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Grandmother of Shaheen Bagh: 82-year-old Bilkis included in TIME Magazine list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 September 2020

 • Mayela Dayeh, Australian Teenager to Address UN About Covid Hardship Among Young Women

• US: Migrant Women to No Longer See Doctor Accused Of Misconduct

• Younger Women 'Bearing Brunt' Of Second Wave of Covid in UK

• Considering 5 Women for Supreme Court Vacancy: Trump

• How Artists in Turkey Are Responding to Violence against Women

• Over 130 Women Trade Unionists Demand an End to Femicide In Turkey

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 Grandmother of Shaheen Bagh: 82-year-old Bilkis included in TIME Magazine list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020

by Somya Lakhani

September 23, 2020


Bilkis. | Bhavdeep Singh Chadha vai Twitter


Even as Delhi braved its coldest winter in over a century, 82-year-old Bilkis — with a smile on her face and a shawl around her shoulders — sat with hundreds of women under a canopied tent at the national capital’s Shaheen Bagh anti-CAA/NRC sit-in protest for over three months. Within days, Bilkis and the other elderly women, who participated in the protest became the symbol of resistance and hope, came to be fondly known as the “Dadis of Shaheen Bagh.”

TIME magazine has now included Bilkis in its list of “The 100 Most Influential People of 2020.”

Journalist and author Rana Ayyub, who has penned the piece for TIME magazine, says, “Bilkis became the voice of the marginalised… Became the symbol of resistance in a nation where the voices of women and minorities were being systematically drowned out by the majoritarian politics of the Modi regime.”

The Shaheen Bagh protest went on for 101 days and was cleared by the Delhi Police on March 24 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

In January, as the Shaheen Bagh sit-in inspired similar protests across the country, Bilkis had told The Indian Express, “We are old and we are not doing this for ourselves… This is for our children. Why else will we spend our days and nights during the coldest winter of our lives in the open?”

On January 26, Bilkis, along with the mothers of Rohith Vemula and Junaid Khan, hoisted the national flag at Shaheen Bagh as hundreds of people showed up there for Republic Day celebrations. At the time, the resilience of the “Dadis of Shaheen Bagh” was captured in songs, poems, slogans and graffiti as well.

In February, when an armed assailant fired at least two shots barely 50 metres away from the stage at Shaheen Bagh, Bilkis was at her spot near the stage. At the time, she told The Indian Express, “There was panic inside the tent but people eventually calmed down. We walked till the point where cartridges were found and offered prayers… These bullets don’t scare us.”


Mayela Dayeh, Australian Teenager to Address UN About Covid Hardship Among Young Women

Melissa Davey

23 Sep 2020


Mayela Dayeh will present the findings of a Plan International survey of 7,000 15-to-24 year-olds to the United Nations general assembly. Photograph: Plan International Australia


A 16-year-old Australian student, Mayela Dayeh, will address the United Nations general assembly on Wednesday night to present the findings of a survey that shows young women and girls are shouldering a greater economic, domestic and emotional load and working harder during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The study, released by humanitarian organisation Plan International as part of a report called “Halting Lives – The impact of Covid019 on girls and young women”, surveyed more than 7,000 15-to-24-year-olds across 14 countries.

“I think Covid has exacerbated issues we already knew were there, which we had either become complacent about or comfortable with, especially in terms of the gender divide,” Dayeh, a secondary school student, said.

“Looking at my circle of friends and acquaintances, there have been greater responsibilities expected of them at home, and there’s been an absolute decline in mental health.”

As part of the Plan International survey, 7,105 young women and girls in Australia, Brazil, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Spain, the United States, France, Vietnam, and Zambia were surveyed between 9 June and 14 July. They were asked about their knowledge of the Covid-19 pandemic and its consequences on their lives in relation to education, wellbeing, economic security, livelihoods and access to technology.

Nearly one-third (26%) were worried about the loss of household income due to the pandemic, and 62% said they were struggling as a result of not being able to go to school or university. More than half (58%) of girls were feeling the negative effects of not being able to leave the house regularly, while 58% highlighted not being able to socialise with friends as a negative consequence of the pandemic. Nine in 10 girls surveyed said they were feeling high or medium levels of stress or anxiety due to the pandemic.

In Africa, girls and young women not being able to go to school or university was the most frequently cited negative effect (20%). Girls and young women in Spain and India reported the highest levels of “major change” to their lives, the survey found.

“This aligns with the reports of lockdowns in both these countries,” the report said. “Spain had the most reported cases in Europe and quickly imposed a nationwide quarantine to stop the spread. India also had one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. The severity of the Indian lockdown has not necessarily resulted in fewer cases … Unsurprisingly perhaps as high levels of poverty and overcrowding in India make social distancing practically impossible.”

A report from the United Nations population fund, published in April, predicted lockdown-related disruption over six months could leave 47 million women globally unable to use contraception, leading to a projected 7 million additional pregnancies. The United Nations report also said “over the next decade, the often-overlooked secondary impacts of Covid-19 could also result in 31 million new cases of gender-based violence, 2 million million more cases of female genital mutilation and an estimated 13 million more child marriages”. This was seen during the Ebola outbreak, when there was a spike in unintended adolescent pregnancies in Sierra Leone.

A respondent to the Plan International survey, 16-year-old Lucilene from Mozambique, said: “I live with my brother and my parents who have chosen not to talk about such topics as sexual health because they are very traditional. I fear that if the coronavirus does not go away soon, many girls who grow up in families like mine will not be able to have access to useful information we get in school girls’ clubs.”

A co-author of the Plan International report, research manager Isobel Fergus, said the survey results revealed that “opportunities fought so hard for are disappearing”.

“They’ve told us about tensions at home, feeling lonely, and missing school, their friends and the easy freedoms of going out and about,” Fergus said. “It is going to be very difficult to make up for this lost time and the digital divide means girls, particularly in low-income countries, find it hard to access the information they need for their education and their health.”

When the results are presented to the United Nations general assembly on Wednesday, Dayeh will call on it and other international donors to pay particular attention to low-income countries. Education ministries must prioritise learning continuity during school closures, the assembly will be told.

Director of advocacy and community engagement for Plan International Australia, Holly Crocket, said: “The survey is a wake-up call for governments to recognise that health emergencies affect groups differently.

“For girls, the risks of staying home are heightened,” she said. “It affects their mental health and puts them at greater risk of domestic violence. Because of the patriarchal social norms that dictate girls should take on the vast majority of unpaid domestic labour, there is a real threat that they will be made to drop out and stay out of school.”

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US: Migrant Women to No Longer See Doctor Accused Of Misconduct

By Associated Press

23rd September, 2020


FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, file photo, Dawn Wooten, left, a nurse at Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia, speaks at a news conference in Atlanta protesting conditions at the immigration jail. Immigration authorities have stopped sending detained women at the Irwin County Detention Center to a rural Georgia gynecologist accused of performing surgeries without consent, a government spokesman said Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Amy, File)


Immigration authorities have stopped sending detained women to a rural Georgia gynecologist accused of performing surgeries without consent, a government spokesman said Tuesday.

Dr. Mahendra Amin faces allegations that he administered hysterectomies and other procedures that women held at the Irwin County Detention Center didn't seek or fully understand. Amin has seen at least 60 detained women, said Andrew Free, a lawyer working with other attorneys to investigate medical care at Irwin County, on Tuesday.

Bryan Cox, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, confirmed that Amin would no longer see patients, but declined to comment further, citing an ongoing investigation by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general.

The Irwin County Hospital issued a statement defending Amin, saying he “is a long-time member of the Irwin County Hospital medical staff and has been in good standing for the entirety of his service to the Irwin County community.”

The statement did not address Amin's role as chief executive of MGA Health Management, a company that began managing the Irwin County Hospital in 1996, according to the hospital's website.

According to the statement, Amin operated on two detained women who were referred to the hospital for hysterectomies. Heath Clark, the hospital's general counsel, did not respond to questions about whether Amin performed hysterectomies in cases where the women had a different initial referral. Clark also did not say how many other procedures he had performed that could jeopardize a woman's ability to have children, including the removal of fallopian tubes or ovaries.

The allegations against the doctor were first revealed in a complaint filed last week by a nurse at Irwin County Detention Center. The nurse, Dawn Wooten, alleged that many detained women were taken to an unnamed gynecologist whom she labeled the “uterus collector” because of how many hysterectomies he performed.

The Associated Press on Friday reported that at least eight women since 2017 had been taken to see Amin for gynecological treatment. Free said Tuesday that a team of lawyers had heard from dozens of more women raising concerns about the doctor.

"It’s long past time to stop sending women to this physician and to companies that provide services on his behalf," he said, adding that he was concerned women detained at the facility could potentially face retaliation for coming forward about the doctor.

Scott Sutterfield, an executive at LaSalle Corrections, which operates the detention center, said the company would not “take or threaten any action” against detainees who report information “in good faith.”


Younger Women 'Bearing Brunt' Of Second Wave of Covid in UK

Ian Sample

22 Sep 2020

Younger women are “bearing the brunt” of the UK’s second wave of coronavirus infections, according to a fresh analysis of hospital admissions prepared by government science advisers.

Hospital records reveal a substantial rise in the number of women aged 20 to 40 admitted for serious coronavirus infections since the beginning of August, a country-wide trend that suggests younger women are now more exposed to the virus.

Calum Semple, professor of child health and outbreak medicine at Liverpool University and a member of the government’s Sage committee, suspects the rise is driven by younger women being more likely to have roles that leave them vulnerable to infection when people no longer adhere to Covid-19 guidelines.

“We’re seeing a big excess,” he said. “Something is wrong in the way society is being managed because women between 20 and 40 are currently taking the brunt of this second wave.”

While the cause of the rise is unconfirmed, Semple believes the surge is driven by a combination of people becoming lax around coronavirus guidelines and younger women being in roles that put them at most risk. There is no evidence it is linked to schools reopening.

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He said the higher proportion of women working in hospitality, such as pubs, cafes and restaurants, in the caring sector, and in shops where they come into contact with customers, could leave them more exposed to the virus, particularly when people get sloppy about social distancing and other preventative measures.

The rise has emerged in data Semple gathers continuously from hospitals across England, Wales and Scotland for the Covid-19 Clinical Information Network, or Co-Cin, which provides weekly updates on the disease to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The latest Co-Cin data show that between January and September, 56% of the people treated in hospital for coronavirus were men and 44% were women. But since 1 August, women have accounted for 48% of those treated in hospital, the rise due to almost entirely to a surge in the number of admissions of women aged 20 to 40. There is no rise in admissions of men in that age range.

Semple stressed that the disease is still most harmful to older age groups and those with specific medical conditions, but said the rise in younger women underlined the need for all ages to take the second wave of infections seriously.

“It is not simply a disease of the elderly. We are seeing people between 20 and 40 who are otherwise fit and well who are being affected,” he said. “It’s clear to me that these working women are being exposed to the virus and that can only be because other parts of society are not taking heed of the guidance. The message is that Covid is real and it does affect younger adults.”

Concerns over an increase in infections among younger people, particularly women, were raised in a Sage situation report on 27 August, which highlighted the risks they posed to more vulnerable people they came into contact with. Those infections are now driving up the numbers of people being treated in hospital.

A 2013 study by the Office for National Statistics found that women made up more than 80% of staff in caring, leisure and other services. Chris Rauh, an economist at the University of Cambridge, said women were often less able to work from home, and more women than men were employed in face-to-face retail and hospitality jobs, which were hit particularly hard by the spring lockdown.

“If a greater share of women returned to work, and those jobs are more in face-to-face roles, it could be a factor in the rise,” he said.

Sophie Walker, the chief executive of the charity Young Women’s Trust said: “It is deeply concerning that women who have been on the front line of our care response and economic recovery might also be at increased risk from the virus.

“We urge the government to analyse closely the impact on young women from close contact with the virus via the paid and unpaid work they have been asked to shoulder – from work in care homes, shops, pubs and restaurants to unpaid caring for children who are sent home from school.

“If directives such as ‘eat out to help out’ and the focus on the school return are having a disproportionate impact on women’s health we need to have an urgent response plan.”


Considering 5 women for Supreme Court vacancy: Trump


Sep 22, 2020

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said that he is considering five women for the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Speaking to reporters at the White House on Monday before leaving for state of Ohio to campaign, Trump said they are being "vetted very carefully" and that he has spoken to some of the candidates and will also have some in-person meetings, Xinhua news agency reported.

The president said the announcement of his pick will be on "probably Saturday, but Friday or Saturday."

He added that he would rather see a full Senate vote on his nominee before Election Day, which falls on Nov. 3 this year, a move intended to cement a 6-3 conservative majority on the court.

Judges Amy Coney Barrett, Barbara Lagoa, and Allison Jones Rushing are said to be on Trump's shortlist.

Barrett and Lagoa, both confirmed in bipartisan votes by the Senate, are reportedly top contenders.

Ginsburg died last week due to complications of metastatic pancreas cancer at age 87.

A renowned champion of women's rights and liberal icon, Ginsburg was appointed to the U.S. high court by then-President Bill Clinton in 1993. She was the second woman appointed to the bench and served more than 27 years.

As the country continues to be saddened by her death, a partisan debate is raging over whether and how swiftly the Senate, which is responsible for confirming or rejecting nominations by the president, should move to fill the empty seat.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and Trump ally, told committee Democrats in a letter on Monday that he intends to "proceed expeditiously to process any nomination made by President Trump to fill this vacancy."

Democrats are accusing Republicans of hypocrisy because they argued in 2016 that voters should weigh in before then-President Barack Obama tried to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in that election year.

Republicans hold a 53-47 advantage in the Senate, but two of them have said they believe the chamber should not move forward with a Trump nominee, whose confirmation requires a simple majority.

Ginsburg will lie in state at the US Capitol on Friday, becoming the first woman in history so honoured.

A separate ceremony will be held Wednesday morning at the Supreme Court for Ginsburg's family, close friends and members of the court. The public then will have the chance to pay their respects under the portico at the top of the courthouse steps.

Ginsburg will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, which is across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., according to the Supreme Court.


How Artists in Turkey Are Responding to Violence against Women

Yasemin Elci

Sep 22, 2020

This past June, a Turkish woman took to Twitter with the following statement: “My husband can work if he wants.”

The post came after another round of grim news stories documenting domestic violence against women, as well as incidents of femicide. More Turkish women joined the chorus on Twitter, posting similar messages, such as: “The most beautiful career for a man is fatherhood.” Posts like these are meant to reverse and mock the discriminating and humiliating remarks used to hold Turkish women in an inferior social position to men. And, by doing so, Turkish women hope to spur an ongoing conversation about the dangers they face due to their gender.

These underlying societal issues have been addressed in contemporary art long before Twitter. Turkey’s pioneering contemporary female artists such as Nil Yalter, Nur Koçak, and Füsun Onur (the latter of whom will represent Turkey in the 2022 Venice Biennale) produced work commenting on gender inequality, women’s objectification, and their struggle in society since the late 1960s.

However, contemporary art in Turkey is becoming an increasingly prominent platform to discuss women’s rights. And women artists in Turkey continue to play a critical role in challenging the conservative gender norms.

Işıl Eğrikavuk, a Turkish contemporary artist, writer, and scholar based in Berlin, noted that humor has been used as a protest tool, most notably during International Women’s Day celebrations in Turkey.

“The topic of women’s rights is so heavy that we feel the need to create moments of relief,” Eğrikavuk said. “That is why we need a playful language to reverse situations and to embrace an alternative perspective, both in protests and in contemporary art.”

Eğrikavuk’s piece Time to Sing a New Song was commissioned right after the International Women’s Day marches on March 8, 2016. Inspired by the innovative rally signs, Eğrikavuk created an animated video installation with the slogan “Eve, Finish Up Your Apple!” The artist proposed an alternative to the cunning female image of Eve that is at the core of monotheistic religions. Eğrikavuk’s Eve could finish eating her apple instead of giving it to Adam, which ironically bore consequences for the artist, as prophesied in the religious texts.

Installed on top of Istanbul’s Pera Marmara Hotel, the video was taken down just after three days. The municipality allegedly claimed that it was causing visual pollution. The artist resisted and urged for an explanation from the authorities, but her petitions went unanswered. Her last resort was to produce another artwork as a reaction to the censorship. One month later in Depo Istanbul (a nonprofit art space), Eğrikavuk and her students put on a live performance that ended with one last phone call to the municipality—in front of the audience. In order to remind women to break out of the victim mentality which can easily become a trap, Eğrikavuk exhibited the two works together in the group exhibition “The Ends of Freedom” at Halle 14 in Leipzig, Germany, in 2019.

In July of this year, the brutal murder of Pınar Gültekin, a 27-year-old Turkish woman, by an ex-boyfriend also prompted outrage on social media. Women posted black-and-white selfies to protest the growing toll of femicide in Turkey and to emphasize that it can happen to anyone if the necessary laws are not brought into force. Thousands rallied in support of the Istanbul Convention, a treaty by the Council of Europe that fights for an end to violence against women.

Neriman Polat, an ardent feminist artist from Turkey, has bravely delt with human rights issues in her work for nearly 25 years. Polat is disappointed not to see more contemporary artists addressing this pressing issue of femicide through their art.

“My work becomes a way to commemorate women who were murdered, and to resist injustice,” she said. “By triggering deep-seated feelings in people, art can communicate messages more powerfully than words.”

Polat believes that artistic production is critical to fighting against violence and to expressing the inequality and pressures women face in their daily lives. She also acknowledges the blunt truth that being a woman artist today, in Turkey or elsewhere in the world, is still challenging.

Gülsün Karamustafa, one of Turkey’s most influential visual artists whose work explores sociopolitical changes in modern Turkey, said that women have always had a special role in the arts—even though they used to be fewer in number. Karamustafa has observed the increase in female artists working in Turkey, as well as their accomplishments and recognition, since the 1980s.

Having been involved in various feminist organizations in Turkey since 1970s, Karamustafa has witnessed the changing context of gender discussions, though she acknowledges that women artists have a different approach to this topic since they tell their own stories.

“We shouldn’t talk about their work as if it’s a different language,” she said. “When their unique stories meet others, together they create a vast impact that cannot be achieved through other methods.

Karamustafa also pointed out that the current debates are not just on positioning women artists in history, but also on LGBTTIQ rights. While we need certain labels to construct accounts of the past, filtering art through gender can obscure personal expression and undermine diversity.

The internationally acclaimed Turkish artist CANAN has renounced many labels in her life, including her last name. She refuses to use surnames, which she believes are “forced” and depend on “the permission of the husband and the government” during the marriage process. Likewise, during divorce proceedings, a surname in turn becomes a symbol of “permission of the government and the gift of the husband,” she said.

Until recently, both her personal life and her art revolved around the feminist slogans “the personal is political” or “the private is political” that were popularized in the late 1960s. CANAN’s art has long questioned the governing power of institutions such as religion, government, and society on personal choices. However, in time, she began viewing empowerment as an inner act, independent from others. CANAN now endorses the belief that “personal happiness is a political act,” she said, meaning that individuals shape societies, not the other way around.

CANAN still defends equal rights and opportunities, yet she no longer categorizes herself as a “woman artist” or a “feminist.” Her view on the future resonates with Sheryl Sandberg’s famous quote: “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”


Over 130 Women Trade Unionists Demand an End to Femicide In Turkey

Morning Star


MORE than 130 women trade unionists have demanded an end to femicide in Turkey in an open letter to the leaders of every trade union in Britain.

The letter calls on the general secretaries to demand action to stop the abuse of women in Turkey, where femicide cases are rising rapidly amid a huge surge in domestic violence.

Abuse of women by police and military personnel has also increased, leading to protests by Turkish women’s groups, trade unions and female politicians.

Several protests have been attacked by police officers and women have been arrested and beaten for protesting.

Kurdish women have been particularly targeted by police and military forces, with lawyers and politicians defending the perpetrators of the violence.

Meanwhile, the Turkish government is considering withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty which commits signatory governments to support women experiencing male violence.

The letter calls on trade unions to demand that Boris Johnson’s government raises concerns with Ankara, send solidarity messages to sister unions and seek an urgent meeting with officials to press Turkey to maintain support for the Istanbul Convention.

Among the signatories to the letter is Unison national executive member Maggie Cook, who said: “As women trade unionists, we are responding to calls for support from sisters in Turkey and Kurdistan, where the situation for women has been getting worse.

“This is an issue in the home, in the community and in workplaces.

“It is worsened by statements from Turkish politicians that tell women to stay at home and defend perpetrators of male violence.”




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