Raising Female Leaders (in India)

The February 2013 South Asia Newsletter of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab references important research results on Raising Female Leaders in India.

“A quota system for female village leaders in India [reserving for women in India a randomly selected third of the village council leader positions] changed perceptions of women’s abilities, improved women’s electoral chances, and raised aspirations and educational attainment for adolescent girls.”

Here is a policy brief [in PDF format] from April 2012 titled “Raising Female Leaders” summarizing ongoing research/data collection/analyses that confirm and clarify very promising policies and policy lessons regarding progress on deeply ingrained gender stereotypes (by Lori Beaman, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande, and Petia Topalova). (This confirmation and clarification -even if no surpise to many – arguably very, very important for all sorts of reasons…)

Featured/previously published evaluations:
Female Leadership Raises Aspirations and Educational Attainment for Girls: A Policy Experiment in India. Lori Beaman, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande and Petia Topalova. Science Magazine 335(6068), February 2012.

Powerful Women: Does Exposure Reduce Bias? Lori Beaman, Raghabendra Chattopadhyay, Esther Duflo, Rohini Pande and Petia Topalova. Quarterly Journal of Economics 124(4): 1497-1540, November 2009.

Indian Rape Victim’s Death Stirs Grief, Outrage, and Resolve

Indian Rape Victim’s Death Stirs Outrage and Resolve

“The gang rape and death of a young Indian woman has sparked an outpouring of national grief and outrage, and a question: Will the tragedy prompt change, in laws and attitudes toward women, in the world’s largest democracy?”

Rape victim’s death sparks lockdown in India

“…Outrage and protest about the assault escalated violently last week when police used batons, water cannon and tear gas in clashes with hundreds of demonstrators; one policeman died in the protests. Indian authorities, fearing a new wave of demonstrations yesterday, deployed hundreds of policemen to seal off the President’s palace, the Prime Minister’s office and key ministries, which have been the scene of battles between police and civilians. They closed 10 metro stations and banned vehicles from some main roads in the centre of the capital.

Although more than 1,000 people gathered at two locations, the demonstrations were peaceful. In one spot, a wreath studded with white flowers was laid on the road, a candle lit and a silent tribute held for the young woman. Near by, members of a theatre group played small tambourines and sang songs urging society to wake up and end discrimination against women…”

Indian Rape Sparks Gender-Inequality Debate (WSJ video: 3 minutes, 14 seconds)

“The death of the victim of a gang rape in India has set off a fresh wave of national grief and outrage. The WSJ’s Nisha Gopalan [and Deborah Kan] conside[r] whether it could also lead to legal changes to protect women’s rights.”

Indian Women March: ‘That Girl Could Have Been Any One of Us’

For what it reveals, explicitly or implicitly, see here for India’s government on gender statistics and gender (in)equality

Uganda: The Fight for Women’s Land Rights

Uganda: The Fight for Women’s Land Rights

http://thinkafricapress.com/uganda/womens-fight-land-rights

“In 2001, after the death of her husband, and her son shortly afterwards, Helen Kongai was left with no money and the threat of losing her land – the land on which she had long lived and farmed. But while Ugandan culture dictates that a husband’s family take back any land after he dies, Helen fought successfully to keep it.

“Now, at the age of 50 and a successful farmer, Helen runs a residential training centre from which she has trained thousands in sustainable organic agriculture and offers gender studies lessons in an attempt to bridge the gap between men and women, overcome customary discriminatory practices, and help women gain equal access to land…”

See also:

Send a Cow: Supporting African families out of poverty

http://www.sendacow.org.uk/our-work

Helen Kongai – Ugandan Farmer: How small scale agriculture transforms the lives of women in Uganda

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/02/2008_28_mon.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2009/04/090407_outlook_sendacow_page.shtml

Recognizing the African woman farmer

https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/recognizing-the-african-woman-farmer/

Indian cartoonist arrested on sedition charges after criticizing government corruption

Indian cartoonist arrested on sedition charges after criticizing government corruption

“India police have arrested a political cartoonist on sedition charges after his drawings criticizing government corruption irked the ruling Congress party…”

Police had no grounds to arrest cartoonist Aseem Trivedi: Maharashtra Home Minister RR Patil

“… ‘If telling the truth makes me [a] traitor then I am one… if I am booked under sedition for doing service to the nation then I will continue to do so.’…”

Sedition: does it have any place in modern India? [pertinent info here – is it accurate?]

– 

India Against Corruption (IAC) Statement on Aseem Trivedi issue

Cartoons Against Corruption‎ [what’s up with/what about the “Gang Rape of Mother India” cartoon?]

see also former post on:

Does Criticizing India Count as Sedition? Arundhati Roy Will Find Out

https://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/does-criticizing-india-count-as-sedition-arundhati-roy-will-find-out/

Recognizing the African woman farmer

Recognizing the African woman farmer (click here for full text)

“Boys learning new ideas of masculinity around campfires in rural Africa and “sisterhoods” formed to provide a common voice to women are starting to change attitudes about African women farmers, say the authors of a forthcoming book about gender and agriculture. But it will take many more such efforts to support women food producers, who make up 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. In some countries, that number rises to 70 to 80 percent…”

“…Transforming gender relations will be essential to this process. ‘All too often, men think that work on gender means that they will lose out, and historically it is true that programmes focusing on women only have ignored men’s real needs,’ Farnworth said.

Instead, efforts to effect change must target both women and men within households. ‘These work to transform how decisions taken regarding how to run the farm, and how to allocate money earned, and who benefits. The results have been really very impressive because women and men see the gains to cooperation so quickly – it can take only months to change patterns of behaviour that have existed for generations.’

Change also depends on the involvement of men at all levels, she said. ‘This is true particularly in the case of adapting technologies and integrating into market value chains. Our findings show that promoting methodologies that encourage cooperation between women and men farmers reap productivity dividends as women and men share resources across the farm and maximize the efficiency of their decision-making.’…”

Recognising the African woman farmer – Interviews with the authors at the bottom of the page

Akinyi Nzioki, Centre for Land, Economy and Rights of Women: What We Do

Cathy Rozel Farnworth

Hajia Alima Mahama

Melinda Fones-Sundell

Violet ShivutseGroots KenyaUN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group

Marion Davis

Huairou Commission: Women, Homes, and Community

“The Huairou Commission develops strategic partnerships and linkages among grassroots women’s organizations, advancing their capacity to collectively influence political spaces on behalf of their communities and enhance their sustainable, resilient community development practices…”

http://www.huairou.org/groots-international

Groots: Grassroots Organizations Operating Together In Sisterhood

http://www.siani.se/

An immigrant in limbo between two Americas

“Maria Gomez, a UCLA graduate with a master’s in architecture, grew up believing in the American Dream while living in its shadows as an illegal immigrant.”

An immigrant in limbo between two Americas, by Christopher Goffard, Los Angeles Times (June 8, 2012)

Click here for this important, timely, moving story

… makes me think of my grandparents migration, my parents work, and how my situation(s) in the world relates to the situations of others… What do readers think of Maria Gomez? Does this story about her relate in any particular ways to your views of certain stereotypes or your moral judgments about immigration?

WE ADVANCE in Haiti

Inspiring work by grassroots organizations and the wonderful people (local and otherwise) who do the work, who make it happen, who “advance the health, safety, and well being of women… WE ADVANCE models an inclusive grassroots approach with a movement that collaborates with both other organizations and women from every socio-economic class. WE ADVANCE is a rights- and community-based participatory program. We empower women’s minds, bodies and spirits and enable them to discover their own needs and priorities, benefiting the entire community. WE ADVANCE brings in volunteer experts to train local community leaders in the aspects of health, safety and education. WE ADVANCE’s goal is to, in the near future, leave our programs in the hands of Haitian women, the women who know best what they need and how to make it a reality.”

WE ADVANCE

The news piece at the link below by actress and activist Maria Bello (from about one year ago) arguably highlights some of the important differences between certain kinds of institutionalized, elite human rights work/advocacy and organizations, on the one hand, and local, grassroots (oriented) individuals and organizations, on the other hand.

How to ADVANCE Our Money in Haiti

And some additional important and relevant words by Bello (from about one year later):

Two Years Later — Reimagining Haiti

see also Femmes en Democratie

Wangari Maathai, 1941-2011

The world has lost one of our greatest moral heroes. Wangari Maathai, April 1, 1941 – September 25, 2011.

We may update this post when grief allows more personal words. For now, readers who do not know about this wonderful and truly extraordinary person can begin clicking on this here [and then the links below]:

My favored links include these two:

Can one woman save Africa?

The Green Belt Movement

For some recent reports of her passing, see here:

Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dies at 71 (NY Times)

Wangari Maathai: ‘My heart is in the land and women I came from’ (Guardian)

John Vidal, who met the Kenyan activist, recalls the person who turned planting trees into a worldwide symbol of hope

Wangari Maathai: Death of a visionary (BBC)

View and Share Condolences primarily here

For a bit more, see here and here

Uncertain Iranian lives: Sakineh, lawyers, and human rights activists

The life of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani remains in the balance

“A year after public attention was cast upon Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s plight, her life appears to remain in the balance.

Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, a 43-year-old woman from Iran’s Azerbaijani minority, was sentenced in 2006 to be stoned to death for “adultery while married”.  She was also sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for her role in her husband’s murder which,  according to her lawyer, was reduced to five years’ imprisonment for complicity in the murder. She remains in prison in Tabriz.  In a letter sent by the Iranian Embassy in Spain to Amnesty International Spain on 8 July 2011, the Iranian authorities reiterated that she was sentenced to death by stoning and to 10 years’ imprisonment for murder…”

for more, click here

also, Fears grow for lawyer of woman in Iran stoning case

Lawyer still in prison after speaking to foreign media about case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani

for more, click here

Interested readers might also wish to check out:

What do Iran and the U.S. have in common?

and

Urgent petition to save Sakineh