Try and understand
You can’t just wish away discrimination against women. You have to fight it. And to do that it helps if you have some sort of training and understanding of the issues you are dealing with. This week saw this kind of training take place at the Convention for Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) — organised by the National Alliance of Women. Inaugurated by Dr Jashodhara Bagchi, chairperson State Women’s Commission, the five-daytraining programme assessed the current situation in eastern India, and introduced some basic concepts of gender training. These included such topics as Social Construction of Gender, Understanding Discrimination, Promoting Human Rights of Women, Role of Law and even the The History of CEDAW.
Divorce, pavement style
Taking advantage of their ignorance and illiteracy, many men are illegally divorcing their wives, duping them of property and even snatching away custody rights over their children. And all this is happening right under the nose, as it were, of the State Women’s Commission (SWC). Just a stone’s throw away from the SWC in Mumbai, an illegal business is flourishing. Men are ‘buying’ divorces for as little as Rs 2,000. Outside the Bandra Court, lawyers and notaries, who solicit business like roadside hawkers, register marriages on the spot and give couples an instant ‘divorce by mutual consent’. The ‘deed of divorce’, which unsuspecting wives are asked to sign — is prepared on a Rs 100 stamp paper. The entire process of divorce takes as long as it does to sign the paper. The charge is upwards of Rs 2,000 for the document.
Back to nature
World Breastfeeding Week is being celebrated the world over. And with a lot of imagination too. La Leche League celebrated with events like walks and potlucks. In Australia, mothers and babies embarked on a feeding frenzy in an effort to reclaim a world record for simultaneous breastfeeding. Breast Fest 2004 was held at eight major venues and other regional centres across the country. Breast-feeding seminars were held even in Lahore at the Jinnah Hospital with over 300 doctors, nurses, paramedics and mothers attending.
Check your credentials
While in one part of the world women are finding themselves illegally divorced, in another they are finding themselves illegally married. A total of 101 women have discovered that they were fraudulently married to husbands they didn’t even know. When Check Your Marital Status Week was launched early this month in Africa, about 5,000 women decided to do just that. Ina van der Merwe, CEO of South Africa’s largest credentials verification company, Kroll MIEM, said the marriage scam had allowed foreign men to obtain citizenship by “marrying” women whose documents had been stolen, and divorcing them before they found out.
Cut it out
It’ll be a while for some people to register that women actually smoke and yes, even swear. The Chennai Censor Board, for instance, is acting really squeamish about women doing just those on screen in the film Chai Paani. Manu Rewal, who directs the light-hearted, Konkona Sen Sharma-starrer, was asked to delete the visual of a girl smoking and blip certain swear words. Rues Rewal, “The film will not remain the same if the scenes are deleted.” So what happens to the poor film' To begin with, as far as Rewal is concerned, the d**film gets delayed by six months because of all the controversy.
Overheard… that a celebrity host of a Bengali quiz show decided to break a tie between a male and a female contestant by letting the latter win. “Ladies first,” he had exclaimed, innocently, not realising many male spectators found that seriously objectionable. Unfair, no'