Tag Archives: climate change

OnlineWomenBulletin 07 June 2009

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

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

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India: Meira Kumar Becomes First Woman Speaker

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

Pakistan: Women in Parliament Push for Space

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

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

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

Lebanon: Quota or Not

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

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

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

Bangladesh: Special Budgetary Allocation for Women Development Demanded

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

UAE: Continue To The Path of Women Revivalism

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




India’s Electrifying Women

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

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

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

Climate Change is Sexist

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

Climate Change Now “Biggest Global Health Threat”

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

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

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

Climate Change Poses Threat To Mid-East Security

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

Africa Plans New Strategies To Combat Climate Change

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

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Afghanistan: The Way Forward For Afghan Women

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

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

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

Cambodia: Women in Health Battle

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

Bangladesh: Single  Mother Caned Over Paternity Row

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

Philippines: Sending of More Women Peacekeepers

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

USA: Women Led-Firm Coping Better With Recession

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

Asia: Women Workers Hit Hard By Economic Slump

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




OnlineWomenBulletin, 31 May 2009

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

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

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Kuwait: Results of 2009 Election Indicative of Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Australia: Funding For Rural Women Leadership

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

Botswana: Political Women Urged To Use Media

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



Women, Your Planet Needs You

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

Helping Women and Children Be Prepared for Natural Disasters in Uzbekistan

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

Pelosi Says Climate Change Could Change US-China Game

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

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

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

Climate Change To Kill Coastal Tourist Attraction in Australia

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

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

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

Uphill Struggle Boosting Disaster Risk Reduction Efforts

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

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Timor Leste: Resisting To Legalized Abortion

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

Pakistan: Women Are Unpaid Family Workers

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

Japan: Slump Causing Extra Hardship for Women

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

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

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

Fiji: The Bold and Brave Women

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

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

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

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

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

Launch of Publication on Gender, Disasters and Climate Change


The Crisis Prevention and Recovery Team of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Centre, with support from the Australian Government’s Agency for International Development (AusAID), invited 38 people from more than 10 Pacific Island countries, multiple government agencies, civil society and non-government organizations (NGOs) in the Pacific to attend the Forum on the Gendered Dimensions of Disaster Risk Management and Adaptation to Climate Change held in Suva, Fiji on 21-22 February 2008. The resulting publication, “Stories from the Pacific–the gendered dimensions of disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change”, was launched at the Pacific Platform for Disaster Risk Management held from 11 to 15 of May 2009 in Nadi, Fiji, and synthesises the issues and outcomes form the workshop held at the forum’s interactive group discussions.

It presents strategies for integrating gender, disaster risk reduction and climate change into resource management programming in the Pacific, highlighting that successful strategies require women and men in rural and urban communities to be engaged in decision making at all levels. The report also provides an overview on the gaps, needs and opportunities for the integration of gender in the area of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Adaptation to Climate Change (ACC).

Issues and gaps identified at the forum include:

  • More research and greater understanding of how disasters and climate change impact on social structure and gender is needed
  • There is a need to translate complex climate forecasts for communities in meaninful ways so that men and women understand the impacts of climate change on their livelihoods
  • Culturally appropriate gender training is needed to combat some misconceptions about gender
  • Sharing Pacific research on gender and DRM/ACC with regional and international networks

The publication also explores ways in which expert practitioners in the region could collaborate in these areas, paying particular attention to understanding the gender dimensions of their respective fields. It provides a starting point for further discussion and exchange on these important issues. The UNDP hopes donors and development practitioners across the region listen to the Pacific voices included in this publication and use it as a tool to guide the substance and direction of future programming in disaster risk management and adaptation to climate change.

To download the document, please click here

Some photos during the activity:


Mr. Garry Wiseman, Manager of UNDP Pacific Centre



Stephanie Zoll, Disaster Risk Management Officer, UNDP Pacific Centre


Text and Photo from Ms. Stephanie Zoll

OnlineWomenBulletin 11 April 2009

she said

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

Ozlem Cercioglu, Mayor of Aegean Province, Turkey

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Woman’s Touch Needed in Politics

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

Catholic Women in Indonesia Run for Local Legislatures

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

Papua New Guinea’s Sole Women MP to Step Down

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

Women Need Bigger Quota in Decision-Making Bodies

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

Indian Women Politician in Waiting

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

Taneko Wants Women in Politics in Solomon Island

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

Women Still Face Obstacles in Entering Politics: IPU Survey

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



Need to Include Disaster Risk Reduction in School Management

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

Disasters Widen the Road to Slavery in Bangladesh

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

2009: A Year of Change for Green Marketers

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

Climate Change “fans Nepal fires”

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

New Zealanders’ Believe Climate Change is Real, Want Action

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

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

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

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

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

other news



Violence Against Women Keeping Them Away From Politics

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

Afghan Leader Accused of Bid to Legalize Rape

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

The Trade of Asia’s Girls

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

More Women Than Men in Top 10 of Philippine Bar Exams

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

Women: The Underrated Credit Plight

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

Attackers Target Women’s Group in Fiji

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

IHK Women Worst Victims of Military Violence: Report

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

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.


other news



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.


wip news header



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 

Online Women Bulletin, 10 Jan 2009


she said

“My first task is to improve the law and order situation and curb food prices. We have been voted to power by people with huge expectations and our responsibility is huge. We will meet those expectations”

Sheikh Hasina Wajed, President of Awami League and the first female elected Prime Minister of Bangladesh




Sheikh Hasina Sworn In as Bangladesh Prime Minister, Democracy Restored

Sheikh Hasina Wajed was sworn in as Bangladesh’s Prime Minister restoring democracy to the impoverished country after almost two years of rule by an army-backed regime. President Iajuddin Ahmed gave the oath at the presidential palace in Dhaka, in a ceremony broadcast live on television as thousands of supporters gathered outside and around giant screens set up around the capital. Hasina, 61 was greeted with rapturous applause as she entered the palace and took the oath in front of some 1,000 foreign diplomats, government officials and members of parliament. 

Egypt’s First Woman Mayor Takes Role in Her Stride

Eva Habil has just become Egypt’s first female Mayor but already she seems relaxed in her pioneering role as she strolls around her community clad in jeans and pink sweaters. “She will be a good leader, just like her ancestors”, says Jamil Guirguis, an elderly man wearing the traditional white galabiyah robe, who made a point of climbing off his donkey to greet the new Mayor. Habil, a 53-year old Christian lawyer, beat five male candidates, including her younger brother, to become Mayor of the predominantly Coptic Christian town of Komboha in Southern Egypt. The appointment of a woman to the top civic role in the community of stockbreeders, defying the trend in the increasingly conservative Muslim nation, was confirmed by the interior ministry in November.

Women in Turkey Face Major Obstacles in Local Politics

Although Turkey’s political parties have started to nominate candidates for the upcoming local elections amidst talk of increasing women’s involvement in local administrations, there has been a little progress in the cause of equality due to lack of implementation of gender quotas, the huge expense of standing as a candidate and the prevailing image of local administrations as a “man’s business”. Women’s representation in Parliament reached 10% following the July 7, 2007 elections but their involvement in the country’s local administrations remains low.

Women Lawmakers in Nepal Demand 50% Share of Nepali CA Chairs

Women members of the Nepali Constituent Assembly have demanded that women CA members be allowed to chair 50 percent of all the CA-related committees and parliamentary committees to ensure gender balance in constitutional making process. According to the Himalayan Times Daily, there are 14 CA-related committees and 10 parliamentary committees in the CA cum legislature-parliament. The women CA members came up with this demand in a meeting of all the 197 women members representing different parties. They underscored the need to form a caucus of all the women CA members to evolve a common stance on gender equality and issues to be incorporated in the new constitution.

Women Rules! New Hampshire Senate Hits National Milestone for Gender

Granted, the words “all men are born equally” were penned June 2, 1784, and since then changes were made to the New Hampshire Constitution to prohibit discrimination and section on the Legislature describes the role of its “members”. But maybe lawmakers say its time to update some of the wording nonetheless. After all, its women running the show now in Concord, marking the first time in United States’ history women make up the majority of a legislative body, in this case the 24-member Senate. Following the November election, the New Hampshire Senate went from 10 to 13 female members and the milestone has been getting a lot of attention.

Drop in Female MPs, A Cause for Concern for Women’s Rights Advocates

Various women’s groups in Ghana have expressed their concern about the abysmal performance of women in the recent parliamentary and presidential elections. Indeed, the number of women in parliament would be short by five, leaving only twenty, a situation that has dashed the hopes of Ghana seeing an increase in the number of women in decision-making. In the 2004 elections, 25 out of 100 women who vied for parliamentary seats won, while 20 out of the 103 women won in 2008.

House of Representatives Approved Women’s Magna Carta

The women’s bill of rights, passed on third reading at the Philippines’ House of Representatives, will help women take charge of many aspects of their lives, according to the bill’s proponent. Quezon City Representative, Nanette Castelo Daza, who chairs the House committee on women and gender equality, said the bill was the local translation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). “I am hoping that this bill will be enacted into law because this will serve as Bill of Human Rights of Filipino women aside from the concretization of the participation of women and their empowerment in all aspects of their lives”, Daza said in a statement. Under the bill, women will see to it that women are treated equally under the law. They will also be given equal access to education, scholarships and training as well as access to information and services on women’s health. They will also be granted equal rights on issues concerning marriage and family relations.


Global Warming Causing More Tropical Storms—NASA

Global warming is increasing the frequency of extremely high clouds in the Earth tropics that can cause severe storms and rainfall, according to a NASA study. The space agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said a study by its scientists “found a strong correlation between the frequencies of these clouds and seasonal variations in the average sea surface temperature of the tropical oceans”. “For every degree centigrade (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in average ocean surface temperature, the team observed a 45% increase in the frequency of the very high clouds”, according to the study.

Women Feel the Heat of Climate Change

Women are more likely than men be killed by natural disasters such as cyclones, hurricanes, floods and heat waves, which are on the rise as a result of climate change. A sample of 141 countries from 1981 to 2002 found such disasters kill more women then men or women at an earlier age than men. Girls and women are responsible for collecting water and fuel wood. In the poorest areas of the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, women and girls can spend three to four hours a day on these tasks. Flooding, drought and desertification can extend these burdens geographically, forcing more girls in more communities to abandon their education. Of the 115 million children in the world who do not go to school, 3/5’s are girls and women constitute 75% of the world’s illiterate population.

China’s Coal Fires Belch Fumes, Worsening Global Warming

The barren hillsides give a hint of the inferno underfoot. White smoke billows from cracks in the earth, venting a sulfurous rotten smell in the air. The rocky ground is hot to the touch, and heat penetrates the soles of the shoes. Beneath some rocks, an eerie red glow betrays an unseen hell: the epicenter of a severe underground coal fire. China has the worst underground coal fires of any country on earth. The fires destroy as much as 20 million tons of coal annually, nearly the equivalent of Germany’s entire annual production. Scientists blame uncontrolled coal fires as a significant cause of greenhouse gases, which leads to global warming. Unnoticed by most people, coal fires can burn for years—even decades longer—seeping carbon dioxide, methane and other gases that warm the atmosphere.

Himalayan Villagers on Global Warming Frontline

Temperatures in the Himalayas are rising by around 0.06 degrees Celsius (0.108 Fahrenheit) annually, according to a long-term study by the Nepalese Department of Hydrology. The rate is far above the global average given last year by the UN’s senior scientists, who said surface temperatures have risen by a total of 0.74 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years. On top of the unpredictable weather, other dangers are increasing in Nepal’s mountains because of climate change.

Australia Vows to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Australia pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 5% from 2000 levels by 2020 to help fight climate change, in a plan dismissed by critics as “global embarrassment”. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Australia could not afford to sit on the sidelines as the world risked environmental disaster caused by rising atmospheric pollution blamed for global warming. He said the government’s pollution reduction plan, which will include a carbon trading scheme due to start in 2010, was “one of the largest and most important structural reforms in our economy in a generation”. “By the end of 2020, we will reduce Australia’s carbon pollution by between 5% and 15% below 2000 levels,” he told the National Press Club in Canberra.

Seawater Science Can Help Climate Change Forecasts

A team of scientists in Singapore has come up with a new definition of seawater which is set to boost the accuracy of projections from oceans and climate. Oceans help regulate the planet’s weather by shifting heat from the equator to the poles. Changes in salinity and temperature are major forces driving global currents as well as circulation patterns from the surface to the seabed. Understanding exactly how much heat the ocean can absorb and accounting for tiny differences in salinity are crucial for scientist to figure how oceans affect climate and how that interaction could change because of global warming.

Artic Ice Melting at Alarming Pace

New studies being released this week indicate that climate change is exerting massive and worrying change on the Arctic region—reducing the volume of ice, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere and dramatically raising air temperatures in some parts of the Artic. The findings will give fresh urgency to international deliberations on the next global climate change pact planned for December 2009 in Copenhagen. The studies also will likely intensify international pressure on the incoming Obama administration to embrace major cuts in the emission of greenhouse gases in an effort to help stabilize global temperatures. NASA scientists revealed that more than 2 trillion tons of land ice on Greenland and Alaska, along with Antartica, has melted since 2003. Satellite measurements suggest half of the loss has come from Greenland. Melting of land ice slowly raises sea levels. The World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations Agency, is also reporting that ice volume in the Artic last year fell to its lowest recorded level to date.




Women Farmers in India Fight for their Rights and Identity

Women farmers, despite being one of the biggest labor forces in India, are still fighting for their rights and identity. In India, more than 84% of women are involved in agriculture and/or allied activities. The agricultural sector provides employment to nearly 4/5 of the total women work force in India. One third of the agricultural laborers are women and 48% of the women farmers are considered self-employed in the agriculture sector. According to a study conducted by GEAG, in Uttar Pradesh, 70% of the state’s population is involved in agricultural activities, making it a food surplus state. Women family members of about 80% small and marginal farmers are involved in agricultural activities, yet land holding rights of women farmers are a mere 6.5% out of which a majority of them (81%) go their land after the death of their husband, while only 19% got it from the mother’s side.

Rape Victim Presses Case of Police Abuse in Japan

An Australian woman who was raped by a U.S. Navy sailor in Japan in 2002 has settled the score, at least for the time being, with her assailant. “Jane” as she calls herself, filed a civil suit against her assailant, a Wisconsin man named Bloke Deans, after police here failed to bring criminal charges against him. In November 2004, she was awarded US$49,555 in compensation from Japan’s Ministry of Defense. Now she’s focused on what she calls her second rape by police officers at the nearby station where she sought help after the attack. The police didn’t literally rape her, but they asked her to re-enact the crime in a way that she says left her feeling doubly assaulted. She is seeking $182,000 in compensation. 


Domestic Violence on the rise in South Sumatra

Violence against women in South Sumatra rose dramatically in 2008, from 396 cases in 2007 to 568 cases, a year-end report from the Palembang chapter of the Women’s Crisis Center (WCC) has revealed. WCC Executive Director Yeni Roslaini Izi said that cases of domestic violence topped the list, with 210 incidence (39%) compared to 201 in 2007; followed by sexual harassment with 100 cases (18% up from 24 cases in 2007); child molestation with 69 cases (12%); rape with 61 cases (11%) and 47 sundry cases. Of the 210 domestic violence cases, abuses against housewives topped the list with 169 cases followed by 20 cases involving housemaids, 14 cases involving children and 7 incest cases.

The Vulnerable Housewives in Malaysia

Women have moved from those lease affected by HIV to those among whom the disease is spreading the fastest. While the number of men newly infected by HIV has decreased steadily in the past 10 years, the number of women and girls infected has seen a steep increase in Malaysia. While most men are infected through injecting drugs, most infections among women occur through heterosexual intercourse. What is sad, but not shocking, is the fact that the most at risk category of women are housewives. 

Gender Violence in Iraq threatens to undermine families and societies, UN warns

The top United Nations official in Iraq has called for the urgent establishment of a national legal framework guaranteeing the protection of women, warning that continued gender violence threatens to undermine the country’s families and society. “The situation of women in some parts of the country after years of conflict is very unsatisfactory”, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative Staffan de Mistura said in a message issued to mark the International Day on the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

 20,000 Maldivian Women Abused— Health and Family Ministry

More than 20,000 Maldivian women are subject to abuse of sorts according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Health and Family. Fathimath Yumna, Director of the Ministry, revealed that due to increasing number of cases of abuses and injustices being reported to the Ministry, as survey was undertaken in 2006 and that the results indicated more than 20,000 Maldivian women were subject to abuse of various sorts. She also revealed that according to the survey, one out of every 3 women between ages 15 to 40 are a victim of physical or sexual abuse. According to her, Maldivian women are subject to various forms of abuse from the moment of birth till death. Even elderly women and children are also subject of various forms of abuse and injustices by family members and others.

Gender Equality Progressing in Venezuela

The battle for gender equality proved successful in Venezuela in 2008, according to a parliamentary report claiming that 41.7% of women were nominated for public office. The chairwoman of the parliamentary commission on Family, Women and Youth, Marelis Perez said such figure is an evidence of the process of changes going on under President Hugo Chavez’ administration. Perez recalled that since 1999 gender violence is being fought with the Law on Women’s Rights for a Violence-Free Life, which was enforced in 2008 in 27 special courts. In a press report to the National Assembly, she pointed out that public policy requires social inclusion and better quality of life for women, included mothers in extreme necessities.


Making Governance Gender Responsive (MGGR) Trainings

Inclusive Dates: July 20-27, 2009

Place: 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  



 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