WBEZ | women's rights http://www.wbez.org/tags/womens-rights Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Special Series: Global Activism - 'Worldview' Visits India http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-05-09/special-series-global-activism-worldview-visits-india-111888 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/India-series%20620%20good.JPG" title="From bottom l to r - Sonal Chaturvedi, co-director of Pravah, Nila Vora of India Development Service, Steve Bynum and Jerome McDonnell of WBEZ with the NGO Community Youth Collective in Delhi on Feb., 1, 2015 (Photo by Nilesh Kothari)" /><em>Worldview</em> took <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/water/special-series-global-activism-worldview-visits-india-111888">Global Activism</a></em> to India! And we take you along for the ride. For years, India Development Service <a href="http://idsusa.org/">(IDS)</a>, a Chicago-based investment NGO, has brought from India Global Activists to <em>Worldview&nbsp;</em>who work there to make life better. So IDS brought us to India to talk with people doing service and development projects on-the-ground. IDS guided us through big cities like, Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad, as well as to remote villages and towns. We met people working to overcome challenges like illiteracy, abuse of women and children, class issues and water security.</p></p> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 09:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-05-09/special-series-global-activism-worldview-visits-india-111888 Political unrest in Iraq http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-08-11/political-unrest-iraq-110629 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP911464245376.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri Al-Maliki, is due to be replaced, but is fighting for a third term despite his loss of support in Iraq and internationally. As the U.S. pressures Al-Maliki to peacefully step aside, it continues airstrikes against ISIL near Erbil.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-unrest-in-iraq/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-unrest-in-iraq.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-political-unrest-in-iraq" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Political unrest in Iraq" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-08-11/political-unrest-iraq-110629 Global Activism: SowHope http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-sowhope-108192 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/P1000718 (3) (2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F102594517&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Museo Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Former White House photographer Mary Dailey Brown was eager to work for a non-profit focusing exclusively on women, so when she couldn&rsquo;t find one that met her criteria, she decided to start her own. She and her husband, Doug, decided to sell farmland Doug had inherited in order to start&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.sowhope.org/" style="color: rgb(56, 118, 178); font-family: 'Museo Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);" target="_blank">SowHope</a><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Museo Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">&nbsp;in 2006.</span></p><p><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Museo Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px;">&ldquo;It was like diving off a cliff,&rdquo; Mary says. </span></p><p><span style="background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255); color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: 'Museo Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 24px;">Mary joins us to talk about what it took to get her organization off the ground and what SowHope has been able to accomplish.</span></p></p> Thu, 25 Jul 2013 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/global-activism/global-activism-sowhope-108192 BBC Assignment: Forced Sterilisation in Uzbekistan http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-17/segment/bbc-assignment-forced-sterilisation-uzbekistan-98307 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/UzbekSterilization.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In a government effort to control the population, women in Uzbekistan are being sterilized -- often without their knowledge. Many women have fled the country to escape the practice. The BBC <em>Assignment</em>'s <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/crossing_continents/7334433.stm" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Natalia Antelava</a> details the plight of Uzbek women in her documentary, <em>Forcible Sterilisation In Uzbekistan</em>.</p></p> Tue, 17 Apr 2012 10:30:34 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/worldview/2012-04-17/segment/bbc-assignment-forced-sterilisation-uzbekistan-98307 Global Activism: Helping destitute Afghan women become artisans http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-10/global-activism-helping-destitute-afghan-women-become-artisans-93935 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-10/afghan1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Every Thursday in our <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/globalactivism" target="_blank">Global Activism</a></em> series, we introduce you to a local individual who’s trying to change the world.</p><p>In Dari, the word <em>arzu</em> means “hope.” It’s also the name of an organization that employs Afghan women in remote provinces to weave fair trade artisan rugs. <a href="http://www.arzustudiohope.org/home" target="_blank">ARZU</a> helps women build a better life through access to education, healthcare and job training.</p><p>This holistic support is desperately needed. Afghanistan was recently named the world’s most dangerous country in the world for women, according to a <a href="http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/womens-rights/dangerpoll/" target="_blank">survey</a> by TrustLaw, part of the Thomas Reuters Foundation.</p><p>ARZU founder <a href="http://www.arzustudiohope.org/home/story/team" target="_blank">Connie Duckworth</a> says she's trying to apply her private sector experience to grassroots development.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>To hear more stories of people making a difference, check out the </em><a href="wbez.org/globalactivism" target="_blank">Global Activism</a><em><a href="wbez.org/globalactivism" target="_blank"> page</a>, where you can also suggest a person or organization for the series. Or, email your suggestions to <a href="mailto:worldview@wbez.org">worldview@wbez.org</a> and put </em>“Global Activism”<em> in the subject line. </em>Global Activism<em> is also a <a href="wbez.org/podcasts" target="_blank">podcast</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 10 Nov 2011 17:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-10/global-activism-helping-destitute-afghan-women-become-artisans-93935 Website lets Afghan women tell their own stories unfiltered http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/website-lets-afghan-women-tell-their-own-stories-unfiltered-93461 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-25/afghan2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In Afghanistan, women are largely seen as second-class citizens. Under Taliban rule, merely being a woman could be life-threatening.</p><p>While reporting in Afghanistan, freelance journalist <a href="http://mashahamilton.com/" target="_blank">Masha Hamilton</a> saw women marginalized in their families and villages. Upset that women had few outlets for self-expression, she started the <a href="http://www.awwproject.org" target="_blank">Afghan Women’s Writing Project</a> .</p><p>The project connects published writers from around the world with Afghan women who are interested in writing about their lives.</p><p>The response to the project has been overwhelming, and its website has become a rare, living archive on what it means to be a woman in today’s Afghanistan.</p><p>Masha says a gruesome video of an Afghan woman’s execution sparked the idea for the project.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>To read one of the poems Masha mentions in her interview, "Remembering 15," click <a href="http://www.awwproject.org/2010/01/remembering-fifteen/" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/website-lets-afghan-women-tell-their-own-stories-unfiltered-93461 Worldview 10.25.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-102511 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-october/2011-10-25/afghan1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Before 9/11, American journalist <a href="http://mashahamilton.com/" target="_blank">Masha Hamilton</a> stumbled across a video of Taliban members brutally executing a woman in Afghanistan. The gruesome footage inspired her to create the <a href="http://www.awwproject.org" target="_blank">Afghan Women’s Writing Project</a>, which helps women in the war-ravaged country share their stories. Masha joins us to discuss the unlikely success of the project. Later, we take a look at a new adaptation of <em>A Walk in the Woods, </em>Lee Blessing’s 1988 play about Cold War adversaries who become friends while discussing nuclear disarmament. Originally written for two male characters, TimeLine Theatre Company’s production features actress Janet Ulrich Brooks as the Russian negotiator. And, global cities correspondent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/contributor/barry-weisberg" target="_self">Barry Weisberg</a> tells us how computers have changed the essential nature of cities around the world.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 25 Oct 2011 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-102511 Women’s status in the Middle East since the Arab Spring http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-26/women%E2%80%99s-status-middle-east-arab-spring-92466 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-26/AP11083015621.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As longstanding and repressive regimes are pressured and collapse in North Africa and the Middle East, women’s roles in this new reality garner more and more scrutiny. In many cases, women were critical actors in these revolutions and fought side-by-side with men as bloggers, activists, leaders and logistics experts, but human rights observers wonder how much space there will be for women in the democratization process. Aside from political concerns, women still have to confront institutional misogyny, deep economic inequities and sexual violence with impunity.</p><p>We discuss these concerns with <a href="http://www.hrw.org/bios/liesl-gerntholtz" target="_blank">Liesl Gerntholtz</a>, director of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 16:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-26/women%E2%80%99s-status-middle-east-arab-spring-92466 Worldview 9.26.11 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-92611 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/episode/images/2011-september/2011-09-26/ap110923131202.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas submitted a letter on Friday requesting U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state. We’ll hear from <a href="http://electronicintifada.net/" target="_blank"><em>The </em></a><em><a href="http://electronicintifada.net/" target="_blank">Electronic Intifada’s</a></em> Ali Abunimah who, in his recent <a href="http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/68268/ali-abunimah/a-formal-funeral-for-the-two-state-solution" target="_blank">article</a> in <em>Foreign Affairs</em> magazine, called the bid for statehood “ill-conceived.” Also, over the weekend, women in Saudi Arabia were granted the right to vote. But as the Arab Spring uprisings reshape the Middle East and North Africa, women's rights advocates are concerned that women are being sidelined from the democratization process. <a href="http://www.hrw.org/bios/liesl-gerntholtz" target="_blank">Liesl Gerntholtz</a>, director of the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, addresses these concerns.</p></p> Mon, 26 Sep 2011 15:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode/worldview-92611 Ground Shifters: ‘Justice Buried’ in Ciudad Juárez http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-13/ground-shifters-%E2%80%98justice-buried%E2%80%99-ciudad-ju%C3%A1rez-91917 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-13/mexico.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Ciudad Juárez, Mexico gained notoriety in the 1990s for its epidemic of female abductions. Over a decade, close to 1,500 women were disappeared from the border town. Today, reporter Jean Friedman-Rudovsky profiles Marisela Ortiz, an activist who’s spent years in fighting for justice for families of what's known as femicide. <em>The story is part of a series on women and girls in Bolivia and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico called <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/ground-shifters-stories-women-changing-unseen-worlds" target="_blank">Ground Shifters: Stories of Women Changing Unseen Worlds. </a>The series is a collaboration between WBEZ and the <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Academics/Institute_for_the_Study_of_Women_and_Gender_in_the_Arts_and_Media/" target="_blank">Ellen Stone Belic Institute</a> for the Study of Women &amp; Gender in the Arts &amp; Media at Columbia College-Chicago. </em><em>Series Executive Producer, Steve Bynum. </em><em>Series Producer/Creative Advisor</em><em>, Jane Saks</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The bustling downtown centro of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico is deceptively festive. Stalls of bright clothes, dance music and colorful sweets line the plaza’s streets. They seem to mock the area’s history.</p><p>In 1993, women in Juárez started disappearing. Most vanished from here, the centro, abducted on their way to or from their night shifts at the maquiladoras, the city’s infamous mammoth factories that churn out cheap goods for US import. Often the women were on company transport buses. They were raped, tortured and killed; their bodies dumped on the city’s outskirts.</p><p>As of 2005, 600 victims had been found of what’s now known as femicide. Another 800 remain unaccounted for.</p><p>Marisela Ortiz says it all began when a student of her student Liliana Alejandra Garcia, went missing. Lilia’s mother, a teacher friend, sought Marisela’s help.</p><p>"At that time, we only focused on finding the girl and then seeking justice," says Marisela. "She had been raped by many men and then strangled to death. Her body appeared 8 days after its disappearence. We made our actions very public and so soon, other mothers and fathers with disappeared daughters asked us to help them in their search. Little by little because of this solidarity and cohesion among affected families, we decided to formalize our efforts. We officially began our organization in 2001—helping and supporting the femicide victims, and the sons and daughers who were orphaned when their mother was disppeared or killed."</p><p>The organization is called Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa. Marisela and co-founder Norma Andrande became the most well known anti-femicide campaigners in Juarez. Their tales inspired Hollywood movies and sparked worldwide human rights campaigns.</p><p>Marisela, a powerful presence with hair dyed auburn, has not stopped to rest since. She still works as a school counselor.</p><p>Her political routine? Take to the streets, talk to government authorities, press conferences and above all, she says, keep up constant pressure.</p><p>This may sound like standard activist fare. But remember, this is Ciudad Juarez: ground zero of the drug war — over 6,000 murders in the last three years, all supposedly drug-related.</p><p>But that’s not always the case, and being in the public spotlight means you are more likely to be consumed by the city’s tidal wave of violence.</p><p><strong>The costs of (not) speaking out</strong></p><p>Last December, a Juarez mother became enraged when authorities let her daughter’s convicted murderer flee the city. The determined mom planted herself in front of the state capital building in Chihuahua, vowing she’d stay put until her government brought her daughter’s killer to justice. A week later, just steps from the seat of government, the mother was gunned down in broad day-light. No one has been arrested. I asked Marisela if she’s scared.</p><p>"Of course I am," she admits. "For those of us who defend human rights, fear becomes an inherent part of your actions. I think if we didn’t feel fear we wouldn’t be human. Fear is necessary but you have to learn how to control your fear so that it doesn’t paralyze you. When someone has taken a gun to your head and said 'you are going to shut up, you are going to stop with these public statements,' it’s terrible. Your life changes completely.&nbsp; You have to say goodbye to many of your normal daily routines. You have to even say goodbye to many of your loved ones because those relationship are never the same again. I felt obligated to separate myself from my daughters. They were under threat too and so I had to say, 'there’s no other choice. You guys have to leave because to live here means constant danger and risk.'</p><p>"I have never considered leaving. I couldn’t do something so incongruent. We are struggling to better this community so how could I abandon something that I have struggled so hard for, something for which I’ve almost had to give my life? I couldn’t. I am not leaving Juarez. Not until I am in a coffin."</p><p>On a chilly winter evening at Marisela’s school, I meet Laura, 17, and Silvia, 15. Oh, and he’s one, Silvia says, nodding her head towards the little guy on her lap. Classes just ended for the day. Students scamper and shout school in the yard. The sisters sit quietly. They wear thick black mascara, and their mother must have been a beauty because they are stunning.</p><p>"Her name was Elena Guadiana," says Laura, recalling her mother. "We know that it was on a Saturday. She went to do extra hours at the maquiladora and she never came back. That’s all we know. My memories of her are fuzzy, almost nothing. I remember things like smells, the smell of burning sugar. But that’s all I remember. Nothing else."</p><p>It’s amazing that Laura remembers anything at all, as she was just 3 years and ten months old when her mom disappeared. The two sisters were essentially raised by Marisela and others in the group.</p><p>Now, they are notably teenagers - with a surface confidence protecting an inner child not much deeper. But their strength is palpable. Over time, they’ve become active members of Nuestras Hijas.</p><p>"This group is important for me," insists Laura. "It’s been very helpful for me to vent things those difficult thoughts. And to know that I don't have to talk about anything and that’s ok, too. With my mother gone, I want to do something so that what happened to her doesn’t happen again. We are here to support others going through what we went through, just as we were supported in our rough times."</p><p>Laura's sister Silvia agrees.&nbsp; She used to want to be a policewoman, until she says she realized police are corrupt.&nbsp; Now she's put her dreams of being an architect on hold to raise her son.</p><p>"I think that in every march, when we go to the streets and hand out flyers, we are making up for what we weren’t able to do for our mom," Silvia says. "That’s what I’ve come to believe and that’s why I do what I do. Now as an adult, I try to do for others what I couldn’t do before."</p><p><strong>Empowering women, changing laws</strong></p><p>Soon the room fills with girls Silvia and Laura’s age.&nbsp; The steel bar door closes and the workshop begins. The workshop leader quiets the group and explains: Few of us have the chance to tell our stories— to find our voice in this city. That’s what we’re doing here for the next few months.</p><p>Marisela told me she started these programs because the battle of Juarez’s women shouldn’t just be about those who are gone — but about empowering those who are still here. Mothers who’ve lost daughters participate too.</p><p>"Some of these workshops are aimed at empowerment," Marisela says. "So that the women starting taking responsibility in society and stop taking on the role of victim that society gives them. They end up stronger in the struggle and better able to support other women. We’ve been able to accomplish this with some of the women, but not with all. This de-victimization work is very difficult. Many women themselves dont want to let go of the victim role because it becomes a refuge for their emotional necessities."</p><p>In the past ten years, Nuestras Hijas campaigns changed Juarez law. Now the state is required to search for a woman who disappears. Before, authorities would simply say: “It’s not illegal to leave Juárez. Maybe she just crossed the border.” And not do anything. The organization has rescued women from human trafficking rings and even managed a few convictions. Over 90% of Juarez’s femicides have gone virtually uninvestigated, let alone with an arrest.</p><p>But international notoriety triggered by grassroots work like Marisela’s likely put an end to the mass maquiladora bus abductions years ago. These women also helped set a daring precedent for those who seek justice in Juarez: fear will not keep us silenced.</p><p>"Here, we are emotionally involved because the majority of us in the organization have been directly affected by the loss of a loved one, a relative and so we have common objectives," says Marisela. "Nothing separates us no matter how different we are. Some did not have the chance to go to school, others [had] few economic opportunities in their lives, [and] others suffer because their families don’t support their activism. None of that has mattered when it’s come to our work. We focus more on our what we can acheive rather than on what we lack."</p><p>Everyone has a theory to explain the Juárez femicide phenomenon. The maquilas brought hundreds of thousands of young women to an already dangerous border town, often alone. They made easy victims. Or, the justice system, saturated by impunity, fed by corruption. Or that Juarez—transformed into one of the world’s largest free-trade zones – made even human life dispensable. Maybe it’s all of this, rolled into one.&nbsp;</p><p>Without clear cause, there is no clear solution. And the problem grows.</p><p>"Frankly, over the last three years, female disappearances have increased 400% and in these last three years is when we’ve seen the highest number of women violently killed," Marisela points out.</p><p>"This has been hidden behind all the other violence of the street war between drug cartels. This has allowed the government to put the femicide issue to the side, though it wasn’t a real priority for the government to being with. They will never give you any real figures. In fact they try to hide the severity of the problem. Impunity is an inherent part of femicide. Femicide is not only the assasination of a woman but everything that surrounds that act, including impunity and institutional violence. Even after these women are killed they continue to be raped by our government institutions."</p><p><strong>Memories, identities buried deep</strong></p><p>Las Lomas are a set of hilly peaks just west of Juárez. The locale serves as the unofficial cemetery for Juarez’s women. It was a preferred dumping ground for their bodies in the 1990’s. I don’t consider myself a particularly spiritual person, but standing there, I felt something around me in the winter breeze; as if their ghosts surrounded me.</p><p>A local told me that police rarely bothered to come up here. Mothers would climb the sandy soil hills looking for—and often discovering—their daughters bodies; mutilated and decayed.</p><p>Today, a built road stretches to the top and nearby residents come on the weekends to enjoy the view. There’s a soccer field for afternoon games. Eight wooden crosses, painted pink, stand off to the side, covered by tall brush. One more, at the top of a high post, leans sideways, barely hanging on. Passersby, even if they do notice, don’t even glance in that direction.</p></p> Tue, 13 Sep 2011 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-13/ground-shifters-%E2%80%98justice-buried%E2%80%99-ciudad-ju%C3%A1rez-91917