Subject: [fem-women2000 469] Women's GlobalNet 155: Women in Politics
From: iwtc <>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2000 09:21:37 -0700
Seq: 469

IWTC Women's GlobalNet #155
Activities and Initiatives of Women Worldwide
By Anne S. Walker and Rana Arabi

July 25th, 2000


This issue of IWTC Women痴 GlobalNet focuses on the activities and 
initiatives of women in several world regions as they increasingly make 
their mark on national political scenes. The examples given show the 
frustrations and difficulties faced as well as the successes achieved. 

Women and Politics in the Middle East
1. New Monthly Newsletter from GLIP (Lebanon)
The Machreq/Maghreb Gender Linking and Information Project (GLIP) 
Beirut, Lebanon, has launched a monthly newsletter in hard copy and 
online. The pilot issue focuses on women, gender, and development. This 
is one of the three channels of communication that GLIP will use in 
distributing information relating to women in the Middle East. Other 
channels will include a regional newsletter and a special highlights 
issue. For further information, contact: Lina About-Habib, Coordinator,  
MACMAG GLIP, P.O. Box 165302, Beirut, Lebanon. 
Tel: (961-3) 615-046. Fax: (961-1) 611-079. 
E-mail: <>
Website: <> 

2. One Step Forward (Qatar)
Qatar is the first Arab Gulf State in which women are permitted to take 
part as candidates or voters. In the most recent elections of the 
central municipal council in Doha, six women were nominated and 200 men. 
Although none of the women were elected, this remains an important step 
for women痴 political movement in the Gulf region.

3. One Step Back (Kuwait)
Kuwaiti women were deeply disappointed last December when the parliament 
refused to pass a bill granting them the right to vote and to present 
their candidacy in the parliamentary elections. The leader of Kuwait, 
Sheikh al Sabbah, led the rejection of the bill along with conservative 
members of the parliament who argued that such a bill would contradict 
the Islamic, Shari誕 laws.

Women and Politics in Africa
1. Enhancing Women痴 Participation in Politics (Kenya) 
Friends of Esther and Deborah (FREDA)  is a Kenyan-based NGO that works 
specifically on designing programmes to support women痴 political 
participation. FREDA痴 first phase of work includes research using a 
participatory baseline survey on women痴 performance in elective 
politics and decision making in 11 constituencies in Kenya. FREDA has 
also been active in preparing a manual for civic education and lobbying 
for constitutional reform. As part of the regional and national Beijing 
Plus Five process, FREDA  focused on lobbying for the implementation and 
adoption of affirmative action as a strategy for enhancing women痴 
participation in leadership and decision making positions. For further 
information, contact Rose Waruhiu, e-mail:

2. Woman Minister of Parliament Publicly Abused (Uganda) 
Hon. Jane Frances Kuka, Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, 
Uganda, has been harassed and physically abused on several occasions by 
a fellow Member of Parliament, Hon. David Chebrot, member for Tingey 
County-Kapchorwa District in Uganda. Recently, at the opening of a 
workshop on Female Genital Mutilation organized by UNFPA at the 
Green-Field Hotel in Kapchorwa town on June 27th, 2000, Chebrot used 
abusive language in an attempt to again belittle Minister Kuka in 
public. Isis Women痴 International Cross-Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), 
based in Kampala, Uganda, has sent an alert worldwide in an effort to 
get support and solidarity for Minister Kuka as she struggles to 
overcome these continuing attempts to silence her in her important 
position. They ask that we send letters calling for a) a public apology 
>from Hon. David Chebrot and b) a stand to be taken on the issue by the 
government of Uganda. Send letters to: H.E. The President of Uganda at 
fax: (256-41) 235-459. Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda at fax: 
(256-41) 235-461. Human Rights Commission at fax: (256-41) 155-261. Hon. 
David Chebrot at fax: (256-41) 235-461. Isis-WICCE suggests that you 
send copies of your letter to Hon. Jane Frances Kuka, Minister of State 
for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees at fax: (256-41) 349-194 and to 
Isis-WICCE by fax or e-mail. Fax: (256-41) 543-954. 
E-mail: <>

Women and Politics in Asia/Pacific
1. The UN Stands Up for Women痴 Right to Work in Afghanistan 
Earlier this month, the Taliban government of Afghanistan issued an 
edict barring women from working for NGOs and/or any international 
relief agencies. The Taliban have consistently banned women from working 
outside the home but in order to keep foreign aid coming, have allowed 
women to work for NGOs and foreign agencies. The United Nations 
coordinator for Afghanistan, Eric de Mul, spent months negotiating with 
the Taliban for what small advances were possible for women, and UN 
agencies have made the hiring of women mandatory if the Taliban want to 
continue receiving aid. 

On Thursday, July 13, 2000, the New York Times reported that the Taliban 
military rulers had finally agreed to rescind the new edict barring 
women from working for NGOs and international relief agencies. However 
on Tuesday July 25th, 2000, it was reported by a National Public Radio 
(USA) reporter in Kabul that the rescinding of the new edict was now in 

When they took over, the Taliban denied public schooling for girls, 
treatment for women at public health facilities, and work outside the 
home for women. They later made a few concessions in the areas of 
education and health, allowing informal schooling for girls in private 
homes, informal health clinics run privately for women, and work for 
some women in NGOs and foreign agencies. The Taliban痴 ban on women 
working outside the home has drastically increased the number of women 
and children begging in the streets. Many are widows. The UN estimates 
there are about 28,000 widows in the Afghan capital of Kabul alone. 
(Adapted from New York Times, Thursday, July 13, 2000, and "Morning 
Edition", National Public Radio, Tuesday July 25th, 2000).

2. Women Fight for Political Rights Following Armed Takeover of 
Parliament (Fiji, S. Pacific) 
With the collapse of the first Fiji Parliament to include 8 women as 
elected members-the largest number in history- and the first Fiji 
Government to be multi-racial, headed by an Indo-Fijian and in favour of 
a nuclear-free Pacific, the women痴 movement in Fiji is fighting hard to 
recover some of the momentum and political strength they had finally 
gained after years of work. Following the armed takeover of the 
government by a group of men calling themselves Fijian nationalists on 
May 19, 2000, and the taking of the Prime Minister and 33 other 
government officials as hostages, Fiji women mobilized and set up the 
Women's Action for Democracy and Peace (WAD'aP). In collaboration with 
the Fiji National Council of Women (FNCW), WAD誕P held daily candlelight 
vigils demanding the release of the hostages, issued regular media 
statements, and delivered letters directly to the military personnel 
ruling in the absence of a legal government. 

The hostages have now been released and an Interim Government has been 
elected. But the people of Fiji are economically, psychologically and in 
all other ways devastated. WAD誕P has protested at the lack of any real 
participation in the rebuilding process by women fighting for the return 
of democracy, and at the release of the hostage-takers into the 
community where they continue to pillage and terrorize at will. For 
further information, contact: Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, Secretary, 
FNCW/Coordinating Secretary, WAD誕P. 
Tel: (679) 315-429/311-880/960-677. Fax: (679)315-429.
E-mail: <>
For information on the ongoing political situation in Fiji, visit: 

Where There痴 a WILL, There痴 a Way (International)
Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) launched Women in Legislation 
League (WILL), a new section to their website, during the Beijing Plus 
Five Special Session in New York in June. WILL functions as an online 
legislative information resource centre, serving women and helping them 
gain a better understanding of the social realities of legislation. It 
also fosters critical thinking about the legislative process and the 
implications of implementing gender-related law into diverse national 
legal systems and cultures. The website provides a unique forum for 
obtaining thoughts and concerns to those individuals and groups whom the 
legislation impacts. For further information, contact:  Shazia Z. Rafi, 
Convenor, PGA/WILL, 211 East 43rd St. Suite 1604, New York, NY 10017, 
USA. Tel: (1-212) 687-7755. Fax: (1-212) 687-8409.  E-mail: 
Website: <>

New Book Published on Women痴 Participation in Politics (International)
The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has recently  published "Politics: 
Women痴 Insight." This book provides a survey of 187 women from 65 
different countries addressing four key questions: 1) How does women痴 
participation in political parties, parliaments and the executive branch 
bring about change in political priorities, processes and outputs? 2) 
How far does women痴 involvement in political structures that are 
developed and dominated by men, generate a qualitative shift in the 
traditional political language and approach and in the prevailing, 
well-established electoral and other practices? 3) How are women 
affecting the institutional environment? 4) What difference does it all 
make to the daily life of the ordinary citizen? "Politics: Women痴 
Insight" also includes surveys and statistics and is available through 
Women, Ink. (See below)

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