Sayed (Image: Nagarjun Dwarakanath/News18 )
Unveils Hijab for Muslim Athletes
Guarantees Women Rights: Pak Minister
Never Resisted Clerics Opposing Pro-Women Laws’
Has Least Women in Senior Business Roles in ASEAN
British HC Vow to Support Pak Women Journalists
Disability: Pakistan’s Inspiring Disabled Women
Women’s Day, Malaysian Sports and Youth Minister Dreams of a Female PM By 2050
in Indonesia under Siege By Muslim Conservatives
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Girl Trolled For Singing Hindu Devotional Song in Singing Reality Show
singing sensation from Shimoga in Karnataka is being trolled online for singing
a Hindu devotional song despite being a Muslim.
Sayeed sang the song in a Kannada singing reality show and her performance was
much appreciated by the judges.
talent was appreciated across all platforms and one of the judges, Kannada
music director Arjun Janya said she stood as a symbol of unity and showed to
the world how all religions can remain in peace and harmony through music.
a Facebook page called Mangalore Muslims began trolling her calling her a
disgrace to the community. They said that she has tarnished the Muslim
community by singing before men.
have not achieved a great feat. People who learn the Quran in 6 months are the
real achievers. Your parents will not go to heaven (Jannat) as you have exposed
your beauty to other men. Stop wearing the pardah as you don't how to respect
it," read a comment on the page.
are many people who have come out in support of Suhana and have shunned the
trollers but there has been no contact with her as yet. People supporting
Suhana are now looking at filing a case against those who have trolled her by
not just inciting hatred amongst communities but also threatening a law abiding
Indian Twitterati trolled Pakistan after Sushma's rebuttal at UNGA
unveils hijab for Muslim athletes
Nike Pro Hijab has been in development for a year, the company said. Athletes
contributed input into the product, and figure skater Zahra Lari was among those
who tested it.
pull-on hijab is made of light, stretchy fabric that includes tiny holes for
breathability and an elongated back so it will not come untucked. It will come
in three colors: black, vast grey and obsidian. Beaverton-based Nike says the
hijab will be available for sale next year.
a hopeful for the Winter Olympics next year in Pyeongchang, South Korea, posted
photos of herself wearing the hijab on her Instagram page. Lari is from Abu
Dhabi and represents the United Arab Emirates.
believe this is finally here!!" she wrote.
summer, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad of New York became the first Muslim American
woman to compete for the United States wearing a hijab at the Olympics. She
earned a bronze medal at the Rio Games.
U-17 Women's World Cup last October in Jordan marked the first time Muslim
players wore headscarves during a FIFA event. Soccer's international governing
body formally lifted a ban on head coverings in 2014, recognizing Muslim and
the governing body for basketball, FIBA, has come under fire for banning
headscarves during international competition.
of State for National Health Services Regulations and Coordination, Saira Afzal
Tarar has said that Islam and our constitution provides guaranty of women
rights and Islam bestowed golden principals of protection of women rights,
respect and honour 14 centuries ago.
a ceremony held at Hafizabad in connection with observing International Women’s
Rights Day, she said that Pakistani women were playing their pivotal role in
progress and prosperity of the country and serving in different fields of life
including politics, civil services, social welfare, education, health,
business, engineering, defense and police department.
said that our women were working equally to women of developed countries and
showing their worth in various fields of life but regretfully some elements
were presenting negative image of Pakistani women in abroad.
said that character and dress of women better and lower their respect in the
society. She particularly stressed upon the women to focus on the character
building of their children to create healthy atmosphere and to brighten their
have to follow teaching of Islam for presenting herself as role model in
domestic and external life for constituting real Islamic society as well as for
making ideal domestic life, she said.
never resisted clerics opposing pro-women laws’
Pakistan has deviated from the vision of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as
political parties never dared to stand against so-called religious scholars who
have been opposing pro-women laws in the country.
was stated by rights activist Sarwar Bari while speaking at a consultation
workshop, ‘Making workplace safe for women’, at a local hotel on Tuesday. The
event was organised by Woman Counsellors Network, Pattan and the Free and Fair
Election Network in connection with the International Women’s Day.
Bari said in 1928 women of the subcontinent held a demonstration against early
marriages. The Quaid reached the spot to express solidarity with the
activist says Pakistan has deviated from vision of Quaid-i-Azam who stood for
religious scholars resist all kinds of legislation in favour of women which is
a deviation from the vision of the Quaid. Last year, the Punjab government
passed a women protection bill but the religious parties did not accept it,” he
an average, 5,000 women are murdered every year compared to 1,442 men. While
the male casualties are primarily related to terrorism, the women’s killings
are mostly linked to social issues of honour and harassment. Access to decent
employment empowers women as it offers them financial independence,” Mr Bari
wanted to ensure that my daughters spend their lives without any problem so I
taught them driving, made them independent and encouraged them to take
decisions,” he said.
Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Information Secretary Andleeb Abbas said being a woman in
Pakistan was an advantage.
I started a marketing job, no one took me seriously but after a year people
started respecting me because of my performance. Here women can achieve more
because people do not expect them of showing extraordinary performance,” she
USA not a single woman has become the president. Hillary Clinton did her best
but failed. On the other hand, in our region we have a number of examples in which
women excelled such as Benazir Bhutto, Indira Gandhi, Khaleda Zia and
Bandaranaike,” she said.
activist Dilshad Begum said women even did not have basic rights.
dictator (Pervez Musharraf) gave 33pc representation to women in assemblies but
did not motivate them to get their rights. Unfortunately, prominent Pakistani
women such as a Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Malala Yousafzai and athlete Naseem
Hameed are being criticised by a segment of society,” she said.
Tayyaba Nasir said the day a woman was elected she became responsible for
addressing the issues of other women. She said women can bring a change in
workshop focused on consolidating recommendations for safer workplaces and
steps to combating sexual harassment. An 11-point charter of demands was
formulated for further action.
points of the charter of demands included 33pc quota for women in all
assemblies through direct elections and allocation of 33pc party positions for
women by all political parties.
participants asked the government to implement all the pro-women laws. They
pushed for the counting of every woman and girl in the upcoming census.
proposed that 5pc of the income generated through export of goods to the
European Union countries under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)-plus
should be spent on women-specific projects.
also said the federal and provincial governments should take measures to combat
workplace harassment by launching participatory gender audits and installing
CCTV cameras at workplaces.
White Ribbon Pakistan arranged a workshop and book launching ceremony on
pro-women laws and legal awareness.
of Germany Ina Lepel on the occasion said the book was a much needed addition
to the publications on women issues.
can be a resource for those women who are eager to become aware of their
rights,” she said.
White Ribbon Omer Aftab said every fifth women in Pakistan was a victim of
violence and the ratio was even higher among married women. He said the book,
Law, Discrimination and Women in Pakistan, was the result of an in-depth study
of all laws relating to women of the country.
in Dawn, March 8th, 2017
Has Least Women in Senior Business Roles In ASEAN
LUMPUR: Malaysia has the lowest proportion of senior business roles held by
women in ASEAN, according to a latest report by Grant Thornton.
2017 International Business Report (IBR), a survey conducted between
October-December in 2016, revealed that only 24% of senior business roles were
held by women in Malaysia, down from 26% recorded in the 2016 IBR.
34% of businesses here have no women in senior management, up from 31%
annual survey highlighted that Indonesia had the highest proportion of senior
business roles held by women (46%) followed by the Philippines (40%), Thailand
(31%) and Singapore (30%).
Thornton Malaysia Country Managing Partner NK Jasani said while businesses
across ASEAN have increased the proportion of senior roles held by women,
Malaysia was still only half-way there.
is a real concern for business growth as it suggests we are not maximising the
potential out there.
will be key to their success and those that remain closed are putting
themselves at risk of not tapping their full potential and losing access to
diversity of thinking,” he added.
British HC vow to support Pak women journalists
- The United Nations and the British High Commission Tuesday vowed to support
women journalists in Pakistan, a statement of British High Commission said.
clubs across Pakistan committed to support women in journalism, at a United
Nations Information Centre event to mark International Women’s Day supported by
the British High Commission and the National Press Club here.
UN offered to host a working group of female journalists in Pakistan, to help
tackle issues around harassment, discrimination and lack of opportunities for
the event, the British High Commission also announced a commitment by national
and regional press clubs to organise minimum quotas for female journalists.
commitments were made at a training session and conference on the difficulties
faced by female journalists. The training session brought together print and
broadcast journalists from across Pakistan, to discuss the changing media
landscape and steps to be taken to improve the working conditions of female
discussed labour laws and inspirational examples of leadership by female
at the event, the Director of the UN Information Centre, Vittorio Cammarota
said, “We are committed to promoting and facilitating the empowerment of female
Pakistani journalists and I am very proud to announce today the establishment
of a working group for women from the media industry. It will be hosted by the
UN Information Centre and will provide a platform for exchange, dialogue,
learning, advocacy and support. We’ll work in partnership with the press clubs,
with the federal and provincial government stakeholders and with member
Cammarota added, “We will also seek the contribution of the many well
experienced men working in the media industry: it’s very important to stress
that the advancement of women’s rights cannot happen without the full
engagement of all of us.”
am grateful to the British High Commission and the National Press Club for
their strong commitment in making this event happen; only by joining hands we
can effectively contribute to the full empowerment of female journalists in
Pakistan,” Director UNIC said.
Heath, the Head of Communications at the British High Commission, said, “There
are few more important professions than journalism. Journalists hold
politicians, business leaders and even diplomats to account, and they hold a
mirror back to society. Any women in journalism that are harassed in their
work, or discriminated against, or don’t have their work recognised, is a waste
of talent and a poor reflection on the profession of journalism.
am delighted that press clubs have committed to working with women journalists
to tackle discrimination and harassment, and to bring real gender equality to
support for this excellent UN initiative is just a very small element of the
work the UK is doing for gender equality. Whether building classrooms in girls’
schools, improving maternal health or providing stipends to keep older girls in
school longer, the UK is committed to supporting women and girls in Pakistan,”
event marked International Women’s Day which is a worldwide celebration of
progress made towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. It was
organised by the British High Commission, the UN Information Centre and the
National Press Club. The event was also attended by diplomats, government
officials and civil society.
disability: Pakistan’s inspiring disabled women
Pakistan, where government is even not ready for the headcount of persons with
disabilities in 2017 census, the challenges faced by disabled women are
immense. History always overlooked disability, writes Finlo Rohrer for BBC News
Magazine. And of course there was always an incentive for disabled people to
downplay or even hide their disability.
Paralysed from the waist down for more than a decade before becoming the
US president, Roosevelt also made great efforts to hide his disability.
concept of disabled people as one identity is a 20th century thing,” says
Sociologist Tom Shakespeare, author of Disability Rights and Wrongs. But in
Pakistan, there were three blind women who not only celebrated their disability
but also made remarkable contribution in the lives of thousands of visually
history of women activism in Pakistan and welfare of Persons with disabilities
will remain incomplete if the names of three blind women late, Dr Fatima Shah,
Dr Salma Maqbool and Saima Ammar will not be mentioned. Being women and special
persons, the milestones they achieved are enough to raise all praise for them.
The names and services of these women are well-known to the people who have any
concern for welfare of Pakistan and its people. All of them really deserve the
highest civil awards of Pakistan for their services for humanity in general and
for special persons in particular.
unfortunately, no official recognition for their services for the persons with
disabilities has been made so far. The government authorities must consider for
conferring these women with the awards they deserved in their lifetime.
the visually impaired persons of the country would never forget the services of
Saima Ammar (late) among these iconic ladies.
Saima did not even herself lead an exemplary life despite being blind,
but she also became the main source of lighting the vigil for the education of
thousands of other visually impaired persons. Under her leadership, Pakistan
Foundation Fighting Blindness (PFFB) recorded the text books’ course of all the
Education Boards and affiliated universities of the country, in the form of
audio cassettes. It is only because of her that these audio cassettes are
available to the blind students at very nominal prices. For instance, the BA
course of Punjab University, in the form of 200 recorded cassettes, is
available to a candidate, on the application of financial assistance, for Rs100
only. Around 4500 visually impaired students got benefited through this
programme of PFFB during her life.
government officials including presidents, Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers
were well aware of her contributions for this country.
unfortunately, no official recognition for her services for the persons with
disabilities has been made so far. If we will continue to forget remarkable
disable persons like Saima Ammar, we cannot overcome prevalent negative
perception regarding Disable people in our society. Therefore, it is very
important to keep them alive in our history through honoring them with national
awards and adding their biographical stories in our educational curriculum.
her services in formal education for the special persons, Saima Ammar also
devoted her time to relish the appetite of visually impaired persons for
literature. She got several poetry, novel, fiction, biography and other
publications recorded on audio cassettes. These cassettes are further
dispatched to the thousands of blind persons in the country, by the registered
post service, for free.
did not only highlight the issues and the problems faced by the special persons
in the country, but even going one step ahead, she put all her efforts for the
solution of these problems. Her father, Brigadier (R) Niaz was an old associate
of General (R) Pervez Musharraf. Saima made a positive and healthy use of this
relationship, and got succeeded in getting the doors of government jobs open
for the persons with disabilities. It is only because of her efforts that today
the disabled aspirants can also appear in the competition exams like CSS, and
some of them have even secured top positions in these exams.
the help of her husband, Ammar Masood, TV anchor, and her father-in-law, famous
poet Anwar Masood, Saima also represented the special persons in media and
created awareness regarding their rights in the society.
Ammar, Chief Executive Officer of PFFB, lost her eyesight at the age of
two-and-a-half. Her optic nerve was totally damaged following a severe attack
of typhoid in 1971. Saima’s started her education in Pakistan at the Al-Maktoum
Special Education Centre, did her matric from Station School, and graduated
from F G College for Women. Her biggest dream was to get a Masters degree in
International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University which she achieved with
was an inspiration for visually-impaired people across the globe since her
education programme will benefit millions of visually-impaired people in years
to come. Saima Ammar passed away on 22 December 2011, but she left a success
story for the persons with disabilities to follow in Pakistan.
writer is PhD scholar at Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad
LUMPUR, March 8 — Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin expressed today
his wish for a female prime minister by the year 2050, which is the Najib
adminisration’s target date for Malaysia to achieve developed nationhood.
also wished that Malaysian society would move on from being “patriarchal” and
“misogynistic” in objectifying women.
women to be hungry for success and excellence, to not hold back and try to
please, to go after what they want, including becoming Prime Minister!” he
wrote on his official Facebook page to mark International Women’s Day today.
only 23 out of 222 Malaysian MPs are women, or just 10 per cent, a far cry from
the 20 per cent world average.
highest proportion of female MPs come from Selangor at 27 per cent, while
Terengganu has not one female legislator, even at the state level.
a scathing attack against a misogynic society that blames women for sexual
harassments and crimes, Khairy said women should be judged on their character.
2050, no one should think that it’s fine to make crude, suggestive remarks
about women completely violating their dignity. No one should be stupid enough
to suggest that sexual harassment or crimes are the fault of the woman for what
2050, I want a Malaysia where women feel confident and secure enough to pursue
their dreams and be ambitious. And that ambition is something that is not used
against them,” he wrote.
said he wanted to see these aspirations come true through the National
Transformation 2050 plan, or TN50, including calling for prison sentence
against men who refuse to pay child support.
Umno Youth chief called on the society and legislation to oppose domestic and
sexual violence against women, regardless whether they are physical or
value would be reflected in everything from public attitudes to authorities’
emergency response procedures to sentencing,” he wrote.
said the government acknowledged that the role of women was complex, pointing
that some who had careers had to double up as mothers, wives, but also
2050 for there to be no more need for discussions on the challenges women are
having today — at school, at work, in society.
what if you are a woman — you can just do whatever you feel passionate about
and whatever you believe in. No need for quotas. Gender is irrelevant,” he
in Indonesia under siege by Muslim conservatives
and activist Intan Paramaditha’s striking appearance — a bright red dress
matching her lipstick — might be the first thing noticed by the dozens of
people who came to hear her speak about the state of feminism in Indonesia.
it did not take long before her words transported the audience at Perdu, a
cultural venue in the heart of Amsterdam, far across the ocean to contemplate
the challenges and triumphs of the feminist movement in the world’s largest
the past few years, the direction of women’s activism in Indonesia has been
largely shaped by emergency cases, such as rising conservatism and growing
pressure on feminists and others such as the LGBT community,” says Intan, who
wears many hats: academic, fiction writer and activist.
conservative groups have not only launched street protests against what they
call deviant groups, but have also taken legal actions against them.”
a lecturer in media and film studies at Sydney’s Macquarie University, is in
the Netherlands on a short fellowship provided by the Royal Netherlands
Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV) to write about
her talk, titled “Womens Resistance through Arts and the Media in Indonesia,”
she spoke about her country’s women’s movement in the past two decades.
Soeharto’s New Order period, Intan described the situation in Indonesia as
“state ibu-ism” (state motherhood), a term coined by seasoned feminist and
writer Julia Suryakusuma.
state ibu-ism, women were discouraged from participating in politics, and their
appearances in public were limited as mothers and supporters of their
husbands,” Intan explained.
period following the end of Soehartos dictatorial rule in 1998, called the
Reformasi (reform) era, “opened trajectories previously closed in society,
including in the area of gender and sexualism”.
in the late 1990s, a number of women broke through into previously
male-dominated arts sectors like literature and cinema. “Writers such as Ayu
Utami, Fira Basuki and Djenar Maesa Ayu were known for their exploration of the
themes related to sex, bodies and sexuality,” she said.
Indonesian cinema, Intan pointed out, women had been practically non-existent:
between the 1920s and 1998, only four female directors were documented.
However, since the advent of the Reformasi era, dozens of women directors and
producers have begun to “make mainstream, independent and documentary films.”
Harmayn, who was the co-founder and director of JIFFEST [Jakarta International
Film Festival], incorporated a women’s section in the festival,” said Intan,
who holds a PhD in cinema studies from New York University.
also praised director Nia Dinata, whose films touch on sensitive subjects such
as polygamy and homosexuality. Her 2002 film Arisan (The Gathering) was
regarded as the first Indonesian film that showed a realistic portrayal of gay
characters. “It generated a lot of public discussions about homosexuality,” she
the same time, however, religious conservatism has also surged in the Reformasi
regime, Intan explains, “carefully contained Islam, limiting it to the realm of
personal piety.” In the Reformasi era, the rise of Muslim political parties
“constantly promote the roles of Islam in public.” The post-1998 landscape has
also seen the rise of religious vigilante groups, most notably the Islam Defenders
stark example of the clash between the feminist and the religious camps was the
formation of the Pornography Law, which was hotly debated for years prior to
its ratification in 2008.
organizations such as the FPI, who do not shy away from violence, are known as
grassroots groups, “they do influence law-making. Their voice is taken into
account by policymakers,” Intan points out.
the past few years, the influence of the religious conservatives has continued
to grow. “Many women increasingly feel family and peer pressure to wear a hijab
[headscarf ],” she says.
says she was particularly dismayed when a minister last year called on
universities to bar LGBT students from entering, “and not one single university
countered the statement.”
the most formidable challenger for secular feminists are religious conservative
women. Intan points to groups such as the Family Love Alliance (AILA), “which
easily attracts the middle class with their message of family, religion and
morality.” AILA has been calling for a review of the laws on homosexuality and
non-marital sex, “and demand the criminalization of non-normative sexualities
in the name of family values.”
feminists, on the other hand, have certainly not just stood on the sidelines in
the past decade.
the arts, books, plays and movies have continued to push the boundaries of
gender and sexuality, like the transgender superhero movie Madame X. A younger
generation of female artists have been using digital media to spread their
message — such as on the Bersama (together) Project — through music, videos and
the religious side of the feminist camp, organizations such as Rahima, an
Islamic information and training center headed by Farha Ciciek, an advocate of
women’s rights in Islam.
admits, however, that the conservative side has been better organized. “They
are politically astute, and savvy in using social media.” The aim of the
secular feminist movement, therefore, is to increase its voice in the mainstream,
including in government. “We cannot be the voice of opposition forever.”
key step, Intan continues, is to increase dialogue between different women’s
groups, including the religious ones. “Even though there are many Muslim women
involved in the movement, dialogue with Islamic feminism — the Islamic movement
which is anchored in Islamic texts and discourse — remain limited.”
Lamp, who organized the talk, points out the importance of a Western audience
getting a multi-dimensional perspective on Indonesia.
general view the Dutch have on Indonesia is fairly superficial: it’s either
considered as a backpackers paradise, or we read in the newspapers about mass
demonstrations of radical Islamists,” says Lamp, who is co-founder of international
annual literature festival Read My World.
compels people to contemplate the complexities of Indonesia, and introduced us
to important voices that are not so visible in the mainstream media instead of
merely thinking in slogans and stereotypes.”
adds that many in the audience stayed on for further discussions after the
talk, “and they have become curious to know more about the groups of activists
and artists that Intan had mentioned.”
those in the audience were university students Ecesu Erol from Turkey and
RuthMarie Henckes from Belgium, both of whom knew “practically nothing about
was fascinated to find so many similarities between her country and Indonesia.
“Both seem to struggle with secularism and Islam,” she says. Ruth-Marie, who
has traveled extensively in East Africa, noted how “relatively open and
tolerant Indonesia seems to be. In countries like Tanzania and Uganda,
persecution of gays is much worse.”
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