzled why one woman dies every two hours due to complications from pregnancy and childbirth. “We need to understand why despite the available health care services, many of our pregnant women choose to deliver without proper care of skilled health workers,” Tobin said in a statement released to journalists accompanying her on the tour. Data from a 2009 UNICEF report shows a Filipina mother has a one in 140 chances of dying while delivering a child compared with one in 8,000 in industrialized countries. This translates to around 11 mothers dying every day or 4,500 a year due to pregnancy and childbirth complications.

Bangladesh: Sexual Harassment Ban Introduced

Bangladesh’s high court moved to plug a gaping hole in the country’s laws by introducing a first-ever ban on sexual harassment, an official said. The decision was immediately hailed by activists as a major step forward for the protection of women in the South Asian nation. Deputy Attorney-General Rajik Al Jalil said the new guidelines covered verbal abuse and physical attacks, including the sending of suggestive text messages. He said the ban was an interim measure until new legislation could be passed in parliament. Until now sexual harassment has not been considered a criminal act. “The high court laid down these guidelines to stop sexual harassment in education institutions and the workplace”, he said. No punishment had been finalized and each offence would be considered on a case-to-case basis, he added. Rehana Sultana of the Bangladeshi National Women’s Lawyers Association, who helped petition for the guidelines, said women in Bangladesh had often fell helpless and ashamed to speak out if they were harassed because there was no law to protect them.

Sri Lanka: Some 350 Mothers To Deliver Babies in IDP Camps

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) expects some 350 pregnant women to give birth in camps in Northern Sri Lanka next month where ferocious battle between government troops and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is still raging on. The agency said that thousands of pregnant women had fled the fighting zone and it is stepping up its health and safety mechanisms to handle the influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs)—-particularly women and pregnant mothers. “At least 3,000 pregnant women have fled the fighting in Northern Sri Lanka in recent days and some 350 will give birth in the next month,”. “Health facilities are overstretched but so far we are not aware of any maternal death. It could help further if we have comprehensive emergency care to treat and manage complicated pregnancies,” a UNFPA official said.

Viet Nam: Narrowing Gender Gaps

An increased role for women in society would promote their more active and effective participation in socio-economy development, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan said. The Vice President, who was speaking at the 19th Global Summit of Women in Santiago, Chile, emphasized that it was essential for global governments to create conditions for women to participate in politics, business and key economic sectors. Appropriate government policies would boost implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and the United Nations Millennium Declaration of 2000 intended to promote gender equality and empower women, she said. Viet Nam was among the first-ranked countries for women participating in business, the Vice President said. Viet Nam was also among the fastest of Southeast Asian nations in the alleviation of the gender gap and had been so for the past 20 years.

Afghanistan: “Women, Vital for the Future”—French FM

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in Kabul that there would be no progress in Afghanistan without its women, adding that things are “going better” in the turbulent nation. Wrapping up a three-day visit, the minister said he had noted an “admirable courage” among the Afghan women he met during his trip. “The future of democracy passes through women”, Kouchner told reporters. “Without the women in Afghanistan, there will be no progress.” The 1996-2001 Taliban regime denied women an education, and only the minority are literate. Most do not have jobs or income, with abuse rife although access to justice is limited. Parliament this year passed a family law governing practices in the Shiite minority that critics say obliges women to have sex with their husbands and limits their movements outside of the home among several issues. President Hamid Karzai has ordered a review.

Solomon Islands: Three (3) Women Graduated with Australian Prestigious Award

Three (3) Solomon Islands women will graduate with the Australian’s prestigious scholarship, the Australian Leadership Award. They are among few Australian Leadership Award (ALA) scholars who will also be graduating this year. Ethel Frances from Renbel province who is undertaking the Masters in Business Administration at the Queensland University in Brisbane, will be graduating in July. Louisa Fakaia, from South Malaita, who is pursuing the Masters in Public Policy (International Policy) and Jennifer Fugui, from North Malaita, who is doing Masters in Public Policy (Policy Analysis) both studying at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra, will be fnishing in November 2009. Fakaia and Fugui have already graduated with a graduate diploma in Public Administration in 2008 from ANU. The three women are the only females among a total of 16 recipients of the ALA scholarship from the Solomons.

Indonesia: Economy in Very Good Hands

Two women, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and acting Bank Indonesia (BI) Governor Miranda Goeltom, will take the helm of Indonesia’s economy over the next few weeks as the incumbent President, Vice President and many cabinet ministers will be preoccupied campaigning for the July 8 presidential election. Fortunately for all of us, the economy has performed exceptionally well so far during this highly politicized period, recording growth of 4.4 percent in the first quarter, much higher than most of other countries despite the global financial crisis and sharp downturn. Sri Mulyani will be leading fiscal management, but also, in her capacity as acting coordinating minister for the economy, trade and industry, oversees the government’s macro economic policies. 

OnlineWomenBulletin 09 May 2009

she said

“Kuwaiti laws that gave women the right to run for parliament are not against Islamic laws….this fatwa will harm women candidates adn the Kuwaiti people might be deceived by it. We are not going to stand still while this happens. Women should not be told what to do.”

Dr. Fatima Abdeli, an advocate for women’s rights, reacting to the call from the Salafi Movement to boycott female candidates in the 2009 Parliamentary Elections in Kuwait

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Kuwait: Female Candidates Face Pressure in Upcoming Elections

A crucial civil rights battle won in Kuwait when women were allowed to run for office and vote in 2005. But apparently much still needs to be done for women seeking a political role in this oil-rich emirate to prevail over religious conservatives. On Monday, the Salafi Movement, which believes in strict fundamental interpretation of Islam, called for the boycott of female candidates in parliamentary elections scheduled for later this month, reported the website of the Arab TV channel Al Arabiya. The group’s statements were condemned by civil rights groups in the Persian Gulf nation, which boasts one of the most democratic systems among neighboring kingdoms. Fuhaid Hailam, a Salafi politician, told the channel that voting women was a “sin” in Islam. He based his judgment on a saying by the prophet Muhammad, who reportedly asserted that a nation will not prosper if it is led by women.

Indonesia: Women Win All Seats in Borneo Province

Women have challenged Indonesia’s patriarchal political system with female candidates winning all seats in the province of West Kalimantan on the island of Borneo in a regional election. According to early results, Maria Goreti, Sri Kadarwati Aswin, Erma Suryani Ranik and Hairiah won all seats in a clean sweep for the regional representative council (DPD). The body brings together representative from each province and has the right to make proposals, submit opinions on legislative matters and monitor implementation of laws.

Philippines: Women’s Suffrage Day

Seventy-two years ago, on April 30, 1937, women of the Philippines were granted the right to vote and to be voted on. Since that day, women of the Philippines have blazed many trails and have become a true force in politics, business and other sectors of Philippine society. It is this right to suffrage which has made it possible for the country to have had two women presidents and the involvement of Filipino women as decision makers in all facets of national life. The 1935 Constitutional Convention limited the right of suffrage to male citizens because “there was no popular demand for the right of suffrage by Filipino women themselves” and the granting of the right to suffrage to women, it was claimed, would only disrupt family unity as the women became actively engaged in politics. But the proponents of women’s suffrage in the country were not deterred and argued that the right to vote would make them more interested in the management of the affairs of the government.

India: Lok Sabha Elections, Women Outnumber Men in Voting

In Mangalore, besides clocking the highest voter turnout in the State, Dakshina Kannada has achieved another distinction. Women voters have outnumbered men in exercising the franchise during the April 30 election to the Lok Sabha. An analysis of the official poll figures shows that 9,536 more women went to the polling booths than men. The statistics show that 5,12,336 women cast their votes as against 5,02800 men. Dakshina Kannada district has more women than men and women outnumber men in the electoral polls as well. In 2004 elections, however, men outnumber men in the electoral row as well. In 2004 elections, however, men outnumbered women in exercising their franchise,  In that election, 400,425 men voted as against 389,779 women in the constituency, which was then called Mangalore Constituency. This meant that 10, 646 fewer women voted in 2004 election. In the electoral rolls, however, the situation was reverse—there were more women then men on the rolls.

Iran: Women Call for Gender Equality Ahead of the Presidential Vote

Former lawmaker and journalist Azam Talenghani is one of two women to have announced plans to run in Iran’s presidential election in June. In the unlikely event Taleghani were to become president, she would encounter obstacles not often associated with a head of state. To attend state functions abroad, for example, she would need her husband’s permission to leave the country. If she were to testify before a court, her testimony would be worn half that of a man, and she would still not have have equal divorce or inheritance rights. This is because, despite her status as the holder of the country’s highest office. Taleghani would still be a woman, making her subject to the same forms of legal discrimination faced by all women in the Islamic republic.

Turkey: State Minister Complains About Poor Representation of Women in Politics

The state minister for family and women’s affairs, Selma Aliye Kavaf, who was appointed to the position last week, has said that although she was happy about being the second female minister in the Cabinet, the poor representation of women in Turkish politics is a big shortcoming for the country. In her first interview after assuming her new role, Kavaf told Today’s Zaman that it was extremely important for women to take part in decision-making mechanisms, explaining that she had made strenuous efforts to increase the participation of women in politics while she was the head of the women’s branches in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party). ” If you don’t work with cooperation in politics, you cannot achieve success,” Kavaf said.

Bangladesh: Women Representatives Feel Ignored

Female vice-chairman of Upazila Parishads throughout the country could not begin their jobs even after four months of their election as the government is yet to issue any circular regarding the newly created posts. The elected women representatives yesterday said at a programme in the city that even they have not been given any sitting arrangements at the Upazila Parishad offices while they are rarely allowed to play their roles in development activities in their area. They pointed out that the recently passed Upazila Parishad Bill aslso does not mention any guidelines for them. Bangladesh Mahila Parishad organized a view-exchange meeting at the Biam auditorium yesterday to accord a reception to the female Upazila Vice Chairperson of the country. A total of 300 elected women were present on the occassion.

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Five Challenges on Climate Change

The International Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction and Gender in Beijing, China last April 20 had Philippine Senator Loren Legarda giving the opening address, a rare honor to the country. She has been a long-time advocate for environmental enhancement in the international arena. The United Nations designated her regional champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific. Such credentials, as well as her involvement in shaping disaster risk reduction measures as a legislator, made her the perfect choice to give that opening speech. In the Beijing assembly, Legarda identified five challenges that must be met worldwide if climate change is to be tamed.

Women and Child Feeling Effects of Climate Change

The lives of women and children are particularly being affected by the growing problem of climate change, a United Nations official has warned. Deputy Resident Representative of the United Nations’ Development Programme (UNDP), Akiko Fujii, has stressed that changes in weather patterns have affected the physical growth and educational status of many children. “Climate change can have quite a huge impact on all aspects of human development. Climate change affects the entire world, whatever you do in Jamaica can affect the world, because we are living in the same planet,” Fujii told the Jamaica Information Service.

Rural Women Granted $660,000 for Drought Management and Climate Change

A Victorian Government initiative, which aims to support women in rural communities to help manage the effects of drought and climate change, will be extended $660,000 state budget boost. Addressing the Rural Women in a Changing Climate state forum, Premier John Brumby said the upcoming state budget would allocate the additional funds to the Rural Women Drought and Climate Change initiative until at least 2011. “Our Government is taking action to ensure women are supported to strengthen and sustain family farms, businesses and communities across Victoria,” Mr. Brumby said.

Carteret Islanders, First Climate Refugees

Cartere Islanders of Papua New Guinea have become the first climate refugees as they relocate to new sites to escape the effects of climate change on their homeland. According to PNG’s Post Courier, the islanders moved to their new homes, Tinputz, the relocation site last Wednesday to prepare the land for their families to move over permanently. According to the report, fathers of the first five families to relocate arrived on the shores of Tinputz, bringing along their sons to support them in the work leading up to the time when their wives and children will eventually join them. There were reports in the media earlier in the year and even late last year stating that the Carteret Islanders will be the first refugees of climate change and this has come to pass.

Maldives Island To Become World’s First Carbon Neutral Country

The Republic of Maldives, one of the countries most affected by climate change, has joined the Climate Neutral Network (CU Net) led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The action came in the wake of an announcement early this year by Maldives President, Mohamed Nasheed, to make the Indian Ocean Island nation the world’s first carbon neutral country in just 10 years’ time by 2019, a news release from the UN agency indicated. The ambitious objective, according to UNEP will be achieved by fully switching to renewable sources of energy such as solar panels and wind turbines, investments in other new technologies and sharing of best practices.

Climate Change Means Fewer Male Turtles

Things are heating up in Australia’s northern tropics, but that’s not good news if you’re a sea turtle. New research shows rising temperatures due to climate change will result in the feminisation of turtle populations, making males extremely rare. James Cook University researcher Mariana Fuentes said in just 20 years almost 90 percent of turtle hatchings will be female. “Basically by 2030 most of the hatchlings being produced are going to be female, ” she told AAP. “If you look down 60 or 70 years ahead if there’s no male turtles being produced it could be a big problem.” The research was conducted in the Torres Strait and northern Great Barrier Reef, home to the largest green sea turtle population in the world. The gender of sea turtle, as with other reptiles, is determined by water temperature.

Pakistan May Face Exceptional Climate Change

A UK-based climate change expert has said that there will be an exceptional change in the temperatures in Pakistan as a whole in the coming years, but that the province of Sindh, will be less affected as compared to the other parts of the country. Speaking to senior officials and heads of various departments of the City District Government Karachi on the second day of a training workshop on climate change, environmentalist Matthew Savage added that the temperature increase in Pakistan as a whole would be higher than the expected global average increase. Climate change projections up to the year 2080 were discussed at the workshop.

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Thailand: Gender Bias Still A Grim Reality

Thai women can take pride in equal participation in the labour force. But when it comes to pay, position and housework—-the Labour Day is only a reminder that inequality is still a grim reality for working women both at the workplace and at home. No, this is not whining. And if anyone dares tell you so, give them these facts: First on the home front. According to the National Statistics Office, the time women spend on household chores is almost two times more than men, although they both work. In the same vein, the responsibility to care for children and the elderly also fall principally on women’s shoulders.

Iraq: UN Report “Honor Killing” Rampant

The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) released a new report on the human rights situation in Iraq. According to the summary, gender based violence remains one of the “key unaddressed problems throughout Iraq.” Honor killings, female genital mutilation and even female self-immolation have occurred with problematic frequency over the last year. UNAMI has reported 139 cases of gender based violence 15 in the last six months of 2008 in five governorates in northern Iraq. Out of the total number, 77 women were seriously burned, 26 were victims of murder or attempted murder and 25 cases were cases of questionable suicide.

Australia: Government Commended for Action on VAW

Independent women’s think tank Women’s Forum Australia (WFA) today commended the Federal Government for its ‘zero tolerance” approach to violence against women. WFA commends the Government for acting quickly to progress the recommendations of Time for Action, the major report of the National Council to Reduce Violence against women and their children released yesterday. Only last month on International Women’s Day, WFA called for action that went beyond words and slogans to address the scourge of violence against women, which affects one in three and costs the Australian economy about $13.6 billion a year. WFA also made a submission to the National Council in August last year.

Pakistan: Violence Still Occurs Against Women

Corruption and unprofessional approach in the Woman Development Department during the previous governments has remained the major reasons for suffering condition of women in the province. In an interview to The Nation, Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto, provincial minister for woman development Sindh, disclosed that the cases of violence against women in the province were still occurring almost every week. She has tried her best to curtail this ratio but is still lagging behind in bringing it to an end in the province. “Corruption in the department during previous government has left us with shortage of funds for woman development, the provincial and federal governments are now showing reluctance over the issue of allocated budget of the ministry,” she added.

Vanuatu: Cervical Cancer Vaccination

A Brisbane team are working closely with the Vanuatu Government to trial a program for effective delivery of cervical cancer vaccines to schoolgirls in resource-poor settings. Headed by cervical cancer vaccine pioneer Professor Ian Frazer from UQ’s Diamantina Institute for Cancer, Immunology and Metabolic Medicine, the team is aiming to vaccinate and educate 1,000 girls aged 10 to 12 years of age in Vanuatu this year. “Having helped to develop the vaccine technology I now feel a responsibility to help ensure that the vaccine gets where it’s most needed,” Professor Frazer said. Cervical cancer, caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) kills around 270,000 women worldwide each year and over 80% of those are from developing countries such as Vanuatu.

Kenya: Women Fight Corruption With Sex

The Women’s Development Organization of Kenya, made up of 11 different women’s rights groups, has called for women across the country to impose a sex ban on their partners for one week to protest the political infighting in Kenya’s government. Sex, says the women’s group, is the one thing that cuts beyond tribal, political and class lines. The group even plans to compensate Kenya’s many prostitutes for abstaining. “Sex costs nothing and it excites the public imagination,” said Patricia Nyaundi, the executive director of the Federation of Women Lawyers also known as FIDA. And the ban has definitely excited Kenyans. It’s the talk on all the radio stations as well as the top story for the local newspapers. Men and women have weighed in to support or oppose the ban. Some call it courageous and just what the country needs, while others say it is against the tradition of African marriages, and that the ban is fundamentally unfair.

China: “Women Only” Carriages on Beijing Subway Mulled

A Beijing politician has suggested setting up “women only” subway carriages on the city’s crowded public transport system to curb sexual harassment and alleviate overcrowding, state press said Tuesday. “Beijing’s subway is so crowded during rush hour, and women are at a disadvantage in both strength and stature to fight for the limited space,” the China Daily quoted Wang Zhuo, a member of an advisory assembly, as saying. Wang is proposing setting aside the middle carriages for women passengers, elderly people and children due to crowded conditions on the subways, which leads to sexual harassment, the report said. His proposal is being posted on government websites for public debate, it added.

OnlineWomenBulletin 11 April 2009

she said

” A woman’s touch is needed in politics because women make difference. If there had been more female mayors, I am sure the cities would be much tidier, cleaner, planned and harmonic under their hands. Women can look at things with different eyes. Personally, as a Mayor, I look at a city as a mayor, as a mother and as a woman”

Ozlem Cercioglu, Mayor of Aegean Province, Turkey

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Woman’s Touch Needed in Politics

As one of two female mayors elected in city centers all around the country, Ozlem Cercioglu says if there had been more female mayor, the cities would be much tidier, cleaner, planned and harmonic under their hands. Former deputy, current mayor of Aydin, Cercioglu is elected from the Republican People’s Party or CHP. Most of the competitors in last week’s mayoral race were men, but two of the  rising stars were women. One of these stars is Ozlem Cercioglu, who made herself politically visible in Turkey’s male-dominated political sphere, where even innocent humor from a women’s organization hoping  for equal gender representation in politics ended up in court.

Catholic Women in Indonesia Run for Local Legislatures

Some Catholic women are running in local legislative elections in April, buoyed by Church encouragement for more women to serve vulnerable social groups in the male-dominated assemblies. “As a Catholic teacher and woman I feel called to do something,” said Aplonia Max Nae, 48, “As a legislator, I will be able to bring about change that benefits teachers, women and the society.” Indonesians will elect their local legislative assembly members for the next five years on April 9, the same day they elect members for the national parliament. Nae is running for the city legislature in Kupang, capital of Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province. In the last election, only one woman, a Protestant, won a seat in the 30-seat assembly . The 55-seat provincial legislature has only 6 women, all Protestants. Catholics from the majority in East Nusa Tenggara, but the Kupang area is predominantly Protestant.

Papua New Guinea’s Sole Women MP to Step Down

The only woman in Papua New Guinea’s parliament, Dame Carol Kidu, has confirmed she will be retiring before the next national elections in 2012. First elected in 2002, Dame Carol is at present the Minister for Community Development. But she has confirmed to Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program that she is not seeking re-election, as she is not prepared to compete with the way other candidates run their campaign. “So much money being used by few people, quite blatantly in the sense of bribery. 2012 is the end for me.” Dame Carol says she wants other women in PNG’s parliament before she retires.

Women Need Bigger Quota in Decision-Making Bodies

An increase in the quota for women in decision-making bodies is vital for the advancement of equality, a UN agency report released from the UAE has said. The international release of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Progress of the World’s Women 2008-2009 Report: Who Answers to Women?—-Gender and Accountability from Abu Dhabi on Wednesday was part of the country’s approach to national and international partnership, said UAE  Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Mohammed Anwar Gargash. Gargash said the UAE model of advancement of women has drawn praise from the UN and the world, especially in the fields of maternity care and childcare, education and employment. Dr. Moaz Duraid, representative of UNIFEM, said women are far less represented in legislative bodies in the world—there is only one woman against four male members.

Indian Women Politician in Waiting

Lured by the promise of the Women’s Reservation Bill introduced in the 14th Lok Sabha (Lower House), a larger number of women are seeking party tickets this time. But as mainstream parties begin to release their nomination lists, women are realizing that electoral politics in India still remains a zealously guarded male preserve. A hardy politician and a former Haryana minister, Krishna Gahlawat, understands this grim reality, as she knocks at the doors of Congress power brokers for a ticket to contest from the Sonepat Lok Sabha seat. “I have a strong case. I have been vice-president of the All India Mahila Congress for three years. Congress workers of Sonepat have told AICC observer Rajni Patil sent to gauge their views that I will win. But the final choice rests with the party,” she says.

Taneko Wants Women in Politics in Solomon Island

Member for Shortlands, Augustine Taneko wants to see fair representation of  men and women in the political party system. Mr. Taneko voiced this when contributing on the White Paper of the proposed Political Parties Integrity Bill in Parliament yesterday. He said this White Paper did not specifically addressed participation of candidates. “Political parties must be encouraged to include women candidates contesting in winnable seats and have certain percentage of them represented,” he said. “We should not establish a political party system which in the end results in the destabilization of our women counterparts.”

Women Still Face Obstacles in Entering Politics: IPU Survey

Prejudice and cultural perception about the role of women, together with a lack of financial resources, frequently hinder women’s access to political life, said a survey by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Parliamentarian delegates to the IPU’s 120th Assembly in Addis Ababa discussed the issue of women in politics while a study conducted by the international body during the past two years found out that men are still better positioned in the political arena. Researches interviewed nearly 300 parliamentarians in 110 countries in every region of the world, with most women respondents citing domestic responsibilities as the single most important deterrent to entering a life in politics, an obstacle rated much lower among male respondents.

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Need to Include Disaster Risk Reduction in School Management

Mr. Fabian Belieb, Upper East Regional Director of Education in Ghana, has stressed the need to include Disaster Risk Reduction in school management. He explained that during emergency situations, it is the vulnerable including children who suffer and therefore the need to prepare adequately to help prevent disaster. Belieb made the call at the opening session of a three-day capacity building workshop on emergency preparedness for basic school training officers in the Region on Wednesday. It was organized by Upper East Regional Directorate of Education and sponsored by UNICEF to assist personnel of Ghana Educational Service to increase their awareness in disaster risk reduction and help them build an effective methodology to introduce disaster awareness and promise action for disaster risk reduction in educational institutions.

Disasters Widen the Road to Slavery in Bangladesh

” The more the climate changes, the more destitute people are becoming,” said Ruhul Amin, who runs a non-profit agency that builds awareness in villages about trafficking and works with local authorities to locate victims and prosecute traffickers. “The poorer people are, the more vulnerable they are to trafficking, ” Amin explained. “With all this flooding, people can approach poor families and say “Look you have nothing here”, luring women and girls off with visions of a financially secure marriage of a well-paying job in Dhaka’s garment industry. The Human Security Network, a coalition of 14 countries that meets at the foreign minister level to raise awareness about a range of humanitarian issues, has warned that climate migration could cause still more trafficking.

2009: A Year of Change for Green Marketers

In the wake of an historic US presidential election, shakeups in Congress and an unfolding economic recession, advertisers will need to adapt to changing consumer expectations as well as a tougher regulatory oversight of “green” marketing claims. Fortunately for most companies, adapting to these new market realities means following a few basic principles. For those that cannot or will not adapt 2009 could get ugly—and expensive, selling the environmental attributes of products has been a niche marketing strategy for decades in the US but in recent years, green marketing has gone mainstrean. Fueled by growing media attention to global climate change and other environmental issues, the demand for “environmentally friendly” products and services has soared.

Climate Change “fans Nepal fires”

The forest fire that flared unusually viciously in many of Nepal’s national parks and conserved areas this dry season have left conservationists worrying if climate change played a role. At least four protected areas were on fire for an unusually long time until just a few days ago. NASA’s satellite imagery showed most of the big fires were in and around the national parks along the country’s northern areas bordering Tibet. Active fires were recorded in renowned conservation success stories like the Annapurna, Kanchanjunga, Langtang and Makalu Barun national parks. The extent of the loss of flora and fauna is not yet known.

New Zealanders’ Believe Climate Change is Real, Want Action

New Zealanders strongly believe climate change is real, want faster action. A new national survey of New Zealanders’ attitudes to climate change deals a major blow to those who argue it is not happening. Some 64% say the time has passed to doubt whether or not climate change is happening as a result of human activities. They believe climate change is a problem (76%) and its effects have already begun to happen (65%). A majority (53%) say they personally worry about climate change, according to ShapeNZ national survey of 2,851 people commissioned by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Global Crisis, Food, Fuel Shocks and Climate Change Threatening UN MDGs

The unfolding global financial crisis, food shortages and fuel price shocks and climate change could thwart the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by governments in the Asia-Pacific region, this according to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). These three threats are not only present at the same time but are also “converging” in so far as they are exerting a compounding impact on both developed and developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of Nepal Robert Piper said. “There is a need for comprehensive responses that balance economic, social and environmental considerations, for partial responses will only provide a temporary respite until a new major crisis hits the region”, the UN official said.

For the 40,000 Women in Sri Lanka, Tsunami Emergency Not Over Yet

Thousands of women in Sri Lanka are still suffering because of the tsunami. A little more than four years after the tragedy that struck the country, poverty is a daily reality for widows and mothers living in Eastern province. 40,000 women have signed the Women’s Memorandum, drafted by a dedicated committee promoted by groups including the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, presenting to the governor of the region their needs and the serious responsibilities of institutions. ” Our politicians and some of the media promised us that Eastern province would attain rapid development thanks to programs launched by the government,” the woman say. “Today because of the disaster of the tsunami and the situation of the war, we reject all of this because we know that nothing has changed in our lives. We still live with the same painful problems.”

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Violence Against Women Keeping Them Away From Politics

Women are making steady inroads into almost every profession in South Asia these days. Yet when it comes to politics, why are many women politicians not seen? The reason, according to an NGO, is violence—-more psychological than physical—against women in politics. Representatives of the South Asia Partnership (SAP), an international organization that promotes democracy through the civil society came together Monday to discuss the various aspects of this disturbing fact that has, until now, not been highlighted. Savitri Goonsekre of Sri Lanka said “Women participating in politics are victimized by both direct and invisible violence, which is one of the major influencing factors to obstruct their participation in governance.” “Character assassination, kidnapping of their children, rape and even murder of winner women politicians by opposition party members after losing elections, social boycott for being involved in politics, breakage of relationships, ill treatment by husbands—there are a whole lot of reasons which discourage women from entering the field,” she said.

Afghan Leader Accused of Bid to Legalize Rape

Afghanistan’s President, Hamid Karzai has signed a law which “legalizes” rape, women’s groups and the United Nations warn. Critics claim the president helped rush the bill through parliament in a bid to appease Islamic fundamentalists ahead of elections in August. In a massive blow for women’s rights, the new Shia Family Law negates the need for sexual consent between married couples, tacitly approves child marriage and restricts a woman’s right to leave the home, according to UN papers. “It is one of the worst bills passed by the parliament this century,” fumed  Shinkai Karokhail, a woman MP who campaigned againts the legislation. “It is totally against women’s rights. This law makes women more vulnerable.” The law regulates personal matters like marriage, divorce, inheritance and sexual relations among Afghanistan’s minority Shia community. “Its about votes”, Mrs. Karokhail said. “Karzai is in a hurry to appease the Shia because the elections are on the way”.

The Trade of Asia’s Girls

A baby girl, somewhere in Asia, her family has little money. Without prenatal care or medical help, she barely survives childbirth. Illness and hunger punctuate her childhood; she works for her family, maybe gets a little bit of school. What’s next for her? Girls and women throughout Asia find education is elusive and jobs are scarce, relegating many to find work in the sex industry, as overseas domestics or in sweatshops. It is not uncommon for girls in poor families to be sold; both for the money and to lessen the household burden. In her book about forced prostitution in Cambodia, Somaly Mam recounts how her grandfather sold her to brothel and her subsequent efforts to help others in the situation she ultimately escaped from. The organization she founded in Phnom Penh 13 years ago, AFESIP, has opened offices in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand to combat the regional trade of girls.

More Women Than Men in Top 10 of Philippine Bar Exams

Women have outshone men in the knowledge of law. Data from the Philippine Supreme Court showed that from 2000 to 2008, more female then male law graduates topped the Bar Exam. In the last nine years, there were54 women and 43 men who were included in the top 10 bar passers. In five of the nine years, there were more women than men who were included in the top ten. These are in 2008 (10 women out of 12 top passers); 2007 (nine women out of 12 top 10 passers); 2006 (six women out of 11 top ten passers); 2002 (six women out of 11 top 10 passers) and in 2000 (seven women out of 11 top ten passers). In 2005, women and men tied in the top 10 passers. The last bar exams in September 2008 had the most number of women topnotchers. Of the 12 topnotchers, 10 of them were women led by Judy Lardizabal from the San Sebastian College with a rating of 85.70.

Women: The Underrated Credit Plight

“Factories are closing everywhere—and now the women are being approached by sex traffickers asking if they want to go and work in the West.”—Jitra Kotchadet, union leader, Thailand. “I lost my job, I’ve been evicted from my house and my belongings confiscated by the landlord. Now I rent a small room with my husband and two children. We’ve had to cut our spending on food-Kim Sunheap, Cambodia. There, in two short quotations, is the female face of the credit crunch in the developing world. They come from a report by Oxfam International ahead of the G20 summit highlighting the devastating effect of the crisis on women and children in poorer countries. Research has also been published by the World Bank pointing to the severe vulnerability of women and girls as well as by the International Labour Organization (ILO), which predicted a bigger rise in female unemployment than male in many regions.

Attackers Target Women’s Group in Fiji

Fiji’s women’s rights movement has become the lastest victim of vandal attacks against prominent citizens who have voiced concerns about the country’s military regime. The organization’s Suva office has been broken into a targeted attack to steal a recorder used to store confidential information and conversations. The movement has openly voiced dissappointment that Fiji’s military government, led by Frank Bainimarama, has failed to hold an election more than two years after it staged a bloodless coup. Executive Director Virisila Buadromo said she believed the organization was the target of intimidation. “Women human rights defenders are often targeted with different forms of intimidation because of the type of work we are engaged in, promoting respect for and protection of himan rights,” Buadromo said in a statement.

IHK Women Worst Victims of Military Violence: Report

In occupied Kashmir, the women have been the worst victims of military violence during the last two decades. Several studies have shown that how the uncaring authorities and societal norms have multiplied their woes. The month of April brings back painful memories for human rights defenders in occupied Kashmir, reminding them of challenges of working in the territory. It was on April 20, 2004 when Kashmir’s first woman human rights activist, Aasia Jaelani, gave her life to uphold the cause of truth and justice. Aasia, 30, was killed when a taxicab carrying her and other colleagues from Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) was blown up after it ran over a landmine in Chandigam village in Kupwara district.