In her new book, Swati Parashar looks at the subjectivities of militant women in two protracted South Asian conflicts: Kashmir and Sri Lanka. She reveals that women who do not fit the stereotypical bill of wailing victim or mother are silenced by a dominant social discourse, which translates into the absence of women in peace building processes and post-war politics. Parashar draws on her qualitative research, International Relations, feminist literature and a vast number of multidisciplinary sources on gender and war to shed light on the mutual effects of politics and gendered understandings of female identities and bodies. Her book is divided into several chapters introducing the topic of silencing, gendered nature of wars, issues connected to her fieldwork, her findings from Kashmir and Sri Lanka, and finally the politics of remembering.
Many women who helped vote Hassan Rohani into office as Iran’s new president did so in the hope that he would push for equality. Yet, when Rohani released his proposed new cabinet on inauguration day on August 4, his list had the makings of an all-male club.
In an apparent response to the criticism that followed from female voters and rights watchers, the cabinet now has its first woman. Elham Aminzadeh, a former conservative lawmaker who reportedly teaches at several universities, has been named vice president for legal affairs.
Rohani said in an August 11 decree that Aminzadeh was given the job because of her “scientific competence” and “legal qualifications” and also for her “moral virtues,” Fars reported.
When we think of efforts to bring peace to Myanmar, the main picture most of us have in mind is that of Aung San Suu Kyi. Even if today she is still an essential element of the Myanmar transition, the road to peace and democracy is paved by many other female characters whose faces are less familiar to us.
At the Negotiating Table
As in many other contexts around the world, it is mainly men who sit on both sides of Myanmar’s negotiating table. However, the recent dialogue between the government and the Karen National Union (KNU) was an exception in that it was the first time talks were headed by a woman: Naw Zaporah Sein, the current Vice-Chairman of the KNU. In addition to the head of the delegation, several members of the KNU peace negotiation team are also women, among them an influential legal expert. Additionally, several women sit in the negotiation room as observers and provide feedback to both sides after negotiations.
On Monday, August 29th, the Environmental Change and Security Progam (ECSP), part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, will host a free afternoon event exploring the linkages between water access, gender, and conflict. “Digging Deeper: Water, Women, and Conflict” will be a panel discussion under the auspices of a fledgling ECSP research project examining how these dynamics interact and contribute to human insecurity. If you are unable to attend the event in person, it will also be transmitted live via webcast.
Today, 8 March 2011, the world celebrates International Women’s Day. This year, nearly 1,500 mass rallies, business conferences, government activities, networking events, craft markets, theater performances, fashion parades, parties, and more around the globe will celebrate 100 years of women’s achievements.
In these 100 years, both women and their International Women’s Day (IWD) have come a long way. The IWD was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year. More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration. In 1975, during International Women’s Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women’s Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
Today, the IWD is celebrated as a national holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. In other countries, the IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. In most countries, however, the IWD is simply the day for women to celebrate themselves and their achievements. Today, a global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.
Most major events taking place at this year’s International Women’s Day Centenary are listed either on the official IWD website, or on the Women for Women International website. These are thus also the best places to find the IWD events taking place closest to where you are. Furthermore, the IWD is commemorated by the United Nations which continues to run themes on political and human rights, and gender equality, to create social awareness of the struggles of women worldwide. Its official theme for today’s International Women’s Day is Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.
From their mouths to God’s ear.