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Archive for March 8, 2011

Timeline of women’s improvement around the world

1850-1879

  • 1851: Prussian law forbids women from joining political parties or attending meetings where politics is discussed.
  • 1869: Britain grants unmarried women who are householders the right to vote in local elections. 1862/3: Some Swedish women gain voting rights in local elections.

1880-1899

  • 1881: Some Scottish women get the right to vote in local elections.
  • 1893: New Zealand grants equal voting rights to women.
  • 1894: The United Kingdom expands women’s voting rights to married women in local but not national elections.
  • 1895: South Australian women gain voting rights.
  • 1899: Western Australian women granted voting rights.

1900-1909

  • 1901: Women in Australia get the vote, with some restrictions.
  • 1902: Women in New South Wales get the vote.
  • 1902: Australia grants more voting rights to women.
  • 1906: Finland adopts woman suffrage.
  • 1907: Women in Norway are permitted to stand for election.
  • 1908: Women in Denmark some women granted local voting rights.
  • 1908: Victoria, Australia, grants women voting rights.
  • 1909: Sweden grants vote in municipal elections to all women.

1910-1919

  • 1913: Norway adopts full woman suffrage.
  • 1915: Women get the vote in Denmark and Iceland.
  • 1916: Canadian women in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan get the vote.
  • 1917: When the Russian Tsar is toppled, the Provisional Government grants universal suffrage with equality for women; later the new Soviet Russian constitution includes full suffrage to women.
  • 1917: Women in the Netherlands are granted the right to stand for election.
  • 1918: The United Kingdom gives a full vote to women of age 30 and older and men age 21 and older.
  • 1918: Canada gives women the vote in most provinces by federal law. Quebec is not included.
  • 1918: Germany grants women the vote.
  • 1918: Austria adopts woman suffrage.
  • 1918: Women were given full suffrage in Latvia, Poland, Estonia, and Latvia.
  • 1918: Russian Federation gives women the right to vote.
  • 1918: Women granted limited voting rights in Ireland.
  • 1919: Netherlands gives women the vote.
  • 1919: Woman suffrage is granted in Belarus, Luxemburg and Ukraine.
  • 1919: Women in Belgium granted right to vote.
  • 1919: New Zealand allows women to stand for election.
  • 1919: Sweden grants suffrage with some restrictions.

1920-1929

  • 1920: On August 26, a constitutional amendment is adopted when the state of Tennessee ratifies it, granting full woman suffrage in all states of the United States.
  • 1920: Woman suffrage is granted in Albania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
  • 1920: Canadian women get the right to stand for election (but not for all offices – see 1929 below).
  • 1921: Sweden gives women voting rights with some restrictions.
  • 1921: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Lithuania grant woman suffrage.
  • 1921: Belgium grants women the right to stand for election.
  • 1922: Burma grants women voting rights.
  • 1924: Mongolia, Saint Lucia and Tajikistan give suffrage to women.
  • 1924: Kazakhstan gives limited voting rights to women.
  • 1925: Italy grants limited voting rights to women.
  • 1927: Turkmenistan grants woman suffrage.
  • 1928: The United Kingdom grants equal voting rights to women.
  • 1928: Guyana grants woman suffrage.
  • 1928: Ireland expands women’s suffrage rights.
  • 1929: Ecuador grants suffrage, Romania grants limited suffrage.

1930-1939

  • 1930: White women granted suffrage in South Africa.
  • 1930: Turkey grants women the vote.
  • 1931: Women get full suffrage in Spain and Sri Lanka.
  • 1931: Chile and Portugal grant suffrage with some restrictions.
  • 1932: Uruguay, Thailand and Maldives jump on the woman suffrage bandwagon.
  • 1934: Cuba and Brazil adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1934: Turkish women are able to stand for election.
  • 1934: Portugal grants woman suffrage, with some restrictions.
  • 1935: Women gain right to vote in Myanmar.
  • 1937: The Philippines grants women full suffrage.
  • 1938: Women get the vote in Bolivia.
  • 1938: Uzbekistan grants full suffrage to women.
  • 1939: El Salvador grants voting rights to women.

1940-1949

  • 1940: Women of Quebec are granted voting rights.
  • 1941: Panama grants limited voting rights to women.
  • 1942: Women gain full suffrage in the Dominican Republic.
  • 1944: Bulgaria, France and Jamaica grant suffrage to women.
  • 1945: Croatia, Indonesia, Italy, Hungary, Japan (with restrictions), Yugoslavia, Senegal and Ireland enact woman suffrage.
  • 1945: Guyana allows women to stand for election.
  • 1946: Woman suffrage adopted in Palestine, Kenya, Liberia, Cameroon, Korea, Guatemala, Panama (with restrictions), Romania (with restrictions), Venezuela, Yugoslavia and Vietnam.
  • 1946: Women allowed standing for election in Myanmar.
  • 1947: Bulgaria, Malta, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore and Argentina extend suffrage to women.
  • 1947: Japan extends suffrage, but still retains some restrictions.
  • 1947: Mexico grants the vote to women at the municipal level.
  • 1948: Israel, Iraq, Korea, Niger and Surinam adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1948: Belgium, which previously granted the vote to women, establishes suffrage with a few restrictions for women.
  • 1949: Bosnia and Herzegovina grant woman suffrage.
  • 1949: China and Costa Rica give women the vote.
  • 1949: Women gain full suffrage in Chile but most votes separately from men.
  • 1949: Syrian Arab Republic gives the vote to women.
  • 1949/1950: India grants woman suffrage.

1950-1959

  • 1950: Haiti and Barbados adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1950: Canada grants full suffrage, extending the vote to some women (and men) previously not included.
  • 1951: Antigua, Nepal and Grenada give women the vote.
  • 1952: Covenant on Political Rights of Women enacted by the United Nations, calling for women’s right to vote and right to stand for elections.
  • 1952: Greece, Lebanon and Bolivia (with restrictions) extend suffrage to women.
  • 1953: Mexico grants women the right to stand for election and to vote in national elections.
  • 1953: Hungary and Guyana give voting rights to women.
  • 1953: Bhutan and the Syrian Arab Republic establish full woman suffrage.
  • 1954: Ghana, Colombia and Belize grant woman suffrage.
  • 1955: Cambodia, Ethiopia, Peru, Honduras and Nicaragua adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1956: Women are given suffrage in Egypt, Somalia, Comoros, Mauritius, Mali and Benin.
  • 1956: Pakistani women gain right to vote in national elections.
  • 1957: Malaysia extends suffrage to women.
  • 1957: Zimbabwe grants women the vote.
  • 1959: Madagascar and Tanzania give suffrage to women.
  • 1959: San Marino permits women to vote.

1960-1969

  • 1960: Women of Cyprus, Gambia and Tonga get suffrage.
  • 1960: Canadian women win full rights to stand for election.
  • 1961: Burundi, Malawi, Paraguay, Rwanda and Sierra Leone adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1961: Women in the Bahamas gain suffrage, with limits.
  • 1961: Women in El Salvador are permitted to stand for election.
  • 1962: Algeria, Monaco, Uganda and Zambia adopt woman suffrage.
  • 1962: Australia adopts full woman suffrage (a few restrictions remain).
  • 1963: Women in Morocco, Congo, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Kenya gain suffrage.
  • 1964: Sudan adopts woman suffrage.
  • 1964: The Bahamas adopts full suffrage with restrictions.
  • 1965: Women gain full suffrage in Afghanistan, Botswana and Lesotho.
  • 1967: Ecuador adopts full suffrage with a few restrictions.
  • 1968: Full woman suffrage adopted in Swaziland.

1970-1979

  • 1970: Yemen adopts full suffrage.
  • 1970: Andorra permits women to vote.
  • 1971: Switzerland adopts woman suffrage, and the United States lowers the voting age for both men and women to eighteen.
  • 1972: Bangladesh grants woman suffrage.
  • 1973: Full suffrage granted to women in Bahrain.
  • 1973: Women permitted to stand for election in Andover and San Marino.
  • 1974: Jordan and the Solomon Islands extend suffrage to women.
  • 1975: Angola, Cape Verde and Mozambique give suffrage to women.
  • 1976: Portugal adopts full woman suffrage with a few restrictions.
  • 1978: The Republic of Moldova adopts full suffrage with a few restrictions.
  • 1978: Women in Zimbabwe are able to stand for election.
  • 1979: Women in the Marshall Islands and Micronesia gain full suffrage rights.
  • 1980-1989
  • 1980: Iran gives women the vote.
  • 1984: Full suffrage granted to women of Liechtenstein.
  • 1984: In South Africa, voting rights are extended to Coloureds and Indians.
  • 1986: Central African Republic adopts woman suffrage.

1990-1999

  • 1990: Samoan women gain full suffrage.
  • 1994: Kazakhstan grants women full suffrage.
  • 1994: Black women gain full suffrage in South Africa.

2000-

2005: Kuwaiti Parliament grants women of Kuwait full suffrage.

Overview of the violence against women around the world

The situation of women and girls, facts and figures all over the world*


Gender and HIV/AIDS:

  • Nearly a third of all adults living with HIV/AIDS are under the age of 25 and 2/3 of them are women.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, girls are getting infected faster and earlier than boys. In the group from 15 to age 24, two girls are infected for every boy. According to surveys that indicate women who have some post primary schooling compared to women with no education are 5 times more likely to lack basic information about HIV/AIDS.
  • In 2002, an estimated 800,000 children under the age of 15 were infected with HIV as a result of parent-to-infant transmission.

Gender and girls education:

  • Over 110 million of the world’s children, 2/3 of them being girls are not attending school.
  • Of the world’s 875 million illiterate adults, 2/3 is women.
  • Half of the girls who live in developing countries (excluding China) will be married before their 20th birthday. Increasing girl’s time in school is one of the best ways for the girls to get married in an older age.

Gender and violence against women and girls and child protection issues:

  • One in every 3 women is a survivor of some form of gender based violence, most often by someone in her family. Between 15 and 76% of women are targeted for physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Girls between 13 and 18 years constitutes the largest group in the sex industry and it is estimated that around 500,000 girls below the age of 18 are victims of trafficking each year.
  • Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) affects around 130 million girls and women globally and places 2 million at risk but the last decades this problem has improved.
  • In some cultures, the preference for boys results in pre-natal sex selection and death of many girls. In India for example; there are 933 Indian women for every 1000 men resulting in 40 million missing women.

Gender and the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and other health issues:

  • 1,400 women die every day from pregnancy-related causes, 99% of them in developing countries.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa, a woman has 1 in 3 chance of dying in child birth. In industrialized countries the risks are 1 in 4,085.
  • Direct obstetric deaths account for about 75% of all maternal deaths in developing countries.

Emergencies

  • More than 80% of the world’s 35 million refugees and displaced people are women and children.
  • Emergencies put women at risk of extreme sexual violence and abuse. In Rwanda, 2,000 women and many of them are being survivors of rape tested positive for HIV during the 5 years following the 1994 genocide.

Femicide

  • In Guatemala, two women are killed every day.
  • In India, 8,093 cases of dowry-related death were reported in 2007 and unknown number of murders of women and young girls were labeled as “suicides” or “accidents”.
  • Between 40 and 70% of female murder victims were killed by their intimate partners in Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States.
  • In Chihuahua, Mexico, 66% of murders of women were committed by husbands, boyfriends or other family members.

Violence and young women

  • Up to 50% of sexual assaults worldwide are committed against girls under the age of 16.
  • An estimated 150 million girls under the age of 18 suffered some form of sexual violence in 2002.
  • The first sexual experience of some 30% women was forced and the percentage is even higher among those who were under 15 at the time of their sexual initiation.

Harmful practices

  • Approximately 100 to 140 million girls and women worldwide have experienced female genital mutilation leaving more than 3 million girls in Africa annually at risk of the practice.
  • Over 60 million girls worldwide are child brides and married before the age of 18. The numbers are divided as; South Asia-31, 3 million and Sub-Saharan Africa-14, 1 million. Violence and abuse characterize married life for many of these girls. Women who marry early are more likely to be beaten or threatened, and more likely to believe that a husband might sometimes be justified in beating his wife.
  • Trafficking
  • 80% from the estimated number of 800,000 people being trafficked across the national borders is women and girls.
  • One study in Europe found that 60% of trafficked women had experienced physical and/or sexual violence before being trafficked, pointing to gender-based violence as a push factor in the trafficking of women.

Sexual harassment

  • Between 40 and 50% of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
  • Across Asia, studies in Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea show that 30 to 40% of women suffer workplace sexual harassment.
  • In Nairobi, 20% of women have been sexually harassed at work or school.
  • In the United States, 83% of girls aged 12 to 16 experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools.

Rape in the context of conflict

  • Estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
  • Between 50,000 and 64,000 women in camps for internally displaced people in Sierra Leone were sexually assaulted by combatants between 1991 and 2001.
  • In eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 200,000 cases of sexual violence, mostly involving women and girls, have been documented since 1996: the actual numbers are believed to be far higher.

Conservative

  • The following figures are some of the facts of violence done on women compiled by Amnesty International and Feminist.com from various researches done by individuals and/or organizations all over the world;
  • An estimated 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States annually for sexual exploitation or labor (US Central Intelligence Agency, 2000).
  • One in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime (WHO 1997).
  • In USA a woman is raped every 90 seconds (US Department of Justice, 2000).
  • Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds (UN Study on the Status of Women, Year 2000).
  • Up to 70% of female murder victims are killed by their male partners (WHO 2008).
  • In Kenya more than one woman a week was reportedly killed by her male partner while in Zambia, five women a week were murdered by a male partner or family member (Joni Seager, 2003).
  • In the Russian Federation 36,000 women are beaten on a daily basis by their husband or partner, according to Russian non-governmental organizations (OMTC, 2003).
  • More than 135 million girls and women have undergone female genital mutilation and an additional 2 million girls and women are at risk each year (6,000 everyday) (UN, 2002).
  • 82 million girls who are now aged 10 to 17 will be married before their 18th birthday (UNFP).
  • In India there are close to 15,000 dowry deaths estimated per year. Mostly they are kitchen knives designed to look like accidents (Injustice Studies, Vol. 1, November 1997).
  • 4 million women and girls are trafficked annually.
  • An estimated one million children, mostly girls, enter the sex trade each year (UNICEF).
  • A study in Zaria, Nigeria found out that 16 per cent of hospital patients treated for sexually transmitted infections were younger than five (UNFPA).

Population and families

  • The world’s population tripled between 1950 and 2010 to reach almost 7 billion.
  • There are approximately 57 million more men than women in the world, but in most countries there are more women than men.
  • There is a “gender spiral” with more boys and men in younger age groups and more women in the older age groups.
  • Fertility is steadily declining in all regions of the world but still remains high in some regions of Africa.
  • Life expectancy is steadily rising as women lives longer than men.
  • International migration is increasing and there are more and more women migrants and in certain areas they outnumber men.

Health

  • Women live longer than men in all regions.
  • 2 out of every 5 deaths of both women and men in Africa are still caused by infectious and parasitic diseases.
  • Women are more likely than men to die from cardiovascular diseases, especially in Europe.
  • Breast cancer among women and lung cancer among men tops the list of new cancer cases globally.
  • Women stand for the majority of HIV positive adults in Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East.
  • The majority of over half a million maternal deaths in 2005 occurred in developing countries.

Education

  • 2/3 of the 774 million adult illiterates worldwide are women.
  • The global youth literacy rate has increased to 89%.
  • 72 million children of primary school age are not attending school out of which over 39 million (54%) are girls.
  • Women in tertiary education are significantly underrepresented in the fields of science and engineering but remain predominant in education, health and welfare, social sciences, humanities and arts.
  • Worldwide, women account for slightly more than a quarter of all scientific researches that is an increase compared to previous decades.
  • Use of and access to the Internet grew in the past decade as it narrowed the gender digital divide, however, women still don’t have the same level of access as men in most countries whether it is more developed or not.

Work

  • Women are predominantly and increasingly employed in the services sector.
  • Vulnerable employment – own-account work and contributing family work – is prevalent in many countries in Africa and Asia, especially among women.
  • The informal sector is an important source of employment for both women and men in the less developed regions but more so for women.
  • Occupational segregation and gender wage gaps continue to persist in all regions.
  • Part-time employment is common for women in most of the more developed regions and some less developed regions, and it is increasing almost everywhere for both women and men.
  • Women spend at least twice as much time as men on domestic work, and when all work – paid and unpaid – is considered, women work longer hours than men do.
  • Half of the countries worldwide meet the new international standard for minimum duration of maternity leave – and two out of five meet the minimum standard for cash benefits – but there is a gap between law and practice, and many groups of women are not covered by legislation.

Violence against women

  • Women are subjected to different forms of violence – physical, sexual, psychological and economic, both within and outside their homes.
  • Rates of women experiencing physical violence at least once in their lifetime vary from several per cent to over 59% depending on where they live.
  • Current statistical measurements of violence against women provide a limited source of information, and statistical definitions and classifications require more work and harmonization at the international level.
  • Female genital mutilation is the most harmful mass perpetuation of violence against women shows a slight decline.
  • In many regions of the world longstanding customs put considerable pressure on women to accept abuse.

Environment

  • More than half of rural households and about a quarter of urban households in sub-Saharan Africa lack easy access to sources of drinking water, and most of the burden of water collection falls on women.
  • The majority of households in sub-Saharan Africa and South-Eastern Asia use solid fuels for cooking on open fires or traditional stoves with no chimney or hood, disproportionately affecting the health of women.
  • Fewer women than men participate in high-level decision-making related to the environment.

Poverty

  • Households of single mothers with young children are more likely to be poor than households of single fathers with young children.
  • Women are more likely to be poor than men when living in one-person households in many countries from both the more developed and less developed regions.
  • Women are overrepresented among the older poor in the more developed regions.
  • Existing statutory and customary laws limit women’s access to land and other types of property in most countries in Africa and about half the countries in Asia.
  • Fewer women than men have cash income in the less developed regions, and a significant proportion of married women have no say in how their cash earnings are spent.
  • Married women from the less developed regions do not fully participate in intrahousehold decision-making on spending, particularly in African countries and in poorer households.

Harmful tradition practices include;

  • Forced marriage
  • Child marriage
  • Female Genital Mutilation
  • Honour killings
  • Dowry related violence
  • Female infanticide
  • Trafficking of women and girls

Afghanistan at a glance*

  • Only about 15% of births are attended by trained health workers while more than 90% of the births take place at home. According to UNICEF, the maternal mortality rate in Afghanistan is the second highest in the world with an estimated 15,000 women dying each year from pregnancy related causes.
  • The infant mortality rate is 165 per 1,000 and less than 5 mortality rate is 257 per 1,000 with 1 in 4 children in Afghanistan dying before the age of 5 from preventable diseases.
  • Only 23% of the population has access to safe water, and only 12% have access to adequate sanitation which increases the incidents of diseases. 15,000 Afghans die of tuberculosis every year and of this 64% are women.
  • Malnutrition of women which affects pregnancies negatively is caused by the food scarcity linked to the war and drought.
  • The poor health situation has been aggravated by the lack of basic health services and resources, especially in rural areas because of the small number of trained female doctors, nurses and midwifes that remained in the country after the rise of Taliban.
  • 23 years of war have destroyed the infrastructure of the educational system and increased the illiteracy rate in Afghanistan. Only 10% of women are able to read and write.
  • 54% of girls under the age of 18 are married. Families of girls and young women were forced to marriage for several reasons and often for the purpose of dowry for the family’s survival.
  • *Source; Report of the Secretary-General on Discrimination against women and girls in Afghanistan (E/CN.6/2002/5)

World News Headlines of March 8

Ivorian govt to control cocoa trade

Laurent Gbagbo, the disputed president of Cote d’Ivoire, has issued a decree under which the state becomes the sole purchaser of cocoa in the world’s top grower and handles its export to global markets. Monday’s announcement, made on state television, comes as renewed clashes break out in the West African country.

France and Britain draft resolution to impose no-fly zone over Libya (Video)

UNITED NATIONS – While the United States has not committed to a no-fly zone that would remove Libya’s air defenses, France and Britain are drafting a U.N. resolution that would establish a no-fly zone over Libya. On Monday President Barack Obama made some remarks from the Oval Office about Libyan’s…

US to resume Guantanamo trials after two-year freeze

WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama on Monday lifted a two-year freeze on new military trials at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and suggested Congress was hurting national security by blocking his attempts to move some trials into US civilian courts. In an apparent acknowledgment that the Guantanamo detention camp won’t be shut down any time soon, Obama…

Tunisia scraps hated police unit

Tunisia’s prime minister named a new government on Monday and a much-hated police unit was disbanded as the interim leadership of this North African nation seeks to stabilise a country still finding its way after a popular revolt. Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi kept the heads of the key defence, interior, justice and foreign affairs..

Libyan warplanes strike rebels at key oil complex in Ras Lanuf

A mass evacuation eastward is triggered. Rebel fighters describe it as an upcoming attempt to retake the Libyan desert outpost of Bin Jawwad. Share Related Stories See more stories » X Links By David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times..

French Court Opens Trial Against Jacques Chirac

The Associated Press By JAMEY KEATEN Associated Press PARIS March 7, 2011 (AP) A long-awaited French corruption trial opened Monday with former President Jacques Chirac as the star defendant. AP FILE – In this May 12, 2006 file photo, French President Jacques Chirac is seen during a bi-lateral… FILE – In this May 12, 2006 file photo, French…

North African boat migrants land on Lampedusa

Backlog grows as hundreds flee unrest in small boats to arrive on tiny south Italian island Migrants arrive on the island of Lampedusa: the Italian government is alarmed by the prospect of many more arriving to escape unrest in North Africa.

Egypt protesters attacked by ‘armed civilians’ in Cairo

Egypt’s Revolution Bowen: Bumpy ride Inside the Brotherhood Final moments before the fall Can military meet demands? Pro-democracy activists in Egypt have been attacked by

men in plain clothes, armed with knives, outside the interior ministry in Cairo, reports say….

US apology for Afghan deaths ‘not enough’ -Karzai

Afghan President Hamid Karzai told General David Petraeus, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, on Sunday his apology for a foreign air strike that killed nine children last week was “not enough”. At a meeting with his security advisers at which Petraeus was present, Karzai said civilian casualties by foreign troops were “no…

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Important Events on March 8

March 8: Mardi Gras in Western Christianity (2011); International Women’s Day; Mother’s Day in various European countries

Raymonde de LaRoche

  • 1010 – Persian poet Ferdowsi completed his masterpiece, the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.
  • 1618 – German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler discovered the third law of planetary motion.
  • 1655 – The court of Northampton County, Colony of Virginia, made John Casor the first legally recognized slave in Britain’s North American colonies.
  • 1910 – French aviatrix Raymonde de Laroche (pictured) became the first woman to receive a pilot’s license.
  • 1916 – World War I: A British force unsuccessfully attempted to relieve the Ottoman siege of Kut (in present-day Iraq) in the Battle of Dujaila.

Tribute to all women

In the name of the creator of Beauty!

From the bottom of my heart, I congratulate every single woman in this world on their day.

Women are the most beautiful creation among the beauties. She is the soul of the nature. She gives peace in mind, hope in the moment of despair, meaning for the life.

A woman’s breath and her voice is a taste of heaven. The love of the women sprung out from Paradise. She is the light in the darkest night that shines up everything and the warmness on the coldest day.

Her shoulders carry the weight of those who cry on it, and her arms give the safest comfort making you forget all the worries in the world.

Oh women, you are a mother, sister, life partner and a friend. Every great man in history was born from a woman, and there was a woman standing behind every great man.

If this world is beautiful, it is beautiful because of the women. If this life has a meaning, she gives the meaning for everything.

When she smiles, the whole world smiles, and when she cries, every drop of tear feels like an arrow to the heart.

The woman is a mother, sister, wife, partner in life and the spinal bone of the community and society. The most beautiful creation in the universe. A woman gives a meaning for love and represents the beauty of the nature and should be treated with love, equality and respect.

There is no other word in my mind to complete the greatness of a woman, I can just say, congratulation on your day.

The best moments of life in view of Charlie Chaplin

To fall in love

To laugh until it hurts your stomach

To find mails by the thousands when you return from vacation.

To go for a vacation to some pretty place.

To listen to your favourite song in the radio.

To go to bed and to listen while it rains outside.

To leave the Shower and find that the towel is warm

To clear your last exam.

To receive a call from someone, you don’t see lot, but you want to.

To find money in a pant that you haven’t used since last year.

To laugh at yourself looking at mirror, making faces..

Calls at midnight that last for hours.

To laugh without a reason.

To accidentally hear somebody say something good about you.

To wake up and realize it is still possible to sleep for a couple of hours.

To hear a song that makes you remember a special person.

To be part of a team.

To watch the sunset from the hill top.

To make new friends.

To feel butterflies in the stomach every time when you see that person.

To pass time with your best friends.

To see people that you like, feeling happy

See an old friend again and to feel that the things have not changed.

To take an evening walk along the beach.

To have somebody tell you that he/she loves you.

To laugh …….laugh. ……..and laugh ……

Remembering stupid things done with stupid friends.

These are the best moments of life….Let us learn to cherish them.

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be enjoyed”

International women’s day celebrates 100 years of progress and regress

“Women hold up half the sky”

Mao Tse-Tung, Chinese statesman.

We are living in the 21st century and would think that the women’s situation has improved much the past 100 years. In fact it has, but there is still a long way to go. It is unfortunate that millions of women around the world today are victims of discrimination, violence, abuse, human trafficking, poverty and murder. We would have thought that they would have equal rights, and even though some countries has constituted this, many women are still being suppressed, victimized and having their human rights violated. I would first of all like to congratulate every single woman on this day but also write about the dark side of the reality many women have to face. I could have written hundreds of pages about every country but it is impossible to do it at once so I only wrote about some cases and add some figures and statistics that can give a glance of the harsh reality. Let us notice the important message given by UNDP saying;

Women should be viewed as “valuable partners” in life, in the development of a society and in attainment of peace or just as important as taking legal aspects to protect women’s human’s rights.

From past to present

Since the early days of the Industrial Revolution women in Europe and North America have made considerable progress towards equality with men, although much remains still to be done. The industrialization of Western countries at first had not improved the status of women, but degraded them even further by exploiting them and their children in factories as cheap labour. Slowly, women stared to receive recognition for their substantial share and the factory system changed, but women and children were still paid less than men. At the same time, middle- and upper-class women were increasingly confined to the home with little to do except to take care of their children. Their husbands no longer worked inside the house, but were absent during most of the day. This led to that these women found enough time to devout themselves to various religious and moral causes; some became interested in abolition on the women’s rights movement. The common thing between the working class woman and the upper class was that they all insisted on change and contribute to women’s rights.

Today, women in many non-western countries also called third world countries live in a state of misery and suppression. They wake up every day to struggle to survive or feed their children. Their concern is far beyond what the concerns of the western women have about their liberation. This was also obvious when the United Nations sponsored an “International Women’s Conference” in Mexico City in 1975 where there was a serious communication gap between women from industrial and agrarian societies. It also revealed that a billion women live in poor, rural areas. Most of them are illiterate, malnourished, exhausted, or even ill, and are forced to work long hours for little reward. Naturally, men share many of these hardships, but women still bear the greatest burden. In almost all of the underdeveloped countries, boys are more favored than girls as they are they are considered to be a guarantee for the families economic security, and the girls marry into another family. Even in poverty, boys are better fed, clothed and educated than girls. The girls have to struggle with work, have few rights and must undergo several pregnancies.

Despite all our technological breakthroughs, we still live in a world were a 5th of the developing world’s population goes hungry to bed, a quarter lacks access to safe drinking water and a 3rd lives in despair. A 3rd of the world’s poorest 20% live in India and China. Poverty is a large problem for women as they are affected worse than men. Some reasons for these are that they are less paid then men, less decision making power within the household or because of the responsibility of children. Poverty will not vanish but follow us to the next millennium as the situation for the 1.3 billion people who live in absolute poverty is still not improving. 900 million of these are in fact women. Women do not have the same opportunities as men and poverty is the leading cause of death. This poverty leads often to higher birth rates and physical and social underdevelopment of their children.

Women’s role in agriculture

As statistic numbers from 1991 showed that only 8.5% of rural women are economically active, research and field observations shows that the number is much higher. The fact is that rural women play an active part in food and other crop production, fisheries and livestock, especially poultry rising. In forestry, women are involved in the production and transplanting of seedlings. Since income from agriculture is often insufficient for subsistence, rural women’s non-agricultural activities, such as carpet weaving and other crafts are important to household survival.

Problems in acquiring land for women are widespread, but seem to be worst in Africa. Hindering access to credit, land ownership, technology, marketing, and training, are all sources of serious constraints on national development. There are needs for more women in decision-making positions, better organization of women in agricultural organizations, and for women’s unpaid work to be recognized in both official statistics and the calculation of GDP.

An overview of the Afghan women’s situation

“Your country is now embarking on a process to create credible and accountable institutions in which all Afghans are represented. These are decisions for Afghan men and women to make. The role of the United Nations is to assist and encourage this process. But, I would like to take this opportunity to say to all Afghans: there cannot be true peace and recovery in Afghanistan without a restoration of the rights of women.” UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his statement to the Afghan Women’s Summit for Democracy (Brussels, 4 to 5 December 2001)

Afghanistan is a country of approximately 23 million which, after three years of severe drought, 23 years of war and devastation and 5 years under the Taliban authorities, has been left as one of the poorest countries in the world. Afghanistan has also the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world as it was even before the Taliban came to power; Afghanistan had high maternal and child mortality rates and a very low literacy rate for women. But in the 1960s women participated economically, socially and politically. They even helped to draft the 1964 Constitution. In the 1970’s, there were at least 3 women legislators in the Parliament and women worked as teachers, medical doctors, professors, lawyers, judges, journalists, writers, poets and in the government.

After when Taliban came to power, women and girls were discriminated, marginalized and their human rights were violated. Women and girls were restricted in their access to education, health care facilitates and employment. During the rule of Taliban, only 3% of girls received some form of primary education but the ban on women’s employment affected the boy’s education as well as the majority of teachers had been women.

Taliban’s policies also limited women’s freedom of movement. Women couldn’t travel without being accompanied by a male relative, which put a strain on female-headed households and widows. In May 2001, a decree was issued by the Taliban, banning women from driving cars, which further limited their activities. Women’s removal from the public space also meant that women could not play any role in the political process and were excluded from all forms of formal or informal governance. Today, as the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan continues, a number of United Nations entities continue to be actively involved in improving the situation of women and girls in Afghanistan. Some examples of this work include:

Since September 2001, Afghan women have begun to increase their activities as several events were organized by and with Afghan women’s organizations inside and outside Afghanistan, such as panel discussions, conferences and international meetings, in order to ensure that the experiences and needs of Afghan women would receive the needed attention in all efforts directed at the post-Taliban Afghanistan. Schools for girls are being reopened, and young women are enrolling in universities. Women are seeking to return to their former jobs as teachers, doctors and civil servants. Radio and television broadcasts in Kabul once again feature woman commentators.

In January 2002, Hamid Karzai demonstrated his support for women’s rights by signing the “Declaration of the Essential Rights of Afghan Women”, which affirmed the right to equality between men and women and the Declaration was adopted by a meeting of Afghans in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in 2000. Women are at the helm of two Ministries which are part of the new Interim Administration headed by Hamid Karzai. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs, which had never existed before, is headed by Sima Samar, a physician and founder of the Shuhada Organization network of clinics, hospitals and schools in Pakistan and central Afghanistan. Ms. Samar is also one of the five Vice-Presidents of the Interim Administration. Suhaila Siddiq, a surgeon who continued to practice in Kabul throughout the Taliban regime, heads the Ministry of Public Health.

Widows flock to city to die

Thousands of India’s widows flock to the holy city of Vrindavan waiting to die. They are found on side streets and their heads shaved and their pain etched by hundreds of deep wrinkles in their faces. These Hindu widows are poor and shunned from society when their husbands die, not for religious reasons, but because of tradition and because they’re seen as a financial drain on their families. They cannot remarry, they must not wear jewelry and they are forced to shave their heads and wear white. Even their shadows are considered as bad luck for many.

Hindus have long believed that death in Vrindavan will free them from the cycle of life and death. The widows hope that death will save them from being condemned to a life as widow again. “My son tells me: “You have grown old. Now who is going to feed you? Go away,” a widow says, as her eyes are filled with tears. “What do I do? My pain had no limit.”

There are an estimated 40 million widows in India and it’s believed that 15,000 widows live on the streets of Vrindavan, a city of about 55,000 in northern India. The situation is much more extreme within some of India’s rural community. There, it is much more tradition-bound; in urban areas, there are more chances and possibilities to live a normal life. Meneka Mukherjee is 85 years old. She speaks five languages and used to work as a geography teacher throughout her marriage, but now she is too sick and weak to take care of herself. Her daughter lives in another state and doesn’t have space for her mother, so Meneka moved into an Ashram in Vrindavan. Is human life worth nothing where there is too much human? Meneka thinks so. “India has so many people that India don’t have use for those who are useless,” she says. “Nobody can help everybody. Every night before I go to sleep, I pray that somebody will help me, and every morning I pray the same prayer. Maybe it would have been better if Idied? Maybe I should pray to die,” Meneka says.

“According to the Dharmashastra, the sacred Hindu legal text, covering moral, ethical and social laws, widows are expected to devote the rest of their lives to the memory of their husbands by renouncing life’s luxuries and by withdrawing from society. “Imagine, in front of a group of my relatives as large as this one, my bangles are smashed, my hair is shaved, my bindi removed,” Dr. Giri said before a conference for grief and renewal at the University of New England, Office of Multicultural Studies and Women’s Studies Department in 2005. “They are forced to wear white saris. Saddest of all is that they are often removed from their children and families, and abandoned,” continued Dr. Giri.

Here women of all ages who have become widows are waiting for the moment they, too, will follow their husbands to the fields of death to escape a life filled with isolation, poverty, despair and discrimination. Vrindavan has over 4,000 temples today and many ashrams. The approximate number of widows living in the holy city today numbers over 20,000. The conditions in some of the ashrams of Vrindavan are terrible, where sexual abuse and trafficking of younger widows occurs. Activists like Dr. Giri and the Guild of Service are working to better these conditions and to give widows their dignity back as well as health care, learning, sewing and weaving skills.

Although India’s widows today are not forced to die on the death of their husband – in ritual sati – by burning to death on their husband’s funeral pyre, they are still forced to undergo daily ritual humiliations, beg for alms each day chanting, to live completely apart from society, to live lives of extreme poverty, lonely for their children, alone and hopeless. Rising problems with widows and their husband’s family after the death of their husband can sometimes include sexual abuse from a husband’s brother or father, starvation or abandonment. Lack of education, lack of literacy and knowledge of basic human rights along with strong cultural beliefs in the conservative Hindu caste system and extreme poverty are the major causes of suffering today among the widows and it will unfortunately take a long time to change all of this for the better.

Types of violence against women

Violence against women happens through physical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse. But the most common are;

Physical abuse is most widespread method around the world. It includes slapping, hitting, kicking and beating. The perpetrator is often the husband,, ex-husband, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend or another family member. According to Population Reports, in nearly 50 population-based surveys, 10 to over 50% of women reported being hit or otherwise physically harmed by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. Violence against women is also a major cause of poverty because it keeps women from getting an education, working, and earning the income they need to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. And research shows that giving women in poor countries economic opportunity empowers them to escape abusive situations.

Sexual abuse can be performed either through verbal, visual or when it is forced intercourse. According to Population Reports, sexual abuse can lead to a wide variety of unhealthy consequences including behavioural and psychological problems, sexual dysfunction, relationship problems, low self-esteem, depression, thoughts of suicide, alcohol, substance abuse and risk-taking. There is therefore the need to raise awareness concerning violence against women by educating boys and men, punishing perpetrators by raising the costs and changing the attitudes and beliefs of the society in regard to women.

Several women are killed on the base of practicing witchcraft. For example, if a child is suffering from a disease in a neighbourhood, a women living nearby can easily be pointed out as a victim for casting a spell, but in fact, people are taking revenge from this women by accusing her for this. These cases happen in rural areas where the tribes make their own rules and police becomes helpless against the mob.

Sati is a custom that has occurred in India for a long time. Although it was prohibited by law, there are still cases reported from some parts of the country. When the husband dies, the wife throws herself on the fire and dies over him.

Besides rape, domestic violence is the worst type of violence against the women. A married girl (bride) is tortured by her in-laws and husband for not providing/giving enough gifts or cash money to their in-laws by her parents and when the in-laws of daughters lose hope for getting any more any cash from the girl’s parents they commit the most heinous crime as burning the girl to death and kill her using different short of violent measures. About 50 cases of dowry per day are registered all over India. Other ways of domestic violence happens when the husband beats up the wife on a regular basis.

 

Midnight in Oslo, Norway, by Hatef Mokhtar

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