One writer calls for the government of Zimbabwe to make a stronger effort to promote gender equality in the nation.
Zimbabwean women walk beside road. Credit: Frederica Olivieri
“It comes as no surprise that women have been grossly short-changed in the years since the Global Political Agreement (GPA). Women have always been short-changed in Zimbabwe, despite their critical contributions during both the first and second Chimurengas – the struggles against colonial rule.
Some women did voice optimism back in 2008 but despite committing the three parties to take steps to promote equality and to ensure that women would wield more political power, very little has changed since the GPA was signed.
Obviously, the GPA was never going to transform society and women’s lives overnight but the coalition government has made no real attempt to address the numerous issues that continue to limit women’s participation in politics and in the decision-making process.”
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The Chinese government makes an official move calling for more women in political leadership positions.
Wu Yi (center), the former Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, is known as the "iron lady" and regarded as the toughest negotiator in China's government. (File Photo/CNS)
“An official document released on Monday said that local governments above the county level should employ more women in leadership positions to ensure that the country’s women are properly represented in political affairs.
The Outline for the Development of Chinese Women (2011-2020) issued by the State Council, or China’s cabinet, said that the central government will continue to boost women’s participation in the management of state and social affairs, stressing that the number of female leaders should be gradually increased over the next decade.
The document said that the government has set a target of enshrining the concept of gender equity into more laws over the next ten years.”
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After observing the trend of more women taking on traditionally male-dominated jobs in Afghanistan, one reporter interviewed Marie-Thérèse Karlen, the Deputy Country Director for Afghanistan and is based in Kabul, about the challenges and benefits of being a woman in a male-dominated field.
“More and more Afghan women are breaking with tradition in their male-dominated society, taking jobs and participating in public affairs. They include 1,300 or so who have joined the police force who, despite facing discrimination, make an ‘immense’ contribution to improving the welfare of other women, Marie-Thérèse Karlen, of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), tells swissinfo.ch.”
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“In the wake of recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, the need for jobs cannot be overemphasized. Entrepreneurship is vital to job creation and economic development and given the appropriate support, entrepreneurs can drive the region’s fiscal recovery. But the economy will not reach its full potential unless women business owners are a major part of this process. They are increasingly becoming recognized for running innovative businesses, generating employment and contributing to their local economies. So then why has this region ignored the potential latent in its women business owners?”
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La Pietra Coalition‘s own Sandra Taylor was interviewed by Forbes.com about our current goals and plans for the future.
“Recently I have become very excited about research done by Booz&Co on women becoming ‘the third billion’ most significant players in the global economy by 2025, following the tremendous impact that the influx of China’s first billion and India’s second billion-plus populations have had on the world’s economy over the past 20 years.
La Pietra Coalition is spearheading a campaign – The Third Billion Campaign — to support women to fulfill their potential as economic engines for the global economy – as producers, entrepreneurs, managers, workers and consumers. Currently, nearly a billion women worldwide are not prepared — lacking sufficient education or training — or not enabled — lacking support from their communities or government — to enter the workforce and economy. Only when we can identify and eliminate these barriers can we truly unleash the full potential these women have to drive economic growth worldwide.”
Read more about our current and future initiatives in the full interview.
La Pietra Coalition is lucky to count Kah Walla, the lone female presidential candidate in Cameroon, among its members and the chair of our Labour Policy and Practice Working Group. She is the the CEO of STRATEGIES!, a women owned and run international consulting firm, and she seeks the presidency of Cameroon in the October elections.
“In preparation for Cameroon’s October presidential elections, the lone woman candidate is campaigning throughout the country and encouraging women to vote. While her campaign has faced numerous obstacles – she was kidnapped in May – she is determined to give voice to women and minorities throughout Cameroon. With an ambitious economic and social agenda, many here believe she is just what the country needs.”
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The Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently announced a five-part plan to promote gender equality in the nation, including aiding female representatives in national government, providing gender equality training to state employees and businesses, and also helping women get jobs and start businesses.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung
“The models will focus on supporting women to get jobs or do business; building nursery homes at offices, vocational centres, industrial and export processing zones in order to facilitate female employment and provide better working conditions; preventing and mitigating domestic violence impacts; supporting communes to set up and amend regulations on gender equality; and providing counseling services on gender equality for ethnic minorities residing in mountainous areas.”
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Many questions have arisen as to how the revolutions in the Middle East will affect gender equality and women’s rights. In Libya, nurses speak out regarding how they feel attitudes towards them have changed.
Nurses at hospital in besieged Libyan rebel city of Misrata examine X-ray of wounded fighter. Photograph: Irina Kalashnikova
“The female nurses have a simple rule: no crying. No matter what comes through the doors of Misrata’s main casualty hospital, there can be no tears.
‘We don’t cry in public,’ explained Amna Obied, 23, a medical student who volunteered in March for war work in the now besieged Libyan city. ‘If we cry we do it in a room away from the others.’
Keeping their tears private is part of the nurses’ mission to convince the men they can work on an equal footing with them. For all its liberal political credentials, Misrata remains a fiercely conservative city when it comes to the role of women.
War forced the authorities to draft in the women, and the women now want to keep their status after the fighting is over.
‘We have more respect, the men see what the women can do,’ said Obied. ‘I have more responsibility now after Gaddafi because of the important work we do.’”
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“Sweden’s minster for gender equality, Nyamko Sabuni, has called for legislation to help boost the number of women who serve on the boards of local government-operated companies.”
Credit: Soren Andersson/Scanpix
“According to the Sabuni, the there are too few women serving on the boards of companies operated by Sweden’s 290 municipalities.
‘They should lead by example,’ Sabuni told the Aftonbladet newspaper, adding that the gender balance is better among Sweden’s state-owned company boards.
‘The state has done its homework, but the representation of women in local government company boards looks very bad and has not changed much in recent years.’”
Continue reading here.