Infertility: A painful emotional journey

Posted on March 23, 2010, by Kudzai, under Gender Masala, reproductive health, women, men and more.

Not everyone is able to have a biological child. Credit Kirstin Paliza/IPS

Not everyone is able to have a biological child. Credit: Kirstin Paliza/IPS

Guest Blogger Tapuwa Ayeh

Like many women, I have always wanted to be a mother and motherhood was supposed to be part of my life journey. Well life is not always going to be what you planned. For years, I went through a painful emotional journey of trying to get pregnant, and alas, failing at every attempt.

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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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A New Year for Gender Masala

Posted on January 2, 2010, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, media, stereotypes, women, men and more.

This is truly a New Year in many ways: Gender Masala and I are in transition in 2010.

I am moving to Maputo, Mozambique,  to work in health reporting. Gender Masala will remain in the IPS Gender Portal with a more collective identity,  infused by several  IPS writers.

Passenger in transit. Pic by Claudio Corallo

Passenger in transit: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust. Pic by Claudio Corallo.

I like the word transitions: it evokes change, birth, adaptation, growth.

This has been an exciting journey of discovery of a new medium. As the philosopher George Santayana wrote: “There is wisdom in turning as often as possible from the familiar to the unfamiliar; it keeps the mind nimble; it kills prejudice, and it fosters humor.”

Over seven months, , the pictures got bigger, the voices varied, my style freer. It was intellectually rewarding to look every week at the rich variety of IPS stories on gender and be inspired by them to write a new blog.

I will miss the weekly postings on gender, although I will continue blogging on health issues in Mozambique here:

http://knight.icfj.org/OurFellows/FromtheFieldFellowBlogs/

I want to thank my fellow bloggers, you, the readers, and, most importantly, IPS, for this opportunity to add a spicy mix  to the MDG3 Gender Portal. I enjoyed it immensely and I hope you did too.

Peace in 2010.

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Out of darkness: facing breast cancer

Posted on December 28, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, health, media, women, men and more.

Guest blogger: Paola Rolletta, IPS stringer in Mozambique.

I feel neither more “good” nor more “patient”. I am a hard-headed woman, as always. Attached to life, as ever!

Paola Rolletta by Luis Abelard

Paola Rolletta by Luis Abelard

The day when my friend Pigi, my oncologist, told me that I had breast cancer, I cried desperately. The first thing I did was to phone my partner to tell him this piece of news, of which I had had some premonition. And I understood that premonition really exists.

Curiously, I did not wonder “Why me?”  My reaction was: “This cursed disease has hit me too!” (more…)

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Famous and infamous births

Posted on December 21, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, arts, children, culture, health, human rights, media, politics, religion, reproductive health, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.

By Paula Modersohn Becker

By Paula Modersohn Becker

When is a photo of a woman giving birth considered pornographic? Take your pick:

A. When it is shown in a pornographic magazine, film or website.
B. Never.
C. When it is emailed to government officials urging action to improve public health.

One could argue about A and B but this blog is about C.

Earlier this year, in Zambia, Chansa Kabwela, news editor at the feisty opposition newspaper The Post, was charged with circulating pornography with intent to corrupt public morals. (more…)

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CEDAW!

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.

Quilt made by women of Kyrgztan. (Unifem)

Quilt made by women of Kyrgztan. (Unifem)

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.

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Women human rights defenders under attack

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.

What's in the news on Human Rights Day?

What's in the news on Human Rights Day?

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.

The award-winning Haidar is known as the Sahrawi Gandhi for her non-violent protests for the independence of her desert country, the Western Sahara, ruled by Morocco since 1975.  (more…)

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Living a woman’s life

Posted on December 4, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, adolescents, culture, health, media, politics, women, men and more.

Today at noon my daughter graduated from high school. In the afternoon, the email brought news about very dear friends.

Motherhood, sisterhood, friendship.

Motherhood, sisterhood, friendship.

In Paris, the Chilean researcher, novelist and feminist Ana (Nicha) Vazquez Bronfman had died, aged 71. She was a beacon for a generation of Latin American women for her insights on identity  and gender. One concept she elaborated specially was “transculturation” - the permanent construction of identities in this world of global migration. In 2006 she wrote superbly about sexuality among the elderly – transgressions and secrets, she called it.

In Rome, my friend and fellow journalist Paola Rolletta underwent the next to last chemotherapy session against breast cancer. She was jubilant to see the end of the chemical bombardment. Like antiretrovirals, chemo saves lives but is no picnic.   (more…)

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Watchdog citizen journalism against gender violence

Posted on November 27, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, culture, harmful practices, human rights, media, politics, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.

The sisters can do it by themselves. By A. Vilanculos

The sisters can do it by themselves. By A. Vilanculos

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…)

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A spiritual gift

Posted on November 23, 2009, by mercedes, under Gender Masala, arts, children, culture, human rights, religion, stereotypes, violence, women, men and more.

Patriarchal in all senses. By M. Sayagues

Patriarchal in all senses. By M. Sayagues

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.

Custodians of tradition

Custodians of tradition

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.

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