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from India Insight:

Guns and Gowns: Documentary shows two faces of the Indian woman

Cosmetic surgeon Jamuna Pai inspects the face of the Miss India contestant before her in Mumbai, furrows her brow and points to a blemish. The verdict: the young woman needs a botox injection in her chin because the "proportions are off by 0.6 percent."

About 400 kilometres away in the town of Aurangabad, worlds apart from India's financial capital, a middle-aged woman in a sari lectures adolescent girls about wanting careers.

"How can you deny 5,000 years of evidence that you are the weaker sex? Stop asking for equality," she thunders to her audience of rapt teenagers in traditional Indian attire.

The two women in Mumbai and Aurangabad, and the subjects of their scrutiny are at the crux of Nisha Pahuja's film "The World Before Her," which opens in Indian cinemas next month.

from India Insight:

Anti-rape bill goes easy on first-time stalkers, but only if innocent

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Women have become increasingly worried about their safety in New Delhi after the gang rape and torture of a young woman aboard a moving bus last December. Not for nothing do people call the city India's rape capital. Beyond the leers and the crass words that men often direct at women walking on the street, fresh fears have arisen over stalkers.

from India Insight:

Making a case for tougher anti-stalking laws

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Should any well meaning law proposed in a democratic parliament be shelved because it risks being misused in some form?

from India Insight:

Delhi gang rape case: ‘she deserved it’ is not a good argument

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

The gang rape of a 23-year-old woman and the beating of her male friend on a moving bus in New Delhi Sunday night has produced debates about women's rights in India and about whether the death penalty -- or castration -- are suitable remedies for the situation. It has not prompted, from what I can see, any speculation that the woman got what she deserved because she was dressed like a slut... until today.

from India Insight:

Gang rape puts spotlight on India’s rape capital

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters)

Yet another rape has rattled India. As I read the details, I felt familiar sensations of anger, frustration, helplessness and vulnerability. Sunday’s incident, in which a 23-year-old student in New Delhi was gang raped, assaulted and thrown out of a bus, made the front pages of India’s newspapers and was debated in parliament.

from India Insight:

Elsewhere in India: Maria Sharapova wins hearts, minds of cameramen

Here's some more news that we found in the Indian press over the weekend and would like to share with you. Rather than present stories of great national importance, we would like to highlight some of the items that you are less likely to see in world news reports. Any opinions that the author might express are surely beneath contempt, and are not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters.

Tennis pro Maria Sharapova visited India. Gushing ensued. "The 25-year-old, here to announce her partnership with UK-based real estate company Homestead, sported an infectious smile throughout the interaction even though the lensmen could not get to focus enough of capturing the blonde beauty. 'Well, it is just the hair and make-up you know. I don't wake up looking like this,' quipped Sharapova when a scribe called her pretty. Here only for a day, Sharapova said food and culture was something she would take back from India. 'I arrived last night and asked the chef what should I try of the Indian food. I had a dosa which tasted really nice. I wanted to have this great Indian experience. There is so much energy in the city, I have been in some quiet areas recently, resting. I really like the culture and people. You all have been really welcoming.'" Final score: love-love. (NDTV)

from India Insight:

To Indian women: Forget freedom, follow rules

Anyone looking for stories of outrages committed against women in India this month doesn't need to look far. Just after an attack on a woman in the northeast city of Guwahati, and a plea by an Islamist group in Jammu & Kashmir for female tourists to dress more conservatively, a group of village elders in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh has released some new rules to ensure that women stay safe. The only loss they'll suffer is individual freedom:

- Women cannot use mobile phones in public

- Women under the age of 40 cannot go outside without a male relative to accompany them.

from India Insight:

Not so safe on Delhi streets

As a thriving metropolis, New Delhi is taking steps towards becoming a world-class city but the safety of its residents remains a concern -- especially if you are a woman.

A Thomson Reuters survey ranks India as the fourth most unsafe place for women in the world. And its capital is no safe haven for its female residents.

from India Insight:

Women culpable for domestic assault? Judges believe so

By Annie Banerji

The country that has a woman president, four women chief ministers and has generated the likes of internationally renowned actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi hasn’t scored too well when it comes to the condition of the fairer sex.

The Indian government released census data on Thursday that said every 14th girl child born in India dies before she can celebrate her fifth birthday. The March Census 2011 revealed a highly skewed gender ratio with the lowest level of child sex ratio (number of girls per 1,000 boys below five years of age) in the country’s history -- 914 from 927 in 2001.

from India Insight:

Women in technology – “unmarketable product in marriage market?”

I moderated a panel discussion for an in-house 'Women in Technology' event in Bangalore this month.

A generic picture of a woman using the computer. REUTERS/Catherine Benson/FilesThe three women on the panel were an impressive lot -- a former defence scientist, a renowned mathematician currently on the Prime Minister's panel and a former-CEO-turned-entrepreneur.

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