News from the Global South

Cyberabad Police to Have ‘Transgender Desk’

The Hindu, India, 2/19/2021

The Cyberabad police have decided to set up a ‘Transgender Desk’ at the Cyberabad Commissionerate. The issue to have a dedicated desk was raised by around 150 transgender persons during an interaction with the police commissioner VC Sajjanar and other senior officers. Representatives of the transgender community shared their problems about the structural and societal violence that they are subjected to every day. Responding to their concerns, VC Sajjanar announced that a ‘transgender desk’ will be set up, which will address the grievances of transgender persons and also assured that he will take their issues to the government.

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M J Akbar Defamation Case: Verdict Builds on Vishaka Ruling, Gives New Legal Shield to Women

The Indian Express, India, 2/18/2021

Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court on February 17, 2021 found journalist Priya Ramani not guilty of criminal defamation in a case filed by former Union Minister M.J. Akbar, noting that the right of reputation cannot be protected at the cost of the right to dignity. The judgment is a crucial one and comes in the aftermath of one of India’s most high profile #MeToo cases, which saw several women come forward with allegations of harassment against the former editor. The court recognised that even a man of social status can be a sexual harasser and that there was no case against Ramani. Ramani said, “I feel vindicated on behalf of all the women who have ever spoken out against sexual harassment”.

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Air Pollution Significantly Raises Risk of Infertility, Study Finds

The Guardian, China, 2/17/2021

An analysis of 18,000 couples in China found that those living with moderately higher levels of small-particle pollution had a 20% greater risk of infertility, defined as not becoming pregnant within a year of trying. Qin Li, at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine at Peking University Third hospital in China, who led the infertility research, said prospective parents should be concerned about air pollution. In China, women are required to register with the authorities before attempting to become pregnant, enabling the researchers to request information from all women who were aiming to conceive. The researchers found that women exposed to small particle pollution that was 10 micrograms per cubic metre higher over a year had a 20% greater risk of infertility.

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Gaza Law Barring Women from Travel without Male Consent to be Revised, Judge Says

Reuters - Gaza, Palestine, 2/16/2021

Gaza’s top Islamic judge has agreed to revise a recent court ruling that bars women from travel without permission from a male guardian. The restriction, imposed on February 14, 2021 by the Higher Sharia Council in Islamist Hamas-run Gaza, had drawn criticism from rights groups which said it violated Palestinian laws against gender-based discrimination. Protests also erupted outside the office of the council’s chairman, Hassan Jojo, who had signed the edict into law. The Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), a Palestinian rights group, said the ruling violates women’s dignity and rights. ICHR also noted Palestinian laws bar discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, political opinion or disability.

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Fatal Accidents Blow to Family Income, Women Face the Brunt: Report

The Indian Express, India, 2/15/2021

According to a recent report by the World Bank, “Traffic Crash Injuries and Disabilities: The Burden on Indian Society,” every death in a road accident causes depletion of around seven months’ household income in poor families, and pushes the kin of victims into a cycle of poverty and debt in India. The report found that women in the families of victims bore the burden of the crashes across poor and rich households, often taking up extra work, assuming greater responsibilities, and performing caregiving activities after a crash. About 40% of women reported a change in their working patterns post-crash, while around 11% reported taking up extra work to deal with the financial crisis.

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