imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - js reader version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Women’s rights: Turning point in India, triumph in Manila

by Walden Bello Friday, Jan. 04, 2013 at 3:07 AM

Women’s rights have been in the forefront of international concern over the last few weeks.

Women’s rights: Tu...
india-rape-protest.jpg, image/jpeg, 489x325

Up in arms against rape

Making the biggest headlines were the massive demonstrations in New Delhi and other cities in India provoked by the brutal gang-rape by six men of a 23-year-old physiotherapy student in a moving bus in the Indian capital. The crime, which saw the victim suffer extremely serious wounds in her genitals and intestines, proved to be the trigger for the release of popular anger that had built up over the years over the rise in violence against women.

The statistics are horrific. According to government estimates, almost every 20 minutes, a woman is raped in India. In New Delhi, dubbed the “rape capital of India,” the incidence of rape rose from 572 in 2011 to 661 so far in 2012. Of the 256,329 incidents of violent crime reported for 2011, a total of 228,650, or close to 90 percent, were committed against women.

What accounts for what one writer describes as the “increasingly predatory sexual culture”? For some analysts, the rise in sexual aggression is related to male resentment of the erosion of the traditional subordination of women in India’s patriarchal society by women’s increasing role in the work force, their increased mobility, and their growing social and economic empowerment.

Also a major factor has been police laxness in dealing with rape reports and increased impunity by rapists owing to the victims’ feeling that the legal processes are stacked against them and their wish to avoid the stigma associated with being raped or abused. India is, in this regard, much like other societies, and is little different from, say, the United States, which analyst Shenali Waduge, citing government estimates, says tops the rape chart.

Yet the current protests may turn out to be a turning point, for while much of the media reporting has focused on spontaneous demands like the death penalty or chemical castration for rapists and sex offenders, the recent developments may well mark the emergence of a massive militant mass movement in India that will focus on confronting head-on the patriarchal norms propping up the social subordination of women that is at the root of much sexual violence.

Historic triumph against patriarchy in the Philippines

Even as India’s gender equation may be in the process of transformation, the women’s movement registered a historic victory in the Philippines with the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill. The law, which makes family planning an obligatory policy for the current administration and for future ones, was passed Dec 17 in the House of Representatives and the Senate in the teeth of ferocious opposition from the super-patriarchal Catholic Church hierarchy.

Key provisions of the new law include, among others, the provision of free or cheap contraceptives to poor couples, institutionalization of sex education for students from the sixth grade up, the establishment of maternal care facilities in state-run hospitals, and provision of reproductive health counseling and treatment for women in all hospitals, including those suffering from post-abortion complications, while ensuring respect for the rights of health professionals who cannot offer these services owing to religious belief.

The passage of the RH bill was seen widely as an enormous debacle for the Catholic Church, to which some 80 per cent of the population nominally belong. For 14 years, the Church hierarchy had thrown everything, including the proverbial kitchen sink, at the campaign to have the bill enacted into law. How did the RH advocates manage to beat an institution that has been a massive force in Philippine society for nearly 500 years?

Well, first of all, the Church was fighting a rearguard battle whose outcome could not be in doubt in the long run. Survey after survey had shown large majorities of the population favoring family planning and that these majorities got larger over time. Whereas 61 per cent of respondents in a Social Weather Station survey conducted in 1990 agreed with the statement that “the choice of family planning method is a personal choice of couples and no one should interfere with it,” by 2011, respondents agreeing with it came to 82 per cent.

Yet the passage of the bill could have taken longer had it not been for strategic shift in the discourse of the pro-RH forces. Population management has long enjoyed widespread popular support, with some 90 percent of respondents in an October 2008 Pulse Asia survey agreeing with the statement that it was important to “have the ability to control fertility or plan a family” for the “welfare of the country.” However, in the early years of the family planning debate, the Church and its allies managed, with some success, to paint a sinister side to population management, depicting it as an American plot to contain the Philippines population to serve the interests of the United States as well as a scheme to create a market for the big western contraceptive manufacturers.

The pro-RH coalition was made up of forces that saw unrestrained population growth as a major cause of poverty and underdevelopment and women’s groups that focused on the reproductive rights of women. In the early years of the family planning debate, the discourse was heavily weighted on the side of population management. In the last few years, however, the discourse shifted heavily towards emphasizing the reproductive rights and welfare of women.

While the Church and its political allies continued to portray the bill as a foreign-inspired attempt to control the population of the country, the pro-RH forces were able to popularize the bill to politicians and to the public as one that would allow women and their partners free and informed choice in deciding the size of their families and the spacing of their children in order to achieve a better quality of like by providing them access to free or low-cost contraceptives.

While the Church and its allies denied that the family size was positively correlated with poverty, RH advocates produced convincing statistics that showed that the larger the family, the lower its income. They also produced reliable studies that showed that over 22 percent of Filipino couples wanted to limit their families to escape poverty but were prevented by lack of access to contraceptives and lack of familiarity with family planning, from doing so.

While the anti-RH forces claimed that promoting contraception would inevitably lead to legitimizing abortion, the pro-RH forces turned the argument around and argued that providing access to contraceptives would greatly reduce the incidence of abortion, which is now estimated at 400,000 to 500,000 a year. The anti-RH forces also found it difficult to counter the pro-RH coalition’s claim that greater reproductive health care would greatly reduce the mortality rate for Filipino mothers, which increased from 162 per 100,000 live births in 2009 to 221 in 2011.

While the Church tried hard to present the program as a top-down population control program on the part of the state, the pro-RH forces argued successfully that a decline in the fertility rate at the macro level would be an “incidental result” of voluntary family planning at the micro level–though a very important incidental result, since failure in the near future to reduce the country’s currently high Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 3.1 would guarantee a population of some 200-250 million or more at the end of the century, which most economists and ecologists agreed would be unsustainable.

In the end, the Church hierarchy and its allies were reduced to becoming, like their counterparts in the climate front, denialists—that is, denying flat-out the results of surveys, medical statistics, and demographic calculations. Or they were cornered into making fallacious arguments such as the claim the RH bill was unconstitutional because it was anti-life, uttering silly statements like the classic assertion of one congressman that “contraception is abortion,” or trotting out outrageous remarks like that of Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who compared President Benigno Aquino III to the shooter Adam Lanza, who massacred 27 children and adults in Newtown, Connecticut.

Two steps forward, one step back

The events in India and the Philippines are steps forward in the struggle against gender oppression and for women’s rights. Yet that the road ahead promises no easy struggle for women is underlined by recent developments in the African country of Swaziland, where, according to a Agence France Presse report, police “have banned women from wearing miniskirts and midriff-revealing tops, saying they provoke rape.” The article goes on to quote police spokeswoman Wendy Hleta as saying, “The act of the rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by women.” Further, according to Hleta, “women wearing revealing clothing were responsible for assaults or rapes committed against them.”

Swaziland may have gone farther than other societies in banning what its ultra-conservative authorities regard as unacceptable women’s wear. But the blaming-the-victim syndrome they exhibit is still far too common an attitude among men, whether in the United States, India, Africa, Europe, or Latin America.

More broadly, misogynist and patriarchal attitudes are not only resisting stubbornly. In many societies, they are making a comeback. Witness recent developments in Egypt, formerly one of the Arab world’s most secular societies, where Islamists in power are pushing hard, as in Iran, to resubordinate women to traditional gender roles.

Women throughout the world are on the march, but the struggle against sexual oppression and gender rights will continue to be a difficult one, where significant steps forward will be matched by occasional steps back.

Walden Bello is representative of the party Akbayan in the Philippine House of Representatives. http://akbayan.org.ph

______________________________________________________________________

Feminist Flashmob for Women's Rights (Philippines)

During the International Human Rights Day, December 10, 2012, a feminist flashmob dance to the tune of "I am Woman" led by World March of Women - Pilipinas was held at Plaza Miranda (in front on Quiapo Church, Manila), at noon.

Women dancers-activists first blended with the vendors, with some holding balloons, as fortune-tellers, beggars, etc. Three dancers started clapping to the tune of the music, then seven dancers joined releasing purple balloons bearing the logo of the World March of Women. They were joined by another 20 coming from the crowd, until it grew to 70.

The last batch of dancers, students from the University of the Philippines --Manila made it a throng. On the last minute of the song, as steps turned to hip-hop, dancers took off their costumes, revealing white shirts which defiantly bore words "RH Now" in the face of continued delay in its passage in Congress. Some shirts shout "Climate Justice!", in the face of ongoing negotiations in Doha, Qatar and the devastation of typhoon Pablo in Mindanao. Other shirts carried slogans such as "Women Need FOI!", "Secure Jobs for All!" and "Scrap VFA!"

Around 100 participated in the flashmob from Alliance of Progressive Labor (APL), Bagong Kamalayan, Batis Center for Women, Buklod, Center for Migrant Advocacy (CMA), Coalition Against Trafficking in Women - Asia Pacific (CATW-AP), Focus on the Global South, Foundation for Media Alternatives, KAISA - Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan - UP Diliman, KAISA-KA, Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK), Partido ng Manggagawa (PM), Sarilaya, TIGRA Philippines, UP Manila students, WomanHealth Philippines, Women's Crisis Center (WCC), and Youth and Students Advancing Gender Equality (YSAGE)


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ANvbHoc2GyM#!

http://focusweb.org/content/feminist-flashmob-womens-rights-philippines


Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


India

by Walden Bello Friday, Jan. 04, 2013 at 3:07 AM

India...
india-women-protest.jpg, image/jpeg, 524x347

error
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Walden Bello

by Walden Bello Friday, Jan. 04, 2013 at 3:07 AM

Walden Bello...
philippines_akbayan_walden_bello.jpg, image/jpeg, 528x396

error
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Manila, Philippines

by Walden Bello Friday, Jan. 04, 2013 at 3:07 AM

Manila, Philippines...
philippines-akbayan-party-list-rh-bill-women.jpg, image/jpeg, 395x396

error
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Manila, Philippines

by Walden Bello Friday, Jan. 04, 2013 at 3:07 AM

Manila, Philippines...
philippines-akbayan-women-rh-aktibista.jpg, image/jpeg, 477x365

error
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


RH - Risa Hontiveros

by Walden Bello Friday, Jan. 04, 2013 at 3:07 AM

RH - Risa Hontiveros...
philippines-rh-risa-hontiveros.jpg, image/jpeg, 242x421

error
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

INDY's KPFK radio program being eliminated ? too ? J10 4:57PM

Bertolt Brecht Testifies Before the House Un-American Activities Committee (1947) 2 min J02 3:04PM

Pacifica-KPFK Archives, director resignation J18 4:50PM

SAVE KPFK & PACIFICA: VOTE IN THIS CRUCIAL ELECTION! J18 3:39PM

KPFK radio elections for LSB coming Quick ! J18 1:05PM

KPFK Local Station Board Elections In-Progress J13 11:31AM

Black Lives Matter Activist Jasmine Abdullah Sentenced Three Months in Jail on Attempted Lynching Charge J09 2:08AM

Why are the Park Rangers making it even more difficult for the homeless in Los Angeles? J04 3:11PM

Bernie Sanders in Lincoln Heights M23 8:23PM

Los Angeles Sit-In to Fight Voter Suppression M18 4:28AM

War Within California's 46th CD M13 11:42AM

NPR's David Greene & Alison Aubrey along with David Ludwig Shill For Factory Farm Eggs M13 7:55AM

2016 AT&T Shareholders engaged by Communications Workers of America D9 Activists M12 11:43PM

Communications Workers of America District 9 Action at AT&T Shareholders M12 9:38PM

Voter Registration at ELAC M10 3:31PM

LA Times Fails to Cover Protest Against Clinton M07 9:15PM

Violence Against Poor In Venice A29 12:59PM

California Safe Schools Honors 11 Year Old Daniel Randall A25 2:25PM

NPR's Marketplace: The Voice of Loanshark Capitalism A19 4:08PM

Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, Pandering to the Corporate Whores of the Storage Industry A09 5:03PM

Lartiste Maestro iTunes télécharger de la musique gratuit et Légalement 2016 A08 3:20PM

Spring 2016 National Immigrant Solidarity Network Monthly News Alert! A05 2:14PM

KPFK and Pacifica, more doings, reposted here A04 4:18PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

America's Promise & The Grim Reality J25 9:57PM

Verizon Please Protect Yahoo Groups Subscribers J25 10:13AM

Puño de Hierro en Turquía J25 2:02AM

Adresse à la censure/modération J24 10:48PM

Paraphysique de l'atimie J24 12:39AM

UN Summit Reaches Debt, Tax and Trade Agreements J22 1:32PM

Fbi thugs continue assaults on me and now on my wife J21 8:13AM

The Social State Benefits All of Us J21 4:16AM

Fantômas, la réaction se déchaîne J20 10:20PM

Fbi/ MAFIA seize America J20 5:59PM

Holy See Calls on UN Development Summit to Build an Inclusive Economy J20 10:38AM

Kurt Vonnegut's 7 Pieces of Advice J20 10:34AM

Negotiators Struggle for Agreement on Debt and Tax Issues at UN Development Summit J20 9:40AM

VOID NETWORK On the tragic and the farcical of the British referendum An analysis about B J19 4:24AM

Bernie Sanders Wins at the End J18 4:19AM

Angelenos plan LAX protest of Turkey’s Dirty War against Kurds J17 11:17PM

June 2016 Honduras coup update J15 5:28AM

Gabegie imbitable J14 10:25PM

The Shortwave Report 07/15/16 Listen Globally! J14 4:11PM

assaults by fbi cleverly perpetrated J14 10:38AM

repost by geral sosbee on fbi's murderous corruption J13 2:22PM

Geral Sosbee, former fbi agent illuminates fbi's murderous corruption J13 2:17PM

Murderous Police & Their fbi Mentors J12 4:22PM

fbi are human monsters J12 11:33AM

The Animal Rights Record Of Each Congressperson J12 8:27AM

Fbi is MAFIA-USA J11 8:53PM

The Totalitarianism of the Market J11 7:53AM

Propaganda: Making Alternatives Disappear J05 7:03AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy