• Friday, November 28, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    Gender Masala - Notes on gender - A spicy mix

    This blog brings out the flavour of gender issues, from the network of IPS writers and friends. Gender Masala is part of the Inter Press Service project Communicating for Change: Getting Voice, Visibility and Impact for Gender Equality. Check it at www.ips.org/mdg3/


    CSW 56: Week Two

    09 Mar 2012

    Catch up on our coverage from the past week, below, as the United Nations’ 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women comes to a close. Click here for coverage from week one.

    Female construction workers in Rio de Janeiro. Brazilian women have been making headway in traditionally male-dominated fields. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

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    IWD: Keeping Girls Safe at Home, at School and in Their Communities

    08 Mar 2012

    By Equality Now*

    “To be able to realise their full potential in society as women, girls need to be empowered to raise their voices against injustices committed against them and they need a system that will support their quest for justice.”

    Young girls in the village of Sonu Khan Almani in Pakistan's Sindh province perform most of the household chores, like making bread. Credit: Zofeen Ebrahim/IPS

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    IWD: How the Kafala System is Failing Domestic Workers in the Middle East

    08 Mar 2012

    By Simba Shani Kamaria Russeau*

    “For developing countries, female migrants are becoming the main export as the labour market demand for a new form of modern-day slavery – domestic servitude – increases in the Middle East.”

    Libyan domestic worker Hawiyah Awal. Credit: Simba Russeau/IPS

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    IWD: Women’s Empowerment in Traditional Communities

    08 Mar 2012

    By Melina Lito*

    “I am often caught between what my traditional community expects of me as a woman, and what I want to achieve in a society with a plethora of opportunities.”

    Bolivian Quechua leader in meeting on women's access to land. Credit: Franz Chávez/IPS

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    IWD: Visualising Gender and Media

    08 Mar 2012

    By Mapping Global Media Policy*

    “This is the first global initiative that adopts an innovative approach – data collection, organisation and visualisation – concerning [gender and media].”

    Gender and Media Sunburst. Credit: Mapping Global Media Policy

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    The 56th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

    05 Mar 2012

    As the second week of CSW 56 gets underway at the United Nations in New York, you can catch up with all of our related reporting on our gender page. Here’s a brief overview below…


    Opening of the fifty-sixth Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Credit: UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

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    Ordinary Women Have Extraordinary Stories to Tell

    01 Mar 2011

    Loga Virahsawmy. Credit:Courtesy of Loga Virahsawmy

    Rousbeh Legatis interviews LOGA VIRAHSAWMY of Gender Links

    UNITED NATIONS, Mar1, 2011 (IPS) – Ordinary women’s voices are too often ignored when it comes to solving their own problems, admonishes Loga Virahsawmy, Director of the Southern African NGO Gender Links, Mauritius and Francophone Office.

    As a freelance journalist and gender activist, Virahsawmy has spent years analysing how Southern African media cover women, and recently completed a study in 15 countries that showed a discouraging lack of improvement from previous years.

    On the sidelines of the 55th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, Virahsawmy spoke to IPS about the importance of hearing the voices of ordinary women and the shortcomings of mass media. Excerpts from the interview follow. More »

    Contributing to Gender Equality through Creative Methodologies – Isis-WICCE @CSW55

    01 Mar 2011

    Since 1974, Isis-WICCE has continued to promote communication mechanisms amongst women to address violence against women and promote gender equality.  This was reflected through Isis-WICCE’s presentations during the 55th Commission on the Status of Women on Access and Participation of Women and Girls to Education, Science and Technology’.

    Isis-WICCE uses ICTs as a strategy to reclaim women’s human rights. The documentation of women’s experiences of war and peace using video documentaries and digital stories, has contributed to a database of women’s history of war and a record of women’s home grown solutions to peace. The tools are also critical to social change as they show the human face of armed conflict; show indisputable evidence of abuse in advocating for justice and end to impunity; and legitimize violence against women as a crime.  The documentation of women’s peace initiatives affirms the indigenous peace work and the need for women to be at formal peace negotiation processes.  Isis-WICCE has also been accessing technology to women [refugees, professional groupings, first time users] with its first-ever women’s ICT public access [internet café] in Kampala, Uganda.

    Women trained in the public access and in the Exchange programme institute have been able to perform skits and package video-drama to sensitise communities on dangers of violence; and use radio to run programmes for awareness creation.  Further more, Isis-WICCE uses simultaneous interpretation equipment to facilitate bilingual communication of anglo-phone and franco-phone speaking women leaders from conflict regions to share survival strategies; and has used mobile applications and social media blogging to address vulnerabilities for women infected with HIV/AIDS.

    In addressing challenges faced by women with HIV/AIDs, an advocacy message sent to community leaders by women trained in use of mobile telephone applications reads, thus:

    Clan leaders, we call upon you to respect the rights of widows, they have a right to own property. Stop men from grabbing property from widows and orphans [translated from local language]

    Education remains a key driver of economic growth and social change.  Through creative learning and education methodologies, Isis-WICCE has realized shifts in knowledge, skills and behaviour in its peace building and conflict transformation programme with women leaders in S.Sudan. This has in part enhanced the realization of MDG3 [on the need to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment by reducing disparity in education].  Isis-WICCE worked with over 60 women leaders to build their capacities towards being change agents in S.Sudan’s post-conflict processes [2009-to date]. A number of training methodologies were employed to ensure a favourable learning environment for women.

    The methods of delivering training included: undertaking training needs assessment to inform the training modules; use of popular training methodologies such as codes and skits; having women-only space for participants to speak up in a non-intimidating atmosphere; and listening to the participants as part of their healing process on their traumatic experiences of war.

    Other methodologies were: hosting field exchange visits to strategic institutions and sites to acquire coping mechanisms; carrying out centering sessions and meditation processes to raise participants’ spiritual consciousness to development work and recommit them to the work they are doing in the communities; held cross-cultural dances for women to be in touch with their traditions even if many had been displaced from their communities by war; follow-up and support to women over the practical use of the skills; as well as the use of learning-by-doing approach, where women had the opportunity to implement field activities using the skills acquired from the training programme and as a way of giving aback to communities. The above methodologies contributed to a holistic learning and education approach that enabled women leaders to internalize and be able to transfer the skills in their communities.  Fifteen women on the training programmme have already taken up political leadership while others continued to undertake new activities on peace building, involving over 6,000 people in the communities of S.Sudan. In appreciating the programme, one woman leader stated that:

    ..Thank you for allowing me to perform and making other participants dance to my cultural music.  My tribe is a minority as many of our people were killed in war and others have migrated, our tribe is nearly extinct.  I felt good, loved and respected by this gesture.

    The twin-strategies of documentation [using ICTs] and education have contributed to access and participation of women and girls to education, training and technology.  By using international frameworks such as BPfA, UNSCR1325 and MDG3, Isis-WICCE continues to address the challenges faced by women in armed and post conflict settings, and link their issues, voices, concerns and resilience to debates taking places at international levels.

    These interventions have been made possible by the various development partners of Isis-WICCE.

    By Harriet Musoke
    Isis-WICCE

    CSW 55, Parallel Event – Women Transforming the Development Cooperation System and Practices

    28 Feb 2011