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from The Human Impact:

India’s greed for dowries lies at heart of many abuses against women

Bride Kalpana and groom Bhavin Munjpara exchange wedding vows inside a hospital in Ahmedabad

The customs and traditions of our forefathers - performed during festivals and on special occasions such as births, weddings and funerals – can be beautiful, reminding us of a life past.

However, one custom in India has been exploited over the years so much that today it is directly responsible for the death of a woman every hour, and the mental and physical torture of countless others.

Despite being outlawed more than half a century ago, the custom of dowry continues unabated - promoting the view that girls and women are a liability and resulting in abuse, discrimination and murder.

Dowries - traditionally gold jewellery that parents give to their daughter when she marries - have turned into a commercial enterprise in India, with the groom's family demanding "gifts" in return for marriage.

from The Human Impact:

From the sickening to the bizarre, Indian politicians still don’t get rape

A member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist uses an iPad to take pictures of a  protest rally in Kolkata

 

Covering women's rights issues for so many years in India, I still find the number of ways women and girls are abused and discriminated against unfathomable.

From their discrimination in accessing health care, education and employment opportunities, to their brutal rapes and murders. From having acid thrown in their faces, to being trafficked for domestic or sexual slavery. From their suicides due to dowry demands, to their molestation on buses and trains. It often feels like a bottomless pit.

from The Human Impact:

“They told me to have a sex change” – Iranian lesbian

Sara, a bright young woman studying for a masters at Tehran University, is a lesbian – but if the Iranian authorities had their way, she would change her sex and become a man.

Homosexuality is considered sinful in predominantly Muslim Iran, and homosexual acts are illegal. Sex changes, however, are legal and appear to be positively encouraged by doctors and psychologists as “treatment” for people who prefer their own sex.

from Breakingviews:

Review: ‘Leftover Women’ may hinder China’s growth

By Katrina Hamlin

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Women’s rights have taken a step backwards in China. A new book by Leta Hong Fincher blames that on the ruling Communist Party’s desire for social stability. But China may be depriving itself of an economic opportunity.

from The Human Impact:

Do gender and sexuality really matter anymore?

Contestants wait for the start of the annual race on high heels during Gay Pride celebrations in the quarter of Chueca in Madrid

Contestants wait for the start of the annual race on high heels during Gay Pride celebrations in the quarter of Chueca in Madrid

When I sat down with directors Dan Sickles and Antonio Santini to discuss “Mala Mala,” their documentary which premiered last month at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, I took out my laptop and went over my questions one more time, as I always do.

from The Human Impact:

Gender identity a top theme at Tribeca Film Festival

Music may have been the biggest theme at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, but movies exploring gender identity and sexuality also made a strong mark at the event, which wraps up on Sunday in New York.

Among them was “Mala Mala,” about the trans community in conservative Puerto Rico, and “Something Must Break,” a Swedish drama depicting the difficult love story of a young man whose looks defy gender norms and his straight-identifying boyfriend.

from The Human Impact:

Can a mother truly hate her own son?

One line in Bad Hair, which had its U.S. premiere at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York, has made me uncomfortable for days.

“I don’t love you,” Junior, the nine-year-old protagonist of Venezuelan director Mariana Rondón’s movie, tells his mother in the emotionally charged scene.

from The Human Impact:

Ending the beatings, rapes, murders: Where are India’s men?

Violence against women is widespread across the world. Globally, 35 percent of women have been beaten by an ‘intimate partner’ or suffered sexual violence at the hands of a non-partner in their lifetime, the World Health Organisation says.

The same research suggests that almost one third of women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner, and that some 38 percent of all murders of women are committed by their husband or boyfriend.

from The Human Impact:

Using rape as an excuse for moral policing in India

The conversation has changed in India since that horrific night in December 2012 when a young woman returning home after watching a movie at the cinema was gang raped on a moving bus and left to die on the streets of the Indian capital.

The crime - which triggered outrage amongst urban Indians who took to the streets to protest - acted as a turning point, forcing many in India to face up to the widespread violence inflicted on women and girls in this largely patriarchal nation.

from The Human Impact:

Gender injustice: When Indian judges get it wrong

An Indian judge who called pre-marital sex "immoral" and against "the tenets of every religion" has been criticised by activists who say his remarks highlight gender insensitivity within the judiciary and the challenges faced by victims of sex crimes in seeking justice.

Judge Virender Bhat, who presides over a fast-track court which hears cases of sexual offences, made the remarks after ruling in one case that there was insufficient evidence that a man had duped a woman into having sex with him by promising marriage.

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