Gender and Politics in the media

Saudi women given more freedom to travel. Syria: Extremists Restricting Women’s Rights. Myanmar still uses rape as weapon of war – women’s group.

Women’s rights top agenda as Egyptians vote on draft constitution (blog) CAIRO – Egyptians were voting in a referendum on the country’s draft constitution on Tuesday and Wednesday, a document that would enshrine unprecedented gender equality for women.

Since the so-called Arab Spring shook Egypt and the region to its foundations in 2010, the roles and rights of women in the Middle East’s most populous country have been under the spotlight.

Throughout the revolution that unseated the government of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak and led to the election of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi — who was deposed in a military coup last year — the country has debated rampant sexual harassment, and whether an Islamist government protects or endangers women.

(Getty Images – Photo for illustrative purpose only)

Saudi women given more freedom to travel An electronic system that warns Saudi men when their female “dependents” are leaving the kingdom will be made optional in an historic move towards greater female independence.

In the conservative Islamic country, women must have their guardian’s permission to travel and until now every time a woman crossed a Saudi immigration point her male guardian – usually her husband if she is married, or father or brother if she is unmarried – was alerted via a text message.

A Passports Department official announced on Monday the system would be temporarily suspended and amended before being reintroduced with the option for men to opt out of receiving alerts.

Syria: Extremists Restricting Women’s Rights Thomson Reuters Foundation Certain extremist armed opposition groups are imposing strict and discriminatory rules on women and girls that have no basis in Syrian law, Human Rights Watch said today. The harsh rules that some groups are administering in areas under their control in northern and northeastern Syria violate women’s and girls’ human rights and limit their ability to carry out essential daily activities.

Rahul to meet women representatives on Jan 20 Business Standard Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi will take part in a meeting of women’s representatives from various sections to be organised by All-India Mahila Congress here on January 20 as a part of preparation of party’s manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections.

The meeting would be held to know the expectations of women, All India Mahila Congress president Shobha Ojha told reporters today at the Madhya Pradesh party office here.

Around 250 women from various sections of the society across the country would attend the meeting where they will get a chance to interact with Rahul Gandhi, Ojha said.

Nalisa Makes History As First Woman Senior Induna in Zambezi … Ikumwe — A cultural revolution of some sort unfolded recently when for the first time the Masubia Traditional Authority selected a woman as the senior induna (senior headman or tribal chief), for Ikumwe area, some 55 kilometres east of Katima Mulilo. The new senior headman, Francesca Norah Nalisa, will now hold fort in the traditional court (called the khuta) that has predominantly been led by men.

She emerged victorious as a woman induna during the election in September last year, thus breaking a code that has existed for generations and that has been somewhat considered a taboo.

Myanmar still uses rape as weapon of war – women’s group The Star Online WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A women’s group says the military in Myanmar is still using rape as a weapon of war, with more than 100 women and girls raped by the army since a 2010 election brought about a nominally civilian government that has pursued rapprochement with the West.

The Thailand-based Women’s League of Burma said in a report made available to Reuters that 47 of the cases documented were gang rapes and 28 of the women were either killed or had died of their injuries. It said several victims were as young as eight.

The group said the situation showed the need for legal reform in Myanmar, also known as Burma, and for changes to a 2008 constitution to ensure that the military is placed under civilian control.

Female candidates will face uphill battle in 2014  Jakarta Post Despite efforts to increase the number of women in politics, they still face an uphill battle to join the male-dominated political world, a political expert has said.

Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) political analyst Siti Zuhro said women in general were still victims of discrimination.

“So many challenges hamper women: Some are related to competence, others to outside influences such as a culture that discourages [women from politics],” she said.

According to Siti, women still face the social stigma prevalent in patriarchal society that perceives men as more dominant and capable than women.

Siti also said that the Islam further put women in a difficult position.

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