*NEW* Sisters of the Earth – This Week in Global Women’s News

9-15 October 2004

*NEW* Sisters of the Earth – This Week in Global Women’s News

Sisters Bringing Home The Prize

Wangari Maathai , Kenyan environmental activist and human rights campaigner, has won the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the first African woman to have won a Nobel.

Physician, writer and journalist Taslima Nasrin has won the 2004 Unesco-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence. Controversial Indian author Arundhati Roy will be awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in November. (Roy has said she wishes to donate her USD 50,000 Sydney Peace Prize to aboriginal political activities to further their work.)

The Shrub Giveth and the Shrub Taketh Away

What has the Bush administration done for American women?
– Created a Web site for women entrepreneurs and held conferences to promote and support it.

What has the Bush administration taken away from American women?
– The Equal Pay Initiative
– The White House Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach
– The Department of Education guidance on sexual harassment in schools from the Internet
– Distribution of information on workplace rights of women An attempt to close the Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor (DOL)

Women Speaking Out

Women In Black, an anti-war group in in Madrid, Spain, will be holding a series of demonstrations on the 24th of each month from 8:00 to 8:30 pm to express their condemnation of the Iraq war. They will be assembling opposite the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “in black and in silence”.

womeninblack mailing list: womeninblack@listas.nodo50.org

Houda Al-Azzawi, an Iraqi businesswoman, allegedly the last female prisoner at Abu Ghraib prison, reports seeing soldiers at the prison abuse other prisoners. The abuses included “men having bottles of water forced into their backsides by soldiers”. Al-Azzawi herself was beaten and deprived of food and sleep. Her shoulder was dislocated by a guard. Her brother, also a prisoner there, was killed and his naked corpse thrown into the cell with Houda and her sister Nahla. Al-Azzawi did admit that the situation improved once the scandal broke.

Two more Nigerian women are to be stoned to death for adultery. International opposition lead to the revocation of the proposed stoning of Amina Lawal. Your signature can make a difference; sign the Petition against Stonings at this address: http://capwiz.com/fmf1/mail/oneclick_compose/?alertid=e40626

The Coalition of African Lesbians has expressed deep sorrow and outrage at the violent murder of Fannyann Viola Eddy, founder and director of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and GayAssociation (SLLGA) and steering committee member of both the All Africa Rights Initiative and the Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL). In Eddy’s memory CAL has strengthened their commitment to changing Africa into a place where lesbians can enjoy peace, safety, and equality. The organisation is still awaiting reports of investigations into the circumstances of Eddy’s murder by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Watch.

Mary Robinson reminds us that “Almost 60% of those living with AIDS in Africa are women. Women make up 80% of Africa’s small farmers and have traditionally been able to help their families and communities most in times of food crisis, but the toll taken by AIDS makes this task increasingly difficult”

About 700 delegates assembled in Nairobi, Kenya last month to discuss ways of eliminating female genital mutilation in Africa. A simultaneous court case in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, revealed the broad rift between activism and culture: On Sep. 21, Adama Barry was sentenced to a maximum jail term of three years for having circumcised sixteen girls between the ages of two and ten. Barry, previously imprisoned for female genital mutilation, asserted she had been intimidated into performing the circumcisions.

The organisation No Peace Without Justice reports that about two million girls and women are circumcised each year in sub-Saharan Africa and countries in the Arab peninsula.

Many thanks to the Global Sisterhood Network for allowing us to summarise and print these news stories.