• Saturday, November 28, 2015
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    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 »

    RIGHTS-UGANDA: “You Cannot Tell Me You Will Kill Me Because I’m Gay”

    09 Nov 2009

    David Bahati submitting his controversial anti-gay Bill to parliament.  Credit:Wambi Michael/IPS

    David Bahati submitting his controversial anti-gay Bill to parliament. Credit:Wambi Michael/IPS

    By Wambi Michael

    KAMPALA, Nov 9 (IPS) – The Ugandan government will put to death gay citizens repeatedly caught having sex and throw into jail those who touch each other in a “gay” way, if a new proposed Bill becomes law.

    A new Bill, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, seeks to legislate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people in Uganda. And it wants to pave the way for its harsh treatment of them by nullifying any international treaties, conventions or declarations believed to be contrary to it.

    “The Bill is so inhumane … It violates every aspect of a human being. I mean you cannot tell me you will kill me because I’m gay,” says Gerald Sentogo, the gay administrator for the organisation Sexual Minorities Uganda.

    The death penalty is listed as punishment under an offence called aggravated homosexuality. This part of the Bill states that “repeat offenders” of homosexuality are liable to get the death penalty. The death penalty is also applied in a homosexual relationship if a partner is under 18, or has a disability, or is HIV positive. People accused under the aggravated homosexuality clause will be forced to undergo an HIV test. More »


    21 Sep 2009

    Gender Masala has been dealing with serious topics seriously …it’s time for a fun break!  Check out these hilarious condom ads from several continents. They make safe sex fun.

    Make safe sex fun. By M. Sayagues

    Make safe sex fun. By M. Sayagues

    Ranging  from sassy dialogue to black humour, these are one-minute comedies with a smart punchline. The Mother from Hell and the Spoiled Brat skits have a Borat-like humour.  And who would have thought a condom ad from India would depict anal sex?

    Click on the ad from Argentina even if you don’t speak Spanish.  Everybody who has been a teenager will chuckle about these teens, their parents and their predicament. (Watch it here)

    Laughing got me thinking about how seldom one sees humorous ads about condoms in English-speaking Southern Africa. I have seen some cool ads in Mozambique, though – I think there were Brazilian advisors involved. More »


    07 Sep 2009

    Safe motherhood for all. By F. Beaumont.

    Safe motherhood for all. By F. Beaumont.

    My daughter Esmeralda turns 18 today. Like all parents, I am amazed at how time flies. Like all mothers, I get reminiscent about those days, 18 years ago.

    I was very pregnant and very happy. I lived in Rome, Italy, and I wanted a home birth.

    I wanted music, soft light, friends, baby on my stomach still attached by umbilical cord, no drugs, and no epidural. A birth by my own rules, not by a cold hospital’s.

    I found a group specialized in home births – Il Melograno. Their package included ob-gyn and midwife, courses, support and, more importantly, a woman-friendly feel. A photographer from Marie Claire magazine would do a photo reportage on my happy home birth.

    Our premise: pregnancy is neither a disease nor a disability. Pregnancy and birth have become over-medicalized; women should reclaim it from doctors overly fond of control and caesareans. More »

    CHILE: Therapeutic Abortion – Hot Election Issue

    07 Apr 2009

    By Daniela Estrada
    SANTIAGO, Apr 2 (IPS) The debate on the decriminalisation of therapeutic
    abortion has been revived ahead of the December presidential elections in
    Chile, one of the few countries in the world where abortion is illegal
    even under extreme circumstances, such as risk to the mother's life or
    a severely deformed foetus.

    More »

    POPULATION: Global Financial Crisis Threatens Family Planning

    01 Apr 2009

    By Thalif Deen

    UNITED NATIONS, Apr 1 (IPS) – The spreading global financial crisis is
    threatening to undermine another one of the U.N.’s major development and health goals: family planning.

    More »