From The Hub: “In 2008, political violence erupted throughout Zimbabwe as a result of highly contested national elections. Between May and July alone, local organizations estimate that state-sanctioned groups abducted, raped, tortured, and beat over 2,000 women and girls due to their political affiliations.”
From BNet: “More needs to be done to deal with an epidemic of rape in the world’s conflict zones and to help victimized women, Doctors Without Borders said Thursday, reporting that its staffers alone treat an average of 35 cases every day.” This report was filed in 2007 and the numbers have clearly risen since then…
Among all the crises in the world, the rape of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives is a crime that should shame All men…
Zimbabwe is one country, the problem is global; but, you can help in Zimbabwe by signing this petition…
“The Bahá’í International Community welcomes the opportunity to speak to agenda item 11 [Consideration of contemporary trends in and new challenges to the full realization of all human rights of women and men, including those of persons belonging to vulnerable groups] at this historic World Conference. We hope that comprehensive consideration of the human rights of women will continue at all future gatherings for the advancement of human rights, and we support the resolution adopted by the Commission on the Status of Women at its 1993 session urging that women’s rights and concerns be considered under all substantive items of the provisional agenda for the World Conference on Human Rights.
“The persistence and growth of violence directed against women, both personal and institutional, is largely attributable to the traditional exclusion of women from processes of development and decision-making. A profound adjustment in humanity’s collective outlook is needed, guided by the consideration of universal values and spiritual principles. Legislation is needed which lends practical expression to the equality of the sexes by dealing with the particular injustices which women face.
“Domestic violence is a fact of life for many women throughout the world, regardless of race, class, or educational background. In many societies traditional beliefs that women are a burden make them easy targets of anger. In other situations, men’s frustration is vented on women and children when economies shrink and collapse. In all parts of the world, violence against women persists because it goes unpunished.”
Bahá’í International Community Statement to the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights; Vienna, Austria 14-25 June 1993
Women are important.
Rights are important.
Water is important.
So, why are so many women so challenged when it comes to getting water? (to see some fascinating yet chilling visual evidence, click on “image credit” at the top of this post)
From OneWorld.Net: “Women and girls in developing countries bear significant economic, physical, and health burdens to provide water for their families on a daily basis — ‘this is the forgotten glass ceiling’, write sustainable water experts John Sauer and Andra Tamburro.”
The article goes on to say:
“Women in poor communities across Asia, Africa, and South America typically walk an average of 3 miles a day to fetch water for their households, often from contaminated sources such as rivers, unprotected springs, and shallow wells…The time this takes could be spent instead on income-generating activities, education, and caring for the family. Moreover, the quality of water that women in developing nations must bring home puts people at risk of deadly diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and amoebic dysentery, diarrheal diseases that kill more children under five than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.”
What can be done about it?
How will worsening climate change affect the situation?
Some of the answers can be found at OneWorld.Net’s Water and Sanitation guide.
The intro to the guide states:
“The achievement of providing 1.6 billion people with access to safe drinking water since 1990 is potentially jeopardised by the absence of matching investment in sanitation. The lack of hygienic facilities experienced by 2.5 billion people is a fundamental cause of disease which leads to 1.5 million deaths of children each year. Climate change uncertainties cast a menacing shadow over the efforts of developing countries to honour their citizens’ rights to safe water and sanitation.”
It continues with these topics (along with many links to further information):
The Sanitation Deficit
The Benefits of Water and Sanitation
The Right to Water and Sanitation
Water and Sanitation in Global Politics
Local Governance of Water and Sanitation
Water is a Finite Resource
Climate Change and Water
Like most of the problems afflicting humanity, nothing significant will happen to rectify the situation until the people in-charge and the people affected attain some measure of Unity…
“Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion and society they are a very important element. As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133
If three times is a charm, what’s four times?
A done deal?
I’ve posted about Bita Haidarian and her upcoming film, Finding Bibi, three times so far (check out the links for two trailers of the film !):
For this fourth post, since the Movement that’s evolving around the film is reaching a peak of excitement, I’ll publish the latest press release:
New York, NY
Founded by Bita Haidarian in 2009
Contact: Todd Brogan (firstname.lastname@example.org), Head of Creative Expansion
FILMMAKER’S FANS MAKE THEIR VOICES HEARD
Voters to Decide New Organization’s First Project
Iranian-American documentary filmmaker Bita Haidarian, whose work has been described as “the best hope for film and politics in Australia,” launched a groundbreaking organization in March, and her democratic approach is already bearing fruit.
More than 200 fans voted in round one to decide the organization’s first-ever project. The three winning submissions vary widely, though all share the stories of women striving for empowerment. One idea suggests providing cameras to individuals participating in empowerment programs, which they would use to create short films on topics of their choice. Another idea proposes that Finding Bibi organize “hijab flashmobs” as a show of solidarity with women discriminated against for wearing head coverings. The final proposal would have Finding Bibi recruiting young women and girls to become journalists, reporting on the status of women in their region and having those reports carried on major networks.
Haidarian and her volunteer staff closed the site to new submissions and reviewed the top three ideas. This morning, they submitted the proposals (with notes added) to fans for one last round of voting. The polls will close in two weeks, at which point Haidarian will announce the winning project and her plans for making it a reality. Fans can vote by visiting FindingBibi.com and clicking ‘Discuss’.
The project contest and the organization were announced in March, both rooted in the spirit of Haidarian’s upcoming film Finding Bibi, which follows her on a journey of self discovery and in search of a “great female story.” Haidarian, the daughter of Baha’i religious refugees from Iran, gave her fans a deciding voice in the new initiative from the start. Fans submitted 20 ideas using the ranking site Slinkset, similar to applications used in social bookmarking sites like Digg. They were then able to vote for or against each other’s ideas.
“We are inspired by so many of the ideas that were submitted, and we’re especially pleased with those that won the first round,” said Haidarian. “We’re hoping for more votes in the final round, and looking forward to input from an even more diverse crowd.” The website, FindingBibi.com, also features updates on the film and its most recent trailer, as well as regular blog posts on the constantly innovating organization. The film is slated for completion late this year.
### If you would like more information about Finding Bibi the film or organization, please direct all questions to Todd Brogan at email@example.com.
“That men and women differ from one another in certain characteristics and functions is an inescapable fact of nature and makes possible their complementary roles in certain areas of the life of society; but it is significant that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has stated that in this Dispensation ‘Equality of men and women, except in some negligible instances, has been fully and categorically announced’.”
The Universal House of Justice, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 7
Both images (the same person) are from National Geographic. The one on the left taken in 1984, the right in 2002, in Afghanistan.
The woman was interviewed in 2002. Here’s an excerpt:
Had she ever felt safe?
“No. But life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order.”
Had she ever seen the photograph of herself as a girl?
She can write her name, but cannot read. She harbors the hope of education for her children. “I want my daughters to have skills,” she said. “I wanted to finish school but could not. I was sorry when I had to leave.”
Education, it is said, is the light in the eye. There is no such light for her. It is possibly too late for her 13-year-old daughter as well, Sharbat Gula said. The two younger daughters still have a chance.
This is a story repeated far too often in our world but there is strong reason for hope!
One among many reasons for hope is a site called The Girl Effect and I can’t urge you strongly enough to click that link and at least watch the really awesome video !
Here is a PDF file of their Fact Sheet and here’s an excerpt from that Fact Sheet:
The Ripple Effect
• When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.
• An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.
• Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.
• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.
• Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.
Girls Count !
Here are two videos from their site:
“The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 288<
“As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133
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