You are here: Home » Tag Archives: women´s rights

Tag Archives: women´s rights

Feed Subscription

Women struggle to survive Greece’s notorious refugee camp

Women stranded as refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos face daily violence, never-ending asylum procedures and horrible living conditions. DW's Marianna Karakoulaki spoke with some of them about their experiences. Amal, a young woman in her 20s, and her family fled the ongoing conflict at home in Yemen as well as limited opportunities for women. After a treacherous journey across the Aegean she arrived at Lesbos. Here she thought she would finally find the freedom she was looking for. Instead she was taken to Moria, Greece's largest refugee camp, which resembles an open-air prison. She describes it as hell on earth. Moria has been in the international spotlight repeatedly because of the dreadful circumstances. More than 7,000 people live in an area built for 3,100. High walls and a barbed-wire fence separate the main camp site from the tent city that spreads around it. The living conditions do not meet international standards and are not adequate for thousands of residents. People have to wait in lines for hours to receive their meals; the restrooms and showers are unhygienic; sewage water runs constantly through the camp to the road in front. Violence seems to have become the new normal, and people struggle to carry out every day activities. A recent report by Amnesty International on women and girls in Greek refugee camps describes how the severe overcrowding can be especially threatening to women. Indeed, living in Moria is even worse for women than it is for men. 'Better off dead' Amal recounts in vivid detail how she witnessed a man beating a woman until she bled. The assault took place in front of Greek police who ignored it and later blamed the woman for 'hanging out with such men.' "The situation in Moria is unfair for women," Amal says. Her portrayal of daily life at the camp is striking. Even simple tasks such as going to the restroom can be dangerous. Although men are not allowed near the women's restrooms, they are always there, she says. One of her friends was recently harassed by an older man at the women's restrooms. She managed to run away before anything worse happened. "Sometimes I think it would have been better to have died in the sea rather than be in this place," Amal says. "As a feminist I learned that I should not be afraid of anything. But I am afraid of never leaving this place," she continues. This fear is the reason why Amal would prefer to be anonymous. She has heard rumors that if refugees say something negative about the camp, their asylum cases may be affected. That fear was shared by every person living in Moria who spoke to DW. "Being a feminist and a refugee at the same time is extremely hard. We have so many words to say during our asylum interview, but we have to keep quiet, because we want to leave here," Amal says. Amal wants to follow in the footsteps of her role model, Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi, who defied patriarchal norms in her country and achieved her goals thanks to her education. Fix patriarchy and you fix everything Somayeh, who comes from Afghanistan, struggles to find something positive to say about Moria. She's thankful that she no longer lives there but in PIKPA, a self-organized camp for vulnerable refugees that is run by volunteers. Life in Moria was extremely difficult not only because of unhygienic conditions and long food lines but also because of the continuous violence in the camp When Somayeh speaks of her experiences as an Afghan woman her voice trembles even as she spits fire. She was a student at university before she got married, when her husband forced her to quit her studies. "Afghanistan is the country where the power is in the hands of the man. We can't work for women's rights there. I want equality but how can I face all men? I fight a lot for women, but I struggle for my [own] life," she says. Somayeh was a women's rights activist at home, neither an easy or safe task in such a patriarchal society. She firmly believes that women are not given many opportunities anywhere. Refugee women have even fewer. But to her, the solution to the problems displaced women in Europe face is not very complicated. "Europe needs to give women refugees knowledge; they need to educate them about women's rights. This will give them self-confidence. But they also need to provide them with safety," she says. 'Treat people as human beings' Even Kumi Naidoo, surely inured to sights such as Moria as a world-renowned activist and head of Amnesty International, was shocked by what he saw at the camp during a visit earlier this month. He was astonished by the women's strength in such a horrible situation, he told DW, and underlined a specific need to focus on women refugees. "Women suffer more vulnerabilities; just based on the reality of the amount of sexual harassment and sexual violence that, sadly, women, especially from poor communities, face. On the other side, the resilience of the women — just to be able to survive, to keep a smile on their face and look for solutions to sort things out — takes emotional and spiritual resilience on a very high level," he told DW. Amal is one of those survivors. "My life is in the bottom of a lake in Iran, where I lost all of my documents," she says. But she has not let that stop her. Once she is granted asylum in Greece she plans to return to Moria to help other women refugees find the strength to fight inequality. Just as her feminist role models have done in the past. * Some quotes have been edited for clarity. Refugees' names and details that may identify them or their families have been altered or omitted

Women stranded as refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos face daily violence, never-ending asylum procedures and horrible living conditions. DW’s Marianna Karakoulaki spoke with some of them about their experiences. Amal, a young woman in her 20s, and her family fled the ongoing conflict at home in Yemen as well as limited opportunities for women. After a treacherous journey ... Read More »

India’s domestic workers face abuse without legal protection

India's labor ministry is currently preparing legislation to provide social security for domestic workers. But rights groups say more legal protection against mistreatment is necessary. Murali Krishnan reports. Stories of wealthy families in India physically abusing and mistreating young women employed as domestic workers in metropolitan areas are becoming more common in India. In a high-profile case last July, a 26-year-old domestic worker from Bangladesh lodged a compliant with Indian police saying she had been beaten up and held captive by her employers at a home located in the upscale gated community of Noida, a suburb of New Delhi. She was freed after friends and family gathered in protest outside the apartment complex where she was being held. Her employers accused her of theft, but it was later discovered that she had not been paid for two months. The case is indicative of a larger trend of domestic workers in India being mistreated. Earlier this year, domestic workers at a posh housing complex in Mumbai went on a strike to protest the residents' attempts to standardize below-average payment. The residents eventually conceded to the workers' demands, but a few months later, all of the protesting maids were sacked. There have also been extreme cases of abuse - including the murder three years ago of a domestic worker in Delhi. A legislator and his wife were arrested in connection with the murder of the 35-year-old maid who worked in their home. It was reported that prior to her death, the maid had been physically abused with a hot iron and was hit with sharp objects like antelope horns. Read more:Hong Kong's domestic workers 'treated worse than the dogs' Where to turn for help? There are widespread reports of domestic workers in India being underpaid, overworked and abused by their employers. Incidents range from withholding of wages to starvation, not allowing time for sleep or rest, and beatings, torture, and sexual abuse. "Many resort to domestic work because of the decline of employment opportunities in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors," Pratchi Talwar, a social activist with Nirmala Niketan, an NGO that works with domestic workers, told DW, adding that domestic workers are vulnerable because they have no formal protection such as unions. Concerned about the mistreatment of domestic workers, India's labor ministry has initiated a policy paper and invited all stakeholders to contribute to a national policy for domestic workers. It is intended to provide them with legal status and the protection of social security. "The policy intends to set up an institutional mechanism for social security coverage, fair terms of employment, addressing grievances and resolving disputes," said Rajit Punhani, director general of labor welfare. "It provides for recognizing domestic workers as a worker with the right to register themselves with the state labor department or any other suitable mechanism." Read more: No social security for most of world's domestic workers A vulnerable population There is no exact figure for the number of domestic workers in India as they are mostly a floating population. Figures released from the National Sample Survey Office estimate they could range from anywhere between 4 to 10 million, many of whom migrate from the eastern states of Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh. But trade unions and organizations working with domestic workers are not convinced that the ministry's policy paper is specific enough. The issue, they argue, has been on the backburner for several years. "These are just guidelines which are not legally enforceable. What happens when there is sexual abuse, withholding salaries and denying leave?" Sonia Rani, project coordinator of the Self-employed Women's Association (SEWA), told DW. "Can the workers go to court? There also has to be a non-negotiable salary regime," she added. Limits of the law Other organizations like the National Domestic Workers Forum argue that neither the Maternity Benefits Act nor the Minimum Wages Act or any of the numerous other labor laws in India apply to domestic work. Domestic workers can be hired and fired at will and employers have no legally binding obligations. "We need to introduce a national policy for domestic workers, begin the process of fixing minimum wages for them and recognize domestic workers as 'workers' with legal rights," Amarjit Kaur, national secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, told DW. India has only two laws that in a roughly consider maids as workers - the Unorganized Workers' Social Security Act of 2008 and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act of 2013. While the first law is a social welfare scheme, the other aims to protect working women in general. Importantly, neither law recognizes domestic workers as having legal rights. "This approach by the ministry is piecemeal and not workable. We need to have an omnibus board that looks at the rights of workers employed across sectors from construction and agriculture to domestic," Dunu Roy, social activist who has worked actively in the informal sector, told DW. Read more: Rights group urges justice for Nepali maids allegedly gang raped by Saudi diplomat Roy cites the example of Mathadi workers (head loaders) of Maharashtra, who fought a long and hard battle to secure their wages and are now governed by a welfare board that protects their rights. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has also not been behind in flagging domestic workers as part of the country's invisible workforce and emphasized that more needs to be done to make decent work a reality for them. In welcoming the Indian government initiative to formulate a national policy on domestic workers, the ILO said it is an important step in recognizing the rights of millions of domestic workers. India is a signatory to the ILO's 189th convention, known as the Convention on Domestic Workers, but has not ratified it yet. "Though a number of states in India have been promoting minimum wages for domestic workers, there are not enough mechanisms in place to regulate working conditions of domestic workers,” Suneetha Eluri, ILO's national project coordinator for domestic workers, told DW. Across the world, domestic work is a rapidly growing source of employment for women and girls. Unions and organizations argue that the mindset regarding domestic workers must shift from a policy paradigm to one that focuses on workers' rights. Only then, can domestic workers' rights be defined and protected.

India’s labor ministry is currently preparing legislation to provide social security for domestic workers. But rights groups say more legal protection against mistreatment is necessary. Murali Krishnan reports. Stories of wealthy families in India physically abusing and mistreating young women employed as domestic workers in metropolitan areas are becoming more common in India. In a high-profile case last July, a ... Read More »

International Women’s Day highlights – Women of the world, unite!

From protests to musical performances, strikes to sporting events - activities celebrating International Women's Day are taking place across the globe. DW reports on the latest events. As International Women's Day (IWD) rolls across the globe, individuals in countries everywhere are observing it through marches, protests, music, sports, strikes, at both local and national levels. While some of these events celebrate the achievements women make in the world everyday, others push for further gender equality and activism. Deutsche Welle brings you the latest highlights below. All updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) 16:03 US President Donald Trump comments on International Women's Day (IWD) Trump, who in the past has been accused of harboring mysogynistic views on account of derogatory comments he had made about women, said on Twitter that he was "honoring the critical role of women here in America & around the world," adding in another tweet that he had "tremendous respect for women." 14:50 German women innovate in the digital realm One of the main battles for women today remains breaking into and rising to the top of traditionally male-dominated professions. While German politicians debate quotas for women in boardrooms and parliaments and how best to address the country's gender pay gap, women in technology are forging ahead at a grassroots level. Linda Kruse designs video games empowering girls to stand up for their rights while furthering their interest in STEM subjects. And other women, like Kim Salmon, fight tirelessly against online hate speech targeting outspoken females. 14:42 "Well-behaved women seldom make history" Everyone knows the famous quote from renowned historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. But who are some of these revolutionary women who refused to stand down, rose to powerful positions, and changed the course of history? Here are DW's ten top picks: 14:34 Female lawyer in Malaysia fights for indigenous rights As a woman in a predominantly male profession, Siti Kasim knows what it means to have a marginalized voice. She has dedicated her legal career to campaigning for the rights of indigenous peoples and the LGBT community. "I could never see injustice or condescension of any sort since childhood. I cannot tolerate people who have no respect for others," she told DW. 14:26 Arab refugee women speak out about life in Germany In an interview with DW, female refugees from Arab countries commented on their new lives in Germany, including what women's rights means for them. 14:14 No to sexism and abortion restrictions in Poland Woman in Warsaw are protesting outside the headquarters of the Law and Justice party to demand the government loosen highly restrictive reproduction rights laws which the conservative government is looking to tighten. The recent declaration of Polish EU parliament representative Janusz Korwin-Mikke that women are "weaker," "smaller," and "less intelligent" than men - and thereby deserving of lesser pay - has further inflamed women's rights activists. 13:26 Lebanese women's rights activists march in Beirut Students, writers, and NGO activists began their walk through the streets of Lebanon's capital city from the Achrafieh Sassine square at noon local time. Organizers' demands include better representation in parliament, better legal protection for women, and a reform of the penal code. 13:08 Putin tweets IWD congratulations The Russian President highlighted women's roles as tireless family caretakers, stating "how do they manage it all?" He also said "we love and treasure you," before noting men's celebration of women through music and poetry. Russia has strong historic links to IWD. On March 8, 1917, women's worker protests kicked off the Russia Revolution that eventually led to the fall of the Romanov dynasty. The Soviet government enshrined the date as an official holiday shortly thereafter. 12:55 India launches Women Cricket League (WCL) The WCL aims to provide women cricketers on par with their male counterparts. League founder Parul Jain: "It's important that young girls see cricket as a viable option to play at the highest level...This will lead to greater interest in women's cricket in India, which has generally been given much less importance than the men's sport." India, a global cricket powerhouse, joins Australia and Great Britain as countries with leagues for women. 12:43 Silent women's voices in China Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a dispatch today condemning the Chinese government's stifling of women's rights activists. Last month, official censors temporarily shut down Women's Voices, a blog headed by Chinese feminists. HRW also critically spotlighted Beijing's restrictions on women's reproductive freedoms and government-sponsored campaigns pushing women over 27 - "leftovers" - to marry. 12:30 Women in Tokyo take to the streets Women marched through the streets of the Japanese capital demanding better pay and working hours. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "womenomics" policy, aimed at increasing female labor force participation, has butted heads with an all-consuming work culture, increasing the burden for women who straddle home and office. New Zealand releases study on gender pay gap The country's government published its findings entitled "Empirical evidence of the gender pay gap in New Zealand" one day ahead of International Women's Day, the first comprehensive study since 2003. After revealing that 80 percent of the pay shortfall for women was "unexplained" - that is, due to conscious or unconscious bias - women have flocked to social media to share stories of employment bias. 12:04 Global work walk out by women As part of IWD, "A Day Without Women" initiative will see women around the world go on strike on Wednesday to draw attention to gender inequality in the workplace. In Australia, around 1,000 early childcare workers, a predominantly female sector, walked off the job at 15:20 local time (04:20 UTC) - the time after which Australian women begin working for free. 11:56 BBC Radio3 all-day broadcast of music by female composers - the classical music radio station of Britain's public broacasting network is devoting their March 8 airtime to women musicians of the past and present. A special highlight includes the live noontime broadcast and premiere of Fanny Mendelssohn's Easter Sonata for piano, a work long attributed to her younger brother Felix. 11:43 Google Doodle honors women pioneers - the internet giant highlights 13 women from around the world who broke through gender barriers in a variety of fields, including Miriam Makeba (South African civil rights activist and singer), Cecilia Grierson (Argentina's first medical degree recipient) and Lotifa El Nadi (Egypt's first female pilot). 11:42 IWD hashtags dominate Twitter - #BeBoldforChange, the campaign call of IWD 2017, along with multilingual #InternationalWomensDay hashtags, are drawing thousands of tweets from individuals, companies, politicians and activists around the world.

From protests to musical performances, strikes to sporting events – activities celebrating International Women’s Day are taking place across the globe. DW reports on the latest events. As International Women’s Day (IWD) rolls across the globe, individuals in countries everywhere are observing it through marches, protests, music, sports, strikes, at both local and national levels. While some of these events ... Read More »

Scroll To Top