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June 16, 2017

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Saloni Malhotra is one of India’s valuable women who has taken steps to build India, especially the rural parts in their own little way.

She was just 23 when she made a decision to abandon a beautiful and comfortable life in Delhi for struggles to make an impact in a rural area called Tamil Nadu in Chennai.

Saloni is a graduate of B. Tech from the University of Carmel convent in Delhi. While her parent wanted her to take up her MBA she had her heart on something she found very impactful not to her but to the society.

During her school days in Pune, she had a roommate who lived in rural areas all her life and has never seen a computer before. And that was her reason for wanting to study computer science. Saloni thought of the unbelievable experience and she wondered what darkness the rural people suffered, Saloni began to think of how to help people in the rural areas of India.

DesiCrew is an IT enabled service company that provides its back office and support services in rural parts of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Through DesiCrew, Saloni has been able to provide jobs for youths in Tamil Nadu.

She came in contact with the chief executive officer of IIT Madras, Rural Technology & Business Incubator which was into the business of using information and communications technology to transport jobs from urban to rural areas of India. At that time, they wanted small decentralized BPOs in the rural areas where a maximum of 15 to 20 people work and those who work should belong to that village. This was a big opportunity to Saloni who had been on the company’s neck for a while, seeing the availability, the company decided to take her proposal into consideration.

According to Saloni, she knew giving charity wouldn’t be enough to take away the darkness that covered the rural area. Saloni was not interested in charity rather she wanted to teach the people how to fish and get money through fishing.
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Her strategy was to employ the unemployed youth in the villages to work in the BPO offices, provide infrastructure, train them and get projects and work for them from clients outside the state, across India. This kind of BPO was a bit different from those in the urban areas in some terms attached to its systems such as reduction in costs (as much as 40% lesser), lesser attrition and free corporate social responsibility.

This was not an easy task for someone like Saloni who had little or no knowledge about rural lifestyle and business. She tried her best convincing corporates about a ‘rural’ back office with meetings and signing of SLAs and also to make the people of the village understand the job, its purpose and vision. Through it all, her family stood for her, they encouraged her with every support they could offer.

In The first three months before DesiCrew was launched, she spent time trying to know the people and understand their culture. Then she extended some more time to discover what the client actually needed and she even discovered that the rural people were more suitable for the job than any other persons in the urban areas but it will take her some time to groom them through training to match up with the urban people. When she was satisfied with her observations and discoveries she birthed DesiCrew in 2007.

Successfully, DesiCrew has strived and has been able to fulfill its purpose in the rural of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka with majorly employing the unemployed youth in the rural areas.

By: Vivian Jebet

Police officers in Isiolo County have been trained to be responsive to gender-based violence cases as the country heads for elections.

The training organized by Isiolo Peace Link centered on creating awareness, crime prevention, better case handling and appropriate response to violence cases by Administration and Regular Police officers.

“Police officers interact with communities on a daily basis, it is important to use the community-police partnership to combat GBV,” she said.

The agency’s County Coordinator Abdia Mohammud said the training – which focused on women and children rights – will help tackle abuses that are rife in the region.

Ms. Mohammud decried that women and children are vulnerable, calling on institutions charged with addressing GBV cases to formulate strict measures to end the vice.

“Women in some parts of the region have been directed by their spouses to vote for an individual, this is against their democratic rights,” she added.

More importantly, the organization is set to recruit 200 people who will monitor such cases in the county.

 

Hong Kong’s first female chief executive-to-be has broken the city’s highest glass ceiling, illustrating how far Hong Kong women have come, but also how far they still have to go. Enabling more women to work and making jobs gender-neutral are crucial in tackling demographic challenges and transitioning to a more sophisticated service- and technology-driven economy.

An ageing population and low fertility rates pose a demographic time bomb. Hong Kong has one of the world’s worst gender imbalances, but just 51 percent of its women are in the workforce. Studies in Japan and Canada show closing the workplace gender gap could boost annual GDP by 5 to 13 percent. For Hong Kong, this could mean ­HK$100 billion or more a year. More women in the workforce also relate to increased birth rates, as in Sweden and the UK, where paid parental leave and flexible schedules keep mothers working as they build a family. This boosts the current and future workforce, solving two generations of demographic problems.

Hong Kong mothers returning to work often face a “motherhood penalty” of pay inequality and lower responsibilities, and 20 percent report discrimination during pregnancy and post birth. They have inadequate partner support, as mandatory paternity leave is just three days. Mothers taking a longer career break hesitate to rejoin the workforce, worsening the female brain drain. The government should consider developing shared parental and family leave policies and explore a parental and family-care insurance fund paid for by employer contributions and increased tax revenues from higher female workforce participation.

Such pro-family policies would enable both sexes to be more equally involved in caring for both their children and elderly relatives.

Narrowing the gender pay gap and equivalent job responsibilities can keep women in the workforce. Employers should also increase management and board diversity, and foster awareness of gender biases that hinder career growth.

Overcoming gender stereotypes can also help fill jobs. Women make up more than half of Hong Kong’s university students but remain under-represented in science and technology degrees and jobs. This may undermine the government’s plans to develop a technology industry. Encouraging women to go into technology will help build the talent pipeline.

When Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor takes office, she will have the opportunity to further break down gender barriers, overcome demographic challenges, and better prepare Hong Kong for economic and technological changes. Hong Kong’s future prosperity is at stake.

Source: South China Morning Post

By: Samuel Osborne

The UK stabbed activists campaigning for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia in the back by allegedly voting for the country to join the UN Commission for Women’s Rights, a woman who was arrested for “driving while female” has said.

Manal al-Sharif made history in 2011 by filming a video of her driving in the ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom and posting it on YouTube, where it got over 700,000 views in one day.

As a result of the video, she was arrested and spent a week in prison for the offence of “driving while female”.

She accused the UK and other democratic governments who reportedly voted for Saudi Arabia to join the UN Commission for Women’s Rights of damaging the struggle to end the country’s guardianship scheme.

“They didn’t confirm or deny, but we know that UK voted for Saudi Arabia to be in the UN commission for women’s rights. This is really bad for our movement. This is really bad for our struggle,” Ms. Sharif told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

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“I always say to the democracies: use your liberty to defend my liberty. What happened was really a backstab from countries like Belgium and the UK. This was not the support we were expecting.”

The UK Foreign Office refused to deny voting to put Saudi Arabia on the commission, while Belgium’s prime minister apologized for his country’s vote in favour.

Ms. Sharif, who said encouraging women to drive “is a symbol of civil disobedience” and change in Saudi Arabia, before speaking out against the kingdom’s guardianship system.

“I’m 38, a mother of two, a computer engineer and I’m still a minor. There is no legal age for me that I’m considered adult. I’m a minor from the time I’m born to the time I die,” she said.

“I’m like a property that’s moved from my father to my husband, to my brother if I don’t have a husband or my son.”

She added: “This is the guardianship system. Driving for us is an act to challenge that. It’s an act to call to end the guardianship system and consider us full citizens in our country.”

When asked if she could imagine a time when the guardianship system will end and there will be equal rights in Saudi Arabia, she said: “There will be that time. There will be the time when women drive their own lives and become in the driver’s seat of their own destiny. And that time is when women choose.

“For me, freedom starts within. Freedom is not something that’s given; freedom is something that’s taken. And it’s happening, I can see. Things are really changing in my country.”

Source: The Independent

The US Supreme Court on Monday struck down a gender distinction in US immigration law that treats mothers and fathers differently when determining a child’s citizenship, calling such inequality “stunningly anachronistic.”

The high court, in an 8-0 ruling authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, found that a provision in federal law that defines how people born overseas can be eligible for US citizenship violated the US Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.

The ruling, however, may not help the man who brought the case, New York resident Luis Morales-Santana, who was seeking to avoid deportation to the Dominican Republic after being convicted of several offences.

The law requires that unwed fathers who are American citizens spend at least five years living in the United States – a 2012 amendment reduced it from 10 years – before they can confer citizenship to a child born abroad, out of wedlock and to a partner who is not a US citizen.

For unwed US mothers in the same situation, the requirement was only one year.

In the ruling, the Supreme Court said that until Congress revises the law, both women and men will be covered by the five-year requirement.

Ginsburg, known for her work on gender equality before she became a jurist, wrote for the court that in light of the Supreme Court’s various rulings regarding the equal protection guarantee since 1971, having separate “duration-of-residence requirements for unwed mothers and fathers who have accepted parental responsibility is stunningly anachronistic.”

The arguments made in defense of the law by former President Barack Obama’s administration before he left office in January “cannot withstand inspection under a Constitution that requires the government to respect the equal dignity and stature of its male and female citizens,” Ginsburg wrote.

Morales-Santana’s deceased father was an American citizen, while his mother was not. His father failed to meet the law’s five-year requirements by 20 days.

His lawyer, Stephen Broome, said he is reviewing how the ruling affects his client.

Morales-Santana, 54, was born in the Dominican Republican and has lived legally in the United States since 1975. He was convicted of several criminal offences in 1995, including two counts of robbery and four counts of attempted murder. The US government has sought to deport him since 2000.

The high court split 4-4 on the same issue in 2011.

In July 2015, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York sided with Morales-Santana and struck down the law at issue, saying it applied “impermissible stereotyping” in imposing a tougher burden on fathers. The US Justice Department sought to defend the law and asked the high court to take the case.

The case is one of several with immigration-related themes that are before the justices at a time when President Donald Trump’s administration is pursuing efforts to strengthen immigration enforcement.

Source: Business Recorder

 

 

 

Peru’s minister for women has denounced the impunity that surrounds crimes of gender violence, which she says has placed the country among the world’s most dangerous places for women.

“There are discretion and impunity in the justice system that makes it necessary to strengthen the entire system involved in a complaint, from the police officer to the judges,” the Minister for Women and Vulnerable Populations, Ana Maria Romero-Lozada, said in an interview with EFE over the weekend.

“We don’t want to send a lot of people to jail, but if someone must go, then he should go. We have to apply the law as it’s written,” she added.

The ministry issued a recent report that revealed a 26 percent surge in complaints about gender violence in the first four months of this year — a total of 2,415 — compared with the same period last year.

According to Romero-Lozada, this figure ranks Peru as third in the world in its rate of gender-based violence, only behind Ethiopia and Bangladesh, as revealed in 2013 by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The minister said this number does not necessarily mean there are more cases of rape or violence in Peru, but that there is a “greater awareness of women.”

“I am sure that there has always been a high rate of sexual violence, but now women are complaining more, there is a greater awareness of abuses,” Romero-Lozada explained.

According to the ministry’s report, three-quarters of women reporting psychological and/or physical assaults were minors. Authorities have also reported a 13 percent increase in gender-based killings, with 35 women killed during the four first months of 2017.

The new report is merely the latest evidence that the Peru’s rate of gender-based violence is on the rise. Last year’s statistics were particularly dire; more than 50 cases of women murdered by their partners or ex-partners, according to ministry’s data from last year and authorities reported more than 100 cases of attempted gender-based killings.

The women’s ministry had also released data indicating that seven out of 10 Peruvian women suffer physical or psychological abuse from their partners, and roughly a third of victims complain about their aggressors before the attacks.

Last August, some 50,000 women’s rights advocates took to the streets in cities across Peru to more action from judges and officials on issues of gender-based violence. The protests followed similar demonstrations in Mexico, Bolivia, Colombia, Argentina and Brazil, which gained traction under the slogan #NiUnaMenos, which paraphrases the words of murdered Mexican activist and poet Susana Chavez Castillo: “Ni una mujer menos, ni una muerte más” (Not one woman less, not one more death).

The following month, Peru’s Ministry for Women and Vulnerable Populations approved a national plan on gender-based violence. One aspect is the creation of National Observatory on Gender Violence, which is expected to combat impunity in the justice system by identifying laws that create obstacles to combatting gender-based crimes.

Gender-based killings have become an epidemic in Latin America, which has seven out of the ten countries with the highest female murder rate in the world. El Salvador tops the list with a rate of 8.9 homicides per 100,000 women in 2012, followed by Colombia with 6.3, Guatemala with 6.2, Russia with 5.3 and Brazil with 4.8. Mexico and Suriname are also in the top 10.

Gender-based violence has been found to not only leave physical and psychological scars but incurs direct costs in the form of medical expenses and legal services. Indirectly, families suffer when an earner is killed or is missing work because she is hurt, and any disruption of the role of women in the workplace also lessens their chances of reaching equal economic opportunities.

Source: humanosphere

Bulimia nervosa is a severe eating disorder in which a person consumes a large quantity of food within a short period of time, after which there is a need to get rid of the food. Usually, the food will be expunged through purging in order to avoid weight gain.

Purging may be induced through vomiting, excessive use of laxatives, long periods of exercising, and fasting. The condition can lead to serious complications such as dehydration, heart rhythm problems, and permanent damage to the esophagus. It most often begins in the teen years or young adulthood, but the disorder can occur at any age.

In the United States, about 1.5 percent of females and 0.5 percent of males will be diagnosed with bulimia in their lifetimes.

There are two common types of bulimia nervosa, which are as follows:

  • Purging type – individuals with this type of bulimia engage in self-induced vomiting or abuse of laxatives.
  • Non-Purging type – individuals engage in excessive exercising or fasting to avoid gaining weight. Self-induced purging is not often utilized.

Causes of Bulimia

The exact cause of bulimia nervosa is currently unknown though it is thought that multiple factors contribute to the development of this eating disorder, including genetic, environmental, psychological, and cultural influences.  Some of the main causes for bulimia include:

  • Stressful transitions or life changes
  • History of abuse or trauma
  • Negative body image
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Professions or activities that focus on appearance/performance

Signs & Symptoms of Bulimia

An individual suffering from bulimia nervosa may reveal several signs and symptoms. Bulimia is characterized by frequent binge eating episodes. During this binging episode, patients are unable to control their intake of food and begin to feel guilt, disgust or embarrassment which will make them start eating in secrecy.

Friends and family may notice that a person with bulimia will make regular trips to the bathroom right after meals. This is because people with bulimia compensate for the excessive intake of food through self-induced purging.

Other signs and symptoms of bulimia are:

  • Regular weight fluctuations
  • Broken blood vessels within the eyes
  • Electrolyte imbalances, which can result in cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, or ultimately death
  • swollen neck glands and under the jaw line
  • Oral trauma, such as lacerations in the lining of the mouth or throat from repetitive vomiting
  • severe dehydration
  • Inflammation of the esophagus
  •  peptic ulcers
  • Infertility

Signs of binge eating and purging are:

  • Disappearance of large amounts of food
  • Eating in secrecy
  • Lack of control when eating
  • Switching between periods of overeating and fasting
  • Frequent use of the bathroom after meals
  • Having the smell of vomit

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Ways to Treat Bulimia

Since negative body image and poor self-esteem are often the underlying factors at the root of bulimia which is now characterized by a cycle of binging and purging, recovering can be a very difficult process. it is, therefore, very important for intensive therapy to be integrated into the recovery process. This therapy may consist of behavioral therapy or family therapy. Treatment for bulimia nervosa usually includes:

  • Ending the binge-purge cycle:  The initial phase of treatment for bulimia nervosa involves breaking this harmful cycle and restoring normal eating behaviors. A dietician can help to develop a healthy diet and enlighten the individual on how to eat healthily.
  • Improving negative thoughts:  The next phase of bulimia treatment concentrates on recognizing and changing irrational beliefs about weight, body shape, and dieting.
  • Resolving emotional issues:  The final phase of bulimia treatment focuses on healing from emotional issues that may have caused the eating disorder.  Treatment may address interpersonal relationships and can include cognitive behavior therapy, dialectic behavior therapy, and other related therapies. An antidepressant may be administered to treat depression.