The bumper sticker on my wife’s car reads, “Well-behaved women seldom make history!” I believe proponents of CEDAW, the Women’s Treaty, have been minding their manners a bit too much. CEDAW is the most important international mechanism for women’s equality, and provides a universal standard for women’s human rights. The treaty is a basic framework for ending violence against women, ensuring girls access to education, and promoting economic opportunity and political participation for women.
Los Angeles Times: A new study posits the plight faced by widows as a human rights issue, many of whom suffer discrimination and abuse,and are trapped in poverty. The report found at least 245 million widows worldwide, almost half living in poverty, with the highest number of widows in China with 43 million, India with 42.4 million, the United States with 13.6 million, Indonesia with 9.4 million, Japan with 7.4 million, Russia with 7.1 million, Brazil with 5.6 million, Germany with 5.1 million, and Bangladesh and Vietnam with about 4.7 million each.
"At least 245 million women around the world have been widowed and more than 115 million of them live in devastating poverty, according to a new study released Tuesday by Cherie Blair, wife of the former British prime minister.
The most dire consequences are faced by 2 million Afghan widows and at least 740,000 Iraqi women who lost their husbands as a result of the conflicts in their nations; by widows and their children evicted from their family homes in sub-Saharan Africa; by elderly widows caring for grandchildren orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis; and by child widows ages 7 to 17 in developing countries, the report said."
As ethnic tension boils over into violence in Kyrgyzstan this week, rumors have begun to surface on the ground that amid the rioting, shooting and chaos, Kyrgyz women are being raped. Whether or not the rumor is true, the situation is all too familiar. When violence breaks out, women and girls, already vulnerable, are often among the first casualties, and the violence is often systematic, designed to demoralize their communities.
Reuters: Women have been fired upon with paintball guns in the Muslim Chechnya region for not wearing headscarves. The attackers have driven by women in cars with tinted windows, and posted fliers threatening to escalate the violence if women continue to go out without covering their heads.
"Women in Russia's volatile Muslim Chechnya region said on Friday that police had targeted them with paintball pellets for not wearing headscarves, outraging rights activists.
The attacks highlight tension over efforts by Chechnya's firebrand Moscow-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, to enforce Muslim-inspired rules that in some cases violate Russia's constitution. Several witnesses told Reuters that men in camouflage, which is worn by many Chechen police and security officers, had fired paintball guns at women from cars with tinted windows in multiple incidents this month.
This week, fliers from the self-proclaimed paintballers appeared in the city of Gudermes, site of Kadyrov's opulent residence, warning women that if they did not cover their heads the attackers will be "'forced to resort to tougher measures'".
From U.S.A. Today: As 1600 Afghan leaders prepare for a peace conference (known as a jirga), women such as U.S.Rep. Donna Edwards,D-Md., wants to ensure that women's rights aren't set aside during the conference. During the Taliban's rule of Afghanistan, women lived under severe restrictions. Edwards, who is in Afghanistan with a congressional delegation said that Afghan officials have confirmed that 20% of the participants in the jirga will be women, who would play a meaningful role in the conference, and lead half of the breakout meetings.
From the NY TImes: Two girls--age 13 and 14, escaped their illegal, arranged marriages, only to be returned home by police. The girls were punished by being flogged. Poverty and tribal customs are the push behind many child bride marriages. There are few resources for the girls, although Women for Afghan Women does run shelters in Kabul and other cities. They have taken in 108 child brides.
From Reuters: In a plan to end the nine year conflict with the Taliban, political leaders, tribal elders and civil servant leaders will meet at a peace jirga--an assembly of leaders. The leaders will discuss reopening talks with the Taliban, which concerns many Afghan women, who fear a return to the days of being banned from schools, the work place and public life.
From CNN: The American Academy of Pediatrics rescinded a controversial policy statement made in April. The statement condemned the practice of female gential cutting but also included a section stating that physicians in some communities could use a "clitoral pricking" procedure as a substitute for female genital cutting.