But what was she wearing ?

If you want to do something to reduce or end sexual harassment in workplaces you can help in the making of this documentary film based on this subject. The film titled “But what was she wearing ” is looking for funding from public.

Chennai-based Vaishnavi Sundar defines herself as an independent filmmaker, writer, theatre actor and social justice activist.

She has been making films for the past five years, with a focus on gender issues. She’s also the founder of Lime Soda Films, which makes grassroots films on social issues and documentaries.

Image credit – Newsminute

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Rules to save girls from effects of hormonal outbursts

 Maneka Gandhi is the Indian cabinet minister in charge of the ministry of women and child welfare. When she was asked about hostel curfews which forces girl students to be in their rooms by around 6pm in government run college hostels, she had this to say.

At 16 or 17 you are hormonally very challenged. So to protect you from your own hormonal outbursts, perhaps a lakshman rekha (a line that should not be crossed) is drawn. It really is for your own safety,’

Now can there be any better example of victim blaming than this ????

Image credit : NDTV

Image credit : NDTV

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Moral policing by pink police

Last year the Police department in Kerala state of India started a “Pink Beat Patrol” for enhancing the safety for women and children in public places. The Pink Beat included  specially trained women police personnel. These police personnel was supposed to patrol on Govt run bus services and private stage carriers and was to be present at bus stops, schools, colleges and other public places. They were supposed to assist women, children and senior citizens travelling on buses. They were supposed to prevent street sexual harassment. These patrol vehicle was led by a women police officer and had two other women police personnel.

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Unfortunately this laudable attempt to prevent infringement of human rights of women is having the opposite effect. Several reports had come out which point towards moral policing by the Pink Police.

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Celebrating women in Science

Two years ago United Nations General Assembly declared February 11th  as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Unfortunately, women and girls continued to be excluded from participating fully in science. According to a study conducted in 14 countries, the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in science-related field are 18%, 8% and 2% respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37%, 18% and 6%.

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New study throws light on female genital cutting in India

Female genital cutting (FGC) or mutilation is a regressive cultural practice found mostly among Muslims living in Africa and Arab countries and also in Indonesia. Though Indian subcontinent has a huge Muslim population it is believed that  FGC is very rare  among Muslims in South Asia.

Still one sect of Muslims were known to be following this, the Dawoodi Boharas.

The Dawoodi Bohras are a sub-sect of Ismaili Shia Islam, who trace their roots back to the Fatimid dynasty of Yemen in the 11th century. The Dawoodi Bohras believe that the religious or spiritual leader of the community is the Da’i al-Mutlaq, referred to with the title of ‘Syedna’. The post originated in Yemen but moved to Gujarat, India, in the 1500s. Today, the Dawoodi Bohras are predominantly a Gujarati-speaking business community with their own distinct culture and a population estimated to be between one and two million. The majority of Dawoodi Bohras reside in India and Pakistan, but over the last few decades there has been a significant migration of Dawoodi Bohras to the Middle East, East Africa, Europe, North America, Australia, and other parts of Asia. The administrative headquarters of the Dawoodi Bohras as well as the office of the current (53rd) Da’i are in Mumbai, India.

Dawoodi Bohras are the most well-known Muslim community in India to practice FGC, known as ‘khatna’ or ‘khafd’ in the community – a ritual that many Islamic scholars around the world do not endorse. In most instances, the process involves the removal of a pinch of skin from the clitoral hood at the age of seven, or between the ages of six and twelve. While the Quran, Islam’s holy book, does not sanction FGC, the Daim al-Islam, a religious text followed by this community, does endorses the practice. It is likely that the practice came down to the Dawoodi Bohras from Yemen, where Dawoodi Bohras trace their roots and where FGC is widely practiced in several provinces.

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Savitribai Phule – a pioneer Social Reformer

January 3 is the birth anniversary of the great 19th century Indian social reformer Savitribai Phule. She was born in 1831.

She is considered to be a pioneer in the field of education, especially education of women and oppressed castes/classes.

Belonging to a backward caste herself she was educated at her home by her husband, Jotirao Phule,  who himself was a great social reformer.

Image credit - Dalit Vision

Image credit – Dalit Vision

In the social and educational history of India, Mahatma Jotirao Phule and his wife Savitribai Phule stand out as an extraordinary couple. They were engaged in a passionate struggle to build a movement for equality between men and women and for social justice. Recognising that knowledge is power and that the progress of women and Dalit-Bahujans was impossible without it, they dedicated their entire life to spreading education. The distinction of starting the first school for girls and the Native Library in the country goes to them. They started the Literacy Mission in India in 1854-55. In 1863, they started a home for the prevention of infanticide in their own house, for the safety of pregnant, exploited Brahman widows and to nurture these children. By establishing the Satyashodhak Samaj (Society for Truth Seeking), they initiated the practice of the Satyashodhak marriage ñ a marriage without dowry or a wedding at minimum cost. By throwing open the well in his house for ëuntouchablesí, Jotirao directly initiated a programme to oppose the caste system. Both Jotirao and Savitribai did not just stop at opposing child marriage; they also organised widow remarriages. They had no children of their own but they adopted a child of a Brahman widow, gave him medical education and arranged an inter-caste marriage for him. This couple did the historical work of building a holistic and integrated revolutionary cultural, social and educational movement of women-shudra and-atishudras of the country.

Here are few images from a graphic novel on Savitribai Phule called “Journey of a trail blazer”.

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Many Indians are unaware of this great reformer. Only recently she has appeared in history textbooks in schools. So it was pleasantly surprising to see Google producing a doodle today for her in India.

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I will end this post with a poem written by Savitribai.

The Plight of the Shudras

Haunted by ‘The Gods on Earth’,

For two thousand years,

The perpetual service of the Brahmins,

Became the plight of the Shudras.

Looking at their condition,

The heart screams its protest,

The mind blanks out,

Struggling to find a way out.

Education is the path,

For the Shudras to walk,

For education grants humanity

freeing one from an animal-like existence

 

 

Menstrual taboo claims another victim

This happened in Nepal. 

 Roshani Tiruwa, 15, of Gajra – died on Saturday night in Chhaupadi goth (isolated shed) where women and girls are kept during menstruation. Her family members found her body lying in the shed on Saturday morning. This is the second incident of Chhaupadi death in Achham within a month. On November 19, Dambara Upadhyay, 21, was found dead in Chhaupadi shed.

According to SP Badri Prasad Dhakal, Roshani must have died due to suffocation as she had lit a small fire in the shed to warm herself. “Lack of air might have claimed her life. She lit the fire inside,” said SP.

Kin of deceased Roshani Tiruwa mourning her death.

Kin of deceased Roshani Tiruwa mourning her death.

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Women oppose Sharia courts in Britain

Sharia courts in Britain ?

Yes there are Sharia courts in United Kingdom. This is what Wikipedia say about it.

The Islamic Sharia Council (ISC) is a British organisation that provides legal rulings and advice to Muslims in accordance with its interpretation of Islamic Sharia based on the four Sunni schools of thought. It primarily handles cases of marriage and divorce and, to a lesser extent business and finance. According to BBC News, thousands of Muslims have turned to the Council to resolve family and financial issues. The Economist magazine states it has offered rulings to “thousands of troubled families since the 1980s”, the council states that it has dealt with an average of between 200 and 300 cases monthly as of January 2012.

The council has no legal authority United Kingdom,and cannot enforce any penalties; many Muslims would appear voluntarily to accept the rulings made by the ISC.

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