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Greater expectations

While there are plenty of books and magazines for women who do not know what to expect while expecting, a new magazine geared to women having children later in life is finding a new route to its readers — gynaecologists’ offices. The inaugural issue of Plum, the first pregnancy magazine aimed at women over 35, is to arrive in doctors’ offices (in the US) this fall. The magazine, which is to be produced by Groundbreak Publishing, is described as a joint effort with the American College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Rebekah Meola, Groundbreak’s principal, said older, expectant mothers shared many of the same concerns as younger ones, but often had greater anxiety about medical complications, infertility and return to work.

Gender as construct

Understanding Gender, the second book by Dr Rinita Mazumdar of the faculty of women’s studies, University of New Mexico, has just been launched. The focus of the book is to analyse the notion of gender as conceived in the South Asian context. “The lens of ‘gender’,” says a promotional of the book, “has been largely constructed by sexuality as a concept”. As a feminist — as she owns she is — Mazumdar says, “Gender has been perplexing in nature to me.” And Understanding Gender, which elaborates on how gender is culturally constructed, is an attempt to try and understand the concept — through the theories of such greats as Sigmund Freud, Lacan, Rubin and Foucault.

Screen test

The National Commission for Women (NCW) is up in arms against gender discrimination in movieland. It has directed all unions in the Tamil film industry to issue public notices stating that they did not have any bias against women seeking membership. The commission had received seven complaints from women who were denied membership in a particular union. Following this, a panel comprising eminent persons conducted an investigation and discovered that the women were denied entry despite the fact that they possessed requisite qualifications.

Bottom heavy

A bi-monthly US men’s magazine is redefining the concept of a ‘pin-up’. As per its standards, a large behind is prized more than a pretty face, shapely legs or a taut waistline. Also, the magazine is supposed to cater to the black population in the US. What is surprising, is that an article in a well-known journal was all praise for the political correctness of this. But the fact is, other than targetting the black population for a change, little else is politically correct, far less sensitive to gender issues. Nudity is still the order of the day.

State of things

 
 

A survey conducted by the State Commission for Women along with Calcutta-based Sanhita revealed some startling facts about women in the workplace. For instance, out of 53 departments in a state government office, three departments don’t have any women staff. Further, 36 of the 53 (that is, 67.92 per cent) have had to form complaint committees on sexual harassment. These facts were revealed in a status report, supported by Action Aid India, Eastern Region, entitled, ‘Implementing Visakha’ (The reference to Visakha is from Visakha vs. the State of Rajasthan, one of the landmark cases dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace).

Overheard... an autorickshaw driver telling a woman passenger sitting next to him on the front seat, “I don’t like women sitting in the front seat. But what can I do' These days men don’t give up the seats in the back for ladies.”

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