An all-woman crew commanding the INSV Tarini on Monday returned to Goa after successfully circumnavigating the globe in a 55-foot sailboat in more than eight months, the first-ever Indian expedition steered by women sailors. India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba welcomed the crew at INS Mandovi boat pool in Panaji – the state capital of Goa, India.

The ‘Navika Sagar Parikrama’ expedition was flagged off on September 10. Terming the expedition historic, Sitharaman said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would meet the six crew members in Delhi on Wednesday.

Led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, the crew comprising its commanders Pratibha Jamwal and Swati P, lieutenants Aishwarya Boddapati, S Vijaya Devi and Payal Gupta covered a total of 21,980 nautical miles in INSV Tarini, inducted into the Indian Navy on February 18 last year.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi kept a tab on what is going on (with Navika Sagar Parikrama). Occasionally, he also directly spoke to them and kept the nation’s motivation and interest on,” Sitharaman said after receiving the crew. She said she felt “honored” by the achievement of the young women.

“I just don’t want to say that it is a pleasure (to receive the crew), I feel honored and I feel humbled by the great achievement of these six women,” the minister said. She recalled that flagging off the crew on September 10 last year was her first “out-of-Delhi appointment”, three days after she became the defense minister. She praised the women for making history.

“And today, by the grace of God and the grit and courage that the girls have shown, they are back home to join all of us, having made history,” she said. The minister said “the feat is not about girls’ achievement, it is (about) youngsters from India achieving and it is a whole motivation for the youth. The women of the country have shown to youngsters that if they want to do something they can do it indeed”.

She said she followed the circumnavigation every day. “I have not contributed anything except one retweet of the navy spokesperson in the morning to say where they are and what is their location. In fact, that just one retweet in the morning became the first thing…wherever I went in the country, the conversation would start with ‘how are the girls’?” she said.

“That became the conversation amongst many people who were closely following the ministry of defense,” Sitharaman said. The minister said the girls have made history not only for themselves but also for the Navy.

Source: Times of India

Lebanon has hosted its first ever women-only classic car rally, with female drivers flying in from across the world for the occasion.

The 28 drivers in the two-day Rallye des Graces event include women from France, the United Kingdom, China, and Algeria.

They set off on Saturday from the Automobile and Touring Club of Lebanon, a seaside club in Kislik, north of Beirut, and are to tour the country, as far east as the Bekaa plain along the border with Syria.

Organizer Chahrazad Rizk told AFP she wanted to bring the event to Lebanon after taking part in similar rallies in Switzerland.

“The idea is to organize a women’s rally each time in a different Middle Eastern country,” said Isabelle Labrousse, a driver who made her first visit to Lebanon for the occasion.

After leaving Kislik, the cars parked briefly under the searing sun at the ancient port of Byblos.

“I’m very happy to participate in this event, it’s magical,” said Rima Lucas, a Lebanese driver at the wheel of a classic red Porsche.

Laurence Boule, on her first visit to Lebanon, said she was happy at “the prospect of spending a day in these beautiful old cars… with all these women from around the world”.

But she said Lebanon’s rugged terrain and the lack of road signs had complicated matters.

“Our first kilometre went very well until we got lost,” she said. “But we only found charming Lebanese people to redirect us”.

Source: The NewArab

Despite the mountain of evidence from reputable organizations worldwide demonstrating the return on investment of promoting women to leadership positions, many companies remain in a time warp, continuing to pay lip service to equality and gender diversity.

A report, called the Bridging the Gender Gap in Venture Capital, done by Babson College based in Wellesley, MA, found that in venture capital circles, women lose out.

The report, released last month, found that only 2.7 percent of the 6,517 companies in the United States that received venture capital funding between 2011 and 2013 were headed by a woman. And those companies only received 3 percent or $1.5-billion of the total $50.8-billion invested during that timeframe.

How does one explain the fact that highly educated people who profess to understand the business case for women still don’t get it?

My recent encounters with several clients seeking to shift the gender imbalance within their team caused me to reflect on isolating the root causes of persistent gender inequality and highlight the consequences of inaction.

In one instance, a senior vice-president in the financial services sector told me that he shared the news with his team regarding the promotion of one of his managers just prior to her taking maternity leave. Several managers questioned the timing and had difficulty accepting that she had earned the promotion.

In another situation, a major retailer received feedback from both men and women in leadership positions expressing their concerns about their company’s “women in leadership” initiative. Several female leaders said they were uncomfortable being singled out, while several men felt it was unfair that they were excluded from the group.

In both examples, despite the best intentions of leaders, workplace tensions over gender issues have increased as the root causes aren’t fully understood, leaving these organizations exposed to potential negative consequences to their bottom line and corporate image. Unfortunately, there are many similar scenarios playing out daily in industries worldwide.

What lies behind such reactions? Socialized conditioning is one explanation. We all learn to play specific roles from an early age, and it is a fact that these roles and stereotypes are internalized, reinforced and perpetuated in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
As adults, we may inadvertently find ourselves defaulting to the girl/boy conditioned responses in the most sophisticated business settings, without understanding that we are acting out roles learned in childhood.

The persistence of gender biases, whether structural or attitudinal, needs to be addressed for the following reasons:

  1. A new generation of talent demands equity and non-discrimination

Generations Y and the upcoming Z cohort closely scrutinize the character and leadership of a prospective employer. They are attracted to companies that not only take a stand on equality but also live and breathe it.

In a tight labour market, businesses can ill-afford to ignore the importance of their reputation to this new, highly savvy generation. Companies such as AutoNation, Lululemon, Starbucks, LinkedIn, and eBay successfully draw Gen Y talent to their executive board because appointing women gives them key strategic advantages, including representation at the highest level of their core customer base, the ability to hire sought-after thought leaders and innovators, as well as stimulating stronger financial performance.

Organizations that profoundly understand the mindset of the new workforce will be ideally positioned to attract, develop, retain and promote them.

  1. The female perspective enhances collective intelligence

Research first reported in Science Magazine regarding the contribution of women to the collective intelligence of a team garnered worldwide attention, particularly the studies highlighting the performance of women when tested on tasks relating to brainstorming, complex problem-solving and decision-making. The findings confirmed that a group’s collective intelligence was strengthened by the inclusion of women and their enhanced capacity for listening, collaborating and intuitiveness.

The CIA is one example of an organization that made a notable transformation of its culture by not only ensuring women had greater representation in senior positions but also explicitly recognizing that it was women on their team who discovered the location of Osama Bin Laden, allowing for him to be captured.

  1. Second generation biases hinder career opportunities

Subtle, pervasive barriers hindering opportunities for women’s career progression remain embedded in organizational structures, even though companies tout policies of equal opportunity.

In addition, characteristics typically associated with desired leadership traits remain largely masculine. These second-generation biases influence hiring practices, promotional opportunities and the limited appointment of women to senior positions.

Enlightened organizations are gaining the strategic advantage by overhauling the configuration of their leadership team and the structures that no longer serve their growth objectives.

  1. More women in leadership boost your bottom line

The financial benefits of greater gender equity are undeniable. Extensive global research conducted by Credit Suisse, Catalyst and McKinsey & Co. examining the link between women on boards and stronger financial performance of Fortune 500 companies has been cited in numerous publications. Examining the return on sales, return on invested capital, and return on equity, their research confirmed that companies with women on their boards of directors outperform those with the least number of women by significant margins in each category.

An organization can augment its fiscal position by making a concerted effort to significantly increase female representation at the executive level.

  1. Governments are mandating gender equity legislation

Ontario Securities Commission is moving forward with its “comply or explain” proposal asking companies to disclose the gender specifics of their board, as well as their plans and procedures to increase female representation in their executive and boards.

The OSC’s recommended rules for disclosure by TSX-listed companies, to be implemented by the end of this year, have been adopted by seven provinces and two territories, the regulator said this week.

While many governments and business leaders agree that change is needed based on the reasons above, not all are in favour of the move, arguing that companies should either regulate themselves or insisting the definition of equality be broader.

Canada would not be the first country to mandate gender equity for businesses. Norway took the lead in 2008. Iceland, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands were next. Malaysia and Brazil have implemented quotas while Australia, Britain, and Sweden are advocating that firms voluntarily implement minimum female board appointments.

Ready or not, agree or disagree, there is no doubt the debate will continue – and your organization will ultimately determine its own destiny when it comes to gaining the strategic advantage of gender equity.

Source: The Globe & Mail
Title: Why you want more women in your boardroom

DOHA: Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, H E Dr Issa bin Saad Al Jafali Al Nuaimi, called for the need for communities to adopt and apply all plans and projects that benefit women with special needs, to ease their integration and realize their citizenship through exercising their rights and duties, based on the international conventions related to protecting human rights. Speaking at the Third Doha International Blind Conference “Blind women are partners in building and development of society”, the Minister called on all communities to promote and protect the rights of women with visual disabilities and develop their human, social and economic situation by dealing with them on the basis of their ability to give.

In addition, the Minister urged to qualify them in order to be financially independent, which become part of integrating people with visual disabilities into the society, have them participate in the development path and affirming their right to run a normal life, QNA reported. Al Nuaimi said holding this conference, reflects Qatar’s belief in the need for quality between all the society’s categories and its keenness to enable the visually disabled women in the social life. He added that it also shows that Qatar is keen to provide all the aspects of care and unique service for the disabled, by providing the basic human rights.  The Minister highlighted that hosting this event, also reflects Qatar’s effective input in the global community on issues such as the rights of people with disabilities and prospering these rights to comply with international conventions on the topic.

The Minister highlighted the efforts exerted by Qatar on a legislative and institutional level to promote the participation of women with visual disabilities, enable and integrate them in the public life.  Al Nuaimi also highlighted the efforts to promote building their national capacities through establishing a supportive development approach that is based on rights. The State has also given great interest in developing their rights, ensuring their participation and full integration in the community, as well as activate the role of awareness and culture of the society on introducing the rights of women with visual disabilities in all fields, Al Nuaimi added.

Source: The Peninsularqatar





Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat vowed to fight discrimination against women. The African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat vowed to fight sexual discrimination against women and called for the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to be given full legislative powers to help address the problems facing the continent.

Mahamat made his comments at a press conference, and as PAP’s guest of honour, following the opening ceremony of the Sixth Ordinary Session of PAP’s Fourth Parliament in Midrand on Monday. One of the problems facing the AU is that member states have failed to ratify many of the instruments adopted by the continental organization, according to the chairperson. “Words have to be turned into actions,” said Mahamat.

The issue of peace and security was something that also needed to be addressed even though there had been an improvement in the security situation in Africa. “In some parts of Africa, there remain challenges in regard to terrorism and human trafficking. Stability through good governance and human rights are linked to these issues which in turn are contingent on empowering women, youth, and civil society because these unresolved issues are the root causes of the problems facing Africa,” he said.

Mahamat then went on to challenge media reports that there was some kind of “apartheid” against women on the continent and that the AU had done insufficient to address this issue. “The AU has been built on gender equality and during my appointment, I’ve appointed more women than men into important positions and this was not because I was doing women a favour but because of their natural abilities and the important roles they perform in society, it was natural to appoint them.

“I’m committed to getting rid of gender discrimination and sanctions will be imposed on anybody or person we find discriminating against women,” the AUC head said.




The outgoing Ambassador for Ecuador in Nigeria, Leopoldo Rovayo has commended the effort of Elbativeni Foundation to provide free Information Communication Technology (ICT) training to 20 ladies in Nigeria for six months. The Ambassador has also lent the full support of the Embassy to the ICT training initiative that empowers Nigerian/African women by developing their skills in digital marketing, apps development, graphics and other technologies.

Elbativeni Foundation launched its ICT training program at the last edition of ‘The Generation Next Youth Empowerment Summit’ organized by the Foundation in collaboration with the embassy of Ecuador in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communication’s Commission (NCC), Nanet Hotels and other partners. The Ecuadorian ambassador, who visited with his wife Lucia Rovayo, said: “In 2015 I took the challenge to open a new embassy here and I really have enjoyed working in Nigeria as I have learnt a lot from Nigeria and from Africa. I am very sensitive to all the social issues and I have tried in my two and half years to find reliable partners to do something for Nigerian people and that is how we found Elbativeni Foundation.”

“So for the Embassy it’s a pleasure to support this cause and the foundation can use our facility while we are not working on Saturdays. I have requested my government for a new representative as I know that Nigerian government takes four months to give the agreement and part of my recommendation is that they continue this partnership with the foundation,” Rovayo said.

He urged the participants to utilize the opportunity to reinvent themselves to become useful to their immediate families and the society at large. As it stands, 20 women are benefiting from the ICT training courtesy of Elbativeni Foundation and Elbativeni Impressions and Consult, non-governmental organizations based in Abuja; bridging the gap in women’s involvement in technology.

 According to Destiny Ruth Obiakoeze, chairman of the Foundation, “The foundation’s advocacies are on youths, youth development, youth empowerment, women development, and empowerment as well as the girl child accordingly. “We have amongst our project targets, The Generation Next Youth Empowerment Summit which we will be hosting in October of this year, Girls in ICT and Project Loop Her in addition to many other projects we will do. Project Loop Her is a training to empower women and get them interested in ICT and STEM.

 “Our ladies are trained on App development, website development, digital marketing, digital skills, graphics etc. Project LoopHer would help them actually begin to see the need to get involved in ICT to make money out of it and to begin to look forward to opportunities that are available and grab them,” Obiakoeze said. Speaking on behalf of the participants, Jade Olise who thanked the Ambassador and the Embassy noted that words could not quantify the impact of the project on their lives. She appreciated the support of the Ambassador and the Embassy in encouraging the foundation and the empowerment project.  Elbativeni Foundation is incorporated in Nigeria under the corporate affairs commission (CAC) and formed out of the need to advance youth development in Nigeria and the continent of Africa and to lend voice to progressive gender advocacies through strategic and targeted schemes or projects.

Source: Business Day


NEW DELHI: The Army is finalizing a plan to grant permanent commission (PC) to women in an array of areas by creating a special cadre for their induction, official sources said on Monday. They said the permanent commission to women is being considered for a number of segments including cyber and IT, corps of military police and various posts in service selection board. At present, the Army offers permanent commission to women in the Army Education Corps (AEC) and the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Department.

Majority of women recruits in the Army are short-service commission (SSC) officers and they have a maximum tenure of 14 years. The sources said the Army was seriously working on extending the areas where women can be recruited. “The Army is considering creating a special cadre for recruitment of women officers under permanent commission category,” said an army officer. Last month, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that it was considering granting permanent commission to short service commission women army officers. A group of women army officers recruited under SSC scheme had approached courts seeking PC status.

 In September last year, the Army had announced that it was inducting women in the military police, seen as a major move towards inducting them for combat roles. The role of the military police includes policing cantonments and Army establishments, preventing breach of rules and regulations by soldiers and maintaining movement of soldiers as well as logistics during peace and war. The Indian Army is yet to open doors for combat roles for women. Very few countries have allowed women in combat roles which include Germany, Australia, Canada, USA, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and Israel.

Source: TimesofIndia