New Age Islam
Sat Jul 20 2024, 11:50 AM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 2 Aug 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Burqa Ban, Face Mask Laws Frustrate Dutch Muslims

New Age Islam News Bureau

2 Aug 2020

• Breaking Through the Patriarchy: Women Calling the Shots in Family Business

• Women Police Squads to Patrol Noida, Uttar Pradesh, On Scooters

• How I Celebrate Eid As A ‘Muslim-Ish’ Woman from Kazakhstan

• Chandigarh Women Make A Special 7-Feet Eco-Friendly Rakhi For Lord Hanuman's Statue

• Free Bus Travel for Women in UP on Raksha Bandhan

• The Women Who Overcame Radio’s Earliest Glass Ceilings

• Women’s IPL Will Take Place In UAE And We Have A Plan For The National Team Also: Sourav Ganguly

• Women’s Month: Four South African Women Who Have Won Olympic Gold

• Nigerian Laws Need Amendment To Help Women In Business — Kehinde-Peters

• Pakistani Family Creates Foundation Honouring Daughter Killed in US Shooting

• In A First, Mumbai Traffic Signals Feature Women Pedestrians

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Burqa Ban, Face Mask Laws Frustrate Dutch Muslims



It is really difficult wearing the burqa. People just see you as the enemy.


Walking quickly across the Bos en Lommerplein, a square in the west of Amsterdam, Emarah* stands out. Raindrops run down her long black burqa, soaking the bottom of the black body-covering garment. It has been three years since she first started wearing a burqa, which also covers her face.

"People often think that I have to wear it as my husband says so, but it is my own choice," she tells DW. "Actually, I did not have a husband when I started wearing it.

"It is really difficult wearing the burqa. People just see you as the enemy. It makes me feel totally alone, pushed in a corner," she says.

It's unfair, Emarah says, frustration evident in her voice. "I am being discriminated against only because I want to practice my religion, for my choice."

On August 1 it will be one year since the Dutch government approved a controversial law prohibiting clothing that "completely covers the face." It followed similar, albeit stricter, bans in France and Belgium.

The Dutch ban prohibited such clothing from being worn in public transport or in public buildings such as schools, hospitals and government buildings. Unlike in France and Belgium, the burqa is still permitted to be worn in the streets.

Public safety was the main reason given by the government for the ban, a process initiated 14 years ago by Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing Party for Freedom. The penalty for refusing to remove a face covering is a fine of between €150 and €450 ($177 and $529).

However, according to a spokesperson for the Dutch National Police Force, only a "handful" of people have been fined in the past year for wearing the garment.

"Reactions in public have become more aggressive than ever before," says Emarah, despite the fact it is still legal to wear the burqa on the streets. Prior to the ban she would experience violence, she says. "When I was in the supermarket, people would hit me with a shopping cart on my ankles to get me to move away."

But she says that levels of aggression have escalated significantly: "A man even tried to hit me with his car."

Sisters Anne and Truus Postma are having tea on the Lambertus de Zijlplein in the west of Amsterdam, looking out over merchants selling fresh vegetables at the Monday market. It's a popular migrant neighborhood.

The square, they say, has not changed much since the ban. "I prefer to see their faces — but there were hardly any women with such face coverings anyway," says one of the sisters.

Leila sits on a wooden bench on the other corner of the square. She says she is happy with the ban.

"It simply is too much," she explains. "You are living in a European country, why do you need to cover yourself like that? A scarf like the one I am wearing is good enough."

Giulio Bonotti, a Somali-Italian worker for the city council, is also happy with the legislation. "I don't like those veils at all, it is torture," he argues. "It is like the woman is worth nothing at all, they are right to ban the burqa."

Muslims 'don't feel welcome anymore'

Despite being famous around the world for its liberalism, "the Netherlands is becoming less and less tolerant," says Emarah, with a sigh. She views the law as "an attack on the Islam" and says it goes directly against her right to freedom of religion as enshrined in the Dutch constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights.

If she was forced to remove her burqa, she says "it would feel humiliating …it was my choice to put it on, and I would want to make the choice to take it off."

Safa*, a practicing 30-year-old Muslim, feels the ban sowed fear among the wider Muslim society, despite only a tiny minority of women — perhaps 150 — wearing the burqa or niqab in the Netherlands.

Some of her more religiously conservative friends have now emigrated to other countries, in particular the United Kingdom. "They don't feel welcome here anymore," she explains.

That sentiment was particularly high when Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad published an article in July 2019 calling for "citizen arrests" of women breaking the law. "When that happened even young, moderate Muslims started to get concerned," says Safa.

A woman in a head scarf and medical face mask pushes a pushchair and holds her young daughter's hand

Some Dutch Muslims see an irony in face masks now being necessary on public transport

COVID-19 masks: One rule for them, another for everyone else?

Emarah and other women wearing a niqab or burqa see an irony in the new COVID-19 rules in the Netherlands, which made face masks mandatory on public transport.

Women, it seems, are now punished for both wearing and for not wearing face coverings, depending on their purpose. "It is totally contradictory," argues Emarah, who thinks it's wrong that public health is deemed to be an acceptable reason for covering a face, but religious belief is not.

She isn't alone. A number of organizations, led by the group Don't Touch My Niqab, are now appealing to the Dutch Foreign Ministry, the House of Representatives and the Senate to revoke the face-covering law, appealing that in light of recent COVID-19 rules legal arguments supporting the ban are void.


Breaking Through the Patriarchy: Women Calling The Shots In Family Business

02 August, 2020


When a woman joins a family business, it’s equally challenging as their male counterparts.


Gone are the days when a woman’s contribution to her family was only confined to the kitchen. Right to higher education, awareness, being disgruntled about their corporate jobs, shrinking size of the family and sometimes their own families’ circumstances have forced them to take up the family business. As the times are changing, the participation of women in the ownership, management and direction of family business has been growing from the last decade. Even their roles have also been shifted from softer roles in Corporate Social Responsibility, Philanthropy, Human Resources to decision making and operations across all industries. These new roles have put the myth that women are not skilled at networking and socializing in a business environment to rest.

If we see various data, family businesses are considered as a foundation of the global economy, representing an estimated 70% to 90% of the global GDP and 50% to 80% of jobs in the majority of countries worldwide. After excelling in the roles of a mother, doctor, teacher, lawyer or any professional, they have proved their mettle in the family business too and that’s the reason women- led family businesses have increased by 58% since 2007. Women are becoming the able custodians of their family businesses on their own and claiming what is rightfully theirs. This rising trend takes many of us by surprise because the Indian families have traditionally been the patriarchal space ruled by “efficient” male members and only catered and caressed by the “soft” and “ignorant” women in the families.

The Early Days

Acclaimed Business Historian Ms Gita Piramal had participated in the 7th Asian Invitational Conference on Family Business organised by the Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise at the Indian School of Business and revealed that an Indian woman’s participation in the family business can be traced in 1960s when the government introduced the family planning program. As the initiative stressed on the need of small family, resulting less sons or sometimes no son, paved the way for the daughters. Families with only daughters or those with one son and one daughter started focusing on nurturing and training their daughters for family business. They were given international exposures by sending them off to elite business schools for learning the nuances of business. This is how the daughters in business families became scions of their organizations breaking the shackles of gender disparity.

Making a difference

When a woman joins a family business, it’s equally challenging as their male counterparts. But their inbuilt role of a nurturer, caregiver and emotional support system make them analyse a situation in a broader way and within no time, the business gets a new high. In the journey of achieving the success, a woman has to wear the multiple hats of sales, brand management, customer marketing personnel besides understanding the dynamics of the business.

Why women are reaching new highs confidently?

Whenever a woman has taken the command of a family business or took up the enterprenual role, she always made a positive impact not only in business but also in society and families. The major change that has propelled women to touch new heights confidentially is they are well aware of their strengths as well as weakness. Another key factor is that they are no longer victims to the struggle between a personal and professional life. They have very well learnt to strike a balance between the two. Education and financial independence are the biggest factor behind this change. All these have made them feel more empowered in the male-dominated workplace or society. They come with experience and knowledge and have been seen as great leaders. Secondly, today competition is tough. Businesses need leaders who are passionate and understand the business. It does not matter whether it is a woman or a man. It really boils down to which sibling has the drive to run the business.

Why women leading such businesses are faring better than non-family business?

We have so many women to look upto when it comes to managing a business and family businesses. If we see the global scenario, family businesses have a better share of women in leadership roles either as promoters or non-promoters. What sets them apart in a family business or from non- family firms is their long-term strategy and vision to preserve and sustain the business for future generations. With this focus, the average tenure of family leadership is usually around 20 years as compared to six years for non-family firms. The long tenure provides an opportunity for the women leaders in the family business to adapt and influence their management styles and showcase their contribution and accomplishments over time.

Way Forward

Kudos to the professional education, financial independency and availability of new digital technologies, there is no glass ceiling for who should wear the boss’s cap. Always believe in your true calling. It will give you reason to get up in the morning and drive you to make the difference you want to make. Always keen to learn and no matter if you are learning something from the junior-most in your company. Stay connected to your roots is utmost as it will keep you humble, help you grow and be compassionate about others. The key to success lies within one’s self. Find your calling and do that with absolute commitment. Feel proud of the product or service you aim to sell, and let that pride shine through in all your work. Don’t let the criticism bother you. Spread your wings and fly.


Women Police Squads To Patrol Noida, Uttar Pradesh, On Scooters

02 August, 2020


As a measure to boost women’s security in Noida, the police have launched a women police squads to patrol the city on scooters.


Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Aug 2 (ANI): As a measure to boost women's security in Noida, the police have launched a women police squads to patrol the city on scooters.

Police Commissioner Alok Singh flagged off the new patrolling team from the commissioner's office on Saturday.

DCP Women's Protection Vrinda Shukla said that scooters have been deployed in areas with more women footfall.

"We have around 100 scooters and we have deployed them in various areas. In areas frequented by women we have deployed closed to 12-13 scooters and the areas with less footfall we have deployed two-three scooters," Shukla told reporters here.

"The idea materialised after feedback mechanism through social media platforms. And asked women about the areas where patroling is needed and how can it be provided," she added.

Alok Singh, Police Commissioner Noida said, "At present, we have flagged off close to 50 scooters today. We would be increasing the capacity as and when the lockdown opens, more improvements would be made on the same."


How I Celebrate Eid As A ‘Muslim-Ish’ Woman from Kazakhstan

1st August 2020

Elmira Tanatarova

Although many people in Kazakhstan aren’t practising Muslims, Elmira Tanatarova discovered the significance of Eid after moving to London.

Eid al-Adha is a traditional Muslim celebration, honouring the sacrifice Ibrahim was willing to make for God. It marks a very holy period for followers of the religion. I’d learned the significance of it for the first time at 18-years-old at university in East London, despite having celebrated it many times before in my home country of Kazakhstan.

Being a Central Asian woman and living abroad means that you’re always explaining your existence to people who have no idea how to process you, or your place in the Muslim community. We have perfected the art of telling others where the country we’re from is (“right under Russia – you can’t miss it, it’s huge”), even though it is quite likely one of the biggest landmasses in the world. We have laughed off the confusion as people try to uncouple what we look and act like from the stereotypes they have floating around in their heads.

There’s a joke amongst Kazakhs that it’s baffling for Westerners to see Russian-speaking Muslims who drink alcohol, and look like they may be from China, Korea, or Japan. Central Asian people can’t be understood and easily unpacked by the Western lens, which often sees these demographics as separate sects that don’t cross over.

A lot of Kazakh-Muslim traditions involve large family gatherings – and when I moved away from Kazakhstan at eight-years-old, any inkling of connection and tradition I had left with my Muslim heritage vanished.

Gone were the big and bustling family gatherings where plates were piled high with horse meat, mutton and noodles. Gone were the ten different varieties of fried bread my grandmother would make, which you’d slather in homemade jam and drink with hot black tea. Gone were those feasts followed by a quick incomprehensible prayer from a man I never recognised, reading what I had yet to realise, was the Qur’an. They were gone, and I had decided to park my identity into a corner of my mind left untouched for years.

Attending Queen Mary, University of London, in the largely Muslim community of East London, confronted me with what I knew (or moreso, didn’t know) about Islam. Mosque back home was a quiet, unassuming affair – I had only gone once in my whole life. It was nothing compared to the constantly attended and busy East London Mosque. One day I pass it when a kind man outside the mosque hands me a leaflet, hoping to introduce me to Islam and teach me all about it. “But I am Muslim,” I wanted to say, “I’m one of you!” And then I said nothing, realising I hadn’t thought of myself as Muslim in years.

I had not grown up in a culture where I prayed once, let alone five times a day. I was taught nothing of the hijab. I had never read a passage of the Qur’an. How could I call myself a Muslim? Mosque was not considered a community gathering – it’s somewhere you could go for special occasions, and even then, that was only for “religious” people.

Islam isn’t a religion people are used to seeing as engrained in culture but followed without commitment, especially in the more recent couple of decades. But that’s exactly what a lot of Central Asia is.

“Largely speaking, most people in Kazakhstan will have the same relationship with Eid as British people will with Christmas”

Kazakh illustrator Didar says it best in a personal essay on her blog, titled ‘Russian-Speaking. Culturally Muslim. Central Asian’: “Kazakhstan, like other Central Asian countries, adopted and freely adapted Islam within its existing shamanic belief system in the 7th century, which resulted in the development of an eclectic set of practices.

The shamanic and the Islamic elements are tightly interwoven together in the patchwork of Kazakh culture, which is incomprehensible to people who are used to thinking in strictly binary terms.”

Before nomadic Kazakhs accepted the mainstream spread of Islam, there had already been local spiritual Shamanic and pagan religions which worshipped spirits linked to nature – and Islam slotted itself compatibly alongside these practices before becoming widely accepted towards the 18th century.

It’s worth saying that Kazakhstan’s Islamic identity is changing as we speak. The fall of the Soviet union in the 1990s has led to more Muslims in Kazakhstan exploring their faith when separated from the Soviet Union’s state-enforced atheism, and many Kazakhs see an attempt to reconnect with their faith as reclaiming their culture.

“When I moved away from Kazakhstan at eight-years-old, any inkling of connection and tradition I had left with my Muslim heritage vanished”

However, largely speaking, most people in Kazakhstan will have the same relationship with Eid as British people will with Christmas. There is, of course, a handful of the population that will root their festivities in faith, but it won’t be seen as an overwhelmingly spiritual occasion. My family celebrates Eid al-Adha, in practice, with the same rituals other Muslim countries will, the hallmark moment being the slaughter of an animal (usually a sheep) in honour of Ibrahim.

And yet, as I call my great-aunt to ask her what the festival means to her, she doesn’t mention Ibrahim, his son Ismael, or the Qur’an at all. “It’s about family,” she gently explains to me. “It’s about giving blessings to the dead on the Day of Arafah (the day before Eid), and blessings to the living on Eid al-Adha (which Kazakhs refer to as Qurban Ait).” She tells me that the slaughter of the animal more than anything is a way to bring communities together. When the meat is cut, you then bring some of the food over to your family and friends’ houses, and they to you. “Whether people have read the Qur’an or haven’t, they do this,” she explains, “and everyone comes together.”

I hang up the call with my great aunt after wishing her blessings and good health for tomorrow. She can’t see the whole family and go round to her friends’ houses as she does every year, but tells me she will make sure to give everyone a call.

Putting the phone down, I look around my family’s house in Hull, in the East Riding of Yorkshire. There will be no sheep slaughter here – but mum will make food for the family, and for now, that’s enough.


Chandigarh Women Make A Special 7-feet Eco-friendly Rakhi For Lord Hanuman's Statue

2nd August, 2020

Ahead of Raksha Bandhan, a group of women has made an eco-friendly Rakhi for Lord Hanuman's statue in Chandigarh. The eco-friendly Rakhi is seven-feet long and it will be tied to the right hand of the 32-feet-tall Lord Hanuman statue. The women took over 15 days to make the special rakhi.

Meena Tiwari, one of the women involved in the Rakhi making told ANI, "We have been spending around two to three hours daily decorating this rakhi, for the past 15 days. It is an eco-friendly rakhi and we will be adding Rudraksha to this."

The women have decorated the rakhi with artificial flowers, ribbons, rudrakshas and a Lord Ram's picture at the center. Tiwari further said that they make rakhi's every year however this year it is special as they made a special rakhi for the deity.

"We make rakhi every year but this year we are designing a special rakhi for Lord Hanuman's statue. It is a seven-feet-long rakhi and Lord Hanuman's statue is 32-feet-tall. We have used coloured paper along with other decorative materials. This rakhi will be tied on the right hand of the statue," Meena Tiwari added.

UP govt provides free ride to women on Raksha Bandhan

The Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) will provide free rides to women in all categories of buses on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan. The chief minister Yogi Adityanath has issued directives to this effect and has also directed for intensive patrolling on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan, the spokesperson said. This facility would be available in all categories of buses for women passengers. The CM has further directed rakhi and sweet shops to remain open on Sunday in view of the festival.

Mail services make arrangements for delivering rakhis

Meanwhile, the postal departments in several parts of the country have made elaborate arrangements to deliver rakhis across the country amid the pandemic as sisters living in different locations would not be able to personally visit their brothers to tie rakhis. Chandigarh Postal Division which has 43 post offices in Chandigarh, 25 post offices in Mohali and 27 post offices in Ropar, introduced a Rakhi Mail Box in post offices. Furthermore, the Rail Mail Services of the Ambala division will be working this Sunday owing to the increasing number of Rakhi posts amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


Free Bus Travel For Women In UP On Raksha Bandhan

02 August, 2020

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Aug 2 (ANI): For the festival of Raksha Bandhan, Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) has announced free travel for women in its buses of all categories.

The free bus travel for women, announced by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday is applicable from midnight of August 2 to midnight of August 3.

According to an official release, in view of the festival, Rakhi vendors and sweets shops will remain open on Sunday.

Instructions have also been given to the police for intensive patrolling on the occasion.

Chief Minister Yogi further directed the officials to ensure that the protocol for COVID-19, including social distancing norms should be followed on Raksha Bandhan.

Rakshan Bandhan is being celebrated on August 3 this year.


The Women Who Overcame Radio’s Earliest Glass Ceilings



Before the dawn of broadcasting, women were frequently hired as wireless operators, and so it was not a surprise that women’s voices were heard as announcers and program hosts in the early days of broadcast radio.

Sybil Herrold was perhaps the world’s first disc jockey; she played Victrola records on her husband Charles Herrold’s experimental station, which broadcast in San Jose from 1912 to 1917.

In Boston, Eunice Randall’s voice was heard on a variety of programs over AMRAD station 1XE (which became WGI in 1922). In New York City, WOR audiences regularly heard Jesse Koewing, who was identified on the air only as “J.E.K.” while Betty Lutz was the popular “hostess” heard on WEAF.

Sixteen-year-old Nancy Clancy was reportedly the youngest radio announcer in the country in 1924. Here she is shown in the studios of WAHG, the Alfred H. Grebe station in Richmond Hill, N.Y. WAHG grew to become today’s WCBS in New York City. Credit: Author’s collection

Additionally, women were frequently hired as “program managers,” responsible for booking the live entertainment that filled their stations’ airwaves, and they often came before the microphone to introduce the entertainers.

Broadcasters complained that the tone quality of early receivers and speakers made women’s higher-pitched voices sound shrill and dissonant; but this prejudice remained even as higher-fidelity receivers became available in the early 1930s. The conventional wisdom was that “audiences don’t like or trust women as announcers” and “only male voices can speak with authority.”

An audience survey conducted by WJZ in 1926, with 5,000 respondents, determined that listeners of both sexes preferred the male voice by a margin of 100 to 1. In 1934, an article in the Journal of Social Psychology concluded that “the male voice is more natural, more persuasive and more likely to arouse interest over the air than the feminine voice.”

In 1935, Cantril and Gordon Allport published “The Psychology of Radio, and determined that 95% preferred hearing male voices over the radio.

This prejudice against female announcers was expressed by station managers of the day. In a letter to the editor in Radio Broadcasting Magazine, a station director wrote that “for announcing, a well-modulated male voice is the most pleasing to listen to. I have nothing against a woman’s announcing, but really do believe that unless a woman has the qualifications known as ‘showman’s instinct,’ it really does become monotonous.”

Another station executive from Pittsburgh wrote, “I would permit few women lecturers to appear [on the radio]. Their voices do not carry the appeal, and so whatever the effect desired, it is lost on the radio audience. Their voices are flat or they are shrill, and they are usually pitched far too high to be modulated correctly.”

As a result, by 1930 women’s voices had virtually disappeared from the airwaves, except for mid-afternoon programs aimed at the housewife and discussing such banal topics as cooking, fashion and beauty tips.

In a notable experiment, NBC hired the vaudeville comedienne Elsie Janis in 1934 to be the network’s first female announcer, joining a staff of 26 men. But when listeners complained that a woman’s voice was inappropriate for serious announcing work, an NBC executive commented that they were “not quite sure what type of program her hoarse voice is best suited for, but it is certain she will read no more press news bulletins.”

Over at CBS, they paired radio actress Bernardine Flynn with Durward Kirby to host a daily newscast. But Kirby was assigned to read the “hard” news stories while Flynn reported only the “human interest” items.

Mary Margaret McBride broke the mold that kept women from serious announcing work on the networks. Her afternoon NBC interview program commanded an audience of millions, and she enjoyed a reported $52,000 annual salary in 1941. Here she is seen interviewing General Omar N. Bradley on the first anniversary of D-Day. Credit: Author’s collection

Perhaps the only woman to break the taboo on women reporting serious news stories during the network era was Mary Margaret McBride.

She began her radio career on WOR in New York in 1934, taking the air name Martha Deane and playing a grandmotherly-type woman who dispensed philosophy and common sense. In 1937, she moved over to the CBS network under her own name, and became recognized for her interviewing capabilities.

Her daily afternoon program included high-level politicians, generals and movie stars. She moved to NBC in 1941, where her daily audience numbered in the millions. She remained a regular feature on network radio until 1960, and then continued in syndication.

World War II temporarily opened employment opportunities for women in radio, as the male staffs of the networks and local stations were siphoned off by the armed services.

Women assumed the roles of announcers and newscasters, studio engineers and sound effects specialists. In 1943, NBC hired 10 young “pagettes” to supplement its depleted staff of Radio City pages. Around the country, women were also hired as advertising sales persons, program directors, traffic managers, continuity directors and even station managers.

But sadly, just as occurred in manufacturing plants, when the men returned home after the war the jobs reverted to men who “had to support their families,” and the women were told to go home and be happy homemakers.

In the 1950s, as the radio industry adapted to the new competition from television, many radio announcers turned into disc jockeys, but the prejudice against female voices on the radio continued. The big-name deejays at local stations around the country were all men.

But there were a few exceptions. In 1955, Sam Phillips (of Sun Records fame) opened WHER in Memphis. Phillips enjoyed hearing women’s voices on the air, and he hired an all-female staff to run the station.

WHER operated from studios in a Holiday Inn motel, and this led to a spinoff program, sponsored by Holiday Inn. WHER personality Dottie Abbott, taking the air name Dolly Holiday, hosted an overnight program of easy listening music syndicated to stations around the country. Her soothing voice and soft music could be heard across the AM band after midnight almost anywhere in the country into the early ’70s.

In the late 1960s, FM station WNEW in New York City experimented with an all-female format. Allison Steele won an audition against 800 other women and began working there as a disc jockey. She stayed on when the format was abandoned 18 months later, and gained popularity as “The Nightbird.” Her overnight show drew an estimated audience of 78,000, and she was chosen by Billboard Magazine in 1976 as the “FM Personality of the Year.”

WHER in Memphis was the first of several stations to adopt an “all-woman” format during the disc jockey era. In 1955, Sam Phillips (of Sun Records fame) opened the station; his wife Becky was one of the first DJs. WHER broadcast until 1973. Other stations that tried “all-girl” formats, as they were often called.

CHIC in Toronto and KNIT in Abilene, Texas, both had all-female deejay staffs, although the newscasts continued to be voiced by men. An all-woman format was tried at WSDM in Chicago, where Yvonne Daniels sharpened her chops before moving on to the AM powerhouse WLS in 1973.


Women’s IPL will take place in UAE and we have a plan for the national team also: Sourav Ganguly


India captain Sourav Ganguly on Sunday said that a four-team event, along the lines of Women’s T20 Challenge held in 2019, is very much on with a tournament planned in November in the United Arab Emirates alongside the men’s event, reported PTI.

Ganguly, whose tenure as Board of Control for Cricket in India president is currently up in the air with a hearing pending in Supreme Court, also said that a camp will be held for the women’s team soon.

The men’s Indian Premier League event is set to be held between September 19 and November 8 or 10 (final date yet to be locked in) in the United Arab Emirates due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in India. The women’s event will also be fit in to the schedule, according to the BCCI chief.

“I can confirm to you that the women’s IPL is very much on and we do have a plan in place for the national team also,” Ganguly told PTI ahead of the IPL Governing Council meeting later on Sunday.

Ganguly also said that the centrally contracted women players will have a camp that has been delayed due to the prevailing situation in the country.

“We couldn’t have exposed any of our cricketers – be it male or female — to health risk. It would have been dangerous,” Ganguly said.

“The NCA also remained shut because of Covid-19. But we have a plan in place and we will have a camp for women, I can tell you that,” he added.

Senior cricket journalist Boria Majumdar said that India are likely to have two full-fledged white-ball series against South Africa and the West Indies before playing the ODI World Cup in New Zealand. The BCCI’s cricket operations team is chalking up a schedule, reported PTI.

In 2019, the Women’s T20 Challenge was expanded from a one-off match before an IPL qualifier in 2018 to a week-long tournament with three teams – Trailblazers, Supernovas and Velocity. There were three group games and a final in the inaugural edition. For 2020, the BCCI had earlier announced that a fourth team was set to be added to the mix.

It is worth noting that the Women’s Big Bash League is to be played from October 17 to November 29 in Australia and will overlap with this proposed IPL-style event in UAE.

Ganguly, who is awaiting a Supreme Court verdict on waiver of the cooling-off period to continue in the position, did not divulge details but another senior official privy to the development said that women’s challenger event will be held during the last phase of IPL like last year.

“The women’s challenger series is likely to be held between November 1-10 and there could be a camp before that,” the source said.

The treatment of women’s cricket in India has been a big talking point in the past fortnight after the team’s September tour to England was cancelled by the Board of Control for Crcket in India without an official reason given. The implication was that it was due to the rising cases of coronavirus in India, which could cause logistical issues.

Before international cricket returns, however, India will need to put together a selection committee. The previous panel helmed by Hemlata Kala finished their tenure earlier this year and while an advertisement inviting applications for new selectors was put up in January, no appointment was made. The process is set to be further delayed because of protocol and the inability to hold face-to-face meetings during the lockdown due to coronavirus.

“The BCCI will start making the appointments [in due course of time] because given there’s no cricket at the moment, and the complete lockdown, and we not being able to go to [the board headquarters in] Mumbai,” Ganguly was earlier quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

“It is going to take some time because this needs following of protocol as interviews will need to be taken by a committee as per the BCCI’s new constitution, and this will have to be cleared by them, and it’s very difficult to do it without a face-to-face meeting,” he had added.


Women’s month: Four South African women who have won Olympic gold

by James Richardson


Women’s Month: Two ladies are responsible for bringing home four of South Africa’s ten gold medals since being welcomed back into the Olympic family in 1992.

In August, Women’s month around South Africa, we celebrate the women who have claimed gold medals at the Olympics.

Athletics and swimming are the disciplines that have brought in all the Olympic gold medals won by South African women.

Women’s month: Esther Brand, representing South Africa, wins the women’s high jump. Photo: Still from Finnish Olympic Film. This image is in the public domain.

Esther Brand missed out on the best years of her athletic career due to the Second World War but won gold at the 1952 games in Helsinki, Finland.

The second woman to win Olympic gold just a short time after Brand had taken the first, Joan Harrison swam to gold in the 100 metre backstroke.

A swimming prodigy who wowed the 1950 British Empire Games at the age of just 14, she would win Olympic gold while still a teenager.

Penny Heyns remains the only South African to win two Olympic gold medals at the same games dominating the 100 and 200 metre breastroke events at the Centennial games in Atlanta.

At the first Olympics after the historic 1994 elections, Heyns gave South Africans plenty to be proud of with her performances. Atlanta was her second games after she was the youngest member of the South African Olympic team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.

Heyns was the first woman ever to win both the 100 and 200 metre breaststroke golds at an Olympic Games, and she also broke the world record for the shorter distance during qualifying for the final.

Caster Semenya became the only South African woman to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in the same discipline when she dominated the field at the Rio Olympics even if we didn’t know she had done it at the time.

Semenya’s first gold medal was awarded after the fact when Russian runner Mariya Savinova was stripped of her results after being found guilty of doping in 2017.

Regulations slammed as discriminatory by the World Health Organisation, will prevent Semenya from competing for a third 800 metre gold unless she submits to taking testosterone limiting medication.

Semenya ruled the women’s 800 metres race with an iron first for nearly a decade and she hopes to qualify for the 200 metre sprint at the Tokyo Games.


Nigerian laws need amendment to help women in business — Kehinde-Peters

August 2, 2020

Oluwaseyi Kehinde-Peters is the founder of the Pan African Women Empowerment Network. She tells TOFARATI IGE about her advocacy for women empowerment and other issues

What led to the creation of the Pan African Women Empowerment Network?

In the course of my career and entrepreneurial journey, I have seen how some women work and live below their potential largely due to lack of education and exposure to the right information and networks. As someone who has benefited significantly from the support and investment of individuals and corporate bodies in my life and career, I decided to start an organisation that would equip women with the competence, connections and confidence to succeed in their chosen career, business and governance.

What are the services offered by PAWEN?

PAWEN is a capability development social enterprise with a focus on leadership development and economic empowerment of women. We leverage technology to deliver practical and collaborative learning programmes that help to develop the capacity and capabilities of African women. Our online community also provides a platform where continuous learning and sharing take place among our members. The two programmes we have launched are the Aspiring Entrepreneurs Programme (a development programme for aspiring and young entrepreneurs), and Accelerate (a career development initiative which comprise a series of sessions and seminars).

In what ways has PAWEN empowered women?

PAWEN started this year and we have executed the two programmes.

For the first edition of the AEP, we trained 130 women from 10 African countries by helping them to start and scale their businesses. While the world was experiencing a lockdown, these women were learning and developing their business models through our digital platforms. The impact has been marvelous as 48 per cent of the participants have reported increased revenues.

Our first Accelerate session also trained over 300 women on the Future of Work and how women can navigate the new world of work successfully.

As the founder of PAWEN, what are your duties?

My main role is to chart the mission and objectives of the organisation, drive strategy and design the execution of programmes to achieve these objectives as well as facilitate the resources required for execution.

What are the factors militating against women empowerment in Nigeria?

There are several factors responsible for this, but I will focus on the five main factors.

The first is legal constraints. There is a need to develop our labour laws in a way that actively promote the inclusion of women in the workforce and in strategic positions. We need to ensure that the empowerment of women becomes the ethos of public and private rganisations.  Our laws discriminate against female police officers, women who are married to foreign spouses, as well as the significant variation in the legal rights afforded to women across the country regarding asset ownership and marriage.

Secondly, there are political constraints. Women comprise about 50 per cent of the population yet have less than 10 per cent representation in political positions. This is due largely to the systemic constraints coupled with violence and male domination of decision-making which prevent women from engaging in politics. Also, the oganisation of politics and influence significantly limit the ability of women to participate in politics.

Also, there are socio-cultural constraints. The patriarchal nature of the Nigerian culture constitutes a major factor for the relative disempowerment of women. This is coupled with a mix of cultural and religious beliefs that infringe on women’s rights and are integrated into customary laws. The deep-set role of men in decision-making in the household, the lack of self-identity, the legally justified abuse and ‘corrective’ violence, not forgetting the boy-child preference all serve to promote gender inequalities.

There is also lack of access to finance. This is one of the major factors impeding the growth of women-owned businesses in Africa. The key barriers include lack of ownership of collateral― as tradition would seldom cede property rights to women; coupled with the absence of credit histories.

Lastly is the issue of education. The girl-child has limited or no access to proper education. Currently, the female adult literacy rate in Nigeria is 59.4 per cent, compared to the male adult literacy rate of 74.4 per cent. This lack of basic education precludes further education which is crucial for empowerment. Lack of education is the biggest barrier to empowerment. Education equips women with the knowledge, skills and self-confidence necessary to participate fully in the continent’s development process

Rape (and other forms of gender-based violence) is a violent crime that agonises the victims, devalues their sense of self-worth and affects them negatively. Sadly, Nigeria has an inherent and pervasive misogynistic culture of rape and abuse and we see this manifest in different forms in our society― sex-for-grades in our educational systems, sex-for-roles in the movie industry, sex-for-jobs/promotion in the corporate world, men sleeping with housemaids in the home , etc. Our legal system makes it nearly impossible to convict suspected rapist and there is a stigmatisation of rape victims. The responses by our law enforcement agencies make me wonder sometimes if they are complicit in these crimes. We need new laws that protect women from rape and gender-based violence. However, I want to applaud the work done by some civil society organisations who are actively working on educating and giving rape victims a voice, but we can all individually and collectively do more.

A lot of non-governmental oganisations get grants and spend it on themselves, rather than on the purpose the funds were earmarked for. How is your organisation different in that regard?

It is disheartening to hear of this trend among NGOs and I think it is reflective of the decadence in our ethical and moral values at large.

PAWEN started as my way of giving back to society and contributing my own quota to empowering African women. While PAWEN has been privately-funded and supported by friends and family, we are committed to handling any funding we may receive in future with utmost transparency and accountability. We have a strong governance structure and system (which we are currently expanding) to ensure 100 per cent transparency and accountability in all our activities.

Some people have said that women are their own worst enemies because they don’t help one another. What do you think about that?

I’ve heard that in the past but I think that narrative is changing. Women are more aware and are supporting each other now, more than ever.

How do you think small and medium enterprises can better position themselves to get loans and grants?

SMEs can better position themselves for loans and grants by making adequate preparation. They should know the type of funding they need, what the application requirements and process are, and prepare adequately for this.

They should also keep proper records of accounting transactions for the business distinct and separate from the personal accounts of the owner.

Cultivating a relationship with the financial institutions early is also important. This starts by opening and operating an account with them at least six months – one year before you would need funding from them. They should also avail themselves of the various products they have.

Keeping accurate and updated financial and non- financial records is also imperative.

Finally, they should articulate, document and follow a clear structure in their businesses. This includes having a functional business plan and model, having systems and structures that reduce the business’ dependency on the owner, as well as having governance, audit and risk management structures in place.


Pakistani Family Creates Foundation Honouring Daughter Killed in US Shooting

August 2, 2020

NEW YORK, Aug 02 (APP):The parents of Sabika Sheikh, a Pakistani exchange student who was killed in the deadly mass shooting in a Texas high school two years ago, have started a foundation to keep her memory alive through providing university scholarships to low-income Pakistani women, according to a report in The Houston Chronicle.

Ms. Sheikh, 17, was among the 10 people killed in the 18 May 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas. Thirteen others were wounded.

Her parents, Abdul Aziz Sheikh and Farah Naz, have created the Sabika for Peace Foundation to expand educational opportunities for those most in need, the Chronicle said.

“I’m always worried that we might forget (Sabika),” Farah Naz, the mother, told The Houston Chronicle during a Zoom interview with the family from their Karachi home. “But starting this foundation I know this is impossible. I know if I continue working with foundation, she will always be with me.”

The foundation is a partnership between the Sheikh family and several prominent nonprofit organizations, including the Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund and the American Council for International Education (ACIE), the report said. ACIE, the American Institute for Foreign Study and the International Education and Resource Network are providing a seed grant of $300,000 to establish the foundation, which will support programmes to “honor Sabika’s memory,” including by providing scholarships to fund university studies for low-income Pakistani women, particularly those with civic engagement aspirations.

Naz, Sabika’s mother, said that ACIE representatives approached the family prior to the coronavirus pandemic with the idea of honouring Sabika’s legacy through an educational foundation. While the pandemic presented some obstacles in getting the organization off the ground, in part because the academic year in Pakistan was postponed, the hope is that the foundation will be prepared to give out scholarships whenever Pakistani schools reopen.

“I’m always worried that we might forget (Sabika),” Naz said during the Zoom interview. “But starting this foundation I know this is impossible. I know if I continue working with foundation, she will always be with me.”

The Sheikh family said the scope of the foundation will target scholarships for universities in Pakistan for now, but will eventually expand to offering exchange opportunities for American schools “so that the connection and ties” with the United States continues, said Sania Sheikh, Sabika’s sister.

The new foundation will be led by a board of directors, which will include representatives from the Sheikh family as well as four independent directors selected by the family in consultation with the partnering organizations. Everytown for Gun Safety, which is representing Sabika’s parents in two civil lawsuits against the accused Santa Fe High School shooter’s parents and an online ammunition dealer, will maintain an advisory role with the foundation.

Sabika Sheikh came to Santa Fe High School in August 2017 as a youth ambassador with the State Department-sponsored Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study programme, which provides scholarships for secondary school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend one academic year in the United States.

She excelled academically and threw herself into the American teenage lifestyle, volunteering at the local library, dressing up as a pirate for Halloween, keeping score at baseball games and attending graduations, according to the report. At the time of the shooting in May 2018, Sheikh was weeks away from returning home to her family in Karachi.

Her sister, Sania Sheikh, said that despite Sabika’s distance from her family and the inherent difficulties being a young Muslim girl living in a small, rural, politically conservative Texas community, she believes Sabika cherished her school year in the United States.

I think my sister spent the best days of her life in America,” Sania was quoted as saying.


In a first, Mumbai traffic signals feature women pedestrians

02 Aug 2020

Aditya Thackeray shared the image of Dadar traffic signal where women were depicted on the pedestrian lights and boards

First time in India, a traffic signal in Mumbai's Dadar has displayed a female pedestrian signage in a bid to promote gender equality. Maharashtra's Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray shared the information on social media on Saturday. Tweeting the image of Dadar traffic signal where symbol of women pedestrian were depicted on the traffic light and the signboard, he wrote, "If you’ve passed by Dadar, you’d see something that will make you feel proud. Ward-GN of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai is ensuring gender equality with a simple idea- the signals now have women too!"

If you’ve passed by Dadar, you’d see something that will make you feel proud. @mybmcWardGN is ensuring gender equality with a simple idea- the signals now have women too!

Aditya Thackeray also applauded the efforts of the BMC Commissioner Kishori Pednekar, Ward-GN of Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and local corporator Vishakha Raut for implementing the idea.

And Ofcourse to add, the constant efforts of Leader of the House in BMC and local corporator Vishakha Raut ji to this

The initiative is taken under the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) ‘Culture Spine’ project, which is a pet project of Shiv Sena's Aaditya Thackeray.

While the initiative is a first in India, in Europe, several countries display female pedestrian figures in their traffic signages. Australia's Melbourne city has been using female pedestrians in their traffic lights to promote gender equality since 2017.




 New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism