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

    Women Deepening Democracy

    22 Jan 2010

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    Women Deepening Democracy: Transforming Politics for Gender Equality. New Dehli, 13-15 January

    “Women Deepening Democracy: Transforming Politics for Gender Equality” brought together organisations supporting women’s participation in politics to identify innovations, analyse challenges to women’s political participation, assessing threats to democracies and their gendered impact and making a contribution to the UN’s system-wide efforts to promote democracy.

    The meeting was hosted by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and the United Nations Department of Political Affairs (DPA).

    UNIFEM’s chief advisor for Governance, Peace and Security, Dr Anne-Marie Goetz noted that women only got the vote in democracies in the 20th century and “have struggled to match this formal political equality with substantive political influence”. More »

    Famous and infamous births

    21 Dec 2009

    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 »

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CEDAW!

    18 Dec 2009

    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.

    More »

    Living a woman’s life

    04 Dec 2009

    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 »

    WORLD AIDS DAY 2009

    01 Dec 2009

    We share the wish of Marie Mendene Owono:  SEND AIDS AWAY.

    By M. Sayagues

    By M. Sayagues

    Marie Mendene  is an extraordinary activist from Cameroon and one of the first African women to say publicly that she lives with HIV, in the 1990s, when AIDS was a disease of shame and blame.

    This is one of my favourite photos about AIDS in Africa. I took it at Sunshine, her NGO in Douala, in 2003, before antiretroviral treatment became widely available. Only a few Cameroonians in cities could get the life-saving pills.

    The day I took the photo, Marie had queued for seven hours and  received only half of her monthly ARV pills. She was understandably upset about the poor logistics and delivery of medicines. AIDS magnified all the inadequacies of health systems.

    That was then. Today, nearly three million people in Africa are on ARV treatment. This seemed like a dream then, but activists were campaigning hard to make it come true.

    Marie had a clear vision of activism. “We should go beyond the begging bowl and the appeal to compassion, beyond the stage of being used to do prevention and awareness, and become part of real-decision making around AIDS,” she told me.

    Marie is to the right in the pic, with a fellow activist.

    Q&A: ‘You Have To Be Educated To Be A Leader’

    30 Nov 2009

    Eunice Wanjiru interviews DEMITIRI MUKANDASHIMIYE, nurse, Nyamata Health Centre

    BUGESERA DISTRICT, Rwanda, Nov 30 (IPS) – Traffic flowing in and out of her office, each interruption addressed with effortless calm, the nurse in charge of Hospitalisation and Immunisation at Nyamata Health Center in Bugesera District, is a confident woman in her element.

    Settling down to talk to us in her small office – an examination bed in one corner, a file cabinet opposite, a long wooden table holding hospital equipment like thermometers, a stethoscope and a few documents – Demitiri Mukandashimiye, gazes across her neatly arranged work desk. 

    The bulk of her work, she says, consists of admitting pregnant mothers and immunising infants. And following up on the mothers to ensure they don’t skip any immunisation days.  More »

     

    Watchdog citizen journalism against gender violence

    27 Nov 2009

    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 »

    RIGHTS: Obama Urged to Fully Comply with Anti-Torture Treaty

    26 Oct 2009

    By William Fisher

    NEW YORK, Oct 26 (IPS) – The fifteenth anniversary of the U.S. ratification of the United Nations Convention Against Torture passed last week with little fanfare and virtually no press attention from the mainstream media here.

    But according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “U.S. policy continues to fall short of ensuring full compliance with the treaty.”

    For example, the organisation said that an appendix to the Army Field Manual (AFM) can still facilitate cruel treatment of prisoners and detainees at home and abroad. More »

    Red light for Burqa-wearing drivers in Bahrain

    05 Oct 2009

    Guest blogger: Suad Hamada, IPS correspondent in Bahrain

    Dressed to drive? By S.Hamada

    Dressed to drive? By S.Hamada

    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 »