News and Views by Region
Pakistan: “Reclaiming Space: from victimhood to agency: State and civil society response to VAW”
Islamabad—Speakers at a conference here on Thursday urged for collective struggle and structural reforms to challenge Violence Against Women (VAW) in South Asian countries particularly. The three-day South Asian conference on “Reclaiming Space: from victimhood to agency: State and civil society response to VAW” organized by Rozan in Islamabad was widely attended by women activists from all over Pakistan who were joined by delegates from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Nepal: Survey of Social Norms on Violence, Culture and Gender
Kathmandu, Sep 18 (IANS) If a wife burns the food or demurs to have sex, her husband can beat her. And if she goes out without telling her mother-in-law or doesn't bring in dowry, the mother-in-law can do the same.
That is how a large chunk of women in Nepal's patriarchal society feels, a sample survey has discovered.
Pakistan: Rights groups report rise in violence against women
A Pakistan-based women's rights watchdog says there has been a rise in the number of violent acts reported against women, RFE/RL's Radio Mashaal reports.
The Aurat Foundation (AF) said 4,448 cases of violence against women were reported from different parts of the country in the first six months of this year.
That compared with the first six months of 2010, when 4,061 cases were registered.
China: Marriage law interpretation could leave many divorced women homeless
BEIJING — Millions of Chinese women, and some men, woke on Aug. 13 to discover their spouse had, in effect, become their landlord.
On that day, the Supreme Court’s new interpretation of the 1980 Marriage Law came into force, stipulating that property bought before marriage, either outright or on mortgage, reverted to the buyer on divorce. Previously, the family home had been considered joint property. Experts agree the change would mostly affect women, since men traditionally provide the family home.
Nepal Looks Set To Officially Recognize Third Gender
FRIDAY FILE: Almost four years after Nepal’s Supreme Court recognized the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, the South Asian country may get a new constitution that secures their rights.[i] By Kathambi Kinoti
The first public wedding between two women in Nepal in June 2011 in a town a few kilometres south of the capital Kathmandu. Nepal was constitutionally a Hindu state until 2006 when Parliament amended the constitution to make it secular. The majority of Nepalese are Hindu and the second most prominent religion is Buddhism.
Afghanistan: Government Campaign Against Self-Immolation
The Afghan government has launched a national media campaign to address the growing problem of self-immolation. Most people who set fire to themselves, on purpose or by accident, are women. Many try to commit suicide because they are victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse.
Listen to the BBC interview with women's rights activist Horia Mosadiq on why women are setting themselves alight here:
India: UNICEF report uncovers high prevalence of child marriage in West Bengal
Every second girl in the high prevalence child marriage districts of West Bengal were married off before they reach 18, the legal age for girls to get wedded, a UNICEF report said.
Murshidabad (61.04%), Birbhum (58.03%), Malda (56.07%) and Purulia (54.03%) are the districts having such dubious distinction, the report said quoting latest figures.
Though only these four districts have reported over 50 per cent child marriage cases, they are enough to pull the state figure of child marriage to a staggering 53.9 per cent.
Pakistan: Women Advocates Aid Religious Minorities
(WNN) ISLAMABAD: In spite of real dangers for those working as advocates with Pakistan’s religious minorities, a number of people have been speaking out against religious discrimination and the misuse of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws inside the country.
As internal divisions, casualties and conflict on the northern border and a growing hatred and distrust of ‘the West’ expands, a dedicated group of Pakistani women and men are leading the way on issues of human rights and religious freedom inside the country.
Acts of heroism for women have been happening in Pakistan despite the fact that the country is one of the worst places in the world to be a woman. A recent 2011 “Education Emergency Report” by the PETF – Pakistan Education Task Force has revealed that only “one in three” women have attended school in rural regions.
Council of Europe Convention calls for hotlines, shelters, medical and forensic services
Hamiyet, a member of Turkey’s Kurdish minority, was a 15-year-old newlywed when her husband began beating her every evening after work. He hit her when she was pregnant with each of their nine children, and he raped her almost nightly. She sought help from the police, but they always sent her back home, more concerned with preserving “family unity” than with her safety.
Nepal: Religious Practices, Discrimination & Gender Violence
KATHMANDU, Jul 28, 2011 (IPS) - The recent gang-rape of a Buddhist nun and her expulsion from her sect have sparked a debate about the deep-rooted religious traditions and biases that foster discrimination and violence, especially against women, in this South Asian state.
The public outcry against the nun’s expulsion forced the Nepal Buddhist Federation to reconsider, saying now that once she recovers, the victim can return to her nunnery.
But it is only a minor triumph. While public debate on a discriminatory socio-religious practice led to its retraction, thousands of women continue to be victims of other religious rituals in Nepal.