Tuesday, June 29, 2010

10 Amazing Female Firefighters

Female firefighters have been putting out flames for almost 200 years, while continuing to burn down boundaries of gender discrimination, harassment and negative criticisms from their male counterparts. While firefighting remains a predominately male profession, female firefighters make sure that their efforts are noticed and their voices are heard, so they can keep doing what they do best – fight fires. Here are 10 amazing female firefighters who’ve changed the face of the profession.

India: Nalini Moved From Vellore

From the Times of India:
A fortnight after stepping into her 20th year of incarceration, Nalini Sriharan, serving life sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, was shifted from Vellore to the Central Prison for Women at Puzhal in Chennai. She thanked Tamil Nadu CM M Karunanidhi and additional director-general of prisons Shyam Sundar for the gesture.

"I was not transferred out when I was facing troubles in Vellore. Now, I've been shifted when I neither needed it nor expected it. Anyway, I thank the CM and the ADGP for their kind gesture. I hope they will show similar indulgence in the matter of my premature release," she was quoted as saying by her advocate P Pugalenthi, who called on her after she was lodged in Puzhal prison on Monday. Recently, Nalini had complained that the Vellore prison authorities were mistreating her.
Note: Nalini Sriharan, serving a life term for her role in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. Nalini was sentenced to death by a special court for her involvement in Gandhi's assassination at Sriperumbudur near Chennai May 21, 1991. The sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after Sonia Gandhi petitioned for clemency for the sake of Nalini's daughter.

Angola: Bishop Fights Against Domestic Violence

From AllAfrica:
The bishop of the Church of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the World, also known as Tocoista Church, Afonso Nunes, called Saturday on all Angolans to contribute to the fight against domestic violence and make households happier.

The cleric made this statement while speaking at a rally of the faithful of the mentioned congregation on awareness against domestic violence and who led a march through several arteries of the Luanda city that connect the neighbourhoods of Golfe, Kilamba Kiaxi, to Congolese market, Rangel.

According to bishop Afonso Nunes, the time has come for all christians to contribute to building a peaceful Angola, where the happiness of its people is reflected on the homes and the work places.

Study: Puberty Blues From 9yo

More and more girls are starting puberty at primary school age, research shows. A study of 1,000 girls found that breast development now begins on average a year earlier than 20 years ago - around the age of nine years and ten months. It underlines a long-term trend that has seen the average age at which girls hit puberty fall sharply. In the 19th century it was around 15.

Scientists yesterday spoke of the serious implications for girls' physical and emotional health. There are fears that early puberty could put girls at higher risk of breast cancer and heart disease because of the increased exposure to oestrogen.

Dr Anders Juul, of Copenhagen University Hospital in Denmark, which carried out the research, said: 'If girls mature early, they run into teenage problems at an early age and they're more prone to diseases later on.

Philippines: More Women On Peace Panel

From the Inquirer:
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Annabelle Abaya urged the incoming Aquino administration to place more women on the government panel with the secessionist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as she noted their critical role in balancing or cooling the usually tense atmosphere in talks. Abaya said government negotiating panels should include at least two women.

Malaysia: 2000 Maids A Month

From the Star:
The Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (Papa) brings in between 2,000 and 3,000 foreign maids from several countries every month to meet the needs of employers in this country since Indonesia froze the service to Malaysia a year ago.

He told Bernama that currently there were about 300,000 Indonesian maids working in Malaysia. He said most of the maids from Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines were non-Muslims because a majority of the demand for these maids came from the Chinese community.

Indonesia wants a minimum monthly wage of RM800 but Malaysia wants wages based on market demand and through discussions between the employer and the maid concerned.

"On average, the housemaids are now paid RM500 and above depending on the location of the workplace, whether it is in town or rural area. But if the maid gives quality service, the employer can consider a higher pay,” he said.

Golden Girl of the Gulf

From BBC News:

Amanda Staveley doesn't look like one of the world's biggest deal makers. For a start she's a tall blonde woman in her late thirties, and she's pretty glamorous as you'd expect from a former model who once dated Prince Andrew.

Perhaps more astonishing has been her route to the top - particularly as her academic career was cut short - she dropped out of Cambridge University. Her next move was to open a restaurant near the racing town of Newmarket.

It was there that she began to rub shoulders with visitors from the Gulf who were
dining there because of its proximity to the racecourse- customers included the associates of powerful rulers like Sheikh Maktoum of Dubai.

Perhaps more astonishing has been her route to the top - particularly as her academic career was cut short - she dropped out of Cambridge University. Her next move was to open a restaurant near the racing town of Newmarket.

It was there that she began to rub shoulders with visitors from the Gulf who were dining there because of its proximity to the racecourse- customers included the associates of powerful rulers like Sheikh Maktoum of Dubai.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baby Deaths Linked to Roman Brothel

From BBC News:
Archaeologists investigating a mass burial of 97 infants at a Roman villa in the Thames Valley believe it may have been a brothel.

Tests on the site at Hambleden in Buckinghamshire suggest all died at 40 weeks gestation, very soon after birth.

Archaeologists suspect local inhabitants may have been systematically killing unwanted babies. Archaeologist Dr Jill Eyers said: "The only explanation you keep coming back to is that it's got to be a brothel."

And from the
Alternatively, the site could have had a partly religious function with the infants being the subjects of illegal rituals or even human sacrifice. Certainly newborn infants were sometimes buried as ritual foundation deposits in Roman Britain – though never in such large numbers.

India: Women Fight "Eve-Teasers"

From the Independent:
The elegant Indian scarf known as a "dupatta" is a symbol of female modesty, but in the right hands it is also an effective weapon to combat the unwanted attentions of men.

"Fling it over the attacker's neck, pull him, go for the final thrust and he will be thrown on the ground in front of your eyes," shouts a police officer as she demonstrates her moves at a civilian training session in New Delhi.

Scores of young girls and women applaud the display, and then learn for themselves how to fight back against "eve-teasing" - the south Asia term for sexual harassment in public places.

Women in Agriculture meeting

From ABC News Online:
A weekend conference will focus on how Tasmanian farmers have reversed their fortunes after the prolonged drought.

More than 100 delegates will attend the Tasmanian Women in Agriculture conference in Hobart, with the theme, 'Opportunity Through Diversity'.

The conference provides networkingopportunities and also acts as a focus point for lobbying government.

Spokeswoman Belinda Hazell says on Saturday delegates will be taken on a tour of the Derwent Valley and the southern Midlands, which are slowly recovering from the drought.

Australia: Muslim Women Police Officers

Great article in today's Herald Sun newspaper about Victoria Police's newest graduate, Constable Yasemin Savran, the second only muslin woman police officer. What is so unique, both wear the hijab. Constable Saverin is following in the footsteps of Senior Constable Maha Sukkar. Well done to both women!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Julia Gillard - Australia's First Female PM

It's offical, Julia Gillard will today be sworn in by Australia's first female Governor General as Australia's first female Prime Minister.

Well done Julia !!

This from ABC News Australia

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Heir-Apparent - Julia Gillard

Well, with the news of a leadership challenge between PM Kevin Rudd and Deputy PM Julia Gillard breaking tonight, one wonders who will be our PM when the caucus meets tomorrow at 9.00am.

Will Kevin Rudd remain as PM - with popularity at a low - or will Julia Gillard become Australia's first female Prime Minister. Rudd no longer has the support of the factions, which have now put their weight behind Julia. My tip - Julia.

Julia on the Web:
From the Australian

Women Fined Over Cremation

From NDTV:
A panchayat in Jharkhand has fined four women Rs 9,000 each for cremating their mother-in-law, saying they intruded into a male domain.

The four women cremated 78-year-old Patia Kuwar of Gareriadih village in Palamau district who died after falling into a ditch on Friday.

As none of her sons were in the village, the daughters-in-law Sharda, Prabha, Malti and Nirmala carried the woman home and requested the villagers to carry her body to the cremation ground.

But everyone refused as the body was stinking.

The four women then carried the dead mother-in-law on their shoulders and performed the last rites on Saturday.

But the village elders, all males, were not impressed. The panchayat directed the villagers not to attend the post-death ceremonies and fined the women who had no choice but to pay up.

Kuala Lumpa: Women-Only City

From SIFY News:
Something as impossible as a city for women is not a far-fetched dream anymore- It is under construction in Kuala Lumpur.

This extravagant exhibition and fair is being "developed" by the Star's monthly women's supplement, Clove, and it will be, as its tagline says, "Streets Ahead For Women".

FemmeCity, derived from the French 'la femme' meaning woman, will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from July 30 to Aug 1.

It is catering to women who are intelligent, bold, judicious and ready to spend in products and services that enable them to look and feel good and improve their lives, reports the Star Online. The highpoint of FemmeCity is its unique concept, which is to develop an actual city. There will be specific 'streets' covering beauty, fashion, health and fitness, women's consumer products, services and hobbies.

Household brand names such as Canon, Triumph, Tupperware, Wat­sons and Himalaya have confirmed participation at FemmeCity. It will also have a Library, Clinic, Community Centre and Coffeeshop.

Angola: Gender Policy

Angola's experience of gender participation in politics and decision making organs was praised at the meeting of the Network of Women MPs of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) held on June 14 and 15 in Sao Tome and Principe.

Speaking to Angop, the leader of the group of angolan women MPs, Cesaltina Major, stated that other participants to the meeting rejoiced as she said that 38,6 per cent of angolan MPs are female, a figure exceeded only by Mozambique with 39 per cent, adding that this was an encouragement to women from other CPLP countries to continue the gender fight.

Cesaltina Major stressed that Angola achieved this goal throughthe work of president Jose Eduardo dos Santos and other political leaders.

The angolan women MPs delegation presented at the meeting the Theme "Promoting advocacy and lobbying advocacy among member states allow a greater awareness of and engagement in increasing the representation and active participation of women in politics and decision-making".

Lebanon: Women Unequal

From the Daily Star:
Article 1 of the 1925 Nationality Law states that citizenship is granted to those born of Lebanese fathers. The text says no more. The implication is obvious: those born of Lebanese mothers are not to be granted citizenship.

Citizenship in Lebanon is based on ancestry, not on the place where one is born. But this form of discrimination is compounded in Lebanon’s patriarchal society by the fact that citizenship is only passed down from the father. This law clearly violates the principle of equality between men and women that is enshrined in Article 7 of the Constitution.

Transmission of nationality is not a mere legal formality; it also carries with it social and financial consequences. Because these husbands and children are considered residents of Lebanon and not citizens, they must obtain residency and work permits, which they are required to renew each year. This is a costly procedure involving a tidy sum of money, estimated roughly at $2,000 to $3,300 per person, massive red tape, and long hours spent waiting in line at the office of General Security.

Indian Women Fight For Rights

From AFP:
The elegant Indian scarf known as a "dupatta" is a symbol of female modesty, but in the right hands it is also an effective weapon to combat the unwanted attentions of men.

"Fling it over the attacker's neck, pull him, go for the final thrust and he will be thrown on the ground in front of your eyes," shouts a police officer as she demonstrates her moves at a civilian training session in New Delhi.

Scores of young girls and women applaud the display, and then learn for themselves how to fight back against "eve-teasing" -- the south Asia term for sexual harassment in public places.

Women across India are often victims of provocative remarks, aggressive male posturing and even physical assaults such as groping on the street and in crowded buses and trains.

According to the National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), 200,000 incidents of crime against women were reported in 2008.

Afghan Women Speak Out

From NPR:
In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai wants to talk with Taliban fighters who choose to denounce violence as way to end the eight-year war in his country. But Afghan women activists say engaging the Taliban would be a setback for women's rights. Guest host Tony Cox speaks with Afghan lawyer and prominent woman's rights activist Najla Ayubi. Ms. Ayubi is visiting from Kabul where she is in charge of a program on governance and women's rights.

Iran: Warning to "badly veiled" women

From AFP:
Iranian police have issued warnings to 62,000 women who were "badly veiled" in the Shiite holy province of Qom as part of a clampdown on dress and behaviour, a newspaper said on Monday.

Around "62,000 women were warned for being badly veiled" in the province of Qom, Tehran Emrouz newspaper quoted provincial police chief Colonel Mehdi Khorasani as saying.

It was unclear whether all the women issued with warnings were from Qom or the tally included travellers passing through the province.

Khorasani said police had also confiscated around 100 cars for carrying improperly dressed women, adding that "encouraging such relaxations are among the objectives of the enemy."

Women: We Won't Put Up & Shut Up

From Sydney Morning Herald:
It is unlikely a little more than 200 complaints go anywhere near demonstrating the true extent of sexual harassment in the workplace. Many women will not know they can lodge a complaint and others will shrug their shoulders and deal with the behaviour as best they can. Women who eke out existences in poorly paid casual positions are never going to complain. And some women won't even know that a reference to the size of their tits is sexual harassment.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has been quoted as saying there is continuing confusion about what constitutes sexual harassment. Some of this confusion may well rest in the language we use: McInnes's behaviour has been described in various accounts as ''flirtatious'', ''unbecoming'' and ''inappropriate''.

Women Bishops: Plan to stop rift

From BBC News:
The archbishops of Canterbury and York are planning a bid to stop a Church of England split over women bishops.

Draft legislation on women bishops will be debated by the Church's governing body, the general synod, next month.

Dr Rowan Williams and Dr John Sentamu will propose a new concession to opponents of women bishops.

It involves "co-ordinate jurisdiction" between a woman bishop and another bishop caring for traditionalist parishes in her diocese.

The proposal by the two most senior figures in the Church of England is aimed at catering for objectors in dioceses where a woman is consecrated a bishop.

Legal System Inaccessible For Women With Mental Illness

From ABC News:

A report looking at the ACT's legal system has found many women with mental illness find it impossible to access support.

The report by the Women's Centre for Health Matters tells the stories of Canberra women with mental illness and their dealings with the legal system.

It says women with mental health issues feel discriminated against and socially isolated, and often simply give up.

One of the report's authors Kate Judd says the legal profession and the mental health sector need to work more closely together.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Top 100 Women Financial Advisors 2010

From the Wall Street Journal & Barrons, the annual listing of the Top 100 Women Financial Advisors in 2010:
The ranking, which Barron's has been publishing since 2006, includes 25 new members this year and a number of position switches.

See the Full list of the Top 100 as listed by Barrons.

Muslim Women in Kanodar

From the Times of India:
When Aalmin Mansuri of Kanodar village stood fifth in Banaskantha district, it did not come as a surprise for this 13,000-strong village on Ahmedabad-Delhi Highway, about 140 km from Ahmedabad. Aalmin is an example of the progressive outlook of the Shia Muslim community of the village, which comprises 90 per cent of the population. She scored 93.69 per cent marks.

There may be myths attached to women of this community across the country, but things are different in Kanodar. The women are considered equal to men in every respect. And, the village is close to achieving cent per cent literacy.

"Girls' education is the top priority in the village. If a girl is educated a generation is educated," said Banglawala. "We have been awarding cash prize of Rs 500 and a citation to the girl who tops in class XII in the village," she said.

"Our women are teachers, nurses, entrepreneurs and doctors," she said, adding that "My daughter was a medical student but after her marriage she settled in Canada," Banglawala said.

"Over 600 women in our village are earning members of the house," she said.

Farewell to Stereotyping Women in Film

From 234Next:
The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts (LAPA) recently held a press conference for the upcoming Women in Film Forum. The forum, scheduled for June 16 and 17, is themed ‘Women and the Dynamics of Representation.’

According to a statement released by the Fund, “This activity is... a crucial component of AWDF’s Popular Culture project, which is supported by the MDG3 Fund.”

Speaking at the press conference, Executive Director of the AWDF, Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, said the involvement of the grant-making body was to see “how we can engage more with practitioners in popular culture.”

Adeleye-Fayemi said what little many people abroad know about Nigeria is courtesy the indigenous film industry. But matters have arisen over the portrayal of women in many of these films. In this regard, AWDF and LAPA convened the forum in the hope that there will be “more affirming images of women.”

The Tale of Matilda FitzWalter

Situated between two pillars in the Priory Church, Little Dunmow, Essex lies the tomb of one known as Matilda.

Her story, as told by Edward Brayley in “The Graphic and Historical Illustrator” (1834):

Matilda was the daughter of one Robert, Baron FitzWalter, castellan of Castle Baynard, and one of those who opposed King John and forced him to sign the Magna Carta.

Aged 18yo, she was among many neighbouring nobles who were invited to a banquet hosted by Prince John. There were three days of jousts and tournaments which entertained those assembled. The young Matilda was the “queen” of the event. On the fourth day a mailed knight entered the field, vanquishing all those who came before him, and enamouring the fair Matilda, who duly awarded him a fine collar of gold. He left as he had arrived.

During the course of events, Prince John found himself also smitten by Matilda’s charm, and “basely endeavoured to take her for a mistress”. Her father’s indignation so enraged the Prince, that he attacked Baynard Castle, taking advantage of the king’s absence in the Holy Land. Her father slain, Matilda escaped into the nearby forest, coming upon none other than the knight. No long clad in mail but dressed in "Lincoln Green", he revealed himself to be one Robin Hood, outlawed Earl of Huntingdon, and insisted on keeping both her and her honour safe from the Prince.

However, Prince John discovered her escape and attacked the foresters – in the course of the battle, the Prince met the fair Matilda (now in male attire) and engaged in battle. She put up a “stout defence” and as such, the Prince was obliged to withdraw.

Matilda married Robin, who upon Richard’s return, was restored to his lost earldom, and she became Countess of Huntingdon. When Robin was outlawed by King John, she joined him. Following his death, Matilda took refuge at Dunmow Priory – which had been patronized by her family.

King John, learning of her refuge, sent the knight Robert de Medewe to the priory with a small token – a poisoned bracelet. Robert was received by Matilda, who though no longer in the fresh bloom of youth, still could flutter the heart of a hardened warrior. Robert hastily left – not as a result of his mission but due to his growing passion for Matilda. Absence did not curb his desire, and he returned to the priory. He was greeted by the sounds of a funeral dirge echoing through the church. There in the chancel, on a bier of flowers, was the lifeless body of Matilda.

The poisoned gift had “eaten its way to her bone, and the fiery poison had dried her life blood". Robert flung himself upon her corpse and could not be persuaded to return to court. He instead gave up his knightly was for the cowl and became an Augustine monk.

The Case for Matilda as Maid Marion:
The Downfall of Robert, Earl of Huntingdon, afterwards called Robin Hood, with his Love to Chaste Matilda, the Lord Fitzwater's daughter, afterwards his faire Maid Marian, and The Death of Robin Hood with the lamentable Tragedy of Chaste Matilda, his faire Maid Marian, poisoned at Dunmowe by King John by Henry Chettle & Anthony Munday (1601)
The Tragedy of King John and Matilda by Robert Davenport (p.1639)

Matilda, the faire and chaste Daughter of the Lord Robert Fitzwalter by Michael Drayton (c.1594)