The world’s food security remains “vulnerable”, new data suggests, with some 870 million people experiencing sustained hunger and two billion suffering from micronutrient deficiencies.
“In Gaza we don't lead normal lives, we just cope, and adapt to our abnormal lives under siege and occupation,” says Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician and a long-time human rights and women's rights activist in the Gaza Strip. On International Women's Day, when many of the world's women are fighting for workplace equality and an end to domestic violence, Farra and the majority of Gaza's women fight for the most basic of rights.
Women face greater odds in achieving equal political representation in the Pacific Islands than in any other region of the world, holding just 3 percent of seats in national parliaments, compared to 20 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa and 18.5 percent in South East Asia.
Gaza is becoming increasingly radicalised as Hamas continues its crackdown on civil liberties, press freedom and the rights of women. In the last few weeks a number of journalists have been arrested and accused of being involved in “suspicious activities”, several detainees shot dead by police during arrest attempts, and female students asked to abide by a strict Islamic dress code.
Despite anti-discrimination laws and a steadily growing number of employed women, Japan is falling behind the rest of the world on gender equality. Widespread discrimination persists, and has only grown more subtle over the past years.
“Before she was murdered, she wasn’t alive. We’ll tell her story backwards from her murder to her birth”…so begins a powerful new song by critically acclaimed Palestinian hip-hop band DAM to draw attention to the continuing murder of Palestinian women by male relatives declaring that “family honour” has been damaged by alleged sexual indiscretions.
From full literacy declared in the seventies, Iraq is down to 40 percent literacy for women. From the first woman prime minister and the first woman judge in the Middle East in 1959, Iraq has slipped to a place where an abnormal number of widows struggle, and where child marriages are on the rise. Hanaa Edwar is putting up a fight to win Iraqi women their freedoms again.
Yemeni women have played an integral role in the protests against ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year regime last year. But despite the country’s upcoming political ‘National Dialogue’ - brokered by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and intended to bring together a cross-section of Yemeni constituencies - females still face a wall of discriminatory laws and practices, and a status quo willing to enforce them.
Papua New Guinea, the most populous nation in the Pacific Islands, is ranked 153 out of 187 countries worldwide for gender equality, which is evident in education, employment, health and political representation.
Balancing her school bag on one shoulder and holding her three-year-old son by the hand, Farida Haque (19) ignores her in-laws’ complaints and her husband’s frown as she heads each morning for the tiny school in her remote village of Allah Bachayo, located in the Thatta district of Pakistan’s Sindh Province.
From Zimbabwe to El Salvador, women in poor countries suffer the brunt of climate change, but also learn to recover from disasters, to adapt and even to find opportunities in the new weather conditions.
Thirty-year old Swapna Raj of Hyderabad is a woman in a hurry: in time for the International AIDS day Swapna, a HIV positive person on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), has received a contract from the state government to deliver 5,000 red ribbons.
Fatmeh Abu Hrar Tabeel has had her first ever breast cancer screening. “It feels good to know, of course. Thanks to god, I am well,” the 51-year-old mother of seven told IPS. “Now I can examine myself once a month from home; the doctor showed me how.”
Egyptian bullies who sexually harass women in the streets, often taking advantage of mob situations and the anonymity these provide, are getting a taste of their own medicine - and they don’t like it.
During the uprising that toppled Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak women stood shoulder to shoulder with men in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, pressing the revolution’s demands for freedom, justice and dignity. But those who hoped the revolution would make them equal partners in Egypt’s future claim they may be worse off now than under Mubarak’s authoritarian rule.