Tag Archives: gender in climate change

Engendering Climate Change

We are happy to announce our gender in climate change blog!

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This blog will provide data, information and other resources related to gender in climate change and disaster risk reduction.

If you would like your blog/web site to be included in our blogroll or if you want to contribute articles/announcements or photos related to gender, climate change and disaster risk reduction, please feel free to email us at onlinewomenregistry@gmail.com.

The blog’s url is http://genderinclimatechange.wordpress.com

Thank you!

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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.

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India’s Electrifying Women

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

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

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

Climate Change is Sexist

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

Climate Change Now “Biggest Global Health Threat”

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

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

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

Climate Change Poses Threat To Mid-East Security

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

Africa Plans New Strategies To Combat Climate Change

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

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Afghanistan: The Way Forward For Afghan Women

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

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

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

Cambodia: Women in Health Battle

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

Bangladesh: Single  Mother Caned Over Paternity Row

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

Philippines: Sending of More Women Peacekeepers

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

USA: Women Led-Firm Coping Better With Recession

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

Asia: Women Workers Hit Hard By Economic Slump

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

 

 


OnlineWomenBulletin 09 May 2009

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

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

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Kuwait: Female Candidates Face Pressure in Upcoming Elections

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

Indonesia: Women Win All Seats in Borneo Province

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

Philippines: Women’s Suffrage Day

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

India: Lok Sabha Elections, Women Outnumber Men in Voting

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

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

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

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

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

Bangladesh: Women Representatives Feel Ignored

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

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Five Challenges on Climate Change

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

Women and Child Feeling Effects of Climate Change

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

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

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

Carteret Islanders, First Climate Refugees

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

Maldives Island To Become World’s First Carbon Neutral Country

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

Climate Change Means Fewer Male Turtles

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

Pakistan May Face Exceptional Climate Change

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

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Thailand: Gender Bias Still A Grim Reality

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

Iraq: UN Report “Honor Killing” Rampant

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

Australia: Government Commended for Action on VAW

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

Pakistan: Violence Still Occurs Against Women

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

Vanuatu: Cervical Cancer Vaccination

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

Kenya: Women Fight Corruption With Sex

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

China: “Women Only” Carriages on Beijing Subway Mulled

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

OnlineWomenBulletin 11 April 2009

she said

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

Ozlem Cercioglu, Mayor of Aegean Province, Turkey

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Woman’s Touch Needed in Politics

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

Catholic Women in Indonesia Run for Local Legislatures

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

Papua New Guinea’s Sole Women MP to Step Down

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

Women Need Bigger Quota in Decision-Making Bodies

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

Indian Women Politician in Waiting

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

Taneko Wants Women in Politics in Solomon Island

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

Women Still Face Obstacles in Entering Politics: IPU Survey

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

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Need to Include Disaster Risk Reduction in School Management

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

Disasters Widen the Road to Slavery in Bangladesh

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

2009: A Year of Change for Green Marketers

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

Climate Change “fans Nepal fires”

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

New Zealanders’ Believe Climate Change is Real, Want Action

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

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

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

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

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

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Violence Against Women Keeping Them Away From Politics

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

Afghan Leader Accused of Bid to Legalize Rape

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

The Trade of Asia’s Girls

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

More Women Than Men in Top 10 of Philippine Bar Exams

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

Women: The Underrated Credit Plight

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

Attackers Target Women’s Group in Fiji

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

IHK Women Worst Victims of Military Violence: Report

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

OnlineWomenBulletin 14 March 2009

she said

“The challenges that women face in accessing politics are immense. Prejudices and cultural perceptions about the role of society are among the greatest obstacles to women’s entry”

Sen. Pia Cayetano, Member of the Philippine Senate and President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Committee for Women Parliamentarians

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Women Hold Just 18 Percent of Parliament Seats

Women hold just 18 percent of the seats in parliaments around the world, a 60 percent increase since 1995 but a long distance from equality with men in national legislative bodies, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) said Thursday in its annual report card. “We still feel that progress is slow”, said Philippine Senator Pia Cayetano, the President of the IPU Committee of Women Parliamentarians, stressing that on average fewer than one in five legislators is a woman. “The challenges that women face in accessing politics are immense,” she told a news conference. “Prejudices and cultural perceptions about the role of society are among the greatest obstacles to women’s entry.” During 2008, parliamentary elections and renewals took place in 54 countries and women’s representation increased to 18.3%—-up from 17.7% last year and 11.3% in 1995, the IPU reported.

Women’s Groups Slam Outside Pressure on Election Deadline

Soqosoqo Vakamarama, Fiji’s largest women’s group, condemns any “outside” attempt to impose an election deadline on the interim administration. Commenting on the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group’s (CMAG) decision on Fiji, the group’s general secretary, Adi Finau Tabakaucoro says Fiji is a sovereign state and as such, a decision on a general election date is for the government to make. She says if international entities like CMAG are setting deadlines for elections, then they should also provide resources for the interim government to help them  comply.

Women in Syria Play Growing Role in Opposition Ranks

Fida al-Hourani, 51, has become a heroine for the opposition since she and a number of other activists were sentenced last year to 30 months in prison on what observers say were politically-motivated charges. The only woman among 12 democracy activists to be sentenced in a trial that ended in October, Hourani was called “a star amidst eleven planets” by a commentator on an opposition website. The activists were convicted at the First Damascus Criminal Court on vaguely defined charges, including “weakening national sentiment” and “spreading false or exaggerated news which would affect the morale of the country”. During the defense phase of the trial, Hourani called for greater freedom in Syria.

Financial Constrainst Push Women Out of Politics

The First National Vice Chairperson of the Ghana’s Convention People’s Party (CPP), Mrs. Araba Bentsi-Enchill, has observed that financial constraint is a major obstacle to women’s active involvement in politics. According to her, the spirit of volunteerism that characterized politics some decades ago has dwindled and therefore politicians have to pay for every service that is offered them by individuals when they go on campaigns and that is pushing a lot of women out of politics. Recognizing the role of women during the independence struggle, she said some women played vital roles, adding that most women who entered politics in the First Republic were not literate but were traders or market women who financed political party activities and supported their male counterparts.

Delegation Represents Iran in UN Conference on Women

An Iranian delegation has participated in the 53rd session of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women which opened Tuesday in New York USA. The five-member delegation is led by Elham Aminzadeh who is the aide to the Iranian foreign minister for women’s affairs. The world even this year is focusing on the theme of AIDS and the way it affects women. Talking in the opening ceremony of the event, Aminzadeh said Iran wasready to share its scientific achievements in the area with the international community. She said Iranian scientists have already gained very remarkable achievements in fighting AIDS and some of their studies have even resulted in discovery of a medicine which could control the disease.

The Philippines Has the Most Number of Women in Top Posts

The Philippines ranked first globally in terms of having the most number of women in senior management positions in corporations, based on a survey conducted by accountancy and advisory firm Grant Thornton International. The survey, which covered 7,200 privately held businosses (PHBs) in 36 economies, said 47 percent of senior corporate posts in the Philippines are currently occupied by women. This way above the global average of 24 percent. Tailing the Philippines at second spot is Russia with 42 percent, followed by Thailand with 38 percent, Poland with 32 percent and China with 31 percent.

Women Members Playing Active Role in Pakistan’s Parliament

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rahman said on Thursday that women members of the National Assembly of Pakistan have proved that they were active in the House as the male legislators. Speaking as chief guest at the launch of “Five Years Report on Performance of Women Parliamentarians in the 12th National Assembly”, Rahman said that the book was a pioneering effort to highlight the role of women MNAs . She said it was a great achievement that 17 percent women parliamentarians moved 42 percent of the total private members bills in the House.

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Women Embrace Earth Hour, Men Find It A Turn-Off

Almost two-thirds of women took part in Earth Hour but men, especially those aged over 55, were less convinced by the event, new research shows. More than a third of Australians were influenced by Earth Hour to lessen impact on the environment, according to a survey of almost 3,400 adults in the days after March 30, when people were asked to turn off their lights and appliances in recognition of need for action against human-induced climate change. Similar research in the United States showed 36 million people or 16 percent of the population, joined in the World Wide Fund for Nature event, as did 49 percent of Canadians, including 85 percent in the nation’s biggest city, Toronto. Australian households with children were more likely to switch off power. Single people living alone were the least interested, although just over half still took part.

Coming Soon: Mass Migrations Spurred by Climate Change

A growing body of evidence, including analyses from military experts in the United State and Europe, supports the estimate that by mid-century, climate change will make vast parts of Africa and Asia uninhabitable. Analysts say it could trigger a migration the size of which the world has never before seen. Some of the big questions remain unanswered: How many people will really move? Where will they go? How will they go? Will they return? But experts estimate that as many as 250 million people—a population almost that of the entire United States—could be on the move by 2050. They will go because temperatures are rising and desertification has set in where rainfall is needed most. They will go because more potent monsoons are making flood-prone areas worse. They will go because of other water events caused by melting glaciers, rising seas and the slow and deadly seepage of saline water into their wells and fields.

Kazakhstan Parliament Approves Kyoto Protocol

The Kazakh parliamen approved the Kyoto Protocol on fighting global warming making it the last signatory to the UN-led treaty to ratify the measures other than the United States. Kazakhstan, whose economic growth over the past decade had been the strongest in Central Asia, had resisted ratifying the landmark climate change conventions. “This is an important step for Kazakhstan. For ten years we couldn’t reach a decision, because for the past ten years the government had more important things to consider, like the financial code”, Environment Minister Nurlan Iskakov said, “But these ten years didn’t pass in vain. Now the document will be sent to the president for him to sign and if he passess it into law it will attract more investments to the country.”

Gender Equality Can Save Lives

At a meeting at the end of this year for a critical UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen, attendees should bear in mind that the mortality rate for women during climate-related natural disasters is an average of 14 times higher than for men, gender-rights group say “Existing inequalities determine who is dying,”, said Rebecca Pearl, coordinator of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance. After the 2004 Asian tsunami, the level of women’s mortality was in the range of 55 to 80 percent, with Indonesia the hardest-hit. Meanwhile, recovery grants often went only to male heads of households because most women didn’t own any land. In 1998, when severe flash floods hit Bangladesh, women’s mortality reached 90 percent. “The reasons behind this are that women were not taught how to swim, and they were not allowed to leave their households. So when the flood happened and their men weren’t there, they didn’t want to leave their children behind or their culture didn’t permit them to leave their households without their husbands,” Pearl said.

Flooding, Food and Climate Change in Bangladesh

In Gabura, Bangladesh, the dam burst before dawn. The men of the village knew it could happen. All day and night they trudged by the hundreds, shirtless and shoeless, up a slippery hill, hauling baskets of mud on their heads. It was Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of daylong fasts. But the men had only a few hours to try to strengthen the mushy barrier that protected their homes from the dangerously rising tide. Together, in between grueling shifts, they broke fast and prayed for mud to hold. When the dam finally collapsed, there was nothing to do but run. Water risks are a part of life in this low-lying country dominated by the reaches of Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers. But scientists and environmental activists said the September flood, which happened during a lunar high tide, was deeply unusual for the time of the year. Even more worrisome they say, is that climate change is making the unusual more routine. Locals say the result is a massive upheaval of traditional village life.

The World’s Water and Climate Change

World water supplies may be severely stressed in coming decades because of global climate change linked to the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. The US West is one of the places that has the most to lose with water scarcity, but many other regions around the world will face similar challenges. Here are some facts and projections on water and climate change—Temperatures are likely to rise by between 1.1 to 6.4 celsius (2.0 and 11.5 Fahrenheit) and sea levels by between 18 cm and 59 cm (7 inches and 23 inches) this century, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on climate change—Climate Change model simulations for the 21st century see increased precipitation at hight latitudes and tropical areas; decreased rainfall in sub-tropical regions.

Asia Needs to Change Climate Policy Game

Asia needs to wake up to the threat of global warming and take a leading role in climate change negotiations or risk having rich nations dictate policies to curb carbon emissions, a leading policy expert said on Friday. Simon Tay, Schwartz Fellow of the US-based Asia Society, said the current UN climate negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol had become bogged down because of deep differences between rich and poor nations on how to fight climate change. “When we look at the Kyoto regime it cannot seem to work just because it is limited to only Annex 1 developed countries,” say Tay, who is also chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. Under Kyoto’s first phase, only 37 industrialized nations are committed to cutting emissions by an average of about 5 percent from 1990 levels between 2008-2012.

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Afghan Women Slowly Gaining Protection

Since the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001, a more egalitarian notion of women’s rights has begun to take hold, founded in the country’s new Constitution and promoted by the newly created Ministry of Women’s Affairs and a small community of women’s advocates. The problems they are confronting are deeply ingrained in a culture that has been mainly governed by tribal law. “Simply put, this is a patriarchal society,” said Manizha Naderi, Director of Afghan Women, one of the four organizations that run shelters in Afghanistan. “Women are the property of men. This is tradition”. Women shelters have been criticized as foreign intrusion in Afghan society, where familial and community problems have traditionally been resolved through the mediation of tribal leaders and councils. But women’s advocates insit that those outcomes almost always favor the men.

Wordwide Downturn “to hit women”

The economic crisis could increase the number of unemployed women by up to 22 million this year, the International Labour Organization (ILO) says. In a report assessing employment trends for women, the ILO warns that they will not escape the downturn. The global crisis began in the financial sectors of the world’s richest countries, in jobs traditionally dominated by men. But unemployment is now spreading well beyond these sectors, the ILO says. Jeff Johnson, author of the report, says, “The sectors that were initially impacted the hardest, which were finance, insurance and real estate, construction and manufacturing were often dominated by male workers.  “But as this crisis has played out, it’s hit other sectors of the economy, service oriented sectors, wholesale retail trade which in many industrialized economies are dominated by females.”

South Asian Women Face Higher Risk of Death in Childbirth

Painting a grim picture of reproductive health in South Asia, a new World Bank report on Thursday said women in the region face a hundred times greater risk of dying during childbirth than their counterparts in industrialized countries. The report which was launched on Thursday, said countries in South Asia need to do more if they want to make adequate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) related to women’s reproductive health. Analyzing the current state of reproductive health in five countries of South Asia—Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka—the report focuses on the major risks faced by poor women.

UN Chief Urges: End Violence Against Women

Secretary General Ban ki-Moon called violence against women an “abomination” and urged political leaders to take the lead in changing the attitudes of  men who abuse women. A year after he launched a global campaign to end such violence, the UN Chief used the UN’s International Women’s Day commemorations to report on the abuses—rape, attempted rape and beatings—that flourish worldwide. “Violence against women is an abomination,” Ban said. “It stands against everything in the United Nations charter.” The secretary-general recalled a young woman he met on his recent Africa trip who was “brutally and violently abused by four soldiers at gunpoint” in eastern Congo while fleeing fighting that destroyed her village. She is now hospitalized, suffering not only from her physical injuries but from being ostracized by her village and family because of a “false sense of shame,” he said.

World Urged to Work for Women’s Empowerment

Reiterating its commitment to gender equality, Pakistan has urged the global community to come together and strive for true women empowerment around the world. At the annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Pakistan’s delegate, Shazia Marri said women were fundamental components of the global economy, regretting however that their share in the economic benefits and access to resources was not proportionate to their share in the world population. “The adverse affect of the economic crisis on women requires urgent and concerted attention and increased involvement of the UN and the donor community in all poverty reduction strategies” said Marri, Sindh’s information minister.

Iraq’s Women’s Minister to Withdraw Resignation

Iraq’s state minister for women’s affairs said Monday she plans to withdraw her resignation after receiving pledges from aid organizations to help improve women’s lives. Nawal al-Samarraie quit last month to protest the lack of resources for women accusing the government of not making women’s needs a priority. But the Sunni activist decided to return to her job after getting pledges for funds and support from international aid organizations. She also said more than 50 Iraqi women have offered to volunteer to implement the ministry’s plans. “The reason for my resignation was the lack of funds and human resources but with the new situation i think I can work,” she said in a telephone interview. Al-Samarraie said she will present her request to be reinstated Tuesday to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s office. The office could not immediately be reached for comment on whether it would accept her request.

Women Marchers Call for Jobs, Equality

Armed with pots and pans, women workers in the Philippines braved the summer heat and trooped to the streets in major cities to mark International Women’s Day calling for full employment for women, gender equality amid the global economic crisis, and the junking of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). Members of the Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL) and the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) marched on Chino Roces Bridge (formerly Mendiola) near Malacanang to demand that government help working wives and mothers laid off due to the financial crisis. APL chapters also held demonstrations in Cebu, Davao, General Santos and Cotabato cities. Some 10,000 members of GABRIELA, carrying purple, white and red banners, converged in Mendiola, called for junking of VFA  and aired concerns on the violation of women’s rights, including the increasing unemployment among female workers.  

OnlineWomenBulletin 21 Feb 2009

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“Women don’t need a ministry to represent us. We need effective women in every ministry of the country. Women in political posts need financial support and commitment from the government.”

Sameera al-Moussawi, Head of the Department of Women’s Affairs, Parliament of Iraq

 

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Iraqi Women Get Posts, But Want Power and Respect

Women candidates are expected to fill many of the seats on the provincial governing councils when results of last month’s nationwide elections are certified later this week. But winning public acceptance in this male-dominated society is another matter. Iraqi law requires that about 25% of the 444 seats on the 14 new provincial councils go to women —-even if it means giving a position to female candidates who didn’t win as many votes as men in the January 31 balloting. The quota, which already gave 75 women seats in the national parliament, was established under US pressure to open the door to political representation by women and encourage a new generation of Iraqis from all sectors of society. But female candidates say they experienced wide rejection.

Saudi Arabia Appoints First Female Minister

An expert on girls’ education became Saudi Arabia’s first woman minister on Saturday as part of a wide-ranging cabinet reshuffle by King Abdullah that swept aside several bastions of ultra-conservatism. Nora bint Abdullah al-Fayez, a US-educated former teacher, was made deputy education minister in-charge of a new department for female students, a significant breakthrough in a country where women are not allowed to drive. “This is an honour not only for me but for all Saudi women. In the presence of a comprehensive operational team, I believe I’ll be able to face challenges and create positive change,” she told Arab News. Fayez said she would study the state of girls’ education in Saudi Arabia before commenting on the task before her.

House Seats for Women in Indonesia Could Decline

Female legislative candidates and activists remain pessimistic that their representation at the House of Representatives could drop drastically. The concern stems from the fact that the State seems unwilling to guarantee an increase in House seats for women, while political parties have been stripped of any internal mechanism to ensure more female legislators represent them, politicians say. The Constitutional Court’s ruling to scrap Article 214 of the 2008 Legislative Election Law—-which allowed parties to determine their representatives in legislative bodies based on a hierarchical system of the seat distribution, rather than giving seats to candidates who win the most votes—–has been deemed a huge blow for female candidates.

Opposite Politician in Malaysia Offers to Quit Over Nude Photos

A prominent Malaysian opposition legislator resigned on Tuesday after photographs of her sleeping naked were circulated to the public by cell phone, an embarrassing disclosure that she slammed as a plot to discredit her party. The People’s Justice Party, however, told 37-year old Elizabeth Wong to go on extended leave, and said it would decide later whether to accept her resignation from the Central Selangor state assembly. It is the latest incident in Malaysian politics featuring the private lives of politicians, most of whome have been opposition figures. Among them was the leader of the People’s Justice Party, Anwar Ibrahim, who has twice been accused of sodomy. The government has denied a role in the scandals.

Qatar’s HH Sheikha Mozah Calls for Joint Projects by Women

HH Sheikha Mozah Nasser al-Misnad, the consort of His Highness the Emir of Qatar, has called for joint projects betwen women in Qatar, Turkey and Palestine, which could lay the groundwork for fruitful cooperation and future development, with Gaza as the priority. ” Let us endeavour to include our sisters in Gaza so that we can learn from their experiences, knowledge and desire to build a better future,” she urged. HH Sheikha Mozah was delivering the opening speech of the First Qatari-Turkish Workshop on Women and Development. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s wife Emine Erdogan was also present on the occasion. HH Mozah observed that there was much that united Turkey and Qatar. “This is why we need to combine our efforts so that we can benefit mutually and invest our efforts and skills for the future,” she maintained.

Female Politicians Make Major Gains in Manitoba Election

When Manitoba’s legislature reconvenes next month, almost one in every three MLA’s taking their seats in the House will be female. more than in any other provincial or territorial legislature in Canada. “Wow,” said Raylene Lang-Dion, chair of Equal Voice, an organization dedicated to getting more women elected to all levels of government. “That’s where you really want to be, where you have a critical mass.” The roster of one-third of Manitoba’s MLAs as women is a step forward for both politis and women’s equality in Canada, where women make up more than half of the population but have generally made up less than one fifth of political leaders. Eighteen women were elected in Manitoba on Tuesday—13 NDP and 5 Tories—five more than were elected in 2003 and the most ever elected in the province. They make up 31.5 % of Manitoba’s 57 MLAs.

Gender Violence Law in Rwanda To Be Passed in Two Weeks

The long-awaited special law against Gender Based Violence (GBV) is expected to be published in the next two weeks, Cabinet Affairs Minister Charles Murigande revelaed yesterday. The law of prevention and punishment of GBV is now in the phase of promulgation after both chambers of parliament passed it last year. Many activists have been pushing for its publication to reduce cases of gender based violence in the country. Murigande said that the reason that delayed the publication of this law is that it took time  for the Ministry of Justice to review and translate into different languages all the laws that were passed by parliament before the dissolution of its lower Chamber last year.

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Bushfires in Australia Highlights Global Warming Danger

While the bushfires which ravaged parts of the state of Victoria earlier this month—the most devastating in the nation’s history—are not being blamed directly on the effects of climate change, it is clear that global warming was indeed a factor. “In terms of the temperature component of the fire weather on February 7, I think we can say that increases in greenhouse gas conditions are partly responsible,” says Kevin Hennessy, leading climate scientist. Hennessy, who is principal research scientist with the climate change risk, adaptation and policy team at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO), Australia’s national science agency, said that the fires were due to the extremely hot, windy and dry conditions of early February.

Officials in Thailand Fear Clashes Over Limited Water

Farmers battling drought conditions have destroyed lines of sandbags in an irrigation canal, upsetting a rival group of upstream farmers who also want access to the water. Skirmishes over water are likely to escalate, local authorities fear, as the dry spell in this and other northern provinces spreads. In Phichit’s Sam Ngam district, the dry spell has hit 4,643 villages in 19 provinces. More than 20 farmers in tambon Nern Por in Sam Ngam district yesterday tried to destroy lines of sandbags placed near a weir in an irrigation canal to allow water to flow downstream. They accused farmers in tambon Nong Son of blocking the water from flowing to their paddy fields. The two groups had agreed to share water in the canal equally.

Green Homes That Withstand Hurricanes Under Development

Well, the technology is closer than you think. A professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is set for six months of overseas research aimed at making it a reality, now. UAB Associate Professor of Engineering Nasim Uddin, PhD, and his collaborators are behind the innovative work. Beginning November 22, Uddin will spend 6 months in Bangladesh as a visiting  lecturer and researcher at the BRAC University. Uddin will work to strengthen the university’s post graduate program in disaster mitigation while he furthers his ongoing research into natural fiber-based composite technologies for low-cost residential coastal housing engineered to withstand hurricane strength wind and storm surge damage.

Global Climate Change May Have Pronounced Effect on Malaria Parasite Development

Given that temperature is an important factor in the spread of malaria, a Penn State entomologist has warned that global climate change may affect daily temperature variations, and thereby have a more pronounced effect on parasite development. ” We need need higher resolution environmental and biological data to understand how climate change will affect the spread of the malaria parasite. We need to understand temperature from the point of view of the mosquito,” says Matthew Thomas, professor of entomology. Female anopheles mosquitoes spread malaria by biting infected humans and ingesting the malaria parasites along with the blood they need to reproduce other mosquitoes.

India Needs An Adoptive Integrated Strategy on Water and Food Security

In India, agriculture is the largest user of water, using more than 80% of usable freshwater, and a large proportion of the population derives its livelihood directly or indirectly from it. As concerns over water scarcity have mounted, accentuated by possible impacts of climate change like general reduction in the quantity of available surface water and unanticipated alterations in the hydrological cycle with an increased severity of droughts and floods, there is a growing realization that water resource management focused on food security is urgently needed.

Climate Change Increasingly Impacting on Investment Decisions

New research by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) with responses from 80 of CPD’s signatory investors across the globe revealed that three-quarters factor climate change information into their investment decisions and asset allocations. Of these more than 80% consider climate change to be important relative to other issues impacting their portfolio. Interestingly, some of the institutions surveyed revealed a willingness to go beyond requesting disclosure on climate change, such as asking companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Uganda To Form Disaster Management Center Following Increased Risks

Uganda is to form a national disaster management center that will enable the country to handle emergencies with precision and effectiveness in the wake of increasing disasters, a top government official has said. Tarsis Kabwegyere, minister of disaster preparedness and refugees told reporters that the country lacks the capacity to coordinate and handle emergencies without mainly depending on regional or international support. He said witht he increasing population, booming construction industry and effects of global warming like floods and drought, the country can not continue using old methods to handle disasters.

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Iran’s Women On the Frontline

During the Iranian revolution of 1979, millions of women from all walks of life took part in rallies and strikes—helping to topple the Shah’s regime. They joined the revolutionary tide for a number of reasons. Some had their own religious and/or political demands, while others simply supporting their husbands and brothers. Even those women from traditional or poor families who previously had no opportunity to engage in social activities were motivated to play a part. These women, who had been mostly deprived of education and employment opportunities and were learning about politics for the first time, became politically active in mosques and other religious centres. There, as pious women were hailed, they discovered a new identity. Their demands differed from those of their modern, urban and educated counterparts who were fighting for more liberties and equal rights.

Filipino Women Beat Men In Terms of Income

In the Philippines, women have an advantage over men in terms of income, accoding to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). In his online column, “Statistically Speaking”, NSCB Secretary General Romulo Virola wrote that Filipino women outperformed men in terms of income based on the Gender Equality Ratio (GER) of 1.2299 in 2003 from 1.1170 in 2000. GER measures equality between men and women in all three dimensions of development: income, education and health. A GER greater than one signifies an advantage of women over men. “Possibly this is one of the reasons why this year’s Women’s Month theme is “Babae Yaman Ka Ng Bayan (Women, you are the wealth of the nation)”, Virola said.

More than Seven Thousand Women in Pakistan Suffered Violence in 2008

Statistics in an annual report revealed that a total of 7,733 incidents of violence against women were reported between January and December 2008, with the highest number of cases (4,360) occurring in Punjab. The data forms part of a detailed report on “Situation of Violence Against Women in Pakistan”, launched by Aurat Foundation at a press conference in Islamabad. The report is a collection and compilation of statistics on incidents of violence under the Foundation’s national programme titled “Policy and Data Monitoring on Violence Against Women”.  The report is aimed at identifying violence cases and using statistics as an advocacy tool to create a more informed and supportive environment for women and mobilize social pressure against such acts.

Islamic Women in Malaysia Seek Recognition of Their Rights

The religious order banning women from dressing like tomboys was bad enough. But the fatwa by Malaysia’s leading clerics against yoga was the last straw. “They have never even done yoga,” said Zainah Anwar, head of a Malaysian women’s rights group called Sisters in Islam. Anwar argues that the edict, issued late last year by Malaysia’s National Fatwa Council, was pure patriarchy. Islam, she said, was only a cover. It was frustrations like these that drew several hundred Muslim women to a conference in this Muslim-majority country. Their mission was to come up with ways to demand equal rights for women. And their tools, however unlikely, were the tenets of Islam itself.

“Pink Panty” Women Target Extremist Right Wing Indian Leader

Women throughout the world—13,000 at latest count—will be sending Pramod Mutalik a pair of pink panties for Valentine’s day. But these undies won’t make his heart go pitty-pat. Mutalik is the leader of Sri Ram Sena (Lord’s Ram’s Army)—-an extreme right-wing organization in India that purports to be the “custodians of Indin Culture”. Members of Mutalik’s group are suspected of being behind a widely publicized incident last month in which a group of men brutally attacked women in abar in the southern city of Mangalore—-beating them, and kicking them when they fell to the ground. Mutalik was arrested in the attack but he was released on bail.

Government of Fiji Supports Training for Women

Finacial support from the Ministry of Youth, Women and Children’s Affairs enables a participant to attend a seven months training in Fiji. Emily Hilary Sauahali of Ulawa in Makira Ulawa Province received a cheque of $5853.60 that will go towards her airfare to attend a training on women development at the Community Education Training Centre in Suva. The cheque comes from the Ministry of Youth, Women and Children’s Affairs through the Women’s Development Division. Speaking at the handover ceremony, WDD training coordinator, Eva Wagapu, said such training will empower and furnish women from the Pacific with the necessary skills and knowledge to become effective development agents and facilitators in their respective communities.

Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Women Seeks Backing for Its National Policy

Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Women, Youth and Children is urging everyone to support its vision for women’s development this year. The Ministry is aiming to strengthen women’s networks and undertake projects to improve literacy. The permanent secretary, Ethel Sigamanu, says this will increase the likelihood of legislation, such as special seats for women in Parliament, being passed, as well as improve women’s rights as outlined in the CEDAW convention. She says the Ministry also wants to develop a national policy on gender based violence and abuse based on research in communities.

Online Women Bulletin, 10 Jan 2009

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

announcements

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