Women & Leadership Links

No clear route out of servitude for indentured girls- Irinnews.org

“In Nepal, New Years celebrations are a time of happiness for families but also a tragic time for poor parents, to sell their young daughters, usually around the ages of 6 and 7, to contractors that keep the girls as servants around the house. Girls sold into this virtual form of slavery are known as kamlari. Usually, this is for money. The girls’ wages will feed their families. It is also a matter of pride, because kamlari tradition dictates culture; it is perfectly normal.”

Since the year 2000, more than 11,000 Kamlaris, girls committed to indentured servitude by their parents, have been rescued. But without financial support, those freed remain impoverished and some say they are forced to consider returning to work as Kamlaris.

There is concern that many of the formerly indentured girls are already dropping out of school because they cannot afford the fees. In Dang District, western Nepal, about 400km south of Kathmandu, more than 200 former Kamlaris have already dropped out of school this year, according to NGO the Society Welfare Action Nepal (SWAN).

India: the orphanage giving girls a futureTelegraph.co.uk

The girl’s voice rings out, as high and clear as the song of Mumbai’s native parakeets. Sitting in front of her in pigtails and school uniforms, her audience is rapt. ‘It’s a Maharashtran folk song,’ says 14-year-old Pooja beside me, with a tear welling in her eye. ‘Padmamalini wants to be a professional singer when she’s older and she sings to us every night here in the dorm once we’ve changed into our pyjamas. We’re all rooting for her; we want her to make it in Bollywood.’

Girls are particularly vulnerable to abandonment. In addition to financially supporting their parents in old age, sons hold the promise of recruiting a wife into the family home to help with domestic labour. Girls, meanwhile, require their parents to save for an often exorbitant dowry and wedding, before relinquishing them, and their labour, to another family home.

 Afghanistan Must Stop the Murder of It’s Female Leaders- Guardian.co.uk

The targeting of Afghan women leaders in government positions is not a new phenomenon. Safia Amajan held the same position as Safi in Kandahar. Sitara Achakzai was a provincial council member. Malalai Kakar was provincial chief of female police in Kandahar. A number of women aid workers, whose names and identities are not recorded, have also been murdered.

Sadly, the Afghan government does almost nothing about such incidents apart from condemning them; there is rarely any serious effort to catch the perpetrators. In some cases, attempts are made to blame the killings on “personal disputes” or “family hostility”, or to imply some moral justification – in Safi’s case, that she “had been known locally for going out without her head covered”.

Are Today’s Young Women Afraid to Lead?- HuffingtonPost  

A recent Forbes blog written by a 19-year-old college student raised an interesting issue: Women of the millennial generation are afraid to lead. Why? Because instead of hearing the “girl power” message that girls can do anything and be anything, this generation of women got the message that they had to do everything and be everything. And they had to do it perfectly… or not at all.

For generations, women like Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, and Gloria Steinem fought for women to have equal rights and hold positions of power. Yet fewer and fewer women are holding seats in Congress. Women comprise only 2 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, 8 percent of top leadership positions, and 20 percent of college presidencies. If you were hoping the millennial generation was going to change that, think again.

So is it any wonder that today’s women are so afraid to be in positions of power? Not only do they have to be perfect, they have to look perfect. Men are simply not held to those dual standards. Caroline Heldman and her colleagues have argued that the media’s focus on women’s appearance may even be hindering women’s abilities to obtain positions of power. Specifically addressing Elizabeth Dole’s bid for the presidency in 1999, they criticized the media for treating Dole as if “she was a novelty in the race rather than a strong contender with a good chance of winning.” Diana B. Carlin and Kelly L. Winfrey from the University of Kansas made a similar argument about the media’s treatment of Clinton and Palin in the 2008 campaigns. “The analysis indicates that there was a considerable amount of negative coverage of both candidates and that such coverage has potential to cast doubt on a woman’s suitability to be commander-in-chief or in the wings,” they wrote.

Tin Toilets in India Mark a Village Woman’s FeatWomensENews

Mula Devi’s leadership began about 15 years ago, when a nongovernmental advocacy group, the Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sansthan, based in the neighboring town of Orai, began grassroots interventions in the region.

In Mula Devi’s group of 12 people each one began depositing about $50 each until they had enough money to start a so-called bangle business.

Her exposure to the outside world encouraged Mula Devi to consider her surroundings with new eyes. She saw pools of stagnant water, children defecating outside their homes, overflowing sewers. She listened to presentations on water safety.

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