Woman on top at UN'
With Kofi Annan due to step down as UN secretary-general at the end of 2006, or even earlier, women’s groups have begun lobbying for a woman to succeed him. “Starting with the Charter of the UN, it has always been among their goals to reach gender parity,” says Taina Bien-Aime of international women’s rights group Equality Now, which is leading the effort. The latest figures show that only six out of the 37 under-secretaries-general in the Secretariat are women.
The group’s most provocative proposal is to name Aung San Suu Kyi to the post. Other women candidates include Gro Harlem Brundtland, who was the head of the WHO, Helen Clark (picture, left), New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Thoraya Obaid, who has run the UN Population Fund since 2001 and is the first Saudi citizen to head a UN agency, and Vaira Vike-Freiberga, the Latvian President whose support for the Iraq war might make her choice controversial.
The Times, London
End it, period
Acting on a PIL filed by a group of activists, the Supreme Court in Nepal has ruled that chhaupadi or the practice of isolating women during menstruation is illegal. In some areas of the country, particularly in the mid-western region, women are made to live in makeshift structures, called goths, outside their homes when they menstruate. This is because there’s a belief in many South Asian countries, including India, that women become ‘impure’ during their periods. The health ministry has announced that it will conduct a research regarding the practice in various parts of the country. The local authorities are expected to launch awareness campaigns across the country soon.
While Michelle Wie is set to fight it out with her male colleagues in forthcoming tournaments, here’s another piece of news worth rejoicing at. Clubs that treat women golfers as second-class members have finally been ruled out of bounds in countries like the UK. Clubs in the EU that admit both men and women golfers but then discriminate against one sex will be outlawed by 2007 end, The Daily Telegraph reports. The framework law will soon be made into a national law in the 25 member states.
Witch-hunting is still rampant in several states in our country, but there are people who are fighting hard to put an end to it. The Free Legal Aid Committee (FLAC) in Jharkhand is one such crusader working for women who are hunted down as ‘witches’. The NGO provides legal support to victims and their families. They also organise streetplays, debate the issue at human rights conventions and distribute publications to raise awareness on the evil practice the root of which lies not only just in superstition, but also in socio-economic factors. In fact, they have also made a couple of video films on the subject.
Before you start practising self-restraint by cutting down on fatty food, here’s something you should consider. A recent study published in Wednesday's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association says that eating less fat does not magically melt flab away, reports The Washington Post. The study observing more than 48,000 women over seven years found that those who adopted a lower-fat diet initially lost about five pounds, but they gained back all but about two pounds. A comparison group that did not change their diet stayed about the same.
Overheard: Women suffering from heart disease receive inferior treatment to men who suffer from the same disease, a study by Aberdeen University says. The survey covered nearly 1,000 men and women with angina.