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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 24 Apr 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Rights Group Urges Nigeria's Government to Rescue Captured Girls

 New Age Islam News Bureau

24 Apr 2014

 UK Enlists Muslim Women to Help Stop Syria Jihadists

 Nigeria Missing Girls Figure Is 'Much Higher'

 The Baloch Midwife: A Young Woman in Her 20s Is Saving Lives

 African Woman Assaulted In Istanbul Denounces Racist Attack

 Bangladesh’s ‘Miracle’ Survivor Marries and Builds New Life

 Illiteracy Leaves 42% of Saudi Women Poor

 Prisoner Pulls Shoura Scam on Female Professor

 Saudi Police Ask Woman in Her 90s to Come With Male Guardian

 Saudi Women Attending Foreign Meets Must Speak a Second Language

 Muslim Student Association Hosts ‘Under the Hijab’ To Promote Islamic Culture

 Iran’s Divorce Rate Rising

 Turkey Failing To Improve On Gender Equality, NGO Says

 Iranian Women’s Rights Remain Hostage to Political Infighting

 The Palestinian Sisters Taking Over the Modelling World: Meet Gigi and Bella Hadid

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Rights Group Urges Nigeria's Government to Rescue Captured Girls

Apr 24, 2014

The rate of female deputies was 4.6 percent in 1935 in the Turkish Parliament, the report said. This rate only increased to 14.3 percent after the 2011 general elections.


A human rights group is urging Nigeria's government to do more to rescue the many teenage girls who are still missing after being abducted last week by Islamist extremists.

A member of the group Baobab for Women's Human Rights, Hajiya Aishatu Ngulde, said Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan should mobilize military planes to search for the girls.

Parents and school officials say as many as 230 girls are still missing, after being abducted from the Chibok secondary school in the country's northeast.  Only 43 have been able to escape on their own.

Authorities originally said 129 girls were kidnapped in the incident, and that 52 had escaped.

The girls are believed to be held in a forested area near the Cameroonian border.

There have been no claims of responsibility.  But the kidnappings are believed to have been carried out by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, which has been abducting young women for use as servants, spies and even "wives."

Residents from Chibok and Nigeria's military have organized separate search efforts for the abducted girls. 

Boko Haram's name means "Western education is a sin."  The group wants to impose strict Islamic law on northern Nigeria and is blamed for many attacks and thousands of deaths since launching an insurgency in 2009.



UK Enlists Muslim Women to Help Stop Syria Jihadists

Apr 24, 2014

British police reached out to Muslim women on Thursday in an attempt to prevent young people going to fight in Syria, after a sharp rise in arrests related to the conflict.

Counter-terrorism officials launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the risks of travelling to Syria, especially for those who just want to offer humanitarian aid.

The campaign was prompted by an increase in the number of Britons caught travelling or returning from Syria, from 25 arrests last year to 40 in the first three months of 2014.

Several of those arrested were subsequently charged with terrorism-related offences.

Only last week, a father from Brighton on England’s southern coast, Abubaker Deghayes, revealed that three of his sons had gone to fight in Syria, one of whom was killed in a battle.

Abdullah Deghayes, 18, died earlier this month after leaving Britain in January, while his 20-year-old brother Amer suffered a bullet wound to the stomach in the same fighting.

“We are increasingly concerned about the numbers of young people who have or are intending to travel to Syria to join the conflict,” said Helen Ball, senior national coordinator for counter-terrorism.

Increasing confidence

“We want to ensure that people, particularly women, who are concerned about their loved ones are given enough information about what they can do to prevent this from happening.

“We want to increase their confidence in the police and partners to encourage them to come forward so that we can intervene and help.”

She added: “This is not about criminalizing people, it is about preventing tragedies.”

The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King’s College London estimates that between 200 and 366 British nationals have gone to Syria to participate in the conflict.

Police will hold meetings across Britain on Thursday with women from different community groups, charity workers and government officials involved in preventing extremism.

A leaflet has been prepared outlining the risks of travelling to Syria, which will be handed out at airports and ports.

The Charities Commission is also involved in the campaign, to advise people on how they can help send humanitarian aid to Syria without the money falling into the hands of extremists.

The commission’s chairman, William Shawcross, warned at the weekend that charities should be particularly vigilant about how their aid is used in countries such as Syria and Somalia.

Three charities are being investigated for raising funds for Syria while seven others are being monitored.



Nigeria Missing Girls Figure Is 'Much Higher'

Apr 24, 2014

The parents of the schoolgirls abducted by gunmen in Nigeria's Borno state last Tuesday say the number of children missing is much higher than the authorities admit.

The army put the number at 129, but school officials said more than 200 students were taken during the attack on the Chibok Government Girls Secondary School.

There is still confusion about how many of the girls have escaped and how many remain hostages.

The armed group, Boko Haram, is suspected of being behind the attack and kidnappings, but so far no one has claimed responsibility.



The Baloch Midwife: A Young Woman in Her 20s Is Saving Lives

Apr 24, 2014

QUETTA: In the underdeveloped region of Kech in Balochistan where houses are made from mud and straw, a young woman in her 20s is saving lives. She is Rahat Noor, a 26-year-old community midwife.

“Pregnant women usually avoid going to hospitals for checkups in Kech district,” said Noor, explaining why some babies here die before they are delivered or are born underweight. “This is a trend I have observed in Balochistan.”

According to the Pakistan Demographic Health Survey (PDHS 2012-2013), the proportion of mothers reporting that they received antenatal care from a skilled provider is markedly lower in Balochistan (31 per cent) than in Punjab and Sindh (78 per cent each).

Pakistan is lagging behind in its aim to achieve Millenium Development Goal (MDG) 5, regarding maternal health, and making the role played by trained midwives from local communities so crucial.

Noor is one of the few such midwives available in the region. Trained in Turbat district, Noor says, “I received training three years ago but have yet to be provided with delivery kits, medicines and so on.” For this reason, Noor stayed home for two years after her training, unable to help women in labour. She was provided with equipment five months ago by the provincial health department. “Since then, I have helped hundreds of pregnant women,” she said with pride.

More than a hundred midwives live in Turbat; however, only 15 of them have been given delivery kits and medicines by the health department. “I wanted to help women in my area because they lack awareness and they do not know how important their healthcare is during pregnancy,” Noor explained.

The kits that can save lives contain very basic but life-saving items such as sterilised scissors, gloves, plastic sheets to avoid complications such as septicemia, a potentially life-threatening infection caused by bacteria entering the bloodstream. Anti-tetanus vaccines are a must too. Midwives must also be able to determine when to refer the woman to a doctor or hospital for further care.

Noor’s father has unequivocally supported her, although many of her relatives consider her profession inappropriate. She juggles family life with work, and is married to a police officer in Turbat. “My husband is proud of what I do,” she says.

Noor has been shortlisted as one of the final five nominees for the ‘2014 International Midwife Awards’. The ceremony will take place in Prague from June 1st to 5th. She is the only nominee from Pakistan amongst five nominees from other parts of the world. The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM), together with Save the Children, recognizes and rewards two midwives for excellent work towards survival of newborns. This year, the awards will be held for the fourth time.

“I am so happy to know that my work has received recognition,” Noor told The Express Tribune. She has been awarded Rs25,000 by Provincial Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch for her outstanding work in midwifery.

Provincial Director Maternal Child Health Nabeela Sultan said that there is a dearth of skilled midwives. “It is a good thing that midwives are a great help in Balochistan but this is not enough in order to decrease the maternal mortality rate in the province.” She said that Lady Health Visitors are more trained than community midwives. “Community midwives mostly get training for 15 days only.”

Sultan was of the view that there is an unavailability of gynaecologists in state-run hospitals of Balochistan. “The government did claim that it appointed 20 gynaecologists at District Headquarter Hospitals. I still believe there is a lot to be done.”  The director said that healthcare is not in good shape in this area.



African Woman Assaulted In Istanbul Denounces Racist Attack

Apr 24, 2014

An African woman injured last week in Istanbul by gunshot has denounced the armed assault on herself and three other Liberian migrants as a racist attack.

The incident took place in Mecidiyeköy, one of Istanbul’s busiest areas in the vibrant European district of Şişli, and raised concerns over discrimination faced by thousands of African migrants trying to make a living in Turkey.

The assailant fired 10 bullets at the four migrants, all women, injuring their legs.

“We went to a tea house, we were cold and we wanted to drink some tea. Someone came while we were sitting and told us ‘Black American, no.’ We did not pay too much attention to him,” the woman, identified as Deddeh, told the BBC.

“As we were preparing to leave, my niece wanted us to take his picture. As soon as I took the phone, he said ‘American, no photo’ and opened fire with his gun,” she said.

Once in the hospital, the woman underwent surgery due to the bullet damaging her bones. She is recovering in a basement apartment that does not receive any sunlight in the Fulya neighborhood of Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district. 

Deddeh explained that she came to Turkey only two months ago, but is now afraid to stay any longer.

The numbers of African migrants seeking refuge in Turkey has increased in recent years, in the hope of crossing the border into Europe. Most work as peddlers on the streets of commercial neighbourhoods, as well as in factories.



Bangladesh’s ‘Miracle’ Survivor Marries and Builds New Life

Apr 24, 2014

Reshma Akhter married her boyfriend in a simple ceremony in her village in northern Bangladesh in February

She was the “miracle” seamstress, plucked from the rubble of the world’s worst garment factory disaster 17 days after her factory collapsed. One year on, she has married and found a new job.

Reshma Akhter, 19, was a rare bright spot in the Rana Plaza catastrophe on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on April 24 last year that left 1,138 dead and more than 2,000 injured.

Images of her, dusty and dazed, being plucked from the wreckage graced newspaper front-pages worldwide and turned her into a national heroine.

Like thousands of other survivors — as well as the rescuers who faced appalling scenes, often having to perform impromptu amputations on the spot — Akhter still suffers from insomnia and panic attacks.

But she married her boyfriend in a simple ceremony in her village in northern Bangladesh in February and is enjoying a new job in a hotel run by the international chain Westin, which approached her after her ordeal.

“I enjoy the job. This is completely the opposite of the work of a garment factory. The job is sober and relaxed,” she said, adding that she would never set foot in a clothing factory again.

Speaking to AFP at her sister’s home just metres from the site of the disaster, Akhter said she joined one of the five factories in Rana Plaza just 22 days before it caved in.

Her basic monthly salary was 4,700 taka ($60) working a 10-hour daily shift.

A year later, she says she has not received any compensation from a trust fund financed by Western retailers to compensate survivors, which has received only $15 million instead of a targeted $40 million.

“I only got some money from the prime minister and private donors,” she says.

Since the experience she says she has become more religious, offering regular prayers for others in the garment sector and her late colleagues.

“I also pray our garment factories are safe so that none have to die there,” she said.



Illiteracy Leaves 42% of Saudi Women Poor

Apr 24, 2014

JEDDAH – Illiteracy, lack of education, absence of job opportunities and lack of breadwinners are the major causes of poverty among Saudi women, according to a new survey conducted by King Khalid Charitable Foundation in cooperation with Evad Centre for Studies and Consultation.

The survey covered 3,865 women from 13 regions in the Kingdom. A copy of the survey received by Saudi Gazette stated that 42.2 percent of women suffering from poverty in the Kingdom are illiterate.

Majida Al-Najim, the head of the centre which conducted the survey, called this a high parentage considering the age group covered in the survey that ranges between 20 and 50 years, a productive age.

According to the survey, 25.4% of women did not finish their primary education.

Al-Najim, an associate professor at King Saud University’s Social Studies Department, noted that the lack of education among these women resulted in general lack of awareness about health and social issues and ignorance about their rights. The survey revealed that 32% of women did not complete their high school education because of family issues, while 22.1% of women included in the survey did not consider education important for women.

“This indicates that a large segment of women included in the survey do not have trust in education. This also indicates a strong influence of men over women which deprives them of their right to education,” Al-Najim said.

The survey found that unemployment was a distinctive characteristic of poor women in the Kingdom. Only 10% of women covered in the survey stated that they work. Up to 28% of women included in the survey work as janitors. Only 8% of women confirmed they have worked previously.

“The absence of education among these women resulted in low qualifications and skills depriving them of decent jobs as employers prefer qualified and experienced workers,” said Al-Najim.

The survey also debunked the general notion that guardians and family members are the main obstacles in women’s education and jobs. Only 8% of the sample noted that their families object to their work. Some 32.6% stated that their main obstacle is the lack of transportation.

Up to 35% percent of women included in the survey were widows while 24.2% were divorcees.

“The absence of family life of these women is one of the major causes of their predicament. What they need is sufficient social security allowance that helps them get a better life,” recommended the survey. At least 23.1% of the sample stated that they have only one breadwinner in their families, while 38.6% confirmed that different members of the family work.

According to the survey, half of the married women are living with unemployed husbands. While a total of 75% of the sample do not have a real breadwinner as they are either widows or divorced women.



Prisoner Pulls Shoura Scam on Female Professor

Apr 24, 2014

MAKKAH — A convict is being investigated for managing to convince a woman teacher at Makkah’s Umm Al-Qura university that he could get her Shoura Council membership if she made a SR70,000 charity donation.

The teacher, known by her initials of B.A., was busy delivering a lecture when she received a call from a man who claimed to be a top official.

He told her that she and some other women doctorate holders were under consideration to become members of the Shoura but asked her to keep this to herself.

The woman was delighted with the news, Makkah daily reported on Wednesday. The man called again a few days later and asked her to make a donation of SR70, 000 to a charity organization to improve her image and so she appeared to be a philanthropist.

He asked her to put the money in a sealed envelope and deliver it to a certain office in Al-Awali district in Makkah and she agreed.

When the telephone calls stopped and the man disappeared, the woman realized she had been conned and informed the police.

After thorough investigations, the police discovered the con man was a prisoner serving four years in the notorious Al-Hayer prison in Riyadh for similar crimes.

He used to make telephone calls to his victims from his prison cell pretending to be a highly placed official.

He would constantly change his SIM card to avoid detection. Makkah police brought the prisoner from Riyadh and placed him in the custody of Al-Aziziyah police station, where he is currently being questioned.



Saudi Police Ask Woman in Her 90s to Come With Male Guardian

Apr 24, 2014

QUNFUDAH — An elderly woman in her 90s was left shocked when police asked her to produce a male guardian before they could accept her complaint that her son was mistreating her.

She claimed that her son was treating her badly, such as cutting the electricity from her house and locking her doors to prevent her from going out, to satisfy his wife.

She had become desperate and wanted the authorities to intervene. Head of Qunfudah police Col. Yousef Al-Qanawi expressed astonishment that the woman’s complaint was not accepted and said he has commissioned the head of the criminal investigations to contact her.

The head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) in Qunfudah, Ahmad Al-Shamrani, said the woman has every right to report the son's mistreatment of her and the police should investigate the case.

He said the Haia would contact the woman and submit her complaint to the governorate.



Saudi Women Attending Foreign Meets Must Speak a Second Language

 Apr 24, 2014

RIYADH — The Foreign Ministry has set criteria for Saudi women to participate in conferences abroad. The criteria include having a working knowledge of a second language, Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Wednesday.

"Saudi women wishing to attend academic and cultural conferences outside the country must be equipped with high academic certificates and should have a fair knowledge of a foreign language," the ministry said.

The ministry, which is currently updating its database, has asked all government departments to supply it with enough data about women employees nominated to attend conferences abroad, including copies of their certificates. It said any woman nominated to attend a forum, conference or any other gathering outside the Kingdom must have at least a bachelor’s degree.

A statement from the ministry said: “She must also have participated before in similar gatherings abroad and delivered a speech.

“The nominee should have published research about women affairs and should know a foreign language.”

The ministry also asked government departments to supply it with the research work of women nominees and their publications about issues concerning human rights.

Regarding participation in cultural gatherings, the ministry said Saudi women must have published cultural articles and have effective participation in previous similar meetings, whether in the Kingdom or outside.



Muslim Student Association hosts ‘Under the Hijab’ to promote Islamic culture

Apr 24, 2014

Curious to learn about a different culture’s religious practices, 31 participants recently experienced putting on a hijab as part of an event hosted by the Muslim Student Association.

The hijabs, a veil many Muslim women wear to cover the head and chest, were donated by female Muslim members of the group for the April 9 event. Students and faculty who passed by the Bovee University Center had the opportunity to put on a hijab in order to experience Islamic culture.

“The reactions (to the hijabs) were great,” said Mishari Alkhuwaiter, a Saudia Arabia graduate student and president of MSA. “People in Mount Pleasant are usually open-minded and nice.”

Saudia Arabia graduate student Eman Alqurashi, who volunteered at the event, enjoyed seeing students being exposed to Muslim culture.

“It was nice to see people excited and participating rather than receiving strange looks because we dress differently,” Alqurashi said. “Feeling the acceptance make us feel great and being nice and open with them make them also more relaxed and open to us.”

Alkhuwaiter said the MSA, which has become more active this year, hosted the event as a way to break stereotypes the media often portrays about women in Islamic culture.

“People in the United States believe Muslim women are not empowered,” he said. “It’s their choice and religion to wear a hijab. There is no right culture and there is not only one right way to live life.”

Alkhuwaiter said the event went well, but wished they could have stayed longer. He said they are looking to do a similar event in the fall.

The MSA has about 60 members active in the organization. The mission of the organization is to raise awareness of the Islamic religion.

“Islam has billions of followers around the world and there is not enough awareness,” Alkhuwaiter said.

Some of the other activities the association has participated in this semester include hosting speaker Yusuf Estes and competing in intramural sports.



Iran’s Divorce Rate Rising

Apr 24, 2014

TEHRAN: More than one in five marriages in Iran ended in divorce last year — despite the government’s push for more couples to wed and have children to reverse slowing population growth.

The annual figures published Tuesday also showed fewer people were getting married and the statistics coincide with rising concern about family breakdown in the Islamic republic.

The country’s Registration Office, which records the number of new marriages as well as those that have split, said the divorce rate continued to edge up in the year ending March 2014.

“Some 158,753 couples filed for divorce in the last Iranian calendar year, increasing by 4.6 percent from 2013,” Ahmad Toysarkani, head of the office, told the official IRNA news agency.

With 757,197 couples tying the knot in the same period, the marriage rate fell by 4.4 percent.

Iran’s divorce rate has jumped from 12 percent to 21 percent since 2007. Tuesday’s figures also showed that one in three marriages in the capital end in divorce.

Toysarkani blamed the sharp rise in divorce on family interference — including non-respect for the financial terms governing a marriage — poverty, drugs and domestic violence.

Iran’s population growth plummeted to only 1.29 percent in the past 12 months, the lowest in the region. “The rate could fall to zero in the next 30 years,” Mohammad Nazemi Ardakani, an official at the national birth registry, said recently.

In measures aimed at addressing an ageing population, Iran’s parliament is discussing a bill that would ban vasectomies and tighten the nation’s abortion laws.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has urged the government to take measures to increase the current population of 77 million to 150 million within 50 years.



Turkey failing to improve on gender equality, NGO says

Apr 24, 2014

Turkey failed to improve its gender equality statistics in many areas over the past year, the Association for the Support and Training of Women Candidates (KA.DER) has said in a recent report.

Turkey ranked 120th out of 136 countries in the Gender Gap Index in 2013 while also finished 103rd in terms of women’s participation in politics.

KA.DER gives Turkey a report card on gender equality every year. The NGO said in a statement released on its website that Turkey failed to pass in many areas in its 2013 report card.

The rate of female deputies was 4.6 percent in 1935 in the Turkish Parliament, it said, noting that this rate had begun to fall until the 2007 general elections, when it increased to 9.1 percent. In the 2011 elections, 14.3 percent of those elected to Parliament were women, but the figure is still low in comparison to many European countries.

Violence against women continued in 2013, when 214 women were killed by men across the country, said KA.DER.

“Our student [Turkey] is not successful in creating equal representation, which is necessary for democracy,” said the report card. “The necessary steps that will take Turkey to the rankings that it deserves are not being taken. Our student is failing to achieve its potential.”

KA.DER said only four female mayors were elected in the March 30 local elections – in Gaziantep, Aydın, Diyarbakır and Hakkari – although a number of women were elected as co-mayors from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in areas populated by Kurds.

There is only one female undersecretary out of a total of 26 undersecretaries working in the ministries, it said, adding that just one of 81 governors was a woman.

The female presence is also low in critical judicial positions. All key judicial institutions such as the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Election Board (YSK), the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), the Military Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Accounts, are headed by men, while only the Council of State is headed by a woman. Furthermore, there are just 14 female rectors in charge of the 176 universities across the country, KA.DER said.



Iranian Women’s Rights Remain Hostage to Political Infighting

Apr 24, 2014

In the female-only carriage of Tehran underground, about half a dozen women peddlers elbow their way through the crowd shouting, “colourful pyjamas!”, “eye-pencils and mascaras” and “woman-designed bras”.

One of the hawkers, Mina, 26, has a master's degree in commercial management but has been unable to find a job.

“I ask myself almost every day when I come to the metro station whether I will ever find a decent job,” she says, hiding her face behind a pollution mask so that friends will not recognise her.

Mina is not alone. Although 60 per cent of Iranian university students are female, unemployment of women under 25 stands at 42.3 per cent – almost double the country’s average for youth.

The fate of women like Mina is caught up in Iran’s political tug of war between the new government of Hassan Rouhani and conservatives. As the country celebrates Women’s Week – commemorating the birth of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Mohammed – the contradictions on whether women should be mothers or have equal rights and responsibilities to men have been laid bare.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader and ultimate decision maker, said over the weekend that women’s unemployment was not a primary concern. “The main issue [for women] is the family [foundation], particularly health, security and peace of women in the family,” he said.

The comments came as Es’haq Jahangiri, the pro-reform first vice-president, was telling a gathering of women that their unemployment was a “serious threat” and a priority for the government.

The Islamic regime maintains an uneasy position on women’s status. On the one hand, clerical rule over the past decades has assured conservative families that their girls are secure if they wish to have a university education, sparking a rise in female graduates.

But the regime has been also been reluctant to appoint women to senior government posts – other than a handful of exceptions, such as the vice-presidents for environment and women’s affairs, as well as a former health minister – seen as too few by many women.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report of 2013 ranked Iran 130th out of 136 countries for women’s economic participation and opportunity and 129 for political empowerment.

Analysts believe ruling conservatives have political as well as religious reasons for obstructing women’s rights. Women have been the main backers of reformist politicians over the past two decades and by keeping them disappointed by pro-reform governments, clerics may be hoping that they will undermine women’s support for moderates at the ballot box.

The contradictory attitude of the regime comes at a time when divorce is on the rise and marriage is declining as women refuse to have children and instead, according to official reports, say they want higher education and more senior jobs.

A report released on Tuesday said the rate of divorce had increased by 4.6 per cent in the Iranian year ending in March 2014 compared with the previous year. The marriage rate declined by 4.4 per cent over the same period.

However, an effective family planning policy – which earned Iran international plaudits for bringing down its population growth rate from 3.2 per cent in the early 1980s to 1.2 per cent in recent years – has been put on hold after Iran’s supreme leader warned against a declining birth rate.

Iran’s conservative-dominated parliament recently approved some measures, such as extending maternity leave – which contributes to women’s unemployment as about one-third of mothers are sacked by their employers when they return to work – and making labour free of charge in state-run hospitals to encourage women to have more children. It is also looking into a plan which would penalise abortion and vasectomy and prohibit any advertisement encouraging birth control.

The centrist government of Mr Rouhani – which is under attack by hardliners for its pro-reform cultural and social approaches – has yet to announce any specific policy to promote women’s role in society in a clear move to avoid conflict with its political opponents.

But it has quietly put some measures in place, including appointing some women as provincial governors, increasing the activities in women-related NGOs and removing restrictions on certain subjects in higher education – such as archaeology and some engineering degrees – which were ruled inappropriate for women under the previous president, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.

“I confess that many shortcomings exist with regard to women’s rights and the respect for gender justice in the country,” Mr Rouhani said over the weekend. “Is it possible to put half of the society in a corner and sideline them? Women must have equal opportunity, equal responsibility and equal social rights.”

In the meantime, women like Mina struggle on. She has earned an average of 8m rials ($313.63) per month since she started selling pyjamas and silver-plated earrings five months ago, far below what she would have expected with her level of education. Like the other women who peddle goods on the capital’s metro, she has little choice but to find an income wherever she can.

“We need this metro job to make ends meet,” says Sonia, a 20 high-school graduate who sells whatever she can to supplement her family’s income after the death of her father.



The Palestinian Sisters Taking Over the Modelling World: Meet Gigi and Bella Hadid

Apr 24, 2014

Who’s got double the good looks, double the talent, double the sexiness and double the modelling power? We’re of course talking about Palestinian-Dutch beauties Gigi and Bella Hadid. Move aside Kendall and Kylie Jenner, you’ve nothing on these two glamorous girls!

The long-legged sisters are the daughters of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Yolanda Foster and Palestinian real-estate mogul Mohamed Hadid - it seems this was a holy match as the siblings have been blessed with good looks and photogenic prowess, skills that are quickly turning them into the two hottest models in LA.

Gigi, 19, was discovered when still a child by Marciano, for whom she started posing at the age of 10 for the Guess Kids and Baby Guess campaigns. Her loyalty to the brand (and long legs!) seems to have paid off - Gigi has been the face of Guess Jeans since 2012. In January this year, Gigi was picked as one of the models to pose in the famous Sports Illustrated's 50th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition, joining the ranks of seasoned models including Chrissy Teigen and Lily Aldridge. She’s also dating tween idol Cody Simpson, and has starred in his music video “Surfboard”.

Bella, 17, is quickly following in her sister’s fashionable footsteps and making her own mark on the fashion world. The beautiful brunette has recently posed for Elle France and according to her Twitter, she recently launched a clothing line called Robert Riley's, featuring 'simple jeans', 'insane jackets' and 'pieces that genuinely rep [her] style'.

In this photo series, you will get a sneak peek at the girls’ childhood photos, hidden talents and of course risqué modeling pictures.