Gender and Politics in the media

Afghanistan’s only female pres candidate demands right to run. Saudi women drive without arrests.

A woman drives a car in Saudi Arabia. A conservative Saudi cleric has said women who drive risk damaging their ovaries and bearing children with clinical problems.Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters

Saudi women refuse to put brakes on driving ban protest
Al Jazeera America
A petition in support of a Saudi woman’s right to drive has attracted more than 16,500 names in advance of a weekend campaign in which female motorists are expected to defy the kingdom’s rulers and take to the roads. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from operating a vehicle.

An estimated 100 women have already broken the ban in the run-up to the action sponsored by the Oct. 26 Women’s Driving Campaign, activists say. Some have uploaded videos of themselves driving cars in cities across the kingdom. More are expected to join Saturday, but alleged threats by government officials compelled many activists to say the date is “symbolic” and opt for a continuous campaign instead.

But Saudi women aren’t easily deterred.

Saudi women drive without arrests Sky News Australia Saudi activists say more than 60 women claimed to have answered their call to get behind the wheel in a rare show of defiance against a ban on female driving in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

Saudi professor and campaigner Aziza Youssef says the group has received 13 videos and another 50 phone messages from women showing or claiming they had driven. She says they have no way to verify the messages.

If the numbers are accurate, this year’s campaign is the most successful effort yet by Saudi women demanding the right to drive. Youssef says they haven’t received any reports of arrests or women being ticketed by police.

A security official said that authorities did not arrest or fine any female drivers on Saturday. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

However, there have been a few roadblocks along the way.

Elections show women making little headway in local politics The Times of Israel …In Israel’s 11 largest municipalities, which have between 2.8 and three million residents, just 16.2 percent of municipal council positions were won by women in Tuesday’s vote.

According to political analyst Tal Schneider, who compiled the figures, the list of municipalities represents “a massive part of Israel’s population, who live in supposedly pluralistic cities. [Yet] this broad population is represented by 84% men and 16% women.”

The figure for the 2013 local elections is nearly unchanged from that of the 2008 elections, which resulted in 16.3% women in Israel’s 11 largest cities.

Afghan women vow to participate in elections Central Asia Online PAKTIA, Afghanistan – Hundreds of Paktia Province women October 23 rallied in Gardez to announce their intentions to actively participate in the upcoming …

Women in Bahrain chamber poll race Trade Arabia Businesswomen promise to stage a strong showing in the upcoming Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) board elections, said a report.

Nine Bahrain Businesswomen’s Association (BBS) members have expressed their desire to run in the polls.

They are Afnan Al Zayani, Suhair Boukhammas, Huda Sangur, Khulood Al Qattan, Deema Al Haddad, Dr Lulwa Al Mutlaq, Huda Radhi, Aisha Yacoubi and Ahlam Janahi.

“Businesswomen planning to run in the BCCI elections are not looking for prestige or fake celebrity,” BBS chairperson Ahlam Janahi told Akhbar Al Khaleej, our sister paper.

She defended their right to compete in the polls, citing their tangible contribution to trade work and positive participation in all BCCI subcommittees.

Country ranked second-worst in gender equality Oman Tribune ISLAMABAD Pakistan ranks the world’s second-worst country in terms of gender equality and equitable division of resources and opportunities among men and women, says a report published on Friday.

The Global Gender Gap Report 2013, published by the World Economic Forum (WEF)  in collaboration with faculty at Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley, assesses 136 countries, representing more than 93 per cent of the world’s population, on how well resources and opportunities are divided among male and female populations.

According to the index, Iceland tops the list with the most equitable sharing of resources among the sexes, followed closely by north European countries such as Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Afghanistan’s only female presidential candidate demands right to run Khadija Ghaznawi was one of 17 candidates culled from an initial list of 27 who had registered for Afghanistan’s April poll when Hamid Karzai is due to step down.

That leaves 10 nominees for the post of president – and not a single woman.

Women’s rights have long been seen as a barometer for reconstruction efforts and campaigners are disappointed that this time around – and for the first time since the Taliban were ousted – there will be no female candidate.

Mrs Ghaznavi, who owns a logistics company and runs a peace campaign group, said she had met all the conditions to run, paying her deposit and handing over sufficient voter cards to prove she had support for a campaign.

“The election commission has never called me since I registered my name as a candidate, and never told me there was a problem with any of my documents,” she said.

Afghan candidates who were disqualified by the Independent Election Commission (IEC) for running in the Presidential elections, talk to journalists during a press conference in Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: EPA

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