The United Nations says it is determined to end female genital mutilation (FGM) – a ritual practiced mostly in Africa, the Middle East, parts of Asia and even among some migrant communities in Europe.And the world body’s determination is being backed with facts, figures -- and a global campaign by a Joint Programme against FGM initiated by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN children’s agency UNICEF.
The tragic death of 12 women after a state-run mass sterilisation campaign in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh went horribly wrong in 2014 made global headlines. The episode saw about 80 women "herded like cattle" into makeshift camps without being properly examined before the laparoscopic tubectomies that snuffed out their lives. In another incident in 2013, police in the eastern Indian state of Bihar arrested three men after they performed a botched sterilisation surgery without anaesthesia on 53 women over two hours in a field.
The Zika virus epidemic and a rise in the number of cases of microcephaly in newborns have revived the debate on legalising abortion in Brazil. However, the timing is difficult as conservative and religious groups are growing in strength, especially in parliament.
Can you imagine an entire day without access to your mobile phone, laptop, or even to the internet? In our rapidly changing world, could you function without having technology at your fingertips?
A middle-aged woman arranges bouquets of yellow roses in a street market in Little Haiti, a slum neighbourhood in the capital of the Dominican Republic. “I don’t want to talk, don’t take photos,” she tells IPS, standing next to a little girl who appears to be her daughter.
“Do you speak English fluently? No? Then you risk to become a terrorist!.” IPS posed this dilemma to some young Muslim women living in Cairo, while explaining that this appears to be UK prime minister David Cameron's formula to judge the level of Muslim women's risk to fall, passively, into the horrific trap of extremism.
When President Barack Obama made his first visit to Kenya as US President in July 2015
, one of the poignant messages he left was an exhortation for communities to shun cultures that degrade women and girls.
Tichaona Muzariri, 44, a villager based at Range in Chivhu, a town 143 kilometers south of Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, quit his job as a teacher in 2009 to start a rabbit farm on a small scale with three does (female rabbits) and one buck (male). With around US$30 as capital, Muzariri waded into rabbit farming back then. Today, his rabbit farm breeds nearly 3,000 rabbits every year and slaughters up to 120 every week for sale to grocery stores, restaurants and hotels.
Despite the enormous challenges facing Africa now, the leaders of its 1.2 billion plus inhabitants have decided to spotlight the issue of Human Rights With a Particular Focus on the Rights of Women in their 26th summit held in Addis Ababa on 21-31 January this year. Why?
Keziah Juma is coming to terms with her shattered life at the shanty she shares with her family in Kenya’s sprawling Kibera slum where friends and relatives are gathered for her son’s funeral arrangements. While attending an antenatal clinic, Juma who is only 16 years discovered that she had been infected with HIV. “I went into shock and stopped going to the clinic, that is why they could not save my baby and I have been bed-ridden since giving birth two months ago,” she told IPS.
Porter Ngengh Tike is in her late thirties, but looks well over 50. For 8 hours every day, she carries around a large bamboo basket on her head, delivering supplies to local traders in the biggest traditional market of Bali – Pasar Badung. At the end of the week, she earns about 18 dollars - a sum that Tike uses for food, household expenses and her 10- year old son’s education. So, when it comes to seeing a doctor, there is no money, says Tike who suffers from genital infections.
A member of the Spanish Congress, Carolina Bescana, of the anti-austerity Podemos Party, created a controversy last week when she took her six-month old baby to work and openly breastfed him during a session. The delegate was widely criticized by almost all parties for her action and the event has spurred a lively debate on the image of mothers who juggle motherhood with their jobs.
Everyone has the right to be born with a nationality – safe, fearless and free – and secure in their human right to equally transfer, acquire, change or retain it. There is no reason why over 50 countries should still have sexist nationality and citizenship laws, which largely discriminate against women, potentially putting them and their families in danger and denying them the rights, benefits and services that everyone should enjoy.
Maria was barely 16 when her father removed her from school to marry her off to a man 20 years older than she was just so that the family could receive eleven cows as her dowry.
Africa is clearly one of the most negatively impacted regions in the world, not helped by the increasing trend of the mainstream media to focus on tragic news, following a self-imposed rule: “if it bleeds it leads”.