Posts tagged ‘Women’
Treat me with respect
Dont make me the subject of your abuse
Will beating me up produce you a male heir?
Does your ego get crushed each time I answer you back?
Did it make a big difference to your manhood?
Oh mother father why did you make me promise never to leave my marital home
Why should I be humiliated by this man every day?
Why does society frown upon women who leave their husbands?
I long to leave and go back to my parents
Alas they will not accept me and I will have to go back
These scars will heal but what about the ones in my heart?
I suffer everyday along with the rest of my sisters on mother earth
Leaving my husband will only lead to dishonor
Stop this Violence, Stop This Hate
Stop this Violence, Stop This Hate
You may have married me but you don’t own me
You may have your rights but you owe me my rights
I will not let you ruin my life any further
This is the end of the line for you
This is the end of the line for me
I recently received a message in my Facebook InBox from a young woman in Islamabad who has been trying to connect with me for a while; something or the other always happens to prevent that meeting from happening hence she believes that the universe conspires to keep us apart. The message she sent was so affectionate, complimentary and yet sincere that I asked her if I could share it on my blog without mentioning her name. She said I could so I am posting it here.
The Universe doesn’t intend for me to meet you.
So, I’ll just have to let you know here how I feel about you. I love you – I think you are incredible and have a beautiful, fun spirit that is SO rare. I have absolutely no agenda in meeting you except to perhaps have a little bit of your awesomeness rub off on me I know if I ever met you I’ll just sit there like an idiot and not know what to say and maybe I should give up any plans of ever meeting you – but creepy as I may sound I am a HUGE fan. Your strength and energy and inherent goodness inspires me and at the cost of appearing like a complete fool, I’ll say it again … I LOVE YOU SO MUCH and I keep you in my prayers.
Keep doing the wonderful things that you do – you give women like me HOPE.
What does this message do other than give my ego a boost? Well, I think more than anything it shows us that we have a great responsibility toward the young people that we interact with. Today this young woman thinks I am the bees-knees. Tomorrow a small slip-up from me could shatter her faith in the human race. So it is up to me – and to all of us who are mentors and leaders in our own space – to make sure that we don’t say or do anything, nor behave in any way, that could result in young people in our community feeling disillusioned, in young people feeling let down. That is a primary responsibility that we must bear and live up to.
This young woman is a great example of someone who believes in the goodness of people around her. I would never want her to lose that. I meet a lot of young people in the course of my job. Many of them have great expectations from all of us. I know we are not always able to do what they want of us but the least we can do is retain their faith and their trust – show them that there are people whom they can believe in, people who have values and who they can rely on.
Should women be portrayed as the prey that a man should hunt down or make fools of? I find that absolutely unacceptable, despicable and in completely bad form. Perhaps the ad agency and the brand they represent should think about their corporate responsibility. They are targeting young people. Are these the values they want to instil?
If I have misunderstood the message, I am willing to be corrected but I think not.
As part of our work in Pakistan, the APC WNSP through P@SHA and Bytes for All are calling for proposals for projects that seek to address the intersection between violence against women and girls, and/or to stop violence against women and girls through the strategic use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
What kind of proposals will be considered for the small grant?
- development of tools and platforms that will facilitate women and girls’ access, use and development of ICTs, with a particular focus on secure online communications
- implementation of strategies that strengthen women’s participation in ICT policy processes
- projects that promote the strategic use of ICT tools in projects and programmes that address violence against women
- projects that improve sexual assault survivors access to ICTs to assist in access to information and resources
- projects that use ICTs to support the collection of data and statistics
- research projects that contribute to knowledge about the interconnections of violence against women and ICTs
- Building the ICT capacities of providers of services to sexual violence survivors
- empowerment and self-healing methodologies through strategic use of ICTs for women and adolescent girl survivors of violence
- capacity-building workshops that aim to build the skills of women and girls in the strategic use of ICTs to end violence against women and girls
- advocacy campaigns to lobby for policy changes that increase access to information and communication resources and expand communication rights for women and girls
- awareness raising campaigns to build common knowledge, establish and amplify context-specific discourses on the issue of violence against women and girls and ICTs
Here are some examples of proposals that would be considered:
- Training for volunteers and staff at counseling and women’s support centres in how to use a secure online database to collect data about survivors of violence who seek counseling and support
- Mapping projects related to the collection of statistics about the incidences of violence against women, where they occur, and what forms of support are available
- Creating online support networks for example for survivors of violence, etc
Please note that proposals that aim to only buy equipment and hardware cannot be supported. A reasonable portion of the budget can be set aside for equipment but we need to see how people will benefit.
Who is eligible to apply for a small grant?
Proposals will be accepted from any organisation, network, group or collective operating from a not-for-profit framework. Individual developers or techies with proposals for tools and platforms must have a relationship with an organisation / network with whom they will work, or who will benefit from and the proposal should demonstrate this.
What are the criteria for selection?
- Clearly outlines and addresses useful preventing violence against women initiatives
- Projects that directly engage with the concerns of marginalised women and girls and contribute to securing their safety and strengthening their agency
- Activity contributes to the priority issues identified during the National Strategy Workshop:
Awareness regarding privacy & security issues online & how to handle them
Monitoring & tracking of VAW
Training of women activists
- Activity/project could be replicated
- Proposal clearly states objectives, includes a methodology/implementation strategy, identifies outputs, partners/stakeholders and includes a time line and budget
- Realistic within budgetary and time constraints
- Use of Free and Open Source (FOSS) applications is greatly encouraged
- Candidates must be available for capacity building workshop to be held during the implementation phase of the project
How to apply for a small grant
Your proposal should be a maximum of 6 pages including budget and include the following sections:
- Description of the problem or issue the proposal will respond to
- Description of the activity including objectives
- Duration of the activity
- Who are the beneficiaries?
- How does the activity relate to the project’s overall objectives in Pakistan
- Capacity to implement
Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apply by: September 10, 2010
Results out by: September 24, 2010
Successful grantees will be required to submit narrative and financial report to illustrate how funds have been spent
The detailed TBTT Small Grants Flyer can be downloaded here:
TBTT Small Grants Flyer
Jan Moolman, one of the facilitators of the Feminist Tech Exchange, and a key member of the APC Women’s Program, talks about the Digital Story Telling workshops and what they entail.
Jennifer Radloff, who is a part of the Association of Progressive Communications (APC) Women’s Program, talks about the APC Women’s Program and the capacity building work that she and others at APC are a part of.
I think that although I have always been an optimist, in many ways I am a cynic as well . Although I was confident that most of the participants that we had nominated for the first Train the Trainer program of the MDG3 Feminist Tech Exchange were confident, dedicated, talented, hardworking, fun-loving individuals with a strong commitment to making a difference to the society and the community, I wasn’t really sure what the take-away from this first workshop would be.
Having attended zillions of conferences, seminars and workshops over the years, I am very often put off by the format of such things. There are facilitators or speakers who, through those much-dreaded Powerpoints, tell us how much they know, how much they have achieved and what we should do to join the ranks of the successful and be more like them.
Fortunately for us, the FTX facilitators turned out to be pleasantly very different. Jan, Jenny, Val and Cheekay have put a structure to the workshop no doubt, but the space has been very much ours. From the get-go participants have been encouraged to share, to create and to be a part of the proceedings.
It started with the three videos that we were shown. They showed each of us how a simple but impactful message could be created using very basic tools. It didn’t require one to be a creative genius or a nerd.
The story circles were powerful and totally unexpected. The sharing of experiences (our own or those in which we played a central role) revealed much more than any of us had really expected. The struggle, the abuse, the violence, the challenges and the eventual strength, confidence, success and empowerment that resulted from not letting the circumstances engulf us but deciding to survive instead and go on to empower others, was a message that came clearly through.
Sure there were tears as many talked about very personal experiences for the very first time but it resulted in catharsis of a sort although it was unbelievably draining. I think that the sharing of the stories and experiences created a bond between most of the participants. It also showed them that they were not alone, that things happened which were sometimes totally out of their control. It also spelt out quite clearly the many varied societal issues that exist and how some have managed to not only survive them but have got stronger because of it, and are now prepared to help others avoid similar challenges and issues.
More later. Have to attend Day 5.
In the meantime, here are links to blog posts put up by some of the facilitators:
When we invited facilitators and experts from the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) to conduct the first Feminist Tech Exchange (FTX) in Pakistan, I was excited. We all were. However, I don’t think any of us could have foreseen how inspiring and powerful the first day of the workshop would be.
A quick look at the FTX Website tells us that:
The Feminist Tech Exchange, also known as the FTX, was developed in response to calls from feminist and women’s rights movements for greater understanding of emerging technologies, their potential and impact on the rights and lives of women.
Through skills sharing, information exchange and discussions, the FTX explores feminist practices and politics of technology, and raises awareness on the critical role of communication rights in the struggle to advance women’s rights worldwide.
The FTX-es also aim to create a connection between ICT and the empowerment of women, for women to take control of technology and use it for their own benefit and for the benefit of the communities and societies in which they live.
The first ever such workshop in Pakistan started in Islamabad yesterday. It was a day I will not soon forget. Digital Story Telling, Online Security and Online Advocacy skills are all very much part of the agenda of this 5 day workshop. In this video, Jan Moolman, the Global Coordinator for the MDG3 project who is an expert from South Africa and a core member of the APC, told us the importance of Digital Stories and read out some prose that explained why people wrote what they did (and why they told the stories that they did). She then went on to show us some of the stories that were developed in other parts of the world by people just like us.
I am a fan of Sama Nadeem Izhar (and no it is not simply because she is the kid sister of my friend Jawwad Ahmed Farid). The first time I saw Sama’s work in the Alchemy Technologies office – paintings, beautiful flower pots painted with intricate and colourful designs, etc., I just had to own one of her works. And so I chose what poor industry association presidents can afford – a lovely flower pot. It lit up my office and brought a smile to my face each time I walked in. Thanks Sama.
Now that Sama has decided to go online with her art, I am absolutely delighted. She can light up so many homes and offices with her work. Brother dear who is a new entrant into Facebook has set up a Facebook page and a blog for Sama to showcase her work.
And now Jawwad has decided to go one step further and hold a special Online Art Auction of a painting that Sama has just finished and it is yet to dry. It is called “Woman by the wall” , oil on canvas, unframed. Dimensions 36 inches by 42 inches. For more details regarding the online auction, check out Jawwad’s blog.
After the intense morning session, Dr. Awab Alvi (better known as Teeth Maestro), gave a very enlightening presentation on “Online Activism Tools”. He engaged the participants in a discussion on how they currently engaged in activism, awareness-creation and policy advocacy and showed them how various online social media and SMS tools can be used to effectively involve people in activism on important issues. He also showed them how to organize groups of people for rallies and protests and how to remain annonymous if one needed to, while engaging in these activities. Some of the tools were even new to those of us who are actively using new media already. Awab’s talk was received very well and participants asked him a lot of questions which he answered very patiently.
The next presentation was by Rabia Garib, Editor-in-Chief of CIO Pakistan. She spoke about Online Privacy and how to keep oneself safe online while using all the latest technologies. “We are our first line of defence”, she said and there are simple things we can do to ensure that we are secure online and that our privacy is not invaded.
She gave some common-sense tips that participants could follow to avoid being cyber-stalked and to keep ones personal data “private”. She made it all sound so simple and easy to do. The Q&A showed how interesting and relevant the talk had been.
On the second day of the workshop Tahira Abdullah gave a very comprehensive presentation on existing laws and policies that affected VAW in Pakistan. She explained how many of the policies were actually in conflict with the Constitution of Pakistan. The presentation was extremely detailed and presented with the passion that one has come to expect from Tahira. She had participants listening intently to every word she uttered. A copy of the presentation is available for download here.
Tahira spoke about several pieces of legislation and policies that had been enacted over the years and explained how they were inadequate. These included the Women’s Protection Act, the distorted Domestic Violence Bill, the laws on Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace and a draft bill on Reproductive Health and Rights. Her contention was that positive new legislation cannot be effective without repealing existing anti-women legislation. She also emphasized that there was a need to collect, compile and analyze all data sets disaggregated by gender. There also needed to be greater participation of women in all fora: political, economic, legislative – decision-making and policy planning, she said.
I then made my presentation on the Prevention of E-Crime Ordinance & VAW – the gaps, the issues and why all of us should be concerned and should work with the government to bring about the changes that are necessary. In fact the consensus was that any policy that was being formulated should have a gender element and focus to it.
(Part 3 of this post will be put up in the morning).
“I make sure his meals are ready on time. His clothes are washed and ironed. His children are taken care of and happy. His living space is clean and comfortable. I even had another child because he wanted one more. I work so that he can continue to send money home to his parents in the village. What more does he want from me? Why does he still doubt me? Why is he still annoyed with me?” wailed my young housekeeper on my return from KL.
On further inquiry I learnt that apparently her husband had started passing snide remarks about knowing what she was up to all day in the house while he was at work. He said he could see how happy she was while he was away. He apparently resents the fact that she indulges in idle chit-chat with the chauffeur (who takes care of my father during the day). It is interesting to note that the driver is a friend of her husband’s. They are on family terms and have known each other for years.
She tried to explain to him that she has to go inside the house to give my father his meals, to do the cleaning and ironing, and the driver is there because my father now needs help with everything. What is she supposed to do? Not talk to him? When people work together, she said, they talk and sometimes they laugh. Is there something wrong with that? It is all quite innocent.
She was very upset that he had insinuated that she was flirting with the driver. She said “How can he even think that? He knows what kind of a woman I am. Why are my morals suspect all of a sudden?” He said she could go home to her mother if she wished.
Peace-loving as I am, I lost my cool completely. First of all, I have known this young woman for 7 years. She is a happy-go-lucky person who loves her husband and children and who has shown a lot of compassion to my father during his illness. She has never given her husband any reason to doubt her moral character. How dare he insult her like this? And did he think that if he sent her away, he would continue to avail the accommodation that we had provided them?
I was really upset. I could see what his annoyance had done to her. For several days she didn’t smile. Her eyes looked sad. He had robbed her of her dignity and her confidence in their marriage. She felt he had taken something very important away from her. I wanted to talk to him and yet I didn’t want to make things worse for her. This was between them and although I could offer her support, I did not want to interfere in her marriage.
But this did make me think about how “violence” can be more than just physical, how one person can cause such mental anguish in another. I remember another case where a man kept telling his newly married wife (who was a bright and confident young woman) how stupid she was, how incapable she was of doing the simplest things – to the extent that she began to rely on him for everything and became totally dysfunctional without him. She lost all confidence in her abilities and when he eventually left her, she was a shadow of a person who could neither function professionally, nor socially. Physical violence is something we recognize and talk about a great deal but what about this invisible thrashing that totally kills a person from the inside? Isn’t that an even worse kind of violence?
As I read the news of her demise on my flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur, I felt very sad. I had never met Corazon Aquino but I did remember when Cory was suddenly pushed into public life after the assassination of her husband Benigno Aquino. Everyone referred to her as a reluctant leader which she was, but she brought with her a breath of fresh air to Philippine politics. She was honest, humble and felt a moral responsibility to rid the country of a dictator who had been at the helm of affairs for 20 years.
Even as a young person living in Hong Kong at the time, I was drawn to what became the “People Power” movement in the Philippines. The yellow signature dress, the yellow t-shirts, flags and caps, the yellow ribbons everywhere. Cory had inspired and won the hearts of the people of her country and they came out in droves to support this woman who wanted to bring about change. In 1986 she fulfilled her husband’s dream of ridding the country of Ferdinand Marcos through a democratic movement that the world watched with admiration.
As we observed a few moments of silence at the MDG3 Asia Regional Workshop in KL to show our respect, the Philipino delegates could not hold back their emotions and broke into tears. She stood for something special – a moral leader who was loved. In her election campaign she had said “I agree with my critics that I do not have the years of experience that Marcos does – the years of practising corruption, dishonesty and misuse of power … ” but she promised to serve to the best of her ability.
It is no wonder then that the people of the Philippines came out in the hundreds of thousands to bid farewell to a rare breed of politician – a moral one who discharged her responsibilities ethically. In the eulogy at her mother’s funeral, Cory’s daughter Kim said that the Philipino people honoured her family by coming out into the streets and expressing their grief at her mother’s death. She said that although she had lost both her parents, her family believed that any sacrifice they made the people of the Philippines were worth it.
Rest in peace Cory! You showed women everywhere what it is to be brave and how morals and ethics can be an integral part of politics.