Gender and Politics in the media

Cameron demands end to sex segregation at uni. Merkel names mom of 7 the 1st female defence chief. Mandela’s legacy for women.

Cameron demands end to university sex segregation Evening Standard David Cameron today rebuked university bosses for allowing Islamic speakers to segregate audiences by sex.

He called on university chiefs to stop indulging extremists and demanded new guidance be issued “urgently”.

“His view is that universities should take a tough approach and guest speakers should not be allowed to address segregated audiences,” said a Downing Street spokesman. “It is important that Universities UK urgently reviews its guidance.”

..The furore follows women being barred from some lectures or made to sit away from male students. Although a 2008 poll found nine in 10 Muslim students regarded segregation as unacceptable at university, Universities UK has defended it.

UUK chief executive Nicola Dandridge said segregation was not “alien to our culture” and that colleges had to “respect” those who wanted it.

Ambassador for women Natasha Stott Despoja vows to be ‘frank and … The Guardian Former Democrat leader Natasha Stott Despoja is the new Australian ambassador for women and girls, the foreign minister, Julie Bishop, announced on Monday.

In the first ambassadorial posting under the new government, Stott Despoja will lead Australia’s international efforts to improve the lives of women, including increasing female political representation, promoting economic empowerment, improving health and education services and working to end violence against women and girls. The posting is under the umbrella of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

UPDATE 2-Merkel picks popular woman ally as defence minister Reuters German Chancellor Angela Merkel named Ursula von der Leyen as her new defence minister on Sunday, a surprising choice that could vault the ambitious ally into the lead as the front runner to one day succeed the chancellor.

Merkel, 59, will begin her third term on Tuesday – three months after winning the Sept. 22 election – now that her junior coalition partners, the Social Democrats, voted on Saturday to join her in a “grand coalition”.

Even though Merkel has an aversion to the unexpected, she pulled a rabbit out of her hat in picking the spirited von der Leyen to lead defence, one of the top jobs in her cabinet with a 33-billion-euro budget.

File Photo: Germany’s newly-appointed defence minister Ursula von der Leyen (L) and German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Angela Merkel celebrate after first exit polls in the German general election (Bundestagswahl) at the CDU party headquarters in Berlin in this September 22, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)

Merkel names mother of seven first female defence chief Ahram Online Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s first female defence minister, is a worldly and ambitious trained physician and mother of seven seen as a budding possible successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.

With political star power and appeal especially for women voters, she has been a campaign asset for Merkel, but also a potential rival who has shown she is not scared to challenge the powerful leader.

Brussels-born, fluent in English and French, with a degree from the London School of Economics, she has cultivated a network of contacts on both sides of the Atlantic.

Roy Morgan: Women desert Abbott in droves MacroBusiness (blog) Let me reiterate that I would not be posting polls at this stage of the electoral cycle were it not for the likelihood of a rerun in WA for the Senate. Having …

Mandela’s legacy for women Radio Netherlands …Looking at the rights that South African women have because Mandela signed them into law confirms that his political vision embraced equality for women. The post-1994 period saw a substantial amount of new legislation furthering women’s rights, and much of this was formulated and passed during his term as president. (For a sampling of these laws, see side box.) These laws furthered gender rights and created legal precedent to ensure that women be treated fairly.

A notable exception was a lack of policy around HIV and AIDS, issues that affected women significantly, particularly the survivors of rape and sexual offences. Mandela’s inaction and silence allowed myths around the virus to spread. It denied life-saving treatment to many South Africans and squandered an opportunity to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. It’s not clear why: Mandela publically admitted that this was a failure on his part. To his credit, he established the 46664 global HIV awareness campaign in 2002, though his son passed away from AIDS in 2005

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