The Great Debate UK
- Annette Lawson is chair of National Alliance of Women’s Organisations in Britain. She has an OBE for services to diversity and is founder and Chair of The Judith Trust, which works for better lives for people with both learning disabilities and mental illness needs. Any opinions expressed are her own. -
International Women’s Day on March 8 has a contested history. Perhaps beginning with a protest of women textile and shirt makers in New York in 1857, perhaps arising from the Socialist movement in Russia, it has been marked by women more recently all over the world both to express solidarity and sisterhood and to demand afresh every year that women’s human, political and civil rights be recognised and achieved. Some might wish to argue there is no need for such an event, nor for women’s demands. In this case, ignorance brings no bliss.
Violence in the form of rape – wars increase rape many times and atrocities are being committed daily in the Congo as I write – domestic violence; female genital mutilation; sexual assault; pornography; trafficking for sexual exploitation; forced marriage; traditional rights of rape and forced re-marriage of widows; prostitution – a long litany of gender based violence is the major, continuing global affront to women. Murder by a husband or male partner is a common cause of murder of women in the UK. If you are not dead, all of these assaults also lead to serious health problems for women and girls.
Then everywhere the ‘gender pay gap’ keeps women in less well rewarded positions than men and helps to make the climb out of poverty more difficult; women are in any case poorer globally than men and still in many parts of the world have no rights to land ownership or to their own property – nor even to their children. In parts of the world, women’s movement is severely restricted; education is denied to the girl child and there are still many women who may not choose how or whether to earn a livelihood, to be economically independent, whether or not to marry, or whether or not to bear children.
from Photographers Blog:
On Jan. 14 Reuters hosted a live video Q&A with our renowned photographer Finbarr O’Reilly about his experiences in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Finbarr addressed what drew him to Africa and the most difficult aspects of being a photographer in a war zone.
Finbarr is still available to answer questions, submit them in the comments section below or send a Twitter message with the hash tag "#finbarr" .
from The Great Debate:
Neil Campbell, EU Advocacy Manager of the International Crisis Group, recently returned from eastern Congo. Any views expressed are his own.
“Unacceptable and murderous.” Those were the words French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner chose to describe the situation in north eastern Congo at a press conference after October’s monthly meeting of EU foreign ministers. Sadly, Congo was not even on the agenda of that meeting.