Women in the News – The IPS Gender Wire (24th March 2009)

IPS wants to redress a huge imbalance that exists today: only 22% of the voices you hear and read in the news are women’s. Elections, health, education, armed conflicts, corruption, laws, trade, climate change, the global financial and food crises, and natural disasters. IPS covers these frontline issues asking an often forgotten question: What does this mean for women and girls?

RIGHTS-SOUTH AFRICA: Election Campaign Silent on Violence Against Women
*** Stephanie Nieuwoudt interviews LISA VETTEN, gender rights activist
CAPE TOWN (IPS) – With its emphasis on gender equality, the South African constitution is regarded as a great example for many other developing countries. Yet, despite laws intended to protect the rights of women like the Sexual Abuse Act and the Domestic Violence Act, women in the country still suffer indignities at the hands of police and in court.

Q&A: Women Better, But Far From Equal
*** Miren Gutierrez* interviews SAADIA ZAHIDI, head of the Women Leaders and Gender Parity Programme at the World Economic Forum (WEF)
ROME (IPS) – Denying women access to political and economic power is a “strategic waste”, says Saadia Zahidi, co-author of the WEF’s Global Gender Gap (GGG) report in a telephone interview from Geneva.

POLITICS: Form of New U.N. Women’s Entity Still Nebulous
*** By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS (IPS) – When a high-level panel of former political leaders and senior government officials released a study in late 2006 on ways to eliminate duplication and strengthen coordination among the U.N.’s myriad bodies, it also recommended the creation of a specialised agency for women aimed at consolidating gender-related activities under a single umbrella.

CHILE: Agricultural Boom Passes Women Farmers By
*** By Pamela Sepúlveda
SANTIAGO (IPS) – Although agricultural exports are among the most productive and steadily growing sectors in Chile, rural women continue to face precarious jobs, low wages, little access to land and the growing dominance of agribusiness.

Q&A: Women’s Special Water Needs Find Voice
*** Hilmi Toros interviews JOKE MUYLWIJK, executive director of Gender and Water Alliance
ISTANBUL (IPS) – Climate change and corrupt practices are considered root causes for a potential water crisis of global proportions, leading to scarcity where water is needed most and flooding where it is needed the least.

ECONOMY-SRI LANKA: Conditions Worsen For Women Workers
*** By Feizal Samath
BIYAGAMA (IPS) – Ramani, 26, sits inside her small, dimly-lit boarding house room, cutting vegetables, in this industrial town outside Colombo. She plans to return to her rural village in May to get married.

Q&A: Why Not Wages for “Women’s Work”?
*** Mirela Xanthaki interviews JAN PETERSON of the Huairou Commission
UNITED NATIONS (IPS) – Caring for children, ailing relatives and neighbours, cooking and cleaning – all of it feels like “work,” but without the regular paycheque.

ARGENTINA: Bold New Law on Violence Against Women
*** By Marcela Valente
BUENOS AIRES (IPS) – Argentina now has an ambitious new law to prevent, punish and eradicate physical, psychological and economic violence against women, in both the private and public spheres. But the big challenge, say experts, will be to put it into practice.

Q&A: “Zimbabwe Must Release Political Prisoners”
*** Ben Case interviews NOMBONISO GASA, activist and hunger striker
UNITED NATIONS (IPS) – Nomboniso Gasa chairs South Africa’s Commission for Gender Equality and is an independent gender research analyst. A committed feminist and political activist, she was first imprisoned in apartheid-era South Africa at age 14.

RIGHTS-BRAZIL: Law Still Not Saving Women’s Lives
*** By Mario Osava
RIO DE JANEIRO (IPS) – Rosemary Fracasso, a 37-year-old mother of two teenagers, was murdered by her ex husband with a machete. During the attack he cut off her fingers and arms and left her heart visible through a gaping chest wound.

Q&A: Women Must Challenge the “Gatekeepers of Culture”
*** Nastassja Hoffet interviews women’s rights activist AISHA SHAHEED
UNITED NATIONS (IPS) – “In order to be a good Muslim, a good Hindu, a good Pakistani, a good woman, you need to act in certain ways,” says Aisha Shaheed. “And all these parameters are defined by [male] self-proclaimed cultural leaders.”

PARAGUAY: Nurses Seeking Greener Pastures in Italy
*** By Natalia Ruiz Díaz
ASUNCIÓN (IPS) – Graciela Samaniego has her bags packed. Along with a number of fellow nurses, she is ready to leave her job at a public hospital in the Paraguayan capital and fly to a city in northern Italy, where she will work in a nursing home.



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