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

Breaking the silence in India
Recently several NGOs from across fourteen districts in the Bundelkhand region region in India have come together under a network called Samaan (meaning “equal”) to raise public awareness of violcence against women.

One of the most effective advocates for change in the in India is politician Gayatri Devi, now 75 years of age, lawyer and elected MLA from Bijawar. Devi has prompted a second line of women leaders to not only speak out against VAW but also to initiate public action to break the silence.
http://www.hindu.com/mag/2004/11/21/stories/2004112100370400.htm

What altruism!
Reem Al Faisal

“As a Saudi woman I would like to thank the honorable men and women of [the United States] Congress for their concern and their tireless quest to protect and liberate the women of the world. …However, if Congress is so busy fighting to liberate the women of the world, do they have time for the concerns of the women of the United States of America who elected them? After all, the median weekly earnings for full-time female workers are only 76 percent of their male counterparts in the United States. …As for single-parent families, women are more likely to be the ones left to take care of children while the man leaves and rarely pays alimony. That is why 40 percent of all families headed by single mothers live in poverty. …Oh, and while we’re at it, how many women are in Congress compared to the number of women in the population at large? And why haven’t we seen a woman president or vice president in the USA yet? …Corporate America of course never hesitates to use women’s bodies as gimmicks for selling everything from wood polish to cars…Women are asked by the American media to bare it all or force themselves into being eternally 18… Does Congress think it is not important to protect these women from grave dangers to their health and even possible deaths? Every day four women die in the USA as a result of domestic violence, that is 1,400 a year. …But don’t you worry, Congress. I’m sure US women can suppress their aspirations for a better life while you neglect the true responsibilities of your office, to solve the problems of the women of the world. Meanwhile I thank you for valuing my rights over those of your countrywomen. What altruism!
http://www.arabview.com/articles.asp?article=290

The plight of First Lieutenant Jennifer Dyer
In October we heard about the rape and subsequent ill-treatment of First LieutenantJennifer Dyer at the hands of the American army .The details can be read here: http://oldamericancentury.org/jennifer.htm

According to Jack Dalton, who is following her case: “It was not until what happened to her hit over 90 national print newspapers did the Army finally say that she did not have to return to Camp Shelby but
could report to Fort Dix, N.J…The Army released a press release a week ago about this but what the Army left out of the release was a statement it made a couple of weeks earlier–that if Jennifer needed
additional rape counselling that they, the Army, would ship her to the Eisenhower in-patient mental health treatment facility for an “undisclosed” length of time…

In the meantime the Article 32 hearing for 1st LT Michael Hall on charges of rape, conduct unbecoming an officer and adultery has been postponed until sometime in December.” If you would like to donate something to help off set her Jennifer’s fees, check out the above link

Chocolate Heals!
May Hold Cure for Coughs

Mon Nov 22, 2004 01:44 PM ET: A recent study found that theobromine, an ingredient found in cocoa, was nearly a third more effective in halting persistent coughs than codeine, currently considered the best cough medicine. They also found that unlike standard cough treatments, theobromine caused no adverse effects on the cardiovascular or central nervous systems.
http://olympics.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=healthNews&storyID=6888212

Women demand right to negotiate safe sex
Women leaders in Ghana recently suggested that a major way of cutting down the HIV/AIDS prevalence level among women was for them to have the right to negotiate safe sex. It was noted that cultural practices which give exclusive sexual rights to men and very little power to women to negotiate safe sex, have been identified as one of the major causes of sexually transmitted infections.

Statistics show that globally 36 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS and 55 per cent of the cases are females between the ages of 15 and 49.
http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=70510

The Juarez Women’s Murders
By Kent Paterson

Investigations continue on the more than 400 women and girls who have been murdered in Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua state since 1993. According to Amnesty International and press accounts, little progress has been made. Police have arrested no credible suspects, but those believed to be scapegoats remain locked in jail. The murders continue. Patricia Cervantes and other victims’ relatives recently embarked on a mega-tour of 54 U.S. and Canadian cities, dubbed the International Caravan for Justice in Juarez and Chihuahua.
http://www.americaspolicy.org

Babies conceived of rapes by janjaweed militiamen
By Sudarsan Raghavan

In the troubled province of Darfur, pro-government Arab militias called the janjaweed have raped countless black African women. Suad, a member of the Zaghawa tribe, and recently raped by three militiamen, was told by her attackers: “We want to change the color of your children.”
http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradenton/news/world/10272363.htm

Sex Abuse by Peacekeepers
U.N. peacekeepers have been accused of sexually abusing the very population they were deployed to protect in Congo. It is believed that few of the suspects will face serious punishment; although the United Nations often asks nations to discipline their peacekeepers it has little power to enforce such discipline.
Jane Holl Lute, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, says, “It’s obvious the measures that we have had in place have not been adequate to deal with the changing circumstances.”
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=535&ncid=535&e=12&u=/ap/20041124/ap_on_re_as/punishing_peacekeepers_1

Banned from driving a car, Saudi woman becomes pilot
Hanadi Hindi, a 26-year-old Saudi, will soon become the kingdom’s first accredited woman pilot after signing a contract with the fleet of Prince al-Walid bin Talal, a billionaire Saudi businessman and nephew of King Fahd. The ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia was made official in 1990 after 47 women demonstrated against what was then only a customary law by driving a convoy of cars in Riyadh.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1373382,00.html

Men with white ribbons
UNIFEM, organisers of the White Ribbon Day in Australia, said it represents a personal pledge by men not to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. On November 25 South Australian men were among 150,000 nationwide who wore white ribbons to take a stand against violence in women’s lives. They were taking part in the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the largest international effort by men to end violence against women.
http://www.theadvertiser.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5936,11502544%255E2682,00.html

Cyber Dialogues For Gender Justice
Join women in South Africa for a Cyber Dialogue, a real time, interactive, online discussion at http://www.cyberdialogues.co.za. The cyber dialogues are part of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign and will happen every day from 13:00 – 14:00 (S. Africa time) starting on 24th November 2004. The theme for the day will be Taking Stock: Balancing the Scales and it will include a discussion on the achievements and progress made in the gender justice struggle over the last year and will identify the challenges that still need to be met in moving forward. The South African experts and decisions makers that will be there to answer questions are Deputy Minister of Correctional Services: Cheryl Gillwald, Speaker City of Joburg: Nandi Mayathule-Khoza and Martha Seloane, a survivor of gender violence. If you would like to know the times of cities around the world, go to http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

United Nations Trust to Eliminate Violence Against Women gives grant to Fiji’s WAC
The United Nations Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence Against Women will provide a grant of US$50,000 to Fiji’s Women Action for Change (WAC).

The Trust Fund is a mechanism established by the UN General Assembly in 1996 and administered by UNIFEM. UNIFEM has received up to US$17.5 million in requests, with only about US$1 million to give out each year. Donors to the 2004 grant-making cycle include Japan, Denmark, Finland, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as NGOs and private individuals. For more information on the Trust Fund, go to: http://www.unifem.org

Our Tunisian Sisters in Government and Work Force
Tunisian women have been active in public life and the work force for decades. Hela, a 25-year-old electrical engineering student from Tunis, says, “If you are a woman, you can do anything… In Tunisia, you can see women everywhere, in every field, in politics including ministers and ambassadors. They are very active in the government.”

Tunisian history changed dramatically when a leader named Habib Bourguiba helped the country gain independence from France in 1956. As the first president, Bourguiba was determined to foster a modern society based on a relaxed interpretation of Islam. Part of his agenda was was a series of measures that earned him the title “liberator of women.”
http://www.voanews.com/english/NewsAnalysis/2004-11-23-voa58.cfm

Loans For Poor Women In India
The Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RKM) has disbursed loans to 500,000 poor women through more than 1,100 non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners and other agencies. The RKM was established in 1993 under the administrative control of the department of women and child development in the Union HRD ministry. Initially, it had a one-time corpus fund of Rs 3.10 million. It is managing its credit programme by rotating its fund by four times through NGOs, women’s development corporations and state government agencies.
http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=t126

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