Rubbing it the wrong way: condom-grabbing tourists

Posted on August 20, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, HIV/AIDS, health, media, stereotypes, women, men and more.

A Femidom demo

A Femidom demo. Photo: M. Sayagues/Irin

In a contest for irresponsible tourism, taking the last two female condoms at a Botswana border post as a souvenir would run neck-and-neck with littering the Central Kalahari Game Reserve with soda cans. Hey, spare a thought for a sister: a local woman might need them. I mean the condoms, not the soda cans.

Journalist Bridget Hilton-Barber writes, in the South African weekly Mail & Guardian, about the female condom’s popularity among Batswana women. (Femidoms rub the right way, 14 August). Then she plucked the last ones at the border post, as a souvenir, to lie  in her office drawer.

Well, their popularity is a very good reason to leave the condoms in the box for someone who wants to use them.

Correction:  Someone who needs to use them.

An average of three out of ten pregnant women at public antenatal clinics in Botswana are HIV-positive. This is an improvement over ten years ago, when four or five out of ten pregnant women were HIV-positive. Condoms helped achieve this drop. (Read about AIDS in Botswana here(more…)

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Getting the UN into GEAR!

Posted on August 17, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, human rights, media, politics, women, men and more.

By Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, founding coordinator,  femLINKPACIFIC
Contributing blogger

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls

Sharon Bhagwan Rolls

Getting into GEAR! What does this really mean in a Pacific Island state, surrounded by an ocean rising rather too quickly, that some of us are thinking about getting into gear before it becomes a sink or swim situation?

Does it mean we switch from paddling our own canoes at the pace known as “Pacific time” to powering our way into the future with the assistance of fuel guzzling outboard engines?

And as we rapidly negotiate our way through the waters, will we be protected by life jackets should there be any mishaps along the way?

(more…)

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Gabon’s people-friendly hospital

Posted on August 11, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, health, women, men and more.

The Ogooué seen from Dr. Schweitzer's home. Photo: M. Sayagues

The Ogooué River seen from Dr. Schweitzer's home. Photo: M. Sayagues

I decided to visit my Nicaraguan friend who stays in a village called Fougamou, in central Gabon. So I looked up the nearest town,  Lambaréné. It turned out to have a museum honouring Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who arrived there in 1913, built a hospital, and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1952.

I had never been interested in him but it seemed like a truly off-the-beaten path museum, just my kind. But what sold me on Lambaréné was the name of its river:    Ogooué.  I HAD to see a river with such a wondrous name.

So I set off to Lambaréné on my way to Fougamou. Believe me, I was in the green heart of Africa. Green, as in rainforest.

I am glad I went. The river is awesome. The museum is charming. It preserves the old hospital and personal quarters from the 1920s as they were originally.   (more…)

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Star Trek hopelessly outdated

Posted on August 7, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, media, women, men and more.

Guest posting by Miren Gutierrez, IPS editor-in-chief

Master and commander - a male.

So 1960s...Star Trek masters and commanders are all men.

The other day I saw Star Trek. What an uncreative film. Listen, women: in the year 2387, men will still wear the pants and command the ship, while leggy women are busy being ornamental in mini skirts.

I don’t expect films to campaign for human rights, especially films of this nature. Space odysseys just have to be entertaining, surprising, ingenious. But Star Trek was just unimaginative, reproducing the social prejudices of the sixties, when the TV series on which this film is based started. As if nothing had changed…

(more…)

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Can u Talk? Cellphones and Girls in South Africa

Posted on July 6, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, media, violence, women, men and more.

Guest posting

by Sally-Jean  Shackleton, Executive Director, Women’s Net

brochuregirl cellphone There has been phenomenal growth in the cellphone industry in Africa. It is clear this technology is essential in a continent with failing land line telephony infrastructure and development.

The opportunities for development that have resulted from this growth is clear. Cellphones are used to communicate HIV information, send market prices to rural small farmers and to collect data in rural health care. (more…)

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The shutter that shatters gender stereotypes

Posted on June 16, 2009, by mercedes, under media, women, men and more.

Photo:Sudiptorana/WACC

Photo: Sudiptorana/WACC

The women paddling in this stunning photo are having fun and a good workout - while breaking cultural barriers. They are competing in a traditional race against men in their village in West Bengal, India, racing against the gender-based division of labour and leisure, paddling energetically into a male space. (more…)

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