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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 5 Sept 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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British Sikh Girls at Risk of 'Sexual Grooming'

New Age Islam News Bureau

5 Sept 2013

Protesters shout slogans against the upcoming Miss World pageant in Jakarta, September 5, 2013. (Reuters)


 Saudi Female Graduate Stages Sit-In for a Job

 Miss World Organizers Say Show Will Go On Despite Indonesia Protests

 Kerala, an Indian State, Scuttling Education Prospects Of Muslim Women'

 Botswana Women Win Landmark Right to Inherit Under Customary Law

 Israeli Religious Schools Balk At Sex Education

 Indian Diarist Sushmita Banerjee Shot Dead In Afghanistan

 Wedding Crasher: Curfew Impacts Egyptians’ Bridal Plans

 Afghans to Build Women's-Only Park

 New Turkish Laws Target Women Special

 Sierra Leone: Action Aid Commissions Report on Women's Right to Land

 Bradford Businesswoman to Speak At Women's Rights Conference

 Specialised Training for Women’s Bridge Team Begins

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





British Sikh Girls At Risk Of 'Sexual Grooming'

5 September 2013

London: Minor British Sikh girls sexually abused by gangs of Asian men who befriend them over a period of time usually do not report the crime to authorities, according to a new investigation by the BBC.

The probe found that in many cases, the men deceive the girls into believing they are Sikh to gain their trust. "Desperate to hide their secret for fear of bringing shame to their families, girls are often forced to leave home," the BBC's "Inside Out" programme reported.

Reporter Chris Rogers travelled to a remote part of the US to meet a 16-year-old British Sikh girl who was "groomed" and sexually abused over a period of time. She is one of at least a dozen British Sikh girls living abroad to hide their secret.

The Sikh Awareness Society UK (SAS), a charity that focuses on family welfare, claimed it has investigated over 200 reports of child sexual grooming in Britain over the past five years.

However, there are no official statistics to support this claim, because incidents of sexual abuse involving Sikh minors are rarely reported to the authorities.

"Grooming" refers to actions undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a minor in order to exploit the person for sex or labour.

Last week, six men - including two of Indian origin - were jailed at Leicester Crown Court for offences including facilitating child prostitution of a Sikh girl.

The convictions are being seen as a legal landmark because it is the first high-profile case involving a Sikh victim of sexual abuse that has led to convictions in the UK, BBC reported.

25-year-old Bharat Modhwadia was jailed for 16 months for paying for the sexual services of a child, inciting child pornography and trafficking the girl by driving her to a location for sex, while 37-year-old Chandresh Mistry was jailed for eight months for attempting to pay for the sexual services of a child.

The other four men, aged between 20 and 39, were jailed for periods ranging from eight months to five years.

"While it is fair to say that none of the defendants played any part in her decision to prostitute herself, it is equally true to say that anyone meeting her would immediately have realised that this was a vulnerable 16-year-old girl from a good Sikh family, who was embarking upon a disastrous course of action," Judge Michael Pert said in his judgement.

According to Detective Superintendent David Sandall of Leicestershire Police, sexual abuse remains severely under-reported among "faith-based communities".

He said, "We want more victims to come forward because we are here to help."

The reason Sikhs rarely reveal incidents of abuse to the authorities has been linked to the strong sense of family honour within the community.

"Our community is very honour-based. The majority of parents just want to shut up shop as if nothing has happened because they know that a girl who is tarnished with this kind of thing will never actually get married," explained Mohan Singh of SAS.

The "Inside Out" investigation, telecast last night, discovered that groomers exploited the fact that Sikh families are less likely to report incidents of abuse.

"Inside Out" spoke to a girl whose own mother told her not to go to the police even though she had been subjected to sexual abuse by countless men. Fifteen-year old Jaswinder was under the control of a groomer for nearly two years.

The man charged countless men to have sex with her and took obscene pictures that he used to blackmail her.

Campaigners have called for greater awareness and tougher action to tackle the issue of sexual grooming targeting specific communities in Britain.

Sue Berelowitz, deputy children's commissioner for England, said: "There is quite a way to go in terms of police forces around the country waking up to the fact that there are ethnic minority victims of sexual abuse."



Saudi Female Graduate Stages Sit-In for A Job

5 September 2013

RIYADH – A young Saudi woman, who obtained graduation in chemistry, has been staging a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Civil Service for two days as a last resort in pursuit of a job.

She has been in search of a job ever since her graduation from a university 10 years ago but she failed to get employment.

“As my parents are sick, I am in dire need of a job to support them. Since I am capable and educated, I don’t want to beg for alms,” she said.

The young woman said that she met the Deputy Minister of Civil Service Saleh Al-Shuhaib and showed him all her certificates. “The minister said that he had no solution to her problem but only an advice: Register with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI). But I preferred not to approach GOSI because of my marriage with a teacher,” she said.

Abdul Aziz Al-Khonain, adviser and media supervisor at the minister’s office, said that he cannot add anything more than what the minister had said. “The best among those candidates who are qualified and are fulfilling terms and conditions for the job will be appointed,” he said.



Miss World organizers say show will go on despite Indonesia protests

5 September 2013

Despite protests by Islamic hardliners against the Miss World beauty pageant in Indonesia, organizers of the international event insisted on Wednesday that the show will go on, Agence France-Presse reported.

More than 600 demonstrators took to the streets Wednesday in major cities on the islands of Java - Surabaya and Bandung, after a protest in the capital Jakarta this week against the 63rd Miss World pageant, which is set to take place in Nusa Dua, Bali and Sentul in West Java later this month.

On Thursday, the protests continued in Medan, the capital of the North Sumatra province, located on the northern coast, the Associated Press reported.

As many as 1,500 supporters of Muslimat Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (MHTI) descended on the streets of Medan, the country’s fourth largest city.

MHTI spokesperson Honriani Nasution said that his party has “sent a delegation to convey our opposition to the organization of the 2013 Miss World and other similar contests and urged the government to immediately implement Islamic law because, only under Islamic values are women honored deeply,” the Associated Press quoted him as saying.

Indonesia, which has the world’s largest Muslim population, will be the first country in Southeast Asia to host the beauty contest.

The protest continued despite Miss World organizers deciding in June to change the “bikini segment” into a sarong segment, in which beauty queen hopefuls will don traditional Balinese sarongs and blouses instead of swimwear.

The sarong is a long length of fabric wrapped around the waist.

Officials of the Miss World competition said the change was meant to highlight the fact that Miss World is not only about physical beauty, but also reflects the values of different cultures.



Kerala, an Indian State, Scuttling Education Prospects Of Muslim Women'

5 September 2013

The government is supporting fundamentalists of all religions who deny education to women, CPM state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan said here on Tuesday.

 He was inaugurating a seminar on ‘education of girls and marriageable age’ organised jointly by Vanitha Sahithi and Kerala University Students Union here.

 The government is moving in the opposite direction of women empowerment and is trying to impose interests which hinder the progress of women.

The number of Muslims holding higher posts in civil services or similar fields is low and in which the number of women is even lower.

The government, in spite of creating opportunity for education for Muslim women, is supporting the forces which take the society backward, the CPM leader said.

 ‘’Through the circular permitting registration of marriage of under-aged women, the government has actually destroyed the possibility of education for women in the community, in the guise of protecting them.

The community should realise this,’’ Pinarayi said.

 ‘’Fundamentalists have a clear agenda. The society should isolate them if it has to move on.

It is at a time of knowledge revolution that a seminar on such a topic is being held. It is not desirable for a progressive society like ours,’’ he said.  Writers K E N Kunhahammed, Khadeeja Mumtaz, former MP Sebastian Paul, Vanitha Sahithi state president Suja Susan George, among others spoke.



Botswana Women Win Landmark Right to Inherit Under Customary Law


5 September 2013

A Botswana court made history Tuesday by upholding the right of women to inherit under customary law and rejecting the tradition of males as sole heirs, according to a report in The Maravi Post.

In a case heard by the appeals court in the capital city of Gaborone, the issue was whether daughters can inherit family property under customary law that long has held only males had the right of inheritance.

Edith Mmusi, 80 years old, argued that since she lived in the ancestral family home, and she and her sisters had invested in improving it, she and her three sisters should inherit it.

Her claim was challenged by a nephew's assertion that, as the male heir, he should inherit the homestead, although he had never lived there, because his father had been given the home by a male relative.

The judges unanimously ruled in favour of the four sisters, rejecting a long history of customary law that favoured males in inheritance matters.

"The judgment today by the Court of Appeal made it clear that women are not second class citizens in Botswana," said Priti Patel, deputy director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which supported the sisters' case.

"Some people had feared that the Court of Appeal would set the fight for women's rights back yet again," said Patel. "But instead they ruled unanimously in favour of equality and against gender discrimination. It is a hugely important decision not only for Botswana but for women across southern Africa."

Justice Isaac Lesetedi, who wrote the court's decision, took note of the changes in society over the past 30 years in his opinion. He wrote that the "Constitutional values of equality before the law, and the increased leveling of the power structures with more and more women heading households and participating with men as equals in the public sphere and increasingly in the private sphere, demonstrate that there is no rational and justifiable basis for sticking to the narrow norms of days gone by when such norms go against current value systems."

In his concurring opinion, Chief Justice Ian Kirby also firmly rejected tradition that favoured only male heirs. He wrote that "any customary law or rule which discriminates in any case against a woman unfairly solely on the basis of her gender would not be in accordance with humanity, morality or natural justice. Nor would it be in accordance with the principles of justice, equity and good conscience."


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Read the original of this report on AlertNet Climate, the Thomson Reuters Foundation's daily news website on the human impacts of climate change.



Israeli Religious Schools Balk At Sex Education

5 September 2013

Israeli junior high school students attending state-run religious schools will no longer have sex education courses after the education ministry decided to allow textbooks to be censored.

A chapter in the science textbook dealing with reproduction, preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases is being taken out after requests from Orthodox Jewish teachers and principals.

“The religious community has a different world view than the secular community and we accept that,” Michal Tzadoki, a spokesman for the Education Ministry told The Media Line. “They asked that this chapter be moved to the high school textbook and we agreed to that.”

The decision could lead to new tensions between secular and religiously-observant Israelis who already disagree on issues under the control of the Orthodox Rabbinate such as marriage and divorce. Many secular Israelis say they resent the interference of the religious establishment in their personal lives.

There have also been tensions over army service. The vast majority of the ultra-Orthodox do not serve in the Israeli army, although members of what is called the “national religious” community are drafted. Regarding the new issue, the religious sector says they fulfill all of their obligations to the state, but prefer to delay sex education to a time when the students are more mature.

Feminist groups sharply attacked the ministry’s decision.

“This is completely ridiculous,” Israeli parliamentarian Michal Roisin, of the left-wing Meretz party, told The Media Line. “We need to know how our bodies work and the way children come into the world. The religious education [sector] fails to understand that children already know about this from the Internet and other places.”

The education ministry counters that sex education will be taught, but in 10th or 11th grade, rather than in 7th grade when students are not emotionally prepared.

Roisin, who ran Israel’s rape crisis hotline before becoming a member of the Knesset, says issues of sexual assault and rape cross religious boundaries.

“According to our research in Israel, one-in-three women will be sexually harassed; one-in-five will be raped; and one-out-of-six girls will become a victim of incest,” Rozin said. “These statistics are the same across the world and it doesn’t matter if the woman is wearing a bikini or a burka [Islamic head covering].”

Israel’s Education Ministry runs four streams of educational institutions – Arab, secular, state religious and ultra-Orthodox. According to their figures there are 1.7 million students in Israel from grades 1 through 12. Of those, about 25 percent are Arab citizens of Israel who have their own schools, 45 percent are secular, 15 percent are ultra-Orthodox who study a primarily religious curriculum without sex education and 12 percent are “state-religious,” meaning the school tries to combine religious and secular curricula. The textbook change applies only to this last group of students.

Those affected lead an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, meaning they rigidly observe the Sabbath and kosher laws. Pre-marital sex is forbidden; one reason that educators say there is no need for sex education in junior high school. Men and women tend to marry young, in their early 20’s, and sex education comes from religious educators who provide pre-marital counseling.

Women’s groups have protested the ministry’s decision to change the books, saying the decision will make women ashamed of their bodies.

"What is considered thoughtfulness towards religious and cultural feelings is regularly translated to an offensive act towards women,” Galit Deshe, the director of the Israel Women’s Network told The Media Line. “Being considerate of religious sentiments cannot result in harming other sectors in society. The perception that a woman's or little girl’s body symbolizes sin and must be erased is a concept that is not only hateful and hurtful towards women but also encourages physical and physiological harm towards all women.”

Knesset member Roisin sees the decision on textbooks as a further sign that the “national religious” community is becoming more extremist.

Many elementary schools now have separate classrooms for boys and girls. In the army, male soldiers have objected to female soldiers singing out loud and in some cases have walked out of performances for soldiers featuring female performers. Some Orthodox men say that a women’s voice can be sexually arousing.



Indian diarist Sushmita Banerjee shot dead in Afghanistan

5 September 2013

An Indian woman, who wrote a popular memoir about her escape from the Taliban, has been shot dead in Afghanistan by suspected militants, police say.

Sushmita Banerjee, who was married to an Afghan businessman, was killed outside her home in Paktika province.

The book about her dramatic escape in 1995 became a best-seller in India and was made into a Bollywood film in 2003.

Ms Banerjee had recently moved back to Afghanistan to live with her husband.

A senior police official told the BBC's Jafar Haand that Ms Banerjee, who was also known as Sayed Kamala, was working as a health worker in the province and had been filming the lives of local women as part of her work.

Police said Taliban militants arrived at her home in the provincial capital, Kharana, tied up her husband and other members of the family, took Ms Banerjee out and shot her. They dumped her body near a religious school, police added.

No group has yet said it carried out the attack.

'Taliban interrogation'

Ms Banerjee, 49, became well-known in India for her memoir, A Kabuliwala's Bengali Wife, which recounted her life in Afghanistan with her husband Jaanbaz Khan.and her escape.

She was the subject of the 2003 Bollywood film, Escape From Taliban. Starring actress Manisha Koirala, the film described itself as a "story of a woman who dares [the] Taliban".

Ms Banerjee also told her story in an article she wrote for Outlook magazine in 1998. She went to Afghanistan in 1989 after marrying Mr Khan, whom she met in Calcutta.

She wrote that "life was tolerable until the Taliban crackdown in 1993" when the militants ordered her to close a dispensary she was running from her house and "branded me a woman of poor morals".

She wrote that she escaped "sometime in early 1994", but her brothers-in-law tracked her down in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, where she had arrived to seek assistance from the Indian embassy. They took her back to Afghanistan.

"They promised to send me back to India. But they did not keep their promise. Instead, they kept me under house arrest and branded me an immoral woman. The Taliban threatened to teach me a lesson. I knew I had to escape," she wrote.

It was shortly after that, she wrote, that she tried to escape from her husband's home, three hours from the capital, Kabul.

"One night I made a tunnel through the mud walls of the house and fled. Close to Kabul I was arrested. A 15-member group of the Taliban interrogated me. Many of them said that since I had fled my husband's home I should be executed. However, I was able to convince them that since I was an Indian I had every right to go back to my country," Ms Banerjee wrote.

"The interrogation continued through the night. The next morning I was taken to the Indian embassy from where I was given a safe passage. Back in Calcutta I was re-united with my husband. I don't think he will ever be able to go back to his family."



Wedding crasher: curfew impacts Egyptians’ bridal plans

5 September 2013

Shounaz Mekky

Many Egyptian couples are having to cancel, delay or change their wedding and engagement party plans because of a curfew imposed in August due to their country’s political upheaval.

Eman Fouad, 25, had to cancel her wedding after security forces dispersed a month-long sit-in on Aug. 14, the day her wedding was scheduled.

“I wasn’t expecting the crackdown to happen on my wedding day,” Fouad told Al Arabiya English.

“I never thought it would end like that... that I wouldn’t have my wedding at all,” she added.

“I was wearing my wedding dress and had my makeup on, ready for my groom to pass by to take to me to the photo studio.”

Fouad was then told that a curfew had been imposed, barring people from leaving their homes after 7pm.

Worried that, guests would not be able to attend, and upon the recommendation of the ballroom organizers, she cancelled the wedding.

Summer is traditionally the peak time for wedding and engagement parties in Egypt.

The latest figures from Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics show that there were 933,400 marriages in 2012, compared with 898,000 in 2011.

However, a crackdown by authorities against the Muslim Brotherhood and protests held by its supporters has dragged the country into a state of emergency that is impacting the wedding season.

In many Egyptian cities, including Cairo, a curfew obliges people to remain at home from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Wedding ceremonies are usually held after 8 p.m. and extend throughout the night.

However, because this is not currently possible, some spouses-to-be are forced to schedule their parties during the day.

Eman Yousry, 25, told Al Arabiya English that because the curfew and protests have made shopping and booking venues difficult, she had “no choice” but to have her engagement party at home during daytime.

Yousry said the party had to start at 2 p.m. in order to enjoy enough time before the curfew.

However, even these posed problems, with caterers refusing to deliver food due to security fears, she added.

Business impact

Wedding planner Shereen Mokhtar said many of the parties she was scheduled to organize were postponed or held during daytime.

Venues were informing clients that ceremonies could only be held during the day, she added.

“Not all couples accept to do their wedding during daytime,” Mokhtar said, adding that many would prefer to delay the ceremony instead.

In one wedding, where the couple insisted on extending their party beyond curfew hours, Mokhtar said the hotel locked the attendees inside the hall and allowed them to stay until the next morning.

Photographer Aya Mahmoud said her business has been badly affected by the current situation, so she has coped by lowering her prices.

She recalled a bride who held her wedding on Aug. 14. “The bride was crying terribly as people couldn’t come to her party,” Mahmoud said.

“Some brides thought that what’s happening now is a bad omen,” she added.

Enjoyment despite politics

Since protests usually take place on Fridays, Mokhtar said couples now prefer to organize their parties on working days instead of weekends.

However, despite the political upheaval, people are willing to enjoy themselves, she added.



Afghans to build women's-only park

5 September 2013

SHEBERGHAN, Afghanistan – Construction has begun on a women's-only park in Sheberghan, capital of Jowzjan Province, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported September 3.

The internationally funded park will include such amenities as a swimming pool, a flower and vegetable garden, and a children's playground, RFE/RL reported.

"City authorities plan to build shops and restaurants staffed exclusively by women," the report added. "A spacious hall will be erected to hold concerts, gatherings and exhibitions of women's embroidery and other handicrafts."

Although the Taliban have little influence in Jowzjan Province, city authorities are building the park near provincial police headquarters and will post security guards to keep men out. It should be completed by the end of 2013.

Parks set aside for women, either all or part of the time, exist elsewhere in Afghanistan, including in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif and Jalalabad, RFE/RL reported.



New Turkish Laws Target Women Special

Lonna Lisa Williams

5 September 2013

Istanbul - Recent laws by the Turkish Prime Minister promote Islamist ideals that limit secular democracy and negatively affect women in Turkey.

Women in Turkey face big challenges. For hundreds of years they have struggled in a patriarchal Islamist society that makes them cover their bodies in veils, marry very young to older men they barely know, have many children and stay home without access to education or good jobs, endure religiously approved beatings from their husbands, and even face death by their own male family members if they behave in ways that bring "dishonour."

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern, secular democracy of Turkey, recognized this problem. He modernized and secularized the formerly entirely Islamic education system. He encouraged women to get a university education next to men and to wear the clothes they wanted (with or without head scarves). He provided more civilian and government jobs for women, and sought to protect them against violence.

Now Islamist Prime Minister Erdogan is seeking to return women to their centuries-old struggles by encouraging them to wear head scarves, leave school early, marry, stay home, and have many children with restricted access to abortions. He recently passed new education laws that mandate Islamic studies in public schools, allow parents to take their children out of school early to marry or work in the fields, and even segregate male and female university students by requiring them to ride different buses and eat at separate cafeterias, as Sol newspaper reported is happening in Trabzone, a city on Turkey's Black Sea where Erdogan has family ties.

Erdogan's newest ploy is to restrict access to secular public schools so that parents have no choice but to send their children to Islamic schools that require girls to wear head scarves. This exposes Erdogan's plan to eradicate secular democracy from Turkey and raise a new generation of Islamists. Erdogan also has shifted government funding from secular schools to religious schools and even builds mosques on university campuses.

On August 6, Environment and Urban Planning Minister Erdogan Bayraktar explained the ruling Ak Party's views on the matter.

"This is a Muslim country," he said. "Ninety-nine per cent of the population is Muslim. We have a structure [i.e. Turkish society] that comes from history. Due to Turkey's geographical placement, we don't have inventors. Therefore, we need to put our focus in raising strong, well-educated and mid-level technical workers."

This kind of retro thinking has enraged secularists.

"Erdogan wants us to go back a thousand years. Are we merely a nation that is good at raising sheep, keeping women out of public life, and not questioning anything?" one Turkish man inquired.

"I don't want my tax money building a mosque at a public university. They're building one at Akdeniz (Mediterranean) University right now, yet you can't find even one Christian club there. Erdogan acts as if the only history of Turkey is Ottoman. He forgets that we also have a long Christian and even Jewish heritage, and that some Turks actually don't follow Islam," a Turkish business owner pointed out.

"I don't want my daughter to be forced to study the Koran 40% of the time she sits at high school," another business owner stated. "And I certainly won't force her to wear a head scarf!"

"I want to study the subjects I'm interested in, like science," a teenage girl remarked. "I also want freedom to dress how I like, not bound by a veil."

"I just don't see the appeal of a woman all covered in a black veil with only her eyes showing," an American man living in Istanbul observed.

"Turkey discourages diversity," an American woman artist in Istanbul stated. "The current government wants everyone to believe the same thing and dress the same way, without questioning."

As an American English teacher and journalist living in Turkey for the past 2 1/2 years, I have personally observed how women can be treated. I have seen a man hit his wife while 2 police officers watched and made jokes about it. I have heard women screaming in my neighborhood while no one helped them, considering it a "family" or "mental" problem. I worked with a young woman whose brothers scarred her face because she was dressing in a Western style and dating men. She desperately wanted to get out of her repressive home, and although she had a low-paying job as a janitor, she believed that marrying a wealthy man would provide an escape.

My English students have told me stories about teenage girls from Eastern Turkey who ran away from their families to Istanbul, risking life on the streets rather than being forced into marriage with an older man their parents picked for them. Some students told me about Honor Killings, when women who engaged in premarital sex, became pregnant, or ran away were tracked down by their own male family members.

Amnesty International revealed that one-third of Turkish men believe it is acceptable to hit or beat a woman.

"Violence against women is increasing in Turkey," Amnesty International reported. "There are not enough women's shelters."

"A woman should be free to have her hair blow in the wind," an older Turkish man told me. "Hair is beautiful, and Turkish men should respect a woman's right to dress as she wants. She should also be free to get a modern education and a good-paying job. I'd like to see more women in our government."



Sierra Leone: Action Aid Commissions Report on Women's Right to Land


5 September 2013

Action Aid International Sierra Leone, with support from the European Union, has commissioned a report on women's right to property, a fundamental challenge of women in rural communities across Sierra Leone.

The report, which is entitled, "Enhancing Poor and Excluded Women Access to and Control Over Land', is a strategy for empowerment and fighting hunger among women in Sierra Leone by allowing them to get access to land for agriculture and other developmental purposes.

Giving an overview of the report, the Executive Director of Action Aid, Mohamed Sillah, said the overall object of the study was to review the general situation of women and the way in which their empowerment and development is being influenced by their right to land.

He said women's empowerment meant improving the standard and dignity of poor and excluded women to influence national policy, and designing a legal framework to promote and protect women's equal rights to land, adding that the study targeted women from different age groups and professions, including literate and illiterate, singles, widows, separated, married, divorced, single mothers, among others, in six districts.

"Data for the study were collected using multiple data collection tools, desk review - extensive literature review, interview and focus groups discussions, administering of questionnaires to 70 respondents - 58 of themwere interviewed and two focus group discussions were held, two case studies were generated mainly from HIV-positive women in each of the six districts," he said.

Sillah noted that there was no significant relationship between the level of income and the means by which women acquire land in rural communities in Sierra Leone.



Bradford Businesswoman to Speak At Women's Rights Conference

By Dolores Cowburn,

5th September 2013

A high-profile Bradford businesswoman will make a speech at a event by an organisation focusing on women’s human rights.

Adeeba Malik, deputy boss of Bradford-based charity QED-UK, will be at the prestigious 36th International Alliance of Women (IAW) congress.

The event will focus on the empowerment and development of women in the UK.

The IAW works to promote women's human rights around the world.

Delegates from more than 50 countries will be attending the congress in London from September 8 to 14.

Miss Malik will be speaking alongside Baroness Shreela Flather and Asma Jehangir, the prominent Pakistani human rights lawyer.

She said: “It’s a huge honour to be speaking alongside some of the most influential and inspiring women working in the fields of equality and human rights. My work at QED-UK and beyond is dedicated to improving the advancement of women and removing barriers to opportunity.

“Over the last 23 years QED-UK has done a huge amount of work to ensure women play a central part in British society. As well as my work at QED-UK, I’ve been involved with a range of national boards looking at issues around the role of women in this country, and putting recommendations to the government and various agencies.”

QED-UK focuses on the social and economic development of ethnic minorities in the UK, working with the public, private and voluntary sector to improve disadvantage.

Miss Malik has also led on ground-breaking training programmes delivered in Pakistan with Mirpur University, to help women before they enter the UK.

Previously a teacher in Bradford, she has dedicated her career to creating opportunity and is also a patron of the UK All Pakistan Women’s Association, and holds an MBE for services to ethnic minorities and businesses.



Specialised training for women’s bridge team begins

5 September 2013

KARACHI: A specialisd training programme for Pakistan women’s bridge team will commence here from Thursday in preparation for the upcoming Venice Cup — the World Bridge Championship.

Bridge expert Tahir Masood, who also led Pakistan in the Bermuda Bowl — World Championship Bridge Championship in the Netherlands in 2011, will provide training to the women’s team.

Nawab Yousuf Talpur, president of the Pakistan Bridge Federations has approved the partial expenses of the training costs.

The Mind Sports Association of Pakistan (MSAP) is providing the technical assistance and management for the week-long training programme.

Pakistan women’s bridge team created history by winning the 17th BFAME Women’s Bridge Championships in Ahmadabad, India a few months ago. Rubina Agha-led Pakistan women’s team won their maiden BFAME crown by beating favorites and hosts India by 94-53 International Match Points (IMPs) in the final.

By virtue of that victory, they qualified for the 41st edition of World Bridge Team Championships i.e. the 19th Venice Cup, scheduled to be held in Bali, Indonesia from Sept 16-29.

Besides Rubina Agha, the other players who will be taking the training programme include Zeenat Azwer, Roshan Ara Bokhari, Qudsia Doosa, Rubina Saeed Hai and Fatima Raza.—APP