• Thursday, October 23, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    Q&A: Glass Half-full 15 Years After ICPD – Part 2

    23 Nov 2009

    Purnima Mane: "Violence against women goes up when they are pregnant. It's heinous."  Credit:UNFPA

    Purnima Mane: "Violence against women goes up when they are pregnant. It's heinous." Credit:UNFPA

    Hilmi Toros interviews PURNIMA MANE, Deputy Executive Director of UNFPA

    ISTANBUL, Nov 23 (IPS) – Fifteen years after the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the glass is half full, according to Purnima Mane, deputy executive director of the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA). And not much better for the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) after 30 years.

    The ICPD, hailed as an epochal gathering of 179 nations in Cairo bent on bestowing rights and dignity to women, came under review at a high-level meeting in Istanbul, Nov. 11-13, that also took up the status of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These pertain to women.

    A report on maternal health in the 20-nation Eastern Europe and Central Asia region showed that maternal mortality has been halved since 1990, from 51 per 100,000 live births to 24. More »

    RIGHTS-LAOS: How Women Cope With Disability – Part 1

    20 Nov 2009

    Chanhpheng Sivila who walks with the help of a caliper believes "education for women is the key".  Credit:Melody Kemp/IPS

    Chanhpheng Sivila who walks with the help of a caliper believes "education for women is the key". Credit:Melody Kemp/IPS

    By Melody Kemp

    VIENTIANE, Nov 20 (IPS) – Before 2002, Chanhpheng Sivila held training workshops for the many Lao disabled women and men at her own house.

    Now she presides over the sprawling Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre fronting the Mekong, 20 km from Vientiane. Traffic thunders over the nearby Friendship Bridge on its way to Thailand, the noise carried away on the afternoon breeze.

    I was greeted by a myriad smiles from the women; each one herself disabled. One with skeletal deformity that shortened her stature, another with a foot that refuses to behave. Sivila herself had polio when young and walks with the use of a heavy and squeaky caliper. More »

    Q&A: Maternal Mortality Rates ‘One of the Saddest Cases’ in Asia

    20 Nov 2009

    UNESCAP head Noeleen Heyzer: "There is no reason why so many women have to die."  Credit:Marwaan Macan-Markar/IPS

    UNESCAP head Noeleen Heyzer: "There is no reason why so many women have to die." Credit:Marwaan Macan-Markar/IPS

    Marwaan Macan-Markar interviews NOELEEN HEYZER, U.N. under-secretary general and head of UNESCAP


    BANGKOK, Nov 20 (IPS) – Nearly 15 years after a landmark international conference to advance the rights and freedoms of women, the picture in the Asia-Pacific region is mixed, says a leading women’s rights advocate and senior United Nations official.

    While educated women and those with skills “can go as far as they want,” it is a different reality for those who come from Asia’s poorer millions. “There have never been cracks in the glass ceiling for many women in poor rural areas,” says Noeleen Heyzer, head of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), a U.N. regional body based in Bangkok.

    A similarly mixed picture appears with the push to strengthen the cause of women through the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), a U.N. treaty that has been ratified by 186 countries. While lawmakers and governments have embraced this international convention, culture and traditional beliefs have placed roadblocks. More »

    PHILIPPINES: Women’s Rights Laws in Place

    28 Oct 2009


    Advocates hope that women will benefit fully from the new law. / Credit:Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

    Advocates hope that women will benefit fully from the new law. Credit:Stephen de Tarczynski/IPS

    By Stephen de Tarczynski

    MANILA, Oct 28 (IPS) – Although the enacting in August of the Magna Carta of Women (MCW) – a major law aiming to end discrimination against women across the archipelago – was well-received here, there remain concerns about whether the legislation will be fully implemented.

    Mary Joan Guan, executive director of the Centre for Women’s Research, a Manila-based advocacy and training organisation, says that the efficacy of the MCW relies on its implementation going against the trend of previous women’s rights legislation.

    The Philippines “already has 27 laws concerning women’s rights…[but] in reality these laws are not implemented at all,” she says. It ratified the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1981. More »

    RIGHTS-JAPAN: Get Cracking on Gender Equality

    03 Oct 2009

    Lawyer Yoko Hayashi: government "must work with 'liberal' men who understand gender equality"  Credit:Hayashi/IPS

    Lawyer Yoko Hayashi: government "must work with 'liberal' men who understand gender equality" Credit:Hayashi/IPS

    By Catherine Makino

    TOKYO, Oct 3 (IPS) – Japan’s new female justice minister has promised to get serious about gender equality.

    Minister Keiko Chiba said on Sep. 29, she intends to propose legislation as early as next year to allow women and men to choose to register different surnames at marriage.

    There have been 20 attempts to approve such legislation. “I feel the failure to pass the legislation, even after the Legislative Council submitted its recommendations, is not normal,” Chiba said.

    In August, the United Nations told Japan to move on gender equality or risk international criticism for its lack of action. More »

    VIETNAM: Ethnic Minorities More Gender Divided

    02 Oct 2009

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    Raising awareness: A scene from a play on domestic violence Credit:Matthew Bennett/IPS

    By Helen Clark

    CAO BANG, Vietnam, Oct 2 (IPS) – A drunk man slaps his wife, she hits the ground and the audience of mainly women laughs. At a question and answer session that follows in Tay, one of the many ethnic minority languages, women stand up to talk at length about why husbands shouldn’t hit their wives and why, as women, they deserve equal respect.

    The open-air show at a weekly market in northern Cao Bang province is Vietnam government- and NGO-sponsored propaganda for minorities like the Tay. It has been created with the aim of informing far-flung communities of the country’s law against domestic violence and to help improve gender relations here. More »

    The Gender Thread in The Mekong Media Forum

    02 Jul 2009

    How have economic integration and openness shaped the media environment in the Mekong region? What do audiences expect in the age of more openness? What is the role of the market in today’s media in the Mekong region? Are all state media for propaganda? What voices and places do women journalists have in their newsrooms? How are women and gender issues portrayed in the region’s media? More »

    Muslim Women: Building Institutions, Creating Change

    28 May 2009

    Hundreds of Muslim women activists, academics, scholars, lawyers and community leaders from around the globe will meet in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia between July 16 and 20, 2009 to build the infrastructure and network for Muslim women to join together, challenge the distorted interpretations of Islam and to increase the socio-economic self-determination of Muslim women in society.
    More »

    HUMAN RIGHTS: Ominous Silence About Domestic Violence

    22 Apr 2009

    By Kester Kenn Klomegah
    MOSCOW, Apr 22 (IPS) Over a quarter of Armenian women have been hit or
    beaten by a family member and about two thirds have experienced
    psychological abuse, yet the state grossly fails to prevent, investigate
    and punish domestic violence, say researchers and rights activists.

    More »