Zimbabwe: 2012 Historic for African Women Leadership- AllAfrica.com
The year 2012 has thus far proved promising for the African woman’s status within public bodies following the recent election of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as African Union Commission Chair.
The main objective of the Decade for Women campaign is to strengthen and push for further commitments on implementation of agreed global and regional commitments of gender equality and women empowerment.
While there may be other power dynamics at play in the election process (for example the French/English language divide in Africa), it is still worth celebrating that for the first time in history a woman chair has been elected.
Zimbabwean women like their counterparts within the rest of Africa, identify with the rise of women into leadership and also emulate that through participating in decision making processes.
The energy, dedication and aspiration of women leaders was on full display in Asia last week as women convened across the region to identify their priorities moving forward. I was honored to join them in discussing how to advance their agendas and maximize their influence in governing. It was simply incredible to watch these women leaders in action.
In Bangladesh, USAID worked with UKAID and the Asia Foundation to organize the first-ever South Asia Women Parliamentarians’ Conference on Women Leading for Gender-Responsive Governance. The event launched a regional network of women legislators from Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Nepal. They defined priorities for collaboration regionally as well as within their countries’ parliaments. Appropriately held in a country where both the Prime Minister and the head of the opposition are both women, the conference aimed to help women recognize the opportunity and obligation to govern for the good of all citizens, and particularly the women they represent.
Afghan activists quickly organized a march today in Kabul for several hundred women and men aimed at bringing attention to Najiba’s killing, alleged to have come at the hands of the Taliban. Details surrounding the circumstances of the woman’s murder at close range remain murky, but the story involves two commanders said to be involved with the young woman and a decision to settle the matter at gunpoint by killing her without any kind of trial for the crime of “adultery.”
The leaders of Wednesday’s march say they chose to speak out publicly in order to force their government to bring the men who committed the crime to justice.
Some women leaders say the gruesome execution lays bare the myth of a “reformed” Taliban and forces the world to see what they have argued for a while: there is no evidence that Taliban elders are ready to respect the current Afghan constitution, which offers women equal protections under the law. While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continues to tout the American strategy of “Fight, Build, Talk” when it comes to Taliban opponents and Vice President Joe Biden has previously said the “Taliban per se is not our enemy,” the American Embassy in Kabul released a statement saying, “This cold-blooded murder, carried out in front of a crowd and recorded on video, is an unambiguous reminder to the Afghan people and the international community of the brutality of the Taliban.”
Mexico: A Machista Culture of Corruption and Violence?- ASafeWorldForWomen
The low social status of women in Mexico has a huge impact on their situation. Women who want to work are subjected to pregnancy tests, with a positive result eliminating them from the selection.
On top of that, women with advanced qualifications like PhDs can sometimes receive a higher wage, but when men are not the provider, it makes men feel“emasculated”, and the shame associated with this often leads to separation or divorce.
Hoots in Parliament: France Debates Sexual Harassment Law– ASafeWorldForWomen
The hooting and catcalls began as soon as the Cabinet minister stood, wearing a blue and white flowered dress.
It did not cease for the entire time she spoke before France’s National Assembly. And they came not from an unruly crowd, but from male legislators who later said they were merely showing their appreciation on a warm summer’s day.
“Women will no longer be without protection, that’s the most important thing,” said Asma Guenifi, president of the feminist group Neither Prostitutes nor Doormats. But Guenefi said she had reservations about the replacement law, primarily its maximum punishment of three years in prison and the three escalating categories of harassment.
But in a culture where hissing at women on the street is considered a sign of approval and sexual banter is often a workplace norm, Guenifi said the law could be a hard sell for women under pressure to keep their jobs in a difficult economy. Especially coming from the same group of lawmakers who last week disrupted a normally routine presentation from government ministers.