Posted on December 18, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, harmful practices, health, human rights, politics, religion, reproductive health, violence, women, men and more.
Ask the woman sitting next to you in the bus, train, plane, taxi-brousse or donkey cart what is CEDAW, and most probably you will draw a blank look. C’est quoi?
Yet CEDAW - Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women - has likely impacted on her life and her daughters, if she has any, in many ways, from pension and inheritance rights to the passport they hold.
CEDAW, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 30 years ago today, is the global Bill of Rights for Women, the first international human rights treaty devoted to gender equality.
Through its 30 articles, CEDAW has boosted women’s rights worldwide in many ways.
Posted on December 10, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, human rights, media, violence, war rape, women, men and more.
Let’s do a quick review of women and violence in the news in the last weeks.
Why today? Because it’s the last of the 16 Days against Violence against Women, arguably the best known global campaign of the women’s movement, and also Human Rights Day.
Today, Sahrawi activist Aminatou Haidar starts her fourth week of hunger strike at Lanzarote airport in the Canary Islands. She is so weak she has to be transported to court by wheelchair or stretcher. Last week, the head of UNHCR called on Spain and Morocco to resolve her issue on humanitarian grounds.
Posted on November 27, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, harmful practices, human rights, media, politics, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.
The buzz in Mozambique during the recent elections was not the TV debate among presidential candidates debate (there is none) or their programs (all vague).
What had tongues wagging was citizen’s journalism, dispatches by ordinary folk about electoral irregularities from the Rovuma to the Maputo rivers.
Good stuff: government cars illegally used for campaigning, with cellphone pics of their registration plates (until officials wised up and started covering up plates and ministry logos with party posters). Reports of youth tearing downs other party’s posters, fistfights, intimidation, and police lack of impartiality. (more…)
Posted on November 23, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, arts, children, culture, human rights, religion, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.
What drives a 17-year-old girl to enter a monastery? Today she is 30, and still happy about her choice. Her eyes sparkle and her laughter comes easy. She exudes peace.
I will call her Gabra (gift, in Amharic), for our conversation was private. I met her at a monastery near Lalibela, the mystical city of rock-hewn churches in northern Ethiopia.
Monastic life has a long tradition and prestige in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. The oldest monastery dates from the 6th century. A monastic renaissance between the 13th and 16th century brought great moral and political authority to clergy.
Gabra’s rock-hewn monastery dates from the 12th century. Her room is excavated in the pink tufa rock. Two built-in-the-rock platforms, covered with a thin mattress, do as couch and bed. An old cupboard holds a few plates and cooking utensils, three of the long green robes worn by Ethiopian peasants, the white headscarves that nuns wear, and two pairs of sandals.
Posted on October 12, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, arts, children, culture, media, stereotypes, women, men and more.
Fashion models in ads are optical illusions and the award-winning video Evolution of Beauty, from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty proves the point eloquently. Watch it at:
Digital cosmetic surgery - nip-and-tuck, botox and liposuction, on the screen, with a click - render these models picture-perfect (excuse the pun) and thoroughly unreal.
There is no way a non-photoshopped woman can attain that perfection. Hey, we are human. We have flaws.
Posted on October 5, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, human rights, politics, religion, stereotypes, women, men and more.
Guest blogger: Suad Hamada, IPS correspondent in Bahrain
Burqa-wearing women may lose the right to drive in Bahrain over a conflict between government and conservative lawmakers.
The government wants to amend the traffic law and grant male traffic officers the right to ask women to lift the veil and show their faces.
On the other hand, some lawmakers are loath to approve the amendment or at least demand that female traffic officers be employed for this task.
Let’s hope that in either way it will be a win-win situation for women: that they will continue to drive, and enter a job sector that has been reserved for men since the 1970s. Bahrain doesn’t impose a dress code on women. Wearing a burqa (or Niqab, in Bahrain) is a personal choice.
OK, not all women here wear a burqa as personal choice; some do it to obey their male relatives or conservative families. (more…)
Posted on September 28, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, women, men and more.
On my way to the Sao Nicolau waterfall on the island of Sao Tome, I stumbled upon two Jurassic Parks of failed industrial development.
At the coffee plantation Monte Café, to the left of its dilapidated pink colonial buildings, stands a huge shed. The caretaker unlocks a gigantic padlock and we step into a surreal décor for a tropical Blade Runner movie.
The shed houses a web of pipes and drums, coffee-processing machinery made by the Brazilian company Pinhalense. It is huge, complex – and never used.
The caretaker remembers when the machines were put in place, about a decade ago, but he never saw them working.
Donors pulled the plug on this US$24 million project after US$14 were spent and a few siphoned off. (more…)
Posted on September 24, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, media, women, men and more.
Guest blogger: Miren Gutierrez, IPS editor-in-chief
Seven PM at the supermarket. After a long day at the office, she is standing in line to pay for groceries to make dinner, stealing glances at her watch, grappling with two young kids who want her to buy some chewing gum…
Does this picture ring a bell? Survey after survey across the world report that women put in between 20 and 30 hours a week of domestic and family work. Unseen, unsung and unpaid, yes, but not insignificant.
Unpaid work in the home, done mainly by women, is estimated at approximately 50 percent of all productive activity even in industrial countries, and as much as 60-70 percent in many developing countries,” says Hazel Henderson in an interview with IPS. (more…)
Posted on September 18, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, human rights, media, politics, women, men and more.
Guest blogger: Ann Ninan, IPS Gender Editor
The UN has finally decided to stand up for women! A decision to create a new agency for women was taken by the General Assembly on September14.
Our colleague Thalif Deen, IPS bureau chief in New York, was the first and only journalist to report it for the first several hours.
But this blog is not to crow about our scoop.
I’m quite excited by the prospect of a new women’s agency with money and political power. No longer will the world’s feminists have to lobby from the outside to put their views on the table. They have now won admission to the high table.
Any one of those bright, articulate, activist women can emerge to lead the agency. The reality is likely to be less rosy. But chances are that, because it’s new, it will be less under the thumb of the old boy network.
You think I’m a romantic? What the hell, there is no harm in dreaming, is there? (more…)
Posted on September 14, 2009, by mercedes, under children, health, human rights, women, men and more.
Next time you read a story or a press release moaning about how country X will not reach the Millennium Development Goals, think twice - whose goal and whose target is it? We know the deadline but do we know the baseline?
Instead of striking a balance between ambition and realism, the MDGs have become “money-metric and donor-centric”, “meaningless catch-all phrases.”
So says Jan Vandemoortele, a Belgian national, a United Nations senior official and one of the architects of the MDGs, in a thought-provoking article in the July issue of Development Policy Review of the Overseas Development Institute. (read it here)
The author recalls that the MDGs were set up in 2000 as collective targets based on extrapolations of global trends. They are vague by definition; they are not one-size-fits-all.
Instead, one should look at countries’ historical backgrounds, natural endowments and specific problems, then adapt the Goals to each circumstance, as Mozambique, Cambodia and Ethiopia have done.
Otherwise, this puts undue pressure on the poorest countries and, given that most of these are in Africa, nurtures Afro-pessimism.
For example, the global target for education “is not realistic” for countries in conflict, he says. (more…)