New Age Islam
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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 8 March 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Half of Girls in S. Sudan Forced To Marry, Sold Like Cattle to Enrich Their Families

 

 

 

Photo: Despite restrictions, expatriate women in the kingdom strive to look for employment to help their spouses support their family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle Obama Honours Delhi Gang Rape Victim with US Courage Award

Desperate, some fleeing Syria turn to prostitution

Tunisia's Female Artists Fear Islamist Repression

Number of Women Rising In Bangladesh Police Force

Female Saudi Students in US Learn To Drive To Get Around

Unsolved Murder, Committed 13 Months Ago, Highlights Plight of Afghan Women

Boosting Women’s Presence at Workplace in Indonesia

The Glass Ceiling For Women in Israeli Politics

A Govt Women’s College in Bangladesh Limps for Want of Teachers, Classrooms

Expat Wives Work to Make Ends Meet in Saudi Kingdom

'Cargo Women' Living Under Heavy Burden of Exploitation

Meet Gritty Woman Who Helped Make Rape a War Crime

‘It’s Not Just the Injuries from the Blast That Leave a Scar on Women’

Women Pedal for ‘Girl Power’ In Pakistan

‘Journey of Decade through Violence against Women’

Women Urged To Strive To Establish Themselves

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/half-of-girls-in-s-sudan-forced-to-marry,-sold-like-cattle-to-enrich-their-families/d/10709

 

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Half of Girls in S. Sudan Forced To Marry, Sold Like Cattle to Enrich Their Families

 9 March 2013

JUBA, South Sudan: The 17-year-old beaten to death for refusing to marry a man old enough to be her grandfather. The teen dragged by her family to be raped to force her into marrying an elderly man. They are among 39,000 girls forced into marriage every day around the world, sold like cattle to enrich their families.

More than one-third of all girls are married in 42 countries, according to the UN Population Fund, referring to females under the age of 18. The highest number of cases occurs in some of the poorest countries, the agency figures show, with the West African nation of Niger at the bottom of the list with 75 percent of girls married before they turn 18. In Bangladesh the figure is 66 percent and in Central African Republic and Chad it is 68 percent.

Most child marriages take place in South Asia and rural sub-Saharan Africa, according to the population fund. In terms of absolute numbers, India, because of its large population, has the most child marriages with child brides in 47 percent of all marriages. Government statistics in South Sudan show half the girls there aged 15 to 19 are married, with some brides as young as 12 years old.

“The country’s widespread child marriage exacerbates South Sudan’s pronounced gender gaps in school enrolment, contributes to soaring maternal mortality rates, and violates the right of girls to be free from violence,” says a Human Rights Watch report published yesterday to mark International Women’s Day.

http://www.arabnews.com/middle-east/half-girls-s-sudan-forced-marry

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Michelle Obama Honours Delhi Gang Rape Victim with US Courage Award

 Mar 09 2013

Washington: Known to India and the world as 'Nirbhaya' (Fearless), the 23-year-old physiotherapy intern, whose brutal gang rape on a moving bus in Delhi in December inspired widespread protests, has been posthumously presented with the International Women of Courage Award.

"Her bravery inspired millions of women and men to come together with a simple message: No more. No more looking the other way when gender-based violence happens. No more stigma against victims or survivors," the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said at a State Department function held yesterday to honour women from across the globe with the prestigious International Women of Courage Award.

The award was presented to the brave young girl posthumously. None of her family members were present on the occasion. The Indian Ambassador to the US, Nirupama Rao was present at the award ceremony in which eight others were presented with the award.

In a rare gesture, Kerry asked the jam packed auditorium to stand and join him in a moment of silence for 'Nirbhaya', whom he described as "brave, big heart and fearless".

"Nirbhaya's fight survives her. For inspiring people to work together to end violence against women in India and around the world by displaying immense courage in demanding justice, and with great sadness, we honour Nirbhaya as a woman of exceptional courage, and we honour her posthumously," the Secretary of State said at the function presided over by the US First Lady, Michelle Obama.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/michelle-obama-honours-delhi-gangrape-victim-with-us-courage-award/1085539/

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Desperate, some fleeing Syria turn to prostitution

AP | Mar 9, 2013

ZAATARI, Jordan: Walk among the plastic tents in one corner of this sprawling, dust-swept desert camp packed with Syrian refugees, and a young woman in a white headscarf signals.

"Come in, you'll have a good time," suggests Nada, 19, who escaped from the southern border town of Daraa into Jordan several months ago. Her father, sporting a salt-and-pepper beard and a traditional red-checkered headscarf, sits outside under the scorching sun, watching silently.

Nada prices her body at $7, negotiable. She says she averages $70 a day.

Several tents away, a clean-shaven, tattooed young Syrian man, who says he was a barber back in the city of Idlib, offers his wife. "You can have her all day for $70," he promises. He says he never imagined he would be selling his own wife, but he needs to send money back to his parents and in-laws in Syria, about $200 a month.

As the flow of Syrian refugees into neighboring Jordan is sharply increasing, so is their desperation. With Syria torn apart by civil war and its economy deeply damaged, the total number of people who have fled and are seeking aid has now passed a million, the United Nations said this week. More than 418,000 of the refugees are in Jordan, which recorded about 50,000 new arrivals in February alone, the highest influx to date.

Scores of the Syrian women who escaped to Jordan are turning to prostitution, some forced or sold into it, even by their families. Some women refugees are highly vulnerable to exploitation by pimps or traffickers, particularly since a significant number fled without their husbands, sometimes with their children, and have little or no source of income.

Eleven Syrian prostitutes who talked to the AP in the refugee camp, a border town and three Jordanian cities asked to remain anonymous, citing shame and fear of prosecution by police in Jordan. Prostitution in Jordan is illegal and punishable by up to three years in jail, and foreign women and men found guilty can be deported.

The majority of the 11 women say they turned to prostitution out of a desperate need for money.

It's impossible to pin down how many Syrian refugees are now working as prostitutes in Jordan, but their presence is inescapable. Syrian women outnumbered those from any other country in several brothels, and in a couple of cases, virtually all the prostitutes were Syrian. Pimps say they have more women who are Syrian than of other nationalities.

The influx of Syrian women has been noticed by the competition: A 37-year-old Jordanian woman running a chain of at least seven brothels in northern Jordan complained that they were taking over the business.

"Men have been asking for Syrian women because they like the blond and light-skinned among them, and the chances that they may create problems, like blackmailing married Jordanian men, are almost nonexistent," she says. "My policy has been, you either befriend them so that they'd work with you, or get rid of them by tipping police about them."

Jordanian police also say dozens of Syrian women now work in prostitution. On one day last month they arrested 11 women, eight of them Syrian, at a coffee shop in Irbid for alleged "indecent public behavior."

Despite strong traditions against sex outside marriage, prostitution takes place in the Arab world, as in other regions, though it is largely more hidden. While there may be known cruising areas in cities, overt red-light districts are rare, and some prostitutes even wear face veils to hide their activities. Arrangements can be made by phone, and short-term or informal marriages are sometimes used as a cover for prostitution or sex trafficking.

Particularly sensitive are the charges of prostitution within the Zaatari camp, housing some 120,000 refugees, which is funded by the U.N. and hosted by Jordan, a largely conservative Muslim nation. The camp gives refugees tents or pre-fab shelters and rationed supplies of staple foods, but conditions in the desert are bleak and aid money is running short.

"We have seen no evidence of prostitution in the camp, but we have heard rumors of it," said Andrew Harper, chief of the U.N. refugee commission in Jordan. "Given the vulnerability of women, the camp's growing population and the lack of resources, I'm not surprised that some may opt for such actions."

Residents at the camp complain that the unlit toilets become brothels at night, and aid workers say dozens of babies are born without documentation for their fathers, possibly because of prostitution. Mohammed Abu Zureiq, 50, a camp janitor from Daraa, says along with prostitution, some women at the camp are sold outright.

"My neighbor sold his daughter for $2,000 to a Saudi man his age," he says.

Jordanian police guard the gates but seldom patrol inside, so there is little risk for prostitutes and clients, sometimes other refugees. It is not clear whether the police themselves patronize the prostitutes or arrange for meetings outside the camp, and about 300 refugees rioted two weeks ago over rumors that Jordanian guards had sexually harassed women refugees. Jordanian police did not respond to written and verbal AP requests for comment.

Ghassan Jamous, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army in northern Jordan, acknowledges there is prostitution at the camp, as in any city with a large population, but says it is not widespread. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the belief still runs strong that prostitution is a woman's choice, even under dire circumstances.

"I insist that the Syrian women in Zaatari and elsewhere are practicing prostitution because they like it or got used to it, not for money, or for the sake of their poor families," Jamous says.

Sammar, a 24-year-old from the Syrian capital of Damascus, tells a different story.

She was laid off from her work at a clothing shop because of dwindling business, she says, and came to Jordan looking for better opportunities. But she could not find what she calls "a decent job" as a telephone operator, hotel receptionist or waitress.

Now she walks a main city boulevard in the northern Jordanian city of Irbid at sunset with four other Syrian girls to pick up men. The clientele ranges from teenagers on foot to older men in elegant sedans, some with Saudi or other Gulf Arab license plates, who circle the girls before moving in.

"It's a dangerous business. I'm risking my life, but what can I do?" laments Sammar, a green-eyed brunette in tight leather pants, a slim white shirt and fake silver jewelry. "My parents are sick and can't work. I'm the oldest among their seven children and I have to work to send them money back in Syria."

Around half of Syrians may now live in poverty, compared with 11.9 percent recorded in recent years, according to the Brookings Institution. The price of food has shot up 60 percent in the past year. Meanwhile, farming plummeted by 80 percent last year because of the fighting, especially in southern farmland bordering Jordan, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics.

Among the casualties is an 18-year-old native of Homs, Syria, who arrived in Zaatari camp last summer. Soon after, her father married her for $1,000 to a 22-year-old Jordanian man who frequently visited the camp. The husband then handed her over to a brothel in Irbid, where she is among 20 women pimped out by a man who calls himself Faroun, Arabic for Pharaoh.

Her parents went back to Syria in January, leaving her alone in Jordan.

"Now I have nobody to turn to," says the tiny, soft-spoken young woman, no more than a girl, who looks away without answering when asked about prostitution. The AP does not name victims of sexual abuse.

Her husband, who identifies himself as Ali, acknowledges cheerfully that he forces her to have sex with him and with others, for money.

"I've got nothing to lose," he says, smiling. "I will eventually divorce her and she'll end up going home."

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/Desperate-some-fleeing-Syria-turn-to-prostitution/articleshow/18873448.cms

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Tunisia's Female Artists Fear Islamist Repression

Jamie Dettmer

March 08, 2013

TUNIS — Tunisia was the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings. But on this International Women's Day, some Tunisian female artists say they feel less free than under the old regime.

Tunisia has long been considered one of the most secular nations in the Arab region. But women artists fear their North African country may succumb to hardline Muslim pressure and ban art deemed un-Islamic.

Muslim hardliners, known as Salafists, have fanned those fears. In recent months, they have protested against exhibitions and performances they say violate Islamic principles, forcing more than a dozen artistic events to be cancelled.

But secular artists have no intention of giving ground, says painter Fayza M’Rabet, who last week mounted an exhibition in central Tunis featuring semi-abstract depictions of the nude female form. “It is the right moment to draw these nude women. It is dangerous. It is an engagement," said M’Rabet. "Engagement art.”

The role of Islam in government and society has emerged as a divisive issue in Tunisia as it struggles to find its way in the wake of the popular uprising that toppled secular strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The country’s ruling Islamist party, Ennadha, which dominates the constituent assembly, says a balance needs to be struck between freedom of expression and protecting religious beliefs.

Painter M’Rabet is undeterred by the argument. “We are in a revolution so we must show who we are, we are women and we are proud to be women and we must show our bodies without any restrictions. This is our revolution,” she stated.

Secular artists believe that Ennahda is linked with Salifists who have been agitating against art exhibitions and plays.

But party spokesmen deny this.  They say some artists are being purposefully provocative and they want a provision in a future constitution that would make it a criminal offense to insult religious beliefs.

Artist Mona Lakdhar says she hasn’t felt direct pressure when it comes to her art and also doesn’t feel she is engaged in a subversive act. She’s an engraver and scores evocative outlines of naked women on wood. “I think that’s it not yet a political act because we used to paint women and it was not a problem. We are not afraid. We are not saying it is a political, not yet,” she noted.

But she says she can’t ignore the acrimonious political debates beyond her studio and they are affecting her work. “I am influenced because when I work I work in the studio alone, I do my work, but with the revolution I can say the street came in my studio and pushed me to do engraving on wood of women who are screaming,,” Lakdhar explained.

Islamist leaders say Tunisia’s religious identity was denied under ousted autocrat Ben Ali and that now to be corrected. But secular women artists say they have an identity, too, and it shouldn’t be denied either.

http://www.voanews.com/content/tunisia-female-artist-fear-islamist-repression/1617944.html

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Number of Women Rising In Bangladesh Police Force

M RAHMAN

 March 9, 2013

Bangladesh Police is getting an increasing number of female members since it started recruiting women in 1974 and the country has won the honour of becoming the first Muslim majority nation in the world to send an all-women contingent on a UN peace mission.

The force first inducted 714 women as constables and sub-inspectors. Today the figure is way above 5,000, including some 200 female officers in cadre posts, when the total number of members in Bangladesh Police stands at 1.51 lakh.

Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Mili Biswas said she joined in the force’s cadre post in 1988 when the proportion of female police was below one percent. Now it is around four percent, she told The Daily Star.

She said Bangladesh Police started recruiting women in the cadre posts in 1986. DIG Fatema Begum is the first officer cadre, and she is also the first female police to have served in the UN peace keeping mission, Mili added.

On May 16, 2010, Bangladesh sent its first all-female police contingent of 160 women personnel on the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, headed by Additional Police Commissioner Begum Rokfar. Women police are not only proving their worth but also are getting rewarded internationally for their outstanding performances.

Additional Deputy Police Commissioner (ADC) Abida Sultana of Dhaka Metropolitan Police was rewarded International Scholarship and Recognition Award-2012 by International Association of Women Police for her outstanding performance in that year.

DIG Fatema Begum said women personnel were working competently in almost all units alongside male colleagues though the existing infrastructure was not favourable for women to a great extent. For example, she said; in most places women personnel face the problems of washrooms and transports.

Referring to the present anarchic situation, she said women personnel were being deployed in containing violence on streets side by side with males, and they were performing their duties with competence.

However, several high female police officials said though now over 5,000 women police were working in the force, most of them were being posted in metropolitan areas as infrastructures in police stations outside the metropolitans were hardly suitable for women police.

They also said they had formed Bangladesh Police Women Network to look after the problems the female members faced in their jobs.

DIG Fatema Begum said they considered them to be police personnel first and then women so that they could discharge their duties equally with their male counterparts.

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/number-of-women-rising-in-police-force/

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Female Saudi students in US learn to drive to get around

9 March 2013

The issue of Saudi women driving surfaced again following revelations by the president of the Saudi Students’ Club in Flint, Michigan, that they have contacted a US company to teach Saudi female students to learn how to drive.

Abdul Rahman Khalaf Al-Shammari said his club decided to teach female students to solve their transportation problem, adding that they have spent a lot of money on taxis.

“We have set some conditions for training Saudi female students. The company should appoint only women to train our girls,” Al-Shammari said, adding that Saudi girls wanted to safeguard their customs and traditions.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/female-saudi-students-us-learn-drive-get-around

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Unsolved Murder, Committed 13 Months Ago, Highlights Plight of Afghan Women

 March 9, 2013

Shakila was murdered, shot in the back 13 months ago in the house where she worked as a maid for a wealthy local leader in one of the most progressive provinces of Afghanistan.

Her murderer has never been arrested, and her family’s search for justice has laid bare the complex web of grinding poverty, attitudes towards women and a culture of immunity that plagues much of the country’s legal system.

As International Women’s Day was marked on Friday, campaigners say that progress in Afghanistan is slow even after billions of dollars of Western aid and some advances since the 2001 fall of the hardline Taliban regime.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\09\story_9-3-2013_pg14_7

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Boosting Women’s Presence at Workplace in Indonesia

Theresa W. Devasahayam

March 08 2013

March 8 will see the world celebrating International Women’s Day. There are many reasons to celebrate women and girls’ achievements. One obvious achievement we can boast about is that the gender gap in education has reversed in many parts of the world as, now, girls rather than boys are more likely to enter college and graduate.

While this is clearly progress for women, since receiving an education signals empowerment as it puts women on an equal footing with men in enabling them to seek salaried work, gender equality in education has so far failed to be translated into gender equality in the workplace. In fact, women continue to face persistent obstacles in the workplace because this domain remains largely male-dominated.

Full report at:

http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2013/03/08/boosting-women-s-presence-workplace.html

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The Glass Ceiling For Women in Israeli Politics

 March 9, 2013

Israel is usually described as a Western democracy. It is true in most areas, especially when the country is compared to its neighbors and the Middle East in general. Israeli democracy is vibrant and alive. It has a free press (even if it happens to be subject to attacks by the prime minister) and lively individual and human rights organizations. The political arena is in a state of constant turmoil, with parties rising and disintegrating. In fact, the Israeli electorate often surprises itself. Any time you have three Jews, you will always have four opinions at least. It’s a well-known phenomenon, so it should come as no surprise that this happens in Israeli politics too. All in all, what we have is a real celebration of democracy.

Full report at:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/03/the-glass-ceiling-for-women-in-israeli-politics.html#ixzz2N2ILlHRo

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A Govt Women’s College in Bangladesh Limps for Want of Teachers, Classrooms

 March 9, 2013

Lalmonirhat Mojida Khatun Government Women’s College has been facing serious shortage of teachers, classrooms and other facilities, hampering education of over 1500 students.

College sources said, at least 15 posts of teachers have been lying vacant for long. The college is now running with only 19 teachers and eight classrooms.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/a-govt-womens-college-limps-for-want-of-teachers-classrooms/

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Expat Wives Work to Make Ends Meet in Saudi Kingdom

 8 March 2013

Expat wives say they have no choice but to work to send money back to their native countries or simply to survive in the Kingdom. This comes in response to an official warning from the Ministry of Labour telling expatriates not to allow their wives to work in the private sector.

“I have been working as a teacher’s assistant at an international school in Jeddah for the past five months to earn extra money since food, rent and other expenses have been increasing in the Kingdom. We usually live on my husband’s salary of SR 2,000 per month and save my salary or send it back home,” Cherie, a Filipino housewife, told Arab News.

Full report at:

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/expat-wives-work-make-ends-meet

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'Cargo Women' Living Under Heavy Burden of Exploitation

 March 9, 2013

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: The female porters lugging loads between a Spanish enclave and Morocco know little of International Women’s Day

If Safia Azizi hadn’t been queuing at 7.20am by the narrow blue turnstiles on the border between the Spanish town of Melilla and Morocco, it might not have happened. But she was.

Usually, this is the time when the Moroccan police open the barrier to the hundreds of women, most of them elderly, who cross the border daily to the Spanish North African enclave sandwiched between Morocco and the Mediterranean, to load their cargo.

Full report at:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2013/0308/1224330911742.html

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Meet Gritty Woman Who Helped Make Rape a War Crime

 March 08, 2013

There were days when she prayed for a bullet to end her suffering. When she thought she was dying of a heart attack, she whispered “Thank you God.”

A young judge, Nusreta Sivac was one of 37 women raped by guards at a concentration camp in Bosnia. She also witnessed murder and torture by Bosnian Serb guards — and was forced to clean blood from walls of the interrogation room.

Full report at:

http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/europe/Meet-gritty-woman-who-helped-make-rape-a-war-crime/Article1-1023474.aspx

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‘It’s Not Just the Injuries from the Blast That Leave a Scar on Women’

 March 9, 2013

KARACHI: Human rights activists believe that when terrorists strike, women are hit twice – once by the explosion and the second time by the loss of breadwinners they depend on.

This point was discussed at an International Women’s Day seminar organised on Friday at the Arts Council by a number of organisations, including Aurat Foundation, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) and Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research.

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/517987/building-women-building-peace-its-not-just-the-injuries-from-the-blast-that-leave-a-scar/

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Women pedal for ‘girl power’ in Pakistan

 March 9, 2013

ISLAMABAD: A group of determined women took to bikes on Friday, riding through the Pakistani capital to highlight their rights and love of exercise in a culture that often treats them as second-class citizens. Some wearing helmets, others in headscarfs, dressed in jeans or in the loose dresses traditional in Pakistan, the group navigated the leafy streets with colourful balloons tied to their handlebars, past baffled police and security guards. To mark International Women’s Day in a country where women are rarely seen on a bike, they set out from Kohsar market, a collection of upmarket coffee shops, to the city’s landmark Faisal Mosque set in the Margalla Hills. “The point is that women have the right to ride a bicyle. We are just having girl power here,” said charity worker Masoora Ali, 30. “I remember when I was little I used to ride a bicyle quite openly but... when I was growing up and I was at school or college I was told not to do it publicly because it is not acceptable in society,” she added.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\09\story_9-3-2013_pg7_9

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‘Journey of decade through violence against women’

 March 9, 2013

RAWALPINDI: To commemorate the International Women’s Day, the Fatima Jinnah Women University on Friday organised a seminar titled ‘Journey of decade through violence against women’. Students and faculty members from almost all the departments attended the event. In her welcome note, Dr Iftikharun Nisa Hassan – a social sciences research consultant at the Karakoram International University –highlighted the history and significance of Women’s Day and resilience among women.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\09\story_9-3-2013_pg11_2

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Women Urged To Strive To Establish Themselves

 March 9, 2013

LAHORE: It is important for women to strive hard to establish themselves in society, and a long struggle is needed to get complete rights for women, Justice Ayesha A Malik of the Lahore High Court said on Friday. She was addressing the participants of a seminar titled ‘Protection of Women Rights through Process of Law’ at the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) eve International Women’s Day. “While celebrating this day, we should recognise the struggle and acknowledge the achievements of women.” Justice Ayesha said that a female in society had to face many difficulties on a daily basis; she is confronted with situations, which call for attention. She said that the journey for the attainment and protection of woman’s right was far from being achieved. “I will say that the legislative arena has put less supporting mechanism in place.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\03\09\story_9-3-2013_pg13_2

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/half-of-girls-in-s-sudan-forced-to-marry,-sold-like-cattle-to-enrich-their-families/d/10709

 

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