"Members of the All India Women’s Congress attend a protest in New Delhi to mark the increasing violence against women." (Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media) Source: The Guardian
How can India end this tide of violence against women?
KumKum Dasgupta, The Guardian (December 10, 2014)
There is a tremendous amount of violence against women in India. Even though there has been increased education, gender awareness, and pro-women laws passed in the country, gender-based violence not only continues—it is actually growing. A new study on “Masculinity, Intimate Partner violence and Son Preference in India” finds that violence occurs within the home at all socio-economic levels. Dasgupta argues that most initiatives announced in recent years by the government have not been enforced, and this needs to change to truly stop the violence.
Laadli and the Vital Importance of Girls in India
Robert Walker, The Huffington Post (December 8, 2014)
Indian women suffer from intense gender inequality and gender-based violence. The Population Institute's Walker argues that true change requires a shift in gender norms. One organization working to change these norms is Population First, a Mumbai-based organization that created the Laadli Media awards in 2008. These Laadli awards honor women across India who “highlight pressing gender concerns and promote gender sensitivity.” Walker delves into the history and influential role played by these Laadli awards.
Why Aren’t World Leaders Angrier About Violence Against Women?
Marc Silver, NPR (December 9, 2014)
NPR’s Mark Silver interviews South African activist Bafana Khumalo, a recipient of the first Vital Voices Solidarity Award. This award is given to men who speak out to stop violence against women. Khumalo is co-founder of the Sonke Gender Justice in South Africa, and in this interview, discusses his involvement in the movement, different ways that violence against women are manifested, and the important role that international leaders have in stopping gender based violence.
#16 Days: Conflict in Iraq and Syria Plays Out on Women’s Bodies
Megane Ghorbani and Susan Tolmay, AWID (December 12, 2014)
AWID speaks with Lisa Davis, the Human Rights Advocacy Director at MADRE, and Nurcan Baysal, a Kurdish activist, about the impact that the insurgency of the “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) has on women and girls. Violence in Syria and Iraq has led to increased rape, abuse, and trafficking of women and girls. Baysal describes her personal experiences when visiting Ezidi refugee camps and her discussions with women affected by violence. Davis calls for more international action and advocacy to empower local women’s organizations in the region and highlights the important role of neighboring and regional governments.
Legal Institutions, International Affairs & Gender Equality
Amendment to some Nepal acts to ensure gender equality
Himalayan News Service (December 9, 2014)
A new bill has been proposed in Nepal to increase women’s rights, end gender-based violence, and ensure gender equality in Nepal. The proposed bill has 31 amendments to different acts, including a change assuring property rights to daughters after marriage. Although the bill itself is an enormous step in the right direction towards gender equality, activists argue that there is a great need to also spread awareness about the bill in and the importance of gender equality in small, local communities across the country.
Pushing for Gender Equity at COP21
Stephanie Wildes, Independent European Daily Express (December 10, 2014)
The international community has acknowledged that women are more impacted by climate change then men, due to a majority female presence in the international agricultural sector, as well as men receiving the majority of climate vulnerability funds. At this year’s 20th Conference of the Parties (COP20) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCCC), activists are arguing for an increased recognition of women’s disproportionate susceptibility to climate change. Furthermore, activists are arguing for more effective policies that will influence impacted women. While many countries, such as Mexico, are support gender equality in climate change conversations, other nations, such as Saudi Arabia, are pushing back against any concept of gender equality at COP 20.
Turkish women’s rights beyond Islamists and secularists
Yuksel Sezgin, The Washington Post (December 10, 2014)
This article discusses the long history of gender inequality in Turkey and argues that since 2002 when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came into power in Turkey, misogyny has only continued (and in some cases worsened). This article was written in response to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erodgan’s atrocious statement in a late November women’s rights conference that gender equality contradicted the laws of nature. Readers learn about many of the abuses Turkish women suffer, including gender based violence, lack of resources to healthcare and education, as well as a small role in the work force.
Carving A Space: Reflections on the 2nd MenEngage Symposium
Srilatha Batliwala, AWID (December 19, 2014)
AWID’s Srilatha Batliwala writes about the 2nd MenEngage Global Symposium in New Delhi this past November. The goal of the symposium was to unite men and boys across the world towards achieving gender equality. Batliwala discusses many positive take aways from the conference; for instance, she praises the “cutting-edge” ideas and conversations, particularly the unanimous agreement among attendees that “patriarchy is the root cause of gender injustice.” Batliwala also writes about some of her concerns from the conference, specifically that she felt there was not enough credit for the current work of women’s rights movement / organizations. Nevertheless, this symposium was a success in bringing many gender equality issues to the forefront of people’s minds across the globe.
The Lessons We’ve Learned on Cultivating Community Leaders for Girls’ Education
Judith-Ann Walker, Brookings Institution (December 11, 2014)
Nigeria’s Judith-Ann Walker writes about the importance of women’s education at the local level. She argues that local, community-based education of women and girls is even more important than prominent women taking on leadership issues, for only at the community level can change truly occur and “cultural barriers” to girls’ education be eradicated. Walker emphasizes the importance of empowering local women through innovative strategies. She herself founded a leadership program for community leaders called the Women Leaders for Girls’ Education Program. Walker discusses the success of this program and how it can be used as a model for women’s education and empowerment across the globe.
Women take more places in rising university numbers
Sean Coughlan, BBC News (December 19, 2014)
In the United Kingdom, there is a widening gap between male and female university attendance, reaching record levels: around 34% of women attend university in the UK, while only 26% of men receive a higher education. This article also looks at other variations in UK higher education, such as the gap between rich and poor university attendance.
Girls’ Health and Maternal Health
Maasai women denounce FGM practice in Kenya
Carla Mackenzie, FIGO (December 12, 2014)
Hundreds of Maasai Women in Kenya have united together as part of the international “Let Girls Be Women Without the Cut” campaign, which advocates against female genital mutilation (FGM). In Kenya, as well as many other countries across the world, FGM is a traditional coming of age practice; these Maasai women are arguing for an “alternative” right of passage that does not violate the human rights of women and girls.
Extra mental health support for new mums and mums-to-be
Emma Wilkinson, BBC News (December 17, 2014)
Recent studies show that women are at an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses after giving birth to children. Unfortunately, these problems are often unrecognized and untreated—yet many are easily solved with treatment. Doctors and psychologists have come up with recommendations at all stages of pregnancy and early motherhood to help promote mental health and to support women giving birth, particularly vulnerable women in “hard-to-reach” low-income communities.
Photo credit: DW / H. Sirat
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
Is Egypt Ready to Join Growing Global Movement to End FGM?
Suad Abu Dayyeh (The Guardian) - November 30th, 2014
Suad Abu-Dayyeh from Equality Now writes a compelling piece about Egypt’s lack of effort in the global movement to end FGM, particularly in the acquittement of the doctor and father involved in 13 year old Sohair al-Bata’s death. Unlike many other countries, such as Kenya, the UK, and Guinea Basseau which have made positive strides towards stopping FGM, the vast majority of Egypt’s female population continue to be affected by this human rights abuse. Abu-Dayyeh discusses measures that Egypt must take if they wish to help be a part of the solution to ending this violence practice.
The campaigns to end FGM are a step forward, but they don’t go far enough
Charlotte Rachel Proudman (The Independent) - November 29th, 2014
This article discusses the necessity for FGM education to become a part of the UK national curriculum. Tens of thousands of UK girls are at risk every year, and Produman argues that without integration into the national curriculum, FGM will be unable to be stopped. Previous efforts to increase FGM awareness in schools and some of the success and challenges that these campaigns have experienced.
In battle of sexes at central banks, Thai women have already won
Suttinee Yuvejwattana (Bloomberg News) - November 29th, 2014
Women working in the Bank of Thailand outnumber men, which is rare in today’s world where the majority of central banks are male dominated. This article discusses the history of women’s tremendous leadership in the Thai economy and emphasizes education’s fundamental role in this process.
The Most Destructive Gender Binary
Time Magazine (Gary Barker) - November 26th, 2014
Gary Barker, the founder and Director of Promundo, an international organization working to engage men and boys in gender equality, discusses the important role that men play in the battle for women’s rights and ending violence against women. Men play a pivotal role in gender equality, and he provides copious amount of support behind this argument; he also provides evidence of situations where men are worse off than women. Barker emphasizes the importance of eradicating this binary and instead encourages men and women to work together in the fight to end this injustice.
UN women chief ‘seriously concerned’ Afghan women’s gains may be reversed
Gabriel Dominguez (DW News) - November 28th, 2014
DW News interviews Phumzile Mlambo Ngeuka, the executive director of UN women, on the effect that foreign troops and international aid withdrawal from Afghanistan will have on recent policy gains made by Afghan women. She provides parameters that must be met in order for women to gain gender equality. Although recent progress for has been made in the country for women’s rights, (such as the Elimination of Violence Against Women law) such gains could be “endangered” by upcoming possible political stability and aid reduction.
Peace Effort with Taliban is Excluding Women, Report Says
Rod Norland (The New York Times) - November 24th, 2014
A recent report written by Afghan women titled “Behind Closed Doors” argues that women have been left out of the peace process with the Taliban. Female leaders complain that Afghan leaders are “trading women’s rights for peace; in fact, there are more former Taliban members on the High Peace Council than women. Women’s organizations, such as Afghan Women’s Network, are advocating for an increased role in the negotiation process in order to ensure gender equality in the country.
Rape, Harassment and Sexual Violence
India ‘sexual harassment’ video men held
BBC News - December 1st, 2014
A recent video of two Indian sisters’ beating men who they accused of sexual violence has gone viral. The video shows these two young-adults women fighting men who allegedly sexually harassed them on the bus. The international community has responded in overwhelming support of the women fighting for their rights. Furthermore, the men who harassed the women are currently being held and the bus driver as well as conductor have been suspended from their service for failing to aid the sisters.
Education for Women and Girls
Priyanka Chopra, Freido Pinto come together for girls’ education
Zee News - November 29th, 2014
Girl Rising, a global campaign teaching girls about the importance of education, has recently been brought to India. The campaign works through filmmaking to spread awareness about the importance of women’s education and the incredible successes that women can achieve. Actresses Freido Pinto and Priyanak Chopra have agreed to play a pivotal role in this campaign.
Lori Sokol: From Desperation to Education
Lori Sokol (Huffington Post) - November 30th, 2014
The Women’s Forum of New York’s Education Fund Award awards women with the funds necessary to receive an undergraduate college education. The fund recognizes women who have overcome adversity and have tremendous potential to influence change. Sokol explores the importance of female education and provides stories of previous recipients of the award.
Slavery levels in UK ‘higher than thought’
BBC News (November 29th, 2014)
The UK Analysis for the Home Office release in 2013 that there are between 10,000-13,000 victims of slavery in the UK. This is the first time that the government has stated the tremendous scale of this trafficking, and has led to increased governmental action to work towards eradicating this “Hidden Crime.” Measures include the Modern Slavery Bill which is currently going through parliament, as well as raising awareness about this issue and bringing it “out into the open.”
UN Report Shows an Increase in Trafficking of Children
Rick Gladstone (The New York Times) - November 24th, 2014
The United Nations recently released the 2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons detailing many astounding statistics on global trafficking. Unfortunately, the number of children being trafficked is rising and the majority of victims are females. Furthermore, the report emphasizes that trafficking is truly global issue and affects countries all across the world.
A roundup of stories related to women's health, development, law, culture and human rights from around the world.