March Round Up – Women and Power / Politics

Women hold just 18 percent of parliament seats
Women hold just over 18 percent of the seats in parliaments around the world, a 60 percent increase since 1995 but a long distance from equality with men in national legislative bodies, the Inter-Parliamentary Union said Thursday in its annual report card. Continues at http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2009/03/05/news/UN-UN-Women-Parliamentarians.php

Women in power in Ghana – trickle down?
The arrival of women at top positions in Ghana’s government and security forces has highlighted the question of whether such milestones will translate into concrete benefits in women’s lives. Continues at http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/839dc6c5f5547732aceb7fd227f9612f.htm

Status of Global Gender Equality: A UN Statement
The respect of women’s reproductive rights, the access to appropriate health care gives protection to the spread of the pandemic which is the trigger for millions of orphans under age 18 and which is expected to exceed 25 million by 2010. There is an urgent need for attention to women and girls as most vulnerable groups in this context. The promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women as outlined in the 3rd Millennium Development Goal tackles poverty, discrimination and illiteracy. Achieving these goals is clearly linked to access to equal opportunities in education, decent work and health care. Nevertheless, family responsibilities remain with women. The gender division of responsibilities in the household detracts from economic growth and development; women are restricted from full economic participation by the demands of their household work while men are still uninvolved in care work. Continues at http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/8213/

German Headscarf Bans Violate Rights
German state bans on religious symbols and clothing for teachers and other civil servants discriminate against Muslim women who wear the headscarf, Human Rights Watch said in a report released last month. The 67-page report, “Discrimination in the Name of Neutrality: Headscarf Bans for Teachers and Civil Servants in Germany,” is based on extensive research over an eight-month period. It analyzes the human rights implications of the bans and their effect on the lives of Muslim women teachers, including those who have been employed for many years. It says that the bans have caused some women to give up their careers or to leave Germany, where they have lived all their lives. Continues at http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/02/26/germany-headscarf-bans-violate-rights

Eurobarometer on women and EP elections: politics still a male dominated world
Most women want the next European Parliament to guarantee equal pay for equal work, promote day care facilities for children, include child-minding years as pensionable years and combat violence towards women, according to a Eurobarometer Flash survey presented in the EP on Wednesday on opinions and expectations of European elections. The poll shows significant variations among countries, but a common view is that European politics is a male-dominated world. Additional research published on Wednesday showed that women also give priority to consumer protection and public health measures. Continues at http://www.newsdesk.se/view/pressrelease/eurobarometer-on-women-and-ep-elections-politics-still-a-male-dominated-world-277533

Women’s groups in India demand firm commitments from political parties
Ten women’s groups in India, including Christian ones, say they want political parties to ensure more women representation in legislatures and enact laws to curb gender violence. Continues at http://www.ucanews.com/2009/03/20/womens-groups-demand-firm-commitments-from-political-parties/

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