Women & Leadership Links

Success in a Land Known for Disasters – The New York Times

When it comes to the position of women, however, this country has made progress that would be unthinkable in many other Muslim societies. Bangladeshi women have served in United Nations peacekeeping missions. There are women ambassadors, doctors, engineers and pilots. Two powerful women — the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, and her rival, Khaleda Zia — have taken turns at the country’s helm for years. The proportion of parliamentary seats held by women is 19.7 percent, not much lower than the 22.3 percent in the British House of Commons.

“This is a country where women are active in every field,” Dipu Moni, the minister of foreign affairs, said at her office in Dhaka, the capital. Ms. Moni, the daughter of a prominent politician and a Western-educated lawyer and physician, has campaigned for years for women’s rights and improved health provisions in the country.

Such efforts by successive governments and development groups have led to major improvements in the lives of women across the country, with expanded access to health care and basic education in rural and urban areas. Decades of microlending and, more recently, the growing garment industry have underpinned the progress by turning millions of women into breadwinners for their families.

Braving attacks, a small group of women hold a lonely anti-war, human rights crusade in Serbia – The Washington Post

They have been beaten, spat at and cursed. Jeered, mocked and ignored.

But a few dozen women dressed in black regularly stand silently on Belgrade’s main streets. They hold signs demanding an end to war, advocating human rights or reminding people of the bloody ethnic clashes in the former Yugoslavia that Serbia itself had triggered in the 1990s.

They are the Women in Black. This week they will be the only Serb group to publicly mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the 44-month Bosnian Serb siege of Sarajevo, part of the bloody 1991-95 Bosnian war.

Dreaming of a Different World – Global Fund for Women

Anni Barragán and her colleagues at Fundación CAUSANA first learned of Ecuador’s lesbian “torture” clinics in 2004. They caught word of the internment of two women, against their will, in facilities normally meant for drug addicts and alcoholics. While imprisoned, the women had suffered physical assault and sexual abuse to “cure” them of their lesbian sexual orientation. It wasn’t long before similar reports began trickling in from cities around the country.

Thousands of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in Ecuador are stigmatized, excluded, marginalized, and tortured for their sexual orientation and gender identity. Motivated by her own experiences as a lesbian woman, Anni, President of Fundación de Desarrollo Humano Integral CAUSANA [Foundation for Holistic Human Development CAUSANA], strives to eradicate injustices and build a strong national LBT movement in Ecuador.

Joyce Banda: Malawi’s first female president – BBC News

Joyce Banda, who has made history becoming Malawi’s first female president and only the second woman to lead a country in Africa, has a track record of fighting for women’s rights. She took power over the weekend following the death of 78-year-old President Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office after heading up the southern Africa country since 2004.

Mr Mutharika’s decision to appoint her as his running mate for the 2009 elections surprised many in Malawi’s mainly conservative, male-dominated society – which had never before had a female vice-president. Equally surprising was her decision to publicly stand up to her boss – by refusing to endorse his plans for his brother, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Mutharika, to succeed him as president in 2014 when he was due to retire. She was promptly thrown out of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party – and subjected to daily doses of derision at public rallies and on Malawi’s state airwaves.

A senior ruling party official openly said Malawi was “not ready for a female president”, while First Lady Callista Mutharika said Mrs Banda was fooling herself that she was a serious politician – saying she was a mere market woman selling fritters. “She will never be president, how can a mandasi [fritter] seller be president?” Mrs Mutharika said.

Mrs Banda took all this in her stride, saying she was glad to be identified with market women since more than 80% of Malawian women belong to that category: “Yes, she’s right, I’m indeed a mandasi seller and I’m proud of it because the majority of women in Malawi are like us, mandasi sellers.”

Women leaders finding more acceptance in Gurgaon Inc – The Times of India

While there have been plenty of hand-wringing studies arguing that the corporate glass ceiling for women has turned concrete, the women leaders in Gurgaon Inc, who have been able to hit the glass ceiling to go as high in the company as they could, say that the corporate world in the city has a greater acceptance for women leaders now than ever before.

“The glass ceiling only exists in our minds. I have never experienced it or, rather, I have never allowed myself to experience it. If people are committed, then the sky is the limit. It doesn’t matter if one is a woman or a man,” says Sudha Natrajan, CEO of Gurgaon-based Lintas Media Group.

Bindu Malini Krishnan, senior director at Aon Hewitt in Gurgaon, says that even if there is a glass ceiling for women, as most people believe, one can choose to break it. “Women may often create a glass ceiling for themselves unintentionally. The corporate world has a greater acceptance for women leaders now than ever before as management ideologies have changed and most companies are moving with the times. Personally, I have never faced any problem, but then again, I probably would have stepped right through,” says Krishnan, who has an overall experience of 20 years in the industry and has managed several business teams during her tenure at Aon Hewitt.

Al-Aama: I expect more women leaders and decision-makers to step forward – Arab News

With an experience of more than 19 years in IT, coupled with a strong educational background in computing, Arwa Al-Aama’s goal is to participate in Saudi Arabia’s technological advancement. As vice mayor at Jeddah municipality’s IT department, she is the first woman to hold a leadership role in IT in a Saudi governmental agency.

Her work has resulted in the municipality winning 8 prestigious awards in IT. She also holds the position of vice mayor for women’s affairs, in which she pursues her second personal goal – empowering Saudi women. In this role, Al-Aama opened up new job opportunities to women in municipal services in the Kingdom and is responsible for improving the quality of municipal services provided to women.

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