Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud says businesses
operating in Saudi Arabia need to engage with local citizens more
Aceh Says Women's Football 'Forbidden' Unless All-Female
Turkish First Lady Opens Workshops for Disabled
Can Create A Utopia For Women By Designing Feminist Cities
Assurance of 'Women's Rights' Has Big Caveat
Muslim Feminist Who Escaped Her Past in Saudi Arabia
Erdogan Pushes For Gender Segregation In Universities
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Literacy Is Key to Women’s Liberty, Princess Reema Bint Bandar Says
Financial literacy and self-sufficiency can empower women in many ways, Saudi
Ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar said in a video campaign by
the Rockefeller Foundation.
more and more women are entering the workplace, but they still don’t have the
education to make the correct financial decisions for themselves,” she
princess was appearing in video released on Tuesday, as part of the
Rockefeller’s “Solvable” campaign, involving experts and leaders from all around
the world talk about a specific issue they are passionate about, and what they
are doing to solve it.
said that during her time in retail, many of her female employees would
approach her about their financial issues, prompting her to realize that
something had to be done “to give women access to the right tools and training”
to overcome these problems.
goal is to educate women on financial literacy,” the Saudi diplomat said,
talking about Alf Khair, a social enterprise she founded in 2013 to “educate,
train, and develop the skills” of Saudis.
the organization, they teach women how to be self-sufficient through workshops
truly believe that liberty for a woman comes from the ability to make the
financial decisions for her life,” she said.
Reema is the Kingdom’s first female ambassador, and had been the vice president
of women’s affairs at the General Sports Authority before her appointment. She
graduated with a bachelor’s degree in museum studies from George Washington
than a week after the women's world cup football final drew record crowds and
global TV audiences, clerics in a hardline Islamist Indonesian province said
attempts to revive the game in the country were "forbidden" unless
men were excluded entirely.
are not against female soccer at all, however, if the facilities are not ready,
female soccer is considered haram (forbidden)," Teungku Faisal Ali,
vice-chairman of the Islamic clerical body in Aceh told AFP Tuesday.
on the northern tip of Indonesia's Sumatra island, is the only province in the
world's most populous Muslim nation to officially practice Islamic Sharia law.
the 7th Century landing place for Islam on the archipelago, it was granted
semi-autonomous status in 2001 after decades of rebellion against the moderate
sports authorities are attempting to revive the sport among women in the
country by forming a national league, but the Ulema Council in Aceh called on
the government to cancel the plan, citing the lack of facilities for
council said it should only be allowed if the province had a special stadium
where only women players, match officials and spectators were present, arguing
it would otherwise trigger public anger.
demand the women's league be postponed so the players will not get a negative
response from Aceh people," Teungku said.
in Aceh, some 30 enthusiastic women players have participated in a selection
trial, and a team is due to be picked shortly to represent the province in the
said the players had complied with sharia regulation including wearing
long-sleeved shirts and head-covering hijabs.
dressed properly in Muslim attire and they played soccer normally, they did not
violate sharia law," committee head Ishak Rizal told AFP.
said some young female players had trained for two years and even participated
in regional competitions where they had won a trophy.
were still trying to convince the clerics and the public that female soccer
does not breach Islamic sharia law, Rizal said.
we will accept whatever is decided by the local government. We will comply if
they follow the ulemas' recommendation," he said.
is the only region in Indonesia with Islamic law and where public flogging is a
common punishment for a range of offences, including selling alcohol, adultery,
and gay sex.
month the ulema council issued a fatwa against a hugely popular but brutal
online game PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) over fears it incited
with a population of around 270 million people, is football mad and the top
professional men's league attracts sell-out crowds of men and women.
Sunday the United States beat the Netherlands 2-0 in France to win their fourth
consecutive women's cup final.
the US alone, more people watched the match on TV than watched the 2018 men's
world cup final.
first lady on Tuesday attended the opening in Sarajevo, Bosnia of a renovated
special education and training institution for individuals with physical and
Erdogan, in Bosnia’s capital with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a two-day
working visit, attended the opening ceremony of renovated workshops at the
Mjedenica Special Education School.
the gathering, Erdogan expressed her pleasure to be in Sarajevo.
strong ties between us give us the need to share what we have. The
experience-sharing program in special education is the product of this strong
desire. I believe that we will enlarge this friendship with mutual
benefits," said Erdogan.
renovation project was carried out by Turkey’s state-run development aid
agency, the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), together with
Turkey's Education Ministry.
added that TIKA provided the renovation and equipment for the classrooms with
16 workshops in eight special education schools in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
once in a while, I stumble upon an exquisite book that opens a new chapter in
my life, transforming it for the better. One such memorable book is "The
Female Hero in American and British Literature" by Carol Pearson and
Katherine Pope. The authors describe how a woman can embark on a heroic journey
of self-discovery, beginning from the realization that there is more to life
than the ascribed roles given to her by patriarchal society; accepting this
"call to adventure" to seek the life she dreams of creating; facing
the road of trials; and, eventually, arriving at a place where she becomes the
master of her inner and outer worlds.
day, women accomplish amazing feats in their lives, almost heroic in nature,
despite the various challenges they face. This thought left me wondering if we
could deliberately design cities to be more feminist — a sort of utopia where
women are given all the support they need to lead fulfilling lives. Gender
equality matters not only because it is a basic human right, but also because
it is a key driver of substantial economic and social gains. Research published
by the World Bank Group in 2018 found that, were women to have the same
lifetime earnings as men, global wealth would increase by $160 trillion, which
is twice the current value of global gross domestic product. Despite this
obvious potential, women only account for 38 percent of human capital wealth,
leaving them and their children vulnerable to poverty. The relative lack of
earnings for women is due to three main factors: Lower employment rates, fewer
hours worked, and lower pay.
in order to achieve meaningful progress in women’s well-being, policymakers
need to design feminist cities that offer all the services a woman needs at the
various stages of her life in order to fully support her in realizing her
potential. In particular, investment needs to be channeled into early childhood
care and education, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
education, women’s health care services, environments safe from violence,
employment quotas, equal pay regulations, political representation, and a
robust family policy that makes it possible for women to balance work and
countries pride themselves on being feminist. The five Nordic countries — Iceland,
Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark — are stellar examples of gender parity,
consistently outperforming the world, according to the Global Gender Gap Index.
There are many fascinating practices to be gleaned from them. To begin with,
investment in early childhood education is high, ensuring that every child is
enrolled in preschool, free of charge. This, in turn, improves cognitive,
emotional and behavioral skills in children, which will eventually propel them
into pursuing tertiary education and participating in the labor market.
Consequently, all of the Nordic countries have attained a 99 percent literacy
rate for both genders, while labor force participation rates are relatively
high and almost equal between women and men.
terms of closing the gender pay gap, we can look to Iceland for a solution, as
it is the most gender-equal country and has achieved 85 percent of its overall
gender equality indicators. In 2018, Iceland became the first country in the
world to pass legislation that forces employers to prove they are paying women
and men equally for the same job; otherwise they face a daily fine and public
shame. The government aims to close the gender pay gap by 2022.
policies in the Nordic countries enable parents to reconcile their family and
work responsibilities, support a more gender-equal sharing of paid and unpaid
work, and provide a fantastic care system for the child. Sweden was the first
country to offer parental leave for both fathers and mothers. Paid parental
leave is a generous 480 days and parents in Sweden also have the legal right to
reduce their normal working hours by up to 25 percent until the child turns
eight. As a result, the rate of working women is the highest in the EU: 78.3
percent. Sweden has also been ranked the best in the world for work-life
balance, according to a recent HSBC survey. Furthermore, the Organization for
Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) "How’s Life?" survey
found that only 1.1 percent of employees work very long hours — the second-lowest
rate among OECD countries. Since January, Sweden has labeled itself as having
the world's first "feminist government," further committing to a wide
range of interventions that will improve women’s lives.
UAE government is also committed to the social progress and well-being of
women. Its investment in gender equality spans the fields of education, social
assistance, housing, socioeconomic empowerment, health care, politics, and
safety. In 2018, the government clearly signaled its intention to close the
gender gap by launching the "National Strategy for Empowerment of Emirati
Women." Some key new initiatives include the increasing of female
representation in the Federal National Council to 50 percent and supporting
entrepreneurial women. In the field of health care, the government aims to
provide specialized pre-natal and post-natal care support services for women
and their children, nursing services for elderly women, family counselling, and
mental health services spanning across a woman’s life. Also, the Cabinet has
approved the drafting of a Federal Law on Combating Domestic Violence.
cities need to be designed in a way that safeguards a woman’s well-being across
her different life stages. Communities that are more gender equal are happier
and healthier. They also do well economically. Therefore, we can all agree that
gender equality is not only good for women, but its benefits spill over to
families, communities and economies.
Al-Mulla is an Emirati civil servant with an interest in human development
policy and children’s literature.
assurance of 'women's rights' has big caveat
agreement by the Taliban to respect women's rights may seem like a
breakthrough, but activists have questioned how the hard-line Islamists –
notorious for stomping on freedoms – will interpret the careful wording.
historic meeting between Afghan representatives and the Taliban concluded late
on Monday with the long-time foes issuing a joint statement, including a
reference to women's rights.
at the Doha summit agreed that "assuring women rights in political,
social, economic, educational, cultural affairs as per (and) within the Islamic
framework of Islamic values", is vital for a durable peace.
wording appears significant, as the Taliban are notorious for their
longstanding subjugation of women that has included stonings, honour killings
and a ban on education.
have cautioned the pledge is open to broad interpretation, depending on who is
defining the values of Islam.
rights were completely respected in 'frames of Islamic values' under the
(Taliban)," prominent women's rights activist Wazhma Frogh wrote
sarcastically on Twitter. "What an achievement of the Doha meeting. Going
Qurban, an Afghan Facebook user, said "a few ignorant people" should
not be left to interpret Islamic values. Otherwise "they will become
nightmares, especially for women. We should invite scholars from other Islamic
countries to interpret the values for us," she wrote.
joint statement came at the end of two days of talks between Afghan delegates,
including a small group of women and senior Taliban officials who are
separately negotiating with the U.S. for a peace deal.
a deal would end America's 18-year involvement in Afghanistan in return for
various guarantees, but the U.S. insists the Taliban first hold comprehensive
talks with Afghan stakeholders.
Taliban have paid lip service to women's rights, but always include the caveat
of defining these through Islam.
instance, in areas of the country now under the Taliban – the insurgents
essentially control or influence about half of Afghanistan – residents report
modest changes in the militants' hard-line stance.
some areas, the Taliban do now allow girls to attend primary school, but they
are still segregated by gender and the Taliban control the curriculum.
reports of floggings and the stoning of women, as well as so-called honour
killings – where a girl is accused of bringing a home into disrepute – remain
please don't let the Taliban interpret Islamic principles for women again.
Islamic principles for them mean beating and imprisoning women," Facebook
user Samira Samim wrote.
Barr, the acting co-director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights
Watch, said it appeared positive that the words "women's rights"
appeared in the statement. "But this language about women's rights within
the Islamic framework is classic Taliban rhetoric," she told journalists.
Taliban "remain fundamentally opposed to gender equality. So the Afghan
women at the negotiating table know that they're in for the fight of their life
as they try to preserve the Afghan constitution's promise of gender
equality," Barr said.
May, Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said "we do not have any problem
with" women's rights based on Islamic values.
have a different culture and different values. Our values, Afghan values, are
different from that of Western values," he told journalists.
joint statement also included a pledge to decrease violence in some cases and
to bring civilian casualties to "zero".
the two-page document made no promise of a ceasefire and Afghanistan's war
rages on and reports of horrific civilian casualties pile up on a daily
Muslim feminist who escaped her past in Saudi Arabia
Zeba Talkhani was four she ran away from home, a little girl darting off into
the streets of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. The adventure wasn’t what she expected.
When a couple of sinister blokes trapped her in their flat, she realised she
shouldn’t be out without the protection of men. She was brave and escaped, but
then worried about getting home. This I realise, when I meet her in a café in
London, is pretty much the story of her life.
is a literate, softly spoken, exceedingly polite 28-year-old who lives in
London and has a demanding job in publishing. She recently married a lovely guy
from Cheltenham, whom she met on a dating site. She and her British-Muslim
husband try to broker…
Erdogan pushes for gender segregation in universities
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a controversial comment in a speech at the
G20 summit in Osaka. The speech contained a passage praising the Japanese education
system for segregating the sexes at certain universities. Erdogan said the 80
women's universities in Japan were "a very important thing," and that
he could imagine introducing something similar in Turkey.
Ankara, after returning from the summit, Erdogan again emphasized the
advantages of an educational system that included gender segregation according
to the Japanese model. He said that he could well imagine gender segregation at
Turkish universities, too, and that he had asked the Turkish Council of Higher
Education (YOK) to take the necessary steps to initiate it.
more: Turkey's government writes working women out of textbooks
sectors of the Turkish population, including women's rights activists and
feminists, have been sharply critical of the Turkish president's ideas for
reform. Many of them think it is quite inappropriate to take Japan, of all
countries, as a model for education reform: Japan is regarded as far from
exemplary on issues of gender equality. A 2018 report by the World Economic
Forum looking at global inequality between the sexes ranked Japan 110th out of
149 countries — with Turkey 20 places further behind. Potrage from feminists,
women's rights activists
Berktay, a political scientist and expert in women's rights, reminds us that
the aim of gender-segregated universities of the 19th century was to give women
greater access to education. This was also their purpose when they were founded
in Japan. In this day and age however, Berktay comments, gender segregation is
more an act of discrimination. The quality of the Turkish educational system
has fallen drastically in recent years, she comments, which means that there
are other, more pressing problems. "Our educational system is
fundamentally broken," says Berktay. "We urgently need to improve our
education. Talking about gender-segregated universities at this point in time
is sheer nonsense."
points to the results of the ABIDE study that were published last week. The
study examined the educational performance of Turkish schoolchildren, much as
the PISA study does in other countries. It concluded that many Turkish
schoolchildren perform extremely badly in math and Turkish.
and the leadership of the AKP, his Islamic-conservative governing party, argue that
gender segregation in educational institutions would improve female students'
performance. Berktay says there's no logic to this reasoning. "If you look
at the grades of girls at elementary school, you'll see that their school
performance is better than ever — although they're being taught alongside
of the principle of secularism
academic Aksu Bora from Hacettepe University in Ankara describes the Turkish
president's initiative as a "nostalgic fantasy": "In the 21st
century, no woman, not even the conservatively inclined, wants to study at such
a university," she said. Bora also thinks that there are bigger worries
right now than gender segregation at universities. "It's absurd to be
talking about women's universities, now of all times, when academics are being
dismissed en masse," she said. This was a reference to the many teachers
and professors in Turkey who have lost their jobs by emergency decree since the
coup attempt in July 2016. Some have even been given prison sentences.
members of the opposition in Turkey dislike the president's increasingly
religious politics and rhetoric. Erdogan is often accused of interfering in the
educational system with the aim of instilling conservative-Islamic values more
strongly in Turkey's younger generation. Women's rights activist Zelal Ayman
also believes the Turkish president's initiatives are part of a long-term plan.
"Women's universities are a move toward inoculating the population with
more religiosity," she says. "But that would be a step in the wrong
direction. We should press ahead with secularization instead. Women's
universities will take us backwards, not forwards," she says.
more: Turkey: Babies behind bars
— the separation of state and religion — has been one of the fundamental
principles of Turkey since the state was founded in 1923. Consequently, there
has so far never been a university with gender separation. Kemal Mustafa
Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, regarded the separation of state and
religion as one of the "six pillars of the Turkish state." To this
day, most people in Turkey are firm believers in the principle of secularism.
Gender segregation in educational establishments is therefore seen very
critically — after all, many Turks would view it as a violation of this
principle. The principle of equality of the sexes is also established in law.
An article in the "Basic Law of National Education," which was passed
in 1973, simply says: "An education in which both sexes participate
together is good."
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