New Age Islam News Bureau
3 March 2018
A panel of women's rights activists and global representatives gather at an event to commemorate SheDecides' first anniversary at Hotel Istana, Kuala Lumpur March 2, 2018. — Picture courtesy of Arrow
• UK Man Convicted Of Running over Muslim Woman in Hate Attack
• Major Efforts Required To Enhance Women’s Representation in Pakistan’s Civil Service
• One Out Of Five Women in Pakistan Is Part of Labour Force: UN Report
• Iran: Plundered Women Stage Protest in Rasht, Ahwaz
• Iran: Two Women, Nursing Students, Deprived Of Pursuing Education
• Solidarity among Women Political Prisoners In Iran
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Yes! SheDecides: Affirming women’s rights to their own body
March 2, 2018
KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — A group of stakeholders and global representatives came together today to express their support for SheDecides — a movement that promotes, provides, protects and enhances the fundamental rights of every girl and woman to freely decide about their sexual lives.
The discussion, organised in conjunction with SheDecides’ first anniversary, saw participations of regional non-profit group Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (Arrow) and representatives from Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Finland, among others.
In a statement, Arrow executive director and the SheDecides champion for Asia-Pacific Sivananthi Thanenthiran said the movement is critical to the region, citing the stigmatisation of abortion as one of the occurences.
She said although progressive legislations related to abortions exist in some countries, the stigma around the idea forces women to turn to risky procedures instead of seeking safe services.
The statement cited a Guttmacher Institute statistics which said that around 35.8 million abortions were performed annually in Asia between the years 2010 and 2014, but according to the United Nations, a staggering 2.3 million women are hospitalised each year due to complications of unsafe abortion.
“Every girl and every woman has the right to choose what she does with her body. Unfortunately millions of girls around the world and in our region are unable to do so.
“And that is why we need to come together, to stand up and speak out to say, ‘Yes! SheDecides’. Sexual and reproductive rights are integral to individual autonomy, to freely decide on matters of sexuality and reproduction, to have the right to consent and bodily integrity,” she said.
The Belgium ambassador to Malaysia HE Daniel Dargent said his government has fully supported this initiative from the very start and will continue to support it.
”SheDecides has helped a lot, not in the least with the financial support for sexual and reproductive health it has generated. But more will be needed in the coming years.
“Therefore we have to continue our efforts for SheDecides to enable more girls and women to make their own important choices on their health and on their future,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the designated ambassador of the Netherlands to Malaysia HE Karin Mössenlechner said her government supports the movement as it wishes to see girls and women across the globe being given the same rights as boys and men.
“Norms and values, laws, codes and habits are preventing many women from being who they can be, from being the masters of their own fate and their own bodies. This needs to change,” she said.
The Finnish Ambassador based in Malaysia HE Petri Puhakka echoed the same sentiment, adding: “SheDecides needs and deserves the time and commitment of all of us.”
The event at Hotel Istana today also featured a photo exhibition of young girls and women impacted by climate change, polygamy, patriarchy and child marriage in Asia-Pacific.
Fatima Parvin, one of the courageous women featured in the photo exhibition, is a child bride from Bangladesh who took the opportunity to share her story during the event.
“When I was just 13 years old, my father married me off due to his insecurities. A year later, I had a son and my studies were stopped. I was keen to get an education. I went through the dilemma of whether to continue studying or stay in my family.
“I even tried to commit suicide but luckily was saved. Then the doctor motivated me to live because life was too valuable to waste on anyone. After that incident, I bounced back and in 2012, I started to study again. Today, I am a student of law,” Fatima was quoted as saying.
A world café methodology discussion was also organised on topics including Child, Early and Forced Marriage, access to Safe Abortion, Comprehensive Sexuality Education access to contraception and non-discrimination and violence.
Issues like prevalence of gender-based violence, child marriage, Malaysia’s recent review at Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, challenges advocating on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression rights and accessing safe abortion services were also brought to light.
UK man convicted of running over Muslim woman in hate attack
March 2, 2018
London, Mar 2 (AP) A British man has been convicted of attempted murder for running over a Muslim woman in a hate crime he saw as revenge for Islamic extremist attacks.
A jury today found Paul Moore guilty of the September 20 attack, which left 47-year-old Zaynab Hussein with life-changing injuries.
Prosecutors say 21-year-old Moore drove his Volkswagen into Hussein in the central England city of Leicester, then ran her over as she lay on the ground. Hussein suffered fractures to her pelvis, her spine and leg.
Minutes later, Moore tried to drive into a 12-year-old schoolgirl, who wasn’t hurt.
After the verdict, Hussein’s husband said Moore “wasn’t attacking terrorists. He was joining their ranks by doing what they do and attacking an innocent woman.” Moore will be sentenced at a later date. (AP) CPS 02032154
Major efforts required to enhance women’s representation in Pakistan’s civil service
March 3, 2018
ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) jointly released a study of women’s representation and access to decision-making roles in the civil service under UNDP’s global Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) initiative at a launch event on Friday.
The case study launch event was attended by the UN Resident Coordinator Neil Buhne, UNDP
Deputy Country Director Naoko Takasu, UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Kazi, National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) Chairman Khawar Mumtaz, Federal Judicial Academy Director Programmes Huma Chughtai and Bureau of Statistics Director Rabia Awan and featured a panel discussion titled “Addressing impediments to promote gender equality in public administration”.
The study found that societal barriers remain hurdles in women’s representation and advancement in the civil service. The recommendations of the study would support the government and its development partners to develop evidence-based programming to address barriers to gender equality in public administration.
It found that while civil service promotions were based on years in service, gender stereotyping and social norms affected civil service postings and women were concentrated at entry-level positions. It also found that women in Pakistan faced entrenched societal attitudes and a multi-faceted approach that accounted for socioeconomic realities must be devised to increase women’s access to decision-making positions in public administration.
“It is commendable that women’s labour force participation in Pakistan has increased by 50% in the past 15 years. However, only one in four women currently participates in the labour force, meaning that there is a vast treasure trove of talent unutilised. As one of the largest wage employers in the country, the public sector is an important entry point for women.
Enhancing women’s role in leadership and decision-making will thus have an immense impact on gender equality and on Pakistan’s successful achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG),” said UNDP Pakistan Deputy Country Director Naoko Takasu.
“In taking forward the Beijing platform of action, Pakistan is committed to achieving 30 percent representation of women in leadership positions. This case study shows that to achieve meaningful representation of women at all levels of decision-making requires concentrated action that acknowledges and addresses the barriers they face,” said UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Kazi.
To enhance women’s access to decision-making in public administration, the case study recommended the development of a strong evidence base on women’s representation in the civil service using systematic real-time reporting to inform future policy decisions, capacity building to achieve gender mainstreaming in government institutions through gender-responsive budgeting, and the establishment of a supportive environment for women in the civil service by fostering women’s networks and South-South engagement. The Gender Equality in Public Administration Pakistan Case Study 2017 was one of the 15 in-depth case studies conducted around the world with UNDP support. The Pakistan case study was conducted using a new methodology developed in collaboration with the OECD and explored the development of women’s representation and access to decision-making roles in the civil service, surveyed women’s perceptions of barriers and opportunities, and proposed policy and programmatic interventions.
One out of five women in Pakistan is part of labour force: UN report
March 03, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Stating that societal barriers remain to women’s representation and advancement in the civil service, a new study released by the United Nations on Friday asked the government to develop evidence-based programming to address barriers to gender equality in public administration.
The Pakistan case study on ‘Gender Equality in Public Administration’ jointly released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) found that women in Pakistan face entrenched societal attitudes and suggested that a multi-faceted approach that accounts for socio-economic realities must be devised to increase women’s access to decision-making positions in public administration.
A second key finding of the study says that designing and implementing policies for increasing women’s access to decision-making positions in the Pakistan public administration require a multi-faceted approach looking at the socioeconomic realities of women’s lives.
The case study, carried out under UNDP’s global Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) initiative, recommended that engagement with parliament was required for meaningful dialogue on the translation of the benefits of increased induction into the civil services to society at large, and even before that, to the so-called ex-cadre recruitment.
With the dissolution of the women development ministry, there was no longer a standing committee on women development of parliament, alternatives and means of reengagement, therefore, have to be explored, the study recommends.
According to the study, the role of women in decision making in public administration can benefit women, at large, when there is a well-defined ‘Gender Equality Agenda’ articulated and committed to by the government. This provides these women an opportunity to expand their influence to empower women in Pakistan in a more direct manner.
Pakistan needs to translate the change in office space into change in the larger public space, with more women in the street. There is a need for continued engagement at the societal level to change attitudes, specifically those of men, the study emphasises.
Within the civil services, there can be an effort to introduce women’s networks within public service to promote mentoring opportunities for young women and sharing of experiences. Pakistan is uniquely poised to share its experience of an increased critical mass necessary to form the base on which to structure equal participation of women in decision making in public administration. These experiences can very well be shared beyond Pakistan as part of South-South cooperation.
The study notes that the baseline for gender equality in the labour force leaves significant room for improvement. While women’s labour force participation in Pakistan has increased by more than 50 per cent over the past 15 years, only one out of every five women participates in the labour force.
However, one interesting development is that Pakistan has reached parity between women and men at the tertiary education level which is very relevant to this study given admission to the civil service requires a bachelor’s degree.
Iran: Plundered women stage protest in Rasht, Ahwaz
02 March 2018
Plundered women staged a protest Wednesday, February 28, 2018, outside Caspian financial institute’s branch in Rasht, northern Iran.
Protesters pelted eggs and splashed paint at the building belonging to the fraudulent firm.
Security forces arrested three of the protesters.
The day before, nine of the protesters were summoned to court for splashing paint at the branch’s building and one of the protesting women was held in custody for several hours.
On the same day, plundered women and men cheated by Vahdat financial institute also staged a protest in Ahwaz, capital of the southwestern province of Khuzistan. The majority of protesters were women. They had gathered outside the Vahdat institute’s branch in Melal Ave. and protested against thievery and plunder of their savings by the IRGC-backed institute.
Iran: Two women, nursing students, deprived of pursuing education
02 March 2018
Five nursing students, including two young women, have been deprived of continuing their education for one year at the Medical School of Tehran’s Melli University (aka Beheshti.
The secretary of the student Central Council at the Medical School of Beheshti University announced on February 28, 2018, that five students had been deprived of education. Four students were deprived for one year, and himself, for two years.
He added, “On July 10, 2017, we held a gathering in protest to an ‘illogical increase in the number of nursing student admission’ under the previous management. I was deprived of education as the students’ representative and four others have been identified as sponsors of the protest from pictures taken from the event. Presently, we have objected to the primary ruling of the university and demanded revision. Our case is going to be examined by the Revision Council, but we do not know when it will convene.” (The state-run ILNA news agency – February 28, 2018)
Solidarity among women political prisoners in Iran
March 2, 2018
Kurdish political prisoner Zeinab Jalalian who has been imprisoned for life in the Prison of Khoy, in northwestern Iran, sent out a letter to political prisoners Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee who have been banished from Evin Prison to the notorious Qarchak Prison in Varamin.
She thanked them for their letter and urged human rights organizations to take action to free all political prisoners. Her letter reads:
Hail to the free people in chains,
I am the cry of freedom coming from behind the prison’s thick walls and cold bars.
I send my best salutations to you, incarcerated freedom-lovers.
My dear comrades, Golrokh and Atena, and everyone who has remembered me. I hear you well from behind the walls. This is the Heaven’s best music. Your voice reminds of my country’s mountains standing tall and proud. (Your support) has been the most valuable gift to me during my ten years in prison.
As a poem says, “My cry did not remain without an answer, your good heart is the response to my outcry.”
My dear friends and comrades, when I was told that you are behind prison bars, my heart was broken. After a long time, I heard that you have not forgotten me and you have written to me despite all the pain, violence and hardships inflicted on you in prison.
I am truly grateful to you and I hope that with my efforts and resistance I can return all your love and kindness.
I promise you to struggle until my last drop of blood. I will struggle so that I could be worthy of you and everyone else who have remembered me in the most difficult conditions.
You are in prison for a crime you have not committed. Contrary to what they think that crying for freedom is a crime, I think it is the most beautiful and glorious charge.
Wishing for a day when no freedom lover is in prison.
In conclusion, I urge all human rights organizations to do their utmost efforts to free those who are incarcerated in the Iranian regime’s prisons for demanding freedom and equality, so that these dear ones would not spend their youth behind prison bars.
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