May 19, 2017


In recent times, women have been able to take bold steps towards becoming different and making an impact in their generation by taking on unique roles which before now was exclusive to men. These women put in their time, resources and energy, not neglecting their core roles as wife and mother,and have recorded some level of success in their pursuit for a better more fulfilling life.

Mallika Srinvasis is a perfect example of a woman who has made a strong mark in a male dominated industry. She is known as the “tractor queen”. Blessed with good parents, and a father who always encouraged her to focus on her studies.

Growing up, Mallika was always full of determination. She was known to be a bright student and admired for her hard work. As the eldest child of the family, she was trained to take responsibilities. She took destiny into her hands and ran with it.

Mallika’s father had wanted her to study literature but she had her heart fixed on other things. When she secured admission into Wharton Business School to study for an MBA, she left Pennsylvania with her baby and her mother to pursue the degree.


After schooling, Mallika wanted to take up a job in any small holding company of the Amalgamation Group, but her father insisted that she joined the family business as the general manager of tractors and farm Equipment Company. With her efforts and intelligence the company became the second largest manufacturer of tractors and the third largest in the world.

She has received various awards which include India’s business woman of the year, given to her from the BBC in 1999, Business Leadership Award in 2005 her most recent and trending award the Padma Shri award for Trade and Industry category from Government of India for the year 2014.

After she lost her father in 2011, she became the chairman and CEO of TAFE which is situated in chennia, India. She is married to Mr. Venu Srinivasan, the current chairman of TVS Motors Company. And they are blessed with two children.

Denise Dresser has a degree in international relations at El Colegio de México, and master’s and doctorate in political science at Princeton University. She is a specialist in political science and is a professor at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) where she has taught courses on contemporary Mexican politics and comparative politics since 1991.

She is the author of numerous articles about contemporary Mexican politics and relations between Mexico-United States. In 2009 she won the National Journalism Award in the category of best feature article with Open letter to Carlos Slim, along with journalist Carmen Aristegui and writer Carlos Monsiváis, the award is presented annually by the City Council of National Award Journalism “under the premises of autonomy, independence, impartiality, plurality and responsibility”.

She has been a visiting researcher at the Center for US-Mexico University of California, San Diego, Center for International Studies at the University of Southern California, in the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington DC, a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley and at the University of Georgetown. She has received research grants from the Fulbright Commission, the OAS, Princeton University and the Rockefeller Foundation. Some fragments of her texts were included by playwright Humberto Robles in the documentary Women of sand, text addressing femicide in Ciudad Juarez.

She was a member of the Committee to Support the Special Prosecutor for Past Social and Political Advisor and the Human Rights Commission of the Mexico City movements. She is a founding member of the Mexican Association of the Right to Information (AMEDI) and the Citizens Coalition “Defend the Forest and the City.”

As a journalist, she writes a column in the newspaper Reforma and the weekly Proceso. She has published in the newspaper La Opinion in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Times and The New York Times. She has been commentator and host of the news program Detrás de la noticia and a host of Entre versiones in Channel 40. She participated in other television shows like El cristal con que se mira of Victor Trujillo. She has also been policy analyst in the politics table of Radio Monitor with Jose Gutierrez Vivo. She was a weekly commentator on W Radio. Until 2015, she participated in the politics table with Carmen Aristegui. She drove El país de uno in CONACULTA Channel 22.

She is coordinator of the book Cries and Whispers: Untimely experiences of 38 women and produced the television series of the book. She is also the coordinator of Cries and Whispers II: Untimely experiences of 39 other women. She wrote, in collaboration with the novelist Jorge Volpi, Mexico: what every citizen would want (not) to know about his homeland, a satirical vision of the Mexican political system. Aguilar published her book Our country: reflections to understand and change Mexico, in which she proposed her ideas based on ten points to transform the country.


She has expressed an open opposition to monopolistic practices in Mexico, especially against the so-called Televisa Law, which, according to her opinion, favors the television duopoly of Televisa and TV Azteca, and against Carlos Slim, the world’s richest and most powerful magnate in the country who owns almost all the Mexican telephone network (TELMEX).

She is the granddaughter of American track and field athlete Ivan Dresser.

She was awarded with the Legion of Honor of the French Republic in the rank of Knight, the highest distinction awarded by the French government to citizens and foreigners, for her defense of freedom of expression and human rights

By: Jennifer Johnson

After 30 surgeries, one woman is talking about the medical procedure that literally helped to make her whole again

There was a reunion on the third floor of Strong Memorial Hospital in April that many did not think would happen.

Many did not think patient Kate Clemont of Webster would live – including some of her doctors.

“It was very, very aggressive. I didn’t think she was going to survive,” said URMC plastic surgeon Dr. Derek Bell.

Kate is a married mom of two. She was adopted, lost her father to cancer and her son Jack has autism.

Kate coaches others through these life scenarios and has done a lot to empower the local autism community.

“The Kate that went into hospital was very confident and very independent and very capable,” Kate said. “And the Kate that came out was not the same Kate.”

July 4th, 2015:

Kate stayed in bed all day. What felt like a pulled muscle from gardening soon became much worse. The next day, she told her husband Curtis she needed to get to the hospital. He took her to Emergency Department at Strong Memorial Hospital.

“They whisked me off apparently and I don’t remember anything after that,” Kate said.

Trauma surgeon Dr. Mark Gestring and plastic surgeon Dr. Derek Bell were working that Sunday of the holiday weekend.

“Just looking at her skin condition, I looked at Mark and I was like, ‘This is bad.’ And probably within an hour she was in the operating room,” Dr. Bell said.

That skin condition was necrotizing fasciitis. It’s sometimes called “the flesh-eating disease.”

When asked how Kate got it, Dr. Gestring said they’re still not sure.

“You get cut by a branch or a bug bite or a scratch, a little rusty nail or something like that. It’s hard to know exactly where the bacterium comes from,” Dr. Gestring said. “We never did find a clear source.”

Kate had been taking an immunosuppressant for arthritis, which lowered her ability to fight infection. The infection spread very quickly.

“The infection moved at a rate you could almost watch,” Dr. Gestring said. “You could almost watch the redness spread, which is very unusual – at least for me – to see.”

Kate spent 75 days in the hospital, mostly in the Kessler Burn Center. She endured almost 30 surgeries and coded twice.

“Second time (she coded), I knew I had to fight. I was fighting for the boys, I was fighting for Curtis, so yeah, I had to fight.” Kate said.

The impact of the infection was like a large shark bite on her side. It covered from hip to armpit and across her stomach.

Once the infection was under control, skin was taken from her leg and grafted to her side. In other spots, to minimize scarring, Dr. Bell used a tissue-engineered skin that has components of shark cartilage in it.

“I think she gets a real kick out of telling people now that she is part shark,” Dr. Bell said with a laugh.

Kate and her doctors can now joke about the tough times. It’s helped her process the loss of her right hand, left index finger and ends of her toes.

“That’s what people see, they see that I lost my hand,” Kate explained. “But that was a result of the treatment, a result of the blood not getting to the extremities when they were trying to save my organs.”

“I hated them to begin with… I hated the disfigurement,” Kate said, showing her lost limbs. “But I know that’s what they had to do to save me and it’s nothing I’m ashamed of. Kind of proud of them…battle scars.”

At first, Kate wondered how a right-handed woman would create art, cook or garden without a right hand.

Would she ever again host backyard arts and crafts camps for the kids with autism she loves so dearly? Would she host paint nights as an outlet for their moms?

In time, she answered that question – yes. Her “can do” attitude returned and a desire to share this story began.

“It’s a testament to her inner strength and her personality that she wants to revisit this,” Dr. Gestring said. “Many people, having gone through an event like this don’t want to think about it ever again. So I think it’s a huge credit to her and her family that they want to do this for other people… Thankfully there is not a huge population of people who have this problem, but sadly it’s because many of them die. She had a very touch-and-go course for I’d say the first week.”

In April, Kate went back to the Kessler Burn Center to see the people who saved her life. It was special.

“For the people who never saw her beyond the ICU setting to now see her walking in on her own steam, it’s very encouraging for us to keep doing what we’re doing,” Dr. Gestring said.

Dr. Bell echoed that.

“I think she is a real inspiration to all of us physicians, nurses, healthcare providers,” he said. “You can see the crowd of nurses out there that were culminating around her to embrace her and say hello to her again. For us, it’s a real reward to see such a success story. It makes us realize the time and effort and sacrifices that we put forth as health care professionals are certainly worth it.”

While the team raved about Kate, Curtis has the same feelings for her medical team.

Much of what happened to Kate in July, August and September of 2015 was too hard for Curtis to talk about during our interview. But when he reunited with the medical team, he made sure to tell them how he felt.

“The times that I thought there was no hope, you always provided me with that one glimmer that said, ‘Don’t worry, we are going to do everything we can. We can’t promise, but we’ll do everything we can,'” Curtis told them. “And you did.”

Now, Kate wants to do what she can to share her story, to maybe connect with or inspire others who get this disease.

“It’s gotta be good for something,” Kate said. “This can’t happen and nothing comes out of it. The doctors worked too hard. I worked too hard to let it go to waste.”

Source: Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM)

Nine nurses in Chiapas are in delicate condition after launching a hunger strike May 1 when negotiations with state health authorities went off the rails.

The strike, the second in two months by Chiapas nurses, is to call for the reinstatement of laid-off coworkers, payments to suppliers and the resupply of the medical clinics where they work.

They claim the state government failed to live up to the agreement made after the first hunger strike, which came to an end April 15.

The striking nurses have set up their camp once again at the entrance of the Rafael Pascacio Gamboa hospital in the state capital of Tuxtla Gutiérrez.

Spokeswoman María Espinoza reported that the health of her colleagues is “delicate,” and that all are showing the effects of “wasting syndrome,” with symptoms such as weakness, stomach pain and headaches, nausea, diarrhea, blurry vision and others.

Two of the striking nurses have had to receive special attention due to the severity of their symptoms, she said.

The Chiapas Interior Secretariat said there has been progress towards meeting the protesters’ demands, and asked the nurses to end the strike.

According to the state Health Secretariat, 15 workers have already been reinstated and more than 50 million pesos have been paid to the state employees’ housing fund Fovissste.

The Finance Secretariat said payment agreements had been signed with 32 of the 37 suppliers with which it is in arrears, and that payments to the nurses’ retirement funds will be made in no more than 18 months.

So far, 80% of the state-run pharmacies have reportedly been resupplied.

Source: Mexico news daily

Chinese woman comes up with a hot (and spicy) idea to deal with Denmark’s oyster invasion

A video of a Chinese woman cooking Sichuan-style oysters in Denmark has gone viral online, adding another ingredient to the Nordic country’s “oyster diplomacy” in China.

Bian Miaomiao, a native of the southwest city of Chengdu who now lives in Arhus with her Danish husband, shared on social media her story about collecting 150kg of fresh oysters in four hours, and cooking them the Sichuanese way for European friends who traditionally ate their shellfish raw.

Bian tried several recipes, including stir-fried, barbecued and cooked in an omelette.

Referring to Sichuan cuisine’s reputation of being spicy, Bian said her Danish friends were at first shocked by the signature hot and numbing flavour of the dishes but in no time loved them.

Her post attracted a number of likes, comments and retweets, including those by the Danish embassy to Beijing.

Denmark has the problem that its own waters have been inundated by invasive Pacific oysters which are taking over the marine habitat of native species. The embassy seized on the idea of enlisting China’s huge appetite for Pacific oysters as a way to eradicate the environmental pest.

The Danes are keen to export the alien shellfish, and have even toyed with the idea of offering special “oyster visas” to China’s foodies.

A spokesperson of the embassy told the Chengdu Business Daily that they appreciated Bian’s cooking skills and were “very delighted to see the oysters been eaten”.

“We welcome more Sichuanese friends to visit Denmark and showcase their cooking skills,” the paper quoted him as saying.

Source: South China Morning Post




By: Julius Bizimungu

First Lady Jeannette Kagame and other representatives of governments and international organisations who attended the just concluded Transform Africa Summit have expressed the need for strategic interventions to bridge the gender digital divide.

They were speaking during the inaugural Smart Africa Women’s Summit at the three-day Transform Africa Summit which concluded yesterday in Kigali.

Mrs. Kagame said that Smart Africa goals cannot be achieved without the involvement of women and girls and that to achieve it concerted efforts of all parties are required.

“We, as citizens of the world, are called to leverage our diverse positions to join governmental and non-governmental efforts for the inclusion of women and girls in the heart of the current ICT revolution,” she said.

The First Lady congratulated all the participants that made it possible to draft the Smart Africa Women Declaration which is set for implementation, adding that she looked forward to full engagement of everyone to help bridge the digital divide, enabling women and girls to actively participate in the digital economy.

While technology has proved to be an enabler of economic transformation, the First Lady noted that modern society of digital age continues to show digital divide as women significantly have lower access to these technologies, and that countries should join forces to narrow the gender digital divide.

“Recognising the power of ICT to improve livelihoods, through increased access to information, products, and services, we simply could not ignore the need for platforms that celebrate, and encourage more women and girls, to pursue that field,” she told the participants.

During the event, Zambian Vice-President Inonge Wina commended Rwandan government for the strides made to empower women and girls in many sectors of the economy.

“I want to underscore the progress made by Rwanda in achieving gender parity and equity in all spheres of development, especially in ICT, which forms the core of business for this Transform Africa Summit 2017,” she said.

For Africa to achieve gender parity and equity in this digital revolution, Wina suggested that countries must put more emphasis on education as well as infrastructure.

The Minister for Gender and Family Promotion, Espérance Nyirasafari, said there are principles which will drive the African continent from a digitally divided continent to an equally connected region.

“Today marks the start of convening the Smart Africa Women’s Summit that will bring to the front the interventions to be pursued to empower women and girls in ICT across the continent,” Nyirasafari said.

“Increasing access, affordability, and safety of women in tech; empowering women and girls with digital skills, and increasing participation of women and girls in STEM are the principles that will help us bridge the digital divide in Africa.”

According to Nyirasafari, the highlighted principles were adopted by the Organisation of African First Ladies, academia and other women leaders under the Kigali Smart Africa Women Declaration which was discussed at the sidelines of the Summit.

Karen Bartleson, the President of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the world’s largest technical professional organisation, said that countries need to invest in STEM education if they are to rapidly bridge the gender digital gap.


“When young girls and women across the world are exploring educational and professional possibilities in front of them, they are increasingly seeing role models in science and engineering that reminds them of themselves. All of us here today are part of these dynamic role models. Providing educational support in STEM fields is very critical,” Bartleson said.

She added that a well-qualified engineering workforce supported by the infrastructure and resources necessary to meet the needs of the population will be at the heart of Africa’s digital transformation.

Smart Africa Women’s Summit was the main event at the closure of three-day Transform Africa Summit, which drew around 3,000 delegates.

The summit convened African government leaders and representatives, private sector players, development partners and organisations in ICT.

This year’s summit main focus was on Smart Cities with an aim to ensure African capitals embrace technology to effectively deliver services.

The conference had about 10 side events across multiple topics, including Smart Africa Women’s Summit, business leaders’ symposium, business to business session and Ms. Geek Africa 2017 competition, among others.

Source: The News Times

Nuclear scientist Kára McCullough was crowned Miss USA. The Washington D.C. native also had some words to speak on feminism, including her views on the state of women in science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM). Answering a question about what she thinks of feminism, McCullough surprised more than a few listeners.

“As a woman scientist in the government, I’ve liked to lately transpose the word ‘feminism’ to ‘equalism,’” she stated. “I try not to consider myself, like, ‘Oh I don’t really care about men [feminist].’”

“But one thing I’m going to say is,” McCullough stressed, “women we are just as equal to men when it comes opportunity in the workplace. And I say first-hand, I have witnessed the impact that women have in leadership in the medical sciences as well as just in the office environment. So, as Miss USA, I would hope to promote that type of leadership responsibility globally to so many women worldwide.”

The social media reaction was somewhat intense. One viewer tweeted, “Huge fan of #MissUSA being a black woman and a scientist and advocate for science education, but dang she could use a class on social issues.” Cosmopolitan reported that McCullough “inadvertently…diminishes the gender equality that feminism has championed over the years—including workplace equality.”

But there’s reason to believe McCullough isn’t ignorant of social issues and didn’t choose her words inadvertently. If we actually look at the inequality problems women are facing in the fields of STEM, her comments sound more on the mark than some might think.

McCullough’s comments come at a pivotal time in our nation’s ongoing conversation of women in STEM. Last month The Atlantic posed the question, “Why is Silicon Valley so awful to women?” on its cover. What the issue showed was an amalgamation of the bad news that’s been coming out of the STEM fields with regard to women. From lack of representation to little room for advancement, many see a bleak situation.

The equality problem for women in STEM, McCullough seemed to suggest, is not an opportunity problem. Women have the option to get into the field; it’s an issue with them getting into positions of leadership. McCullough expanded on this in an interview later published on the Miss USA site: “I want to see more women possessing leadership positions in private and government energy and health sciences agencies; not just conducting laboratory research,” she said. “As a women scientist in the government, I have witnessed and been in many meetings where the ratio of men to women is 10:2. I believe more women should be given the opportunity to be representatives in the energy and medical fields.”

At the same time that obstacles in STEM are being highlighted, trends are changing and more women are entering these fields. There are two trends at play here. Many people—professors, non-for-profit advocates, educators, politicians, and employers—have worked hard to help women enter and excel in STEM fields. Their efforts have paid off: more women are entering these fields, like McCullough, and they’re performing. But it’s becoming clear that access to knowledge and technical training is only half the battle. Many women are still struggling to navigate the male-dominated culture of these fields.

Consider an example from earlier this year. When former Uber employee Susan Fowler published a blog post about her experience as an engineer at Uber—“Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber”—she outlined various incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination she faced or witnessed before eventually leaving the company.

In one particular part, Fowler described being kept back from career advancement despite her excellent performance. When she sought a transfer out of her department, for which she met all the qualifications (“I had managers who wanted me on their teams, and I had a perfect performance score”), her transfer was blocked. After pushing for answers, she was informed it was due to undocumented performance problems.

Fowler was told that “performance problems aren’t always something that has to do with work, but sometimes can be about things outside of work or your personal life.”

Fowler decided to sit tight and wait until her next performance review. “I received a great review with no complaints whatsoever about my performance,” she wrote. “I waited a couple of months, and then attempted to transfer again. When I attempted to transfer, I was told that my performance review and score had been changed after the official reviews had been calibrated, and so I was no longer eligible for transfer. When I asked management why my review had been changed after the fact (and why hadn’t they let me know that they’d changed it?), they said that I didn’t show any signs of an upward career trajectory. I pointed out that I was publishing a book…speaking at major tech conferences, and doing all of the things that you’re supposed to do to have an ‘upward career trajectory,’ but they said it didn’t matter and I needed to prove myself as an engineer. I was stuck where I was.”

The post went viral and prompted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to call for an internal investigation. “I have just read Susan Fowler’s blog. What she describes is abhorrent and against everything Uber stands for and believes in,” he said in a statement,”…and anyone who behaves this way or thinks this is OK will be fired.”

Fowler’s experience is shocking and discouraging, but ultimately reveals the issues many women in her situation are dealing with.

According to a study published by the University of Washington, the main cause for the gender gap has more to do with factors other than technical training. Three main factors emerged in the study: minimal to no pre-college experience, low belief in one’s ability, and the existence of a masculine culture that discourages women from participating. The new challenges in STEM, the study identified, are to expose more girls to STEM fields early on, help them gain confidence in their abilities, and train women to speak up against discriminatory behavior in the workforce.

As for the overtly masculine culture that discourages female participation, according to “Elephants in the Valley,” last year’s much-talked-about survey of 200 women who work in Silicon Valley, 90 percent reported witnessing sexist behavior, and 60 percent told of experiencing unwanted sexual advances. Advancing in the field is difficult also: roughly two-thirds of the women surveyed reported being prevented from going to networking events because of their gender. Not only is this unjust, but it makes little economic sense.


“Employment in STEM-related fields will increase by one million between 2012 and 2022,” says Erin Hogeboom, a director at the National Girls Project, quoting stats from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “At this point, there are not enough students studying these professions to fill that demand,” she said.

All this goes to suggest that what women really need is a supportive infrastructure helping them to protect themselves in toxic work environments if they choose to persist. It’s not enough to say that the men perpetuating the sexist and discriminatory behavior need to change. Women also need guidance and practical training in knowing how to identify various forms of harassment, in knowing their legal rights, in knowing something as simple as how to reply to sexual advances. This kind of training, women can supply for each other through meaningful conversation, research, and collaborative conversations with friends, family, and positive male figures in their life.

Given the intelligence of the women who graduate in STEM courses of study—and more and more of them speaking out about the challenges they face—the future of STEM may not be so bleak after all. So long as we identify the real problems that are getting in the way and confront them head on.

We know one woman who will likely be spearheading this mission in 2017. If the new Miss USA Kára McCullough showed us one thing this past Sunday, it’s that she knows what she’s talking about, and she doesn’t shy from taking a bold stand.

Source: Verily