The reel women
Mark the dates May 16, 17 and 18 on your calendars. That’s when Made By Women ' the country’s second annual international women’s film festival ' is scheduled to hit Calcutta as it travels across eight Indian cities. Being organised by Swayam, in collaboration with Mumbai-based non-profit outfit, Point of View, and Federation of Film Societies, India, the festival will feature the works of 10 award-winning women directors. The first day will feature Germany’s Lotte Reigner (Harlequin), USA’s Joan Gratz (Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase), Iran’s Marziyeh Meshkini (The Day I Became a Woman) and Netherlands/Peru’s Heddy Honigman (The Underground Orchestra). Day two will feature Norway’s Margareth Olin (My Body), Australia’s Melissa Kyu-Jung Lee (True Story About Love), UK’s Jayne Parker (The Whirlpool) and India’s Ligy Pullappally (Sancharram). Another film by Gratz (The Dowager’s Feast) will also be shown. Day three will feature the works of Finland’s Mervi Jukkonen (Barbeiros), Israel’s Anat Zuria (Purity) and France’s Anne Fontaine (How I Killed My Father). The venue is Nandan II. Timings are 6 to 8 pm every day. Entry is free but passes are limited since the auditorium capacity is 200 only. See you there!
The right stuff
Take that, Lawrence H. Summers! Four months after the Harvard University president started a debate on whether women had the right stuff for science, the National Academy of Science has chosen a record number of women scientists among the 72 invited to join the academy. The 19 female members account for 25 per cent of the new members. The number, however isn’t a reaction to Summers’ speech. Members selected this year’s class by secret ballot last September.
Move in Tokyo
These are sad times for gropers in Tokyo, Japan. The railways and subway firms have now introduced women-only carriages during rush hour, after a record number of women complained of being groped in overland and underground trains. A recent survey in Japan also found that as many as 64 per cent women in their 20s and 30s had been groped in trains, so much so that a particular stretch ' the Saikyo line ' was unofficially nicknamed “groper’s paradise”.
Puff of smoke
The Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), in a study called Hands That Roll Bidi, has drawn attention to the plight of the bidi-rollers of Murshidabad, where 72 per cent of the workers in the industry are women. SEWA has not only sought registration of the bidi-rollers ' particularly women ' as lack of identity cards prevented them from having access to government-funded schemes, but also recommends that the district administration look for alternative jobs for them to improve their quality of life. The findings have been submitted to the Murshidabad district magistrate. Here’s hoping all the hard work doesn’t disappear in a puff of smoke.
Pay up, or be a man
It’s always been a man’s world, and why should consumerism make it any different' A survey conducted by Sunday Mail, an Australian newspaper, shows that women pay up to 40 per cent more for haircuts, 20 per cent more for dry-cleaning and up to 35 per cent more for fragrances. Designer wallets for women are over 25 per cent more expensive, and all-female gyms can charge up to twice as much as regular gyms. Retailers and service-providers, however, say the prices are higher because women are harder to please, are more fussy than men, and servicing them involves more labour.
Overheard... that women in Somaliland ' a semi-independent state of Somalia ' are the breadwinners in 70 per cent of the households. That’s because over 20,000 men have died and 3,00,000 people displaced due to their war of independence against Somalia.