In the name of God
The devdasi tradition is widely followed in several parts of the country. Many young girls in rural areas of southern and eastern India are still being forced into prostitution in the name of service to God. But once they are old, devdasis are left in abject poverty. The National Commission for Women (NCW) is now taking some affirmative steps to put an end to the practice of sacrificing young lives to this ignominious existence by seeking changes in the existing laws. The commission is planning to draft a rehabilitation package for devdasis in states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. NCW chairperson Girija Vyas has said that while some states like Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh do have some rehabilitation programmes for devdasis, the commission will try and implement similar schemes in other parts of the country as well.
IT’s a shame!
Information Technology is a male domain, if you go by the number of women studying the subject down under. More and more Australian women are turning their backs on information and communication technology (ICT) degrees, says a study by the Institute for Social Research at Swinburne University. In fact, the number of women taking up ICT courses has decreased by an alarming 65 per cent in the past three years, researchers say. And there are now less than 15 per cent women in many IT departments in the country. The universities have become so used to this low participation rate from women that they view it as a ‘normal situation’.
Pitch it high
If you are a woman looking for a job in China, please don’t try to sound husky. That is not going to impress the men at the interview. ‘Voice beauty operations’ is the latest fad in the booming cosmetic surgery market in China by means of which a woman can alter her voice to speak at a higher pitch. Apparently, women with high-pitched voices ' a sweet, high falsetto is considered ideal in China ' make a better impression on male interviewers. So women who have deep voices feel stigmatised. In fact, a top Chinese actress was recently rejected by a famous director because her voice was not dulcet enough!
Thank God someone has cottoned on to this at last. At a seminar organised jointly by the Indian Merchants’ Chamber and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) in Mumbai last week, HSBC India CEO Niall Booker said that it was surprising that Indian banks so far had not concentrated on the growing number of working women who constitute an important target segment for retail banking in the country. “This segment, along with home and retail loans, will drive retail banking in the future,” Booker said.
Critics say it’s definitely a bad year for women at the Oscars. The point to note is that none of the nominations for the best film category have women in lead roles. To begin with, Good Night and Good Luck and Munich are almost all-male ventures. In Brokeback Mountain, Capote and Crash, women are relegated to playing neglected wives and girlfriends. In fact, a lot of superstars like Nicole Kidman (Bewitched) and Cameron Diaz (In Her Shoes) failed miserably at the box office with their heroine-driven films in 2005. The only place where the women’s flag has been kept flying at the Oscars is in the best actress categories, with Reese Witherspoon and Keira Knightley (pic right) sharing the spotlight equally in Walk the Line and Pride and Prejudice respectively.
Overheard: Pregnant women who give up anti-depressants may be exposing themselves to a greater risk of the disease, says a study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital’s Center for Women’s Mental Health in the US.