More women running shows that life,
slowly, is changing ( Mustafa Saeed and Hamza Sulub )
• ‘Run and Beat the Boys with The Skinny Legs!’ Urges A Woman
Decked in A Brown Jilbab, The Female Somali Runners Aiming to Break More Than
• For Saudi Women, In Isolation Lies Economic Opportunity
• Coronavirus: Iraqi Women at Risk as Conservative Families Refuse
• Egypt’s Women Council Pays Tribute to Female Doctors, Nurses
• Do We Still Believe That Women Should Do All Housework Amid
• Qatar- Female Volunteers Join Inspection Campaign of MME on Food
• Malaysia Apologises for Telling Women Not to Nag During Lockdown
• Malaysian Lockdown Also Means Women Have to Give Birth Alone
• UN Chief Urges Govts To Protect Women During Virus Lockdown
• The Face of Feminism Is No Longer Just White and Middle Class
• Yemen Officials Say Rebel Shelling Kills 6 Women Prisoners
• Empowering Indonesia’s Women Farmers
Compiled By New Age Islam
and Beat the Boys with The Skinny Legs!’ Urges A Woman Decked in A Brown
Jilbab, The Female Somali Runners Aiming to Break More Than Records
can’t you just stay at home?” shouts a man at two young female runners as they
dart by on the racecourse – wearing long skirts, arm-covering T-shirts and
running tights in the 90-degree heat. He is not the only person jeering at the
women running in this 10km race, part of an annual event that includes a
marathon, where more than 250 of the 320 contestants this year are men. But
some spectators have kinder words.
and beat the boys with the skinny legs!” urges a woman decked in a brown
jilbab, a traditional loose-fitting robe, as a different pair of women sprint
past. All the female runners are dressed in line with Muslim practice in the
region, which calls for most of a woman’s body to be covered.
marathon began two years ago as a fundraiser for education in Somaliland, which
declared independence from Somalia in 1991, creating its own parliament,
currency and flag. The breakaway region, in the northwest of Somalia, is not
recognised internationally. But in contrast to areas in the south, which are
plagued by clan infighting and terrorism, Somaliland is an oasis – attracting
tourists, hosting a prominent literary festival and even enticing
multinationals like Coca-Cola. The running events are part of this cultural and
commercial outreach, with athletes from all over the world participating. This
year, runners from 16 nations came to Hargeisa, the region’s capital, to take
year, more and more Somali women have been competing, though only in the 10km
event. The increased participation reflects how life is changing, albeit
slowly, for women here. In Somaliland’s male-dominated society, government,
business and the media are still the almost exclusive preserve of men. Women
are twice as likely as men to be unemployed and less likely to reach higher
levels of education, and they face persistent obstacles in winning elections,
according to a study published last year. Still, in recent years there have
been hints of change, with women becoming doctors, entrepreneurs, teachers and
human rights activists. And some are running.
Mukhtaar, 17, runs each morning at dawn on the outskirts of Hargeisa, usually
with a teenage friend. There are barely any sidewalks, let alone running
tracks. But by leaving the city proper, they avoid the traffic that clogs its
sandy roads, where donkey carts and SUVs jostle for space. Goats and sheep
wander aimlessly, and the city’s minarets and colourful corrugated roofs appear
in the distance. Here, the young women don’t have to withstand the stare and
taunts from the men and some women who disapprove. “When I run, I feel strong
and free,” says Mukhtaar, who won the 10km run this year and last.
1 million people, Hargeisa has grown over the past few years. Shopping centres,
apartments and hotels have sprung up. New restaurants, serving camel steak and
sweet and creamy tea, have opened, along with cultural centres offering live
music and dance. The city centre bustles with activity, as traders sell spices
and frankincense next to vendors with textiles imported from China. Money
changers with wads of cash sit under billboards advertising telecom companies
promising cheap data and international call rates.
Dhamac, a psychologist and mental health advocate, also likes to run with
friends outside the city in the early hours of the day, taking advantage of the
cooler morning air. Even amid the acacia trees and quiet roads, she says they
still sometimes encounter people who chide them. “They would say: ‘Women are not
allowed to run or wear trousers. You will become barren,’” says Dhamac, who
competed in the 10km race this year. Comments like this do not seem to be
making much of an impression, though, on Somali women.
Saudi women, in isolation lies economic opportunity
week, the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus disease
(COVID-19)-induced isolation that has given rise to both unimaginable loss and
moments of resilience.
the Gulf, daily life has been reshaped by restrictions that few could have
predicted. Saudi Arabia, which acted quickly to suspend travel, implement
remote work, and close restaurants, stores, and malls out of concern for public
safety, has been hailed for its thorough response.
Kingdom recognized that the earlier it mandated these measures, the more severe
economic disruption it might face in the immediate term. The public’s welfare
took priority, nevertheless, with the aim of shielding the Kingdom from a more
devastating outbreak down the line.
with most citizens and residents at home, some may see opportunity in
isolation. Saudi women in particular may use these challenging times to
identify ways to enter a market that will shift almost entirely online.
Arabia is likely to see an increase in homebound women selling goods and
services online. For those who are otherwise not working or studying remotely,
the shuttering of physical storefronts can boost sales for businesses run from
February 2020, Saudi Minister of Commerce Majid Al-Qasabi stated that
e-commerce in Saudi Arabia represented SR80 billion ($21.3 billion) in services
and products, with the Kingdom boasting over 45,000 shops and e-commerce
figures are likely unsurprising to many Saudi women, who have long found
creative ways to generate income from their homes, using social media and word
of mouth to sell goods as diverse as traditional foods, custom-designed abayas,
handmade jewelry, perfume, and more.
fact, women owned nearly half of the 27,000 online shops registered on the
Ministry of Commerce’s Maroof portal last year.
of these women have faced difficulties entering the traditional workforce due to
personal or cultural factors, including family concerns over gender mixing at
work and a higher likelihood of starting a family while young. In recent years,
these barriers have in part lowered due to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s
the National Transformation Program, the government aims to raise Saudi women’s
economic participation from 17 to 25 percent. Progress has been extremely
promising so far: In early 2019, the number of women working increased by more
than 280 percent, from 156,000 in 2018 to 596,700 only one year later.
the coming days, it is likely that even more Saudi women will embrace
opportunities to work as independent businesswomen from the privacy and comfort
of their homes.
may also see a rise in women as service providers, from teachers to language
tutors, life coaches, counselors, and consultants. Should these women one day
decide to scale their pursuits into larger enterprises, they will be able to
take advantage of the lightning-quick time it takes to process a business
license in the Kingdom, which the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority
(SAGIA) cut from 53 hours to 4 hours in 2018.
question worth asking, then, is what the Saudi workforce might look like when
the situation eventually stabilizes and normalcy returns to daily life. The
country as a whole will benefit if Saudi women who become engaged in e-commerce
during the COVID-19 crisis can maintain their economic participation.
women produce societal and economic rewards for all. With more gender-inclusive
economic growth, a diversified range of goods and services often appears to
meet the public’s tastes. At the family level, working women can contribute to
empowered households where financial decision-making is more equitably spread.
female inclusion can also lead to higher spending power among women who give
back to the national economy. One World Economic Forum study noted that
achieving greater gender balance in the workforce could increase GDP by
approximately 35 percent, leading to higher productivity and pay for both men
Saudi government and business community can take a number of steps to encourage
women who are now wondering how to monetize their pursuits from home. For
example, SAGIA can release an online business toolkit tailored to women seeking
to initiate small enterprises. Prominent female business owners can also share
their success stories and practical advice in virtual workshops and coaching
sessions with aspiring entrepreneurs. Most practically, Saudi Arabia’s Small
and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at), which has facilitated
millions of riyals in new business funding and online training for
entrepreneurs, can also consider a new round of online outreach campaigns
targeted towards women.
suited to innovate in these challenging circumstances, Saudi women deserve the
financial assistance and professional mentorship necessary to raise their
economic participation at a time when it is needed most.
a doubt, the road to economic recovery will be long and arduous. The public
will find, however, that while Saudi Arabia stays at home, women’s economic
ambitions will not be limited by four walls.
Madison Clough is a strategic communications professional residing in the Gulf.
She holds a master’s degree in international security from George Mason
University and specializes in communications on geopolitical and cultural
Iraqi women at risk as conservative families refuse treatment
medical team had come to the modest one-storey home in the Basra suburb of Al
Hayaniya to treat a woman infected with coronavirus.
is doing well. Her condition is getting better and, if you like, I can allow
you to talk to her on the phone," said Muthana al-Sudani, the woman's
brother-in-law, standing in his doorway.
footage was widely viewed across Iraq after it was leaked last week, but it is
not the first death threat doctors have received in recent weeks.
physician in Al-Shattra, a town about 300km south of Baghdad, received death
threats from the family of a female patient after he confirmed her infection
with coronavirus on Sunday, local medical sources told Middle East Eye.
doctor received similar threats on Monday after he confirmed the infection of a
female patient in Diyala governorate, 60km east of the capital, local security
sources told MEE.
Iraqis are stopping women in their family from accessing treatment because they
do not want them to be in contact with men or to stay in hospitals alone,
healthcare providers told MEE.
more traditional corners of the country, especially those controlled by tribes
and religiously conservative areas, women are seen as symbols of family honour
that could be stigmatised by the virus.
not all Iraqis are of the same level of awareness or healthy culture," Dr
Radhwan Kamel al-Kindi, general director of the Najaf Health Directorate and
member of the Iraqi government's coronavirus crisis cell, told MEE.
the leak of the video and widespread criticism of the Iraqi security
authorities in the media, the intelligence officers were sent to arrest Ali
al-Sudani, who was also caught on tape on Saturday, only hours after the first
afterwards, his wife - whose identity has not been disclosed to protect her
privacy - was taken to the hospital by a medical team and ambulance that had
been on stand-by.
ranks second after Iran among countries in the Eastern Mediterranean with the
highest coronavirus mortality rates, according to a World Health Organisation
statement issued this week.
to the latest statistics announced by the Iraqi Ministry of Health on Friday,
the number of people infected with the virus has reached 820, including 54
death rate, however, is four times higher than the global rate because people
are arriving at hospitals in the late stages of their infections because
families fear quarantine and the shame they associate with the illness,
crisis-cell members told MEE.
providers have estimated that five percent of Iraqi women may have been denied
access to treatment in a timely manner as a result of customs and traditions,
while Iraqis of both sexes may be at risk of not getting the care they need
over fears they will be disgraced.
to Iraqi law, authorities have no power to intervene by imposing treatment of
an adult without their consent, but the outbreak has caused the Supreme
Judicial Council to allow security services to intervene when someone refuses
treatment or quarantine.
solution being used by hospitals in Baghdad is to place family members in the
same hall "to relieve them and to reassure men that their women are not
alone," a physician at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital in the capital told MEE.
patients who are currently getting treatment in Ibn al-Khatib hospital, and who
were reached by MEE, confirmed that they are staying with their family members.
facility in Najaf, Kindi said that health personnel allowed the father of an
infected girl to be with her inside the hospital around the clock after they
failed to persuade him to let her be alone.
accept any settlement with the affected families to ensure that the impacted
women will receive the treatment," Kindi said.
affected woman must be treated. This matter is not subject to discussion
because it affects the security of society and part of national security."
Women Council pays tribute to female doctors, nurses battling coronavirus
– 5 April 2020: Maya Morsy, head of the National Council for Women, Egypt’s
only national independent women organization, paid tribute to the medical teams
nationwide, who have been directly involved in the fight against the novel
expressed appreciation for the sacrifices made by the female doctors and nurses
in the country, due to the “fierce war” they fight against the pandemic,
considering them in the “third line of defense” for Egypt.
all members of society are staying at homes, female doctors and nurses are
fighting the epidemic and are going days without sleep, Morsy said. “They
sacrifice their comfort, health and security, adopting a slogan that the
nation’s health is more precious than theirs.”
Egyptian women have been the third line of defense for the homeland in June 30
revolution, doctors and nurses now are the third defense line for the homeland
in facing this pandemic,” she added.
also said media succeeded to highlight the role played by female doctors and
nurses to curb the spread of the novel virus.
in March, the Egyptian Medical Syndicate confirmed the death of the first
doctor in Egypt due to coronavirus. Ahmed Al-Lawah, 57, died in a quarantine
hospital in Ismailia in northeastern Egypt.
the country’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) was closed after detecting 17
positive cases of coronavirus among the medical staff.
March 29th, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi ordered Sunday to boost the
allowance of those working in the medical field by a 75 percent increase as a
gesture of appreciation for their current efforts to contain the threat of
president’s directions came during a meeting that included prime minister
Mustafa Madbouli, ministers of defense and military production, minister of
higher education, minister of finance, and minister of health to discuss the
praised the efforts exerted by the medical doctors and ordered to allocate 2.25
billion pounds to boost medical staffers’ allowance, he also issued a directive
about launching a risk fund for doctors and workers in the medical field.
Still Believe That Women Should Do All Housework Amid COVID-19?
was a time for me when visitors ringing the doorbell was considered to be
possibly the best moment – a time for fun gathering and company. I was young
and couldn’t care less to prepare the cups of tea, wash the dishes or prepare
the meal for around five or more individuals.
was a task for the other older women in the family: my grandmother, my mom, my
aunts, female cousins and just about all the women in the room. It almost felt
like it was a natural law. None of the men really objected to helping out, but
in actuality, none of them were willing to do so.
all sat back, relaxed, and smoked their cigarettes, looking busy in their
conversations, while a woman gently asked them how many spoons of sugar they
preferred or which slice of cake they liked to be served.
the time, I didn’t see the big issue with it until the role was thrown onto me.
I still remember the first time I was expected to serve others and how anxious
it made me feel: Am I expected to get up now and serve tea? Who gets up first
among the women in the family? Will they hate me if I don’t even get up at all?
my value as a woman became connected to a very simple act that was not even
thought about or prioritized by the other men in the room. A woman who gets up
and serves others is a good woman, a woman who doesn’t is bad.
dreaded the moment visitors rang the doorbell ever since. Not because of the
act of serving others, which is considered to be an embedded value in our
culture, named ‘karam’ or generosity, that is directed for both men and women,
but because I felt that housework and the way we perceived a woman’s role
inside a house was very much unfairly divided.
Megan Stack notes in her insightful article, ‘housework is a ubiquitous
physical demand that has hamstrung and silenced women for most of human
history. And yet, it is seldom considered as a serious subject for study.’
me, the simple fact of being expected, at all times, as a woman in the
household to serve others during family visits was the moment I began to feel
how deeply rooted, and also invisible, these unexplained and unjust power
structures exist in societies.
as the COVID-19 crisis is taking over the world, think pieces like “Women’s
Domestic Burden Just Got Heavier with the Coronavirus” and “The Coronavirus Is
a Disaster for Feminism,” were shared on my timeline by other friends, and
while I shared the same concern, I also questioned: why are we still made to
believe that women should do all the ‘housework’?
this point, shouldn’t more members in the household be more cooperative since
everyone is now spending more time at home? Why are we still tied to the idea
that it should be only the women in the house preparing meals, doing the
laundry and the dishes?
tells us that roles in societies change as contexts and attitudes change. Over
the last decade, an increasing number of women have gone to work, and the
gender pay gap has been gradually narrowing. In 1974, Sweden became the first
country ever to introduce a gender-neutral paid parental leave benefit, where
both women and men were entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave (16 months)
way, a month was reserved for each parent to achieve a more even distribution
of unpaid household and care work. And it worked, (for the most part, though
there’s still a long way to go), making Sweden among the highest female and
maternal employment rates in the world as it became possible for both parents
to combine work and family life. This was also matched with extensive system of
public child care, and most importantly, strong political will through the
comprehensive ‘gender equality policy‘.
Egypt, women are entitled to 90 days of paid maternity leave in the private
sector and 120 days for workers in the public sector. Employers with 100 or
more women in a workplace must also provide childcare facilities, though many
resort to lowering the number of women in the workplace on purpose to avoid
higher costs of childcare. With little incentives to support women to remain in
the workforce, and no policies that recognize that work-family balance measures
concern both women and men, women’s domestic burden continues to prevent
economies from tapping into the reservoir of female talent.
collaboration with Gallup, the ILO surveyed men in 2016 on their perceptions of
work, which revealed that women’s quest for decent work and employment largely
depended on men. In Egypt, when asked whether they prefer for the women to stay
at home or work at a paid job, 55 percent said they preferred that the women
stay inside their homes, revealing the deep rooted social restrictions that is
inhibiting women’s work.
than taking this COVID-19 crisis as a step back for women, or creating the
image that women are forever trapped inside the hole of domestic housework,
what should be done is turning this into an opportunity to push for more
Egyptian male friends have started to tell me their experiences of cooperating
at home ever since the outbreak, like vacuuming, washing the dishes, and
laundry nearly every day. Other women with more males in their households also
reflected on the slow changes that can occur when there is a push coming from
their side. “At first, it was my mother calling on my brother to help out in
the kitchen or other chores, but now we are starting to see him spontaneously
doing chores on his own,” says one of them.
however, these efforts are still confined to ‘trying’ to ‘help’ out in random
tasks, rather than actually participating in the entire process of planning and
managing the house. In her book ‘Fair Play‘, American author Eve Rodsky made an
important point when she highlighted the ‘mental load’ that women carry, as
they are the ones that mostly lead and plan out the entire day.
her book, titled Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward, Gemma
Hartley defines emotional labor as ’emotion management and life management
combined. It is the unpaid, invisible work we do to keep those around us
comfortable and happy’. It is the invisible labor that women do which glues a
household together that is often overlooked.
social media, various images of Egyptian men ‘helping out’ in housework were
shared widely and sparked a debate. What stood out most for me, however, is the
way we praise tiny little efforts that are small and incomparable to the
efforts of the mother in the household. Why should we use the term ‘helping
out’ when it is also where they reside and not someone else’s property?
Sociologist Arlie Hochschild put it in her 1989 book ‘The Second Shift’, where she noted that if a
man does just a little more what the average man does in his community, he’s
regarded as “exceptionally helpful.”
that spouses and families are confined together all day, we should be looking
for new ways to define ‘home’. It isn’t someone’s property that is solely under
their control, but a place for other members to feel real belonging and safety.
There is no reason to not include ‘home’ as a variable in everyone’s work-life
equation, because home is really part of every individual’s life.
must all treat this time of social isolation as a period to change tiny beliefs
and attitudes that can eventually contribute to the well-being and development
of the society as a whole. In short, it is to become a cultural warrior for
your own family and future generations.
Female volunteers join inspection campaign of MME on food outlets
- The Peninsula) A number of female volunteers joined the women inspectors of
Health Monitoring Section of Doha Municipality in an inspection campaign at a
major food outlet here yesterday.
inspectors ensured the targeted outlet was complying with the health rules like
food handlers holding valid health certificates, wearing masks and gloves, following
preventive and precautionary measures to protect themselves and other from
country wide inspection and awareness campaigns on food outlets in cooperation
with a number of male and female volunteers are continuing under an initiative
of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) to support volunteering
work under a slogan ‘your safety is my safety', said the Ministry in a release.
inspectors of Health Monitoring Section of Al Wakrah Municipality in
cooperation with some volunteers conducted inspection and awareness campaigns
on food outlets to ensure that they are complying with the health rules for the
safety of the consumers.
number of volunteers at Al Sheehaniya Municipality received necessary training
on how to inspect food outlets during an inspection campaign launched by the
civic inspectors of the Municipality on food establishments.
Khor and Al Zakhira Municipality also provided practical training to some
volunteers by involving them in an inspection campaign conducted yesterday at a
major food outlet. The volunteers were briefed about the basic rules and
regulations of inspection according to the law No. 8 of 1990 for regulating
foods focusing on the scientific aspects of the regulations.
inspection campaigns came within the initiative of MME to forge community
partnership enhancing the roles of institutions and community members in the
operation of the Ministry especially those related to food monitoring and
Health Monitoring Section of Doha Municipality conducted inspection campaigns
on 3,125 food outlets in Doha city in March.
much as 147 violations for preparing food in unhealthy conditions were
recorded. The Municipality also closed 47 erring food outlets and received 120
complaints which were responded on time.
Municipality issued four administrative decisions to close two eateries and one
sweet shop. As much as 18 reconciliations were made for erring outlets after
apologises for telling women not to nag during lockdown
apologised on Tuesday after telling women to avoid nagging their husbands and
speak in an infantile voice during coronavirus lockdowns, a move that sparked a
series of Facebook posts, the Malaysian women's ministry offered tips for how
wives should behave during the lockdown, which began on March 18, with a series
of online posters with the hashtag translating as #WomenPreventCOVID19.
of the campaign posters depicted a man sitting on a sofa and asked women to
refrain from being "sarcastic" if they needed help with household
poster suggested using humour or imitating the infantile voice of Doraemon - a
blue robotic cat from Japan that is popular across Asia - in lieu of nagging.
apologise if some of the tips we shared were inappropriate and touched on the
sensitivities of some parties," the ministry's women's development
department said in a statement.
is extremely condescending both to women and men," said Nisha Sabanayagam,
a manager at All Women's Action Society, a Malaysian advocacy group.
posters promote the concept of gender inequality and perpetuate the concept of
patriarchy," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
government hotline that helps domestic abuse victims and vulnerable children
has received nearly 2,000 calls - more than doubled the usual numbers - since
the start of the partial lockdown, local media reported.
did we go from preventing baby dumping, fighting domestic violence to some sad
variant of the Obedient Wives Club?" Twitter user @yinshaoloong wrote
before the apology.
have been fears of a surge in domestic violence worldwide as the stress caused
by confinement and job insecurity increases the likelihood of conflicts.
government-run helpline in Malaysia for vulnerable people, including victims of
domestic abuse, has seen an increase in calls of more than 50 percent since the
start of the lockdown, local media reported. Some governments have stepped up
their response, including in France, which has offered hotel rooms to victims.
is ranked 104 out of 153 countries in the latest World Economic Forum's Global
Gender Gap index, after scoring poorly on political empowerment and economic
lockdown also means women have to give birth alone
Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO), there will be pregnant women who will
have to go through labour and birth without their husbands by their side.
restrictions in place at hospitals, pregnant women will have to manage without
their spouse or companion to aid them in the delivery room or ward as they face
one of the most special days of their lives.
woman, Ms Anies Surianie Mat Daud, 27, has shared on Facebook the experience of
giving birth to her second child in such circumstances. Giving birth at the
Tengku Anis Hospital in Pasir Puteh, Kelantan, on March 24, she said it was far
different from the birth of her first child in 2016.
to Bernama news agency via Facebook Messenger, she said that when she found out
her husband would not be allowed to keep her company during labour or see her
after delivery, she was upset and worried that she would not be strong enough
to go through the delivery by herself.
Anies Surianie said that it was indeed a struggle doing it all alone despite it
being her second delivery. She shed tears every time she moved, especially when
she had abdominal cramps, and having to deal with the postpartum pain.
had some advice for other women due to give birth. She urged them to go to
hospital prepared, to bring along masks to wear, to listen to the doctor’s or
nurse’s advice without panicking and to pay attention to what was said in the
chief urges govts to protect women during virus lockdown
Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged governments to include the
protection of women in their response to the deadly novel coronavirus pandemic.
of domestic violence have surged globally in the wake of massive lockdowns
imposed to contain the spread of the disease.
is not confined to the battlefield," said Guterres in a statement and
video released in multiple languages, days after his call for a worldwide
ceasefire in the wake of the outbreak.
the rise in domestic violence as "horrifying," he urged all
governments "to make the prevention and redress of violence against women
a key part of their national response plans for COVID-19."
reported double the usual number of domestic abuse cases in the first week of
nationwide movement restrictions, according to the country's National
Commission for Women.
in France rose by a third in the week after that country's lockdown,
authorities said, while Australia reported a 75 percent increase in internet
searches relating to support for domestic violence victims.
called for setting up emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries,
and for safe ways "for women to seek support, without alerting their
we can and must prevent violence everywhere, from war zones to people's homes,
as we work to beat COVID-19," he said, as he called "for peace at
home -- and in homes -- around the world."
face of feminism is no longer just white and middle class
up, I struggled to call myself a feminist. In theory, feminism was supposed to
be for all women, but in practice, it seemed to be only for white,
upper-middle-class women seeking to break the glass ceiling and integrate into
the capitalism of their male counterparts.
Pakistani girl growing up in the US after 9/11, I confronted the misogyny of
both the wider white world, as well as the gendered norms enforced by my
became a battle cry, not just to end the racialised sexism that I, and so many
other women of colour faced, but also against jingoistic policy that expanded
US military influence in Muslim countries. The idea that veiled and
"oppressed" Muslim women - a symbol propagated by the US media at the
time - could be "saved" only by the increased deployment of troops in
the region - even when women are among the most numerous victims of war.
impact of movements like #BlackLivesMatter and Standing Rock, followed by
Trump's Muslim entry ban, crackdown on immigrants, and anti-LBGTQ policy, have
all helped to establish the need for a movement led by women of colour and
other groups which have historically been pushed out of the traditional fold of
"womanhood", such as transgender women, lesbians, sex workers and
Muslim and/or black women.
coronavirus health crisis and the everyday precariousness that young people
face, whether the looming threat of climate change, gun violence or
unemployment, has spurred the urgency of a movement that does not just break
glass ceilings, but collectivises empowerment and agency for all women.
is the more "bourgeois" women's movement, which opposes the sexism of
conservatives, such as Donald Trump's misogynistic statements or anti-abortion
legislation, and calls for liberal reforms such as equal pay or proper
electoral representation for women, rather than a systemic restructuring of
society and an end to capitalism, racism and imperialism.
other is the movement for women who constitute what grassroots movements term
"the 99 percent", which mobilises workers, recognises the
relationship between gendered labour and capitalism, and confronts war and
racism as twin evils responsible for violence against women.
these two threads converge, often manifesting as bonds of solidarity or more
pragmatic alliances. Ever since Trump was elected US president, white women
have been more conscientious in including women of colour in feminist advocacy.
Their protest movement - Women's March - has principles which acknowledge that
"women of colour and indigenous women carry the heaviest burden in the
global economic landscape".
suburban women, many of whom are mothers, are getting involved in politics for
the first time, with demands for paid leave and compensation for unpaid
domestic labour - a recognition of how capitalism exploits them.
this politicisation has its blind spots. Women's March has failed to link up
with organisers who have been doing work on the ground for some time. Its
stated progressive aims also did not prevent Zahra Billoo, an American-Muslim
civil rights lawyer, from being voted off the board of the organisation for
opposing the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Veteran Black Lives Matter
activists in different US cities have criticised Women's March for
"erasing" their labour.
such, there were two dates for the Women's March each year. The first is the
anniversary of Trump's inauguration - January 21 - and the second is
International Working Women's Day, a legacy of the female garment workers'
strike in New York in the early 1900s, which is celebrated worldwide every year
on March 8. Indeed, in 1917, working women in Imperial Russia led protests on
March 8 that triggered a series of uprisings, leading to Tsar Nicholas
abdicating from his throne two weeks later.
Mexico, women went on strike the day after the protest on March 8 this year, in
a bid to demonstrate to the men in their country the cost of their absence from
schools, offices, shops and government workplaces. A day without women meant a
day without the female workers who held up the economy, and who make up 40
percent of the workforce in Mexico. The strike used women's labour as a
bargaining chip to protest against patriarchal violence, which has caused women
in Mexico to literally "disappear" in gender-motivated killings.
than 10 women are killed each day in Mexico; victims of gang violence, sexual
harassment and laws that fail to punish murderers and deliver justice to the
victims. In 2018, only 136 perpetrators were convicted for femicide in Mexico,
according to Inegi, the Mexican statistics authority. In 2019, more than 1,000
women were killed there.
women certainly are not alone when it comes to lethal attacks on their bodies.
According to the UN, 87,000 women were murdered in the world in 2017 alone, a
staggering and horrific number.
America has experienced an awakening of women's mobilisation for safety and
respect. The #NiUnaMenos ("Not One Less") movement first started in
Argentina in 2015, protesting against the murders of women that gripped the
region. The grassroots movement sparked fires of resistance across Brazil,
Chile, Peru, and other countries, fires that still blaze today.
Chile, feminist collectives rallied on March 8 and then organised a second day
of protests in a nationwide movement against sexism and social inequality.
Protesters marched in Santiago to the presidential palace, charging the state
with violence and neglect of women.
December, the Chilean feminist protest song "A Rapist in Your Path"
went viral and inspired performances from women around the world. The song
crucially did not just hold individual perpetrators of rape to account, but lay
the blame at the feet of "the cops, the judges, the state".
South Africa, women organised self-defence training and handed out pepper spray
on stalls in the streets of Johannesburg, a practical and unapologetic measure
against sexual violence and harassment. Karabo Moshodi, a 25-year-old activist
from Soweto, raised funds to buy 1,000 pepper sprays and employed the
assistance of self-defence professionals. Participants were trained in basic
self-defence before receiving a spray.
Africa has also seen a growing movement led by students, young people and
women, after Uyinene Mrwetyana, a 19-year-old student, was raped and murdered
in a post office. Luyanda Botha, a 42-year-old post office worker, confessed to
the crime and was sentenced to life in prison. The murder triggered nationwide
protests galvanising thousands of people in outrage.
India, Muslim women-led a sit-in at Shaheen Bagh, a working-class neighbourhood
in New Delhi, for 101 days. The movement for a more just India has drawn women
to the frontlines. Women, after all, are the first to suffer in religious,
caste and ethnic violence.
Pakistan, attendees at the "Aurat March" (Women's March) braved
right-wing suppression of their protest. Their slogan, "Mera Jism, Meri
Marzi" ("My Body, My Choice") was construed as vulgar by men in
power, but hundreds of middle-class women still chanted it in defiance of the
threats against them.
known, but equally important was a demonstration in Karachi by poor, working
women, who do stitching and other forms of labour from home, and who won
recognition as legal workers by the government.
global south is rife with political and militant movements for the liberation
of women, which also confront the role of capitalism and state violence in
the US, the women's movement has transcended white feminism and pink pussy
hats. Contingents of marginalised women continue to attend the Women's Day
March and to organise their own marches and protests. Take, for example,
Gizelle Marie, organiser of the New York City strippers' strike. When black,
dark-skinned strippers found their jobs threatened by lighter-skinned Instagram
influencers, strippers in New York City went on strike to protest against the
loss of their wages. The strike was a breakthrough in sex worker organising
centring black women and addressing the ways in which darker skin was
considered less worthy of capital, and Marie led contingents of strippers in
different feminist actions to promote the strike.
the south of the US, black and/or immigrant women and nonbinary people (those
who identify as across the gender spectrum, rather than as just as a man or
woman) fight on the front lines against Trump's war on Roe v Wade, the landmark
Supreme Court case that ruled a woman had the right to choose an abortion and
that government interference violated her constitutional right to privacy.
care centres in the South not only stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ
community, women's shelters, and immigrant advocacy groups, they also provide
health care, gynaecological services, education and, if needed, the right to
choose abortion. The movement for abortion rights in the South is a coalition
of the most marginalised in society.
participation of teachers' unions in Women's March throughout the years
challenges Trump's privatisation of education and empowers an underpaid
profession associated with care and nurture (thus a gendered one, as 75 percent
of teachers in the US are women) with a platform and a voice. In 2018, 30,000
West Virginia teachers went on strike, and won a 5 percent raise in pay on March
white women still seem to gain the most visibility because of their privilege.
Yet, the reality is changing. Activism is no longer just the domain of the
privileged, but has become the duty of the oppressed.
the 99 percent has always organised for collective freedom and liberation, for
the first time they are being celebrated, recognised and supported on the world
stage, bringing more people to their ranks and radicalising the women's
movement as a whole.
Officials Say Rebel Shelling Kills 6 Women Prisoners
government officials said shelling by Houthi rebels Sunday hit a prison for
women in a southwestern province, killing at least six prisoners.
officials said the attack also wounded at least two dozen prisoners, including
four children staying with their imprisoned mothers at the central prison in
government-held Taiz province.
shelling came amid a drastic escalation in fighting between the internationally
recognized government's forces and the Houthi rebels in recent weeks.
increased violence in the Arab world’s poorest country has displaced more than
40,000 people since January, adding to the roughly 3.6 million who have fled
their homes since the war began more than five years ago.
civil war erupted late in 2014 when the Shiite Houthi rebels seized the
capital, Sanaa, along with much of the country’s north. The Houthi advance
ousted President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
war has killed more than 100,000 people, many by Saudi-led airstrikes. It has
triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst
humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical
Indonesia’s Women Farmers
you teach a man to farm, his family will eat. If you teach a woman to farm, the
whole community will eat." This quote highlights the fact that closing the
gender gap in agriculture would not only produce more food but also provide
long-term benefits for farming families and their communities.
empirical study in the Springer Journal titled, Gender in Agriculture reveals
that women lack access to agricultural inputs, training, information and
marketing services. Furthermore, the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index
shows that women lack access to various agricultural groups and are poorly
represented across a range of civic, government and business groups. The Food
and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) declared that eliminating this gender gap in
agriculture would increase production in developing countries by 2.5 to four
to Anna Fälth of United Nations (UN) Women, the global population is expected
to grow by 2.3 billion people by 2050, which will cause food demand to rise by
60 percent. As approximately half the world's smallholder farmers are women,
closing the gender gap in farming would not only fight hunger but would also
have positive secondary effects. According to the FAO, around 43 percent of the
agricultural labour force in developing countries consists of women, and up to
79 percent of women in some of these nations report agriculture as their
primary economic activity.
Indonesia, approximately 49 percent of agricultural households comprise of
women farmers according to the 2018 Agriculture Census. These women are
involved in almost all agricultural processes and vital functions, yet they
still often lack recognition. Their agricultural work is perceived as secondary
to their domestic responsibilities and to men’s involvement in agriculture.
Agriculture generates income for numerous households and is a critical sector
in Indonesia’s economy, thus it is imperative that the role of women in
agriculture should be pointed out as Indonesian women are generally community
agrarian commodities range from rice, maize, soybeans to strategic plantation
commodities such as palm oil, cocoa, and rubber, as well as livestock
commodities such as cattle, poultry and goats. In 2018, the agricultural sector
absorbed 32.9 percent of the total labour force in Indonesia and contributed
13.6 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP). This sector is also pivotal
in national efforts leading towards food security and poverty alleviation.
rice is the primary staple crop, rice farming practice in Indonesia is very
critical. In Bali, one of Indonesia's most prosperous provinces where wet-rice
production is an economic mainstay, rice cultivation for its farmers is not
only an agronomic and economic process but profoundly social and religious, as
well. The Balinese agrarian irrigation system is called Subak. The Subak is
more than just a traditional irrigation system for the Balinese. It allows the
participation of the community to manage water allocation. A Balinese practice
dating back to the ninth century, it is also seen as a solution to the current
water crisis. The Subak system of democratic and egalitarian farming practices
has enabled the Balinese to become the most prolific rice growers in the
archipelago despite the challenge of supporting a dense population.
egalitarian farming practice of Subak can also be found in the participation of
Balinese women farmers. The role of women farmers in the Subak agrarian system
is critical for land cultivation, seed planting and harvesting. A study in the
Agriculture Journal and Ecosystem Balance of Universitas Mahasaraswati Denpasar
states that women farmers’ participation in Subak farming in Tabanan, a regency
of Bali, had reached 83 percent.
high participation of women farmers in agricultural management activities is
one of the basic social capitals in creating agricultural sustainability. The
participation of women farmers is not merely seen as equality of rights but is
also an expression of their role as a key factor in rural society development.
contrast, in most Indonesian communities, women are still traditionally
responsible for domestic activities and are not perceived as household heads to
engage in community dialogue. As an example, gender analysis in a FAO Gender
Assessment conducted in Karawang district in West Java Province found that
women farmers’ access to agricultural information is directly dependent on land
ownership. One reason for this is that formal agrarian extension service
providers only invite male land owners to village meetings. Discrimination was
also found in staffing with only 20 percent of field extension staff being
considering the above-mentioned studies, it is evident that women who are in
need of information, still do not have adequate access to it and are unable to
further develop their potential. Building the capacity of women and increasing
their access would benefit farmers, the private sector, and the government as
women’s involvement in agriculture provides a considerable contribution. This
would also boost women’s confidence, broaden their knowledge and raise their
voices within the family and the community.
Indonesian government has addressed women’s empowerment and education by taking
an active role in the global commitment to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable
Development (SDG). At the national level, these concerns have been addressed
through Village Law No. 6/2014 that explicitly outlines the critical importance
of women's empowerment and gender equality. There are also several other laws,
policies and programmes that aim to reduce rural poverty such as Presidential
Regulation No. 59/2007 and the 2015-2019 National Medium-Term Development Plan
on improving the quality of life and the roles of women in the implementation
of development programmes.
however, remain in mainstreaming gender in policies and programmes in regard to
the agriculture and rural development sector. In order to support government
programmes and policy, collaborations need to be tailored to the incentives and
capacities of stakeholders in considering women as a neglected actor. The
private sector in agriculture needs to contribute to adopting more inclusive
practices that leaves no one behind and treats women as an important player as
their involvement is critical in agriculture. Gender-equal agrarian reform will
only be achieved when women are able to define their place and influence in the
agricultural sector in a significant manner.
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