TYO Recommends: January 20, 2012

With International Women’s Day just around the corner on March, 8, 2012, TYO takes a closer look at setbacks and strides to greater freedoms and broader rights for women in developing nations.


VICTIMS OF VICTORY: Though the uprisings of the Arab Spring brought tides of change sweeping over many nations of the Middle East and Northern Africa, in Egypt at least, some things simply have not changed. The New York Times interviews several WOMEN ACTIVISTS who boldly participated in the Egyptian movement, yet continue to face humiliation, disparagement, and physical and mental abuse from their male counterparts. Lamentably, the rights many women hoped the revolution might encourage remain amidst the broken glass and debris.

GOING FOR THE GOLD: Elsewhere, in Afghanistan, young boxers are taking matters into their own hands, or gloves rather, as members of the country’s FIRST FEMALE BOXING TEAM. The girls practice in Ghazi Stadium, a former public punishment site for the Taliban that currently provides a security detail to protect the girls during practice. Though they continue to face threats from those who disapprove, the girls have their hearts set on bringing home the gold in the 2012 Olympic games in London.

LAND BECOMES LAW: In Pakistan, a law was recently enacted to forbid parents from excluding their DAUGHTERS in obtaining property rights. Though the measure does not provide full equality under the law (according to Shari'a law, a daughter may receive half as much property as a son), it does impose a stiff 50,000 rupee (approx. $987) fine and five-year jail term on any who refuse to comply.

STORIES OF THE DISAPPEARED: Elsewhere in Pakistan, women like Amina Masood Janjua search in vain for their missing husbands, fathers, and sons, members of the DISAPPEARED during the war on terrorism. Mrs. Masood has formed a group, Defense of Human Rights, which has registered over 1,030 missing persons (99% men) in just five short years. Many women, like Mrs. Masood, have filled the vacuum left by their loved ones, taking over as the breadwinners of their households.

“SEE” THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO BE: Women in India are taking the lead, standing up as leaders in the country. A recent study and survey in West Bengal co-authored by MIT economist Esther Duflo discovered that seeing women in power INSPIRES YOUNG WOMEN to seek power through higher education. “Seeing women in charge persuaded parents and teens that women can run things, and increased their ambitions," says Duflo, a co-founder of MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL). Now employment must keep pace with the rising expectations of young women modeling their futures off the contemporary figures they admire.

STARTING THE NEW YEAR RIGHT: Women are shaking things up on this side of the Atlantic as well. Of the TOP 12 EDUCATION ACTIVISTS FOR 2012, seven are women, including Princeton University students Catharine Bellinger and Alexis Morin, head of the national Data Quality Campaign Aimee Guidera, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, Superintendent Kaya Henderson, Michaelle Rhee’s successor here in DCPS, the brains behind The New Teacher Project (TNTP) Ariela Rozman, and president of the national American Federation of Teachers Randi Weingarten. Other well-known faces on the list include Matt Damon and Ron Tomalis, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Education.

WHEN ALL GOES DARK: The internet went on strike—literally. If you haven’t already heard about the contentious  Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) which were all but ground to a halt this week, now is the time. Major Internet powerhouses such as Google, Wikipedia, Craigslist, Reddit, WordPress, and Mozilla joined in the protest, proclaiming an international Black-Out day for their sites. The sites, with numerous others, protested what they called a major infringement on freedom of speech and heavy-handed censorship by the U.S. government. The bills were designed to tackle copyright infringement, a threat government officials say is primarily aimed at foreign websites pirating American consumer goods (film, music, online books, etc.) at the expense of American businesses. They proposed site shutdowns, access blocking, and lawsuits against accused parties. Hear what the BBC, GUARDIAN, and LOS ANGELES TIMES have to say.

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