Two steps forward, one step back? Women in the Middle East in 2013 Al-Bawaba If you’ve ever heard the saying “breakdown before the breakthrough”, then you have some idea of what the women’s movement in the Middle East looks like. Rarely, on good faith and kind gestures, do women in the region get anything handed to them in terms of equality and rights. It’s almost always a fight. Every advance for women can be linked back to a significant event which triggered outrage or brought global attention to the issue.
In 2013, many women activists and woman-specific issues dominated trending media and news rooms globally. The open forum of social media had done much to offer a more open, honest debate about women in the Middle East. Social feeds such as Twitter and Facebook have given women a global audience combined with the safety of anonymity in some cases.
A Feminist Musing on Gender Equality in Qatar JustHere Qatar …Qatar is doing many things right. The Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016 states women’s empowerment as a key developmental objective. It lists many goals for its citizen women, including increasing the number of Qatari women in the workforce, increasing leadership positions for them, and even “reducing the stereotyping of women’s roles and responsibilities.”
The country has been dubbed one of the best places in the world for women to go to university and women outnumber men 6 to 1 in the country’s various tertiary institutions.
I am a journalism lecturer at an American university in Education City. My female students, both Qatari and expat, are ambitious, talented, and insightful. Before coming here, I knew that the international media often portrays Middle Eastern women as oppressed, submissive and voiceless in their societies. I also knew that this portrayal is usually extremely exaggerated and often inaccurate, and that I would end up meeting many Qatari women who are happy, powerful and active in their communities.
This isn’t ‘feminism’, It’s Islamophobia The Nation …I have spent weary weeks being asked to condemn this “policy of gender segregation” by “Islamic extremists”, despite the fact that no such policy exists. Of course, I condemn all sexism within the academy. I condemn segregated drinking societies and the under-representation of women at the top levels of academia. I condemn rape culture on campus, tradition like “seal clubbing.” and “slut dropping” where male students are encouraged to sexually humiliate their female classmates. If I’ve enough breath left, I’ll condemn the suggestion that guest lecturers be allowed a segregated audience for religious reasons.
Structural sexism does take place every day in our universities, as it does in our offices, shops and homes – and we should oppose it everywhere. But demanding that feminists of every race and faith drop all our campaigns and stand against “radical Islam” sounds more and more like white patriarchy trying to make excuses for itself: “If you think we’re bad, just look at these guys.”
All courts to have women’s sections Saudi Gazette RIYADH — All courts in the Kingdom under the Bureau of Grievances will set up departments to manage cases related to women’s issues. Over 60 positions have been made available for women applicants across the country. The bureau’s decision comes in line with Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s directives to set up women’s departments and units in all government agencies.
Tan Lin: Promoting Women’s Political Participation and Happiness Women of China As director of the Women’s Studies Institute of China, Tan Lin was recently elected as a member of the Secretariat of the All-China Women’s Federation (ACWF) at the 11th National Women’s Congress held in Beijing in late October this year.
Tan has focused her efforts on promoting gender equality and applying her research findings on women’s issues to policy- or law-making. She believes that policy-makers in China need to pay more attention to gender equality in decision-making.
Despite progress, China needs to do more to fight gender … UN News Centre 24 December 2013 – Despite remarkable strides in improving women’s lives, China is insufficiently implementing relevant laws against discrimination and more needs to be done to ensure their full participation in the economy and politics as well as equality in wages and recruitment, according to a United Nations working group.
“A framework of law and policy has been put into place to eliminate discrimination against women,” Frances Raday, Chairperson of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice, said at the end of the Group’s first visit to the country. “But there remain persistent discriminatory practices, stereotypes and insufficient implementation of the laws.”
Number of women in politics back in focus The Phnom Penh Post Finding out why women’s voices are not being listened to is imperative to increasing the proportion of female political representation in Cambodia, a meeting heard yesterday.
The Committee to Promote Women in Politics (CPWP) – which is made up of 12 organisations – hosted discussions in the capital that included discussion about the importance of having a legislative population that is at least 25 per cent female, one of Cambodia’s Millenium Goals.
“We meet, this time, to make plans for the future, to increase the number of women and find out why their voices are not paid attention to,” said Ros Sopheap, chief executive of Gender and Development Cambodia and CPWP president. “If we do not demand, they will not give us our demand.”
AU wants more women representation in Mauritanian politics Afrique en Ligue Nouakchott, Mauritania – An African Union (AU) observer mission to the Mauritanian municipal and legislative polls, led by former Algerian Prime Minister, Ahmed Ouyahia, has recommended that the Mauritanian government should create an environment which will allow more women participate in the country’s political process.
Sierra Leone News: Gender Equality and Women empowerment bill Awoko The Deputy Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Mustapha Bai Attila has disclosed that the gender equality and women’s empowerment bill will soon be tabled in parliament.
As different women solidarity group has been grouped into technical committee to look into issues to be included in the gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Ministry of Social welfare together with the Advocacy Movement Network (AMNet) and the Human Rights Commission has highlighted over ten recommendations that for the bill.
The Deputy maintained that they will continue to talk and engage the different stakeholders in the country to ensure that the 30% quota is enacted as it is very important in the development of the country.
Taking Stock of Gender Issues in 2013 AllAfrica.com …The year started on a good note when millions of men and women across the political divide voted in favour of the draft constitution, which was to become the new Constitution of Zimbabwe. They passionately participated and spoke with one voice on issues they wanted addressed and, true to their concerns, their contributions were clearly articulated in the new Constitution.
The new Constitution ushered in a new dispensation when it comes to gender equality, because it acknowledges societal, political and economic gender disparities that need to be addressed. It has since been described by gender activists as the best document that speaks on gender issues, clearly demonstrating political will at the highest level.
African workshop focuses on gender mainstreaming MENAFN.COM Dec 24, 2013 (Menafn – M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) –The African Teachers’ Centre (PATC)-EI African regional office (EIRAF) has joined UNESCO, UNICEF and several progressive regional and international organisations in coordinating a project to develop, print, validate and pilot a UNESCO guide containing 10 modules to be used in Teacher Training Institutions (TEIs) in Africa. This Guide for Gender Mainstreaming in the TEIs aims at making teacher trainers and trainees more gender-sensitive and ready to strive for gender equality in their learning institutions, community and society.
Haiti – Politic : Towards a better gender equality Haitilibre.com Monday, Pierre Hérold Étienne, Director General of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), and representatives of the Ministry for the Status and Rights of Women (MCFDF) met to provide an update of the commitments to ensure gender equality in accordance with the component 9 of the Strategic Plan of Development of Haiti (PSDH) and the Ministry’s action plan.
At this meeting, Pierre Hérold Étienne reiterated the ministry’s commitment to contribute to women’s participation in the development of Haiti through :
- A formulation of the economic policy gender-sensitive ;
- A process of development and institutionalization of a gender-sensitive budget, particularly in the context of its sub-program “Orient budgetary and fiscal policies” ;
- A support to the Haitian Institute of Statistics and Informatics, focusing on research and statistical data collections differentiated by gender ;
- The development of an annual budget for the “gender and development funds of MCFDF” in order to implement projects at the national level in favor of equality and the empowerment of Haitian women.