Women and Leadership Links

Sourced by Meredith O’Connell


“Palestinian town gets new mayor, aged 15” – The Guardian (UK)

For two months, the regular mayor, Sufian Shadid, and his team of councillors have handed the reins of power to a group of teenagers. The adults are on hand to advise and offer guidance, but all the decisions are left to be made by the youngsters.

She could have spent the long, hot summer holiday hanging out with friends or helping at home. But instead, 15-year-old Bashaer Othman is making speeches, signing documents, chairing meetings, attending civic functions and meeting citizens as mayor of Allar, a small Palestinian town high in the West Bank hills.

Bashaer is the first female mayor for the town of 9,000 residents. The regular 11-strong council includes two women, who are appointed under a quota system. But this summer, the gender balance is close to equal, with five girls and six boys serving the town.

The teenager, who hopes her role as mayor will encourage more women to become actively involved in public life, plans to pursue a political career.


‘We have found our voice and it feels good’ – The Irish Times

From the earliest days of what became known as the Arab Spring, women have been at the forefront of protest – marching, chanting, braving tear gas and sometimes gunfire at rallies; fundraising and running social-media campaigns; treating those wounded by government forces bent on quashing the revolts; and even going on hunger strike, as Bahraini activist Zainab al-Khawaja did last year to highlight the detention and beating of her father, a prominent opposition figure.

The promise of the Arab revolutions will only be fulfilled, [Iranian activist] Sherin Ebadi argues, “when women achieve their rights”. Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahda, which dominates a coalition government elected last autumn, says it wants to strengthen the country’s personal status code, which outlaws polygamy and allows Tunisian women rights not found elsewhere in the region.

“We have found our voice and it feels good,” one middle-aged Egyptian woman told me on Tahrir Square weeks after Mubarak resigned. “There is a sense that anything is possible.”


‘South Asian women’s bodies to fight poverty’ – The Himalayan Times

 KATHMANDU: CPN-UML-affiliated All Nepal Women’s Association (ANWA) is all set to launch a women empowerment campaign by forging alliance with south Asian women organisations.

ANWA chairperson Bidhya Devi Bhandari, who is also UML vice-chairman, said the campaign would be launched in association with women’s associations of all parties, trade unions, academia, human rights organisations and civil society.

Bhandari said the campaign would create pressure on the government to allocate more budget for gender justice and poverty-alleviation programmes, give women more access to government decision-making process and ensure 33 per cent representation in the state machinery for women.


‘Apple management: Where are the female leaders at the iPhone company?’ – Computerworld.com

Apple [AAPL] promoted two new faces to its executive team yesterday, raising the team to twelve, but one thing rings false: there isn’t a single female face among the company’s senior vice presidents. Is the world’s most valuable company really a men-only club?

As Business Insider remarks, it isn’t as if there are no powerful women inside Apple: Katie Cotton, Rita Lane, Jennifer Bailey, Isabel Ge Mahe, Betsy Rafael and Kim Vorrath are all named. Their roles include corporate control, financial management and iOS development — a fairly wide spread of skills which should help prove there’s few limits to what women can achieve within any industry.

Apple isn’t alone in being led by an all-male team, but other big tech firms seem a little more representative. The position of women across America’s Fortune 500 isn’t too much better, with women sharing just 16.1 percent of senior leadership roles in 2011, according to Catalyst.org. That’s an unusual statistic when you consider women account for 46.6 percent of the US labor force, and that women accounted for 36.8 percent of MBAs earned between 2010-2011.

Speaking at the Women Advisors Forum conference in New York in April, he said: “When women are at the table, the discussion is richer, the decision making process is better, management is more innovative and collaborative and the organization is stronger,” Keefe said. “It’s not just me saying this, it’s research saying this.”


‘Push for more women in leadership roles’ – New Zealand Herald

Prime Minister John Key is among the leaders arriving in the Cook Islands today to attend the male-dominated Pacific Islands Forum. The attendees include its most influential line-up of women ever, including Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the head of UN Women, former Chile President Michelle Bachelet.

It will be Ms Bachelet’s first visit to the Pacific since she was appointed to the role of UN Women executive director in 2010. She said recently the Pacific region – excluding New Zealand and Australia – had the “dubious distinction” of having the lowest rate in the world of women in Parliament.

Only 3.5 per cent of parliamentarians were women, compared to the global average of 20 per cent.

There had been progress – three women were elected to Papua New Guinea’s Parliament this year – the first time since 1975 there had been more than one.


Togo women call sex strike against President Gnassingbe – BBC (UK)

The sex strike was welcomed as a political tool by some women in Lome.

The ban has been called by opposition coalition Let’s Save Togo, made up of nine civil society groups and seven opposition parties and movements.

Opposition leader Isabelle Ameganvi said that sex could be a “weapon of the battle” to achieve political change.

The coalition wants President Faure Gnassingbe, whose family has held power for decades, to stand down.

Activists say that the strike will motivate men who are not involved in the political movement to pursue its goals, which include an end to the system allowing unlimited presidential terms.


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