Wednesday, 28 November 2012

ARTICLE: A look at gender violence in NZ

Amnesty International has a good blog called 'Human Writes', and the most recent post was a look at domestic violence again women in New Zealand:

I have lived in New Zealand for just over a year, and I do have to say that there are a lot of news items, both nationally and locally, on violence again women and children in the the home.

When I lived in Nelson, there was a weekly write up in the local newspaper of the arrests that had taken place that week. There were clearly two distinct categories in these arrests - drinking in public places, and 'domestic violence against women'......and there were at least 3 of these latter arrests every week in Nelson alone!

I agree with the writer of the article above that culture, and 'family' can not be used as an excuse to hide violence in the home. Domestic violence is NEVER appropriate, no matter where or who you come from.

Please read the Amnesty International blog entry, and comment.

Monday, 12 November 2012

The start of a long investigation : China's missing women

A global issue that I am keen to investigate thoroughly in this blog is the case of China's 'missing women'. It is predicted than by 2025, there will be 20 million more men than women in China. This is due to several different reasons, not just the one-child policy, which I will be researching at length with the help of this book:

I will be visiting this issue many times, but just to start off with;

I was reading a 'Viewpoint' article on the BBC website on Chinese women, in particular economic migrants who move from the countryside to the cities to work. These women work in shops and factories to earn considerable more money than they would tilling the fields. However, most are unable to take their children with them, and the kids are left behind to be looked after by their grandmothers. These children grow up expecting very little contact or affection from their parents.

It is a very interesting article, looking at the lives of Chinese women who were once described by Chairman Mao as 'holding up half of the sky'. Please read it if you get a chance, and start to consider what would happen in a China, or indeed a whole world, where there are millions more men than women.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

NEWS: Female voters swing the American election

So I can breath a sign of relief that Obama is still the US president. But look at these interesting figures from the BBC website ( on female voters:

"Men and women split between the candidates: overall, 55% of women voted for Mr Obama, 44% for Mr Romney. For men, 52% voted for Mr Romney and 45% for Mr Obama.

However, there was a division between married and unmarried women: 53% of married women voted for the Republican candidate, while Mr Obama won unmarried women two-to-one: 67% to 31%."

Could this be because unmarried women don't have rich husbands to fall back on, so have to think more carefully about their futures? And could it be that women, both married and unmarried, don't like the idea of being dictated to about what they can or cannot do with their own bodies?

I just know that I wouldn't trust anyone who was planning to outlaw contraception and abortion. I'm just glad that the American women who are in the same 'sub-category' as me - 'unmarried women' - seem to have their heads screwed on. 

They may have just saved the world from nuclear war.

Friday, 2 November 2012

15 year old girl murdered by parents for 'looking at boys' - A look at 'honour killings'

A 15 year old Pakistani girl has died by being doused with acid and beaten by her parents for 'looking at boys on motorbikes'. The girl died after her parents failed to call for help.
The full article on BBC Urdu about the court case can be found here:

This is another example of ‘honour killings’, when male family members take it on themselves to punish, and sometimes kill female family members for ‘dishonouring’ the family. Here is what Amnesty International has to say about honour killings:

"In some societies, women are often looked upon as representatives of the honor of the family. When women are suspected of extra-marital sexual relations, even if in the case of rape, they can be subjected to the cruelest forms of indignity and violence, often by their own fathers or brothers. Women who are raped and are unable to provide explicit evidence, are sometimes accused of zina, or the crime of unlawful sexual relations, the punishment for which is often death by public stoning...
...Assuming an accused woman's guilt, male family members believe that they have no other means of undoing a perceived infringement of "honor" other than to kill the woman."

Acid burning seems to be used prolifically when punishing women. Women who turn down a suitor, or do not get on with their new in-laws run the risk of having their faces or bodies covered in acid. This can cause blindness, and horrendous third-degree burns over the body.

I am horrified by the sheer number of women who are murdered in this way! According to the BBC article, 943 women were murdered in honour killings in 2011 alone. I’m trying to find out if this is for the world, or just Pakistan. Either way, it is a sickeningly high number.

So are the culprits being punished? The Amnesty International website says:

“Governments do little to prevent the sale of acid to the public or to punish those who use it to kill and maim.”

After doing a very quick google of the issue, I came across another recent incident where 5 women in Pakistan were thought that have been killed for clapping their hands to men dancing at a wedding. View the video here of the incident:

So what are we going to do about this? I am going to write to Amnesty and ask them if there are any current campaigns or petitions lobbying politicians to pay more attention and to do something about acid attacks and honour killings. I will also do my own research into petitions and campaigns and post any findings on this blog. If you come across any campaigns or petitions that are specific for this issue PLEASE post a comment below.

As so eloquently put by the Amnesty website:

Violence against women is a violation of human rights that cannot be justified by any political, religious, or cultural claim.