Taliban : Women to wear burqa in Afghanistan, violation to attract punishment

Kabul [Afghanistan]:  Taliban has issued a decree ordering the Afghan women to wear the all-covering burqa at public places, adding that if violated a male member of the family will be improsned for three days. Furthermore, if the woman found guilty again, her guardian will be sent to court for further punishment.

Moreover, female public employees will be fired if they do not wear hijab. Morover, male employees in government offices will be suspended from their jobs if female members of their families do not wear hijab.

Taliban today issued a decree ordering the Afghan women to wear the all-covering burqa in public.


Taliban came to power with many promises

Though the decree is new, the Taliban have been forcing women to cover themselves up since returning to power in August. Earlier, the Taliban’s religious police put up posters around the capital Kabul ordering Afghan women to cover up.

Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice pasted the poster on cafes and shops. The posters had an image of the face-covering burqa. Along with the picture, a message on the poster read, “According to Sharia law, Muslim women must wear the hijab.”
Taliban during its regime in the 1990s made it mandatory for women to wear a burqa. Women in Kabul already cover their hair with headscarves, though some wear modest western clothing. However, outside Kabul burqa remained common, as per the media outlet.

Women without Burqa will be punished.

Now, the Taliban with this new decree is enforcing every woman in Afghanistan to wear the all-covering burqa. Last year in December, the Taliban issued another repressive directive that Afghan women seeking to travel long distances by road should be offered transport only if accompanied by a male relative.

Moreover, the worldwide condemnation of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan had heightened after the Taliban decided to close all secondary schools for girls. Several activists and political parties have urged the Taliban to reconsider the ban on secondary schools for girls.

Psychologists have said that the Afghan girl students above grade six, banned from going to schools by the Taliban, are undergoing mental stress due to this move. According to HRW, women and girls are blocked from accessing health care as well. Reports suggest that women and girls facing violence have no escape route. (ANI)

Study Shows Challenge Of Humour In Workplace For Women

Washington [US], March 11 (ANI): New research at the University of Missouri shows that using humour in the workplace is more challenging for women than men and can depend on a variety of factors, such as a woman’s perceived status in the office and whether her humour is directed towards other women.

The findings of the study were published in ‘Journal of Managerial Psychology’. Christopher Robert, an MU associate professor who also is serving as the interim dean of the Trulaske College of Business, conducted a study to analyze how people react to men and women using humour in the workplace. The goal was to determine if a person’s gender and status in the workplace would affect how others reacted to their humour.

The researchers surveyed 92 college students after they read workplace scenarios in which men and women made humorous comments. Scenarios were adjusted so that the humorist, or the person making the humorous comment, was either a male or female, in a high or low-status position, and they also varied whether the target of the humour was a male or female.

In addition, some scenarios included humour that was more friendly or “affiliative” while others included aggressive humour. The researchers then asked the participants to determine how “foolish” they perceived the humorists to be.

One of the scenarios takes place at a meeting in which hospital personnel are discussing some of the challenges that resulted in patient death. A female nurse stutters while trying to share her ideas to address a problem and is interrupted by an employee attempting to make a humorous comment, poking fun at the fact that she can’t find her words.

In this instance, the researchers varied the status and gender of the person telling the joke. When high-status men, low-status men and high-status women made the aggressive humorous comment, they were perceived more positively, but when a low-status woman made the joke she was perceived as being more foolish.

The researchers also analyzed how the gender of the target of the humorous comment affected how study participants viewed the person using humour.

“Women who used humour directed toward a man were seen as positive,” Robert said. “But when a high-status woman used humour directed toward a woman of lower status in the workplace, she was seen as negative and was judged as more foolish.”

Robert said these findings should remind people to hold off their immediate judgements about people based on their use of humour, and consider if these judgements are influenced by any preconceived notions about the identity of the individuals in question.

“This research amplifies the fact that we even have inherent biases that influence how we view people who are using humour. If someone is questioning someone’s sense of humour, they should ask themselves, ‘Would I be making this same judgment if the person using the humour looked more like me?'” Robert said.

Study: Women Who Have Experienced Sexual Violence More Likely To Develop High Blood Pressure

Massachusetts [US], February 22 (ANI): According to the WHO, during their lifetime one in three women is subjected to physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. Women who have ever experienced sexual violence in their lifetime are more likely to develop high blood pressure, according to study of women in the United States.

The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’, indicated that sexual violence was a common experience, affecting more than 20 per cent of the women in the sample. “Our results showed that women who reported experiencing both sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment had the highest risk of hypertension, suggesting potential compounding effects of multiple sexual violence exposures on women’s cardiovascular health,” said Rebecca B. Lawn, PhD, of the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, lead author on the study.

Lawn and colleagues analyzed associations between lifetime exposure to sexual violence and blood pressure while accounting for the possible impacts of exposure to other types of trauma. For data, the researchers used the Nurses’ Health Study II (NHS II), a longitudinal study of adult women in the U.S. that began in 1989 with 115,000 nurses enrolled.

Over time, the NHS II has collected data on a wide range of socio-demographic, medical, and behavioral variables. As part of a 2008 NHS II sub-study, a subgroup of participants reported whether they had ever experienced sexual harassment at work (either physical or verbal) and whether they had ever experienced unwanted sexual contact. They also reported exposure to other traumas, such as an accident, disaster, or unexpected death of a loved one.

Lawn and colleagues analyzed the NHS II sub-study data, excluding those participants who already had a diagnosis of high blood pressure or were taking medication for high blood pressure from their analyses. They also excluded women who had a history of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease. The final sample consisted of 33,127 women who were aged between 43 and 64 in 2008.

The NHS II data indicated that experiences of sexual violence were common: about 23 per cent of the women had experienced sexual assault at some point in their life and 12 per cent had experienced workplace sexual harassment. About 6 per cent of women had experienced both.

About 21 per cent of the women reported developing high blood pressure over the follow-up period, from 2008 to 2015.

Compared with women who had never experienced any type of trauma, women who had experienced sexual assault at any point in their lifetime were more likely to develop high blood pressure, as were women who had experienced workplace sexual harassment. Women who had experienced both sexual assault and harassment had the highest risk of developing high blood pressure.

These associations remained even after the researchers accounted for various health behaviors and conditions. Across analyses, the researchers found that links between non-sexual traumatic experiences and high blood pressure were inconsistent.

The researchers noted that the risk for high blood pressure associated with lifetime sexual violence is similar in magnitude to associations with other factors that have received more attention, such as exposure to sexual abuse as a child or adolescent, sleep duration, and exposure to environmental pollutants.

Previous research suggested that stressful or traumatic life experiences, including exposure to sexual violence, are associated with both mental health problems and physical health problems such as cardiovascular disease. Previous research has also shown that having high blood pressure increases a person’s likelihood of cardiovascular disease. Further examining links between sexual violence and blood pressure could shed light on the broader impacts of sexual violence on health and reveal possible avenues for clinical intervention.

Strengths of this study included the fact that the researchers were able to examine multiple types of sexual violence and a range of other possible variables, including other types of trauma. However, the researchers noted some limitations of the NHS II data that should be addressed in future research, including limited self-report measures for both sexual violence and hypertension that did not capture details regarding severity and timing. They also noted that although the NHS II sample is relatively large, it consists of mostly non-Hispanic white women, all of whom share the same profession. As such, the results may not generalize to other populations.

“This study highlights why it’s important for health research to examine women’s experiences of sexual assault and workplace sexual harassment. Future research can build on these findings to determine whether sexual violence and high blood pressure are causally linked and identify possible underlying mechanisms,” said Laura Rowland, Ph.D., a program chief in the Division of Translational Research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Menopause and healthy heart


Washington [US], (ANI): Postmenopausal women who report a faster walking pace had a lower risk of developing heart failure, a new study has found.

The study has been published in the ‘Journal of the American Geriatrics Society’.
Among 25,183 women ages 50-79 years, there were 1,455 heart failure hospitalisation cases during a median follow-up of 16.9 years. Compared with women who walked at a casual pace, those who walked at an average pace or a fast pace had 27 per cent and 34 per cent lower risks of heart failure, respectively.

Fast walking for less than 1 hour per week was associated with the same risk reduction of heart failure as average or casual walking for more than 2 hours per week.

“This study confirms other studies demonstrating the importance of walking speed on mortality and other cardiovascular outcomes,” said senior author Charles B. Eaton, MD, MS, of the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

“Given that limited time for exercise is frequently given as a barrier to regular physical activity, walking faster but for less time might provide similar health benefits as the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity,” he added. (ANI)

Raising women’s marriage age to 21 will enable girls to build career, become self reliant, says PM Modi

New Delhi [India] (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that the purpose for raising the age of marriage for girls from 18 to 21 years has been proposed to empower ‘desh ki beti’ so that they get enough time to complete education and build their careers and become ‘Aatmanirbhar.’
“We believe that sons and daughters are equal. By increasing the marriage age of women from 18 to 21, the government wants to enable ‘desh ki beti’ to build a career for herself and become Aatmanirbhar,” the Prime Minister said as he inaugurated the Technology Centre of the MSME Ministry and Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Manimandapam in Puducherry through video conference. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed faith in the youth of the nation said that the ‘compete and conquer’ is the mantra of new India and the youth of the country has a ‘can do’ spirit which is a source of inspiration for every generation.
“India is entering the golden age of the startup ecosystem boasting over 50,000 startups, out of which more than 10,000 startups were set up in the past 6-7 months amid the challenges posed by the COVID pandemic…’compete and conquer’ is the mantra of new India,” the Prime Minister said after inaugurating Technology Centre of the MSME Ministry and Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Manimandapam in Puducherry through video conference.
“Today’s youth have a can do spirit which is a source of inspiration for every generation. It is the strength of the youth that India has marched much ahead in digital payments. Today, the youth of India is writing code of global prosperity,” he said.
PM Modi said that it is the government’s effort to give youth, the platform and infrastructure to develop the nation.
“We want our youth to pursue their dreams without any barriers and apprehensions. We have reduced our government compliances. Schemes like Mudra Yojana, Startup India, Stand Up India, Skill India, Atal Innovation Mission and NEP are aiding their dreams,” he said.
“I have full faith in the youth of the nation and I am sure that they will take us to heights we haven’t even dreamed of,” he added.
PM Modi inaugurated a Technology Centre of the MSME Ministry and Perunthalaivar Kamarajar Manimandapam – an auditorium with open-air theatre in Puducherry, through video conference.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the Technology Centre of the MSME Ministry is established at Puducherry with an investment of about Rs 122 crore. With the focus on the Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) Sector, this Technology Centre will be equipped with the latest technology.
Union Cabinet Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, last month, introduced the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to raise the age of marriage of women from 18 years to 21 years.
A bill that was introduced in Lok Sabha in the winter session to increase the age of age”marriage for women to 21 years across all religions has been sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny and discussion with stake-holders.
The parliamentary panel is headed by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahastrabuddhe, to which the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill seeks to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 has been referred to, will start its deliberations soon. The 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports has lone woman Rajya Sabha MP from All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) Sushmita Dev. (Image source: Instagram)

Study: Women Who Are Sports Fans Don’t Necessarily Attend More Games

A new study has found that even American women who identify as being quite passionate sports fans don’t watch athletic events much more frequently than women who say they aren’t as interested.

Overall, results of a survey of more than 2,800 women suggested that the average woman rates herself as a moderate sports fan, with 87 per cent saying they watched or followed one or more sports over the past year, and 38 per cent attending one or more sporting events. The study was published recently in the journal ‘International Review for the Sociology of Sport’.

The findings highlight that while many women enjoy sports, their passion may not always be evident in terms of watching and attending sports events, said Frances Sutton, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in anthropology at The Ohio State University.

“We can’t assume that women sports fans act in the same ways that male fans do and that they can be attracted to sporting events in the same ways,” Sutton said.

That means sports teams and leagues need to rethink how they market themselves to women, said Chris Knoester, co-author of the study and associate professor of sociology at Ohio State.

“There’s an opportunity for sports teams and leagues to increase their efforts to satisfy the interests of women who self-identify as rather passionate sports fans, but do not consume a lot of sports,” Knoester said.

Survey data came from the National Sports and Society Survey (NSASS), sponsored by Ohio State’s Sports and Society Initiative.

The survey was completed by 3,993 adults who volunteered to participate through the American Population Panel, run by Ohio State’s Center for Human Resource Research. Participants, who live in all 50 states, answered the survey online between the fall of 2018 and spring of 2019. This study only included the 2,853 women who completed the survey.

Women in the study rated how much of a sports fan they were on a scale of 0 (not at all) to 4 (very much so). The average woman rated herself as “somewhat” a sports fan (slightly higher than 2 on the scale).

On average, women watched or followed sports for more than six months of the year, with 29 per cent reporting watching or following sports every month and 87 per cent saying they watched or followed sports at least one month of the year.

Overall, women attended about three sporting events over the previous year, with 38 per cent of those surveyed saying they attended at least one and 4 per cent attending 24 or more events.

But there was only a modest link between how much women identified as sports fans and how often they consumed sports.

Sutton said the findings support the work of other scholars of women’s sports fandom.

“Sport is commonly assumed to be a masculine activity,” she said.

“Women are not always made to feel comfortable or welcome in sporting environments, such as stadiums or sports bars, which may be one reason they are less likely to attend.”

In addition, women generally have more family responsibilities and may have less time than men to enjoy sporting activities.

But family responsibilities have interesting effects on sports consumption and fandom in women, Knoester said.

The study found that women with children living at home participated in higher-than-average sports consumption – presumably, in part, because they were attending their children’s sporting events and supporting their children’s sports interests – without any impact on their fandom.

“Women don’t always consume sports in the context of being fans,” Knoester said.

“Women may disproportionately consume sport to build relationships with their family, but not necessarily self-identify as sports fans because of this.”

As expected, women who participated in youth sports, whose parents were sports fans, and who had mostly athlete friends growing up were all more likely to attend sporting events.

This suggests that sports organizations should invest in and encourage girls’ sports involvement as a way to nurture their sports consumption and fandom into adulthood, Knoester said.

But the fact that many women who already identify as passionate fans aren’t going to many sporting events indicates that teams need to learn more about what types of fan experiences would appeal to women, Sutton said.

“A lot of promotions by teams to attract women assume that all women are the same and don’t recognize that many are already passionate fans,” she said.

The answer should be more listening by sports organizations, Knoester added.

“It seems wise to start by simply asking women what they want from sport, rather than making assumptions based on gendered stereotypes,” he said.

Study: Women After Breast Augmentation Can Return To Exercise In A Week

A new study has found that women who undergo breast augmentation can return to exercise in a week and there will be no risks or complications.

The research has been published in the ‘American Society of Plastic Surgeons Journal’. The findings questioned the recommendation made by some plastic surgeons to avoid exercise for several weeks after breast augmentation, according to the study by Filipe V. Basile, MD, and Thais S. Oliveira, MD, plastic surgeons in private practice in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil.

They wrote, “These findings are in line with a broader tendency recently seen in other surgical fields in which early exercise was shown to be safe without increasing complication rates.”

Plastic surgeons have differing opinions as to how long patients should wait to resume exercise after breast augmentation, with recommendations ranging from a few weeks to a few months after surgery.

“This recommendation is based on the belief that exercise could increase the complication rate, diminish scar quality and jeopardize surgical results,” according to the authors.

Toward providing evidence to guide these policies, Drs. Basile and Oliveira designed a study in which patients undergoing breast augmentation were randomly assigned to early exercise versus standard restrictions. One week after their procedure, women in the exercise group began a supervised exercise program – either aerobic exercise or strength training, three times weekly for 12 weeks. Patients assigned to the control group were advised to avoid exercise for 12 weeks after surgery.

At a one-year follow-up, complication rates and scar quality were compared between groups. In addition, patient satisfaction with their breast augmentation results was assessed using the validated BREAST-Q questionnaire. Seventy-five patients in each group completed the study.

The results supported the safety of early exercise. The overall complication rate was 6.9 per cent in the exercise groups and 7.5 per cent in the non-exercise group. Complications were generally minor; none of the patients needed revision surgery during the 12-month follow-up period. Scar quality was also similar between groups.

Unexpectedly, patient satisfaction scores were higher for women assigned to early exercise. The average satisfaction score on the 100-point BREAST-Q was 83 in the early exercise groups versus 66 in the non-exercise control group. Outcomes were similar for women assigned to aerobic exercise versus strength training.

That may seem counterintuitive to surgeons who recommended that their patients avoid physical activity while recovering after surgery. However, Drs. Basile and Oliveira noted that the findings are consistent with previous studies showing that early postoperative exercise is beneficial and does not increase complication rates after several types of surgery, including cardiac surgery.

“The better self-reported outcomes could be attributed to the effect that exercise has on mood and quality of life in general,” Drs. Basile and Oliveira wrote.

They think that might be especially important in women choosing to undergo breast augmentation, who tended to be more concerned with fitness.

The researchers added, “There is an obvious appeal for this group of patients to be operated on and quickly return to exercising.”

PM to visit Prayagraj today, transfer Rs 1,000 cr to SHGs benefitting around 16 lakh women

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj today and will transfer around Rs 1,000 crore in the bank accounts of Self Help Groups (SHGs), benefitting around 16 lakh women members of the SHGs.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), this transfer is being done under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM), with 80,000 SHGs receiving Community Investment Fund (CIF) of Rs 1.10 lakh per SHG and 60,000 SHGs receiving Revolving Fund of Rs 15,000 per SHG. “PM Modi will visit Prayagraj on December 21 and participate in a one of its kind programme that will be attended by over two lakh women, at around 1 PM,” reads the release.
The programme is being held as per the vision of the Prime Minister to empower women, especially at the grassroots level, by providing them with the necessary skills, incentives and resources.
The programme will also witness the Prime Minister encouraging Business Correspondent-Sakhis (BC-Sakhis), by transferring Rs 4,000 as the first month’s stipend in the account of 20,000 BC-Sakhis.
When B.C.-Sakhis commence their work as providers of doorstep financial services at the grassroot level, they are paid a stipend of Rs 4,000 for six months, so that they get stabilized in their work and then start earning through the commission on transactions, the PMO informed.
During the programme, PM Modi will also be transferring a total amount of over 20 crores to more than one lakh beneficiaries under the Mukhya Mantri Kanya Sumangala Scheme. The Scheme provides conditional cash transfer to a girl child at different stages of her life. The total transfer is Rs 15,000 per beneficiary.
“The stages are at birth (Rs 2,000), on completing one-year complete vaccination (Rs 1,000), on admission in class-I (Rs 2,000), On admission in class-VI (Rs 2,000), on admission in class-IX (Rs 3,000), on admission in any degree or diploma course after passing class X or XII (Rs 5,000),” it added.
In addition, the Prime Minister will also lay the foundation stone of 202 Supplementary Nutrition Manufacturing Units. These units are being funded by the Self Help Groups and will be constructed at the cost of approximately Rs 1 crore for one unit.
These units will supply Supplementary Nutrition under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in 600 blocks of the state, the PMO said in its release.

Owaisi calls Centre’s decision to raise women’s marriage age from 18 to 21 ‘ridiculous’

New Delhi [India]: All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President and Lok Sabha MP Asaduddin Owaisi on Friday slammed the Central government for their decision to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 and termed it “ridiculous”.
Taking to Twitter, Owaisi said that both men and women should be allowed to legally marry at 18 as they’re treated as adults by the law for all other purposes. “Modi government has decided to increase the age of marriage for women to 21. This is typical paternalism that we have come to expect from the govt. 18-year-old men and women can sign contracts, start businesses, choose Prime Ministers and elect MPs and MLAs but not marry? They can consent to sexual relationships and live-in partnerships but cannot choose their life partners? Just ridiculous,” said AIMIM chief.
He allegedly said that there are 12 million kids married before they even turned 10.
“Child marriages are rampant despite a law. Every fourth woman in India was married before turning 18 but only 785 criminal cases of child marriages were recorded. If child marriages have reduced from before, it is due to education and economic progress, not criminal law,” he said.
Owaisi said that more than the legal age of marriage, it is improved education and better economic prospects for youngsters, that impacts when they marry. 45 per cent of the poorest households had child marriages; only 10 per cent of the wealthiest households did so.
“If Modi was sincere, he would have focused on increasing economic opportunities for women. Yet India is the only country where women’s participation in the workforce is dwindling. It fell to 16% in 2020 from 26 per cent in 2005,” he added.
He further said that it is essential to improve their educational outcomes to ensure autonomous decision-making.
“What has the government done to improve education for girls? 79 per cent of Rs 446.72 Beti Bachao Beti Padhao budget was spent on adverts. You want us to believe that this government has sincere intentions?” he asked.
He added that men and women are treated as adults at 18 for most critical things. “Why is marriage any different? The legal age is not really a criteria; the essential goal must be to ensure education, economic progress and human development,” he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Union Cabinet cleared a proposal to raise the minimum age of marriage for women from 18 to 21. The government is likely to propose a bill in Parliament during the ongoing winter session.

Assam to extend tenure of women reservation in urban local bodies

Guwahati (Assam) [India]: With the aim to enable women representation in governance and decision-making process, the Assam cabinet on Friday decided to amend the Assam Municipal Act 1956 to provide women reservations for 10 years.
According to the Chief Minister’s Office, the cabinet also decided to bring an amendment to The Guwahati Municipal Corporation Act, 1969 to extend the tenure of women reservation up to 10 years in direct elections to posts of Councillors of the Corporation. Among the other key decision taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by the chief minister include Assam Agro-forestry Development Board to be established tor incentivising farmers and growers to take up panting of trees in their land, allotment of 8.02 acres of land here to Heraka Seva Trust for the construction of a cultural centre and approval of the Assam Procurement Preference Policy, 2021.
Assam Agro-forestry Development Board is believed to serve as a platform to establish farmers, industry and other stakeholders Partnership among
The cabinet also decided to establish a super-speciality hospital at IIT Guwahati Campus in North Guwahati in association with IIT Guwahati.
Taking to Twitter Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, “In today’s Cabinet meeting, we took several decisions including reservation for women in Urban Local Bodies, government jobs to kin of Majuli boat incident, improving water quality in eco-sensitive zones, providing water and sanitation in rural areas and facilitating the growth of MSEs, among others.”

Priyanka Gandhi releases ‘Women’s Manifesto’

Lucknow [India] : Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday released a special manifesto for women at the party office in Lucknow for the next-year’s Assembly election. The women-centric manifesto by the UP Congress is the first of its kind.

Priyanka, the in-charge of her party’s UP affairs, said that the manifesto will be a roadmap for an inclusive and all-round growth of the state. She said that the election document pays special attention to all sections of the society, including youths, women, farmers, traders and various deprived sections of the society.

The grand old party has been promising many things for women including 40 per cent reservation in ticket distribution and electric scootys.

Over 95,000 registered as disappeared, says UN committee

New York [US], November 30 (ANI): More than 95,000 people have been officially registered as disappeared in Mexico as of last Friday, according to a report by UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances.
That includes a worrying increase in the number of women and children, a trend that has worsened during the pandemic, with migrants particularly at risk. UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances noted that more than 100 disappearances allegedly took place just during the course of their fact-finding mission.
In a statement, the Committee urged Mexican authorities to quickly locate those who have gone missing, identify the deceased and take prompt action to investigate all cases.
The delegation of the UN Committee On Enforced Disappearances went to 13 Mexican states and held 48 meetings with more than 80 different authorities.
Members also met hundreds of victims, and dozens of victims’ collectives and civil society organisations, from almost every part of the country.
They witnessed exhumations and search expeditions in the states of Morelos, Coahuila and the state of Mexico, visited the Human Identification Centre in Coahuila, and went to several federal, state and migrant detention centres.
This was their first visit to the country, granted under article 33 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance.
For the Committee, Mexico’s acceptance of the visit is a clear expression of the State’s openness to international scrutiny and support.
“We acknowledge that some legal and institutional progress has been made in recent years, but enforced disappearances are still widespread and impunity is almost absolute”, the experts said in a statement.
With more than 52,000 unidentified bodies of deceased people, the Committee argues that “the fight against impunity cannot wait.”

TMC raises 10 issues including women’s reservation bill in all-party meet

New Delhi [India] : In an all-party meet convened ahead of the winter session of Parliament, the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) raised ten issues including the Women’s reservation bill to be brought in this session of parliament.
Sources told ANI that the TMC leader demanded from centre to “bring women’s reservation bill in this winter session of Parliament and not bulldoze bills without screening by the opposition.” “Issues like Unemployment, Price Rise of Essentials/Fuel Prices, the law on MSP, weakening of the federal structure and stop disinvestment of profitable PSUs were raised by TMC in the meet,” said the source.
“TMC Leader also raised the issue of BSF jurisdiction that is increased in West Bengal, Pegasus Issue, disrupted Monsoon session and Covid-19 situation in Country” source added.
TMC’S floor leaders of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Derek O’Brien respectively were present at the meet.
At the all-party meeting was called by the Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Sunday ahead of the winter session of Parliament, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister Piyush Goyal and Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury were among the leaders who attended.
The BJP-led government has a heavy agenda for the winter session with its legislative business including 26 new bills.
The winter session will commence on November 29 and is scheduled to conclude on December 23.

New Taliban order targets ‘immoral’ Afghan TV shows featuring women

Kabul [Afghanistan]: In yet another setback for women’s rights in Afghanistan, the Taliban on Sunday ordered television channels to stop airing shows featuring women artists and said female scribes must wear hijabs as per the group’s interpretation of Islamic law.
This order is part of the newly issued guidelines by the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, or moral police, American broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) reported. One of the eight directives issued by the virtue ministry states that films and dramas should not have female actors. The new policy prevents television stations from showing men who are considered indecently exposed or not covered from chest to knees, the report added.
The Taliban defended the directive, saying it is aimed at countering propagation of “immorality” and airing of videos that “are against the principles of Sharia.”
“Foreign and locally produced movies that promote foreign culture and traditions in Afghanistan and promote immorality should not be broadcast,” the ministry said. The guidelines also prohibit airing satirical shows that “insult” or undermine the “dignity” of individuals.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan in mid-August after a decades-long war, which plunged the country into a prolonged humanitarian, security and economic crisis.
Going against all promises of the inclusive government, the Taliban have appointed an all-male cabinet.
They abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and handed over the women’s ministry building to the reinstated Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which was responsible for some of the worst abuses against women during the Taliban’s previous period in power from 1996-2001.
Last week, the United Nations had called for a more inclusive government in Afghanistan as the country has seen a curtailment of the fundamental rights of women and girls under the Taliban rule.
Deborah Lyons, UN Special Representative and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said “These range from limiting the right to work to the absence of women from major decision-making fora and from senior echelons of the civil service.”

Hyderabad Police organises job mela for women, nearly 400 women expected to get jobs

Hyderabad (Telangana) [India]: Hyderabad Police has organized a job mela for women which is expected to provide jobs to nearly 400 women, said Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar who gave away letters to the select candidates.
Addressing the media on Saturday, the commissioner said that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao ensured that women safety and security gets the top priority. “Today we organised a big job connect mela for women in the old city of Hyderabad. Chelapura, the women police station here is the campus, where we expect that more than 300-400 women will get jobs. After the formation of the new state of Telangana, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao ensured that women safety and security gets the top priority, not only in the city but in the entire state,” he said.
“With the initiative of She teams and Bharosa centre, we have shown that Hyderabad and Telangana is the safest place in the country,” he added.
“In the recently conducted survey by the India police foundation, in most of the parameters, Hyderabad and Telangana state are in number one position. In some of the parameters, they are at number two. We feel proud when we maintain such high standards,” he said.

Karnataka CM mulls setting up exclusive financial institution for women entrepreneurs

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said that the state government is talking to the finance department about creating financial institution exclusively for women entrepreneurs that would cater to the needs of women from Sthree Shakthi Sanghas in villages to big women entrepreneurs.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the “Together We Grow” conclave organised by UBUNTU as part of the International Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, Bommai said, “I have a thought for a long time. All Sthree Shakthi Sanghas are given seed money to engage in different activities.” “We need a greater financial institution to help them or any woman entrepreneur. So I am talking to the finance department to create a financial institution exclusively for women entrepreneurs that would cater to Sthree Shakti Sangha in a village to major projects which women can handle,” Bommai stated.
“Woman means entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship means woman, that is what I want,” he added.
The Chief Minister also said that homemaking is the biggest business in the world.
“There are different departments within that from groceries to toiletries, electronic gadgets and so on. Women running the households are also entrepreneurs. According to a report, the savings of our Indian women at home is more than the savings achieved by our nationalized banks,” he said.
The state government is committed to the economic empowerment of every Kannada woman which in turn would lead to economic empowerment of the family and the state, Bommai said.
Bommai also announced his plans to come out with a special programme within a week to provide employment for visually impaired women.
“Three poor visually impaired women with their children met me today. When asked whether they needed any help from me, they declined it and instead urged me to provide a job to help themselves. I was humbled by their spirit and I immediately decided to formulate an employment programme for them,” he added.
The Chief Minister also appealed to members of UBUNTU to employ physically challenged and visually impaired women as far as possible.
Responding to a memorandum submitted by women entrepreneurs at the function, the Chief Minister assured to incorporate the chapter on incentives for women entrepreneurs offered in the Industrial Policy of 2019 into the Policy for 2020-25 as well.
“The State government is already offering concession in providing finance for women entrepreneurs and hinted at proposals for giving concessions in buying land and providing market linkages. Incentive programmes similar to those in place for the Information Technology and Biotechnology sector would be formulated,” he said.

Do not oppose female education, will make curriculum Islamic, say Taliban

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Claiming that the Taliban does not oppose female education, the Islamic Emirate said that this was girls’ Islamic and legal right.
Acting Minister of Education of Afghanistan Noorullah Munir during his recent interview with Bakhtar News Agency, a local news agency, said that they will bring changes to the current curriculum and will make it Islamic, reported Khaama Press. The Taliban, after taking control of the country in mid-August, had closed the schools with thousands of girl students confined to their homes, attracting criticism by the international community.
The Islamic Emirate which banned girl schools for grades 7 to 12 in many provinces, claimed earlier that they are working to provide a safe environment for female students in Afghanistan.
While claiming girls’ education as a legal and Islamic right, Munir, however, did not elaborate on the new Islamic curriculum.
Meanwhile, he said that the Islamic scholars are busy working on a mechanism to provide a safe environment for girls that will be in concurrence with Islam and the Afghan traditions, reported Khaama Press.
About the salaries of teachers, the acting minister said that they are busy discussing the issue with UNICEF.
Earlier, UNICEF had announced that they will directly fund Afghan teachers and will give those salaries but the Taliban had said that all aid will be distributed under their surveillance, reported Khaama Press.

UN calls for more inclusive Afghanistan government as rights of women, girls curtailed under Taliban

New York [US]: The United Nations calls for a more inclusive government in Afghanistan as the country has seen a curtailment of the fundamental rights of women and girls under the Taliban rule, a special UN envoy said on Wednesday.
Deborah Lyons, UN Special Representative and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said “These range from limiting the right to work to the absence of women from major decision-making fora and from senior echelons of the civil service.” “We continue to call for a more inclusive administration in which government institutions reflect Afghanistan’s broad diversity. We have seen limited progress on this issue,” the envoy said.
Lyons said in her interactions with the Taliban, the de-facto authorities recognized that they have made mistakes on women’s rights and inclusivity and are now trying to address them. However, the Taliban made it clear that there are limits to concessions they are willing to make on some issues, she added.
“On girls education, the de-facto authorities have indicated they are working on a nationwide policy so that the right to girls’ education can be exercised across the country. But they state that they need more time to clarify the policy and its implementation,” Lyons said.
The Taliban took over Afghanistan in mid-August after a decades-long war, which plunged the country into a prolonged humanitarian, security and economic crisis.
Going against all promises of the inclusive government, the Taliban have appointed an all-male cabinet.
They abolished the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and handed over the women’s ministry building to the reinstated Ministry of Vice and Virtue, which was responsible for some of the worst abuses against women during the Taliban’s previous period in power from 1996-2001.

“Mahila hoon lad sakti hoon”

New Delhi [India] : Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will launch the party’s 100 days action plan for the “Adhi Abadi”, an outreach programme for women voters in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.
Priyanka Gandhi arrived in Chitrakoot’s Ram Ghat today to launch the programme. The Congress general secretary is betting high by announcing that 40 per cent tickets will be given to women in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The Congress leader has also made big promises to woo women voters and for which a separate manifesto has been prepared.
Some of the key promises include smartphone and two-wheelers for college-going girls, three cylinders for free for housewives, free travel for women in government buses, an honorarium of Rs 10,000 per month to ASHA and Anganwadi workers, and old age-widow pension of Rs 1000 per month.
To give an edge to this mission, the Uttar Pradesh Congress has prepared an action plan for the next 100 days. There are about 7 crore women voters in the state and Priyanka Gandhi’s banking on this significant portion of the electorate.
According to sources, the Congress is also going to commence a big public relations campaign to reach out to four crore women voters in the next 100 days. A brigade of around 8,000 woman volunteers has been assigned for the task with the slogan “Mahila hoon lad sakti hoon”.
As many as 150 professionals are working on this campaign. The brigade will reach about 2 lakh women daily and convey the promises of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to them.
Congress has prepared one crore pink silicone bands and attractive stickers for the campaign. Incidents of crime against women and the issue of inflation will also be raised during the campaign.
At present, there are about 7 crore women voters in the state. About 4 crore women had voted in the last assembly elections. Interestingly, the women voters turnout was 4 per cent more 63 per cent as compared to 59 per cent of men. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections also, women voters turnout had been 1 per cent more than men.
According to Congress strategists, about 60 per cent of the women voters are in the age group of 18 to 35. The party has a special eye on this 60 per cent youth.
To popularize the campaign, there is also a plan to organize a marathon for girls, the winners of which will be given scooty. The promotional campaign will be run in shopping malls and girls’ colleges. There are also plans to form an influencer team of 1,000 women professionals like women doctors, lawyers and 5,000 mobile units.
Congress’ Digital team will send daily reports from every district to the Central Control Room. Data from the control room will be sent to the call center. A call center is running in Lucknow. Social media campaigns will be run on WhatsApp and Facebook.
Congress is focusing on 100 seats out of the total 403 Assembly constituencies in Uttar Pradesh. According to sources, a target has been set to contact every woman 10 times in these seats.
Apart from the outreach campaign, Congress will organize 100 town halls that is special dialogue meetings across the state. Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will address 10 town halls just like Chitrakoot the event to be held today.
For the last 30 years, the Congress party has been failing in the social engineering in Uttar Pradesh. No caste is the party’s core vote bank. In such a situation, an electoral blueprint has been prepared to capitalize on the image of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra among women.
Congress feels that if its gamble on the women’s card is successful, then its numbers can be improved. With this hope, the party has designed this large-scale outreach campaign keeping half the population in view.

Priyanka hits out at Amit Shah

New Delhi [India] : All India Congress Committee (AICC) Uttar Pradesh Incharge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Saturday targetted Union Home Minister over the increasing snatching incidents in the state.
Taking to Twitter, the Congress general secretary, “The Home Minister of the country gives the jumla (rhetoric) of “stepping out laden with jewellery”, but only the women of UP knows what kind of things they have to deal with every day. That’s why ‘I am girl, I can fight’ is necessary, to increase the participation of women in politics and in making security-related policies.” She also cited a news report which reported the recent crime incidents in the Kanpur district of Uttar Pradesh.
Last month in Lucknow, Shah had praised the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh and said that today even a 16-year-old girl can roam around wearing jewellery at 12 in the night, and not have to fear for their safety.
The next elections are scheduled to be held early next year to elect 403 members of the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.
BJP in the 2017 polls, won 312 seats with a vote share of 39.67 per cent. This was followed by a strong electoral performance in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls when the BJP won 62 of the state’s 80 parliamentary constituencies.

PC to Women Officers

New Delhi [India]: After the Supreme Court cautioned the Indian Army of contempt, the Centre on Friday assured that it will roll out Permanent Commission option to all eligible Women Short Service Commission Officers (WSSCO) in the Army.
The Centre told the bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud that a swift decision would be made within ten days with regard to eleven women army officers, who have approached the top court, to grant Permanent Commission (PC). As the apex court warned that it was going to initiate contempt proceedings against the Indian Army for failing to grant PC to eleven women officers in line with its previous orders, the Centre submitted that it was ready to grant Permanent Commission to the officers before the Court.
The Bench in its order noted that Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said that those officers whose case is not before the court in contempt proceedings but meets criteria laid in its previous judgment, will be granted a permanent commission and necessary orders in this regard will be passed within three weeks from today.
The ASG clarified that not just the eleven Women Short Service Commission (WSSCO) Officers who have moved the court in contempt as a part of 72 officers and who were not granted PC till date, but even those officers who are not before the court but are meeting the criteria will be granted PC, subject to their willingness.
During the hearing, the apex court said that it appeared that the directions of the court are not complied with, and warned that it will hold the Army and the Defence Ministry in contempt.
Justice Chandrachud cautioned ASG Jain, “We will hold the Army guilty of Contempt. I am putting you on guard.”
The top court said, “Army may be supreme in its own authority but the Constitutional court of the country is supreme in its own jurisdiction.”
72 Women Short Service Commission Officers, who were denied Permanent Commission, had moved to the apex court seeking Permanent Commission in August 2021 seeking contempt proceedings against the Ministry of Defence for not complying with the Court’s March 2021 judgment in which the Indian Army was directed to “positively grant permanent commission to all Women Short Service Commission Officers (WSSCO) who fulfilled the prescribed criteria”.
On October 22, the apex court had directed the Centre to issue orders granting PC to 39 WSSCO Officers in the Army in seven working days. It had also asked the Centre to furnish the details of 25 officers with reasons, who were not considered for a Permanent Commission.
The Centre had told the top court that they have re-examined the case of 72 women SSC officers in compliance with the earlier order of this court and has found 38 officers eligible for grant of PC and a case of one officer is pending consideration, which in all probability will be considered for PC.
Before that, the Bench had asked the Centre to file an affidavit explaining why 72 women SSC officers have been rejected from the grant of a Permanent Commission.
The top court was hearing a batch of pleas filed by the women officers who alleged that the apex court’s March 25 order was not considered and all 72 of them were rejected from consideration for the Permanent Commission at one go.
In its March 25 order, the top court had directed the Army to consider granting Permanent Commission to the women Short Sevice Commission Officers subject to their obtaining 60 per cent marks in the assessment subjects, being found fit on medical criteria as per the August 1, 2020 order of the Army and having received disciplinary and vigilance clearances.
On March 25, the apex court had said that the evaluation criteria set by the Army for granting permanent commission to women serving Short Service Commission officers constituted “systemic discrimination” which has caused an “economic and psychological harm” and an “affront to their dignity”.
On February 17 last year, in a landmark verdict, the apex court had directed that women officers in the Army be granted permanent commission. It had rejected the Centre’s stand of their physiological limitations as being based on “sex stereotypes” and “gender discrimination against women”.
The apex court had directed that within three months, all serving SSC women officers have to be considered for Permanent Commission irrespective of them having crossed 14 years or, as the case may be, 20 years of service.

Kerala eye maiden win

Aqaba [Jordan] : India’s Gokulam Kerala FC will be eyeing their first victory while Shahrdari Sirjan of Iran will bid to stay perfect when the two sides meet in the AFC Women’s Club Championship 2021 at the Aqaba Development Corporate Stadium on Wednesday.
Gokulam Kerala suffered a 1-2 defeat against Jordan’s Amman Club on Matchday One, while Shahrdari Sirjan cruised to victory with a similar scoreline over Uzbekistan’s FC Bunyodkor. Gokulam Kerala enjoyed a good start against Amman, taking a first-half lead on the counter-attack courtesy of Elshaddai Acheampong’s fine strike. However, a switch in formation for Amman made all the difference as Gokulam conceded twice in the second half, with strikes from Maysa Jbarah and Samia Ouni paving the way for the come from behind victory for the Jordanians.
“In the first game against Amman, we couldn’t convert some of our chances and that cost us dearly in the game,” said Gokulam Kerala FC head coach Priya PV, as per AIFF.
“Amman played very well on the flanks and that is something we will work on in the next match. We will not change our style of play and will stick to our attacking football. We’re still in this and we will aim for the three points,” the coach added.
It was a different scenario, however, for Shahrdari Sirjan who raced off the blocks against Bunyodkor to open their account in the sixth minute through Roghayeh Jalal Nasab before Zahra Alizadeh scored with a wonderful lob in the second half with Dildora Nozimova scoring a consolation.

Russia triumph over Switzerland to claim 5th Billie Jean King Cup

Prague [Czech Republic] : The Russian Tennis Federation claimed Billie Jean King Cup by defeating Switzerland on Saturday in the championship tie to claim the premier team competition in women’s tennis for the fifth time.
They put an end to that 13-year drought after Daria Kasatkina and Liudmila Samsonova picked up singles wins to build an insurmountable 2-0 lead over the Swiss squad and capture the cup at the O2 Arena in Prague. The Russians denied Switzerland their maiden Billie Jean King Cup championship. The Swiss finish as runners-up for the second time, along with their finalist showing in 1998 when they fell to five-time champions Spain.
Kasatkina got the Russians off on the right foot with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Jil Teichmann of Switzerland in the opening match. In the first meeting between the pair, World No.28 Kasatkina ousted World No.39 Teichmann in an hour and 19 minutes.
The cup was clinched when World No.40 Samsonova ousted 17th-ranked Belinda Bencic in a three-set comeback, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, after 2 hours and 22 minutes of gripping tennis.

Taliban bars women from operating as aid workers in Afghanistan

Kabul [Afghanistan] : Taliban has prohibited Afghan women from “operating as aid workers,” which is preventing the desperately needed lifesaving aid from reaching Afghans, reported a local media, said the Human Rights Watch (HRW).
“The Taliban’s severe restrictions on women aid workers are preventing desperately needed lifesaving aid from reaching Afghans, especially women, girls, and women-headed households. Permitting women aid workers to do their jobs unfettered is not a matter of agencies or donors placing conditions on humanitarian assistance, but an operational necessity for delivering that assistance,” TOLO news quoted associate women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, Heather Barr as saying. Only three out of 34 provinces officially allowed the female workers to operate, reported the news channel citing HRW.
“The document, reviewed by Human Rights Watch, indicates that, as of October 28, 2021, Taliban officials in only three provinces had provided a written agreement unconditionally permitting women aid workers to do their jobs. In over half the country, women aid workers face severe restrictions, such as requirements for a male family member to escort them while they do their jobs, making it difficult or impossible for them to do their job effectively,” TOLOnews quoted the report as saying.
“This deprives the women and children who are in dire need in the far provinces, and this also intensifies the crisis,” the news channel quoted women’s rights defender, Zarqqa Yaftali as saying.
“The Islamic Emirate (Taliban) should cooperate with the United Nations in Afghanistan to get recognition and the (UN) will continue its assistance to the people,” TOLOnews quoted civil rights activist Soman as saying.

“Empower women for national progress”

Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) [India]: Underlining the importance of education of girls, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday said women empowerment is essential for accelerated national progress.
Naidu launched a book on the life and parliamentary debates of Umar Alisha, the former pontiff of Sri Viswa Vignana Vidya Adhyatmika Peetham in Visakhapatnam. Addressing the event, the Vice President said, “The empowerment of women is essential for accelerated national progress.” He also highlighted the importance of the education of girl child for the economic prosperity of the individual, family and the nation.
Naidu further paid rich tributes to Alisha for his contributions during the freedom struggle. Describing him as a humanist, Naidu noted Alisha’s efforts in the literary and social sectors as well as for women’s empowerment.
Referring to the spiritual outlook of Umar Alisha, the Vice President said that religious and spiritual leaders should take the message of ‘service’ to the common people.
“It should be conveyed to the people that spirituality and service are not separate, and they essentially seek social welfare,” he added.
Naidu called upon the youth of the country to take inspiration from the sacrifices of the freedom fighters and strive towards a harmonious and inclusive society. He observed that building a society free of all kinds of discrimination is the real tribute to the sacrifices of our freedom fighters.

Poor Sleep Quality Affecting Students’ Mental Health Especially Women

The findings of new research have shown that more than two thirds (approx. 65.5 per cent) of students are experiencing poor sleep quality and this is linked to mental health problems.

The research was published in the peer-reviewed journal Annals of Human Biology. The findings, based on more than 1,000 (1,113) men and women attending university full-time, also show those reporting depressive symptoms were almost four times as likely to suffer from inadequate sleep habits.

Excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) was a problem among over half (55 per cent) of the students, they were almost twice as likely to have depression or experience moderate to high-stress levels. In addition, the study highlights a gender divide, with poor quality sleep and EDS more prevalent among females.

The authors warn stressors, such as course demands, make college students vulnerable to sleep disorders which in turn affect academic performance and health. They’re calling on universities to do more to promote positive sleep habits and good mental health.

“Sleep disorders are especially harmful to college students because they’re associated with several negative effects on academic life,” says lead author Dr Paulo Rodrigues from the Faculty of Nutrition, Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil.

“These include failures in attention and perception, high absenteeism rate, and sometimes dropping out of the course.

“The university environment offers greater exposure to factors that may compromise sleep habits such as academic stress and social life. It’s crucial to evaluate and monitor sleep habits, mental health, and the quality of life of students to reduce the risk of developing other chronic diseases.

“University managers should plan the implementation of institutional actions and policies. This is to stimulate the development of activities that promote good sleep habits and benefit students’ mental health.”

Living away from home for the first time, using stimulants that impair sleep and keeping erratic bedtimes are all factors that make students vulnerable to a lack of quality rest at night. An average of seven hours of sleep has been reported by those attending college when nine hours is considered ideal for young adults.

Poor sleep and EDS in those attending university has already been identified by studies, but few have investigated any link with stress/depression. This new research is part of the Longitudinal Study on the Lifestyle and Health of University Students (ELESEU) and used data from 2016 and 2017.

The authors surveyed 1,113 undergraduates and post-graduates aged from 16 to 25 years who were enrolled in a range of studies at the Federal University of Mato Grosso in Brazil. Participants were asked about their sleep quality, EDS, socioeconomic status, and their body mass index (BMI) was also assessed.

The data was used to estimate the level of association between poor sleep quality/EDS, and depressive symptoms and perceived stress levels. Results showed a significant link between these factors, and depressive issues and moderate to high-stress levels.

In addition to the findings on gender, a link was identified between poor sleep quality and the degree course discipline. Students studying biological and health sciences were more likely to be affected as were those enrolled in social and human sciences.

The mechanism behind sleep disturbance and depression is not unclear, as is whether mental health issues trigger poor quality sleep (or vice versa). Hence, the authors suggest that more research is needed to understand this interaction better.

Study: Women Are More Reluctant Than Men To Ask For Deadline Extensions

A new research has found that women are less likely than men to ask for more time to complete projects with adjustable deadlines at work or school.

The findings of the study were published in the journal ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’. Compared to men, women were more concerned that they would be burdening others by asking for an extension, and that they would be seen as incompetent, the study showed.

Prior research has shown that women feel more time stress than men do, and feeling uncomfortable about asking for more time to complete projects may be one important reason why, said Grant Donnelly, co-author of the study and assistant professor of marketing at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business.

“Women understandably feel like they have too many things to do and not enough time to do them. We found that not asking for more time to complete tasks undermines women’s well-being and also their performance. But we also found a possible solution: Women were as likely to ask for deadline extensions as men when organisations had formal policies on making deadline extension requests,” Donnelly said.

Donnelly conducted the research with Ashley Whillans, Jaewon Yoon and Aurora Turek of the Harvard Business School.

The research involved nine studies with more than 5,000 participants, including online panels of working adults and undergraduate students.

Donnelly said that for him, one of the most compelling of the nine studies was one conducted in his own class.

He assigned a discussion paper that was worth 20 per cent of the grade to 103 students in an undergraduate business course. All students were given one week to submit the paper but were told they could email Donnelly to request an extension without penalty.

Male students were more than twice as likely as female students to request an extension for the assignment (15 per cent of female vs. 36 per cent of male students).

Not asking for an extension could hurt students, the findings showed. A teaching assistant who rated the papers gave better scores to those who had asked for an extension. (The assistant did not know who wrote the papers and whether they asked for extensions or the purpose of the study.)

“What we found is that when students requested an extension, they made good use of that time and performed better on the task. Women may hurt themselves by not requesting additional time,” Donnelly said.

Several other of the nine studies by the researchers involving working adults showed that women’s focus on other people and their needs played a big role in why they were uncomfortable asking for deadline extensions.

In these studies, participants imagined they were assigned to submit a proposal for an upcoming event that was due the next day but needed more time. In this scenario, they could ask for an extension from their supervisor.

Participants were asked a variety of questions about how asking for an extension might affect themselves and their team, and how it might affect how they were viewed by others.

Results showed that women believed they would be seen as less competent if they asked for an extension. But that wasn’t the main reason that women were reluctant to request more time.

“It was their concern about burdening their team and manager with more work that most strongly predicted women’s discomfort with asking for more time on adjustable deadlines. Perceived burden and emotions like shame, embarrassment and guilt explained why women experienced more discomfort with asking for extensions than men did,” Donnelly said.

And these feelings have real-life implications. Consistent with prior research, women in this study reported feeling more time-pressed and experienced more burnout than men.

But the good news from the findings is that organisations can level the playing field – resulting in women and men asking for more time on projects at nearly the same rate – by creating a formal way to request deadline extensions.

In one study, the researchers analysed data from an online university that had a formal policy for extension requests – all students were entitled to four 24-hour extensions per semester, which could be requested using an online form.

In this case, women were as likely to submit at least one request during the semester studied as were men (24 per cent of women vs. 25 per cent of men). That finding was replicated in another of the nine studies.

Donnelly said he believes companies and other organisations should create formal avenues for requesting deadline extensions.

“It’s a structural issue. When organisations have formal policies about deadlines, it creates the opportunity for men and women to have equal experiences for requesting additional time. And we found evidence that allowing deadline extensions, when possible, can result in better work. That’s helpful for employers and employees,” Donnelly concluded.

Afghan women criticise global ‘silence’ on limitations in exercising their rights post-Taliban

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Afghan women on Tuesday criticised the world community over their ‘silence’ on the restrictions put on them after the Taliban took control of the country.
They said that the international community must not stay silent over the situation of Afghan women, reported Tolo News. A number of Afghan women took to the streets in Kabul in reaction to what they said are limitations in exercising their rights, and criticised the silence of the international community, including the United Nations and human rights institutions, over the issue.
The women protesting in Kabul said although more than two months have passed, the Islamic Emirate has failed to pave the way for girls to return to schools or women to return to their jobs, reported Tolo News.
“We have come here to raise our voice in reaction to the international community’s silence over the situation in Afghanistan,” said Arifa Fatimi, a protester.
“Today half of Afghanistan’s population has been removed. We are deprived of our rights,” said Marjan Amiri, another protester.
Meanwhile, a number of women rights activists said that based on Sharia Law, women have the right to education and work and urged the international community to not stay silent in this regard.
“If the international community makes remarks and takes action, it can remove the limitations against women in exercising their basic rights,” said Zarqa Yaftali, a women rights activist.
Beheshta Yaqoubi, the former commissioner of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, said if the Islamic Emirate wants to have engagement with the world, then it has to observe women’s rights, reported Tolo News.
“If the government wants to engage with the world, then it is obligated to respect human rights, women’s rights, and international laws,” Yaqoubi said.

Kareena Kapoor Khan Urges Women Not To Take Pressure Of Late Pregnancy

Kareena Kapoor Khan, the mother of two children, has urged people to not make a taboo of late pregnancy.

“I never planned having a baby because you know I was like in 36 or Oh my biological clock is ticking so I need to speed it up or whatever. That was not even a thought or discussion because I was like I married Saif for love. I did that. I wanted to have a child so I did it. It so happened. I didn’t give much thought because my thought was always on my work and you know being happy and content with myself. So I don’t think late mothers should have this pressure,” Kareena said. Kareena was 36 when she welcomed her first child Taimur with Saif Ali Khan in 2016. After five years, in February 2021, she turned mother again as she gave birth to her son Jeh.

During the latest episode of the ‘Raising Parents with Mansi Zaveri’ podcast, Kareena also opened up about how she balances her time between the two kids.

“I think that the fact is that I am a very calm person, I am very composed. I divide my time well. Like I know Taimur needs me at this point in time. You know I am lucky that he now wakes up later than Jeh’s so I know I have to be with Jeh for that hour while he has his breakfast and then once Jeh’s breakfast is done I know Taimur’s time is you know coming in. So I just balance it out. The idea is to not have too much pressure on like doing things. The idea is to involve children to take part in your daily life. It’s not like we have to do this and we have to do that. We are not those kind of parents,” she added.

Meanwhile, on the work front, Kareena will be seen sharing screen space with Aamir Khan in ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’, which is scheduled to release in 2022.

Study: Women Are Not More Emotional Than Men

Contrary to widely held gender stereotypes, women are not more emotional than men, according to researchers at the University of Michigan.

Feelings such as enthusiasm, nervousness, or strength are often interpreted differently between the two genders. It’s what being “emotional” means to men vs. women that is part of a new University of Michigan study that dispels these biases. For instance, a man whose emotions fluctuate during a sporting event is described as “passionate.” But a woman whose emotions change due to any event, even if provoked, is considered “irrational,” says the study’s senior author Adriene Beltz, U-M assistant professor of psychology.

Beltz and colleagues Alexander Weigard, U-M assistant professor of psychiatry, and Amy Loviska, a graduate student at Purdue University, followed 142 men and women over 75 days to learn more about their daily emotions, both positive and negative. The women were divided into four groups: one naturally cycling and three others using different forms of oral contraceptives.

The researchers detected fluctuations in emotions in three different ways, and then compared the sexes.

They found little-to-no differences between the men and the various groups of women, suggesting that men’s emotions fluctuate to the same extent as women’s do (although likely for different reasons).

“We also didn’t find meaningful differences between the groups of women, making clear that emotional highs and lows are due to many influences- not only hormones,” she said.

The findings have implications beyond everyday people, the researchers say. Women have historically been excluded from research participation in part due to the assumption that ovarian hormone fluctuations lead to variation, especially in emotion, that can’t be experimentally controlled, they say.

“Our study uniquely provides psychological data to show that the justifications for excluding women in the first place (because fluctuating ovarian hormones, and consequently emotions, confounded experiments) were misguided,” Beltz said.

Women in Pakistan: Social Media & Literacy are the ‘hope’ for Change


There appears to have been a surge in violence against women, but in truth it is nothing new. It is just that we are more aware of it now and more women are fighting back. The last few months have been particularly harrowing for Pakistani women.

From the horrific case of 27-year-old Noor Muqaddam, who was brutally tortured and beheaded in the nation’s capital on July 21, to that of Ayesha Ikram, a TikTok creator, who was harassed and groped on the country’s Independence Day by more than 400 men on the grounds of one of the country’s major national monuments, the Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore – it feels as if violence against women has reached epidemic proportions.

Many are even calling it a “femicide” to draw attention to the scale of the problem and its systemic nature. But gender-based violence in the country is not new.

According to the 2017-2018 Pakistan Demographic and health survey, 28 percent of women aged 15 to 49 had experienced intimate partner violence in their lifetimes. This is a slight decrease from 32 percent of the women reported to have experienced physical violence at the hands of their partners in the 2012-2013. But given that domestic violence is an issue shrouded in secrecy and shame, both sets of figures are likely a gross under-estimation.

One suspects that it feels like there is a surge in violence because cases are getting more attention. Mainstream media is more attuned to the issue, and it is also being highlighted and discussed on social media platforms.

These conversations have created heightened awareness among young women in particular, who are becoming increasingly vocal about their rights. The vast majority of these women belong to the educated, urban middle and upper classes.

This is just the latest in the long history of the struggle against gender-based violence in Pakistan.

In the past, particular cases have drawn national as well international attention, leading to collective action by rights activists.

One such case was that of 28-year-old Samia Sarwar, whose murder was arranged by her family in 1999. She had been seeking a divorce from her violent husband, a decision her family did not support because it would have “dishonoured” the family name.

She was shot dead in the offices of Hina Jilani, a well-respected Supreme Court lawyer and human rights activist. Sarwar had been there for a pre-arranged meeting with her mother to receive the divorce papers.

Her murder started a national conversation about honour killings. Women’s rights activists, including Jilani and her sister Asma Jahangir, also a renowned human rights lawyer and activist, highlighted it to advocate for an end to gender-based violence.

But there were counter-protests from religious conservatives arguing that Sarwar’s feminist lawyers had no business interfering in a question of “family honour”. To this day, the perpetrators have not been brought to justice.

Another well-documented case is that of Mukhtaran Mai, who was gang-raped in June 2002 by four men in Meerwala village in southern Punjab’s Muzaffargarh district. Mai was raped on the orders of a village council as “punishment” for her younger brother’s alleged illegitimate relationship with a woman from a rival tribe.

And more recently, the murder of 26-year-old Qandeel Baloch by her younger brother in July 2016 for her “intolerable” behaviour, was a turning point for many younger feminists. Baloch was a social media star who was bold and open about her sexuality. Her murder set off a public debate around the question of women’s sexuality and victim-blaming.

While cases such as these make headlines every few years, their frequency seems to have increased during the last five years. There are a few possible reasons for this.

Social media

Female education rates are gradually on the rise in Pakistan, with the rate of female secondary education rising from 28.6 percent in 2011 to 34.2 percent in 2021. There is now a new generation of young educated women who have the awareness and confidence to demand their rights.

Additionally, as technology and social media have become more accessible, news of cases has started to spread more widely and at a much greater speed.

As of this year, almost 27.5 percent of the country’s population has access to the internet, mostly through their mobile phones. While this is much less than the global average of 60.9 percent, it is still significant for a country of 223 million.

Despite the fact that the country only has 2.1 million Twitter users, a relatively low percent, tweets are often featured by media outlets and are used to further discussions.

The state has also identified social media as a possible threat to Pakistan’s national image. Fawad Chaudhry, the country’s information minister, recently alleged that Indian and Afghan accounts were “falsely” creating the impression that Pakistan is “unsafe for women”, which he argued is part of an international conspiracy to malign the country.

With social media playing a key role in taking the conversation forward, women also face constant threats and harassment on these channels.

Conservative commentators and groups use these to counter the claims of feminists by arguing that Pakistan is indeed one of the safest countries for women – a claim also repeated by the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan. In June, rights activists condemned Khan’s comment that, “If a woman is wearing very few clothes, it will have an impact on the men, unless they are robots. It’s just common sense.”

He later tried to backtrack on this, stating that only a rapist is responsible for their crime, but this too was couched problematically in a discussion about the need to lower “temptations” in society.

Women’s March

The last four years have also seen the emergence of Aurat March (Women’s March) in major cities across the country on International Women’s Day on March 8.

They were first held in 2018 in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, with hundreds attending. In 2019, they spread to Multan, Faisalabad, Larkana and Hyderabad, attracting thousands of participants.

While most of those who attend are from the urban upper and middle classes, organisers have been working towards making the marches more inclusive; encouraging transgender women to participate and providing transport for working-class women to make it easier for them to attend.

These demonstrations have highlighted gender-based injustices, such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, the undervaluing of women’s paid and unpaid labour, and lack of access to female healthcare. The issue of gender-based violence has consistently been front and centre.

The growth in popularity of these marches can also be attributed, at least in part, to social media, with much of the publicity and conversations before and after the march taking place on various online platforms.

Not part of the conversation

These certainly are all hopeful signs of resistance, however, the vast majority of women in Pakistan are still not part of these conversations and the movement. There is still a long way to go in terms of diversification.

For example, all of the high-profile cases mentioned earlier took place in the province of Punjab. Cases of violence against women from lower socioeconomic classes and from provinces other than Punjab, which has historically been the most economically and politically dominant province, rarely garner national attention.

Pakistanis living in the country’s peripheries complain that women’s rights activists rarely take up their issues.

Supporters of the Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM), which advocates for the rights of Pashtuns, the country’s second-largest ethnic group, highlighted the case of a woman in Khaissor a village in the former tribal areas of Waziristan. She was allegedly harassed by security forces, with the details of the case surfacing on social media in 2019. This case received very little attention, both from feminist activists and the mainstream media, due to the gap between women in urban centres and those in rural and remote areas.

Hence, while social media is helping to amplify the cases of violence against women, it has not been able to bridge the ethnic and class divides that have long existed in the country.

In addition to this, the vast majority of women in Pakistan still do not use social media at all. There is a 65 percent gap in digital access between women and men in Pakistan, the highest such gender gap in the world, and the women who have access by and large belong to the upper and upper-middle class.

Furthermore, as has historically been the case, progress on women’s rights is still frequently blocked by religious conservative groups, which often work in tandem with the state.

Most recently, the Domestic Violence Bill – despite being passed by the National Assembly to ensure legal protection and relief for victims – was stalled after an adviser to the prime minister recommended that it be sent to the Council of Islamic Ideology for review.

The victims of domestic violence continue to wait to find out what legal channels are available to them.

The ‘woman card’

Despite the various hurdles that women’s rights activists face, from religious conservatives to the country’s ethnic and economic divisions, there are signs of a wider change in attitudes towards gender-based violence, and not just in the virtual realm.

After the Minar-e-Pakistan incident, for example, hundreds of young women and men descended on the same spot where the Tik Tok star had been harassed a week earlier, in a bid to proclaim women’s right to occupy public spaces.

On television talk shows, though largely dominated by male commentators, women journalists are increasingly vocal in their opposition to gender-based violence and are refusing to be silenced by male anchors and conservative commentators.

Feminists are also creating alternative forums for discussion. For example, a group of women journalists recently started a channel on Youtube called Aurat Card (Woman Card), a tongue-in-cheek reference to the misogynistic claim that women use their gender to gain “unfair advantages”. The show presents critical views on a range of social and political issues.

As a teacher, I have seen a change among university students during the last 10 years, where conversations about harassment are becoming increasingly frequent on campuses. However, with a female tertiary education rate of only 8.3 percent, even these conversations remain confined to a small section of the society, and that too in big urban centres.

So, while violence against women appears to be at a peak and regressive forces are as vocal as ever, there are positive signs that women, particularly those who are young and educated, are becoming more aware and vocal in their resistance.

Calling this a gender revolution may be premature, but a change is certainly taking place. The struggle for equal rights for women still has a long way to go, but the grip of conservative men is gradually being challenged and is loosening, and they have good reason to be scared.

#women #pakistan #march #socialmedia #literacy

Brought over 200 million women into mainstream financial system: India at UNGA

New York [US]: India brought over 200 million Indian women into the mainstream financial system, promoting economic empowerment during the last two years even as it battled the Covid pandemic, which had gripped the world, the country said at the 76th session of the United National General Assembly.
At a discussion on ICTs for Sustainable Development and Globalisation and Interdependence at the UNGA second committee, India’s First Secretary Sneha Dubey said that during the pandemic, India undertook unparalleled social protection initiatives that were pro-poor and broad-based in outreach. “Digital technology and the energies of the internet have been a force multiplier in this endeavour. A programme to supply free food to 800 million people and cash transfers to 400 million was streamlined by digitally-enabled technology, along with delivery of clean cooking-fuel to 80 million households. Financial inclusion has been accelerated and digital transactions have been stepped up, bringing over 200 million Indian women into the mainstream financial system and thereby ushering in economic empowerment,” Dubey said.
She emphasised that India’s Arogya-Setu was effective in contact tracing of Covid-19.
“Our indigenous IT platform, Arogya-Setu facilitated effective Covid- contact tracing. India’s Co-WIN App – an open platform for managing vaccination – continues to facilitate vaccines to millions. ICT tools have been deployed in an effective manner for improving access to quality education and healthcare services,” said she said.
She also emphasised that India created a strong, transparent and vibrant digital system that is inclusive and empowering.
“India has thus created a strong, transparent and vibrant digital system which is inclusive and empowering, offering much-needed solutions for tackling poverty, promoting economic growth and improving productivity during Covid times,” she said.
The First Secretary agreed upon the fact that technologies were also creating unprecedented challenges and accentuating the digital divide.
“We cannot deny that technologies are also creating unprecedented challenges that include invasion of privacy, promotion of misinformation and disinformation, infiltration of critical infrastructure through cyber-attacks, a threat to human rights and accentuating the digital divide. Access to technology is not always uniform and this has led to widening disparities between the developed countries and the Global South,” she said.
She agreed that with the Development goal of “leaving no one behind”, the ongoing digital revolution is inclusive.
“Keeping with the central premise of the Sustainable Development Goals of “leaving no one behind”, we believe it is imperative that the ongoing digital revolution is inclusive,” she further said.
She highlighted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi offering Co-WIN platform for the global good under India’s flagship developmental assistance program.
“Strengthened technological cooperation between member states through transfer of technology and capacity building is critical in achieving SDGs. India has been sharing its experience and expertise with development partners, especially under the framework of South-South cooperation.
Prime Minister Modi has already offered Co-WIN platform for the global good. India has further strengthened its flagship developmental assistance program, Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation, to provide online training to healthcare personnel of several countries. We look forward to continuing working with our partners in this field,” she concluded.
India has made amendments to existing law by which women have been allowed to work night shifts in metropolitan cities, thereby increasing the scope of their opportunities.
Further, to increase their access to financial capital, the Stand Up India scheme possesses a provision of enabling every bank branch to grant a loan of Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 crore to women only.
With regards to small businesses, an overwhelming majority i.e. around 70 per cent of beneficiaries of the MUDRA scheme are women who have gained access to loans between Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh. Also, PSUs have been mandatorily tasked to procure at least 3 per cent of their required products from women-led or women-established MSMEs, reported Saudi Gazette.
This has led to a clear spike in the presence of women in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector wherein more than 32,000 women entrepreneurs registered on the government e-Marketplace (GeM) within few months of its announcement, and the number seems to be constantly rising.
Also, the Indian government opened up the Permanent Commission in all three wings of the armed forces for women will be remembered as a historic step towards ensuring gender parity in a segment dominated by males.
With schemes like the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’, India is striving hard to save the lives of its girl children and protect & enrich them with all its resources.
With these policies in place, India’s youth and women are set to fuel the nation’s developmental aspirations of a 21st-century’s Self-Reliant India and to make India a vibrant country, holding its own in the global community, in every facets of progress.

FIDE world women’s team c’ship: India beat Georgia to enter finals

New Delhi [India]: India on Friday defeated Georgia to reach the finals of the World Women’s Team Chess Championship.
The Indian side beat Georgia 2.5-1.5 to advance to the finals of the tournament. Tania Sachdev sealed the deal for India as she defeated Meri Arabidze in the game.
“India beats Georgia 2.5-1.5 and are through to the FINALS of #WWTC2021. Big wins came from
@chessvaishali@TaniaSachdev!Kudos Team@HarikaDronavali@Bhaktichess@chessvaishali
@TaniaSachdevMary@chessgmkunte@Shyam_chess@aicfchess,” Chess. com-India tweeted.

Kabul University looks deserted as Taliban govt bans women in campus

Kabul [Afghanistan]: As the Taliban restricted the entry of women at Kabul University, the normally bustling campus was seen deserted and silent due to the lack of students, teachers here at the university, noted international media.
According to The Washington Post, classes have been suspended at the campus, only male staff have been allowed to work on research or office tasks. The Taliban has said that women will be banned from teaching or studying at public universities in Afghanistan until they can be segregated from men — but at Kabul University, students of both genders have been sent home. Taliban imposed a new “harsh” education policy, in which females may be present on campuses only if they wear traditional Islamic garb and do not share space with male students.
The Washington Post quoting Taliban spokesperson Bilal Karimi reported that authorities were “working on a comprehensive plan to ensure a peaceful environment for female students.” After that plan is finalised, they (female) would be allowed to continue their education.”
Several Kabul University faculty members and students have expressed deep concern about the hardening Taliban stance on women’s access to public universities.
“It makes me very sad,” said Javeda Ahmed, a longtime professor at Kabul University, who said she taught girls at home during the first Taliban regime. She noted that the university has far fewer female than male teachers, making it impossible to divide them evenly. If men can’t teach the girls, then who will?” she asked. “Where will their knowledge go?”
Over the weekend, Kabul University’s nearly 70 teaching staff resigned in protest after the Taliban fired the doctorate-level vice-chancellor. The group replaced the chancellor with one of their own members who has had significantly less formal education, reported New York Post.
Earlier, the Taliban-appointed new chancellor Mohammad Ashraf Ghairat barred women from the institution as either teachers or students. But under the strict mandate of gender segregation, classes in various private institutions are open to all.
Many faculty members objected when Ghairat was appointed last week by the Taliban to replace a widely respected academic, according to The Washington Post.

Women Afghan teachers, health workers urge US to unfreeze Afghanistan’s assets

Kabul [Afghanistan]: Many women Afghan teachers and health workers on Tuesday called on the US and other organisations to unfreeze billions of dollars and give them back to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
In a press conference in Kabul, they urged international banks and other organisations to help them in paying their salaries, reported The Khaama Press News Agency. Afghanistan has been in utter economic chaos after the takeover of the Taliban. Afghan people are still struggling with banking services by queuing hundreds of meters of lines and waiting for even three days to withdraw their money.
Soon after the Taliban’s siege of Kabul on August 15, foreign assistance was immediately frozen. Besides this, the US stopped USD 9.4 billion in reserves to the country’s central bank, The New York Post reported.
Moreover, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank have also stopped loans, and the Financial Action Task Force warned its 39 member nations to block Taliban assets.
The Afghan women workers also said that the country desperately needs the financial support of the international bank and organization for the continuation of their jobs in Afghanistan.
About the increase in the level of literacy in Afghanistan, the women said that the international community should support the programs to increase the level of literacy and Islamic studies in Afghanistan, reported The Khaama Press News Agency.
They also said that the people of Afghanistan are living in a critical economic situation, thus they have to be helped.
Meanwhile, the central banks allowed firms and companies to withdraw USD 25 thousand per week. The individual account holders are still limited to USD 200 withdrawal per week.
The limitations, huge unemployment, and freezing of billions of dollars of Afghanistan together have led to an economic and humanitarian crisis in the country.
Prices of food, fuels, and gas have been increased by over 20 per cent each, which has put the lives of millions of people in grave danger.
Moreover, the new rulers are not experienced to confront the intricate economic issues that the impoverished country is facing.
The former chief of Afghanistan’s central bank had also fled the country leaving the financial decision in disarray.
According to InsideOver, Afghanistan ranks as one of the most at-risk, fragile economies in the world despite receiving western aid for two decades. The World Bank had said that in Afghanistan, poverty is endemic, as is underdevelopment. It also added that nearly 90 per cent of Afghanistan’s population lived on less than USD 2 a day and Kabul, which received USD 4.2 billion in aid in 2019 will receive probably none this year.

European group nominates 11 Afghan women for human rights award

Kabul [Afghanistan]: The Socialists and Democrats Group on Monday nominated eleven Afghan women for the 2021 Sakharov Prize in the European Parliament.
This prize is the highest honour by the European Union to human rights defenders who are also the victims of human rights abuses. These Afghan women are both human rights defenders and have been victims of human rights abuses. The nominated women are activists, politicians, journalists and teachers who have been fighting for women’s rights, and were themselves part of the political and associative life in Afghanistan before the Taliban takeover of Kabul, The Socialists and Democrats Group informed in a tweet.
“Today we presented our nominees for the 2021 #SakharovPrize: A collective of 11 prominent Afghan Women who have been bravely fighting for equality and full enjoyment of human and fundamental rights in Afghanistan,” the tweet said.
“By nominating them, we are sending a message to the international community: We must defend the rights and freedoms of women and the whole population of Afghanistan,” the European group said in a series of tweets.
The Sakharov Prize was awarded for the first time in 1988 to Nelson Mandela and Anatoli Marchenko.
The Sakharov Prize for ‘Freedom of Thought’ is the highest tribute paid by the European Union to human rights work.
It gives recognition to individuals, groups and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to protecting freedom of thought. Through the prize and its associated network the EU assists laureates, who are supported and empowered in their efforts to defend their causes.
These women have been nominated for the prize to send a message to the international community that the world should defend the rights and freedoms Afghans at stake after the Taliban’s takeover, The Socialists and Democrats Group informed.

J-K govt’s ‘SAATH’ programme aims to create 35,000 jobs to empower rural women

Jammu (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: ‘SAATH’, a rural enterprise acceleration programme for self help groups (SHG) women of J&K was launched on September 1 by Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha, said a press release.
‘SAATH’, an initiative of Jammu Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM), aims to contribute towards the economic empowerment, development of rural women. Mission Director Jammu Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM), Dr Syed Sehrish Asgar said, “Under this programme ‘SAATH’, the SHG (Self Help Group) women entrepreneurs of rural areas will be provided mentoring and handholding support through intensive capacity-building workshops and one-to-one mentoring for upscaling their business ventures nationally and internationally.”
She further said, “A total of 8,085 applicants across Jammu and Kashmir have applied for the programme,” adding that the highest number of applications were received from Baramulla District in the Kashmir Division and district Doda, from the Jammu division.
She said that 500 enterprises (244 from Jammu and 257 from Kashmir Division) with the highest enterprise potential have been chosen for an intensive training programme to be followed by mentoring while 5000 entrepreneurs will be exposed to various business enablement strategies including e-commerce sales, branding.
She said that 95 per cent of the applicants reported to be operating within the state while the remaining 5 per cent had operations nationally, while 45 per cent of applicants reported that given the right support they can offer employment to over 27,000 rural women in the coming one year, with an average of 7.5 potential jobs being created per rural enterprise when supported through SAATH, while the remaining 55% applicants saw a new employment generation potential of around 2 persons per enterprise taking the total employment potential over 35,000 in the UT of J&K. These 8000 odd SAATH programme applicants are employing approximately 12,000 employees presently.
She further said that JKRLM will create an enabling environment for these rural women enterprises by creating a conducive ecosystem and facilitate to achieve the full potential of 35,000 jobs and more in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Administration has roped in India SME Forum, a national resource organisation for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, as the implementing partner which has started an orientation program in Jammu with the selected rural women for Jammu Division.
Prahlad Kakkar, famous ad film director and Brand man of India, along with other noted personalities in this field are training these women.
Kakkar said that this is the first of its kind initiative in the country and will definitely help women’s upliftment in the UT.

Daniel Craig: ‘There Should Simply Be Better Parts For Women & Actors Of Lour’

Daniel Craig who is all set for the release of his final James Bond film with No Time To Die, in his recent interview weighed in on the idea of introducing a female Bond. The actor who has essayed the role of the 007 agent five times including his upcoming film stated that better characters need to be written for women. The 53-year-old actor maintained that he wants to see women get their own iconic roles instead of being cast in revivals.

The actor in his interview with Radio Times explained why he isn’t convinced with the idea of having a female Bond character and said, “There should simply be better parts for women and actors of lour. Why should a woman play James Bond when there should be a part just as good as James Bond, but for a woman?”

While No Time To Die will have Craig appear in his last performance as Bond, it has not yet been confirmed who will be taking on the James Bond role after him. Reports have suggested several names including Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page, Tom Hardy among others.

Daniel’s recent comments about having a female bond echo with the views of Bond films producer Barbara Broccoli who also maintained that merely gender-reversing roles is not enough and that new characters need to be created for female actors. 

Craig’s final outing, No Time to Die will have Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw reprise their roles. As for the new addition, Rami Malek will be seen in the role of the deadly antagonist Safin in the film. No Time to Die is slated for a Septemberer 30, 2021 release in theatres.

Two entrepreneurs launch a green initiative organic products ecommerce portal

New Delhi [India]: Mehru Soni and Sanika Narang Sarna, two bold and ambitious women entrepreneurs, are ready to pave their way green with the launch of The Glocal Store, a house of all organic and natural products for a conscious and organic lifestyle.
This new one-stop shop aims to house products like pet care, home essentials, haircare, skincare and makeup, exotic teas, and gourmet. Catering to any and every need of the modern individual, the store strives to serve nearly all of the 1.39 billion people in the country to promote a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. A strong advocate for animal rights and PETA member, Mehru Soni, the co-founder of The Glocal Store, an engineer by profession, has always chosen cruelty-free and preservative-free products for herself.
Mesmerised by nature’s sheer wonders and power of healing, she said: “The inspiration came from our travels, whether it was the mountains or the beach, we realised the importance beyond scenic beauty and how one can benefit by switching to natural alternatives. All it needs is making the right choices in life”. The Glocal Store was founded with a vision to bring about a one-stop-shop to adopt an Organic, Vegan and Preservative Free lifestyle.
Ever since my college days, I have been seeking a chemical-free alternative for my skin, and I have encouraged my friends and family members to adopt an organic lifestyle using products that cause no harm to their skin,” said Sanika Narang Sarna, co-founder of The Glocal Store. “Of course, there were not many brands offering organic and sustainable products back then. From that moment, I became passionate about natural products and sustainable living.”
Apart from caring for mother Earth for a better future, The Glocal Store also provides a platform to brands like Juicy Chemistry, Soul Tree, Earth Rhythm, Organic Harvest, Khadi Naturals and many others, moving towards an organic, sustainable future.
Under the broad umbrella of The Glocal Store, they promote the rawness and wellness of Indian traditional remedies. Each product on the platform is made with organic components promoting the vision of 100 per cent sustainable living with a future of minimal carbon footprint.
Reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) state that environmental factors are responsible for losing millions of lives in a given year. More than 4.2 million people and more than 800 children lose their lives each year due to outdoor pollution. With each passing second, the environment is getting worse due to human effects.
For a better future, we have both a corporate and personal responsibility to restore the very nature in which we live today. The Glocal Store is the one step towards a more sustainable, nature-friendly life now.

Imran Khan bats for Taliban, says ‘incentivize’ them on women’s rights, inclusive govt

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is batting for the Taliban to develop a consensus that would lead to recognition of the new caretaker government of the “Islamic Emirate” in Afghanistan.
Speaking to CNN, in the first interview with an international news organization since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last month, Khan said that the best way forward for peace and stability in Afghanistan is to engage with the Taliban and “incentivize” them on issues such as women’s rights and inclusive government. “The Taliban hold all of Afghanistan and if they can sort of now work towards an inclusive government, get all the factions together, Afghanistan could have peace after 40 years. But if it goes wrong and which is what we are really worried about, it could go to chaos. The biggest humanitarian crisis, a huge refugee problem,” Khan said.
“It’s a mistake to think that someone from outside will give Afghan women rights. Afghan women are strong. Give them time. They will get their rights,” said Khan.
“Women should have the ability in a society to fulfil their potential in life,” said Khan.
Since assuming power, the group has attempted to paint a new picture with promises to uphold human rights, particularly regarding women and girls, and allow journalists to continue with their work.
However, women have been omitted from the Taliban’s hard-line interim government, have been ordered to stay at home in some areas, and their education restricted.
Protests against Taliban rule and for civil rights have been violently suppressed, with reports of journalists being arrested and severely beaten.
Many in the international community are not hopeful the Taliban will make any progress on upholding women’s rights. The Taliban, who ruled over Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001 have historically treated women as second-class citizens, subjecting them to violence, forced marriages and a near-invisible presence in the country, reported CNN.
The group banned women from the workplace, stopped them from leaving the home unaccompanied and forced them to cover their entire bodies.
In recent days the Taliban has mandated the segregation of genders in classrooms and said female students, lecturers and employees must wear hijabs in accordance with the group’s interpretation of Sharia law. And Taliban fighters have used whips and sticks against women protesters, who have taken to the streets in sporadic protests across the country demanding equal rights.
Khan also said that the world should give Taliban ‘time’ on human rights but fears ‘chaos’ without aid, reported CNN.
Khan claimed that the Taliban are looking for international aid to avoid a crisis, which could be used to push the group in “the right direction towards legitimacy.” However, he warned that Afghanistan could not be controlled by outside forces.
“No puppet government in Afghanistan is supported by the people,” he said. “So rather than sitting here and thinking that we can control them, we should incentivize them. Because Afghanistan, this current government, clearly feels that without international aid and help, they will not be able to stop this crisis. So we should push them in the right direction.”
Meanwhile, Khan also commented on the “terrible” relationship with the United States that has been disastrous for Pakistan and how he is now seeking a more pragmatic approach in dealing with Afghanistan’s new leaders.
“We (Pakistan) were like a hired gun,” Khan said. “We were supposed to make them (the US) win the war in Afghanistan, which we never could.”
Khan said he repeatedly warned US officials that America could not achieve its objectives militarily, and would “be stuck there.” He said the US should have attempted a political settlement with the Taliban from a “position of strength,” at the height of its presence in Afghanistan, not as it was withdrawing.
Khan has previously criticized the US’ exit from Afghanistan and said he has not spoken with President Joe Biden since the Taliban takeover, despite Pakistan being a major non-NATO ally.
“I would imagine he’s very busy, but our relationship with the US is not just dependent on a phone call, it needs to be a multidimensional relationship,” said Khan.
On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US would reassess its ties with Pakistan following the withdrawal. He told Congress during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that Pakistan has a “multiplicity of interests some that are in conflict with ours.”
Khan called such comments “ignorant,” telling CNN that “I have never heard such ignorance.”
According to Khan, thousands of Pakistanis lost their lives in terrorist attacks by militant groups owing to his country’s support for the US. “Just because we sided with the US, we became an ally of the US after 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan. The suffering this country went through with at one point there were 50 militant groups attacking our government… on top of it, they must also know there were 480 drone attacks by the US in Pakistan,” he added.
“Only time a country has been attacked by its ally,” he said of the US strikes.
The US has repeatedly accused Pakistan of harbouring terrorists and given them safe haven, a claim Khan denied.
“What are these safe havens?” Khan asked. “The area of Pakistan along the border of Afghanistan had the heaviest surveillance by the United States drones … surely they would have known if there were any safe havens?”
Khan said he cannot destroy his country to “fight someone else’s war.”

Uncertainty looms over women’s future in Afghanistan as Taliban continues its hardline stance

Uncertainty shrouded the future of Afghanistan’s women as despite the Taliban assuring that they would respect women’s rights and freedom, there have been several incidents of violence against them.

Kabul [Afghanistan], September 14 : Moreover, the Taliban’s long history of violence and cruelty against women is testimony to the recent incidents of cruelty undertaken by the group that portrays a messy future of women in Afghanistan, a media report said. The Taliban had vowed to respect women rights in press briefings in an attempt to gain legitimacy, but their words don’t match their deeds as recent incidents and announcements by the Taliban are against the women’s freedom.
A day before capturing Kabul, the Taliban made the announcement on women’s rights, advertisements and billboards in the city of Kabul depicting women wearing wedding dresses were being taken down and painted after the Taliban fighters entered the city The Times of Israel reported on Monday.
There have been various anti-women incidents in Afghanistan. Only some of them have appeared in public. Some incidents are outlined below:
Recently, visuals appeared showing a man using a roller and white paint to cover up these large images outside a building in Afghanistan.
Earlier in July, in a letter, the Taliban’s cultural commission ordered, “All imams and mullahs in captured areas should provide the Taliban with a list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters.”
When the Taliban captured districts of Takhar province in July it ordered women to not leave and set dowry regulations for girls.
In a video clip that emerged on the internet, a woman being subjected to 40 lashes by the Taliban Court in the Haftgola area located near the Obe district of Herat province. The Taliban accused her of “immoral relations” as she spoke on the phone with a young man.
Such incidents indicate that the Taliban’s announcement for respecting rights are not followed by their deeds.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission in a report titled “Report on Violence against Women in Afghanistan recorded a total of 3477 cases of violence against women in the first ten months of 2020. The report included cases of murder, rape, abduction, and suicide which amount to a total of 281 cases. Out of all 281 cases of violence against women, 167 of them are of murder. These murder cases are mostly “honour killings”.
Most Afghani men do believe that women are inferior to them and have no right to freedom. War and militant attacks have added more fuel to the fire and resulted in the surge of violence against women in Afghanistan. Now, it has become an accepted way of life in the country.
However, the Taliban are a way ahead as they vocalise the prevalent anti-women mindset and advocate harsh and extreme measures to curb women’s lives in Afghanistan.
The measure factors behind such miserable situation of women in Afghanistan are illiteracy, a culture of impunity, failure to deal decisively with perpetrators, perceptions that violence against women is ‘normal’, ignorance and lower level of public consciousness, traditional patterns of marriage, corruption and abuse of state positions, women’s limited access to justice, the absence of security, and the fragility of authority to deal with such crime and violence, according to The Time of Israel.
Afghanistan’s social structure is ruined completely due to the continued chaos and warfare since the late 1970s. It was earlier a multicultural region with a history of trade and intermingling of people belonging to different tribes, races and ethnicities. However, the intervention of the Taliban deteriorated the sociocultural fabric. It has now become backward, patriarchal and essentially regressive.
In the name of faith, religious and sectarian differences, people were repeatedly harassed and killed. Now, women lack confidence and voice to participate in the political and economic mainstream of Afghanistan as social taming is deeply rooted in them.
In 2020, nearly 1,146 women casualties (390 killed and 756 injured) were recorded, according to the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA).
UNAMA has also documented deliberate killing and acts of cruel,
inhuman incidents or humiliating punishments to women by the Taliban.
The report included two such examples.
In the first, on the accusation of having a relationship outside marriage, the Taliban killed a 28-year-old woman. She was shot in front of her three children in her house in the north of Afghanistan.
In another incident, the Taliban’s so-called Vice and Virtue Department’s head beat two women in their twenties with a cable in the marketplace as they were roaming outside without any male guardian. The incident happened in a district of a northern province.
Such incidents portray that gender-based violence against women in Afghanistan is a widespread reality under the Taliban.
Afghan women are surrounded by a multitude of daily threats that include beating, insurgency, lashing, rape, honour killing, suicide and forced immolation, giving away of girls in marriage to resolve disputes, enforced prostitution and many others. The Allied Forces had brought major changes in connection with the democratic government in Afghanistan. It included the realm of women’s rights.
A whole generation of women for the last 20 years had access to education, had jobs, could interact freely with members of the other sex and could be socially, politically and economically independent. But all that has changed now, The Times of Israel said.
The Taliban’s recent incidents of anti-women activities and their long history of violence and cruel acts against women show probably a grim and ghastly future of women in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan’s new Taliban govt includes hardliners with no women

Kabul [Afghanistan]: After the fall of the Republic of Afghanistan, the Taliban on Tuesday formed the interim “Islamic Emirate”, appointing hardliners in its new government who oversaw the 20-year fight against the US-led military coalition.
The cabinet members consist of many Taliban figures that are considered hardliners. The list announced by chief spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid was dominated by members of the group’s old guard, with no women included. Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund is appointed as Prime Minister with two deputies Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar and Molavi Abdul Salam Hanafi.
Akhund was a close aide to the group’s late founder Mullah Omar and is on a United Nations sanctions list. He was previously the foreign minister and then deputy prime minister during the group’s last stint in power from 1996 to 2001.
Molavi Muhammad Yaqoob Mujahid, son of Mullah Omar has been appointed as Minister of Defense.
Molavi Siraj udin Haqqani has been appointed as Minister of Interior, while Molavi Amir Khan Muttaqi, a Taliban negotiator in Doha as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Other ministers appointed include – Mullah Hidayatullah Badri as Minister of Finance, Sheikh Molavi Noorullah Munir as Minister of Education, Mullah Khairullah Khairkhwa as Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Qari Din Mohammad Hanif as Minister of Economic Affairs, Molavi Noor Muhammad Saqib as Minister of Hajj and Auqaf, Molavi Abdul Hakim Sharae as Minister of Justice, Noorullah Noori as Minister for Borders and Tribal Affairs, Mullah Muhammad Yonus Khundzada as Minister for Rural Development, Sheikh Mohammad Khalid as Minister of Dawat and Irshad, Amru bil maroof wa nahi anil munkar, Mullah Abdul Manan Omari as Minister of Public works, Mullah Muhammad Essa Akhund as Minister of minerals and Petroleum, Molavi Abdul Latif Mansoor as Minister of Water and Electricity, Hameed ullah Akhundzada as Minister of Civil Aviation and Transportation, Abdul Baqi Haqani as Minister of Higher education, Najeebullah Haqqani as Minister of Communication, Khalil ul Rahman Haqqani as Minister of Refugees, Abdul Haq Wasiq as Head of Intelligence, Haji Mohammad ldrees as Head of (Da Afghanistan Bank), Molavi Ahrnad Jan Ahmadi as Chief of Staff, Mullah Mohammad Fadel Akhund as Deputy Defense Minister, Qari Faseeh udin as Army Chief, Sher Muhammad Abbas Stanikzai as Deputy Foreign Minister, Molavi Noor Jalal as Deputy Interior Minister, Zabihullah Mujahid as Deputy Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Mullah Taj Mir Jawad as 1st Deputy of Intelligence, Mullah Rahmat ullah Najeeb as Administrative Deputy of Intelligence, Mullah Abdul Haq as Deputy Interior Minister, Narcotics Control.
Mujahid, who named 33 members of “the new Islamic Government”, said the remaining posts will be announced after careful deliberations.

J-K LG inaugurates ‘Saath’ initiative for women

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha launched Rural Enterprises Acceleration Programme titled ‘Saath’ for Self Help Group (SHG) women on Wednesday.
“There are 48000 SHGs in Jammu and Kashmir. Four lakh women are connected to these SHGs. This Saath initiative will stress on mentoring and market linkages of products created by these women. It is our aim to create 11000 more SHGs in the coming year. This will transform the lives of these women and make them independent and strong in social and financial aspects,” said LG Manoj Sinha on the initiative and expansion of SHGs. Syed Sherish Asgar, the Mission Director of the Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods mission said that the initiative was aimed at transforming the lives of rural women associated with Self Help Groups (SHG).
“Saath is aimed at accelerating livelihoods of rural women, associated with SHGs and which are doing small works. There is not much profit in their work and there is a lack of knowledge about marketing, packaging and branding. This initiative aims to teach women such skills and convert their businesses into Higher Order Enterprises,” Asgar said.
Asgar said that initially, workshops will be held for 5000 women, out of which 500 will be selected for intensive training and further 100 will be selected for mentoring.
“We will create such business models and success stories that will serve as a role model for rural women. We will utilize our knowledge and skills to reach around 4 lakh women associated with SHGs” said Asgar.
Asgar said that training will be provided to women in ten different sectors including Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Poultry, Handicraft, Handloom among other various sectors under which rural women are working.
The aim is to turn women into job-givers and produce further employment, as per Asgar.
Women from various SHGs were also invited to take part in the event.
“This event will start a new journey for us. It will connect thousands of sisters with us and enable them to think of a better future. Saath has given us the opportunity to interact with other women to know their thoughts, livelihoods and also know about several government schemes. Connecting with the Umeed scheme enabled me to start my own business related to curd, which is doing really well now,” said a woman named Hamida.
A woman Taira added, “We are thankful for this Umeed scheme. Today is the program on Saath. These programs should happen and give awareness to more women. Me and my father have a shop thanks to the Umeed scheme. We are extremely thankful for this scheme and grateful to the Lt governor.”

US calls for protecting Afghan women’s rights after Taliban takeover

Washington [US]: The US is deeply worried about Afghan women and girls, their rights to education, work and freedom of movement post-Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
“We call on those in positions of power and authority across Afghanistan to guarantee their protection,” read the US State Department statement, reported The Frontier Post. “Afghan women and girls, as all Afghan people, deserve to live in safety, security and dignity,” the statement said.
Further, it added, “Any form of discrimination and abuse should be prevented. We in the international community stand ready to assist them with humanitarian aid and support, to ensure that their voices can be heard,” reported The Frontier Post.
Earlier, the US, European Union and 19 other Western nations called on Afghanistan’s Taliban leaders to guarantee the rights of women and girls, saying in a joint statement that they are “deeply worried” about their rights to education, employment and “freedom of movement.”
The countries also said they would “monitor closely how any future government ensures rights and freedoms that have become an integral part of the life of women and girls in Afghanistan during the last twenty years.”
The US State Department made the statement one day after the Taliban vowed to respect women’s rights under Islamic law, in an apparent attempt to allay concerns they would impose draconian restrictions on women as they did when they ruled the country before the war.
Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told reporters earlier that the new Taliban government would be “positively different” from the one that governed 1996-2001 when girls were banned from school and women were prohibited from working in contact with men.
Without specifics, Mujahid said Taliban leaders were “committed to letting women work in accordance with the principles of Islam.”

Awareness program for Tribal Women

Anantnag (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]: Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK), District Level Centre for Women in Anantnag on Tuesday, organized an awareness camp on women-centric schemes for tribal women’s at far-flung areas of Pahalgam block of Anantnag district.
Nodal Officer of MSK, Anantnag, Peerzada Zahoor said, “the government offers various of programmes for women, adolescent girls, and female children to help with skill and socioeconomic development, health and nutrition, digital literacy, and financial empowerment.” “The objective of such camps is to provide basic information to potential women beneficiaries at their homes and to ensure their enrollment in various beneficiary-oriented, welfare, and self-employment programmes,” Zahoor added.
“During the awareness camp resource persons from the Entrepreneurship Development Institute, Health, Handicrafts and Handloom, Horticulture, Agriculture, Industries and Commerce, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), and other departments informed the participants about their respective women welfare schemes and elaborated on them in simple terms,” he added.
“The Camp has been set-up by Mahila Shakti Kendra, and they here have made us aware the about various schemes given by the government, we got the knowledge of the schemes that are for women where we can earn while we work from Home. In this region there are many educated and uneducated tribal women who can avail these schemes and can be empowered through the schemes which we were introduced today by the Kendra,” said Zareena Jan, a participant in the camp.
Mahila Shakti Kendra (MSK) centres are playing a vital role between the villages, blocks, district and UT level in facilitating women centric schemes and also give a foothold for the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ (BBBP) scheme at the district level. The main purpose of holding this awareness camp was to aware tribal women’s of various schemes meant for them.
The participants applauded the organizers for their initiative and hoped that similar events would continue to benefit women living in remote and far-flung areas.

Bob Dylan Sued By Women For Sexually Abusing Her When She Was 12

American singer Bob Dylan has been sued by a woman who claims that the singer allegedly sexually abused her in 1965 when she was 12-years-old.

As per the legal documents obtained by Variety, the woman who is identified only as J.C. in the complaint stated that the singer allegedly groomed her for sex and sexually abused her in his New York City pad back in 1965 when she was underage. The suit further alleges that Dylan gave her drugs and alcohol, and established an emotional connection that allowed him to sexually abuse her for a period of several weeks.

The woman had also claimed that she was abused multiple times over a six-week period from April to May 1965. Dylan allegedly used threats of physical violence, “leaving her emotionally scarred and psychologically damaged to this day.” The abuse is alleged to have occurred at the Hotel Chelsea in New York.

As per Variety, the suit filed by attorneys Daniel Isaacs and Peter Gleason allege claims of “assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”

Variety reported that the woman had filed suit under the New York’s Child Victims Act, “the 2019 law that opened a two-year period during which the ordinary statute of limitations was suspended for claims of child sexual abuse. The deadline to file such a suit fell on Saturday, and the suit against Dylan was filed on Friday night.”

The ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ singer’s spokesman in a statement said that, “The 56-year-old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended.”

On a related note, several other high-profile complaints relating to the same cause were filed recently, including one against comedian Horatio Sanz and another against Nicki Minaj and her husband.

PM Modi lauds role of women’s self-help groups for serving nation during COVID-19

New Delhi [India], August 12 (ANI): Appreciating women’s role during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the way the women Self Help Groups (SHGs) across the country has served the nation during the pandemic by producing masks and sanitisers and creating awareness about the infection is unprecedented.
The Prime Minister during the event informed that there are over 42 crore Jan-Dhan bank accounts out of which 55 per cent are held by women. Speaking at the ‘Atmanirbhar Narishakti se Samvad’ event, PM Modi congratulated the women SHGs and said, “I congratulate our sisters who along with giving a better life to their families have helped in the development of the country too.”
Prime Minister released capitalisation support funds to the tune of Rs 1,625 crore to over 4 lakh SHGs. In addition, he will release Rs 25 crore as seed money for 7,500 SHG members under the PMFME (PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises) scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Rs 4.13 crore as funds to 75 FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations) being promoted under the Mission.
“Our government provided more support to women’s SHGs compare to previous governments. We opened bank accounts for women and provided loans without guarantee to SHGs. In seven years, SHGs have done commendable work in paying back their loans. There was a time when 9 per cent of loans became bad loans. This has now reduced to 2-2.5 per cent. The country acknowledges your honesty,” PM Modi said.
“In a bid to further motivate Self-Help Groups, they will now get loans worth Rs 20 lakh – double the amount it was. The regulatory framework has also been reduced,” he said.
While interacting with the members of the women SHGs, the Prime Minister also mentioned that the government is also promoting ‘Made in India’ toys and motivated the SHGs to sell their products through the GeM portal.
“With the right packaging, you can send your product to cities by forming ties with online companies. The government has also started the GeM portal. You can sell your products to the government as well via this portal.”
“Women SHGs, to mark the 75th year of Independence, can take out 75 hours in the entire year and do Swachhta works and water conservation works, which will help the society at large,” he added.
Prime Minister Modi interacted with women Self Help Group (SHG) members promoted under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) through video conferencing.
According to PMO, DAY-NRLM aims at mobilising rural poor households into Self Help Groups (SHGs) in a phased manner and provide them long-term support to diversify their livelihoods, improve their incomes and quality of life. Most of Mission’s interventions are being implemented and scaled up by the SHG women themselves who are trained as community resource persons (CRPs) – Krishi Sakhis, Pashu Sakhis, Bank Sakhis, Bima Sakhis and Banking Correspondent Sakhis.PM Modi lauds role of women’s self help groups for serving nation during COVID-19

PM Narendra Modi to interact with women SHG members, participate in ‘Atmanirbhar Narishakti se Samvad’ today

New Delhi [India]: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in ‘Atmanirbhar Narishakti se Samvad’ and interact with women Self Help Group (SHG) members promoted under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) today at 12:30 pm via video conferencing Thursday.
“India has a large number of Self-Help Groups which are making monumental contributions to women empowerment. Will take part in the ‘Atmanirbhar Narishakti se Samvad’. During the programme, I would get the opportunity to interact with women SHG members. Developmental assistance to various SHGs will also be released. This will give impetus to the working of these groups and enable more women to contribute towards national welfare,” tweeted Prime Minister Modi. According to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), a compilation of success stories of women SHG members from all across the country, along with a handbook on universalization of farm livelihoods will also be released by the Prime Minister during the event.
Prime Minister will release capitalization support funds to the tune of Rs 1,625 crore to over 4 lakh SHGs. In addition, he will release Rs 25 crore as seed money for 7,500 SHG members under the PMFME (PM Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises) scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries and Rs 4.13 crore as funds to 75 FPOs (Farmer Producer Organizations) being promoted under the Mission.
According to PMO, DAY-NRLM aims at mobilizing rural poor households into Self Help Groups (SHGs) in a phased manner and provide them long-term support to diversify their livelihoods, improve their incomes and quality of life. Most of Mission’s interventions are being implemented and scaled up by the SHG women themselves who are trained as community resource persons (CRPs) – Krishi Sakhis, Pashu Sakhis, Bank Sakhis, Bima Sakhis, Banking Correspondent Sakhis etc.

Study: Women More Likely To Feel Like ‘Impostors’ In Brilliance Oriented Fields

A new study of US academics by a team of psychology researchers found that women and early-career academics are more likely to feel professionally inadequate — like “impostors”, especially when the academic discipline is perceived to require raw talent or “brilliance” for success.

The findings of the study were published in the ‘Journal of Educational Psychology’.

These results were especially pronounced among women from racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in higher education and academia (i.e., Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino/a, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or Other Pacific Islander).

“Based on previous research, it is likely that women from these groups have stronger impostor feelings in brilliance-oriented fields because they are targeted by negative gender, racial, and ethnic stereotypes about their intellect,” said Melis Muradoglu, a New York University doctoral candidate and the lead author of the paper.

“Many high-achieving individuals feel inadequate despite evidence of their competence and success,” added Andrei Cimpian, a professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and the paper’s senior author.

“Our study shows these sentiments are more likely to emerge in certain contexts — namely, those where brilliance is emphasized — so efforts should be focused on how higher education can create environments where all academics feel capable of succeeding,” explained Cimpian.

Earlier research by Cimpian and his colleagues found that men are more likely than are women to be perceived as “brilliant”, while another study he co-authored with Princeton University’s Sarah-Jane Leslie revealed that women and African Americans are underrepresented in careers where success is perceived to depend on high levels of intellectual ability.

In the ‘Journal of Educational Psychology work’, Muradoglu, Cimpian, and Leslie, along with the University of Edinburgh’s Zachary Horne and Victoria University of Wellington’s Matthew Hammond, sought to better understand how the “impostor phenomenon” or a feeling of intellectual inadequacy despite evidence of competence and success, is manifested in academia, where intellectual ability is at a high premium.

To do so, they analysed survey responses of nearly 5,000 academics (faculty [tenured, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track], postdoctoral fellows, medical residents, and graduate students) from a total of nine public and private US universities and representing more than 80 fields. These included the natural and social sciences, the humanities, and medicine.

The survey asked participants to rate their level of experiences of impostor feelings (for example, “Sometimes I’m afraid others will discover how much knowledge or ability I really lack”) and their field’s brilliance orientation (for example, “Personally, I think that being a top scholar of [my discipline] requires a special aptitude that just can’t be taught”).

Overall, they found that the more a field was perceived to require “brilliance” or raw talent, for success by the study’s participants, the more women and early-career academics (that is, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows) reported feeling like impostors relative to other groups.

Moreover, impostor feelings in fields perceived to value brilliance were especially strong among women from racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in academia.

In addition, regardless of gender, career stage, race or ethnicity, academics who reported more intense impostor feelings also reported less belonging in their field (that is, less of a sense of being connected to and accepted by colleagues) and less confidence in their ability to succeed in the future, pointing to potential ways in which impostor experiences may limit academics’ success.

The researchers stressed that while the impostor phenomenon is often understood and portrayed as an individual affliction, the findings illustrated instead that impostor experiences are a function of the contexts that academics navigate.

How To Approach Women On Dating Apps

One day, you finally decide to turn things around in your life and download that dating app. You thought of meeting someone new and imagined going on a date, bringing them a bunch of lilies, having dinner and wine and spending the evening as a scene pulled from a Bollywood film like Tamasha. But, are you afraid of approaching girls on dating apps? Wondering what to say and how to go from there?

Let’s make things easier for you, here are the tips on how to approach women on dating apps.

Start With Something Small:

Start the conversation with an opener that does not intimidate her, is an open-ended question and paves the way for further communication. Sounds too much, doesn’t it? It actually is not much. Now you want to begin with an opener that catches her attention and ensures that you are not looking for a platonic relationship. You can use questions such as: ‘What is your most unusual fear?’ or ‘What’s your idea of a perfect day’ or ‘Which personality trait do you appreciate the most in a person?’ or ‘If you could rule over the entire world for a day, what would you do?’ They would not only help you understand the other person better but will definitely gear the discussion towards interesting and creative answers.

Pick Words From Her Profile:

If she likes a web series, ask her how long she took to binge-watch it or better yet, use dialogue from it: ‘Do you not share food like Joey as well?’ or ‘What are the things YOU do for love?’ If she has a favourite band, ask her if she has attended their live concert(s), what it was like and does she have a collection of their albums? If she likes travelling, ask her about the cities and countries she has visited, which one was the most beautiful, which one was the biggest cultural shock and which one(s) held the most life-changing experiences and made for amazing stories? If she is a bibliophile, ask her about her favourite fictional male character and what makes him so? (FYI, all girls love Darcy).

Start With Hello:

You can just say: ‘Hi! How are you? How has your day been?’ or make it more fun such as ‘Helloooo from the other side’ or the classic ‘Hello, is it me you’re looking for?’ in the Lionel Richie way. You can then move it up a notch and talk about what you like or what she likes, what is common between the two of you and what piques her interest. Don’t go for a big entrance if it is not your style and talk about everyday things. It depends on how you take it forward and keep it going. Keep it simple as long as it is engaging and you are both enjoying texting each other back and forth. Ask her little details about her day and what she did on the weekend or likes to do on the weekend. Questions like, ‘What was something that made you smile today?’ or ‘What’s something different you did this weekend?’ break the usual, monotonous chain of messages her inbox is filled with and also guarantee a reply.

Almost half of female QuackQuack users said that a ‘Hi’ would suffice to begin the exchange of messages and while a funny or intriguing message is what they look forward to, most of the men hardly succeed in delivering it and end up copying cliches from the internet.

Mission Tokyo: Women in the Olympics are Owning the Podium

By Subhro Majumder

This year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo will undoubtedly be remembered for the unusual conditions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic – the year-long delay, the disrupted training regimes, the missing audience. However, it should also be remembered for some of the remarkable displays of women’s autonomy. Women athletes have been making headlines for taking control of how they – and we – experience the event looked forward to by the entire world.

The women in Tokyo are participating in a significant shift in sports, one that celebrates not only women’s physical strength but also their political power and personal liberty – qualities that, in the past, have often been sharply limited for women almost everywhere, but particularly in the sports world. From strict regulations requiring feminine clothing – with an emphasis on modesty in the past and on skin-baring in the present – to restrictions on what events women were allowed to compete in, the scope of women’s sports has been shaped, historically and now, by the notion that they must be shielded and swayed.

In the Tokyo Olympics, more women than ever before are swimming, running, flipping, jumping, shooting and pedalling their way to glory. Of the approximately 11,500 athletes, roughly 49 per cent are women. But 120 years ago, there might as well have been a sign saying ‘No Girls Allowed’ painted on the entrance to the first modern Olympics, when 241 athletes, all men, from 14 countries gathered in Athens, Greece.

To well understand the difference between that world and the one in which we live now, let us have a look at some women who have been a source of inspiration for all sportspersons around the world, irrespective of their gender.

Latisha Chan

Latisha Chan, the Taiwanese tennis player is known for her triumphs in doubles competitions, having won a total of 33, including one in the 2017 US Open for women’s doubles, three mixed-couples in 2018 and 2019 French Open and 2019 Wimbledon Championships.

She set off to be the second Taiwanese world number one doubles player in 2017 when she reached a career-high ranking of 50. At this year’s Tokyo Games, she teamed up with her sister Angel Chan for women’s doubles in tennis.

Hend Zaza

At just 12 years of age, Hend Zaza from Syria became the youngest athlete to compete in the Tokyo Olympics and one of the youngest to ever quality in the history of the Games. The table tennis prodigy is the youngest Olympian in 52 years since 11-year-old Beatrice Hustiu, who competed in the 1986 Olympics for figure skating.

Zaza is also the first Syrian to compete in table tennis via qualifications instead of an invitation. She had a rank of 155 in the entire world when she won the women’s singles title at the Western Asia Olympic Qualification Tournament in Jordan. The tournament earned her a spot at the Games.

PV Sindhu

PV Sindhu has metamorphosised as one of the most beloved sportspersons in India. The badminton star became the first Indian woman to win two Olympics medals, with her latest one being a follow-up to the silver at the previous Games in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. In the third-place play-off, the 26-year-old defeated He Bingjiao of China 21-13, 21-15.

Sindhu’s Olympic display has ensured that she would be considered one of the greatest ever Indian sportspersons.

As per the words of the founder of the Olympic movement, French aristocrat Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the Games were created for “the solemn and periodic exaltation of male athleticism” with ‘female applause as reward.’ Implying that the reason for women not participating in the Games was self-explanatory, Coubertin said “as no women participated in the Ancient Games, there obviously was to be no place for them in the modern ones.”

Since then, we have come a long way. In an Olympic first, in 2012, every participating country sent at least one woman contestant to the Games in London. And the Tokyo Olympics is becoming a testimony of women’s autonomy. As a large segment of the event still awaits to be witnessed and as we edge closer to the one in Paris in 2024, the future beckons while making the Olympic flame look bright.

About the author

Subhro Majumder is a Content Writer who is a sports and technology enthusiast. His other varied interests often sway him into reading about history, politics and international relations.

Olympics: Need courage and mindset to come back after losing opening matches, says Rani Rampal

Tokyo [Japan]: India women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal was proud of the Women in Blue as the team executed their plans well against Australia and booked a historic berth in the final four of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Gurjit Kaur scored the lone goal in the match during the first half through a penalty corner in a very tightly contested match.
“I am super proud of the team especially each individual player. Before the game, we just said one thing to each other, give it all that you have then we will see what will happen, just don’t focus on the semi-final or final. We just concentrated on sixty minutes and we put all our energy and focus on our jobs,” Rani Rampal told reporters after the match.

“By scoring the goal in the first half and then defending it especially against a team like Australia is not easy. We played as a team and according to the plan of our coaches.”

“When we entered the tournament, everyone thought our pool was tough and it was tough. After losing opening matches with such margins it’s not easy to come back in the tournament and it needs a lot of courage and mindset.

“The first half against the Netherlands gave us a lot of confidence and after the Great Britain match, we all were crying because of not that we lost the match but because that we didn’t follow the plan. We are in semis now and it’s an open game now. We will celebrate for a little today and will focus on the next game.”

Earlier on Sunday, the men’s hockey team also reached the semi-finals after Manpreet Singh’s side defeated Great Britain 3-1.

Talking about both men’s and women’s hockey teams reaching semis, Rani said, “There can’t be any bigger moment to be proud of in Indian Hockey because if team sports does anything it unites the nation.”

Reflecting on the moment of victory, the Indian skipper pointed, “I couldn’t believe it for a second and it feels like I was dreaming.”

Olympics: Indian women’s hockey team make history, beat Australia 1-0 to reach first-ever semi-final

Tokyo [Japan]: The Indian women’s hockey team created history on Monday here at Oi Hockey Stadium — North Pitch — as they qualified for the semi-finals of the Olympics for the very first time after defeating Australia 1-0.

In what comes as a historic day and possibly the greatest moment for women’s hockey in India, Gurjit Kaur scored the lone goal in the match during the first half through a penalty corner in a very tightly contested match. The Indian players looked to give it their all as they ensured Gurjit’s effort didn’t go in vain. The Australians threw it their all, but the Indian women refused to buckle even though the Aussies kept piling the pressure with each passing minute.
The first quarter started in great pace as both teams put their foot on the accelerator and the forwards from both teams came very close to finding the back of the net. But none succeeded in scoring after the first fifteen minutes.

After saving a penalty corner on another end, India soon got the second PC of the match in the second quarter. India’s star drag-flicker Gurjit made sure that she made the opportunity count as she gave the Women in Blue a crucial lead against the mighty Aussies. Indians went for a direct PC and after hitting the legs, the ball hit a stick and found a way into the goal. Notably, Australia had conceded just one goal in the tournament so far.

In the second half, Hockeyroos as expected came in waves as they looked for the goal. But India goalie Savita and the defense stood firm. The Indian team made sure they did not give any space to the Aussies as chances became rarer and rarer for their forwards as the game progressed.

India again kept Australia at bay with some smart defence in the last quarter as they made sure they didn’t let Hockeyroos spoil the dream of making it to the semi-final.

Earlier on Sunday, the Indian men’s hockey team reached the last four of the Olympics for the first time in 41 years as the team defeated Great Britain 3-1. The last four berth had eluded the Indian men’s hockey team since the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games where the team led by V Baskaran won the eighth Gold medal for India.

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