in rural Iran are often forced into marriage at a young age. Protected under
Iranian law, the practice is leading to broken families and a generation of
children lacking prospects or perspective.
Marriages of 2,250 Girl Children Just In Khuzestan Province of Iran
Women Passport Officers: We Have a Sense of Great Responsibility
VP Says Risky For Women to Share Loos with Transgenders
Per Cent Pakistani Women Unaware of Using Emergency Help-lines’
Women to Empower a ‘New’ Pakistan
Making Big Strides in Women’s Empowerment
Introduces Law to Combat Violence against Women
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Opposition Party’s Women’s Wing Warns Pakatan Supporters Not to Question Islam
LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Muslims have become increasingly anxious as people started
openly questioning Islam, the royalty, Bumiputera privileges, and the national
language after Pakatan Harapan (PH) formed government, PAS Muslimat chief
Nuridah Mohd Salleh claimed today.
head of the Islamist Opposition party’s women’s wing reminded all Malaysians,
especially PH supporters, that harmony in diversity must be carefully
protected, especially by not casting aside constitutional protections on the
position of Islam.
try to challenge the tolerance of Malay-Muslims that has lasted all this while,”
Nuridah said in a speech at PAS Muslimat’s 58th muktamar in Kuala Terengganu
that was broadcast live on Facebook.
unique tolerance to share power with other ethnic groups harmoniously is not
found in other countries in the world.”
Federal Constitution states that Islam is the religion of the federation.
who failed to win the Sungai Buloh federal seat in the 2018 general election,
said after PH took power, “Malaysia Baharu” saw issues like underage marriage,
feminism and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), and the
right of Muslim women to cover their “Aurat”.
issues of underage marriage, abuse of children at child care centres, demands
by feminism and LGBT, and the right of Muslim women to cover their Aurat have
been bandied about in the mainstream media, electronic media and social media,”
recent case of a 41-year-old Kelantanese man taking an 11-year-old Thai girl as
his third wife had dominated the news cycle for weeks. The removal of portraits
of LGBTQ activists from a public photography exhibition in Penang and the
assault of a trans woman in Negri Sembilan had also sparked public uproar.
complained today that the PH government frequently cast blame on PAS or the
previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration.
want to advise the PH government ― stop blaming other parties. The rakyat wants
them to focus on improving lives and protecting the people’s welfare,
especially the disenfranchised,” she said.
pointed out that the cost of living has not gone down after the unpopular Goods
and Services Tax (GST) was replaced with the Sales and Services Tax (SST).
fact, the prices of some goods and services have risen.”
PAS Muslimat chief questioned the government’s decision to possibly return the
Formula 1 (F1) race to Malaysia, while planning to eventually discontinue the
BR1M cash aid.
marhaen’, the B40, who are badly affected by the cost of living are sick of the
PH government’s excuses.”
than 2,000 underage marriages under 14 have been reported in Khuzestan
Province, south-western Iran, from March 2017 to March 2018. General Director
of Khuzestan’s Provincial Registry announced that 23 underage marriages in the
age group of 11 year olds, 105 marriages in the age group of 12 year olds, 749
marriages in the age group of 13 year olds, and 1,373 marriages in the age
group of 14 year olds had been recorded in the Persian year 1396 (March
Moridi, General Director of Khuzestan’s Provincial Registry, said, "Last
year, two underage marriages under 10 years of age were registered in the
cities of Shadegan and Khorramshahr."
to published statistics, over 95,000 divorces among women under the age of 19
were recorded between 2011 and 2015, of which about 5,760 were related to
underage marriages of teenagers less than 15 years old. (The state-run ILNA
news agency – September 11, 2018)
an expert on family affairs had revealed that underage marriages of 344 girl
children under 14 and four under 10 had been registered in the Persian year
1396, in Alborz Province. In 1395, the number of U14 girl children given into
underage marriages were registered as 453. According to this expert, this
figure is alarming when compared to the total population in Alborz Province and
the number of marriages that are registered every year. (The state-run ISNA
news agency – September 8, 2018)
to another report, the Razavi Khorasan Province with 6,000 underage marriages
in the Persian year 1395 (March 2016-March 2017) ranks first in the country.
East Azerbaijan province with more than 4,000 underage marriages and Sistan and
Baluchestan Province with some 2,500 underage marriages rank second and third
for marriages of girls between 10 and 14 years of age. (The state-run
Salamatnews.com, September 13, 2018)
experts say, 180,000 marriages under 18 years of age occur annually in Iran,
accounting for 24 percent of all marriages.
social expert revealed that 41,000 early marriages under the age of 15 take
place in Iran every year.
229 Saudi women have joined the kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports’
first round of training for newly recruited women in the governmental field.
number of those women told Al Arabiya English that their work in the field has
resulted in feelings of responsibility and appreciation towards workers in the
Saja al-Qahtani said that she chose this line of work because she wanted a
secure job, which any employee aims to have, in addition to her desire to serve
the community, adding that she learnt a lot from the training program.
trainee must have the mannerisms to know how to deal with the public, including
patience, honesty, ethics of dialogue, communication and listening, and
understanding the idea and service of the public,” Qahtani said.
Saja’s goals, Wadha, who is in the training program as well, said: “I was
hesitant about getting into this field of work, but with the training and
understanding the relevant information, my hesitation turned into feelings of
trainee also said she learned a lotm including “checking passports and other
documents, unveiling any fraud, and the basics of dealing with people on a
professional level, which develops with time and experience.”
trainees’ supervisor, Rasha al-Faryan, confirmed the positive feedback from the
trainees, adding that there were no cases of withdrawal from the program.
said that the trainees will be hired once they complete the program, if they
all meet the job requirements and excel in the training.
program took place in nine regions in Saudi Arabia, including Mecca and Riyadh,
with the round lasting two weeks.
comes in light of Prince Mohamed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, which aims to
enhance women’s roles in society.
LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Male-to-female transgenders still possess masculine strengths
that made it dangerous for women to share the same toilets with the former,
said PAS vice-president Idris Ahmad.
(the trans woman) is a man, with a strength of a man. (If) you allow him to use
female toilet, it’s dangerous.
limbs are not made of plastic, he is a man,” he said in his opening speech at
PAS Muslimat’s 58th muktamar in Kuala Terengganu that was broadcast live on
said a minister’s previous suggestion for the two groups to share public
toilets for women was untenable.
then repeated his allegations of hypocrisy against those who criticised the
Terengganu Syariah Court for caning two alleged lesbians but did not speak out
against the corporal punishment when meted out by the civil courts.
Around 98 per cent women are unaware of existing supportive emergency
help-lines or mobile phone apps to report in case of happening of any
harassment with them in public transport, a report on Thursday said.
was revealed by a report on Women safety in Public Transport, conducted by
Aurat Foundation, Women Development Department and UN Women to highlight the safety
concerns of women and girls using public transport.
report said an alarming situation regarding the safety of women on public
transport that most of the women face different type of harassment at bus stops
but does not report. According to the report harassment include comments,
staring, whistling and stalking.
said that Some of women also report being harassed by passersby. But both women
and girls take limited action when they are harassed on public transport and 98
percent of respondents are unaware of existing emergency helplines or mobile
phone app to report.
official of Aurat Foundation said that according to the women commuters the
police do not play significant role in addressing the women issues on public
transport. All bus stops fail to make provisions for women commuters with
special needs, he added.
said that It is very alarming that the entire transport system neither
addresses nor response to the special needs of women with disabilities. Most of
the bus stops are badly maintained , over head shades with inadequate lightning
and missing benches , she told.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has come to promising to focus on the
country’s human resources to develop a ‘new’ Pakistan. Because women constitute
almost half of the Pakistani population, their development is pivotal to
Pakistan being able to achieve its true potential as a nation-state. The
importance of this empowerment is demonstrated by the fact that a 2016
International Monetary Fund paper estimates that closing the gender gapin
economic participation could boost GDP in Pakistan by up to 30 percent.
country in the world has achieved significant growth and prosperity without
empowering and engaging its women. Pakistan is light years away from making
to the World Bank, Pakistan, is currently using only 22 percent of its female
workforce. The country is ranked 143 in the gender equality index of the World
Economic Forum. It is ranked the lowest in the South Asian region in the Global
Gender Gap Index 2017, with neighbouring Bangladesh ranking at an impressive 47
and India at 108.
are many reasons for Pakistan’s dismal showing in terms of gender equality.
lack of education, however, is the number one culprit.
latest Economic Survey Report from the Pakistani government reports that only
48 out of 100 Pakistani women can read and write. Some experts dispute that
number, asserting that the actual female literacy rate is lower than 30
the actual figures may be, Pakistan’s female literacy rate is far too low. This
is because educating girls and women is a leveraged investment. It benefits the
individual in many ways — including boosting confidence, improving
decision-making ability, and enhancing critical thinking skills. It also has a
large ripple effect by improving the health status of children in families and
the economic development of communities.
lack of education, unfortunately, is not the only problem in terms of the
empowerment or advancement of women in Pakistan. In certain instances, women
who do get a higher education are not allowed to work by their families. And,
even those with professional degrees in fields such as medicine and engineering
sometimes end up as housewives, not entering the workforce because their male
partner will not allow them to work for “cultural reasons”. The good news is
that Pakistan has made some progress in recent years in addressing these
challenges and others related to women’s education and empowerment.
government, with the help of UN bodies and the US government, has funded
projects aimed at improving the literacy of girls in far flung areas in
Northern Pakistan — including the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
The Malala Fund (named after Malala Yousafzai, the young girl who fought for
girl’s education, suffered a Taliban attack, and went on to receive the Nobel
Peace Prize) has been established to help boost female literacy.
government has encouraged women to enter the public sector and an increasing
number of women are now joining Pakistan’s civil and military institutions.
Women are also being encouraged to participate in political activity through a
special quota in parliament. The Election Commission of Pakistan has enacted
rules to ensure women are permitted to vote in rural and culturally backward
areas of the country.
and provincial assemblies have passed legislation to protect and empower women.
And, over the past few years, an increasing number of women have joined the
print and electronic media resulting in enhanced coverage of and awareness of
women’s rights in Pakistani society.
is a start. But, there is still a substantial amount of work that needs to be
done for Pakistan to realise the full potential of its female population.
are two actions that must be central to accomplishing this mission: Firstly,
investing in the education of girls and women from early childhood education
through higher education and professional development. Secondly, encouraging
and facilitating female entrepreneurship. The first action is self-explanatory.
The second action demands some elaboration.
from regular academic education, women also need to be taught the hands on
skills needed to run businesses. The education should be directed toward
preparing women to enter all fields but it should place a special emphasis on
areas in which there are too few female business owners, such as information
technology, manufacturing, and engineering.
studies have found that women in emerging markets have much more difficulty in
securing loans than men, and therefore must provide their own financing. That
is why the World Bank launched a Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi)
this year to provide venture capital support to help women start and grow
they come from a family that has a business or have worked in a business, women
entrepreneurs have seen no role models and have had no coaching on how to
start, run and build a business. A mentoring program can fill that gap.
the foregoing, it would make sense for the public and private sectors in
Pakistan to collaborate to develop a comprehensive and integrated three-pronged
approach to harness the potential of its women entrepreneurs. The prongs for
that collaboration should be: Educating and empowering women to become
entrepreneurs, ensuring they have adequate financial resources to support their
entrepreneurial ventures. This could be done through a micro financing
initiative and connecting to or replicating We-Fi. The third is providing
mentoring to promote success in their entrepreneurial endeavours.
the fourth United Nations World Conference on Women, it was rightly stated:
“Empowerment of women and gender equality are prerequisites for achieving
political, social, economic, cultural, and environmental security among all
recognising this and embracing a women’s empowerment agenda, the PTI will
empower the nation of Pakistan and transform the dream of a “new” Pakistan into
F. Islam is an Entrepreneur, Civic Leader, and Thought Leader based in
Washington DC. The views expressed here are personal
: A comparison of the human rights and women’s empowerment in Bahrain, Egypt
and Qatar reveals that Bahrain and Egypt are at the front-line of women’s
empowerment while Qatar lags behind, according to top human rights experts in
the region. A seminar on the sidelines of the 39th Session of the International
Council for Human Rights in Geneva, which compared human rights in Bahrain,
Egypt and Qatar, revealed that the former two countries fared well while the
latter failed in women empowerment.
on the other hand, failed to make progress in women’s empowerment and continues
to discriminate against women, the seminar chaired by Maya Morsi, a prominent
Arab activist for female empowerment, said. According to experts, women in
Qatar remains under-represented while Egypt and Bahrain have made positive strides
in ensuring participation of women in various areas including governmental and
of the panel members at the session, Rabha Fathy, Chairperson of the
Association of the Egyptian Female Lawyers (AEFL), said: “The Kingdom of Bahrain has participated in
conventions that ensure women’s rights since the 1990s. The nation’s leadership
has undertaken various initiatives and programmes to encourage the
participation of women. This has helped women in Bahrain to be represented at
Morsi added that Egypt has also taken many measures to ensure women’s
protection and empowerment. Morsi said that in 2017, the 2030 Women’s
Development Strategy was implemented after 100 civil society organizations
participated in its development.
statistics of Bahrain obtained by Tribune reveals that Bahrain’s efforts to
empower women have borne fruit. Impressively, 64 per cent of tertiary level
graduates are women. Statistics also revealed that 53 per cent of the
government employees are women. The average life expectancy of women in the
Kingdom is now at 77 years. Apart from free primary health care, Bahraini women
enjoy free access to free and mandatory primary and secondary education.
efforts to empower woman and girls in Bahrain included monitoring mechanisms,
national gender balance reports, national gender balance indicators
observatory, national audit court and equal opportunities committee. The
Supreme Council for Women recently gave a presentation in Belgium, highlighting
Bahraini women’s achievements and the council’s and the nation’s efforts in
empowering them. The presentation compared Bahrain’s progress in woman
empowerment when compared to Belgium.
to the presentation, Bahrain has a higher percentage of lawyers, doctors and
board of directors when compared to Belgium while Belgium has more academics
and judges. Bahrain has more government employees who are female as 53pc are
female; it is a similar trend in Belgium with 52pc women in the government
sector. Forty per cent of the female government employees in Bahrain are
holding senior executive positions, while it is 43pc in Belgium.
- A law to combat violence against women in Morocco entered into force
Wednesday, following years of heated debate and after thousands called for
action in a recent gang-rape case.
the first time women in Morocco have legal protection from "acts
considered forms of harassment, aggression, sexual exploitation or ill
new law also paves the way for victims of violence to be offered support.
minister Bassima Hakkaoui hailed the legislation as "one of the most
important texts strengthening the national legal arsenal in the area of
equality of the sexes," in an interview with the official MAP agency.
law drafted five years ago, was adopted by parliament this February, following
the law has been deemed inadequate by some, with the former women's minister
Nouzha Skalli arguing it fails to take into account "international
definitions" of violence against women.
has highlighted the example of marital rape, which is not criminalized under
the new legislation.
activists criticized the new law as it fails to protect women from forced
marriages, according to the advocacy group Girls Not Brides, 16 percent of
girls are married before the age of 18 in Morocco, where they are allowed to
wed with judicial consent.
Morocco only overhauled a law that let rapists escape punishment if they
married their victims in 2017. The change followed the suicide of a 16-year-old
girl who was forced to marry her rapist.
Morocco, media and rights groups regularly raise the alarm about endemic
violence against women.
than 40 percent of women said they had been "victims of an act of violence
at least once", abuse came in form of physical, psychological, sexual or
economic, in a survey carried out by Morocco's High Commission for Planning
which surveyed those living in towns and aged between 18 and 64.
first woman to benefit from the legal change could be a 24-year-old who on
Tuesday filed a complaint against three men for harassment, according to
authorities begin enforcing the law, a dozen suspects are being held over the
alleged gang-rape of a teenage girl.
a video posted online last month, 17-year-old Khadija Okkarou said she had been
kidnapped, raped and tortured by a gang over a period of two months.
testimony triggered a petition signed by thousands of people urging King
Mohammed VI to provide her with medical and psychological care.
next hearing in the case is set for October 10.
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