All posts tagged: Women

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Linking with Those at Standing Rock

I stand in solidarity with the water protectors. Native Americans from nearly 300 tribes united to protect the water by protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. This pipeline would transport 450,000 barrels of crude oil per day across sacred burial grounds and Lake Oahe on the Missouri River, the main source of drinking water for Standing Rock. According to the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851, Standing Rock Reservation is a sovereign native nation, meaning that Energy Transfer Partners has no right to construct this pipeline on their land without their permission. The US Government, per their own treaty, has no right to let them. I stand with the water protectors because I oppose a $3.7 billion project that supports a corporation at the expense of human beings. I stand with them as a white American who is interwoven in a system that exploits Natives for my gain – and I want that exploitation to stop. I stand with them because I am crying out for my government to honor the treaties and begin to right its …

Lesotho Home

Gender Parity in Lesotho: 10 Years Later

Post Written By Stephanie Vizi In 2006, married women in the tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho, gained equal legal standing to men under the Legal Capacity of Married Persons Act. Now, any woman can legally own land, receive inheritance, and make her own decisions. Prior to 2006, women in Lesotho were considered legal minors. In 2003, the Sexual Offences Act was enacted to combat sexual violence. The Act officially defined all forms of unwanted sexual penetration as rape, not just vaginal penetration as it was prior to this Act. This act also gives legal rights and validity to men who have been raped. In addition, it states that marriage or any other relationship is not a legitimate defence to sexual violence. 10 Years Later It’s been over 10 years since these laws were put into place to protect women from gender inequality and abuse. However, implementation has been slow, especially in rural, mountainous villages, which accounts for the majority of the Basotho population. According to Thato Letsela, Help Lesotho’s Officer for Leadership Centres, “In general …

MentalHealth

Issues Surrounding Women’s Mental Health—The Facts

Mental health issues have been recognized as a common illness around the world, yet they still remain underdiagnosed. This issue brings to light the need to highlight these problems and to help women treat these disorders. Being mentally healthy is an essential part of our daily lives. But just how prevalent are women to having mental health disorders? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depressive disorders affect around 41.9% of neuropsychiatric disorders among women compared to 29.3% among men. Some of the most prevalent mental disorders among adults include depression, organic brain syndromes, and dementia, and women are part of the majority. In addition, lifetime prevalence of violence rates among women range from 16% to 50%, and at least 1 in every 5 women have suffered from rape or attempted rape in their lives. Although more doctors have attempted to identify patients with these disorders, many appear reluctant to seek professional help. In fact, according to the WHO, only 2 out of every 5 people with a mood, anxiety, or substance use disorder sought for …

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Respecting Your Body: The Key to Attaining Self-Respect and Becoming Your Best Self

“How do you manage to stay so fit and still accomplish all of your goals on your own?” “I’m a vegetarian who does a lot of martial arts and cardio exercises every day, and I always make sure to touch base with myself at the end of the day.” Questioning looks. Silent glares. “Is that even humanly possible?” they whisper. Self-confidence and self-esteem are two of the most common issues that women and girls face. In order to help them reach their full potential, we need to address these issues. When I was 15, during lunchtime, my classmates would stare at my lunch filled with an array of different vegetables and fruits and ask whether I had eaten enough to fuel my body for the rest of the day. Even in college, whenever I chose not to eat meat, people would give me blank stares and whisper behind my back. What’s wrong with the choices that I have made for myself? Although many people are not vegetarians and are not committed to a rigorous exercise and sleep regimen …

AfricanWomen

Celebrating Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Work in Africa

In the words of former American President Woodrow Wilson, “We are not here merely to make a living, but to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision and a finer spirit of hope and achievement.” Some ordinary people have taken it upon themselves to add value to their countries and empower communities, making them exceptionally extraordinary. On International Womens Day, I asked several of my friends, and fellow champions of women’s economic empowerment, at Empower Women to help me identify and celebrate such African women. These are strong, courageous women who have overcome many challenges to achieve their dreams. Their zeal to improve the welfare of women and alleviate poverty is what makes them outstanding. Here are inspiring stories of four incredible African women, as nominated by the champions. Faith Kasoni (Kenya)- Leading Anti-FGM Campaigns Teresa Abila from Kenya, nominated this courageous woman from Samburu, one of the counties in rural Kenya that FGM is still widely practiced. Teresa says that she admires Faith because she decided not to undergo the cut as an …

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Assisted Reproduction for Single Women in Sweden

As of April 1, it will be legal for single women in Sweden to receive assisted reproduction. On January 13, 2016, the Swedish parliament accepted a government bill to give single women the right to assisted reproduction. This is, in many ways, a historical day since the Swedish state will give single women the same opportunity to become parents as married couples and registered partners. Out of the 349 members in the Swedish parliament, 218 voted yes, 40 opposed the bill, and 13 abstained their votes.  Of the eight parliament parties, the Swedish Democrats and the Christian Democrats opposed the law. Since 2005, the Swedish state has allowed lesbian couples to receive assisted reproduction and gay couples to adopt. Many have been arguing that Sweden -as one of the world’s leading countries concerning gender equality and minority rights- should allow single women to undergo artificial insemination as well. The Centre party, the Liberals, and the Moderates advocate for single women to have access to artificial insemination. The three parties state: “We are convinced that people’s fitness to be parents is not …

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Building a movement around Khatna

This is part 2 in a two-part series on FGM in India. Read Part 1 here.  Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or “Khatna”, as it is referred to in India, is practised secretly among the Bohra community. Over the past year, several women from the community have spoken up about the practice while encouraging other women from the community to speak up as well. I speak to Mariya Taher from Sahiyo, an organisation building a movement against Khatna on this issue and their work. “More than a year ago, five women who felt strongly about the ritual of female genital cutting within the Bohra community came together to fight this practise. Each one of us had been working on the topic for many years,” Mariya said. Mariya is a social worker, activist and writer who lives in the United States. The group includes a social worker, a researcher, two filmmakers and a journalist located in different parts of the world; and all of whom had already been speaking out against the practice of Khatna. “As our …

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Indian women speak out against FGM

This article is part 1 of a two-part series on FGM in India Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is traditionally known to be practised in 30 African countries. According to latest reports from international agencies like UNICEF, it is said that FGM has been done on at least 200 million girls. I recently interviewed Masooma Ranalvi who began a campaign to encourage Indian women from the Bohra community to speak up against the practice. The practice is called Khatna locally and is classified as Type 1 FGM by the WHO. It is estimated that there are nearly 1.5 million Bohras globally who have undergone FGM but numbers on how many have been cut are still unavailable. GG: I read about the campaign India Speaks Out on FGM through the article highlighting the petition in The Ladies Finger. Till I read this article, I had no idea that the practice existed in India. It is usually portrayed as an African issue. Your thoughts? MR: Yes that’s true. It is India’s best kept secret. There is a reason behind …

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What Do The World’s Women Want?

What do the world’s women want? Put simply: Control over their bodies Education Economic autonomy Access to health services To choose who and when to marry To choose if and when to have children This should not come as a surprise. These are fundamental rights that advocates for gender equality have been working towards for years. At a recent event hosted by the Foreign Policy Association, Francoise Girard, President of the International Women’s Health Coalition, outlined the demands, spoke about what over 600 women’s groups worldwide are doing to make these demands a reality and how large foreign investors need to realign their efforts. The International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) takes a three-pronged approach that combines global policy promotion, youth leadership/advocacy workshops and partnerships with local women’s organizations. Through partnerships with 80 grassroots countries, IWHC uses the local expertise to inform their global advocacy. Girard’s talk covered the state of the world as it relates to the Millennium Development Goals and how that has shaped the formation of the soon-to-come Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But …