Tag Archives: women rights

Moderates Alive In Saudi Arabia?

King Abduallah of Saudi Arabia has a sense of what is transpiring in the world although his nation’s religious leaders still prefer inhabiting the word of the 15th century when all was good and women knew their place–submit to men. The King weakened the hold of Islamic hardliners by appoiinting the first woman to a ministerial post and dismissed a leading fundamentalist cleric and the head of the nation’s powerful religious police. He apparently is frustrated with the pace of reform and moving Saudi Arabia into the 21st century where it is necessary to draw upon the talents of all members of society, including women. Abdullah dismissed Sheik Ibrahim al-Ghaith, head of the Commission of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, which has adopted a position that leaves women at the mercy of religious police in the course of their everyday lives.

Noura al-Fayez was elevated to the new post of deputy minister of women’s education. The women’s education ministry had a reputation of being corrupt and incompetent. Abduallah is most probably going to bring into the government more moderate and open minded clerics.

Women’s Rights- Equality Or Inequality?

Women rights groups in Turkey are furious at a change that has been made in the name of the commission which is dealing with issues of gender discrimination. The present name is “The Commission of Equality Between Men and Women” but a slight change of wording transforms the group into “The Commission of Equal Opportunity for Men and Women.” The original wording states the truth– there is inequality for men and women in Turkish society and the need is to create equal opportunities for women since men already have them. To suggest that men and women BOTH need equality in the workplace or in family lie is contrary to reality, particularly in a society such as Turkey where men have more rights than women.

More than 50 women rights groups from all over the nation sent protests to the government to refocus the discussion on the need for female equality. The only “inequality” between men and women is that men have the rights and women are fighting for them. As one group put it, “We, the women, do not want opportunity, but real equality.”

Indonesia Divorce Rate Up Ten Fold-Why?

The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry said the number of divorces per year in their nation has increased ten fold since reform of the laws was introduced in the 1990s. In 1998, there was an average of about 20,000 divorced but last year that figure had increased to 200,000. The general feeling is that women have a greater awareness of their rights and will not put u; with certain behaviors of their husbands such as desiring to take a second wife. About two million marriages are recorded yearly in Indonesia and ten percent of them now end in divorce. There is even evidence of divorce based on differences between men and women over political views.

However, evidence indicates the most significant reason for divorce is due to the husband’s desire for another wife. The modern Indonesian woman will not put up with such a view and would prefer a divorce over living in a polygamous relationship with her husband. There is also some evidence as women go to work they develop a sense of economic independence which allows them to divorce their husband.

Iran Continues Harassment Of Women Seeking Rights

Once upon a time there was a wonderful land named Nari which was governed by a group of wise men who knew what was right and what was wrong. The wise men of Nari knew that women were wonderful creatures whom God in His infinite wisdom has confined to the tasks of serving the needs of men, not that anything was wrong with the need’s of men taking precedence over those of women. If a woman in the realm of Nari dared to touch the hand of a man the woman soon encountered the sweet sound of rocks and stones pounding on her body. If a man slept with a woman who was not his wife, he shared the story with other wise men who believed in the goodness of men and for women to know their place.

Some women in Nari thought it might be nice to go around and ask other women to sign a petition which said women would have the same rights to govern the land as was provided the men. The wise men decided to help these women by placing them in a nice comfortable cell where they could think about the evil they were committing by asking women to sign things giving them rights. Gee, if women got equal rights in Nari, then the country might actually get its economy moving in the right direction or be friends with all people of the world.

But, this is the land of Nari and women who go around talking about equal rights most probably have deep mental issues since somewhere along the path of life they never got the message that Nari men were always right. Some day, the confused women of Nari who want this thing called “equal rights” will finally grasp that in Nari the men have the rights and the women have equal rights to agree that men have all the rights. What exactly is so hard for these women rights people to grasp??

Indonesia Freedom Of Religion In Danger

Indonesia is not only the world’s largest Muslim country, but, historically it has offered religious tolerance to all people in the nation. However, the past year has witnessed the growth in power of Islamic fundamentalism and refusal on the part of government to intervene in order to protect the rights of religious minorities. Pramono Tantowi, director of the Center of Religious and Civilization Studies, told a forum that banning the Ahmadiyah Islamic sect was simply another symptom of the power of fundamentalists to impose their will in Indonesia and close down groups it deemed to be heretical in nature. He also noted, “the issue of fundamentalism has been exploited by political parties not only religious-based ones, but also nationalist ones, to woo voters ahead of the 2009 elections.”

Many university Muslim scholars are concerned their nation is slipping into a more fundamentalist approach to religion which threatens not only the rights of moderate Muslims, but Christians as well. There is already evidence of this shift in the installation of Sharia based laws in several Indonesian provinces including laws that criminalize women who go out at night without a male escort.

Violence Toward Afghan Women Rises

There are many tragedies associated with the Bush era, but none may be more tragic than the lost opportunity to enable Afghan women to gain independence and the right to lead lives free from control by husbands and village elders. As the situation deteriorates, the Taliban frequently focus on women who want to attend school or engage in business activities. There has been a rash of acid attacks in which men on motor bikes zoom by girls walking home from school and spray their faces with acid. Afghan MP Shukria Barakzai almost daily receives threats because she has been an outspoken voice in support of women rights. “You can’t imagine what it feels like as a mother to leave the house each day and not know if you will come back again.” She has requested security assistance but none is forthcoming from the government.

There are several reports concerning talks between the Afghan government and Taliban leaders whose goal is obviously a coalition government. But, there is no guarantee that existing rights for women would be protected by such a coalition. Most probably, Afghan males would sell out women in return for some semblance of peace and law and order. Afghan women will wait anxiously to learn what are terms being demanded by the Taliban for an end to violence.

Iran Violates Women Rights

Nobel peace laureate Shrin Ebadi sharply condemned Iran’s new Islamic penal code which she believes is unfair to women and uses an “incorrect interpretation” of Islam. Iran’s parliament in September agreed to adopt new outlines of an Islamic penal code which is a modification of the Sharia-based law that has governed the nation since Muslim fundamentalists seized power in the 1970s. According to Ebadi, “the criminal laws adopted after the revolution unfortunately took away a woman’s human identity and turned her into a second-class being who is incapable and mentally-deranged.” Ms. Ebadi is an outspoken critic of the cleric run society of Iran.

The new penal code allows even harsher punishments such as flogging and execution for a variety of crimes. A male is punishable from the age of 15 and a girl from age 9. The law remains inflexible if an individual has violated Islamic law dealing with stealing, alcoholism, adultery and apostasy.

Was The Turkish Headscarf Ruling Legal?

This past spring the Constitutional Court of Turkey ruled a law passed by the legislature which ended the ban on women being able to wear a headscarf was unconstitutional. The decision has unleashed a vigorous debate as to the right of the Court to intervene in social issues of the Turkish society. Supporters of the Court argue ending the ban avoided creating a social conflict within society while opponents argue Courts should only stick to legal issues and avoid getting involved in social problems. The debate about the headscarf has long ceased to be one about law and has become one that walks the thin line between how the rights of women are interpreted.

Supporters of the headscarf argue a woman has a right to wear one and denying religious minded women of being able to wear the headscarf, in effect, bars them from attending college. Opponents fear once the headscarf is accepted at the university level, younger girls will be subject to pressure in secondary schools to wear one. In essence, either way, one is dealing with women rights.

Is there a middle ground which makes clear the headscarf can only be worn at universities, but is not allowed in secondary schools?

Japanese Women Fight For Equal Rights At Work

The Working Women’s Network, a civic group formed by women in 1995 who were residing in Osaka, is putting together a report on sexual discrimination in the workplace that will be given to the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The CEDAW group is comprised of 23 experts on women issues who are drawn from all parts of the world. Although working conditions for Japanese women have improved since passage in 1986 of the Equal Employment Opportunity Law, there is still wide spread inequality in the workplace. Shizuko Koedo, chairwman of the Japanese group notes, “we will point out that Japan needs to create a law to guarantee equal jobs and establish a system to evaluate employees without gender bias.”

According to recent figures released by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry of Japan, full-time female employees in 2007 earned on average 66,9 percent of what men earned. Part of the wage gap stems from lack of women in top level managerial positions in the Japanese corporate structure. There is evidence males more often are on the fast track to becoming a manager while women are on the other track which leads to clerical positions.

Indonesia Debates Meaning Of Pornography

Indonesian feminist and human rights groups are concerned at proposed legislation which defines pornography in an open ended manner that could result in making those who fight pornography be charged with advocating it. Article 1 of the proposed legislation defines pornography as any sexual reference exhibited as a drawing, sketch, illustration, photograph, motion picture, animation, cartoon poetry, conversation or any form of communication. the broad strokes of the legislation could be interpreted as allowing those who write poetry or pictures of females being defined as examples of pornography.

If a nation defines pornography as entailing displaying pictures of women it opens the pandora’s box of what exactly can be portrayed of the female body. Who defines if one picture is pornographic or not? The legislation apparently places such power in the hands of government bureaucrats. That is always a dangerous position if the object is to protect human and female rights.