World Gender Relations for Equal Dignity (WGenderRED)


Chipamong Chowdhury (family name), or Bhante Revata (monk's name, known in the monastic communities), Coordinator

HumanDHS is primarily grounded in academic work. We are independent of any religious or political agenda. However, we wish to bring academic work into "real life." Our research focuses on topics such as dignity (with humiliation as its violation), or, more precisely, on respect for equal dignity for all human beings in the world. This is not only our research topic, but also our core value, in line with Article 1 of the Human Rights Declaration that states that every human being is born with equal dignity (that ought not be humiliated). We agree with Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, who advocates the building of bridges from academia as follows, "I have always believed that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential for public policy. It is possible to affect public policy without being an advocate; to be passionate about peace without losing analytical rigor; to be moved by what is just while conceding that no one has a monopoly on justice." We would like to add that we believe that good scholarship can be relevant and consequential not only for public policy, but for raising awareness in general.

To promote the HumanDHS vision of a world of equal dignity for all, away from practices of humiliation, new forms of gender relations have to be developed, both locally and globally.

UCLA Study on Friendship Among Women
Taylor, Shelley E., Klein, Laura Cousino, Lewis, Brian P., Gruenewald, Tara L., Gurung, Regan A. R., and Updegraff, John A. (2002). Biobehavioral Responses to Stress in Females: Tend-and-Befriend, Not Fight-or-Flight. In Psychological Review, 109 (4), pp. 745-750,
Please see the Abstract:
The human stress response has been characterized, both physiologically and behaviorally, as "fight-or-flight." Although fight-or-flight may characterize the primary physiological responses to stress for both males and females, we propose that, behaviorally, females' responses are more marked by a pattern of "tend-and-befriend." Tending involves nurturant activities designed to protect the self and offspring that promote safety and reduce distress; befriending is the creation and maintenance of social networks that may aid in this process. The biobehavioral mechanism that underlies the tend-and-befriend pattern appears to draw on the attachment-caregiving system, and neuroendocrine evidence from animal and human studies suggests that oxytocin, in conjunction with female reproductive hormones and endogenous opioid peptide mechanisms, may be at its core. This previously unexplored stress regulatory system has manifold implications for the study of stress.

Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights
The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is an organization devoted to bringing knowledge about gender and security to bear on the quest to end armed conflicts and build sustainable peace. The Consortium is housed at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. The Consortium has been shaping the agenda in gender and security research since its establishment in 2002. As it approaches its sixth anniversary, the Boston Consortium continues with its traditional agenda and looks forward to exciting new initiatives.

The Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights is an organization devoted to bringing knowledge about gender and security to bear on the quest to end armed conflicts and build sustainable peace. The Consortium is housed at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. The Consortium has been shaping the agenda in gender and security research since its establishment in 2002. As it approaches its sixth anniversary, the Boston Consortium continues with its traditional agenda and looks forward to exciting new initiatives.


Please note that the entire HumanDHS website is maintained by volunteers, since its inception in 2003, and this is mainly done by Evelin Lindner. Until 2012, she usually pasted interesting news into this Links section. From July 2012 until 2017, she tagged interesting information on From 2017 onward, you see Evelin's personal list of interesting web links on Twitter:

The Tyler Clementi Foundation
Jane Clementi co-founded the Tyler Clementi Foundation alongside husband Joe because she wants to make sure that our society learns the consequences of discrimination and bullying, as she learned all too personally through the loss of her son. A native of New Jersey and devoted mother of three sons, Jane speaks passionately to parents and community leaders about the need to not merely "accept" or "tolerate" children who come out as LGBT, but to embrace them as wondrous creations of God. Jane, a registered nurse, speaks on the need for parents of LGBT children to come out and speak openly of the love they have for their children, and in doing so each one of us can impact the world around us and create accepting environments. Since losing Tyler, Jane's spiritual journey has continued to carry and transform her in ways she never would have imagined. She left her church home of many years because she felt that while sitting in the pews of a church that condemned LGBT people she was herself a bystander to bullying. Jane leads an inspirational life through her unique experience which she shares with other parents, and speaks passionately about the need to divorce the concept of "sin" from homosexuality. She has made difficult choices in an impossible situation, and leads by example. She has spoken out in support of LGBT rights and the need for families and communities to embrace their LGBT populations. Jane has spoken at BNP Paribas Bank, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a variety of universities including The College of New Jersey, high schools and churches.

Adore is a 2013 Australian-French drama film directed by Anne Fontaine. The film is based on a novella by British writer Doris Lessing called The Grandmothers. The original title of the film was Two Mothers and it premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival under this title.

Security Council Spends One Day to Urge Measures Against Rape in War Zones
17 April 2013 – Conflict-related sexual violence, horrific in itself, is also an impediment to national reconciliation and development, top United Nations officials told the Security Council at the start of a day-long debate, urging increased political and financial pressure on those who commit, command or condone sexual violence in war zones.
... Ms. Bangura also urged the Council to "raise the cost and consequences" for those who commit rape, which, she maintained, remains largely "cost-free". "Sexual violence has been used through the ages precisely because it is such a cheap and devastating weapon, but more deadly than any bomb. We can and must reverse this reality, making it a massive liability to commit, command or condone sexual violence in conflict," she said, adding that however great the commitment of the UN, it cannot substitute for the political will and action of national authorities...

DSM-5 and Beyond: A Critical Feminist Engagement with Psychodiagnosis
February 2013 issue of Feminism & Psychology, edited by Jeanne Marecek and Nicola Gavey

The Women's UN Report Program & Network (WUNRN)
WUNRN is a non-governmental organization to implement the conclusions and recommendations of a United Nations Study on Freedom of Religion of Belief and the Status of Women from the Viewpoint of Religion and Traditions (E/CN.4/2002/73/Add.2). This study is a major, universal, comprehensive U.N. approach to intolerance and discrimination against women based on religion and traditions. To strengthen the nexus between women's rights and freedom of religion or belief, it is important to build on the Juridical and Factual Aspects of this study by research, plans of action and practical projects. WUNRN, together with The Tandem Project, is committed to this objective through support for the dignity and fundamental rights of women everywhere, and by the promotion of tolerance and the end of discrimination against women based on religion and traditions.

Woman to Woman
No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself
No woman is required to build the world by destroying herself...
See more here.
- Words by Rabbi Sofer and Carolyn McDade; music by Carolyn McDade. We thank Linda Hartling for making us aware of this song.

World Day for Disaster Reduction – Women, Girls 'the Invisible Force'
Marking the International Day for Disaster Reduction, United Nations officials have called for women and girls to be at the forefront of reducing risk and managing the world's response to natural hazards.

Death Penalty for Family Members in India 'Honour Killing'
3rd October 2012
Five members of a family in the Indian capital, Delhi, have been sentenced to death for the brutal murder of a young couple in 2010. Yogesh and Asha were tortured and electrocuted in a so-called honour killing by members of Asha's family who objected to the union on caste grounds. Asha's parents, her uncle, aunt and a cousin were arrested the day after the crime. They were convicted on Monday. Last year the Supreme Court said honour killings should get the death penalty....

Tunisians Protest over Charges against Woman Allegedly Raped by Police
3rd October 2012, Hundreds stage demonstration outside Tunis courthouse as fears grow that women's rights are being eroded.
Eileen Byrne in Tunis...
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Belgium Film on Street Harassment Strikes a Chord Across Europe
Sofie Peeters's account of everyday sexist insults women face triggers debate about inaction over universal problem...

Male Couples Face Pressure to Fill Cradles
By Rachel L. Swarns, August 9, 2012 WASHINGTON — When the jubilant couple were wed in June, they exchanged personalized vows and titanium rings, cheered the heartfelt toasts and danced themselves breathless. Then, as the evening was winding down, unexpected questions started popping up.One after another, their guests began asking: Are you going to have kids? When are you going to have kids?...

Acid Throwing and Crimes Against Women, in The Nation, by Atle Hetland, 12th April 2012
I like to make films that are controversial," Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy said at a large panel discussion organised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Tuesday this week. She was honoured for her Oscar-winning film, Saving Face, by the research and intellectual community gathered in the elegant auditorium at HEC in Islamabad. The room was packed with hundreds of senior academics, students, NGO leaders, diplomats and others. HEC had also connected about 70 of the country's universities through modern video conferencing. It was an important way for Pakistan's intellectual community to say that acid throwing is unacceptable; it is madness and intolerable. HEC's Chairman Dr Javaid Laghari, Executive Director Dr Sohail Naqvi, Deputy Director Dr Noor Amna, and others addressed the audience. HEC has again shown great leadership in organising such a conference. One of the fields HEC is encouraging universities to focus on is the building of better university-community linkages, and that is indeed important in the field of crimes against women...
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Dignity is her Birthright
by Prabha Sridevan, March 24, 2012
The state should not forget the human rights perspective while dealing with a victim of sexual violence. It should not doubly, trebly victimise her. Women do not walk in a state of perpetual consent. But women do seem to labour under a delusion that it is safe for them to walk in public spaces, to travel in buses and trains. It obviously is not. They can be raped. It is difficult to understand rape. Rape is not about chastity or virginity. Long before these concepts were constructed, long before the institution of marriage was founded, a man raped a woman whenever he broke her sexual autonomy without her saying "yes." It is a violation of her right to equality and her right to live with dignity which "We" promised ourselves when we gave to ourselves the Constitution. Surely women are included in the "We" of the Preamble, aren't they?
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Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution
A new project to shed light on women's role during January 25, 2011. After January 25, people thought feminism will finally get its break in Egypt, only to be faced with an unrepresentative female minority in the parliament, a crackdown on women's march last year and an overall undermining of women's role in the political scene. But Words of Women from the Egyptian Revolution documentary series hopes to contribute in writing history through telling and highlighting women's stories duringJanuary 25, as told by them.

Alex Trouteaud on Men Who Buy Sex: A Scientific Research Study
"Easily the most surprising finding from the study was the percentage of men who continued with the ‘transaction’, we’ll call it, where they were knowingly purchasing sex with a child despite multiple warnings that they were about to do so. But still, basically half of the men [42%] [continued with the transaction]. That blew my mind, honestly. It was saddening, too." Dr. Alex Trouteaud, Lead Researcher of the Georgia Demand Study | Meet Justice, LLC.

Women in China: A Social Revolution by Hilary Spurling
Women in China have long been silenced or sidelined—if they weren’t smothered at birth. But now a booming economy has transformed their lives. Hilary Spurling sees the changes for herself ...

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) is the oldest women's peace organisation in the world. It was founded in April 1915, in the Hague, the Netherlands, by some 1300 women from Europe and North America, from countries at war against each other and neutral ones, who came together in a Congress of Women to protest the killing and destruction of the war then raging in Europe.

Women Welcome Women World Wide
5W (or 3W, as it was then called) was founded in 1984 by Frances Alexander in High Wycombe, UK. It was first envisioned as a European organisation and publicised by the EEC bulletin "Women of Europe". However, as friendship knows no boundaries, 5W now has members in every continent except Antarctica!
5W is an organisation with few rules - just those of general courtesy, consideration and common sense. An essential condition of membership is to sign the promise of confidentiality on the application form. This is to protect all members. Its infringement is an offence under UK law. Women Welcome Women (as it was originally known) was constituted as a non-profit Trust. On March 1,1999, the organisation became a Company Limited by Guarantee with an international Board of Directors/Trustees. The current chairwoman lives in Berlin, Germany. There are Trustees from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, UK and USA. 5W continues to operate as a non-profit Trust.
5W helps women become more self-confident. After experiencing other countries and ways of life from within private homes, members return to their own with greater understanding and a broader vision. Members in a number of countries do not have the option to travel, but they tell us how much they value the contact of women visiting them.

Women In Development Europe (WIDE)
Women In Development Europe (WIDE) is a European feminist network of women's organisations, development NGOs, gender specialists and women´s rights activists. WIDE monitors and influences international economic and development policy and practice from a feminist perspective. WIDE's work is grounded on women's rights as the basis for the development of a more just and democratic world order and the search for alternative approaches to the economic mainstream. WIDE enables members and partners to articulate alternatives to the negative impacts of globalisation, and makes feminist alternatives visible. Through the dissemination of our research and analysis, WIDE promotes gender equality and social justice.

Public Health and Social Justice
The Public Health and Social Justice web site contains articles, slide shows, syllabi, and other documents relevant to topics in public health and social justice. References for most of the information contained in the slide shows can be found in the accompanying articles. Presentations are updated every 6-12 months.
The site is aimed at students, educators, and the general public. It grew out of my recognition that medical, and even nursing and public health, schools tend to inadequately address the social, economic, environmental, human rights, and cultural contributors to health and disease.

Gifts of Speech: Women's Speeches from Around the World

Women without Men by Shirin Neshat
Women without Men by Shirin Neshat is an independent film adaptation of Shahrnush Parsipur's novel. The story chronicles the intertwining lives of four Iranian women during the summer of 1953; a cataclysmic moment in Iranian history when an American led, British backed coup d'état brought down the democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammad Mossadegh, and reinstalled the Shah to power.

Porn Ban on Net and Mobiles Mulled by South Africa
Current leglislation bans child pornography but not adult material A South African government official is proposing a complete ban on digitally distributed pornography.
Deputy Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba has approached the country's Law Reform Commission to ask whether a change in the law is possible. He has also had talks with the Justice Alliance for South Africa (JASA), a respected group which has written its own draft bill on the issue. Internet security experts have dismissed the idea as "madness".
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Malawi Gay Couple Get Maximum Sentence of 14 Years
The pair were arrested after holding an engagement ceremony last December. A judge in Malawi has imposed a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison with hard labour on a gay couple convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts...
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Portugal Backs Same-sex Marriage
Portugal's President Anibal Cavaco Silva says he will sign a law legalising same-sex marriage passed by parliament earlier this year. The law had been fiercely opposed by conservatives in the Catholic country. The ratification will make Portugal the sixth country in Europe to allow same-sex marriage after Belgium, Spain, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden. The announcement comes days after Pope Benedict, on a visit to Portugal, told pilgrims they should oppose the law. Portugal's Constitutional Court validated the bill last month...

Mali Imam in Fear Over Family Law
An imam in Mali is living in fear after backing a new family law which no longer obliges wives to obey their husbands, angering Muslim groups.
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Anger in Malawi over Polygamy Ban
Muslims in Malawi have been angered by government plans to ban polygamy. A spokesman for the Muslim Association of Malawi told the BBC the proposed law would discriminate against the country's Muslim minority. He said with about 6% more women than men in Malawi, if polygamy were banned, many women would be left without a husband and become prostitutes. The gender minister said the ban was necessary to prevent women from being abused in polygamous relationships. She said problems occurred because men could not give their full attention to more than one woman.
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Child Bride' Inquiry in Nigeria
Nigeria's Senate has ordered an investigation into reports that one of its members has married a 13-year-old Egyptian girl. Ahmad Sani Yerima, 49, is alleged to have married her at the national mosque in Abuja several weeks ago. Senators called for the investigation after receiving a petition by protesting women's groups, who believe Mr Sani has broken the law. The senator has not spoken publicly about the reports of his marriage.
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Yemen Rally for Child Bride Law
Hundreds of women have rallied outside Yemen's parliament to show support for a law banning child marriages. The law being proposed would set a minimum age for girls to be married at 17 and 18 for boys. But some conservative Muslims are against the law being passed. The rally comes days after thousands of women protested against it. The government proposed the law after the marriage of an eight-year-old girl to a 30-year-old man was annulled. The girl, Nujood Mohammed Ali, was outside the parliament in Sanaa among the women at the rally. She was quoted by news agency Agence France Presse saying she was protesting in the hope that the law would go through without any changes. But some MPs have submitted requests for the law's review...

Rashtriya Ekal Nari Adhikar Manch
In a quiet revolution, widowed, abandoned, witch-hunted women from India's smallest villages — in Jharkhand, Bihar, Rajasthan, Karnataka —- are coming together under a single banner to demand their due, live lives of dignified struggle having overcome being gang-raped, cheated, starved, violated in every which way possible. Their message is clear. Single women are not alone. Under the banner of the just-formed Rashtriya Ekal Nari Adhikar Manch, their immediate demands are to be recognised as heads of families who should not be defined by relation to a man...

Lakshmi and Me by Nishtha Jain, 2009
At the film’s outset, the basic paradox of modern-day Indian culture is exposed. As an emerging international powerhouse, India’s millions of upwardly mobile, professional women are freed from housework and domestic chores. No longer do they have to dust, sweep, do laundry, cook or even walk their children to school. Why? These recent professionals have a bai, or woman to help with some of these chores—a woman who comes from a less privileged class. Like most domestic workers in India, Lakshmi works nonstop—10 hours a day, seven days a week, in six different households. She works without days off, without complaining and without bitterness—all for the paltry monthly pay of 600 rupees or so from each home (the filmmaker confides that is what she herself would pay for a fancy dinner out). “But that’s what everyone pays,” Jain rationalizes at the film’s outset, in a voice-over commentary that follows her personal journey from impartial onlooker to—if not exactly friend—at least a sympathetic advocate.

Bans 'Do not Cut Abortion Rate'
Restricting the availability of legal abortion does not appear to reduce the number of women trying to end unwanted pregnancies, a major report suggests. The Guttmacher Institute's survey found abortion occurs at roughly equal rates in regions where it is legal and regions where it is highly restricted. It did note that improved access to contraception had cut the overall abortion rate over the last decade. But unsafe abortions, primarily illegal, have remained almost static. The survey of 197 countries carried out by the Guttmacher Institute - a pro-choice reproductive think tank - found there were 41.6m abortions in 2003, compared with 45.5 in 1995 - a drop which occurred despite population increases. Nineteen countries had liberalised their abortion laws over the 10 years studied, compared with tighter restrictions in just three. But despite the general trend towards liberalisation, some 40% of the world's women live amid tight restrictions. On some continents this is particularly pronounced: well over 90% of women in South America and Africa live in areas with strict abortion laws, proportions which have barely shifted in a decade. Researchers also noted that while liberalisation was a key element in improving women's access to safer terminations, it was far from the only factor. Even in countries where abortion is legal, lack of availability and cost may prove major obstacles. In India for example, where terminations are legally allowed for a variety of reasons, some 6m take place outside the health service. The costs of unsafe abortions, which can include inserting pouches containing arsenic to back street surgery, can be high: the healthcare bill to deal with conditions from sepsis to organ failure can be four times what it costs to provide family planning services...
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Japanese Women 'Still not Equal'
By Roland Buerk BBC News, Tokyo
A United Nations panel has urged Japan to take stronger measures to eliminate gender inequality. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women said the country's efforts were "insufficient". It pointed to unequal laws on marriage, the treatment of women in the labour market and the low representation of women on elected bodies. But the committee said Japan had made great progress reducing the already low maternal mortality rate. It said the world's second-biggest economy ranked 54th in the world in terms of gender equality. It was concerned over the low legal penalty for rape and the widespread availability in Japan of violent pornography, it added. And the committee said Japan should set goals to increase the number of women in senior decision-making positions in the workplace and politics. It said the age at which women can marry should be raised from 16 to 18 in line with men. And a six-month waiting period before remarriage after divorce that applies only to women should be scrapped...

Sudan 'Trousers Trial' Adjourned
A Sudanese woman facing 40 lashes for wearing trousers has had her case adjourned until next week...

Tanzania Launches Bank for Women
Tanzania has launched a bank aimed specifically at women in what officials say will be an empowering move. The bank says women need only an ID card or passport to open an account, unlike other banks which require title deeds or other proofs of wealth. And applicants need only 3,000 Tanzanian shillings ($2) in savings - much less than other banks. Although the bank, which is based in Dar es Salaam, targets women with its services, men can also open accounts. The bank's management says it will give women expert help and advice. 'Too shy': Margareth Mattaba Chacha, the managing director, said: "We know some women hesitate to come forward - they are too shy and think they don't know anything. "But here we're going to have a big group of professionals to take women through step-by-step until we really reach our women."..

Pakistan to Probe Girl's Flogging
Pakistan's top judge has called for a court hearing into the public flogging of a teenage girl, which was captured on video and shown around the world. Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry has ordered police and government officials from the north-western Swat Valley to bring the girl to court next week. The film shows apparent Taleban members holding her down and hitting her with a strap as she cries out in pain. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has condemned the incident as "shameful". Local sources said the girl had been accused of illicit relations with a man and that the flogging took place about a month and a half ago. Since then, the provincial government in the North West Frontier Province agreed to implement Sharia law as part of a peace deal with militants there. A press release quoted Chief Justice Chaudhry - who was only recently restored to office - as saying the action was a cruel violation of fundamental rights that gave Pakistan a bad name...
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Sisters 'Make People Happy'
Sisters spread happiness while brothers breed distress, experts believe. Researchers quizzed 571 people aged 17 to 25 about their lives and found those who grew up with sisters were more likely to be happy and balanced. The University of Ulster said having daughters made a family more open and willing to discuss feelings. They said the influence of girls was particularly important after distressing family events such as marital break-ups. The findings are due to be presented at the British Psychological Society in Brighton on Thursday. During the study, participants filled in psychological questionnaires which researchers used to assess a range of issues, including whether they had a positive outlook and any mental health problems...
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Rape Row Sparks Excommunications
By Gary Duffy BBC News, Sao Paulo
Published: 2009/03/05
A Brazilian archbishop says all those who helped a child rape victim secure an abortion are to be excommunicated from the Catholic Church. The girl, aged nine, who lives in the north-eastern state of Pernambuco, became pregnant with twins. It is alleged that she had been sexually assaulted over a number of years by her stepfather. The excommunication applies to the child's mother and the doctors involved in the procedure. The pregnancy was terminated on Wednesday. Abortion is only permitted in Brazil in cases of rape and where the mother's life is at risk and doctors say the girl's case met both these conditions...
Intervention bid: The Catholic Church tried to intervene to prevent the abortion going ahead but the procedure was carried out on Wednesday. Now a Church spokesman says all those involved, including the child's mother and the doctors, are to be excommunicated. The Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Jose Cardoso Sobrinho, told Brazil's TV Globo that the law of God was above any human law. He said the excommunication would not apply to the child because of her age, but would affect all those who ensured the abortion was carried out. However, doctors at the hospital said they had to take account of the welfare of the girl, and that she was so small that her uterus did not have the ability to contain one child let alone two. While the action of the Church in opposing an abortion for a young rape victim is not unprecedented, it has attracted criticism from women's rights groups in Brazil.
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Indonesian Divorce Rate Surges
The divorce rate in Indonesia has risen dramatically over the past decade, according to official figures. Women have a greater awareness of their rights and are bringing more cases to court. The number citing polygamy as grounds for divorce is also rising. The Religious Affairs Ministry said the divorce rate had jumped from an average of 20,000 a year to more than 200,000. Since the introduction of democratic reforms 10 years ago, authoritarian attitudes to marriage are changing...
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French 'Virgin' Ruling Reversed
A French court of appeal has overruled the decision to annul the marriage of two Muslims because the bride had lied about being a virgin. They are now effectively married again - even though both partners said they accepted the original judgement...
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Niger Ex-slave Wins Landmark Case
A West African court has found Niger's government guilty of failing to protect a woman from slavery in a landmark case for the region. The court found in favour of Hadijatou Mani, who says she was sold aged 12 and made to work for 10 years. A judge ordered the government - which says it has done all it can to eradicate slavery - to pay Ms Mani 10m CFA francs (£12,430; $19,750). Despite being outlawed, slavery also persists in other West African states...
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Fritzl Says He Was 'Born to rape'
The Austrian father who allegedly imprisoned and abused his daughter for 24 years has said he was "born to rape", according to a leaked report. The report by psychiatrist Adelheid Kastner says Joseph Fritzl's mother humiliated him in childhood, creating his need to "possess a human being".Mr Fritzl said he had an "evil streak" and that he "could have behaved a lot worse than locking up my daughter"...
Dr Kastner says Mr Fritzl spoke of humiliating and unprovoked attacks by his mother in childhood. "His childhood made him susceptible to an emotional handicap," she writes, creating the need for him "to possess an entire human being". The report says Mr Fritzl believed incarcerating his daughter, Elisabeth, meant he would have someone "just for me". He believed having children with her would mean she would have to stay with him as she would "no longer hold any attraction for other men". Mr Fritzl speaks of himself as a "volcano" who has a "flood of destructive lava that was barely controllable"...
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Ugandans Ban Female Circumcision
A community in eastern Uganda has banned the deeply rooted practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), an official has said. Kapchorwa district chairman Nelson Chelimo said it was "outmoded" and "not useful" for the community's women. The Sabiny are the only group in Uganda that practises FGM, which involves cutting off a girl's clitoris. Mr Chelimo said the council had submitted legislation to parliament for the ban to become law nationwide. "The community decided that it was not useful, that women were not getting anything out of it, so the district council decided to establish an ordinance banning it," Mr Chelimo told AFP news agency. He said there was a local belief that women who married without circumcision would be stricken by illness, but that this was "really outmoded". FGM is seen in some countries as a way to ensure virginity and to make a woman marriageable. In Africa, about three million girls are at risk of FGM each year, according to the UN. UN agencies have called for a major reduction in the practice by 2015. They say it leads to bleeding, shock, infections and a higher rate of death for new-born babies...
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It’s Over Two And A Half Years Since the Appointment of Michelle Bachelet as Chile’s Head of State – How Has Her Presidency Impacted Women’s Rights and Gender Equality?
By Rochelle Jones
On January 15 2006, Michelle Bachelet was elected as Chile’s first ever woman president. A single mother and self-confessed agnostic in a socially conservative country dominated by the Catholic Church, Bachelet represented a beacon of hope for women in Chile and indeed Latin America. Bachelet is not only the first female president in Chile’s history, she is notably “the first female president anywhere in Latin America who rose to political prominence without being linked through marriage to a high profile male leader.”[1] Her accession to power was met with an outpouring of emotion by Chilean women who celebrated this moment as the beginning of a tide of change. Over two and a half years into her term of office, has this tide swept over Chile as was hoped, and have women’s rights surged forward as part of it? Tangible gains for women: Bachelet’s intentions regarding the status of women in Chile were clear from the beginning. Just weeks after being sworn in, she kept her campaign promise and named a Cabinet of 10 male and 10 female ministers – quite a precedent not only in Latin America, but globally. This was criticised by some as sacrificing quality for quantity, but these criticisms seem to have faded into the background given the government’s achievements to date. Bachelet made other promises to women during her campaign, including “free preschool care for working mothers in the poorest 40 percent of the population, and a Non-Discrimination and Good Labor Practices Code for the public sector, with voluntary adoption for the private sector. She also promised to put an end to discrimination against women of childbearing age in private healthcare plans, and to create one million new jobs in the next four years with employment subsidies and job training programs, some targeted specifically to women and single mothers. Bachelet also called for stricter laws against domestic abuse, more protection for victims, and more victims-attention resources.”[2] A year into her term, Bachelet had achieved a number of these promises:[3] - A law she called "just and beautiful" gave women the right to breast-feed at work. - Penalties were strengthened for men who fail to pay alimony. - Hundreds of nurseries were established nationwide, as well as domestic violence shelters for women and children. - Equal numbers of women and men now hold top administration jobs, including in her Cabinet. - Women were for the first time admitted at the naval academy. - Girls as young as 14 can get free morning-after contraceptive pills. ...
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Why Soldiers Rape, by Helen Benedict, in In These Times
An alarming number of women soldiers are being sexually abused by their comrades-in-arms, both at war and at home. This fact has received a fair amount of attention lately from researchers and the press - and deservedly so.
But the attention always focuses on the women: where they were when assaulted, their relations with the assailant, the effects on their mental health and careers, whether they are being adequately helped, and so on. That discussion, as valuable as it is, misses a fundamental point. To understand military sexual assault, let alone know how to stop it, we must focus on the perpetrators. We need to ask: Why do soldiers rape?...
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Saudi Maid Verdict 'Outrageous'
Human Rights Watch has called on Saudi judges to overturn a decision to drop charges against a Saudi couple accused of severely abusing an Indonesian maid...
Rights organisations say many foreign domestic maids in Saudi Arabia work in harsh circumstances and often suffer abuse by their employers. The Saudi Labour Ministry has acknowledged some problems, but the government also says foreign workers' rights are protected under Islamic law...
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Australia Appoints Woman Bishop
Australia's first woman bishop, Kay Goldsworthy, has been consecrated in St George's Cathedral in Perth. The move has been welcomed by Australia's sex discrimination commissioner as a turning point for the church and the nation. But a minority of Australian Anglicans, angered by the appointment, have warned that it will split the church. Women have been serving as Anglican bishops in the US since 1989, but many other countries find the idea divisive. Twenty-one Anglican bishops from Australia and New Zealand were among a congregation of more than 800 to show their support for Kay Goldsworthy's controversial appointment. Opponents of the ordination of women, including the head of the Sydney diocese, Archbishop Peter Jensen, did not attend the ceremony...
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Women on the Frontline
A new documentary series, Women on the Frontline, presented by Annie Lennox, that shines a light on violence against women and girls. The series takes the front to homes, villages, and cities of our world where a largely unreported war against females is being waged. Please see more on and

Domestic Violence Bill in Austria
The Domestic Abuse Intervention Program (DAIP Vienna) is a program on domestic violence aiming at creating an integrated response to interpersonal violence by establishing effective intervention systems. Their work is based on the Domestic Violence Bill, a new law introduced in May 1997.
Part of their work are perpetrator related interventions. Together with the man’s counselling centre in Vienna they carry out a program for violent men. The program consists of social training groups for violent men, support for the victims and the co-ordination of all interventions. It’s a pro-feminist program putting safety of the victims highest on the agenda.

Saudi Women 'Kept in Childhood'
Saudi women are being kept in perpetual childhood so male relatives can exercise "guardianship" over them, the Human Rights Watch group has said. The New York-based group says Saudi women have to obtain permission from male relatives to work, travel, study, marry or even receive health care. Their access to justice is also severely constrained, it says. The group says the Saudi establishment sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. Saudi clerics see the guardianship of women's honour as a key to the country's social and moral order...
Please read the entire article at

DNA Tests on Texas Sect Children
A Texas judge has ordered that 416 children, removed from a polygamous sect by police, remain in state custody for genetic testing...
The adults in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) group, which broke away from the mainstream Mormon Church more than a century ago when polygamy was banned, say they are being persecuted for their religious beliefs...
Members believe a man must marry at least three wives in order to ascend to heaven. Women are taught that their path to heaven depends on being subservient to their husband...
An expert on children in cults told the court that the girls may have believed that marrying much older men was their free choice because they had been raised in that belief...
"Obedience is a very important part of their belief system," said Bruce Perry. Although many of the adults and children at the YFZ ranch seemed emotionally healthy, the sect's belief system was "abusive", he added. "The culture is very authoritarian."...
Polygamy is illegal in the US, but the authorities have reportedly been reluctant to confront the FLDS for fear of sparking a tragedy similar to the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian sect in Waco, Texas, which led to the deaths of about 80 members...
Please read the entire article at

3 Women for Peace
David Maidman wrote (February 19, 2008):
While producing Think Peace: Portrait of a 20th Century Movement, we became aware of the role that powerful women are playing in implementing peace in this century. We shot so much insightful and moving footage at the World Peace Forum, that we could not include it all in our documentary. We invite you to listen to extra footage of three of these inspirational women:
- Marianne Williamson became renowned for her dedication to the Peace Alliance and a strong advocate for a Department of Peace. Marianne spoke at the World Peace Forum on Sunday, June 25, 2006.
- Medea Benjamin is a celebrated activist with Code Pink and since we talked to her she has become even more outspoken against the war. Medea talked to us at the World Peace Forum on Tuesday, June 27, 2006 about Code Pink's Peace Ribbon campaign.
- Judith LeBlanc is a co-chair of United for Peace and Justice, one of the largest anti-war coalitions in the U.S. Speaking on a panel at the World Peace Forum on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 on "Organizing in the U.S." Judith outlines some of the strategy that resulted in the Democrats capturing the U.S. Congress in November 2006. To view go to:

Woman to Conduct Egypt Marriages
By Frances Harrison
BBC religious affairs reporter
Egypt has appointed a woman to conduct Muslim marriages for the first time.
Amal Soliman, 32, has broken centuries of tradition by being chosen as a judicial assistant who officiates at weddings, known as a maazun...
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UK 'Should Outlaw Paying for Sex'
The sex trade fuels human trafficking, says Ms Harman
Harriet Harman
Commons Leader Harriet Harman has told the BBC she wants the law to be changed to make it illegal to pay for sex. She said ministers were to look at how Sweden brought in such a law, and said a "big debate" was needed in the UK...
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Rape Case Ruling Shocks Australia
A judge's decision not to jail nine men guilty of raping a 10-year-old girl in an Aboriginal community has triggered outrage in Australia.
The offenders were either placed on probation or given suspended sentences for the 2005 rape in the Aurukun settlement, in northern Queensland...
The offenders came from some of the most powerful and prominent Aboriginal families in Cape York, while the victim's family had a lower status, The Australian reported...
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Life’s Work: The Feminine Critique, by Lisa Belkin
New York Times
November 1, 2007
DON’T get angry. But do take charge. Be nice. But not too nice. Speak up. But don’t seem like you talk too much. Never, ever dress sexy. Make sure to inspire your colleagues — unless you work in Norway, in which case, focus on delegating instead.
Writing about life and work means receiving a steady stream of research on how women in the workplace are viewed differently from men. These are academic and professional studies, not whimsical online polls, and each time I read one I feel deflated. What are women supposed to do with this information? Transform overnight? And if so, into what? How are we supposed to be assertive, but not, at the same time?
We thank Olga Botcharova for making us aware of this article!

International Women Leaders Global Security Summit
November 15-17, 2007
On November 15-17, the Council of Women World Leaders
will co-convene the largest gathering of women world leaders addressing issues of global security ever held in the United States. This truly significant initiative will bring together current and former women heads of state and government and more than 70 other high-level women leaders from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America. Visit to learn more.

Gene 'Links Breastfeeding to IQ'
A single gene influences whether breastfeeding improves a child's intelligence, say London researchers. Children with one version of the FADS2 gene scored seven points higher in IQ tests if they were breastfed. But the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences study found breastfeeding had no effect on the IQ of children with a different version. The gene in question helps break down fatty acids from the diet, which have been linked with brain development. Seven points difference is enough to put the child in the top third of the class, the researchers said ... Some 90% of people carry the version of the gene which was associated with better IQ scores in breastfed children...
Please read the entire article at

Umoja: How an African Village is Banning Violence against Women
Violence against women can be stopped. That conviction underlies the life's work of Rebecca Lolosoli, an Indigenous Samburu woman from Kenya who has transformed her life and her community. Rebecca is the founder of Umoja, a women-run village in rural Kenya which has declared itself a "Violence against Women Free Zone"...
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US Urges 'Comfort Women' Apology
US lawmakers have called on Japan's government to formally apologise for its role in forcing thousands of women to work as sex slaves in World War II.
The symbolic and non-binding resolution was passed during a vote in the House of Representatives...

Female Peacekeepers Reach Liberia
The first all-female unit of United Nations peacekeepers has arrived in Liberia's capital, Monrovia.
The group of more than 100 police women from India will stay in Liberia for six months, helping to train the local police force...

Police Plea on Genital Mutilation
The Metropolitan Police is offering a £20,000 reward for information which would bring to justice anyone involved in female genital mutilation.
The campaign is being launched at the start of the summer holidays, during which young girls - mainly from African communities - are thought most at risk. Mutilation involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia for cultural reasons.... This is child abuse. It is not an attack on anyone's culture, it is an attack on anyone who commits this horrendous abuse of children (Alastair Jeffrey, Metropolitan Police)...

Ugandan Adultery Law 'Too Sexist'
Uganda's adultery law has been scrapped by the Constitutional Court because it treated men and women unequally.
The law made it an offence for a married woman to have an affair, but it allowed a cheating husband to have an affair with an unmarried woman...
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Rule of Thumb
A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation. It is an easily learned and easily applied procedure for approximately calculating or recalling some value, or for making some determination.
Domestic violence/discipline:
It is often claimed that the term originally referred to the maximum thickness of a stick with which it was permissible for a man to beat his wife. This explanation for the origin of the term was popularized in the opening of the 1999 movie The Boondock Saints.
Linguist Michael Quinion, citing the research of Sharon Fenick, notes that there are some examples of a related usage historically — most notably with regard to a supposed pronouncement by a British judge, Sir Francis Buller. However, it is questionable whether Buller ever made such a pronouncement and there is even less evidence that he phrased it as a "rule of thumb"; the rumoured statement was so unpopular that it caused him to be lambasted as "Judge Thumb" in a satirical James Gillray cartoon. According to Quinion, the term "Rule of Thumb" was first documented in English in 1692, long before Buller's reported pronouncement. The first known usage of the phrase "rule of thumb" in direct reference to domestic violence was in 1976, in the book Battered Wives by Del Martin ...
Please read more here:

Offerings: A Co-Creative Field for Evolving Women
There is a movement taking place all over the globe, an ongoing conversation that tells the story of women evolving themselves, their lives, their world. Offerings is a co-creative field where rich and diverse artistic expressions of this emerging story unfold. Our creative works include print publications, audio and visual engagements, online dialogues and face-to-face gatherings, as well as new business models, new ideas for how we live, partner and move in the world.

Broadening Regional Initiative for Developing Girls' Education (BRIDGE) Project in Taiz Governorate, Yemen
See, for example,

Violence against girls and women is so pervasive that we have a tendency to be frozen by that reality.  As Bob Herbert notes, the recent killings in schools in Pennsylvania and Colorado are a painful reminder that we cannot remain frozen-that the depreciation of women has degenerated into a hatred that we can't afford to ignore. MADRE addresses the issue of violence against women and girls with our partner organizations around the world.  And we agree with Bob Herbert that this kind of violence is shocking, and we believe that our shock must propel us into action:
Why Aren't We Shocked?
The New York Times
By Bob Herbert, Op-Ed Columnist
In the recent shootings at an Amish schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania and a large public high school in Colorado, the killers went out of their way to separate the girls from the boys, and then deliberately attacked only the girls.
Ten girls were shot and five killed at the Amish school. One girl was killed and a number of others were molested in the Colorado attack...
Please read the entire article at

In Chechen’s Humiliation, Questions on Rule of Law
By C. J. Chivers, published August 30, 2006
ARGUN, Russia, Aug. 26 — The humiliation of Malika Soltayeva, a pregnant Chechen woman suspected of adultery, was ferocious and swift.
Malika Soltayeva, shown in a recent photo, was tortured by men who served as the police. Ms. Soltayeva, 23, had been away from home for a month and was reported missing by her family. When she returned, her husband accused her of infidelity and banished her from their apartment. The local authorities found her at her aunt’s residence. They said they had a few questions. What followed was no investigation. In a law enforcement compound in this town in east-central Chechnya, the men who served as Argun’s police sheared away her hair and her eyebrows and painted her scalp green, the color associated with Islam. A thumb-thick cross was smeared on her brow.
Please read the entire article at

National Organization of Men Against Sexism
The National Organization for Men Against Sexism is an activist organization of men and women supporting positive changes for men. NOMAS advocates a perspective that is pro-feminist, gay affirmative, anti-racist, dedicated to enhancing men's lives, and committed to justice on a broad range of social issues including class, age, religion, and physical abilities.
NOMAS is the oldest pro-feminist men's movement in the US.  NOMAS has chapters, programs, and trainings around the country, and put on the national conference on men and masculinity on an annual basis. NOMAS just ended their 31st national conference at Ramapo college, NJ, this summer, 2006. NOMAS also sponsors research on issues of masculinity through their Men's Studies Association, and support a feminist analysis of anti-violence work through their Ending Men's Violence Task Group. Membership in NOMAS includes their quarterly Journal, BROTHER.

Women Are Getting Even (WAGE)
WAGE is is a charitable organization led by Evelyn F. Murphy, author of Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men and What To Do About It. Dr. Murphy is a Ph.D. economist, former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts, and board member for various corporations and non-profit organizations.

Gender Similarities Hypothesis
There is strong evidence for the so-called gender similarities hypothesis.
Please see Hyde, Janet Shibley (2005). The Gender Similarities Hypothesis.
In American Psychologist, 60 (6), pp. 581-592.

Kuwaiti women vote for first time
Polling is taking place in a Kuwaiti council by-election in which women are allowed to vote for the first time.
Two women are also among eight candidates running for the seat in the Salmiya district, south of the capital.The 28,000 eligible voters, 60% of whom are women, are voting in segregated polling booths, a condition demanded by Islamist and tribal MPs.Women were granted equal political rights last year and will vote in full legislative polls in 2007.
Please read the entire article at