Friday, September 5, 2014
(a cathedral in Copenhagen)
Even in countries that are nominally supportive of transgender people, sterilization—whether by surgery or hormones—is often the price a trans individual must pay in order to receive legal recognition of his or her transition. It’s a paradigm that theWorld Health Organization has called "counter to respect for bodily integrity, self-determination and human dignity," and it’s one that doesn’t acknowledge the fact that for many trans people, transition is not necessarily tied to invasive physical changes.
Earlier this week, Denmark moved beyond this inhumane legal logic when its new gender recognition law came into effect. Under the new policy, trans people in the country are now only required to fill out some paperwork in order to receive a new social security number and accompanying personal documentation for their gender. Medical intervention, including surgery, psychological diagnosis, and official statements, are no longer necessary prerequisites—in Denmark, gender identification is now based solely on self-determination.
KINGSTON, JAMAICA - Young Jamaican gay rights activist who brought a legal challenged to the Caribbean island's anti-sodomy law has withdrawn the claim after multiple threats and violent backlashes, advocacy groups and colleagues said Aug. 29.
Javed Jaghai made headlines in 2013 after he initiated a constitutional court challenge to Jamaica's 1864 law that bans sex between men. Jaghai argues the law fuels homophobia and violates the 2011 adopted Human Rights Charter that guarantees people the right to privacy. However, Jaghai is withdrawing his challenge due to threats of violence.
TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan unveiled a reshuffled cabinet on Wednesday that included five women, an apparent nod toward his promises to raise the status of women in the workplace. The appointments tie the record for the number of women in top political positions in Japan.
Since taking office in December 2012, Mr. Abe has spoken of the need to revive Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, by more fully unleashing the potential of its huge pool of highly educated women, who have long been relegated to relatively low-ranking positions in the work force.
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Chinese men in rural villages are paying $3200 to families (parents, usually) to sell their daughters in rural Vietnam for marriage.
Their marriages were arranged for cash, but some of the Vietnamese women who have found unlikely Prince Charmings in remote Chinese villages say they are living happily ever after.
"Economically, life is better here in China," said Nguyen Thi Hang, one of around two dozen women from Vietnam who have married men in Linqi.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Women in France can now end a first-trimester pregnancy for any reason — and the full cost of the abortion will be financed by the government — under asweeping new gender equality law approved on Tuesday. The new policy amends the country’s existing abortion law, which currently allows women to get an abortion only if they can prove they’re in “emotional distress.”
From the Irish Times:
....many members of the trans community still exist on the fringes of Irish society and experience high levels of stigmatisation and discrimination.
A major cause of the marginalisation of trans people in Ireland is the lack of State recognition of trans identities. While you can change your gender marker on certain documents such as your passport or driving licence, there is no legal process to change the gender on your birth cert.
People are forcibly “outed” every time they are asked to produce a birth certificate. Young people miss out on their college places because the CAO office has no capacity for dealing with trans people. Trans people have to explain ourselves – to validate our identity – over and over. But legal gender recognition goes beyond the practicalities of daily life; it is about the State recognising that we exist.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
A pervading online misogyny is the most visible reason why the internet is failing to live up to its potential to improve people's lives, a report for a digital charity has concluded.
Charles Leadbeater, an author and former policy adviser to the Labour government, argues in the report A Better Web, that the problem is so serious one solution could be awards for women who succesfully contend with online abuse.
An interesting piece from the Atlantic:
From start to finish, the latest Gaza conflict has largely been a man’s war. The Israeli negotiating team in Egypt does not include a single woman–not even Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, whose condition for joining the current governing coalition was that she head Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instead appointed his own (male) representative, Yitzchak Molcho, to represent him in the delegation. Livni sits on Israel’s security cabinet, the small committee that has made most of the major decisions about this war, but, tellingly, she is the only woman at the table. The story is the same on Israeli television and in the country’s newspapers. According to a study by The Marker, fewer than 10 percent of all experts interviewed on news programs during the war have been women.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Statistics show 30 million girls are at risk of FGM in the next decade, and, each year, about 14 milliongirls are forced to marry before they are ready. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN convention on the rights of the child should prevent such injustices, yet girls' basic rights to health, education and security remain unmet. As young feminists, we know that patriarchy perpetuates the idea that girls are of less value, which leads to their systematic neglect in economic, political, social, legal and educational realms.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
Known as the “women’s treaty,” the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women—CEDAW—was signed by the United States 34 years ago today. The United Nations had adopted the treaty, pledging to give women equal rights in all aspects of their lives, on December 18, 1979, and at a special ceremony during the Copenhagen Conference the U.S. and 63 other countries signed on.
But that was only part of the process necessary for putting CEDAW into action. Countries also need to ratify the treaty—and 34 years later, the U.S. still hasn’t. That puts this country in what could hardly be called good company, with Iran, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Palau and Tonga. Hardly a roll call of great democracies and world leaders. Meanwhile, 188 other countries and regions haveratified the treaty.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
"The European Court of Human Rights declared Wednesday that countries can legally require transgender citizens to get divorced before issuing updated identification documents, lest the spouses become a legally recognized same-sex couple, reports U.K. LGBT sitePinkNews."
“They can be cured simply by dressing as a man again," said Negeri Sembilan state legal adviser Iskandar Ali Dewa.
He also told the court yesterday that since this is the case, Section 66 of the Syariah Law which states that a man cannot dress or pose as a woman, is applicable to them.
A medical report from the Ministry of Health however cites GID as incurable and life long.
The Court of Appeal is hearing a case where three transgenders are challenging the unconstitutionality of the Negeri Sembilan state Syariah law which prohibits them from expressing their gender identity.
Their lawyer Aston Paiva also showed the court proof that the Health Ministry signed off the medical reports of the transgenders citing that their disorder is incurable.
“According to psychiatrists from the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, the patients suffering from GID, although born biologically male, are actually female trapped in a man’s body,” stressed Paiva.
Paiva also added that his clients “are in no way challenging Islam but instead are challenging the legislative laws that discriminate them.”
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Parliament's art should be subject to a "gender-audit" amid concerns that the paintings and sculptures are too "white and male", a report endorsed by all three party leaders has found.
The All Party Parliamentary Group for Women said that the art in Westminster is "off-putting" for female MPs and warns that the language, culture and ceremonies of Parliament are too "masculine".
The Houses of Commons is ranked 65th in the world for female representatives behind Rwanda, Cuba, Angola and the majority of Latin American and Scandinavian nations.
The report recommends a series of radical steps to redress the balance, including gender quotas and a zero-tolerance approach to "raucous, ill-mannered" and "testosterone-fuelled" behaviour.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
In Kenya, polygamy is not unusual among the Masai tribe. But polygamy was not recognized by the Kenyan government as a proper marriage; only monogamy was. Recently, though, the Kenyan government passed a law to recognize polygamy and it did so as a means to help women:
Before the new act was passed, they lacked legal protection because customary marriages were rarely registered and therefore not recognised in a court of law.
This left many women vulnerable. If a husband died, they could be disinherited, and their children risked losing their rights and legitimacy. Now a customary marriage will be treated as equal to Muslim, Christian, Hindu and civil ones, giving all wives legal recognition and rights.
Women's rights groups have hailed this aspect of the law. What they find absolutely unacceptable is that male parliamentarians used their majority to vote down a clause requiring a man to inform any existing wives of his intention to marry again.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Women are crucial: We simply cannot end malnutrition if we don't invest in women, and not just because of their hugely important role as mothers. Women are critical to food and nutrition security due to the enormously important and myriad roles they play in agriculture, in their communities as workers and as producers.
Recognise inequality: Of course we have to recognise that there are multiple competing demands on women, especially the poorest. What's needed is a supportive system to allow women to make the choices that work best for them and their families. Sometimes this goes to the heart of complex and unequal power relationships in the family and the social and economic status of women in the poorest communities.
Breastfeeding powers the next generation: As the mother goes, so goes the child. Improving rates of exclusive breastfeeding is one of the best, most cost-effective solutions to ensure child survival and set the foundation for lifelong health. Successful breastfeeding promotion relies on tapping into 'influencers' in a woman's life: doctors, mothers-in-law, celebrities or media. It is important for breastfeeding to be promoted as the norm.
Covert breastmilk substitute promotion happens everywhere: An egregious tactic used to market infant formula is using medical professionals, especially pediatricians and nurses, to 'prescribe' or push formula onto mothers. I had it just happen to me when I gave birth to my second child here in the US a month ago. I was encouraged by doctors and nurses to 'supplement' my breastfeeding with formula on my baby's second day of life. Medical professionals often don't realise that their well-meaning advice can undermine a woman's confidence to breastfeed and serve as a tacit endorsement of infant formula.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Akiva Miller at Hebrew University has uploaded an article, "The Policing of Religious Marriage Prohibitions in Israel: Religion, State, and Information Technology." The abstract reads:
The State of Israel applies religious law in all matters of marriage and divorce. For the Jewish population of Israel, the law of marriage includes religious prohibitions on certain kinds of marriages, most notably the prohibition against intermarriage and the prohibition against marrying a mamzer. Over the years, Israel’s state-religious authorities have adopted a variety of methods and practices for policing these prohibitions. These include stringent procedures for premarital registration inquiries; use of databases for collecting information on prohibited persons; recording the possibility of mamzer status of newborn children; special Beit Din proceedings for handling cases of possible marriage prohibitions; Beit Din-initiated investigations of possible prohibited persons, including minors; and special “Jewishness investigations” for people of questionable Jewish ancestry. The article surveys the law and practice of these policing methods, as well as the acute social problems and injustices they cause. Lastly, the article discuses ways in which these methods change traditional Jewish marriage.
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
TRANSGENDER women in Malaysia have filed a groundbreaking court case challenging a law that prohibits them from expressing their gender identity, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 22, 2014, the Putrajaya Court of Appeal is expected to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of the laws.
Three transgender women from the state of Negeri Sembilan are asking the court to strike down a state law that prohibits ''any male person who, in any public place wears a woman's attire or poses as a woman,'' which has been used repeatedly to arrest transgender women.
All three petitioners, who identify as female but are described as ''male'' on their national identification cards, have been arrested solely because they dress in attire that state religious officials deem to be ''female.''
Friday, May 9, 2014
To avoid upsetting her husband, Urmila Devi told him she’ll heed his request to vote for India’s ruling Congress party when their village of 50 families participates in national elections. Once inside the polling booth, she plans to ignore his suggestion. “I’ll vote for a different party,” Devi, 26, says outside her one-room house in Galanodhan Purwa village in Uttar Pradesh state, where she cares for her two children. “I’m concerned about women’s safety. It should be the government’s top priority.”
A growing number of women are defying traditional gender roles in India and asserting their voice in elections that began on April 7 and end on May 16. Prompting the change: Higher literacy rates, greater financial independence, and a desire to stem violence against women, which became a highly visible issue after the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi in December 2012.
“Over the years, we’ve asked women if they voted on their own or if they voted for whoever their husbands or fathers asked them to,” says Sanjay Kumar, New Delhi-based director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, which conducts opinion polls. “Women were reluctant to tell us earlier, but increasingly they’re saying they’re voting on their own, no matter what the men say.”
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
SAO PAULO (AP) Gay rights advocates called for a Brazilian law against discrimination as they gathered by the hundreds of thousands in Sao Paulo on Sunday for one of the world's largest gay pride parades.
Sao Paulo Gov. Geraldo Alckmin announced that he would restore a historic house in Avenida Paulista, where the parade strolls, and turn it into a gay museum.
The activists and parade organizers said a law that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is overdue in Brazil. Criminalizing displays of discrimination against gays would reduce violence against members of the LGBT community, advocates said.