Graça Machel, wife of former president Nelson Mandela, says she is ashamed that issues of gender inequality in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have not ceased.
Machel is of the view that efforts by the United Nations Security Council to see a decrease in rape in the DRC have not yet yielded any success.
Speaking at the Young Women in Dialogue conference held in Freedom Park, Pretoria, Machel noted that while the country upheld customary laws, some of those laws still perceive women in an inferior manner.
To read the article titled, “Graça addresses newomen inequality,” click here.Source:News 24
Children’s Dignity Forum (CDF) is implementing an ambitious project aimed at saving schoolgirls from the menace of female genital mutilation (FGM), early marriages and HIV/AIDS in Tanzania’s Mara Region.
The project dubbed ‘Strengthen Girls Network and Clubs in Response to Child Marriage, FGM and HIV Prevention Strategies’, is targeting public schools.
Project coordinator, Fransisca Silayo, made the revelation during a special function organised by the NGO to provide anti- FGM, early marriages and HIV/AIDS education to female pupils.
To read the article titled, “NGO steps up fight against FGM, early marriages,” click here.Source:All Africa
- HelpAge InternationalPlease note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.Opportunity closing date:Tuesday, August 27, 2013Opportunity type:Employment
HelpAge International in South Africa seeks to appoint a Regional Director, East West and Central Africa (EWCA), based in Nairobi, Kenya with regular travel around the region.
The EWCA Regional Development Centre works with a range of partners across Africa to deliver programming in a number of key areas including HIV/AIDS & health, income security, emergency response and rights of older people.
This is an accompanied three-year contract position with possible extension.
This is an exciting opportunity represent HelpAge International’s interests in the EWCA region and develop and establish a regional programme in line with global strategies.
- Support members and partners efforts to strengthen the organisational capacity, participation and influence of disadvantaged older people in the region;
- Lead a diverse team to develop programmes and policy work in the region in line with regional and global targets.
- Experience of international development and/or humanitarian work, including extensive experience in Africa;
- Proven leadership skills and the ability to manage a team, across cultures and at a distance;
- Extensive experience in advocacy and fundraising, as well as experience in strategic planning, budgeting and reporting;
- Willingness to travel extensively within the region is also essential for this role.
First stage interviews will be held between 3-5 September 2013.
Starting date: As soon as possible.
For full job description and to apply, refer to www.helpage.org/RDewcaaug13.
Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.
HelpAge International is an equal opportunities employer.
For more about HelpAge International, refer to www.helpage.org.
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A rights group, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Angola to drop criminal defamation charges against an investigative journalist who wrote a book on human rights abuses in Angola's diamond-rich region.
The organisation states that Rafael Marques de Morais attended a hearing on 31 July 2013 for 10 new lawsuits that were brought against him, along with one pre-existing suit.
The lawsuits revolve around a book that alleges Angolan generals own a diamond company and a security firm that carried out killings and the torture of workers toiling in the southern African nation's mines.
To read the article titled, “Rights group calls on Angola to drop charges against journalist,” click here.Source:Times Live
The recent suspension and dismissal of FHM editor, Max Barashenkov, and editorial assistant, Montle Moorosi, for having made a joke out of ‘corrective rape’ on the former’s Facebook page, come at a point at which the border between our public and private lives is not only blurred by our participation in social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), but in an age where violence against women has run rampant. The public was particularly sensitive to the above remarks in light of the recent corrective rape of a Thokoza lesbian, Duduzile Zozo, who was found murdered, with a toilet brush lodged in her vagina. At least 31 lesbian women have been brutally murdered in the last 10 years and a reported 10 lesbians are raped or gang-raped a week in Cape Town alone.
Yet these are not isolated incidents of gender-based violence (GBV). South Africa is infamously known as the ‘rape capital’ of the world - not an unfounded title for a country in which women are more likely to be raped than able to read and there are an estimated 500 000 rapes annually. In a country where young women are sexually assaulted at a taxi rank for wearing miniskirts, politicians are routinely implicated in rape cases and alleged victims are slut-shamed, businessmen eat sushi off of practically naked women, lesbians are victims of ‘corrective rape’, and the opposition’s female parliamentarians are attacked in a sexist and misogynist manner for their ‘fashion sense’, rape culture seems to have become part of South Africa’s everyday. According to Lynn Phillips, a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst Communication Department, rape culture may be defined as “a culture in which dominant cultural ideologies, media images, social practices, and societal institutions support and condone sexual abuse by normalising, trivialising and eroticising male violence against women and blaming victims for their own abuse.”
A 2011 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report entitled ‘We’ll Show You You’re a Woman: Violence and Discrimination against Black Lesbians and Transgender Men in South Africa’, revealed that lesbians and transgender men are exposed to widespread discrimination and violence on a daily basis, from both private individuals and government officials. Even more surprising is how these perpetrators act with almost total impunity. The wholly ignorant remarks made by African National Congress Women’s League’s (ANCWL) chairperson, Lindiwe Khonjelwayo, regarding the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community’s pursuit of equal rights, which she has termed as ‘too aggressive’, that is, the LGBTI community was ‘asking for’ the abuse it received, only further emphasise this community’s ostracism, despite laws having been implemented to guarantee their equal rights. That GBV in South Africa also extends to include LGBTI people, seems to suggest that not only does South African society have a rampant rape culture, where GBV is often blamed on the victim, and not only are parts of South African society oppressive and violent toward women, but that any gender or sexual-orientation that deviates from the patriarchal norm is subject to abuse. This damaging attitude is what French writer and philosopher, Simone de Beauvoir, termed ‘Othering’, that is, an ‘us’ vs. ‘them’ situation, whereby the latter are seen as less human, or somehow less worthy of respect than the former, and are treated accordingly.
In an age of rapidly advancing technology, rape culture has adapted itself, now readily found on social media, which appears to have become its new playground, a trend most recently exemplified in South Africa by the FHM writers, Barashenkov and Moorosi, who made a joke out of corrective rape on Facebook. However, this rampant rape culture has also received well-deserved backlash via these same channels in which its netizens seem to revile women these days: be it via Twitter, Facebook or websites and blogs, women have begun firing back at a culture in which they are oppressed, violated and abused, simply as a result of their gender.
The Everyday Sexism Project, launched in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2012, is on Twitter (#everydaysexism) as well as Facebook, and provides ordinary women with a space to share their daily experiences with sexism. This particular social media movement has grown to include 15 countries, including South Africa. Nicole, a 17-year-old from South Africa, writes, “Walked past a church building in Stellenbosch, SA. A man behind the gate wags his exposed penis at me as I pass”, representing only a fraction of those stories shared globally, but all with the same origin: sexism and misogyny toward women. The United Nations (UN) also joined the likes of these movements, using social media to promote its cause - in this case, #orangeday is used to promote the secretary-general’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, which started in July 2012, on the 25th of every month.
There are also social media movements targeting the platforms themselves, attempting to make these spaces safer for women. The Twitter campaign #FBRape, also started by The Everyday Sexism Project, highlights Facebook’s flawed guidelines, which banned hate speech but not offensive remarks about sexual assault. After several companies pulled their advertisements from the social network site after being informed by the campaign that their ads appeared on pages promoting GBV, Facebook announced it would change its lop-sided policies. There is also a global movement called Take Back the Tech, which seeks to show how information communications technologies (ICTs) are used to oppress women, but more importantly, focuses on empowering women on these very same platforms. South African nonprofit organisation, Women’sNet, started a local ‘Take Back the Tech’ campaign in 2009, featuring during the 16 Days of Activism (25 November to 10 December).
Social media has thus been used successfully to campaign against sexism, misogyny, and GBV. However, it is Germaine Greer who famously said: “Women have very little idea of how much men hate them”, that is, until social media came along. Many women who campaign against GBV and related issues have experienced the full thrust of a society of men that has been raised within the confines of rape culture. Anita Sarkeesian, whose video webseries ‘Feminist Frequency’ explores and deconstructs the representations, stereotypes, and tropes associated with women in pop culture narratives, was viciously abused and sexually harassed online, with Internet users creating a game entitled ‘Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian’, as well as disseminating photoshopped images of Sarkeesian in sexually demeaning positions. All this was in reaction to her Kickstarter campaign for people to, I must emphasise, - voluntarily fund -, research in the area of ‘Tropes vs Women in Videogames’. Caroline Criado-Perez, who in July 2013 successfully campaigned for women to be included on English banknotes, was subjected to a bombardment of abusive tweets in response to her win, including rape and death threats. This in turn prompted an online petition to introduce a ‘report abuse’ button on Twitter, which more than 66 000 people have signed to date, putting the social media platform under pressure to make its user more accountable. Examples of such appalling behaviour toward women who openly fight for their right to be treated with respect and equality are unfortunately a common occurrence these days.
Will such aggression and GBV-behaviour also be the fate of those South African women who start movements for change on social media? The banning of the movie ‘Of Good Report’ - due to be premiered at the Durban International Film Festival (Diff) in July 2013 - by the Film and Publication Board (FPB), by reason of its supposed portrayal of ‘child pornography’, as well as the fact that President Jacob Zuma only in February 2013 made more than a passing reference to the rape crisis in his State of the Nation speech - the first time since coming into power in 2009 -, not only symbolise South Africa’s discomfort with tackling issues of a sexual nature head-on, but the country’s overall ‘let's try to pretend this is not happening’ attitude, which is anything if not detrimental in a country where child abuse and GBV need to be dealt with openly and directly. It seems to me that if feminist movements were to attempt to make fundamental changes to the societal fabric of South Africa through social media, as it has been done in the UK and Germany, there would most definitely be a backlash just as violent and virulent, if not more so, with rape culture raising its ugly head where women try to make a substantial difference.
Yet this is not the only problem potential South African movements looking to challenge the state of GBV or other related issues would face when campaigning on social media platforms. Despite having climbed two places in the World Economic Forum's (WEF) 2013 ‘Global Information Technology Report’, namely from 72nd to 70th out of the 144 countries surveyed, South Africa scores poorly when it comes to ICT skills (102nd), affordability (104th), and individual usage (81st). If social media movements within South Africa are to make some impact, access to, as well as the skills to use ICTs successfully, need to be in place. The communities and women who are most at risk when it comes to GBV are unfortunately also the ones with the least amount of ICT access and expertise. Bridging the digital (gender) divide in South Africa is therefore not only instrumental to engendering much-needed social change, but also increasingly critical to the impact a social media movement will make, especially in the day and age of ever advancing technology, where global civil society, and most importantly, the ordinary person looking for a way to make a difference, are just a mouse click away.
- Laura Kapelari is SANGONeT’s International Human Rights Exchange intern.
If Swazi women are to realise their rights as enshrined in the Constitution, there needs to be a holistic review of the marriage laws in the country.
Phakama Shili, advocacy officer at Swaziland’s Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Swaziland), says that a good way to start would be amending all marriage laws by passing legislation that will bring about equality of spouses in marriage.
Writing in a weekly column, ‘Constitutionally Speaking’, Shili states that under Swazi common law, the property of spouses falls into a common pool which, although jointly owned by the spouses, is entirely controlled by the husband unless the spouses execute an ante-nuptial contract before marriage.
To read the article titled, “Half a loaf is not better than none - Marriage Rights in Swaziland,” click here.Source:All Africa
The Commission on Gender Equality (CGE) says that workplaces need to develop policies to protect men and women from sexual misconduct.
In a press statement, the commission calls on all places of employment to be vigilant by developing and creating policies that ensure that workplaces are safe for women and men of our country.
The commission, which was reacting to the recent allegation of rape against Congress of South African Trade Unions general-secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, is calling for an end to sexual misconduct in the workplace.
To read the article titled, “Workplaces need policies for sexual misconduct,” click here.Source:Sowetan Live
The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities says the adoption of a new Bill, now before Cabinet, will help to fully emancipate South African women.
Minister Lulu Xingwana points out that, "Within the 100 years, a lot has been achieved to attain the total emancipation of South African women of all races."
In a speech prepared for the launch of Women's Month in Freedom Park, Tshwane, Xingwana paid tribute to women who fought for liberation, including Charlotte Maxeke, Albertina Sisulu and Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
She further warned that women still faced injustices, however, including violence, poverty, unemployment, exploitation and human trafficking.
To read the article titled, “Xingwana announces Bill to tackle gender inequality,” click here.Source:Mail and Guardian
- Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities (APD)Please note: this opportunity closing date has passed and may not be available any more.Opportunity closing date:Monday, August 19, 2013Opportunity type:Employment
The Management committee of Western Cape APD seeks to appoint a Fundraising Assistant, based at its Milnerton Office, Cape Town.
- Matric qualification;
- Proficient in Microsoft Office;
- Valid driver’s license;
- Lateral thinker;
- Ability to work and develop good working relationships;
- Team player;
- Practical experience in fundraising;
- Knowledge of the social development sector will be advantageous;
- Ease in dealing with senior members of the community and in social and business settings.
To apply, submit a CV and motivation letter to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please quote the source of this advertisement in your application - NGO Pulse Portal.
Should you not receive a feedback within 14 days after the closing date, consider your application unsuccessful.
For more about the Western Cape Association for Persons with Disabilities, refer to www.wcapd.org.za.
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The United Nations’ human rights office is launching its first global outreach campaign to promote more tolerance and greater equality for lesbians, gays, transgender people and bisexuals.
Called ‘Free and Equal’, the campaign is an unprecedented effort by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to change public attitudes around the world on issues that have bitterly divided the UN's own member states.
The campaign, which has launched in South Africa, the home country of human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, will include videos and public-service announcements distributed through social media, a new website, a series of fact sheets, and engagement by celebrities well-known in different regions of the world.
To read the article titled, “UN human rights office unveils gay rights campaign,” click here.Source:Times Live