Katha Pollitt on Iraqi Women

In this week's edition of The Nation, Katha Pollitt gives a damning critique of the Bush administration's failed promises to Iraqi women. Domestic violence and honor killings are on the rise in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Houzan Mahmoud, a representative of Global Fund grantee, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, told Pollitt, "The political climate in Iraq is such that anyone can carry out crimes against women...You can come upon women's bodies anywhere."

Life for Iraqis fleeing the violence in Iraq is also unstable, as they lack official refugee status, reports Nir Rosen in last weekend's New York Times magazine.

For more information on women's issues in Iraq, see MADRE's recent report Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the U.S. War on Iraq.


Pakistani Women Struggle for Their Rights

labor_day_2International Labour Day is time of analyses the past and make strategies for the future. It has become the symbol of internationalism and solidarity that transcends borders and raises the consciousness of working people globally, in the recognition that we belong to the same class, have the same objectives and the power to win them, Working Women Organization organized different activities for mayday Celebration.

Hundreds of women and children from different field of life participated in mass rally, wearing red caps, holding red flags, banners inscribed demands, raised slogans enthusiastically against unemployment, rising inflation, unnecessary expenditure by the government and the lack of education and health facilities for working class in the country. Rally started from Lahore Press club to General Post Office (GPO), Mall Road.    

labor_day Speakers at the rally paid tribute to Chicago martyrs who are symbol of struggle for working class. Speakers said women workers enthusiasm and their participation in the rally proved that in spite of enormous suppression and obstacles women will never stop to raise their voices against in human policies and system. They added Pakistan is facing terrible crisis due to judiciary calamity, worse law and order situation, massive unemployment and high inflation rate that is creating great frustration among common people, especially among the youth. Speakers also deplored government discouraging collective bargaining activity, which is a workers' basic right, they urged government should take proper steps for those industrialists who are violating labor laws. Women are working as contract or subcontract base, facing aggression by the employer as well as by the male counterparts and also deprive from their basic rights. But we "Workers" always survive in crises, currently very difficult economic, social and political circumstances can just push us back but cannot halt our struggle. It is time that workers of the Pakistan and third world countries should carry their struggle with join hands and coordinated their struggle for the achievements of the rights. Speakers put stress workers of the world must fight for basic rights and higher wages to keep up with the rising costs of living.  They must fight against the vicious assaults on their trade unions and other democratic rights and against the erosion of their hard won social benefits and demanded. Trade unions should also realize the fact that involvement of women in decision-making is important and should devise firm policy necessary for elimination of gender imbalance in trade unions.

Speakers said that International Workers Solidarity is needed to overcome the workers problems all over the world and we will continue our fight for our rights till final victory.

Working Women Organization is a Global Fund grantee.


Global Fund Grantees Win Five Prestigious Awards

In the past month Global Fund grantees have won several prestigious awards.

Action India and FEMNET from Kenya are two of the three recipients of the Ashoka Changemaker's Award.

In Nepal, the Blue Diamond Society, a group advocating for improved human rights of sexual minorities received the Felipa de Souza Award from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

Journalist Soledad Jarquín, who works with grantee group, Women's Communication and Information, in Mexico City was just awarded the National Award for Journalism, one of the most important awards in Mexico for her story "Violación ejercida por militares" (Rape by the Military).

Gégé Katana, the founder and president of the Solidarity Movement of Women Human Rights Activists based in Democratic Republic of Congo was presented with this year's Front Line Award.

This year's recipients of the Feminist Majority Foundation's Global Women's Rights Awards are all grantees of the Global Fund for Women. Dr. Sima Samar of Afghanistan, Yanar Mohammed of The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq and Dr. Rebecca Gomperts of Women on Waves.

Honoring Mexican Journalism

We just received an exciting e-mail from our grantee Women's Communication and Information in Mexico City! A journalist associated with the group has just been awarded a prestigious journalism award. Here's what Lucía Lagunes, the group's Executive Secretary has to say,

 It is with great honour and pleasure that Comunicación e Información de la Mujer (CIMAC) informs that our correspondent and friend Soledad Jarquín has been awarded with the National Award for Journalism -the most important one in Mexico. She will receive the prize tomorrow for her story Violación ejercida por militares (Rape by the Military).

This feature was proposed and published through our news agency cimacnoticias, that will be recognized too at the ceremony. We were selected, among other few, from a very competitive group of 991 news pieces. We hope that you will also feel that this award is for the Global Fund for Women, because you made possible our coverage in this story where the main figures are the 13 sex workers and dancers who were brutally raped by 20 Mexican Soldiers on July 11, 2006 in Castaños, Coahuila in the northern part of Mexico.

The jury, that included Lydia Cacho and other prominent journalists, considered as a valuable element that cimacnoticias pushed again and again to put the story in the National media agenda.This week will be a definite one for the victims at the Courts. For the first time in the Mexican modern history, a civil court will judge eight soldiers. The victims are confident and scared at the same time about the process, but they are extremely strong women, just like their lawyers, as we saw last weekend when we shared time together at the Encuentro de Mujeres en Resistencia in Oaxaca.The challenge will be to keep them in prison after they receive their sentences. In Mexico it is common to gain freedom using several forms of corruption.


Muadi Mukenge on KPFK

The Global Fund's Program Officer for Sub-Saharan Africa, Muadi Mukenge, appeared on KPFK's Feminist Magazine last night. Listen to Mukenge discuss African foreign relations in KPFK's archive.

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