Boys have always had great toys to help them imagine, build, create, play and grow… In many shops, the “little girls” aisle is full of pink glittering toys that just invite girls to dream they are princesses. Girls deserve better!
“We either die or win. No fighter is leaving,” Esmat al-Sheikh, leader of the Kobani Defence Authority, told Reuters. “The world is watching, just watching and leaving these monsters to kill everyone, even children…but we will fight to the end with what weapons we have.”
Some people have more motivation than others. Those people include women. A very large percentage of the YPG fighters are women. (YPG: the Kurdish People’s Protection Units)
I asked her about YPG’s women’s wing, the YPJ (Women’s Protection Units), and the women fighters coming from Turkey. She said Kurdish women were as equally involved in defense affairs as in social services. “We have set up training camps for women in all three cantons. Women are active in all fronts,” she said. “Of the first 20 martyrs we had when IS attacked Kobani, 10 were women. Last year, of our 700 YPG martyrs, 200 were women…”
I reminded Nimet of the legends we hear of IS militants fearing to encounter women fighters. She replied, “This is not a myth but reality. I personally met IS fighters face-to-face. They believe they won’t go to paradise if they are killed by women. That is why they flee when they see women fighters.”
From The AlterNet
Malala Yusafsai is the youngest ever Nobel Peace prize winner, whereas Kailash Satyarthi is in his sixties. She comes from Pakistan, he comes from India: their countries are close neighbors yet have often been at war since the Partition of India in 1947. She is a woman, he is a man, but both fight for the rights of children (all children!) to freedom and education. She is a Muslim, he is a Hindu: the proof that different religions can agree and work together towards a humanitarian goal that is common to both. Their joint prize is a message of hope for the world!
Here are some extracts from her speech asking for equal rights for men and women:
“We want to end gender inequality and to do this, we need everyone involved. This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN. We want to try to galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change”
“the more I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
“for the record, feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities.”
“I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.”
“But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say that they have achieved gender equality. These rights, I consider to be human rights”
“Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued les by society despite my needing his presence, as a child, as much as my mother’s.”
“We don’t want to talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are. “
“We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are. We can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”
“If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier and for this, I applaud you.”
“I am inviting you to step forward to be seen and to ask yourself, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?'”
This 18 year old girl with a hijab is an Egyptian rapper. She wants to show that Rap is not just for American males talking about sexy girls, crime and money. She has a message to offer and she thinks girls should make themselves heard…
52 young girls of a Maasai village, including the chief’s daughters, recently took part in a new ritual (the Alternative Rites of Passage). They did not have to suffer the pains of excision, as their older sisters and mothers had. Instead, they had a new ceremony: they stayed for two days in their classroom, wearing traditional black dresses and colorful crowns, with three women who talked to them about what being a woman means.
Female circumcision, widely known as female genital mutilation, is illegal in Kenya and is punishable by law, yet it is still practiced in many villages. Many regions in Africa and some countries in Asia and the Middle East widely practice the ritualistic procedure.
Traditionally, young women who had not yet been circumcised were rejected in their villages. The women who had endured the procedure were considered acceptable members of society and suitable for marriage.
Instruments traditionally used to perform the cut are sharp metal tools, knives, and other crude objects, and the procedure is usually not carried out by trained medical professionals. The effects of excision often bring on medical complications, going from local infection to death.
The physical pain resulting from the practice has immeasurable psychological impact on these young girls.
The scars left by the cutting often leads to complications later when women give birth, causing sharp pains, rips and often making a caesarean section necessary.
As the suffering of young women continues to surface across the globe, studies and personal opinion continue to find no sensible reason for female circumcision, considering it to be an act of violence against women.
It is estimated that 100 million–140 million women and girls have already been subjected to some form of female genital mutilation.
“Female mutilation is against the law, but people are still dying from it,” said Ikoluba, a volunteer for the Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation in New York City. “Just earlier this year, one girl died from the bleeding and her sister ran away.” She herself was excised when she was 13 years old. “I wanted to run away, but my mother assured me that I should not be scared. She said she would hold my hand and that I would be okay”. “I felt as if I were going to die. It was very painful to urinate after the cutting. I had infections and fever and lots of nightmares.”
If you want to read more, read the full article here: The Epoch Times.
Those women have been infected with HIV. They earn some money by making beautiful jewellery from the metal of old war bullets. See how they do it:
Malala Yousafzai, the girl who fights for girls’right to education, who was shot by Talibans last year and survived the attacks, is interviewed about the 250 Nigerian girls who have recently been abducted.
“Girls in Nigeria are my sisters, and it’s my responsibility that I speak up for my sisters…A girl is a human being, and no one can deny the rights of a girl…These terrorists are afraid of women, and that’s why they are kidnapping women. So, in my opinion, the international community needs to stand up. Because if we remain silent, this will spread and this will happen more and more…The best way that we [can] protect ourselves is [when] we speak up.”
She says that the group Boko Haram, which kidnapped these girls in Nigeria, does not understand Islam.
“They are extremists, they are abusing the name of Islam, because they have forgotten that Islam means Peace… I think they haven’t studied Islam yet, they haven’t studied Quran yet, and they should go and they should learn Islam.”
— Malala Yousafzai, to CNN, on the #BringBackOurGirls movement.
You can watch a video of Malala’s interview here:
Late last month, Rattani and a group of Mipsterz (= Muslim hipsters) released a video to the tune of the Jay-Z song “Somewhere in America” .
The video shows diverse Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab, or head covering, and do so with individual style. The women are also seen doing quirky, random things like skateboarding, walking around a forest, and other hipster-esque escapades.
These women are lawyers, doctors, athletes, mothers, shoppers, but above all they are powerful Muslim American women… and they are hipsters!
The video has sparked huge amounts of commentary, both positive and negative.
Click on the link to view the video:
“International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
This year’s theme, “Equality for women is progress for all” emphasizes how gender equality, empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development. It also stresses the vital role of women as agents of development.”
16 years old Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban a year ago after campaigning for better rights for girls in Pakistan, has received the EU’s Sakharov human rights prize at a ceremony in Strasbourg.
The 50,000 euro ($65,000) prize is considered Europe’s top human rights award.
“I am hopeful the European Parliament will look beyond Europe to the suffering countries where people are still deprived of their basic rights, their freedom of thought is suppressed, freedom of speech is enchained,” Ms Yousafzai said.
“Many children have no food to eat, no water to drink and children are starving for education. It is alarming that 57 million children are deprived of education… this must shake our conscience.”
She began her speech with a famous quote from 18th Century French philosopher Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
She said children in countries such as Pakistan “do not want an iPhone, a PlayStation or chocolates, they just want a book and a pen”.
MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) gave her a standing ovation.
You can see her and listen to parts of her speech here :