New Age Islam
Fri Aug 14 2020, 08:08 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 14 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Hindu women’s marriage to Muslims social, not political, issue, says a minister in Pakistan


 

  

To expand job opportunities, Saudi Arabia plans a women-only work zone

Coming to Saudi Arabia: The world's first women-only city

Thousands rally for women’s rights in Tunisia

Why Some Muslim Women Don't Wear Hijab

Blogger sets out to change image of Pakistanis

Impunity for violence against women a global concern

Will the Tunisian constitution erode the gains of women in the Arab Spring?

Gender diversity on corporate boards remains low

A Nigerian Governor’s wife fetes Muslim women

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: To expand job opportunities, Saudi Arabia plans a women-only work zone

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/hindu-women’s-marriage-to-muslims-social,-not-political,-issue,-says-a-minister-in-pakistan/d/8286

 

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Hindu women’s marriage to Muslims social, not political, issue, says a minister in Pakistan

August 15, 2012

The marriage of Hindu women to Muslims is a “social issue”, which has regrettably been turned into a political one, the federal minister for political affairs said on Tuesday.

The government is contemplating legislating to protect the rights of minorities,” Maula Bux Chandio told the media at the Pakistan People’s Party media cell after Hindu leaders met with MNA Faryal Talpur at the Bilawal House. “Hindus are the indigenous people of Sindh and reports about their migration to India are a conspiracy against the country.”

Chandio, who is also the head of the committee formed by President Asif Ali Zardari to look into the grievances of the Hindu community, said the issue of free-will marriage also pertained to other communities. The minister was flanked by MNAs Ramesh Lal and Aijaz Jakhrani and provincial excise minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla. He admitted that the minorities in Sindh were facing problems, especially in the northern parts of the province.

“But unfortunately, certain sections of the media are blowing the issue out of proportion.” The minister claimed that the government was monitoring the activities of those involved in meting out injustices to the minorities.

He promised that action would be taken such elements, including Mian Abdul Haq alias Mian Mitho, one of the main characters of the Rinkle Kumari “forced conversion” case.

“The issue of Hindu families in Jacobabad migrating to India emerged when a Hindu girl, Manisha Kumari was allegedly kidnapped there and the government is investigating the case.”

MNA Aijaz Jakhrani claimed that only 20 Hindu families from Jacobabad were visiting India on a pilgrimage, and none of them had migrated there.

Hindu leaders meet Talpur Earlier, representatives of the Hindu community from Jacobabad, Kashmore, Ghotki and Sukkur called on the president’s sister, Faryal Talpur. She assured them that the government was taking every possible step to protect the rights of the minorities.

It was decided that the recommendations of the committee formed by the president would be implemented and the concerns of the Hindu community addressed. The Hindu leaders were informed that the decision to allocate a job quota for the minorities would be implemented.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-4-126608-Hindu-womens-marriage-to-Muslims-social-not-political-issue

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To expand job opportunities, Saudi Arabia plans a women-only work zone

 15 August, 2012

In a plan to expand job opportunities for women, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is proposing a women-only industrial zone in one of its new industrial cities near Hofuf.

Getting a job in Saudi Arabia is challenging for women. Many want to work, but there are strict limits on what they can do and where they can seek employment.

But the kingdom now has a plan to expand job opportunities for women. It is proposing a women-only industrial zone to be built in the eastern city of Hofuf.

According to the Saudi Industrial Property Authority, known as Modon, the area will accommodate approximately 50 industrial projects and will provide about 5,000 jobs in women-run factories and businesses.

Eman Fahad Al Nafjan, a Saudi women’s rights activist and blogger in Riyadh said the plan may offer women more jobs, but only of certain kinds.

“Nothing has been really clarified, but what they say is that it’ll be in pharmaceuticals and food processing, and things like that,” she said. “But the most important thing that is being repeated over and over again is that these are jobs that are agreeable to a woman’s nature.”

The city in Hofuf is the first of its kind being built in Saudi Arabia, and one of many planned for the kingdom. The plan is to build several industrial cities exclusively for women industrial workers, in accordance with Sharia law and Saudi customs.

In the new industrialized cities, Saudi women can start their own businesses, but they must be according to gender roles.

“You can’t, for example, be a construction project manager in Saudi Arabia. That’s impossible as a woman. We have many girls graduate with law degrees, and yet, from the ministry of justice, they’re not recognized as lawyers, so they can’t open their own law firms. They have to become assistants in male law firms,” Nafjan said. “So, they can open their own businesses, but as long as it’s something like a spa, things that are feminine, dress design, and things like that.”

Modon said that the city itself is not closed to men or intended for women only. Women will have the option to choose the type of industry or work they will do, and special sections and production halls will be reserved for women within the factory. Men will complete tasks dealing with manual labor and construction.

Nafjan said that no one really mentions that half the work force will be men because the ultimate goal of the project is to appease the ultraconservatives.

“The issue has been on the table for over a decade. The ultra conservatives have been repeatedly asking for it, demanding it, actually — that a completely gender-segregated work area be provided for women,” Nafjan said.

The proposed cities are an effort to provide an “environment and working conditions consistent with the privacy of women according to Islamic guidelines and regulations,” Modon said. But many see it as just another form of discrimination.

According to the Guardian, almost 60 percent of the nation’s college graduates are women, yet as much as 78 percent of female university graduates are unemployed. Currently, Saudi women make up only 15 percent of the kingdom’s workforce.

In Saudi Arabia, segregated schools, universities, offices and even separate entrances for public buildings, are the norm. Women in the kingdom aren't allowed to drive, and must obtain the permission of a male guardian before working, traveling, or attending school.

Nafjan said there hasn’t been much of a reaction to the proposed cities because the building hasn't started. But she said that women being allowed to work openly in malls has caused an uproar in Saudi society with reactions both for and against.

“There’s a lot of people who are completely against it. There have been envoys of ultraconservative sheikhs going to the Ministry of Labor in the last couple of weeks, 50 at a time, to express their opposition to women working in the malls. Women working in the malls have been harassed by people telling them that they shouldn’t," she said.

A survey conducted by YouGov and Bayt.com, found that nearly two-thirds of Saudi women who worked said they did so to achieve financial independence, and more than a third said their workplaces had both male and female workers, but in separate sections, the Guardian reported.

“Saudi society is conservative, but at the same time, the practicalities of life have forced a lot of women to rethink the way that they live," Nafjan said. "I think that a lot of women want to go out into the workforce and nothing shows that as much as the number of women that have gone into retail as soon as it opened its doors, despite all the backlash they knew that they were getting."

"PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston. More about The World.

http://www.pri.org/stories/world/middle-east/to-expand-job-opportunities-saudi-arabia-plans-a-women-only-work-zone-11096.html

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Coming to Saudi Arabia: The world's first women-only city

AUGUST 15, 2012

The super-patriarchal Gulf kingdom is creating a female-only city to finally allow a huge percentage of its educated population to work freely

Saudi Arabia has a problem: The Persian Gulf kingdom has an increasingly educated, increasingly unemployed female population and ultra-conservative laws and customs that forbid women from mingling, much less working, with men. The Saudis are fashioning an unusual solution, building an industrial city that will only allow women. The female-only zone is scheduled to open inside the Eastern Province city of Hofuf next year, with more ladies-only areas to come in Riyadh, the capital. How do these cities-inside-a-city work, and are they good for women? Here's a guide to the first-ever city of women:

How will this all-female city work?

The inaugural one in Hofuf is essentially a female-only industrial zone that's expected to employ about 5,000 Saudi women in the textile, pharmaceutical, and food-processing industries. Women will run the companies and factories. "I'm sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, nature, and ability," says Saleh al-Rasheed, deputy director general of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon), which is in charge of the project. The women will live in adjacent neighborhoods.

Who came up with the idea?

A group of Saudi businesswomen, according to the business newspaper Al Eqtisadiah. But Saudi Arabia's ruling monarchy embraced the concept as a way to lower female unemployment while staying "consistent with the privacy of women according to Islamic guidelines and regulations," Modon said in a statement. The government had little choice, says Sarah Goodyear at The Atlantic. "Restrictions on women's lives and productivity there are so extreme — Saudi women need a male guardian's permission to travel, seek employment, or marry — that the country is in effect letting a potentially huge sector of the productive economy sit idle." About 60 percent of college graduates in the country are women, and 78 percent of them are unemployed, according to recent surveys; only 15 percent of the Saudi workforce is female.

And this has never been tried before?

Not on this level, says The Atlantic's Goodyear. Saudi Arabia already has all-female factories and the largest women-only university in the world, but aside from "religious and educational institutions and less formal back-to-the-land 'intentional communities' founded by women for women, all-female communities on a large scale have been the stuff of legend." And people have been wondering about cities made up of only women for centuries, "sometimes with high-minded intent, sometimes for cheap thrills."

Will this city work as intended?

Some women who work in these new cities "will no doubt distinguish themselves, but they will still be laboring in segregation," says The Atlantic's Goodyear. If the goal is unleashing the female workforce, "a segregated city will never be as productive or creative as one where the free exchange of ideas among diverse converging people is allowed." Actually, I think "Hofuf will be exceedingly productive," says Zoe Williams at Britain's The Guardian. For one thing, "as an industrial town with no men in it, it will presumably contain none of those mini-impediments to productivity known as 'children.'" In a few years, these Saudi women will be South Korea to their male counterparts' North. These cities will either fail or they'll succeed in further segregating women from the public sphere, says Homa Khaleeli at The Guardian. Maybe women should "flock to them, close the doors, and refuse to leave until the kingdom's rulers understand just what it is like to live without women."

Is this a step forward for women?

That's a tough question, says The Guardian's Williams. It's not really "a move forward in women's liberation, not unless you think apartheid was a good system for black people because they got their own swimming pools," but at the same time, we can't know yet that "Ladytown won't boost women in unintended ways." As I suspect the Saudis will soon learn, "when you educate people, refuse to let them work, and then suddenly unleash them, en masse, into economic productivity," that's a receipt for change. Look, in this kingdom, this is the only opportunity for women "to have an income, be financially independent," at least for now, Saudi radio host Samar Fatany tells ABC News. Putting women to work feels inevitable, even in Saudi Arabia, says Doug Barry at Jezebel. And "everyone should have the right to fall into the daily grind, because only then can all people truly appreciate how awesome it will be when robots do all our work for us."

http://theweek.com/article/index/231958/coming-to-saudi-arabia-the-worlds-first-women-only-city

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Thousands rally for women’s rights in Tunisia

14/08/2012

REUTERS - Thousands of Tunisians rallied on Monday to protest against what they see as a push by the Islamist-led government for constitutional changes that would degrade women’s status in one of the Arab world’s most liberal nations.

The protest, by some 6,000 mostly Tunisian women, is the latest twist in a row over the role of Islam in a constitution being drawn up by a new assembly.

Tunisia’s ruling Ennahda Movement is under pressure from both hardline Salafi Muslims, calling for the introduction of Islamic law, and secular opposition parties.

Activists are not happy with a stipulation in a draft of the constitution that considers women to be “complementary to men” and want a pioneering 1956 law that grant women full equality with men to remain in place.

The protesters marched across main thoroughfares in the capital Tunis to demand that the government, led since October by Islamist moderates Ennahda, turn its attention instead to basic issues such as unemployment and regional development.

They carried banners that read “Rise up women for your rights to be enshrined in the constitution” and “Ghannouchi clear off, Tunisian women are strong”, referring to Ennahda’s leader Rachid Ghannouchi.

Sami Layouni, 40, was among a minority of men attending the protest. “We are here to support women and to say there are men who stand for women’s rights,” he said, carrying a placard that said: “A woman is no complement, she is everything”.

“We are proud of Tunisian women ... and we will not let Islamists turn our spring into a winter,” he said.

Carrying a placard that called for equal rights, 52-year-old Fouzia Belgaid said last year’s revolt should not have led to such debate in Tunisian society.

“Normally, more important issues ought to be tackled like unemployment, regional development. Ennahda seems bent on making steps backwards but we are here to say that Tunisian women will not accept that,” she said.

“I fear for the future of my daughters who may grow up in a totally different Tunisia,” she said.

Banned under Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled last year in mass protests that sparked the Arab Spring, Ennahda won the most seats in elections to a constituent assembly in October and formed a government in coalition with two secular parties.

The party has promised not to impose strict Muslim rules and to respect women’s rights. Its member Farida al-Obeidi, who chairs the assembly’s human rights and public freedoms panel, said the wording of the draft did not represent a backwards step for Tunisian women.

The draft stipulates “sharing of roles and does not mean that women are worth less than men”, she said.

Activists are concerned that once approved the new rules would lead to future setbacks.

“Major retreats usually begin with one step,” said Ahlam Belhadj, who chairs the Democratic Women’s Association. “If we stay silent today, we will open the door to everything else and end up surprised by even more serious decisions,” she said

http://www.france24.com/en/20120814-tunisia-housands-rally-women-rights-islamist-government-salafi-equality-ennahda

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Why Some Muslim Women Don't Wear Hijab

August 15, 2012 | by Dian Kuswandini

A cleric takes out two candies; unwraps one of them and throws them both onto the floor. He asks: “If you have to choose, which candy will you pick? Of course, you’ll take the wrapped one because it’s the clean one. In Islam, we protect our women through hijab.”

First of all, I'm a believer: I'm a practicing Muslim. Second, I don’t wear hijab. And from here my story starts.

One day, a male friend tagged me on a note in Facebook; it's about a conversation between a non-Muslim man and an Islamic cleric.

The man asks: “Why does Islam oblige Muslim women to wear hijab?”

In answering the question, the cleric takes out two candies; unwraps one of them and throws them both onto the floor. He asks: “If you have to choose, which candy will you pick?”

The man answers: “Of course I’ll take the wrapped one, because it’s the clean one.”

The cleric goes, “Indeed. In Islam, we protect our women through hijab.”

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/talkback/why-some-muslim-women-dont-wear-hijab/538417

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Blogger sets out to change image of Pakistanis

By Aroosa Shaukat

August 15, 2012

LAHORE: A blogger for the last two years on topics ranging from international relations to social issues, Mehreen Kasana got sick of comments posted on her blog asking whether all Pakistanis were extremists.

“When it comes to international media and reporting, a stereotype has been established of Pakistanis as people full of hate,” said the 23-year-old student of FC College, where she studies media and political science. “People would post on my blog asking whether Pakistanis were really how they were shown in the media.”

So on August 8, Kasana set out to make a statement against this stereotyping. She advertised heavily on social media, inviting people to contribute to her project by taking a picture of themselves holding a piece of paper with the Pakistan flag on it and a message declaring: “I am a Pakistani and I refuse to be stereotyped.”

“The idea was to encourage Pakistanis to speak out and tell the world that we are a lot more than what people see on the television,” Kasana said.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/422189/celebrating-aug-14-blogger-sets-out-to-change-image-of-pakistanis/

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 Impunity for violence against women a global concern

Bikya Masr Staff | 15 August 2012

Governments are urged to act with due diligence to prevent and investigate violence against women and girls, prosecute perpetrators and provide protection and redress to victims.

This was contained in the report to the Human Rights Council by Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.

She noted that religious, cultural, and social norms and beliefs are largely the causal factors for harmful practices resulting in violence against women. Therefore countries’ efforts to comply must also address these structural causes.

Globally the prevalence of different manifestations of killings targeting women is increasing and a lack of accountability for such crimes remains a concern.

“Whether labelled murder, homicide, femicide, feminicide, or ‘honor’ killings, these manifestations of violence are culturally and socially embedded, and continue to be accepted, tolerated or justified – with impunity as the norm,” stressed the independent expert reacting to the latest killing of women in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Full report at:

http://www.bikyamasr.com/75510/impunity-for-violence-against-women-a-global-concern/

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Will the Tunisian constitution erode the gains of women in the Arab Spring?

BY HEATHER MCROBIE

15 AUGUST 2012

The dignity of gender equality could have a hard time penetrating the written constitution.

Avenue Bourguiba in Tunis is a palimpsest of recent political protest: with official street signs nearby marking "Place 14 janvier 2011", and a public instruction to take care of the avenue because of its significance in last year’s revolution – on Monday night the city’s most famous street was layered over, again, between the crowds sat in salon de thés after Iftar, with a protest to mark National Women’s Day. The demonstration – alongside protests in other cities such as Monastir – concerned the proposed wording to describe women in the constitution, the new constitution-in-process being the other striking palimpsest of revolutionary signifiers, a mosaic of jurisprudential traditions, language of the revolutionary protests, and complex institutional legacies stitched together into a kind of permanence. What language bubbles up from the revolution of 2011 into the paper-white terminology of constitutional law will – like the official street sign marking "Place 14 janvier 2011" – crystallise the revolutionary moment, speak to Tunisia’s future, and how it tells itself the story of the nation’s most recent re-birth.

Full report at:

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/will-tunisian-constitution-erode-gains-women-arab-spring

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Gender diversity on corporate boards remains low

By Kazim Alam

August 15, 2012

KARACHI: “Women are not making it to the top,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, who has been ranked among the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune Magazine. “In the corporate sector, women at the top — C-level jobs, board seats — tops out at 15%-16%.”

So if only 15% of top corporate positions go to women in a country as advanced as the United States, what about Pakistan, which has a different set of social norms and arguably deep-rooted gender biases?

A review of publicly available data about 97 largest corporations of Pakistan — which are part of the Karachi Stock Exchange-100 Index — reveals that women in the country’s corporate leadership are few and far between. Only three out of the 97 companies have women chief executive officers (CEOs).

More surprisingly, only 5% of the total 838 members of the boards of directors at these KSE-100 Index companies are women. Women serve on the boards of 26 out of 97 companies.

Websites of TRG Pakistan, Grays of Cambridge Pakistan and Dreamworld, which are part of the KSE-100 Index, do not give any information about their organisational structure or boards of directors.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/422146/top-positions-gender-diversity-on-corporate-boards-remains-low/

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A Nigerian Governor’s wife fetes Muslim women

By Sulaiman Salawudeen, Ado-Ekiti

August 15, 2012

Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, has  presented gifts to Muslim women across the state at the second annual Iftar (breaking of fast) dinner with the women to mark the Islamic month of Ramadan.

The group was led by the President, Federation of Muslim Women’s Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN) to the Government House Mosque and Lady Jibowu Hall where the governor’s wife joined the women in praying for the state and the nation.

The governor’s wife had hosted the Muslim women to similar dinner at the same venue during last year’s holy month of Ramadan.

This year’s event also witnessed a lecture delivered by a guest lecturer, Dr Bilqis Abdulraheem, on the position of women in Islam.

Speaking during the prayers preceding the breaking of fast, Erelu Fayemi urged women to pray for their families, the state and for peace to reign in the country.

Full report at:

http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/news/57612-

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/by-new-age-islam-news-bureau/hindu-women’s-marriage-to-muslims-social,-not-political,-issue,-says-a-minister-in-pakistan/d/8286

 

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