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Online Women Bulletin, July 5, 2009


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.


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.


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.

OnlineWomenBulletin, 20 June 2009

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“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.




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, 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.



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.

other news



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. 

59 Women MPs in India’s 15th Lok Sabha

A record of 59 women were elected to India’s 15th Lok Sabha, with a majority – 23 – belonging to the Congress party alone, the Election Commission said Monday.

In all, 556 women had contested the 2009 general elections.

While the Congress topped the list, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came second with 13 women being elected. 

The All India Trinamool Congress, Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) follow with four women each getting elected to the Lok Sabha.

The Janata Dal-United, Shiromani Akali Dal and Nationalist Congress Party have two women MPs each. 

The Telangana Rashtra Samiti, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Shiv Sena, DMK and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) have one woman MP each, according to the statement. 

In the 2004 polls, 355 women contested the elections of whom 45 won. 

In 1999, 284 women had contested the elections and 49 were elected. 

Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of 13 women MPs to represent the most populous state. It is followed by West Bengal with seven women MPs.

In Madhya Pradesh, six women parliamentarians were elected, while in Andhra Pradesh five women candidates won. Gujarat, Bihar and Punjab have four women MPs each.

Source:  http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?a=jfsvEijfiib&title=59_women_MPs_in_15th_Lok_Sabhat&tag=topnews&?vsv=TopHP2

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.

wip news header



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.




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.

other news



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. 

In Kuwait, Women Hope for Win at Polls


As Kuwaitis prepared to go to the polls Saturday to elect a new parliament, the third in three years, Aseel al Awadhi geared up for a round of last-minute campaigning.

Ms. Al Awadhi has become a political celebrity in Kuwait, with polls showing she has a good chance of becoming the first female to be elected to Kuwait’s 50-seat parliament.

Women were given the right to vote and run for office in 2005. So far, they haven’t been able to win a seat in this conservative Muslim society.

But this year, 19 women are running, out of 280 candidates, for Kuwait’s 50 seats.

The elections come amid political and economic paralysis in the tiny emirate, a staunch U.S. military ally and one of the world’s biggest oil exporters.

In March, Kuwait’s ruler, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, dissolved parliament for the second time in a year, blaming parliamentarians for hindering the nation’s economic progress. Lawmakers had pushed to question the prime minister, a royal family member. The ruling family considers the procedure degrading, and the government has in the past dissolved itself to avoid such a humiliation.

The political gridlock has coincided with an economic wallop to the sheikhdom. While Kuwait is rich in oil, its stock market has tanked amid the global economic crisis. And the economic crisis has fed the political deadlock. Some parliamentarians have pushed big rescue measures, such as a proposal to erase all consumer debt.

The government has resisted, instead pushing its own, limited bailout for financial institutions. That has fed criticism of the royal family, which — despite allowing elections and parliament — retains much of the trappings of an absolute hereditary monarchy, including the exclusive right to name the government.

Speculation has swirled that if the deadlock between lawmakers and the ruling-family-backed cabinet continues in the new parliament, the emir could suspending parliament altogether to push through needed reform.

Especially critical of the government recently has been an Islamic bloc of parliamentarians, who have managed to boost their seats in recent elections. They have increasingly challenged the ruling Sabah family, at times alleging corruption and a lack of transparency. The royal family has brushed off the criticism.

In this sea of political gridlock, Ms. Al Awadhi is seen by supporters as a calming force, willing to work with the ruling family, but also to pursue ways to revitalize Kuwait’s economy and education system. Two local, independent polls show Ms. Al Awadhi leading in her district, ahead of her conservative rivals.

At a recent campaign rally, fully veiled women sat alongside others unveiled in colorful dresses. Male supporters lounged outside, drinking Arabic coffee. Stylish, the 38-year-old Ms. Al Awadhi doesn’t wear a headscarf. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin and is a popular professor at Kuwait University, where she teaches philosophy and critical thinking.

“She’s the ‘in’ thing in Kuwait,” says Fatema Masoud, a 28-year-old volunteer for Ms. Al Awadhi’s campaign. “We need a good education and jobs, and we need someone to help us.”

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124243437674325831.html

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.




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 7 Feb 2009

she said

” Today the challenges that we face as women are not easier than the challenges we have been facing for decades. Women in Iraq have overcome difficulties while their men went to war (against Iran) in the 80’s and we continue to face challenges. God willing as we were able to overcome those difficulties and even though politics is new field for us, we will prove ourselves here as well.”

Abba Faraj, one of the almost 4,000 women candidates in the just concluded Provincial Council elections in Iraq.


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Iraqi Women Candidate Runs to Make Change In Her Life and In Her Country

The face of Islam Abbas Faraj, 36, isn’t among those on the campaign posters that blanket the walls of Iraq’s Diyala province, a stew of Sunni and Shiite Muslim Arabs and Sunni Kurds north of Baghdad. She’s a woman on a mission, but some things are just too risky. Last August, Iraq’s Shiite-dominated security forces raided the government compound where her husband, Hussein al-Zubaidi, a member of the Sunni Iraqi Islamic Party and the head of the provincial council’s committee, was sleeping. They killed the governor and hauled her husband away. They accused Zubaidi of connections to terrorism, and Faraj hasn’t seen him since. That day settled her fate: She decided to run for office and fill her husband’s shoes, to use politics to get him releasd.

Quota for Women in Indonesia Necessary

Whether a quota system to increase the number of women in parliament is needed is always a hotly debated subject. The Indonesian Government has made accommodations for a quota system, as stipulated in Law 10/2008 on the general elections. Article 53 states, “Lists of provisional legislative candidates submitted by a political party must ensure that 30 percent of the nominees are women”. Article 55 states, “The list must ensure that of every three legislative candidates, at least one of them is a female candidate.” Critics say the law is not strong enough to support a quota system as it does not guarantee women seats in parliament.  It is about securing women’s candidacy only. But even the latter may not work properly as there is no sanction on those who do not apply the 30 percent quota.

Women Still Largely Absent from Politics in Japan

When it comes to female participation in Politics, Japan lags far behind other nations. If Japan is going to catch up with the countries that boast a high percentage of female politicians, women must create a nationwide movement, according to panelists at a symposium advocating more women in politics. ” It is something that has to be fought for and refashioned by each generation”, Kari Hirth, an official of the Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo, said in a symposium held Saturday in the capitol sponsored by the Tokyo Alliance based, Alliance of Feminist Representatives.

Women in Pakistan Well Represented Politically

Information Minister Sherry Rehman highlighted the political progress of women in Pakistan, saying their representation in politics was higher than in some developed democracies. Sherry was addressing the Oxford Union Society during a conference on the under representation of women in politics—“where all the women?”. She said although the electoral politics in Pakistan had not matured to western level, Pakistan was a good example of being the first Islamic nation to have a woman as Prime Minister, referring to the late Benazir Bhutto. She said Benazir, as a student at Oxford, broke new grounds in 1977 when she became the union’s first Asian female president.

How Hard Times Help Women in Politics

When economic times get tough, research shows it pays to be a female politician. Women tend to attain office in times of economic hardship—which could help Queensland’s Anna Bligh on her way to becoming Australia’s first elected woman premier. Bligh, who gained the top job when Peter Beattie retired in September 2007, faces her first election before September. Queensland University of Technology PhD researcher Mary Crawford, who was labor’s federal member for Forde from 1987 to 1996, said the world’s climate and financial crises came at an advantageous time for Bligh. “Research suggests that while women politicians don’t pursue a different style, voters perceive their interests are different–that they are more likely to be concerned with the daily concerns of people, like jobs, food prices, education and so on,” Crawford said.

Increasing Women’s Participation in Government

Kenya’s poor record of improving percentage of women in decision-making positions has come under scrutiny, but its neighbours are doing significantly better. In 2007, a constitutional amendment that would have created 50 special seats in for women in parliament was thrown out due to lack of quorum to vote on it. The country came close to passing a law reserving positions for women at all levels of decision-making when such measures were included in a draft constitution drawn upon by a National Constitution Conference in 2003 and 2004. But the draft document was rejected in 2005 referendum—due to widespread dissatisfaction with the Kibaki government of the time rather than specific opposition to the clauses on women.

Field 50% Women Candidates in India’s General Election

The Mahila Congress Committee in India has demanded Party President Sonia Gandhi to field 50% women candidates in Chhattisgarh for the upcoming general elections. Akhil Bharatiya, Mahila Congress Committee General Secretary and state-in-charge Nalini Chandel told media persons yesterday that Mrs. Gandhi favored of maximum participation of women in politics. Ms. Chandel, who reached here to take part in Chhattisgarh Mahila Congress Committee’s Executive Meeting, expressed hope that the party will provide better representation to women in Lok Sabha polls. A demand was being made to provide five out of 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state to women.



Heat Wave Kills 60 People in Australia, Triggers Power and Transport Chaos

A severe heat wave across south-eastern Australia last week resulted in the deaths of more than 60 persons and precipitated a breakdown on electricity distribution and public transport systems in the states of Victoria and South Australia. In South Australia, at least 31 “sudden deaths” in two days were believed to be attributable to the extreme heat conditions. In the capital city, Adelaide, residents have already endured four straight days of temperatures over 43 degrees Celsius (110 Fahrenheit) with the level predicted to remain above 35 degrees Celsius until the end of this week. In Victoria, police said that at least 30 people had died from heat stress. The state capital Melbourne experienced three consecutive days of more than 45 degrees Celsius, the first time such a situation has been recorded since 1855.

Myanmar Cyclone and China Quake Drive Up 2008 Global Disaster Toll

Myanmar’s devastating cyclone and Central China’s earthquake drove up the annual disaster death toll, causing most of the fatalities and making 2008 one of the deadliest years for natural disasters so far this decade, the United Nations said. At least 235,816 people lost their lives in 321 disasters around the world last year, said UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR). “Almost the entire bulk of the deaths is explained by only two events, Cyclone Nagris and the Sichuan earthquake’, said Debarati Guha-Sapir of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, which compiled the figures for the world body.

Earth Hour, Two Months Away

On Saturday, 28 March, at 8:30pm local time, more than 1,000 cities across the world will turn off their lights for one hour–Earth Hour—sending a powerful message to decision makers that we want an international agreement to reduce global warming by the next UN climate meeting in Copenhagen in December 2009. “We all need to join this global environmental action to voice our collective concern about climate change and to show world leaders we are serious about securing a Global Deal on climate in less than 11 months time”, said Julia Marton-Lefevre, Director-General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Earth Hour 2009 aims to reach one billion people in more than 1,000 cities, including businesses, governments and communities. The campaign is expected to produce the largest-ever groundswell of public support.

Anti-Nuke Plant Rally in the Philippines Held at the House of Representatives

Environment groups, led by Greenpeace, staged a protest on Monday in front of the House of Representatives to ask lawmakers not to act on a bill that would fund, rehabilitate and re-open the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). House Bill No. 4361 or ” An Act Mandating the Rehabilitation, Commissioning and Commercial Operations of BNPP,” authored by Representative Mark Cojuangco and supported by Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, appropriates $1 billion and is intended to respond to the energy problems in the country. But Greenpeace campaign manager Beau Baconguis said that the bill did not only seek the revival of BNPP but also the establishment of a national commercial nuclear power program.

Global Glacial Melt Continues

Glaciers around the globe continue to melt at high rates. Tentative figures for the year 2007, of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, indicate a further loss of average ice thickness of roughly 0.67 meter water equivalent (m.w.e.). Some glaciers in the European Alps lost up to 2.5 m.w.e. The new still tentative data of more than 80 glaciers confirm the global trend of fast ice loss since 1980. Glaciers with long-term observation series (30 glaciers in 9 mountain ranges) have experienced a reduction in total thickness of more than 11 m.w.e. until 2007. The average annual ice loss during 1980-1999 was roughly 0.3 m.w.e. per year. Since 2000, this rate has increased to about 0.7 m.w.e. per year.

Brunei’s His Royal Highness Calls for Sustained Steps to Deal With Flood Aftermarth

His Royal Highness Prince General Hj Al-Muhtadee Billah, the Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office, yesterday called for more sustained efforts to deal with the aftermath of the flashfloods and landslides that hit the Sultanate last month. The Chairman of the Natural Disaster Council said there was much more room for all agencies concerned to improve their respective action plans in reducing the risks from disasters. His Royal Highness, addressing a meeting amongst National Disaster Council members, ministers and senior government officials, suggested the formulation of a short and long term action plans to ensure mitigation efforts cover all of the nation’s and public’s interests.

Pastoralist Grapple With Climate Change

As many as 250 million people in Africa may not have enough water to meet their basic needs by 2020 because of climate change, a specialist in poverty, environment and climate change said. “The day to day impacts of climate change, such as higher temperatures and erratic rainfall, are increasing many people’s vulnerability to hazards.” Charler Ehrhart, the poverty, environment and climate change network coordinator for CARE international, told policy-makers and representatives of pastoralists from the Horn, eastern and central Africa, at a consultative meeting on ways of mitigating the humanitarian effects of climate change on pastoral areas.


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Women Reject Polygamy, Choosing Divorce

An increasing number of Muslim women in Indonesia are choosing to divorce their husbands rather than continue in a polygamous marriage, data from national Islamic courts show. The courts recorded that in 2006 there were nearly 1000 cases of divorce resulting from wives’ disagreeing with their husbands marrying another woman, an increase from figures in prior years. Director for Islamic guidance at the Ministry of Religious Affairs Nasaruddin Umar said he believed the number of divorce cases linked to disputes over polygamous marriages increased again in 2008 and would continue to rise throughout 2009.

Progress on Gender Equality Will Mean Improvements For All in Society—UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon

Secretary General Ban ki-Moon today encouraged top government officials from around the world gathered in Guatemala City to push for greater progress on gender equality, stressing that women’s empowerment is key to realizing other major international development targets. “If all of you gathered here today resolve to put the rights, priorities and contributions of women and girls at the top of the development agenda, we can make real progress in helping all people in society,” Mr. Ban told the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Non-Alligned Movement on the Advancement of Women.

Exclusive Budget Slot for Women

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) of India will include in its budget for 2009-10, to be released on Tuesday,  a separate booklet devoted to the development of women and child. With an aim to bring women into the mainstream, the civic administration has charted out projects and policies to upgrade and fulfill the needs of Mumbai women. “As per the directives of the State Government, we have prepared a gender budget and it will be presented along with the main budget on February 3, ” Additional Municipal Commissioner Anil Diggikar said.

Iran Detains Women’s Rights Activist

A lawyer for an Iranian activist says police detained the woman while she was campaigning for equal marriage rights for women. The lawyer says Nafiseh Azad was detained Friday while collecting signatures for a two-year old campaign pushing  for equal rights for women in marriage, divorce and inheritance. Attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh said Sunday that collecting signatures is not illegal. Over the past three years, however, Iranian authorities have detained many women seeking equal rights.

Women Still Second-Class Citizens When It Comes To Treatment of Heart Disease

Women may have “come a long way, baby” in voting and politics, but not so when it comes to treating heart diseases. There is still a huge gender gap for women with respect to diagnosing and treating heart disease. Study after study, even within the past three years, has shown that women are not diagnosed as quickly as men, nor are they treated with recommended medications and procedures as often as men. And perhaps, that’s why when women are finally diagnosed and treated, they don’t fare as well. Cardiovascular disease kills more women than men every year—-and almost 10 times more women than breast cancer, according to the American Heart Association. So where is the advocacy, the indignation, the walks for a cure?

President Expressed Concern Over the Increasing Gender Inequality

Expressing concern over the increasing gender inequality in the country, President Pratibha Devisingh Patil of India urged the medical fraternity to follow highest standards of professional ethics and discourage “gender identification test” without any compromise. Delivering an address after launching the Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru “The International Hospitals” here today the President appealed to the doctors, “at no stage gender of the foetus should be disclosed.” Expressing concern over the increasing number of female foeticide, Mrs. Patil said it had created a challenge of social imbalance in the country.

Education, Key for African Women to Overcome Barriers

Liberia’s President, Ms. Hellen Johnson Searleaf  last week talked to section of women leaders from Africa and Asia on her experiences as first African woman President. In the first series of dialogues leading to an international colloquium to be held in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, she had interaction with women leaders under the theme, “Overcoming Barriers to Women’s Political Leadership”. The Liberian President, however, admitted there is serious limitation for women to excel in public life because of lack of education in almost all African countries, including her own Liberia whose illiteracy level stands at 30%, majority of those illiterate being women.

OnlineWomenBulletin 24 Jan 2009


she said

   “My ambition is to see a woman as Mayor of Baghdad. A woman is capable of doing anything she wants. She has the character of a leader, whether at home or as teacher.”

Amina al-Asadi, a primary school teacher running for a seat in Baghdad’s Provincial Council.


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Iraq: Women May Win Sits Not Rights in Poll

More than a quarter of the 14,431 candidates registered for Iraq’s provincial council elections are women, but voters see few women’s faces on the poster plastered across their neigborhood. College student, Fatma Imad said “Even if I want a woman, where are these women?” I don’t see any poster for women candidate”. In a January 31 provincial poll that will set tone for a national election due later this year, election law ensures women will be  represented: each party wins seats must give every third spot to a woman. But in a country that was once one of the most progressive for women’s rights in the middle east and where black candidates plan to run for election for the first time, female candidates say the quota gives them a little clout.

Indonesia: Government Backs KPU’s Women Quota

The General Elections Commission (KPU) announced that since they already have the government’s support, it plans to stand firm on its proposal that a government regulation-in-lieu-of-law be issued to ensure that a minimum number of women are elected in the national legislative elections on April 9. State Minister for Women’s Empowerment, Meutia Hatta said the regulation would provide a legal basis for the commission to proceed with its plans to support female candidates. “We have to understand that this is affirmative action”, Meutia said. “The Constitutional Court verdict was a step backward for affirmative action but we hope this move by the KPU will work”. Last month, the court struck down an article in the election law to establish a majority-vote situation, under which successful candidates would be elected based on ranks set by their own parties.

Pakistan: Women Councilors Demand More Representation

Women councilors announced that they would hold a protest in front of the Parliament House on March 8, the World’s Women’s Day, to demand increase in their seats in local, provincial and national assemblies. The announcement was made in a meeting attended by a large number of women councilors, City District Nazim Raja Javed Ikhas, Potohar town Nazim Nawaz Raja and Rafa Foundation Chairman Brig Oayyum  and others.Women Coucilors Network (WCN), which was established with the help of Pattan Development Organization arranged the meeting. The network is operational in 24 districts and 3,000 women councilors are its members. They were asking the government to increase women’s seats from 33 to 50 percent in the legislature. The increase in women’s seats, they said, would help women participate in politics at grassroots level.

Kenya: Women Were Sidelined, says MP

Women MPs have condemned the absence of females from the list of new ambassadors and from a top level team named to streamline the affairs of the Grand Coalition Government. The MPs said the appointments were a blatant violation of the 30 percent representation principle and called on the coalition principles to revise the lists. Addressing a press conference at Parliament buildings, members of the Women Parliamentarians Association, who included cabinet minister, Esther Murugi and nominated MP Millie Odhiambo, said women had to be involved in the reconciliation process.  The minister said that despite presenting a list of over 20 women for appointment to State corporations and ambassadorial jobs, none had been considered.

Liberia: UN Official Applauds Police After A Record Number of Female Officers Graduate

A record number of over 100 newly-trained women police officers, making up two-thirds of the cadets completing the training for the Liberian National Police (LNP) prompted a senior UN official to hail the progress made since the first batch of recruits passed through the gates of the National Police Training Academy for 2005. “LNP now has 3,800 officers trained in modern policing methods and techniques”, said Henrietta Mensa-Bonsu, the Deputy Head of the UN Mission in Liberia, speaking at the graduation ceremony. The total exceeds the initial UN target of 3,500 she added, including 150 new officers of which 104 are women, which takes the female representation in LNP to 449 officers or 12.6 percent of its current strength.

Ghana: Former Supreme Court Justice Appointed as First Female Speaker of Parliament

A  former Supreme Court Justice, Joyce Adeline Bamford Addo, has been appointed as the Speaker of the 5th Parliament of the 4th Republic of Ghana. She is the first woman to assume such responsibility. Justice Addo served at the Supreme Court for 16 years before retiring in 2004. The 71-year old legal gem started her early education at Ola Boarding and Government Girls’ school in Cape Coast, Central Region and continued to Holy Child High School also in Cape Coast. From there she proceeded to London to study law and was called to the Inner Temple in 1961 where she continued practicing her trade until 1963 when she returned home. On 27 December 1963 she was appointed Assistant State Attorney and later became Director of Public Prosecution, a position she had until she was elevated to the Supreme Court in 1991.

Bangladesh: Select Women With Disability as MP for Reserved Seats

Speakers at a two-day conference on the “Implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)” organized by the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) demanded steps to select disabled women as members of parliament in the reserved seats and formulate a committee on disability in the parliament to ensure the rights of people with disabilities. They highlighted the discrimination that the physically and mentally challenged people have been experiencing for the lack of a suitable law and for not implementing the UNCRPD. They also made some recommendations so that 10 percent of the population with disabilities can enjoy their rights property.



New Initiative to Strengthen South Asian Food Security

A major initiative to boost South Asian food security through crop development was launched last week in Manila, Philippines. The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) aims to speed up cereal production in a region where almost half of the children under ficve are malnourished. Announced by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the project will endeavor to develop and deploy new cereal varieties and promote sustainable management technologies and agricultural policies. IRRI says the goal is to produce an additional five million tons of grain annually and increase the incomes of about 6 million farmers by at least US$350 per year.

Research Uncovers Impact of Climate Change

An expedition to trap moths on Mount Kinabalu in Borneo in 1965 has helped to illustrate the growing impact of climate change and underlined the risk of extinction some species face. York University has now repeated the research and found that, on average, species had moved uphill by about 67 meters to cope with changes in climate. The work is believed to be the first demonstration that climate change is affecting the distribution of tropical insects—the most numerous group of animals on Earth–and represents a major threat to global diversity. PhD student I-Ching-Chen—first author of the new study–said, “Tropical insects form the most diverse group of animals on Earth but to date we have not known whether they were responding to climate change.”

Japan Launches Satellite To Track Greenhouse Gases

The first satellite devoted to measuring greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere arrived in space Friday after launching from the island spaceport in Southwestern Japan. The Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite or GOSAT, was deployed from the upper stage of an H-24 rocket about 16 minutes after blast off, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. GOSAT is also nicknamed Ibuki which means “breath” in Japanese. Scientists say greenhouses are akin to Earth’s breath. Greenhouse gases are produced by natural and human sources, including geological activity, biological activity and the burning of fosil fuels. Scientists believe greenhouse gases trapped in Earth’s atmosphere are responsible for rising global temperatures. Carbon gases can trap heat that would normally radiate into space, driving up the planet’s average temperature, according to climate researchers. That was the primary impetus behind the development of the $206 million mission.

Indian Ocean Due Huge Quake “in next 30 years”

The Indian Ocean could be due another massive earthquake within the next 30 years—one that could rival the magnitude of the one that cause the Indian Ocean tsunamin in 2004. Researchers made the prediction after studying corals, which show rings of growth from which past sea levels can be inferred. Earthquakes pushe the land up, depressing the sea level in the area preventing corals from growing upwards. Sea levels then rise as the land subsides, leaving the history of the earthquake imprinted in the coral growth patterns. The scientists analyzed coral growth over the last 700 years in the shallow reefs along the 700-kilometer “Sunda Megathrust fault”– a boundary between tectonic plates off the Mentawal Islands in Western Sumatra, Indonesia.

Vietnam Hosts Regional Workshop on Climate Change

Under the theme “Climate Change Adaptation in Land and Water Management”, experts from Southeast Asian countries and international organizations discussed recommendations for climate change adaptation and management of  land and water resources, which are under severe pressure in most developing countries. The pressure will be further aggravated by the impact of climate change. According to Danish Ambassador to Vietnam, Peter Lysholt Hansen, the one and a half day workshop is part of a Strategic Policy Dialogue process on Climate Change initiated by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Recommendations from the process will serve as input to the climate change negotiations in the upcoming 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the UN Climate Change Convention, scheduled to take place in Copenhagen, Denmark in December this year, he added.

Global Warming Threatens Forests, Study Says

Forests in the Pacific Northwest are dying twice as fast as they were 17 years ago, and scientists blame warming temperatures for the trend, according to the new study. The data for this research was gathered by generations of scientists over a 50-year period at multiple sites in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and southwestern British Columbia. Seventy-six forest plots, all more than 200 years old, were monitored by scientists doing some of the most rudimentary research—counting trees.

Tajikistan Earthquake Rumor Prompts Renewed Focus on Emergency Preparedness

Thousands of residents in Tajikistan’s capital city of Dushanbe went without sleep one night recently–kept awake by a bogus rumor about an impending earthquake. Non-governmental organization activists says the incident showed that Tajij officials need to improve both the means of disseminating accurate information, as well as enhance  natural disaster preparedness. The trouble began in early January when rumors began to swirl about the city that a major quake was about to strike. One particularly powerful rumor was that a respected, though unnamed scientist had pinpointed the time of the tremor, 3:30 am on January 10. Another rumor had it that a Tajik psychic had gone on Russian television and foretold of a major disaster.

other news



Schools in Goa, India Witness Gender Disparity

Although Goa boasts of one of the highest literacy rates–between 82 and 83 percent in the country—the state has some gender disparity in education in favor of boys, in the school age population in Goa, as informed by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) for Goa, However, it is now very pronounced, adds the survey. In all, 83 percent of girls aged 6-17 attend school as compared to 87 percent of boys in the same age group, the NFHS-3 informs, pointing out that in both, urban and rural areas, gender disparity in education in favor of boys 2-4 percentage points among children 6-10 years and 11-14 years age groups but increases to 5-6 percentage points among children aged 5-17 years.

Afghan Girls, Scarred by acid, Defy Terror, Embracing School

One morning, two months ago, Shamsia Husseini and her sister were walking through the muddy streets to the local girls school when a man pulled alongside them on a motorcycle and posed what seemed like an ordinary question, “are you going to school?”, then the man pulled Shamsia’s burqa from her head and sprayed her face with burning acid. Scars, jagged and discolored, now spread across Shamsia’s eyelids and most of her left cheek. These days, her vision goes blurry, making it hard for her to read. But if the acid attack against Shamsia and 14 others—students and teachers—was mean to terrorize the girls into staying at home, it appears to have completely failed.

Harsh War in Gaza, Harder Times for Women

It cannot be overstated how unnecessary and illegal this war is. Although Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza strip in September 2005, Israel still controls all of Gaza’s borders, its airspace and territorial waters. Following the Hamas victory in the Palestinian Authority elections in 2005, Israeli and international economic sanctions have been imposed, creating an ongoing humanitarian crisis and since 2007 Gaza has faced total collapse amid an Israeli blockade. The Gaza strip, therefore, not only remains under active Israeli occupation, but is entirely at its mercy. Israel is, and has long been, in flagrant violation of its responsibilities to the people of Gaza under the fourth Geneva Convention.

Women in Developing Countries Denied Choice

In Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel American Wife, the First Lady blackmailed by a former acquaintance into defying her husband’s anti-abortion stance and going public with her own pro-choice views. Leaving blackmail out of it, the incident is based on Laura Bush’s own short statement she believed in a woman’s right to choose. Abortion is as much more political issue in America than in Australia but there is one thing the countries have in common—both have banned spending government aid money on reproductive health. This includes abortions but also some forms of contraception, resulting in many organizations funded by the Federal Government being too scared to run basic family planning programs.

Gender Gap Found in Kidney Transplants

Women are less likely to receive kidney transplants than men, and researchers at John Hopkins have found that this gap primarily affects older women—even though they fare as well or better than men their age after a transplant. The researchers examined data from the United States Renal Data System, including a list of 197 patients who developed end-stage kidney disease from 2000 to 2005 and they calculated the likelihood of getting on a transplant list, adjusting for factors that would affect the patient’s survival after surgery. They found that women 45 and younger were as likely as men to be placed on a transplant waiting list. But as women aged, their chances of getting on the list dropped, getting worse with each decade, said the lead author, Dr. Dorry Segev, a transplant surgeon at John Hopkins.

Feminist Journalist and Activist Killed, VAW Still Nebulous in Nepal

Nepalese feminist Uma Singh, journalist of Radio Today FM was attacked by 15 armed men inside her house on the early evening of January 11, 2009 in Dhanusha, Kathmandu. Because of the gravity of the injuries, her body was disfigured. Singh died on the way to the hospital. Singh had been hosting “Garmagaram Chai”, a radio programme on violence agaisnt women (VAW). Singh often feature letters from listeners, most of whom are VAW survivors. Sometimes the stories of the survivors include the identity or background of the perpetrators. Singh was also an active campaigner, speaking about VAW in various communities. Her colleague, Jyotsna Maskay, programme coordinator for the Women Human Rights Defenders Campaign (WOREC) described Singh as “an active journalist and a woman human rights defender working on the issues of human rights and women’s human rights. Her tool of advocacy was through the radio from where she spoke about VAW openly with defiance”.

Federal Government of Nigeria To Establish A Gender Data Bank

The Federal Government of Nigeria is to establish a National Gender Data Bank (NGDB) that will document the required statistical data necessary for an effective national planning which will guarantee gender parity in public affairs and ensure sustainable national development in the country. The Director General of the National Centre for Women Development (NCWD), Dr. Aisha Usman Mahmoud, who announced this when the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Salamatu Suleiman, paid a working visit to the centre recently in Abuja, also stated that the project was expected to serve as an important tool for promoting and monitoring progress towards gender equality and contribute to the national quest for equitable development.




Making Governance Gender Responsive (MGGR) Training

Inclusive Dates: 23-30 July 2009

Venue: Asian Institute of Management Conference Center Manila (ACCM), Philippines 

Description: Making Governance Gender Responsive (MGGR) is a generic course that can be adapted and modified to suit the needs of the different countries. The goals of the training are: to enhance the participants understanding of gender and development and governance concepts, gain appreciation of gender-related governance issues and concerns, identify gender biases in governance, acquire skills in identifying and analyzing gender biases and concerns through case examples of strategies and practices to address gender biases, identify gender biases in the participants’ sphere of influence (a change management approach) and formulate action plans, both institutional and individual.  

For more information and to download the training’s registration form, please visit: http://www.capwip.org/training/mggr.htm


World Wellness Women’s Congress

Inclusive Date: 20-22 March 2009

Venue: Chennai, India

Description: This project is jointly organized by the World Wellness Open University (WWOU) in India, the California Mind and Body International Clinic and the United World for the International Protection of Children and Women’s Rights (UWICR) from USA and Germany. This Congress seeks to bring in women together to create social consciousness and to raise awareness about spiritual, social and economic responsibilities toward health, wellness and safety of women and their children all over the world. It seeks to provide a global platform for women of all nations, cultures and groups, especially those involved in social organizations, wellness and health to help solve the problems of poverty, safety and health and to establish an international network through committees that will be formed during the Congress which in turn will be directing and supporting wellness projects in continents and the next World Wellness Congress in 2010. 

For more information, please visit www.wwwcon.org or send an email to sec@wwwcon.org

2009 Sasakawa Award Call for Nominations

Deadline: 18 March 2009


Description: Nominations are now open for the 2009 Sasakawa Award for Disaster Reduction.  Nominees should be individuals and institutions from around the world who have contributed to building the resilience of nations and communities to natural hazards through innovative practices and outstanding initiatives. In its 20th year of being awarded, the Sasakawa Award has been updated to better reflect the Hyogo Framework for Action, to broaden the group of potential nominees, give greater focus to community-based work and advocacy, and to better reward those who produce sustainable results in disaster risk reduction. 


Nominations must be sent to isdr-sasakawa@un.org or visit http://www.unisdr.org/eng/sasakawa/sasakawa.html

Gender and Development (Gender and Organizational Change)

Inclusive Dates: April 20 to May 1, 2009

Venue: University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom


Description: This short course is aimed at individuals and teams working on ‘gender mainstreaming’ in the context of their own organisations. The focus is on understanding what needs to change and who does the changing. The course is participatory. Participants work in groups to design case studies rooted in their own projects and programmes. For example, in a recent training course (October 2008), a group of Nigerian Gender Focal Points from different government ministries, developed case studies on access to resources for HIV positive, rural, and trafficked young women and girls in Nigeria.


For  more information, please visit http://www.uea.ac.uk/dev/odg/prodev/goc or send email to odg.train@uea.ac.uk