Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

December-05-12

Bihar Village Bans Use of Cell Phones by Women

On Sunday, the self-appointed village council of Sunderbari within the state of Bihar in India prohibited the use of mobile phones by unmarried women and girls. The use of mobile phones by married women has also been restricted to when they are indoors and in the company of a relative. The ban resulted from fear of immoral relationships outside of marriage increasing due to the use of the use of mobile phones. Women who violate the ruling can face severe fines of up to 10,000 rupees.

Members of the all-male panchayat (an informal, but respected council of village leaders) justified their ruling by arguing that the reputation of their village has been compromised by the handful of single women who have eloped with their partners as well as some married women who have left their husbands by eloping with their current partners. Manuwar Alam, head of the committee to enforce the new ban, said that it was shameful every time someone asked who had eloped. "So, we decided to tackle it firmly," he told Reuters, "Mobile phones are debasing the social atmosphere."

Women's rights activist Jagmati Sangwan, the vice president of the All India Democratic Women's Association, claims the ban is illegal and the village councils "want women to get cut off from the processes of modernization, education and employment." Another activist, Suman Lal, described the ban as "nauseating" on a debate on local television.

Women have been the target of other village councils, according to the New York Times. In the Bagpat district of Uttar Pradesh, the panchayat banned unarranged marriages and the ability of women under the age of 40 to attend markets. In addition, these councils have also lowered the age of marriage to 16 in response to an increase in sexual assault, predicting that this adjustment will "keep women sexually satisfied." The new ban that restricts women from using mobile phones is under investigation.

Media Resources: Reuters 12/5/12; New York Times 12/4/12; NDTV 12/3/12


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

5/27/2015 California Passes Reproductive FACT Act - The California State Assembly passed the Reproductive Freedom, Accountability, Comprehensive Care and Transparency (FACT) Act yesterday. AB 775, or the FACT Act, passed 48-25 in a vote, and requires that unlicensed facilities in California that provide pregnancy-related services disclose that they are not licensed medical providers. . . .
 
5/26/2015 Ireland Votes Overwhelmingly to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage - Over the weekend, the people of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to pass a national referendum legalizing same-sex marriage. Ireland became the first country in the world to pass marriage equality through popular vote on Friday. . . .
 
5/26/2015 Maryland Governor Will Not Veto LGBT Rights Bills - Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) has announced that he will not veto two pieces of legislation protecting LGBT rights passed by the state legislature in March, meaning they will soon become law. The Maryland General Assembly passed SB 743 / HB 862 and SB 416 / HB 838 by wide margins and with bipartisan support on March 24, after which both were sent to the Governor's desk. . . .