International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 8 – Zainab Bangura

We continue to celebrate the women of the world, Zainab Bangura, not only on one day, International Women’s Day, but for as long as we can. Enjoy the post, original posted on Huffington Post: 8. Zainab Bangura pushed countries to recognize that sexual violence in conflict has to stop. As the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, … Continue reading International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 8 – Zainab Bangura

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International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 7 – Lena Klimova

We continue to celebrate the women of the world, Lena Klimova, not only on one day, International Women’s Day, but for as long as we can. Enjoy the post, original posted on Huffington Post: 7. Lena Klimova gave Russian gay teens a voice online. Just days before the Sochi Winter Olympics opened in February, young journalist Lena Klimova was charged under … Continue reading International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 7 – Lena Klimova

International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 6 – Mehrezia Labidi

We continue to celebrate the women of the world, Mehrezia Labidi, not only on one day, International Women’s Day, but for as long as we can. Enjoy the post, original posted on Huffington Post: 6. Mehrezia Labidi helped enshrine gender equality in Tunisia’s post-Arab Spring constitution. As vice-president of Tunisia’s constituent assembly, Mehrezia Labidi led the tumultuous debates over … Continue reading International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 6 – Mehrezia Labidi

International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 5 – Ukrainian pop icon Ruslana

We continue to celebrate the women of the world, Ukrainian pop icon Ruslana, not only on one day, International Women’s Day, but for as long as we can. Enjoy the post, original posted on Huffington Post: 5. Ukrainian pop icon Ruslana became a champion of the country’s protest movement. Ruslana is one of Ukraine’s most famous pop singers and … Continue reading International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 5 – Ukrainian pop icon Ruslana

International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 4 on Catherine Samba-Panza

We continue to celebrate the women of the world, Catherine Samba-Panza, not only on one day, International Women’s Day, but for as long as we can. Enjoy the post, original posted on Huffington Post: 4. The Central African Republic’s interim president Catherine Samba-Panza gave a violence-stricken nation new hope. Catherine Samba-Panza, a women’s rights activist and reconciliation advocate who is known … Continue reading International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 4 on Catherine Samba-Panza

International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 3 on Azizah Al-Yousef

We continue to celebrate the women of the world, Azizah Al-Yousef , not only on one day, International Women’s Day, but for as long as we can. Enjoy the post, original posted on Huffington Post: 3. Azizah Al-Yousef began a campaign to end Saudi Arabia’s oppressive male guardianship system. Azizah al-Yousif has been a thorn in … Continue reading International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 3 on Azizah Al-Yousef

International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 2 on Xiao Meili

We continue to celebrate the women of the world, Xiao Meili, not only on one day, International Women’s Day, but for as long as we can. Enjoy the post, original posted on Huffington Post: 2. Xiao Meili put a taboo subject back on the map. Xiao Meili set off the remarkable journey in late 2013 … Continue reading International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 2 on Xiao Meili

International Women’s Day: 8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 – Part 1 on Jamila Bayaz

Reblogged

Original posted on Huffington Post:

Happy International Women’s Day! It’s a day we celebrate the women and girls in our lives and also look to others around the world. Today in Budapest, I was out with my boyfriend and was amazed by the sheer number of flower vendors and florists which had just popped up over-night!

As Andrew quipped, the difference between love and lust can really be seen in places like this. We stopped at a florist where I was treated to a beautiful bunch of tulips and he saw a man staggering under the weight of what must have been 30 or 40 long-stemmed red roses. Whereas I was told “not to go too mad and buy the whole shop”!

But I digress – I want to talk about International Women’s Day, not just my Saturday!

Quite often, news outlets and NGOs are quick to share links about the tragedies faced by girls around the world. Malala Yousafzai’s face and story is all over the internet today, alongside stories about the ongoing global struggle against child marriage, rape, torture and abuse.

But this year, I wanted to look at some positive examples of female empowerment and some cheerier stories.

I found this on the Huffington Post and have shamelessly stolen it. I find this is a much more life-affirming way to celebrate women. Let’s look at what has been achieved and what we have to proud of as a global society, because if we keep looking at all the terrible atrocities faced by women every day, we’ll never want to try fighting the fight. These are the sort of stories which keep me motivated to keep writing about women’s rights so I hope you get something out of it too!

1. Afghanistan’s first female police chief showed the world what courage looks like.

Col. Jamila Bayaz was appointed to run security in the Kabul’s District 1 in January, becoming the first woman in such a senior front line role. The mother-of-5 is responsible for policing an area of the Afghan capital that includes the presidential palace, government ministries and the central bank. “This is a chance not just for me, but for the women of Afghanistan,” she told NBC. “I will not waste it. I will prove that we can handle this burden.”

Women in Afghanistan have faced a steep battle to reenter the workforce and public life after the end of the Taliban’s restrictive rule. They still face considerable obstacles including discrimination from an ultraconservative society and the threat of militant attacks. Afghan policewomen have been targeted by insurgents and several women in public office were assassinated in 2013, according to the Associated Press. Bayaz is undaunted: “I am ready to serve, I am not scared nor am I afraid,” she told AP.

jamila bayaz

jamila bayaz

Col. Jamila Bayaz talks on the phone at her office in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

The Soapbox

Happy International Women’s Day! It’s a day we celebrate the women and girls in our lives and also look to others around the world. Today in Budapest, I was out with my boyfriend and was amazed by the sheer number of flower vendors and florists which had just popped up over-night!

As Andrew quipped, the difference between love and lust can really be seen in places like this. We stopped at a florist where I was treated to a beautiful bunch of tulips and he saw a man staggering under the weight of what must have been 30 or 40 long-stemmed red roses. Whereas I was told “not to go too mad and buy the whole shop”!

DSC_0013

But I digress – I want to talk about International Women’s Day, not just my Saturday!

Quite often, news outlets and NGOs are quick to share links about the tragedies faced by girls…

View original post 1,529 more words

International Women’s Day: Say No To Quotas!

Re-blogged from Veritas:

Today is being celebrated the world over as International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate the achievements of those of the fairer sex, while highlighting the work that is still to be done on behalf of women in some of the forgotten corners of our world. Perhaps inevitably the conversation today will turn to towards finding solutions to the real and perceived inequalities facing women. That conversation will undoubtedly rest on quota systems. In fact, a member of the Jamaican Senate has already raised the issue, arguing that it would compensate for the disparity between men and women in the Parliament.  I’m no expert in these matters, and I do not pretend to be – these are my opinions having thought about the issue. I have no doubt that the Senator has good intentions, but I cannot support quotas on the basis of gender, especially in political representation. Here’s why.

women leaders

Quota systems in politics exist to solve inherent or structural inequalities. That is, the state engineers what is thought to be a desired result by allocating or reserving a certain amount of seats in the parliament for women, on the basis that they are women. That would be the first qualifier. While advocacy groups here in Jamaica such as the 51% Coalition have argued that the women who would occupy these reserved seats/spaces are to be qualified, they do not deny that the basic qualifier would be gender. It raises the question, is there inherent and structural inequality in Jamaican politics? By this I mean, are women prevented from running for, and holding public office simply because they are women? Of course not. A female colleague of mine only this morning tweeted that she is thankful to have been born and raised in a country where being a female was not a deterrent or an impediment. We must then question why we need to engineer the democratic process to reflect what we think it ought to look like. This betrays our impatience with the democratic process. We believe the pluralist society we consider ideal is taking shape too slowly for our liking, so we must necessarily meddle, engineer and interfere to suit or preferences. That is dangerous. That is to be rejected.

Quotas amount to affirmative action, and just as any other beneficiary of affirmative action is seen as less than, or only having attained the position they occupy because  whatever predetermined trait commended them to it, and no matter what their independent qualifications are, we run the real risk of them being shadowed by the quota system. It is my considered opinion that such a move would set back the process, rather than further it.

By favouring one sex over another, we are creating an atmosphere of resentment and animosity; the state will be playing favourites. That is not the role of government, that is not the role of the state. We diminish the capacity of women to make advancements on merit, and single them out for special treatment and remedial action. How would this be in their best interest? How would we have advanced the cause of women by using their gender as the predominant qualifier? Am I the only one who finds that offensive?

Finally, there is an inherent problem with quotas which allows for manipulation. The state ought not to play favourites, as mentioned before. Therefore, if we create quotas on the basis of gender, we may have to do it on the basis of race, then religious persuasion, or political persuasion, and possibly even sexual orientation. Only that would be fair. My question is, where would one draw the line? There is an inherent problem with seeking to adopt a strictly pluralist society, and that problem is chaos. While I can appreciate the good intentions of those who propose quotas, I believe it complicates the problem, rather than fixes it. Democracy was not intended to be engineered or manipulated by the state and its agents; it was intended to unfold at the ballot, by the people, through their vote. If the people want more women, Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, Rastafarians, blacks etc. in Parliament, let them vote them in. Do not reserve seats for them because of predetermined characteristics. I cannot support that.

GRASSROOTS JAMAICA

ImageToday is being celebrated the world over as International Women’s Day; a day to celebrate the achievements of those of the fairer sex, while highlighting the work that is still to be done on behalf of women in some of the forgotten corners of our world. Perhaps inevitably the conversation today will turn to towards finding solutions to the real and perceived inequalities facing women. That conversation will undoubtedly rest on quota systems. In fact, a member of the Jamaican Senate has already raised the issue, arguing that it would compensate for the disparity between men and women in the Parliament.  I’m no expert in these matters, and I do not pretend to be – these are my opinions having thought about the issue. I have no doubt that the Senator has good intentions, but I cannot support quotas on the basis of gender, especially in political representation. Here’s why.

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Salute to Jamaican women on International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day however women should be celebrated every day. They are the pillars and corner stone of our homes, communities and society. They are the ones who often shape us as individuals and provide unconditional love. Being a strong role model and nurturer, women play their roles selflessly. They sacrifice to ensure … Continue reading Salute to Jamaican women on International Women’s Day