Over the boundary
It’s the first time that Pakistan is hosting an Indo-Pak cricket series, a ladies’ cricket series, that is. You’d think that would be cause for a major dose of media hype. But fact is, the media attention on the ongoing series between the Indian and Pakistani Under-21 women’s teams has been distinctly lacklustre. Organisers acknowledge that it’s a far cry from the excitement that Sourav Ganguly’s Team India generated during its 2004 Pakistan tour, but feel they are serving a greater cause, that of promoting women’s cricket in the country. Says Shamsha Hashmi, secretary of the Pakistani Women’s Cricket Association, “We see cricket as a channel for women’s empowerment in Pakistan. Those playing the game now are becoming aware of their basic rights.” And while the women sweat it out in front of sparsely filled stands, administrators aren’t exactly falling over themselves to ramp up the revenues. Believe it or not, unaccompanied male spectators have been banned from the stadiums for fear that they may offend the players’ modesty. Hashmi’s take on that' “We have to keep in mind our cultural values and give no reason for anyone to discourage women’s cricket.”
Once upon a time, they thought women couldn’t make enough money. Today, they think women aren’t given enough money. A study released last week by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, UK, says that women-run ventures begin with lower capital, a third of the amount that men receive. Says Susan Marlow, an author of the study, “The economy ultimately suffers. Only 15 per cent of small firms are women-owned. This figure has not changed over the last 13 years.”
When US undersecretary of state Karen Hughes visited Saudi Arabia recently, she suggested that Saudi women led incomplete lives because they were not allowed to vote or drive. But that didn’t go down well with the local ladies. “Not being allowed to vote or drive does not make us slaves,” said a public health professor. Another said, “The general image of the Arab woman is that she isn’t happy. Well, we’re all pretty happy.” Just as you say, sisters!
It could be a move that spells trouble for half of Europe’s national anthems. Austria’s minister for women’s affairs has demanded changes to her country’s paean to purge it of sexist references. References to the “fatherland” and “brotherly choruses” should be replaced by gender-neutral terms such as “homeland” and “joyful chorus”, Maria Rauch-Kallat said. She felt that most of the European national anthems sound like odes to male heroism. She isn’t wrong. The Italian anthem opens, “Brothers of Italy ...”. The French begins, “Children of the fatherland ...”. And the German anthem makes women seem like a quaint tourist attraction: “German women, German loyalty, German wine...”.
The Times, London
What’s the anatomy of a night out' Young women guzzling glassfuls of trouble and men enjoying every moment of it. The “Anatomy of a big night out” survey by campaigners for responsible drinking, The Portman Group, says that more than 34 per cent of intoxicated young women in the UK are sexually assaulted while another 36 per cent have unprotected sex as the alcohol befuddles their brains. So why do women have to drink at all' About a third of those surveyed said peer pressure was the reason, about the same number blamed it on a bad day, while 31 per cent said they drank to feel confident.
Overheard: A recent study in the UK claims that married women have much lesser libido than either single women or married men, and those with children under the age of five are least interested in sex. Now we know why they say that marriage kills romance!