"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.
A roundup of stories related to women's health, development, law, culture and human rights from around the world.