Faced with desperate poverty in the predominantly Muslim country of Niger, women are now earning money for themselves in jobs outside the home, breaking with tradition. "Women have revolted," said Guy Roget, a 42-year old mother of nine.
Two-thirds of the country is desert and Niger has not economically recovered from the drop in world prices of uranium, its principal export, in 1980. Compounding Niger's crisis in export, foreign donors are withholding almost all support until Daouda Malam Wanke restores civilian rule.
Women such as Guy Roget have responded to this economic crisis by taking an active financial role in their families. Guy Roget helped to found a neighborhood women's association whose members collectively contribute to a fund from which they can borrow startup money for small businesses. Zara Abdel Kader, secretary of CONGAFEN, an umbrella group of women's organizations asserted that women's growing economic role is beginning to give women more input in the decision-making concerning their families and communities. This has also caused a backlash in religious fundamentalism exemplified in Niger's ratification of the UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Sexual Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which led to attacks on women for wearing Western clothing.
12/11/2013 Human Rights Day Celebrated Around The World - Yesterday marked International Human Rights Day, a day to celebrate human rights advances and to assess the challenges that lie ahead in protecting them.
"The fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place: these include a strong and growing body of international human rights law and standards, as well as institutions to interpret the laws, monitor compliance and apply them to new and emerging human rights issues," said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in a statement. . . .
12/11/2013 UConn Under Federal Investigation For Mishandling Sexual Assault Cases - The US Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) informed the University of Connecticut on Monday that it will investigate the school for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases and violating Title IX, the federal law that requires all recipients of federal financial assistance for education programs and activities to prohibit sex discrimination and sexual harassment [PDF].
The investigation was sparked after seven women filed a formal complaint in October alleging that UConn had failed to protect them from sexual assault and exposed them to a sexually hostile environment.One woman says her attacker was expelled from campus but later readmitted without her knowledge. . . .
12/11/2013 Massachusetts Democrat Katherine Clark Wins Congressional Seat - Democrat Katherine Clark will become the fifth woman to represent Massachusetts in the US House Tuesday, after easily defeating three opponents in a special election.
"Six years ago, there wasn't a single woman representing Massachusetts in Congress," said Niki Tsongas, the only other woman representing Massachusetts in the House. . . .