Sindh Cabinet Approves ‘Historic’ Bill Recognising Women Farm Workers’ Contribution
Dawn - Karachi, Pakistan, 8/25/2019
Pakistan’s Sindh cabinet on August 25, 2019, approved the Sindh Women Agriculture Act 2019, aimed at empowering the women of the rural swathes of the province. The act provides that women affiliated with cultivation, fisheries, poultry and animal husbandry would be considered agriculture workers, and that they will have rights equal to workers in industries. This is historic, as earlier, these women who were working for a largely unorganised sector did not receive employment benefits or have job security; but now their employment rights will be safeguarded and they will be able to gain more financial agency. The new law also gives women workers the right to collective bargaining, social welfare (including child health), community development, economic profit and accessing publicly supplied goods and services.
DMA, DMC Lend Support to Campaign for Unmarried Women
The New Indian Express - New Delhi, India, 8/24/2019
The Delhi Medical Association (DMA) and Delhi Medical Council (DMC) have backed a campaign for the provision of ‘safe and non-judgmental sexual health services’ to unmarried women in the national capital. Expressing solidarity with the campaign ‘Health Over Stigma’, DMA President Dr Girish Tyagi and DMC Chief Dr Arun Gupta said they will sensitise doctors and hold service providers accountable to ensure stigma-free sexual and reproductive health services. The move comes after two non-profit organisations – Haiyya and Sachhi Saheli – filed a complaint in April with the Delhi Medical Council, a body that regulates the practice of the modern system of medicine in the city, about doctors being negligent towards unmarried women. The two organisations also put forth a ‘code of conduct’ for providing non-judgemental service to unmarried women.
A First: Tribal Women To Drive Maharashtra State Road Buses
NDTV India – Pune, India, 8/23/2019
In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, the Maharashtra Government has selected women from tribal communities for driving the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSTRC) buses. As many as 163 women have been selected for the pilot project who will undergo training for driving heavy vehicles and will later be inducted as drivers in the state-run bus service. These women who would be undergoing training hail from tribal parts of the state including Gadchiroli, Vardha, Bhandara-Gondiya districts. Since driving is still considered to be taboo for women, this was hailed as an important way forward to not just provide women for marginalised tribal communities equal employment opportunities, but also to break the myth that women cannot be drivers.
In a First in Kerala, Women Can Drive Govt Vehicles
Hindustan Times - Kerala, India, 8/22/2019
The Kerala Government on August 22, 2019, decided to allow the appointment of women drivers in government departments and public sector undertakings, a post so far reserved for men. ‘Directions have given to all government departments and PSUs to make the driver post gender neutral. This has been done in accordance with the State Government’s policy on gender equality,’ said a statement issued by CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s office adding the existing recruitment rules will be amended for this. In Kerala, barring the State Road Corporation, women were earlier not allowed to apply for driver posts in any other department, and many women’s organisations have been protesting against this ban for years. Hence, rights activists and organisations (like the Mahila Congress) have hailed the government’s new move.
China's Parliament Rules Out Allowing Same-Sex Marriage
Reuters - Beijing, China, 8/21/2019
Limiting marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman will remain China’s legal position, a parliament spokesman said on August 21, 2019, ruling out following neighbouring Taiwan in allowing same-sex marriage, despite pressure from activists. Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill in May 2019 that endorsed same-sex marriage, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island. China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has a thriving gay scene in major cities, but there has been little sign the ruling Communist Party will legalise same-sex marriage. Asked at a news briefing whether China would legalise same-sex marriage, a spokesman for parliament’s legal affairs commission said that Chinese law only allowed for marriage between one man and one woman.