• Sunday, December 21, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    A New Year for Gender Masala

    02 Jan 2010


    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.

    A Babel of Jargon

    31 Dec 2009


    Photo by Beralpo, Wikimedia Commons

    A collective indigestion of jargon. Photo by Beralpo, Wikimedia Commons

    My friend is looking for a job. He finds an ad of the US-based Mercy Corps and calls me for a translation. The ad is in English – sort of – but he can’t figure out what it is about:

    “Invitation for a consultancy in conducting a training on enhancing facilitation skills of development practitioners of livelihood enhancement programs.”

    What does this text mean exactly, except that we have a collective indigestion of development jargon from NGOs and the UN, from academics and politicians, and that the media is complicit in this masquerading of long words as substance?  More »

    Out of darkness: facing breast cancer

    28 Dec 2009


    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 »

    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 »

    Women human rights defenders under attack

    10 Dec 2009


    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 »

    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.

    Breakthrough for Women at the UN

    18 Sep 2009


    Guest blogger:  Ann Ninan, IPS Gender Editor

    Is there room for us as well? M. Sayagues

    A breakthrough for us as well? M. Sayagues

    The UN has finally decided to stand up for women!  A decision to create a new agency for women was taken by the General Assembly on September14.

    Our colleague Thalif Deen, IPS bureau chief in New York, was the first and only journalist to report it for the first several hours.

    But this blog is not to crow about our scoop.

    I’m quite excited by the prospect of a new women’s agency with money and political power. No longer will the world’s feminists have to lobby from the outside to put their views on the table. They have now won admission to the high table.

    Any one of those bright, articulate, activist women can emerge to lead the agency. The reality is likely to be less rosy. But chances are that, because it’s new, it will be less under the thumb of the old boy network.

    You think I’m a romantic? What the hell, there is no harm in dreaming, is there?  More »