Arms and the woman
The verdict's out. Young female recruits to the British armed forces are not tough enough. In a report released last Monday, Britain's adult learning inspectorate has called for a review of the 'gender-free' policy of training for the armed forces. The inspectorate said that the military's intention was to treat everyone the same but in the case of female recruits, the gender-free policy had led to record levels of injuries. Therefore, it recommended reverting to gender-fair training, which was discontinued in 1998. Prior to the shift seven years ago, female recruits suffered 467 injuries per 10,000 which has now risen to an alarming 1,113. The tibia seems to be the most injury-prone area among women. In the last five years, the number of tibia fractures has gone up to 231.2 per 10,000 compared to 12.6 earlier. The report also mentioned that most female recruits are 'unfit, overweight or poorly nourished'. Military sources have revealed that a reversal to the gender-fair approach is unlikely to affect chances of promotion for female officers, as they need 'more brain than brawn'.
The Capital's Dilli Haat was the venue for an unusual exhibition last week. Organised by the Aga Khan Foundation, 'Voices' showcased how millions of Indian rural women are affected by the lack of proper toilets. The lack of adequate sanitation, it was said, is one of the main reasons for low high-school enrolment and dropouts among girls. Out of 6,30,000 primary and secondary schools in India, only one in five has a urinal. Out of the rare few that do have some kind of a toilet, there is, quite obviously, no separate loo for the girls.
Just driving through
She's literally steered herself into the racing annals. Laleh Seddigh, a 28-year-old Iranian, became the first woman champion in an otherwise all-male field in the national speed race tournament in Tehran last week. Seddigh has already earned the hostility of her male contenders. The Iranian motor racing body directed Seddigh to behave 'appropriately' on the winners' podium. 'I was told to wear my manteau (a long, loose-fitting coat) over my racing outfit and not to talk with my male competitors,' Seddigh said.
To the last drop
Here's another area where women are becoming more and more visible ' drink-driving. Surprised' In the west of Scotland, the conviction of women for rash driving has gone up by 90 per cent. Police crackdowns are throwing up more shocking examples of female drivers under the influence of alcohol. Such women also include mums on the school run. At Christmas last year, the police arrested a woman in Glasgow who was driving with her four-year-old in the backseat and without a seat belt. In a four-week crackdown, 37 women have been arrested for drink-driving. Of these, 25 women were in the 26-40 age group.
Vive le difference
If you've met one man, you've met them all. This isn't a generalisation ' it's backed by science. Research by Dr Huntington Willard and his co-author, Laura Carrel, published last week in Nature, reveals that women are of infinitely greater variety than men, (just like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally ) and that is because their 46th chromosome works at greater levels than those of men. So that should tell you why men are so similar and 'uncomplicated' ' because they're made of just a single kind of cell throughout. The simple dears.
Overheard' that Delhi's Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), led by Sunita Narain, has bagged the annual Stockholm Water Prize. In its citation, the prize committee praised the CSE for promoting effective water management along with gender rights and health care.