5 March 2019 - NPWJ News Digest on FGM & Women's Rights


For women’s Day...
Daily Monitor, 05 Mar 2019

 When I met Esther, my eyes started searching. I looked keenly at different parts of her body that were not covered by clothing. I tried not to be too obvious, but I am sure this is something she is accustomed to either by curious strangers like myself or her tribemates. Using my eyes was to save me from the question I wanted to ask her so badly. In fact, the moment I knew I was scheduled to visit her home area, I started planning how to find someone whom I could speak to about the subject of my wondering eyes. “Those markings are usually very visible. I don’t have them because I have never been part of the ritual,” Esther later told me.

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Will Assad's men give flowers to Syrian women detainees on March 8?
Daily Sabah Columns, 04 Mar 2019

 Have you ever asked yourselves why we celebrate Women's Day? Yes, I know, International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year in almost all the countries around the world but it wasn't until after women gained suffrage in Russia in 1917, that it officially became a national holiday there. Initially, IWD was observed as protests on March 19, 1911, in Western countries such as Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than 1 million people attended rallies calling for the rights of women to work, vote and so on. In the U.S. it was even earlier. The first U.S. Women's Day was held in 1909. Finally, the United Nations adopted the day in 1975, and it became a global celebration day.

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Sierra Leone’s First Lady Blunders – Downplays Harmful Effects Of FGM
Sierra Express Media, 03 Mar 2019

 Sierra Leone’s First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio during an interview in The Gambia, refused to speak against FGM because, according to her, there are more important issues like polygamy and rape, while also trying to justify this cardinal error with some specious argument about colonialism. Whether she lacks adequate knowledge on the subject or a deliberate attempt to downplay an issue as critical and important as Female Genital Mutilation, which has been widely condemned in recent times for its harmful implications, many people believe it was an unfortunate statement made by no less a person than the First Lady of Sierra Leone who many believe, would have championed the cause to eradicate FGM just as she is doing in terms of rape and sexual violence against women and girls.

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Only six countries in the world give women and men equal legal work rights
The Guardian, 01 Mar 2019

 If you’re a woman and want to be on an equal footing with men, it’s best to live and work in Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Luxembourg or Sweden. The World Bank, which has tracked legal changes for the past decade, found these were the only countries in the world to enshrine gender equality in laws affecting work. The bank’s women, business and the law 2019 report, published this week, measured gender discrimination in 187 countries. It found that, a decade ago, no country gave women and men equal legal rights.

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Female leaders warn about the erosion of women’s rights
World Economic Forum, 28 Feb 2019

 Just a week before International Women’s Day, a new group of female leaders has voiced its fears that full gender equality may not be achieved - and that it’s actually being eroded. The Group of Women Leaders for Change and Inclusion have written an open letter calling for “a redoubling of efforts” by leaders in governments, the private sector and civil society to “reinvest in policies and in legal and social frameworks that will achieve gender equality and inclusion”. Signed by 26 women, including the former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, the letter said everyone in the world could suffer if women did not gain true equality.

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