One aim of International Women’s Day is to encourage and facilitate more women to take up senior leadership positions in politics and commerce. However, there is much debate over how best to achieve this, especially when it comes to positive discrimination. In our 2014 IWD special, Sidra Khalid examines the pros and cons of women’s parliamentary quotas in her native Pakistan.
As a Pakistani, I had long been interested in women’s rights issues when I undertook an internship at the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus office in the Pakistani parliament. I also went on to conduct ethnographic fieldwork focussing on the experiences of women parliamentarians as my undergraduate thesis. The internship itself was a unique and strangely humbling experience. If rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous decision-makers of my country was not enough, I was also made highly aware of the layered complexity of Pakistani politics, in particular the marked difference between genders. Continue reading →
as consumers in a globalised world, it’s all too easy to forget the hidden costs of our daily conveniences. But what about those of international sporting events? As the excitement of the Sochi Olympics fades, Connie Fisher asks us to look beyond the hype and the glory to the human consequences of the greatest show on Earth.
No major sporting event comes without its problems, but as we have seen with this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, the pre-games controversy – especially over LGBT issues – was all but forgotten amidst the thrill and excitement of the sport. However, behind the scenes, massively inflating budgets, corruption and health and safety issues require us to ask whether such events ultimately benefit or hinder the host countries, especially considering the increasing number of successful bids from BRICS nations.
With a whopping $51bn price tag (five times the original $12bn prediction), the Sochi Games have become the most expensive Olympics in history, leading the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to question whether it is time to reassess their budgeting and bidding procedures. The blame for the exorbitant price of the Sochi Games, which weighed in at nearly three-and-a-half times the cost of London 2012, has been placed on corruption endemic within the construction industry and, according to opposition politicians, up to $30bn in kick-backs for figures close to Vladimir Putin. Continue reading →
Following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Continuing political instability in Egpyt has thrown women’s liberties into a state of limbo. Amy fleming investigates their mounting repression and the difficult road ahead.
The initial optimism surrounding the Arab Spring has faded fast in Egypt, but nowhere more so than in the case of Egyptian women. Their situation has deteriorated to the extent that the country has won its self the title of “worst place for women in the Arab world”, according to research recently published by the Thomas Reuters Foundation.
The rate of sexual assaults and gender violence on the streets has rapidly increased since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s authoritarian regime in 2011. On July 3rd 2013, when protesters were out it force in Cairo, over 80 cases of mob sexual harassment, assault and even rape, were reported in Tahrir Square alone. In some instances even foreign female journalists have been publically sexually assaulted, which put the issue in the spotlight internationally. Continue reading →
ON SATURDAY, THE DAILY MAIL USED ITS FRONT PAGE TO SUPPORT CLAIMS FROM SOME MPS THAT OVERSEAS AID SHOULD BE DIVERTED TO VICTIMS OF THE FLOODING IN SOMERSET. HERE, blog editor RICHARD MORAN ARGUES THAT THIS DEBATE IS UNCONSTRUCTIVE AND DAMAGING TO VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN THE UK AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES.
“SPEND OUR FOREIGN AID ON BRITISH VICTIMS OF FLOODING” the front page of the Daily Mail exclaims, citing calls from a minority of MPs. The article goes on to outline their arguments that UK taxpayer money should be diverted from official development assistance to help flood victims and prevent further disasters in the UK.
“We’ve got to make sure we look after our own at this stage. Foreign aid is good, but it is wasted,” states Neil Paris, the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton. Ian Liddell-Grainger, the Conservative MP for Bridgewater in Somerset is quoted as saying: ”We send money all over the world, now we need to give people down here the hope that they will get what they need”.
TEN YEARS ON FROM VOLUNTEERING WITH DEVELOPMENT IN ACTION MANDARIN BENNETT IS STILL PASSIONATE ABOUT ENSURING THAT INTERNATIONAL VOLUNTEERING HAS A LASTING IMPACT AND ETHICAL UNDERPINNING. HERE WRITES ABOUT WHAT SHE HAS LEARNT (AND CONTINUES TO LEARN) SINCE HER TIME WITH DIA.
I became the UK coordinator for Development in Action nearly a decade ago. What drew me to DiA was that its philosophy on volunteering and development was exactly in line with what I had learned experientially after a year volunteering in Nepal.
I volunteered with a rural development organization straight after I graduated from university. Every time I thought I could offer a solution or way of contributing, I would realize that it wasn’t so simple. In fact, the more I looked into the root causes of the problems faced in Nepal, the more I discovered how closely interlinked they were with issues back in the UK. I remember thinking that whatever small contribution my presence could offer to a remote Nepali community, I would be able to have a more powerful impact on the same issues as an activist and educator in my own country.
To sum up what I had learned during my year volunteering in a sentence, it would be that the impact of an international volunteering comes only marginally from what you contribute overseas, and much more about what you do with the knowledge and experience you have gained later in your life.
DiA encourages volunteers to continue to engage in debates on global issues, to get involved in activism, to make conscious and conscientious lifestyle choices, and, most importantly, to educate others by sharing what you have learned while volunteering. Continue reading →
Historical figures pass away, but the world – after mourning – moves on. As we enter the second month of 2014, Sabrina Marsh examines what today’s political leaders can learn from the legacy of the late Nelson Mandela.
Nelson Mandela was a worldwide symbol of the apartheid struggle and a key transformative figure of the last century. As the world continues to pay tribute to one of the great leaders in human history, Africa’s heads of state should use this period of reflection to learn from his legacy. Mandela taught the world much about leadership, forgiveness and courage. However, we must recognise, too, his inevitable limitations. Africa faces many challenges: the people of South Africa, and Africa as a whole, continue to suffer from internal violence and economic dislocation, and pressing poverty remains. The continent’s leaders would do well to take on board these three resolutions for 2014. Continue reading →
At Development in Action, we believe that international volunteering should always be a reflective experience. That’s why we are collaborating with Impact International on their essay and photo competition.
If you’ve recently volunteered abroad, write 1200 words on a choice of four titles and you could be in with a chance of winning a guided trek up Mt Toubkal in Morocco.
Furthermore…the best entry on DiA’s own title – What does ‘global citizenship’ mean to you and how can education play a role in enabling us to become better global citizens? -will be featured on The DiA Blog!
The competition in now OPEN, with a deadline of Friday 14 February (extended from Friday 31 January).