We're sorry to announce that due to ill-health November's issue is suspended. At the moment it is next to impossible to use the computer. There may also be no issue in December, or a very limited one, but we hope to return at full strength in the new year. Apologies too for the lack of main features in September and October - delayed for the same reasons. Please stick with us, we will be back.
A word on navigation. There's a lot here, and a lot to post each month. To help you, the archive is at the top right of the page, just under this editorial. You'll see posts listed by month and topic. If you want to skip straight to Sport, or Arts, you can do so using these links. Otherwise you'll have to scroll down through more than one page to read everything each month. Please note that any queries about content or other matters should be directed to the original publications of linked articles as WHTW? can't be responsible for fact-checking and vetting sources of all of them.
This month's issue
While you are waiting, October's issue is full of fascinating articles. We are asking is child labour wrong? Girls in Bolivia's new child union don't think so (see Women/Work) and are demanding respect from society for their labour (and give us your view in our poll at the foot of the page). In Politics, Denmark has a new woman prime minister and you can read a statement on increasing women's political participation from UN women leaders, and research on peace and gender. In Family and society, there's a list of the best and worst countries for women and an article on the pros and cons of pirate husbands in Somalia. In Arts there's a comment on the furore over pop-star Rihanna's in-your-face raunch. And in Science and technology we celebrate Thai and Kenyan women's scientific achievements. In Health, there's a warning about injectable contraceptives and HIV infection, and a rise in breast cancer in UK Asian women. In Law, a US lawyer is protesting at the treatment of jailed women in childbirth. In the Mind, body and spirit post you can engage in debate over the Pill - or the lack of it - and its transformative effects on society. And, for a giggle, look at the men in pin-up poses in the And another thing section of this blog.
Our special feature this month will be a collection of links on Women in the Arab Spring. Look out for it coming soon!
We hope you will find this blog a useful resource and a provocative and productive place for debate. We look forward to your comments and feedback.
Anna Purna

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Women/Politics: Denmark's PM, African politicians, peace, UN women

Denmark's new PM
Denmark elects its first woman prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt: http://universitypost.dk/article/thorning-new-prime-minister  . UK comment from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/16/helle-thorning-schmidt-denmark-leader?INTCMP=SRCH and  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/15/danes-female-prime-minister-helle-thorning-schmidt?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487. The win was subseqently hailed as a victory for women. Not only is Thorning-Shcmidt, leader of the Social Democrats, now PM at the head of a left wing coalition, but two other (of nine) Folketing (parliamentary) parties are also led by women: the Danish Social-Liberal party led by Margarethe Vestager and the right-wing anti-immigration Danish People's Party, led by Pia Kjaersgaard. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/tough-task-for-denmarks-first-woman-pm-20110916-1kcj6.html

UN women's voices
Dilma Vana Rousseff, Brazil's first female president, also became the first woman to open an annual meeting of the UN General Assembly last month. Brazil's president has historically been given the honour of making the opening speech. Ms Rousseff took the opportunity to address the UN on human rights. Her speech, however, was criticised by some in Brazil:  http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/10/03/brazil-dilma-speech-un/
UN Women leaders
At the UN meeting of women leaders in September there were calls for greater participation of women in political decisionmaking. The leaders signed a joint statement setting out ways to increase women's participation in politics: http://www.unwomen.org/2011/09/world-leaders-draw-attention-to-central-role-of-womens-political-participation-in-democracy/#jointstatement . In the UK, the Fawcett Society commented: http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1207.

Women in African politics
Kenya's new constitution, passed in August 2010, looks set to create up to 80 new Kenyan women MPs. The constitution provides for an additional 80 seats in parliament which the government has now decided will be allocated via a nomination list to women until Kenya's parliament fulfils its new constitutional requirement of one-third of its members being women: http://allafrica.com/stories/201109211232.html
However, in other African states, women's representation is facing obstacles. In Uganda, women politicians and leaders complain they face continuing discrimination by being expected to fulfil traditional gender roles in addition to their political duties. This report contains personal statements from some leading women politicians on their own experience of campaigning for election: http://allafrica.com/stories/201110031115.html
In Zimbabwe, women remain disempowered and economically disadvantaged. The women's movement is calling for a 50%  quota system for elections. The government has announced various new measures to improve women's status, according to this report. But, the journalist wonders, "whether these gestures are improving the welfare of women or they are away of politely excluding women from the mainstream economy...when will women's empowerment become a top priority... in Zimbabwe's policies?"    http://allafrica.com/stories/201110030368.html
In Nigeria, newly appointed women ministers are being urged to work extra hard to show themselves worthy of key government positions that include finance, petroleum, aviation, water and environment: http://allafrica.com/stories/201109200819.html.

Peace and gender 
Peace and peace negotiations have become a critical issue for feminist intervention and action. This month sees the 11th anniversary of the UN Security Council's resolution 1325 providing for a range of measures to increase the inclusion of women in the prevention and resolution of violent conflict and address the role of women in peace negotiations. Research by Christine Bell and Catherine O'Rourke discusses the success or otherwise of the resolution's implementation in Asia. Issues such as the inclusion of sexual violence in peace deals are crucial to women, as is the inclusion of women in peace-building strategies and laying the foundations for future political structures. The research found that only 16 per cent of peace agreements contained references to women, but that this represented an increase since the passing of SCR 1325. Read UN Security Council 1325 and Peace Negotiations and Agreements and other documents on peace and gender from the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue here: http://www.hdcentre.org/publications?filter0=677

A report from the Cape Town Centre for Conflict Resolution on women and peacebuilding in Africa can be found here: http://www.ccr.org.za/images/stories/pdfs/Vol_9-WPA_Report_Final_Web-small.pdf. Author Joyce Laker's view is that women's participation in peace mediation and negotiations in African conflicts is unsystematic and ad hoc, and conditional on pressure from women's and other social movements.

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