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Getting to women’s day every day

Posted on March 16, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala, human rights, women, men and more.

Kudzai Makombe

For how long do we have to keep demanding our rights? Credit: Mercedes Sayagues/IPS

For how long do we have to keep demanding our rights? Credit: Mercedes Sayagues/IPS

International Women’s Day has come and gone and government and civil society representatives of women have packed up and flown back home from the Beijing +15 review at the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York.

For International Women’s Day there was plenty of activity, with celebrations and commemorations around the world. More ordinary women and men now know about this international day to celebrate women than ever before. Just ten years ago you might have struggled to get a significant positive response if you went out into the streets and asked random people if or what they knew about March 8th.

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Gender Matters! Can the UN bring change?

Posted on March 9, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala.

Guest Blogger Wendy Harcourt on Beijing +15 -– Commission on the Status of Women March 1 to 12

Getting in here can be a real hassle. Credit S.Zacarro/IPS

Getting in here can be a real hassle. Credit Bomoon Lee/IPS

Well, two predictions of mine are bearing out. First, the chaos of organising such a large meeting led to some people queuing for five to eight hours to register for the official CSW meeting. On the bright side, such long waiting times did mean unplanned networking and a sense of solidarity among the thousands of participants despite the indignity of it all. It also led to the absurdity of one of the key speakers of an official opening panel failing to get in to speak because she was stuck in a queue.

Once people managed to get their badges, the next hassle was getting into the sessions. There are passes for official meetings — which of course ran out — and in the NGO parallel space the large numbers and fire restrictions meant even those willing to stand or sit on the floors were being turned out.

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The search for change

Posted on February 28, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala.

Dr Wendy Harcourt

Dr Wendy Harcourt

Guest Blogger Wendy Harcourt on Beijing +15 -– Commission on the Status of Women March 1 to 12

When told about the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) some might think, so what? Surely this is just yet another big U.N. affair with little impact in the real world? So why, then, are thousands of women from around the world coming to New York during the first two weeks of March? So many indeed that registration closed early and those who managed to register on time are being warned that there will be restricted entry both in the official U.N. event and in the NGO sessions that are held parallel to the main events. Undeterred, more events are being scheduled in New York and emails are whizzing around with invitations to impromptu sessions set up as the parallel of the parallel.
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Fifteen years after Beijing

Posted on February 23, 2010, by Kudzai, under HIV/AIDS, harmful practices, health, human rights, media, politics, reproductive health, violence, war rape, women, men and more.

Kudzai Makombe

Women live longer than men but these extra years are not always healthy, says WHO. Credit: WHO/UNAIDS/K.Hesse

Women live longer than men but these extra years are not always healthy, says WHO. Credit: WHO/UNAIDS/K.Hesse

With the Beijing +15 review coming up next week at the Commission on the Status of Women, it seems an appropriate time to have a look at where we are globally in terms of gender equality and women’s empowerment in line with the 12 Critical Areas under the Beijing Platform for Action.

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Is it ever okay for a woman to exercise her sexuality to gain political power?

Posted on February 15, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala, arts, human rights, politics, stereotypes, women, men and more.

Kudzai Makombe

Queen Elizabeth I kept a reign on power by becoming "The Virgin Queen"  Credit www.PDImages.com

Queen Elizabeth I kept a reign on power by becoming "The Virgin Queen" Credit www.PDImages.com

This question has been puzzling me since a late-night, noisy get together with friends where we got talking (some might say gossiping) about the alleged cross-party sexual politics taking place in our government. The men, it was said, were using sex as a strategy to silence the women from the opposite camps. The woman targeted  loses her standing once she’s been seduced as it quickly becomes general knowledge among other politicians.

“Once you see that so and so who used to be so vocal has gone quite then you know they’ve been had,” said one friend. Much like the boarding school strategy employed by male students to remove the top performing girl student’s ranking as number one in class I’m told. But, never having been to boarding school, much less a co-educational school, I am not aware.

As much as this dirty trick is an age-old male strategy to silence female opponents, women throughout history have used their sexuality, that is — whom one has sex with (or not), in what ways, why, under what circumstances, and with what outcomes — as a strategy to gain power. (more…)

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Sherezade y el sultán, en el siglo XXI

Posted on February 12, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala, arts, culture, media, stereotypes.

Diana Cariboni

817478sherezade1Espero entre indignada y divertida el próximo 8 de marzo, Día Internacional de la Mujer… El anterior me deparó una pasmosa sorpresa. Sobre mi escritorio había una enorme rosa de pétalos amarillos y bordes rojos y una tarjeta dirigida a las mujeres del siglo XXI, en su día. (more…)

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When migrant labour hurts families

Posted on February 8, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala, children, human rights, women, men and more.

Tess Bacalla

How does one tell a child that it is for his own future that his mother has to go offshore in search of the proverbial ‘greener pastures’, leaving behind a family that has never known the meaning of separation?

Just what does that assurance mean to a child anyway whose notion of a secure tomorrow could simply be waking up each morning with his mother by his side.
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Feminizing resistance to mainstream politics

Posted on February 1, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala.

Paula Fray, IPS Africa Director

Paula Fray, IPS Africa Director

Guest Blogger: Paula Fray, IPS Africa Director

Early in January, I joined project managers from around the world at UNIFEM’s “Women Deepening Democracy: Transforming Politics for Gender Equality” workshop in India. Its apt that the workshop was held there. With over 714 million voters, India is arguable the world’s largest democracy with a long record of women in all levels of politics.

One such woman, Brinda Karat, Raj Sabha Member for the Communist Party of India, touched a nerve when she wondered whether we really want women to be part of the mainstream politics or whether women should reclaim the subversive role they have played in history.

Surely women do not want to be part of the mainstream – they want to change it?
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Women’s bodies: A quick way to ascendancy?

Posted on January 18, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala.

I’ve been dreading this point at which I have to post my first blog for the Gender Masala. It’s a tough job trying to fill the shoes of Mercedes Sayagues who started the blog and, together with a band of other contributors, kept it an inspired, lively and engaging space for readers to return to again and again and also make their contributions. But the fact is that sooner or later I would have to jump right in and this is it. I’m excited about this blog and I hope that we will be able to keep it engaging. By we, I mean myself, Kudzai Makombe in Harare, Tess Bacalla in Manila, Estrella Gutierrez in Caracas and Diana Cariboni in Montevideo. Mercedes is not completely off the hook. She will still be contributing from her new home in Maputo. There will also be posts from other contributors. (more…)

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