Women journalists are the victims of more sexual attacks than men—but until now there has been little quantification of those crimes. Now the the International Women's Media Foundation, in conjunction with the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, is preparing the conclusions a month-long universal survey of female journalists. The group’s report on the dangers faced by female journalists and will be the basis of safety remedies designed by UNESCO. And for those who question whether such a study is needed: Two days after it launched, a 22-year-old photojournalist was gang raped while on assignment in Mumbai.
September 25, 2013 10:34 AM
Cruel and unusual
An imprisoned member of the Russian activist group Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Kolokonniko, wrote an open letter to prison authorities that has shocked her countrymen as well as people who’ve read it in English after it was published in foreign media.
Kolokonnikova was sentenced to two years in a provincial labor camp for her part in a profane "punk prayer" that the group performed in Moscow's leading cathedral last year. A Moscow court judged the performance to be an antireligious hate crime. One other member is also in prison, while another has been put on probation.
Recently Kolokonnikova was placed in solitary confinement "for her own protection" after she declared a hunger strike over the conditions in her remote penal colony and complained that the camp's deputy commander had threatened her life.
Kolokonnikova wrote that she and her fellow inmates were forced to work up to 17 hours a day, given little chance to sleep, subjected to cruel treatments –including beatings inflicted by fellow inmates at the behest of guards – often denied basic hygiene, and frequently punished collectively for infractions committed by one prisoner.
September 24, 2013 12:36 PM
Lots to like
When Ruchi Sanghvi started working at Facebook in 2005, “it had only 20 people. I saw it grow to a thousand employees and from five million users to over a billion users. I saw it evolve from a service that served college students to one that served the world," she says. Now vice-president of operations at Dropbox, Sanghvi recalls how she got her job—a Carnegie Mellon engineering grad, she had originally applied at Oracle—and the excitement of those early days. .
September 24, 2013 12:26 PM
Politics isn’t pretty in Cambodia. There are constant headlines of residents being tossed from their land so that developers, in league with politicians, can exploit their property. And according to The Cambodian League for the Defence and Promotion of Human Rights, more than 1 million Cambodians were denied the right to vote.
Now a petite young mother, Yorm Bopha, has become the face of the resistance to these illegal tactics. She’s been jailed for more than a year after campaigning to gain the freedom of 15 of her neighbors—13 of them women—who themselves were imprisoned for protesting being evicted from their lakeside property to make way for an office and apartment complex being developed by a Cambodian senator in partnership with a Chinese investor.
The Cambodian League for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights released a study last year suggesting that “land grabbing has affected an estimated 400,000 Cambodians since 2003, helping to create a sizable under class of landless villagers with no means for self-sustenance.”
September 16, 2013 8:42 AM
In 2011, Sweden changed from mandatory conscription for men—but not for women—to an all-volunteer force. Now, two years later, women make up 20 percent of those enrolled in basic training. In the days of the draft, women volunteers were only five percent of the force.
Some of the motivating factors for these new enrollees: curiosity and a thirst for experience. As a point of comparison, women in the U.S. military make up about 18 percent of the total.
September 12, 2013 8:59 AM
A study of gender roles in Central America’s “maras” or street gangs, sheds light on the dual role of women, who are simultaneously violently exploited and heavily relied on by male gang members, writes the Costa Rica Star.
The study “Violent and Abused”, a joint initiative between several non-governmental organizations, examines the disempowered but crucial role of women in the Barrio 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS13) street gangs in the Northern Triangle countries, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Women, according to the study, serve a dual role in gangs. They are expected to take on male-associated characteristics and tasks, including perpetrating and withstanding violence and wearing men’s clothing, and to act in the “female” role of cooking and caring for the men, children and the sick. Because gangs believe women are less suspicious in the eyes of authorities, they are also often tasked with acting as drug “mules,” smuggling illicit goods into jails, gathering intelligence on rival gangs, and carrying arms in public spaces.
September 10, 2013 9:52 AM
The female factor
With India’s general elections set for early 2014, just a few months away, politicians seem to be scurrying to announce measures for empowering women, writes Women’s E-News. And politicians know that the country's female voters—estimates of their numbers vary between 300 million and 350 million—could mean the difference between winning and losing.
One woman-friendly new law: The historic Food Security Bill, spearheaded by the Congress party, was approved by parliament in late August. The bill, which promises a major expansion of subsidized grains (rice, wheat and millet,) is expected to take effect in 2014.
It was not specifically intended to promote gender equity, but a clause in the law makes it mandatory to have ration cards in the name of the "women head of the beneficiary family." For women in conservative, male-dominated families, this means they have control over the food that comes into the home, and it also provides official recognition of their worth.
September 10, 2013 9:37 AM
It may be surprising that a sleek new website selling designer hijabs to Muslim women around the world is run by two US-born Christians, writes The Christian Science Monitor. But Fouad Jeryes and Amy Kyleen Lute knew a good market opportunity when they saw one.
In January they launched Hijabik.com, where a fashionable Muslim lady anywhere in the world can order silk head scarves from Turkey or beautifully embroidered pieces from Jordan with a click of a carefully manicured finger.
The high-quality photos, including zoomed-in images, as well as attractive models instead of mannequins, set it apart from other online hijab stores and earned it significant attention. The company’s Facebook page, where customers can order products without ever visiting the main website – “In the Arab world, a lot of people think that Facebook is the Internet,” says Jeryes – has garnered more than 145,000 likes.
September 10, 2013 9:09 AM
There are two weeks to go until Germany votes for chancellor, and Angela Merkel is widely expected to win a third four-year term. On Sunday she seemed in good humor, reports The New York Times, as she appeared in front of some 7,000 supporters in a sports and convention center on the outskirts of Düsseldorf, one of the main cities in the crucial state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The most populous state in Germany, and traditionally a stronghold of Ms. Merkel’s Social Democratic rivals, this is where the election can be won or lost. Ms. Merkel had just returned from the Group of 20 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. Asked by a female presenter, how she managed to stay fresh, Ms. Merkel quipped, “Well, the German cosmetics industry is in quite good shape.”
September 9, 2013 9:37 AM
Sixty-eight percent of women in India are victims of domestic violence. To combat that dire statistic, an advertising agency in India has launched an anti-DV campaign that features classical-style portraits of Hindu goddesses, but with cuts, bruises, black eyes and busted lips. The campaign, says Buzzfeed, simply and effectively captures India’s most dangerous contradiction: that of revering women in religion and mythology, while the nation remains incredibly unsafe for its women citizens.
September 6, 2013 9:23 AM
Japan is an inhospitable place for ambitious women, which is why, traditionally, many of the frustrated have channeled their anger and energy into becoming entrepreneurs. That trend only accelerated after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. "More women seek fulfillment in their lives, especially after the disaster," says Kyoko Okutani referring to their motivation to run their own business. Ms. Okutani, head of Women's World Banking Japan, is at the center of a growing network of female entrepreneurs, having helped more than 1,000 women launch their own enterprises. Okutani says she believes that the emerging female-owned businesses, many of which are still small, will help Japan's economy in the long run. Instead of relying on large corporations or public-works projects to create jobs, a growing number of community-based enterprises will make the country's economy more resilient
September 6, 2013 9:19 AM
An Indian author famous for her dramatic account of escaping Taliban-ruled Afghanistan nearly two decades ago, and who later returned to the country, has been shot dead by the hardline group after being dragged from her home, writes the UK’s The Guardian.
It was the latest in a string of attacks and intimidation campaigns against prominent women. One senator lost a daughter in a recent ambush, and a popular MP remains missing weeks after she was kidnapped on a main highway.
The author Sushmita Banerjee, who married an Afghan and lived for years in a remote rural area, became a celebrity in India when her story was made into the Bollywood film Escape from Taliban.
September 6, 2013 9:16 AM
Fertility rates are leveling off for the first time since before the recession began, writes the Washington Post, as more American women are having babies in an improving economy.
Accord to statistics in a National Center for Health Statistics report, the fertility rate of 63 births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age was still an all-time low. But after six years of steep decline, the downturn in 2012 was imperceptible. With almost 4 million babies born to American women in 2012, essentially the same number as the year before, the fertility rate was down just a small fraction of a percentage point.
September 6, 2013 9:13 AM
While IVF and ART (assisted reproductive technology) are becoming increasingly common, there's still a lack of evidence-based medicine, and few laws in place, behind these technologies, says Women’sENews in an excerpt from Miriam Zoll's new book, Cracked Open. Zoll calls out misleading advertisements, conflicting fiduciary interests and other conditions that surround the growing use of assisted reproductive technology.
Take the fertility treatments that result in multiple eggs being fertilized. The book notes that studies conducted on higher-order multiple births have demonstrated increased risks for cerebral palsy, hearing and visual impairments, cognitive delays and other traumas associated with crowded gestation. Some studies have even purported links to cancer for women who undergo aggressive "ovary blasting."
September 3, 2013 9:16 AM
15. Diana does it!
On her fifth try, Diana Nyad made history by becoming the first person to swim the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida without the aid of a shark cage. Her 53-hour swim earned the 64-year-old a congratulatory phone call from President Obama—and some welcome rest from a journey that had her fending off sunburn, fatigue and jellyfish.
September 3, 2013 8:55 AM
If you make it to age 50, ladies, and live in one of the world’s wealthier countries, you can expect to be around longer than ever: In Germany, female life expectancy for older women is now 84, and in Japan it’s 88 years, according to the World Health Organization. But WHO’s new report also notes a growing gap between richer and poorer countries: Women in South Africa who reach age 50 can expect to live only to 73; in Mexico their life expectancy is 80. While women over 50 in low and middle-income countries are living longer than before, chronic ailments, including diabetes, kill them at an earlier age than their counterparts, WHO said.
September 3, 2013 8:24 AM
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has been urging women to have bigger families--at least three children, or better yet, five—and he favors tighter restrictions on abortion that would ban the procedure after eight weeks of pregnancy instead of the current 10. All that has the country's feminists worried. "When Erdogan gave a speech about three children, I was very nervous and I complained about it because women have a right to decide how many children they want," NacideBerber, a volunteer at a feminist organization, told Women's ENews.
Giving women only eight weeks to decide, plan and access abortion services makes it impossible for some women in Turkey to participate, says the site.
While Erdogan has not issued any legislation to limit abortions to eight weeks, some hospitals, due to the controversial nature of abortion, have followed Erdogan's suggestion.
Berber said that even though Erdogan is still just at the talking stage about population policy, the government still has influence over family planning in private households of Turkey due to the country's patriarchal makeup.
August 27, 2013 9:18 AM
Ebony and ivory
Emahoy Tsegué-Mariam Guebrù, a nun living in Jerusalem's Old City, is one of Ethiopia's first classical pianists. Although she has recorded a handful of albums throughout her life and made her home inside Jerusalem’s Ethiopian Monastery for the past 30 years, few Israelis knew she existed, let alone lived in their midst. Her works were performed on an Israeli stage for the first time in late August, as part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture’s second annual Sacred Music Festival. The concert provided the Israeli audience with just one poignant example of the diverse personalities and communities that live here, often unnoticed.
August 26, 2013 2:58 PM
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, a Republican, launched her reelection campaign on August 26 with the help of some of the biggest names in the party, including Governors Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, and Rick Perry of Texas. Haley was the first woman to be elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 and she is one of just two Indian-American governors nationwide. (Jindal is the other.) Her fellow Republican governors have good reason to hope she wins: At a time when many party strategists want the GOP to project a more diverse image, losing Haley from the roster of the nation’s governors would clearly be a blow.
August 26, 2013 2:46 PM
After seven days on horseback, through extreme heat and cold, over 621 miles of unmarked Asian steppes, 19-year-old Lara Prior-Palmer won the 2013 Mongolian Derby, dubbed the world’s toughest horse race. Hailing from the English county of Hampshire, Palmer-Prior is the youngest winner—and first female victor—in the five-year history of the contest. "It is the most extraordinary and bizarre race, it's like the Tour de France crossed with Snakes and Ladders," Palmer told CNN after her victory.
August 26, 2013 2:35 PM
Because boys are more often diagnosed with autism than girls are, less is known about how the disorder affects females. But apparently there is a gender difference, according to a recent study in the UK by the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. According to the BBC, the MRI-based study found that the brains of females with autism "look" more like—but still not the same as—healthy males, when compared with healthy females. But the same kind of difference was not seen in males with autism—so their brains did not show "extreme" male characteristics. Dr Meng-Chuan Lai, who worked on the study said: "What we have known about autism to date is mainly male-biased."
August 9, 2013 9:56 AM
At age 75, Ernestine Shepherd of Baltimore is considered the world’s oldest female bodybuilder. “Age is nothing but a number,” says Shepherd, who took up the sport just four years ago, at age 71. The BBC’s video of Shepherd is inspiring enough to prompt anyone to start boosting a few 10-pound weights.
August 7, 2013 10:35 AM
In December, 2010, an Indiana woman named Bei Bei Shuai, then 33 weeks pregnant, tried to kill herself after her boyfriend left her. While her life was saved, her fetus did not survive and Shuai was imprisoned on charges of murder and feticide, writes Women’s ENews. What could have been a precedent-setting verdict was avoided in early August when Shuai pleaded guilty to criminal recklessness in the death of her baby. Observers were concerned that if Shuai had been found guilty of the murder charges, there would be “separate and unequal laws for pregnant women," said Lynn Paltrow, executive director The National Advocates for Pregnant Women. "It could mean anything that a pregnant does can be charged."
August 7, 2013 10:30 AM
Saving for Change, a program of Oxfam America, works in rural areas in 13 countries across the globe, training women to save regularly by meeting every week to put a few cents into a savings box and to borrow from their group’s fund as needed--tiny loans that they later pay back with interest, writes the Christian Science Monitor. At the end of a savings cycle, typically one year long, the fund is divided among the members, who receive not only their own savings but a portion of the profit. The yearly return on the savings is 30 to 40 percent or more.
August 7, 2013 10:23 AM
Who's at risk for an eating disorder? Not her child, thought writer Kristi Belcamino. After all, she had done everything right: made her daughter clean her plate, told her she was beautiful, and never, ever even said the word “fat.” In Salon, Belcamino describes the experience of fighting a demon she tried to preemptively quash—one she thought her daughter was too young for. But, Belcamino points out, eating disorders are gradually affecting more and more age groups, with 10% of victims under 10 years old.
August 6, 2013 3:12 PM