Advancement of Women – November 2, 2017

Time to Fight the Global Avalanche of Misogyny Caused by Fundamentalism and Extremism, Says UN Rights Expert 

United Nations, New York – October 25, 2017 – The world must fight back against a growing threat to women’s rights fueled by rising fundamentalism and extremism, a UN human rights expert has told the General Assembly in New York.

“Fundamentalism and extremism are giving rise to widespread abuses of women’s cultural rights,” said Karima Bennoune, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, presenting a report on the global challenges being faced.

“Some of the most urgent threats that women’s human rights will face in coming years will include the diverse forms of fundamentalism and extremism that are on the rise across all regions of the world.”

The Special Rapporteur asked the audience: “What world will your daughters inherit? This is a wake-up call for our times. We face a multi-directional global avalanche of misogyny, motivated by diverse fundamentalist and extremist ideologies. For the sake of all the daughters around the world, let us come together and take an unequivocal stand for women’s equal cultural rights, to reverse this worrying trend.

Special Rapporteur Full Report to the UN General Assembly: http://undocs.org/en/A/72/155

Lebanon League for women in business encourages women entrepreneurs 

Al Monitor – October 26, 2017: In Lebanon, women count for 3.1% of the deputies in parliament compared to 22% on average elsewhere in the world. Meanwhile, Lebanese parliamentarians refused to pass in June a quota guaranteeing that women must represent 30% of decision-making positions in politics. In this context, succeeding professionally as a Lebanese woman is challenging. But some incentives and business organizations are pushing potential candidates to try and launch their own businesses in this sexist climate.
Aline Kamakian, the owner of Mayrig, an Armenian restaurant in Beirut, began selling life insurance policies at age 18, after her father died. “I faced a lot of sexual harassment, because at that time a woman selling stuff was considered selling herself,” Kamakian told Al-Monitor. “But I overcame my frustrations and succeeded. In 2003, I opened my father’s dream restaurant, Mayrig.”
But without a father or husband, she couldn’t get a loan and had to ask her cousin to be her business partner. “It is not by law but common practice. It wasn’t until this year that I could buy my cousin’s shares,” she added.
Recognized as woman entrepreneur of 2014 by the Brilliant Lebanese Awards, Kamakian is also a board member of the Lebanese League for Women in Business (LLWB), an association launched in 2006 by 12 women to encourage their peers to strive in business.

Syria – Raqqa Mothers Recount Horrors Of Life Under IS As The City Was At Last Liberated

Al Monitor, October 29, 2017: For nearly three years, Raqqa, Syria’s sixth-largest city, served as a slaughterhouse for the Islamic State (IS). Today, Raqqa is an emancipated wreckage. It was liberated Oct. 17 by a US-backed alliance of mainly Kurdish-Syrian fighters. IS forces are now physically defeated, but their shadow continues to darken the lives of those who will forever remember the apocalyptic horror, savagery and bloodbath.

Foza, who refused to reveal her last name, is a 36-year-old mother who escaped Raqqa at night and is now among the thousands of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. “I put my 3-year-old daughter on my shoulders and my 12-year-old son put his younger brother on his back and we crawled over dead bodies in our neighborhood to escape the militants,” she said.

“When we reached Lebanon’s border, the children could not breathe and could not stop vomiting,” added Foza, who escaped IS eight months ago. They walked, hitchhiked and at points hid in trucks that maneuvered through booby traps and land mines.

The trauma endured by Foza and her family is evident in her children’s nightly bed-wetting and nightmares. These are frequent challenges among many Syrian refugees who now live in Lebanon — a country of only 6 million in population that is now host to more than 1.1 million registered Syrians. According to local aid groups and grass-roots organizations, that number does not include the many thousands of unregistered refugees.

According to the humanitarian initiative REACH, by mid-September, there were only 8,000 remaining residents out of Raqqa’s approximate 300,000 pre-war population. In the last 12 months alone, the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, recorded close to 1 million displacements in northern and southern Syria, with Aleppo, Raqqa and Hama leading the way in destruction.

 

Nigeria – Boko Haram Strapped Suicide Bombs to These Teenage Girls. Somehow They Survived!

The New York Times interviewed 18 girls who were captured by militants in Nigeria and sent into crowds to blow themselves up. Here are their stories.

New York Times, October 25, 2017: The girls didn’t want to kill anyone. They walked in silence for a while, the weight of the explosives around their waists pulling down on them as they fingered the detonators and tried to think of a way out.

“I don’t know how to get this thing off me,” Hadiza, 16, recalled saying as she headed out on her mission.

“What are you going to do with yours?” she asked the 12-year-old girl next to her, who was also wearing a bomb.

“I’m going to go off by myself and blow myself up,” the girl responded hopelessly.

It was all happening so fast. After being kidnapped by Boko Haram this year, Hadiza was confronted by a fighter in the camp where she was being held hostage. He wanted to “marry” her. She rejected him.

“You’ll regret this,” the fighter told her.

A few days later, she was brought before a Boko Haram leader. He told her she would be going to the happiest place she could imagine. Hadiza thought she was going home. He was talking about heaven. They came for her at night, she said, grabbing a suicide belt and attaching it to her waist. The fighters then sent her and the 12-year-old girl out on foot, alone, telling them to detonate the bombs at a camp for Nigerian civilians who have fled the violence Boko Haram has inflicted on the region.

 

Saudi Arabia will Allow Women/Families into 3 Sports Stadiums

Saudi Arabia will allow women to attend sports events in stadiums for the first time from next year, officials say.

BBC News, October 29, 2017 – Families will be able to enter the stadiums in three major cities – Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. It is another move towards giving more freedom to Saudi women, who face strict gender segregation rules, and follows the historic lifting of a driving ban. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading a major drive to modernize Saudi society and boost the economy.  Saudi Arabia’s sports authority said that preparations would start in the three stadiums so they can be “ready to accommodate families from early 2018”.

 

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