MEASURE: The initiative helps Muslim women develop skills needed in leadership
Will Not Grant Work Permit to Moroccan, Tunisian Women Without A Male Kin
Bank Hones Women’s Leadership Skills
First Female Tour Guide Excited About Her Job
Yousafzai to Receive Harvard Award for Activism
vs. Islamism: Meet Middle East Women's Coalition
Women Executive Director Urges People To Raise Voice Against Child
Women's Engagement In Decision-Making Processes Remains Symbolic'
Female Political Prisoners Illegally Summoned For The Second Time
Women Mark 84th Year Of Suffrage
by New Age Islam News Bureau
to Train Women for Senior Mosque Roles in Britain Is ‘Exemplary’
SCHEME designed to help Muslim women reach senior levels in mosques has been
praised by a participant, who said she hopes it encourages others to aspire for
future leadership roles.
Women in Mosques Development Programme is tailored to support female leaders
who wish to find roles in mosque boards or managerial positions.
by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), it offers a chance for women to help
develop skills which could benefit them in senior positions, such as public
speaking training and event planning.
on March 7, and intended to coincide with International Women’s Day (March 8),
the initiative urged Muslim women to apply for the scheme.
Shafiq, 33, is one of 20 women who was chosen for the plan earlier this year.
six-month training, which will finish this month, has been pivotal in helping
Shafiq gain confidence to apply for a higher role in a mosque.
a woman leader, [the programme helps you] feel confident enough to put yourself
forward in the position,” she told Eastern Eye. “Should a situation arise where
the application process opens in the mosque, it means you feel prepared.”
organisations have already raised concerns about a lack of equality within
mosques and demanded females have more of a role in decision making bodies.
Scottish Mosques for All launched a campaign in August calling for equal prayer
space and more women being present as mosque trustees or at a managerial level.
2015, the Muslim Women’s Council in Bradford announced it was hoping to raise
money to help set up a women-led mosque.
who acknowledged the lack of female representation in boards or management
committees, hopes the pilot scheme will raise aspirations for mosques to
appoint more women in senior roles.
has never been such a programme solely for women,” she noted.
appealed to me because there is a definite lack of female leaders [in
has a legal background, having worked in the sector for 10 years, and has also
obtained teaching qualifications including a PGCE. Using her prior experience,
she is currently teaching at her local mosque in Huddersfield, west Yorkshire.
she was concerned that this role could pigeonhole her opportunities.
just teach in the mosque, but I think I want to take it further,” she said. “I
don’t want to limit myself because you do need more leaders in mosques.”
women are also offered one-to-one mentoring opportunities. They can speak
regularly to their mentors, who can be community leaders or part of a
management committee, and can provide guidance if needed.
Morris, a mentor on the programme, was appointed as a committee member of Dar
ul-Isra mosque in Cardiff three years ago. Her main role is as head of new
told Eastern Eye that the most rewarding part of her experience as a mentor was
seeing the women she worked with grow in confidence.
mentee is an amazingly qualified and capable individual, with a wealth of
experiences, but the barriers we may face as women means we often grow to doubt
our own skills,” Morris said.
is helping women to overcome these self-doubts and believe in their own
added her belief that the programme would give many women the drive to succeed.
was still much to be done with creating opportunities, Morris explained, but by
showcasing mosques and other organisations as examples of best practice, a
cultural shift can be encouraged.
questioned about the changing attitudes in the 21st century about women in
mosques, Shafiq referred to the women in the time of the Prophet Muhammad. His
wife Aisha was represented as a role model and was a leader in a mosque, she
we look at the periodic times, women in mosques was the norm and now it isn’t,”
Shafiq revealed. “It is a privilege to have MCB really instill that. It is
great to get more women involved.”
and Tunisian women below the age of 40 will need the company of a close
blood-related male kin known as “mahram” in Islam (brother, husband, uncle, or
father) to be able to work in Kuwait.
Public Authority of Manpower announced the decision that women under the age of
40 will need to be accompanied by a close male relative, in addition to a
security clearance in order to receive a work permit.
same source maintained that Kuwait’s decision came with the consent of the
three countries, Morocco, Lebanon, and Tunisia.
new restrictions, which do not apply to women of other nationalities, have
sparked online controversy as to why these three nationalities were singled
social media commentators linked Kuwait’s new ban to stereotypes against
Moroccan women, basing their judgment on those who have engaged in prostitution
in the Middle East.
Morocco and Tunisia?” some commentators wondered, questioning why the country
did not put restrictions on women from other nationalities such as Egyptians or
new situation of women from these countries in Kuwait may become similar to
that of women in Saudi Arabia. Women are not allowed to travel alone without
the company of a mahram in the kingdom, not even while performing the hajj pilgrimage.
Bank has launched a “Women’s Leadership Program” designed to help young Saudi
women to progress into leadership roles.
three-day program offers talented women in the early stages of their career a
chance to learn some of the skills required to succeed. The participants worked
through sessions addressing key pillars of effective leadership including time
management, building trust, handling critical conversations and the role of
self-belief. The program also offers a good networking opportunity to meet
women across different industries.
Nikolajsen, managing director of Alawwal Bank, said: “As a large employer in
the Kingdom, it’s part of our responsibility to make sure we facilitate and
support women in their ambitions — and make it possible for them to compete on
equal terms with their male colleagues and have great careers. Creating better
gender diversity in the workforce also has enormous upside and makes good
business sense. Good for companies in general and good for the Kingdom
first edition of Alawwal Bank’s “Women’s Leadership Program” was attended by 22
women from 13 different companies, including Alawwal Bank and representatives
from the public sector, and key industry players.
of the participants in the program, Sarah bin Dekhail, senior supervisor —
business development, ACWA Power, said: “The reliance on technical skills
solely as a prime factor to get into leadership positions whilst overlooking
interpersonal skills is scientifically proven to be impractical and heavily
unviable in multiple industries — that’s probably the most important thing I’ve
learned in this course.”
added: “I would like to thank Alawwal Bank for bringing such a niche group of
professional women together from different corporate backgrounds, this made for
some really interesting discussions.”
added: “Increasing the proportion of women in the workforce is an important
element of Vision 2030. With our new ‘Women’s Leadership Program’ we hope to
help not only our valued female employees, but also some from other
sessions of the program are being scheduled over the coming months in different
parts of the Kingdom.
first female tourist guide in Taif, Shahad Al-Sufyani, reassured Saudi women of
their ability to handle the work.
to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, Al-Sufyani has said the Taif people welcome tourists
with warm hearts and they are happy for Saudi women to work in this sector.
said she did not face any obstacles in her work while adding that all those she
dealt with accepted the presence of women in the sector.
said it was a great experience for her to meet with tourists and guide them to
historic locations in Taif.
added, “As a tourist guide, I met with people from different cultures including
great personalities. Taif is becoming an important tourists destination during
the Haj and Umrah season, especially as the airport in the city is becoming an
said some tourist offices in the city contact her when they have tourism
delegations. Sometimes she receives personal requests to act as a tour guide.
says Taif has been a very important city since ancient times. It used to a
summer destination for Makkah businessmen. King Abdul Aziz approved the city as
the summer capital of the Kingdom in 1924 (1343 AH).
Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai is being honoured by Harvard University for her
work promoting girls' education.
Kennedy School says Yousafzai will be awarded the 2018 Gleitsman Award at a
ceremony on Thursday.
became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 when she was
recognised for her global work supporting schooling for all children.
a teen in Pakistan, she survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban. She
later founded the nonprofit Malala Fund to support her work.
officials say her story has inspired a generation of boys and girls to follow
in her footsteps.
21, Yousafzai is a student at Oxford University in England.
Gleitsman Award provides $125,000 for activism that has improved quality of
life around the world.
– The question has long been asked: Why do feminists give Islamists a pass?
that question will be answered next Tuesday when the Coalition for Middle
Eastern Women’s Rights announces itself at a press club unveiling.
issues for the group including ending “the barbaric practices of child
marriages, genital mutilations, honor killings and dress code restrictions by
initiating a cultural and religious revolution.”
group bills itself as “a union of hundreds of women of Middle Eastern descent
in the U.S. who are actively working to promote gender equality throughout the
world. It includes doctors, lawyers, authors, and celebrities. We are committed
to informing the American people about the plight of Middle Eastern women, in
the hope of reaching as wide an audience as possible. We will not relent in our
fight for women’s rights and our staunch opposition to Middle Eastern practices
such as child marriages, genital mutilation, violence directed against women,
repressive Islamic dress codes, polygamy, temporary and arranged marriages,
honor killings, and unfair inheritance laws.”
leaders include President Rabia Kazan, Turkish bestselling author, and Vice
President Ola Hawatmeh, Lebanese American fashion designer, and about 20 other
came to this country because of the freedoms and rights offered to all citizens
regardless of gender under the U.S. Constitution,” they offered in a recent
statement. “We are proud to be American citizens. But we recognize that
millions of women in the Middle East don’t enjoy these freedoms, and are forced
to live under fanatical and repressive religious regimes, denied basic human
rights, freedoms and dignity. Our mission is to give voice to these oppressed
women and promote a greater awareness of their suffering. We will not rest
until these women are granted full equal rights to those of Middle Eastern men,
and treated with honor, respect and dignity.”
also have a beef with the media, saying they do not provide “sufficient
coverage to the plight of these women or give adequate voice to the abhorrent
conditions under which they live.”
also see blindness on the left side of the political spectrum.
key issues for the group include:
from their peer violence. We want to see the world free of violence against women in all its forms.
freedom and justice. We envision the women and girls to have a choice in the work they chose and are paid equally; and have all the rights within the workplace.
Making one of Pakistan’s most impoverished districts the first stop of her
first official visit to the country, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on Wednesday called upon the
entire community to end child marriages and voice their commitment to change
the lives of girls and young women for the better future.
a ‘zero child-marriage’ village will require everyone’s efforts. Girls and
young women must have power to make their own decisions. They need to know that
they are not anyone’s property. They have both rights and a voice to say no,”
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said in her dialogue with over 300 residents, notables of the
area, government officials, civil society representatives and members of the
gathered at the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Cultural Complex in the district
capital, Mithi, at an event to mark the 16 days of activism against
gender-based violence campaign.
the whole nation commits to tackling deep-rooted traditions like child marriage
head-on, millions of girls stand to benefit. This is also a task for men, who
can accelerate progress by saying simply ‘I will not marry a child’,” the
Executive Director said.
on religious and traditional leaders to use their position of authority to take
a stance against violence and protect the rights of girls, Malmbo-Ngcuka
received pledges from religious clerics, registrars and local politicians to
make Thar as a ‘zero child marriage’ village and set an example for others to
is estimated that there are 650 million women and girls in the world today who
were married before age 18. During the past decade, the global rate of child
marriage has declined from one in four young women aged 20-24 to almost one in
Mlambo-Ngcuka encouraged families and the community to become more vigilant to
prevent and report cases of under-aged marriage. She also urged the religious
leaders who solemnize marriages to confirm whether the bride and groom are of
legal age, stressing the importance of birth certificates and national identity
cards for age verification.
decision to marry should be a freely made, informed decision that is taken
without fear, coercion, or undue pressure,” said the Executive Director. “By
speaking out against child marriage, religious and traditional leaders can help
to change the social and cultural norms that perpetuate the practice even when
there are laws in place to prevent it.”
and gender inequality, a desire to control women’s sexuality and protect family
honour, economic hardship and lack of awareness of the harmful impact of child
marriage are common driving factors.
Minister for Women Development for the province of Sindh, Syeda Shehla Raza,
said that early child marriage is among the contributing factors to both
relatively high rates of maternal and child mortality in Tharparkar, which
needs urgent attention through multi-pronged interventions. She added that the
government of Sindh is doing everything possible to ensure the implementation
of laws related to women’s health and the social, political and economic
empowerment of women.
Minister Raza said more public awareness and oversight by relevant authorities
are needed to ensure adherence to the law. She thanked Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka for her
visit in Tharparkar, saying that she hopes it will amplify the collective
efforts to fight early child marriage, not only in Sindh but across the nation.
marriage is a fundamental human rights violation that constitutes a grave
threat to young girls’ lives, health and future prospects. The right to ‘free
and full’ consent to a marriage is recognized in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights with the recognition that consent cannot be ‘free and full’ when
one of the parties involved is not sufficiently mature to make an informed
decision about a life partner.
(child marriage) issue needs a continuous and focused effort, and we are
thankful to UN for supporting the Sindh commission on the status of women in
conducting the training of marriage registrars all over Sindh which will
involve local government officers, commissioners and union councils,” said
Nuzhat Shirin, Chair of the Sindh commission on the status of women.
Hamidi is an Afghan women’s rights activist focusing on women, peace and
security as well as human rights and civil society. She has been the former
director for Afghan Women’s Network as well as has chaired the board of
an interview to Tehran Times, Ms. Hamidi spoke about the Geneva conference on
Afghanistan, peace negotiations with the Taliban, and why it's important to
meaningfully engage women in key decision-making processes, including peace
are the excerpts:
Last week's conference on Afghanistan in Geneva sought to measure progress made
by the Afghan government in using billions of dollars in foreign aid since the
last donors conference in 2016. How do you see the 'progress' in terms of
reconstruction efforts and fight against corruption?
Since Brussels conference 2016, the government's efforts in addressing the
reconstruction gaps and fighting corruption were highlighted as big
achievements in the Geneva conference.
there have been a number of development initiatives, there is little
information available on how the menace of corruption is being combated.
government has in the last year highlighted that some officials involved in
corruption were caught up and prosecuted, however there is no proper monitoring
and reporting to find out what happens to those arrested and how they are
prosecuted. In most cases senior government officials, parliamentarians and
senators intervene and support those who are found guilty.
the situation has worsened for normal citizens in the country. The exchange
rate was 1 US$ to 47 Afghanis in 2016, and now it is 1 US$ to 75. With the jump
in exchange, the prices have skyrocketed where the ordinary citizens are
deprived of basic needs.
In a joint communiqué, the conference participants agreed that peace in
Afghanistan must be based on a broad political consensus across the society.
What is your take on this? And how can women be included in this process?
The peace process in 2010 started after 1600 Afghans from 34 provinces gathered
at national peace consultative jirga and agreed on an Afghan-led and
Afghan-owned peace process.
political consensus for the peace process is a very sensitive issue. While the
Afghan government claims that it has consulted Afghans from a crosssection of
society, the consultation has actually been limited to those groups that the
presidential palace wanted.
terms of women’s participation, while 370 women participated in national peace
consultative jirga, women were included as members of high peace council (HPC)
and provincial peace councils. There has been a huge gap in terms of their
meaningful inclusion in discussions and decisions related to peace process,
finding solutions and addressing the community’s needs.
are usually consulted by President for the women’s rights agenda. Women are not
yet considered and respected as equal partners in key decision-making
order to include women, it is important to address it at different levels. In
Geneva conference, three women were included with 9 men, as 12-member
negotiation team for the talks. While this marked a big achievement for women
advocacy, it is also important to push President and other actors to
meaningfully engage women not only on women’s rights issues but on peace
process, conflict resolution, conflict analysis and post-peace negotiation
Recently we have seen 'peace negotiations' with the Taliban facilitated by
Moscow and Washington even as the insurgent group has upped the ante, carrying
out attacks on civilians across the country. Do you think dialogue and violence
can go together?
Afghanistan has entered a totally new phase of the peace process where the
Taliban has showed willingness to speak to the United States and the government
has come up with a roadmap to peace document and formed a negotiation team.
current peace process in Afghanistan is at the pre-negotiation stage. At this
stage despite the fact that both Afghan government and Taliban have shown
interest in entering peace talks, the pre-conditions from both sides are
dangerous and the reason for ongoing conflict.
by continuing their attacks, specifically on civilians, are trying to use their
leverage of violence to force Afghan government to accept their pre-conditions.
pre-peace negotiation effort, either facilitated by a third party (here U.S.)
or held directly must conditionalize ceasefire. Any effort without ceasefire
will be in vain as the call of victims of conflict will be ignored and ordinary
people will continue to pay the high price of their lives.
The war in Afghanistan has now stretched into its 18th year with no end in
sight. Why has the U.S. led coalition that invaded Afghanistan in 2001 failed
in its mission to bring peace to the war-ravaged country?
There are many narratives regarding the failure of the U.S. led coalition post
2001. Some of the major reasons would be, blocking the space for Taliban to
participate in 2001 Bonn conference on Afghanistan, considering Taliban as an
irrelevant insurgent group between 2001 and 2007 and not addressing the root
causes of conflict at the national level.
the international level, the U.S. and other international actors shifted their
priority very quickly from Afghanistan to Syria, Yemen and other conflicts.
This enabled the Taliban to grow back from strength to strength, find internal
influence, use opium for financial support and amass support among neighboring
U.S. and other international actors also failed to support Afghan National
Security Forces technically and equip them with the needed ammunition and
equipment. After the 2014 withdrawal of international forces, which was a very
irresponsible decision timed and choreographed wrongly, the Taliban used all
their leverage to up the ante, using the weakness of the security forces.
of the attacks in last few years like the attack in Sardar Mohammad Daud Khan
Military Hospital, the army base in Balkh and Khost, the attack at
Intercontinental Hotel or Serena Hotel, have shown that the Taliban are fully
aware of the weak intelligence system, have influence and support from within
these attacks were never investigated. Despite huge number of human losses in
each of these attacks, no one was held accountable or prosecuted.
Preparations are afoot for the presidential election next year, but the fear of
fraud and violence looms large as was witnessed in 2014 elections and more
recently in parliamentary elections. What needs to be done to address concerns
regarding fraud and violence?
The independence of the Afghanistan Election Commission is one of the biggest
challenges ahead of presidential election.
couple of months back, an election commissioner resigned and spoke of the
reason for his resignation, citing lack of independence and interference of
President in the commission’s work. Since President Ghani is planning to run
for the second time, he can definitely use the commission in his favor if
drastic reforms are not immediately introduced in the commission.
in the 2018 parliamentary election, the election commission failed to address
the technical challenges in Kabul, which is the capital and where accessibility
is not a major issue.
the international community does not put pressure on the election commission
for institutional changes, there can be massive fraud and irregularities in the
presidential election next year.
election commission members who fail to address these challenges should be
immediately replaced with those with extensive knowledge in election matters
and strong background on transparency and accountability.
What has been your personal experience as a women's rights activist in
Afghanistan. Do you think women in Afghanistan have reclaimed their space in
political and social sphere over the years?
Women in Afghanistan have reclaimed their space in a fair manner. It is good to
witness presence of women in union cabinet, parliament, senate as well as
different ministries, independent commissions and embassies.
is also good to see a women representative in a body like High Peace Council.
However, there is difference between representation and meaningful engagement.
women have physical presence, their engagement at the national level, technical
oversight as well as equal inclusion in national programs, discussion and
decisions has remained symbolic.
recruitments have been mostly made based on favoritism and influence in the
presidential palace, rather than merit, qualifications, experience and
recent appointment of three women in the peace negotiation team is encouraging,
however, all the three women are holding key government positions — as an
acting minister, a deputy minister and a member of parliament.
wonder how they will be able to deliver in both the jobs. While it is same for
men, but they can get away with their failings, unlike women. Those women who
join the government mostly become silent. They stop advocacy efforts that the
women outside the government are engaged in. This is another major reason where
women are politically engaged but unfortunately also paralyzed to question the
government in relation to its weaknesses and shortcomings.
have relatively found their social space. Presence of women in media, women’s
movement, women NGOs as well as doctors, nurses, lawyers, judges, government
employees is encouraging. But Afghanistan is a diverse country where the living
situation, the cultural and traditional practices vary from province to
women's social presence is very strong in cities like Kabul, Balkh and Herat,
it is also important to highlight that women are hardly found in public sphere
in provinces like Khost, Kandahar and Kunar.
Afghan government has legislations and polices in place, and is accountable to
international treaties, there is a complete lack of political will at the
provincial and district level. Women are not considered equal members of the
society, they are not considered important to be consulted and they are not
given any decision-making role.
insecurity, lack of implementation of law on ending violence against women, and
continuous discrimination and harassment against women at work places and in
society are also some of the problems that women in this country are facing.
Where do you see Afghanistan 10 years down the line?
With an accountable government that has a vision of peace, justice and
inclusion, ensuring all citizens are safe and enjoying their most fundamental
female political prisoners in Evin Prison, Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee, have
been summoned to the prosecutor's office of Branch 5 of Evin Prison for the
November 13, 2018, reacting to an oral and informal summon by prison
authorities, the two female political prisoners refused to appear before the
5th Branch of the Prosecutor's Office of Evin. One of the two female political
prisoners, Atena Daemi, published an open letter and announced her reason for
not attending the prosecutor's office and the judiciary’s lack of independence.
parts of this letter Atena Daemi wrote:
is the fifth time in the past two years, that I've been summoned this way to
the prosecutor’s office for various reasons and often because of the complaints
and conspiracy of Ali Chaharmahali, the Warden of Evin Prison.
have not attended any of them, and so far I have been acquitted from all the
allegations. But it seems that until his exertions lead to another imprisonment
sentence, the Warden of Evin Prison will make all his effort, abandoning all
the important work of other prisoners, to spend his time on these conspiracies.
in this case, his wife (Salami) and two other personnel of the women’s ward
Abdulhamidi (Head of the ward) and Shirin Esmaili (Deputy of the ward), are
also helping him.
year, after were several times contacted inside the ward, we were told that we
have to go to the Office of the Implementation of the Verdicts in Evin to meet
with the interrogator in charge of our cases. Due to the illegality of such
meetings, we refused to go to the Implementation Office which eventually led to
being arrested inside the women's ward of Evin Prison. Not only we were not
transferred to the Implementation Office, but were sent directly to Ward 2A of
the IRGC Tharallah Corps. There, we were beaten up and sent to exile in Qarchak
Prison for three and a half months. Now, only a month after we returned to
Evin, we were informed about our acquittal of the case for which we had been
transferred to Qarchak.
why and on what basis should we trust a dispatch sheet, which does not even
mention the reason for the summon and the name of the person who has issued it?
In fact, this is another evidence on the persons who are violating the law.
our protest against this unlawful summon will lead to another summon and
another groundless accusation."
women Wednesday marked the 84th anniversary of suffrage, which is celebrated as
Women's Rights Day.
in the country, who were among the first in Europe to be granted suffrage, were
given the right to vote and stand for electoral office through a constitutional
amendment in 1934, more than a decade after the foundation of the Republic.
and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy and main opposition Republican People's
Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu marked the day through Twitter
messages, pointing out to the role of the Republic's founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
in empowering women.
in the Parliament also marked women's suffrage with speeches and press
Turkey, women's branches of political parties, women's associations and other
institutions held events with the common theme of increasing women's role in
politics and economy.
Amasya, Tokat and Van provinces, female non-commissioned officers of the
Gendarmerie Command conducted road checks, distributed flyers, neckwears and
flowers, and attended events.
the past decade, Turkey has seen an increase in the number of women elected to
Parliament and the assignment of more women to higher offices in government.
fight for suffrage started early in the 20th century in Turkey – then ruled by
a monarchy – but they faced other obstacles after the country switched to a
parliamentary system as they failed to have suffrage added to the new
constitution in 1924.
1930 and 1934, they were gradually granted the right to vote and to be elected,
first to vote in municipal elections and to stand for municipal council
elections and finally in 1934, to vote and be nominated for seats in
Parliament in 1935, 4.5 percent of lawmakers were women. This number increased
in the following decades, but it stayed below 10 percent until the 2011
there are 104 women among the 600 lawmakers: 17.4 percent of lawmakers in the
Turkish Grand National Assembly.
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