A collection of extracts on what’s being said about gender equality in our world.
Scotland top 50 companies still dominated by men, investigation finds
Ben Borland, Express, Feb. 10, 2018
FEWER than one in five directors at Scotland’s top 50 companies are women, a special investigation by the Scottish Sunday Express has found.
The research shows the boardrooms of the country’s biggest firms are still dominated by men, despite years of efforts to promote gender equality by governments at both Westminster and Holyrood.
According to the 2017 edition of Scottish Business Insider magazine’s Top500, there are 346 directors at Scotland’s top 50 companies – but only 55 of them are women.
Eighteen of the top 50 firms do not have any female directors, including whisky giant William Grant & Sons, builders Cala Group and supermarket chain Farmfoods.
A further 17 Scottish companies have only one woman in the boardroom, including household names such as Scottish Power, Tesco Bank, Arnold Clark and Schuh.
There are nine firms with two female directors, four with three female directors (SSE, Bank of Scotland, Aggreko and Stagecoach) and two with four female directors (Wood Group and Standard Life Aberdeen).
Portrayal of women in films is through the male gaze: Director Prakash Jha
By IANS, New Indian Express, 10th February 2018
PANAJI: At a time when whispers of sexual harassment in Hollywood have turned into thunderous protests under the #metoo banner, noted Indian filmmaker Prakash Jha has come forward to bat for gender equality in Indian film industry.
Speaking at the “Difficult Dialogues” here, Jha lamented the low number of women in Bollywood and dubbed it “the tragedy of our times”.
The session titled “Portrayal of Gender in Cinema” was one of the highlights of the the two-day long annual conference that, in its third edition, seeks to throw light on the theme “Gender Equality: For Everyone’s Benefit?” Setting the record straight, founding director and CEO of Difficult Dialogues, Surina Narula, also the moderator for the first session, reflected on the fact that films have played a crucial role in all of our lives and, therefore, it becomes acecrucial to examine them”.
Jha, the only male on the panel, was interrupted by Narula, who questioned his depiction of Katrina Kaif in “Rajneeti”. Notably, Kaif comes across as a submissive woman in the film and ends up following the stereotypical moorings that her family demands.
“It is difficult to analyse every character because they are reflective of your studies and observations. So they may not be all powerful women simply because we do not have many powerful women in the society. What I want to say is the way we see women in real life gets reflected in the cinema that we make,” Jha responded.
He then went on to cite “four-gazes” that plague the film industry. Referring to the combination as “male gazes”, Jha said that the portrayal of the ideal woman in cinema is from the “male perspective”. The first problem, according to Jha, is the male point of view which is inherent in the stories that are told through cinema. The second is the gaze of the camera and all that it reveals about the woman to the audience; the third is the male character’s response to the woman on screen and lastly, the response of the men in the audience to the woman on the screen.
Who knows whether this is sincere or not?
More investment firms are letting clients put their money where their mouth is on gender equality
Eshe Nelson, Quartz, Feb. 13, 2018.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, simply talking about the treatment of women and fretting about gender inequality are no longer enough.
A demand for tangible action to make gender equality a reality is sweeping across many industries. In finance, one of the steps in this direction has been the recent creation of gender equality exchange-traded funds (ETFs). These give investors the chance to actively invest in companies that champion equality. Last month, Swiss banking giant UBS became the latest firm to offer one of these funds.
The UBS ETF is linked to the Solactive Equileap Global Gender Equality 100 Leaders Net Total Return Index. This index is comprised of the top international companies deemed to be leaders promoting gender equality based on 19 different metrics by Equileap, an organization trying to bring about equality using investments.
Companies are scored on gender balance in senior management, equal pay, parental leave programs, flexible working opportunities, training programs, workplace safety, diversity in supply chains, as well as transparency and accountability in their efforts to be equitable.
Half of the ETF’s holdings are in US-based companies, but all are in developed markets.
Berlin: Call for Equality as Scale of Gender Gap in European Film Is Revealed
Stewart Clarke, Variety,Feb. 16, 2018
Austrian director Albert (“Mademoiselle Paradis“) said that the festival scene had evolved for the better, singling out the fests in San Sebastian, London and Toronto for having a strong level of female director participation. But more change is needed.
“For me there must be a quota. There must be 50-50, and if there is, I think it also has to be for festival participation,” Albert said. “It is so sad for me still that [only] four films in competition at Berlinale are by women. And for us that is quite a lot because we know in Cannes it is sometimes 0%.”
Spanish helmer Coixet, in Berlin with multi-Goya-winning movie “The Bookshop,” recounted experiences of sexist treatment early in her career. Both she and Albert noted that they have been talking about gender equality for many years already, but pledged to carry on the fight. “Your life as a woman and a director is a little more exhausting,” Coixet said.
A Man Just Killed the Effort to Give Women in Arizona Prisons More Than 12 Pads Per Month
“[This is] such a glaring example of patriarchy.”
Joe McCarthy, Global Citizen, Feb. 13, 2018
The office of Arizona state Rep. T.J. Shope (R-8) may soon be full of tampons.
As chairman of the state’s House of Representatives, he recently killed a bill that would have addressed the state’s monthly limit on sanitary pads for female inmates, an ongoing problem that advocates say is deeply sexist and harmful to women’s health, according to Phoenix New Times.
Each month, female inmates get 12 sanitary pads to handle their periods. Unsurprisingly, that’s not enough for a lot of women and if they want more, they have pay for them out of pocket.
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Since inmates earn around 15 cents an hour for work they perform, a few dollars is prohibitively expensive, which often forces them to find unsanitary solutions or “free bleed” when they run out of their allotted 12 pads.
Shope, the chairman of the House of Representatives, said the issue should be handled internally at the corrections department. People across the state who think that the policy — under which women who run out of pads and stain their clothing can be penalized for uniform infractions — disagree.
And so people across the state and beyond are protesting his decision by mailing him tampons and demanding that the bill goes to the floor for a vote.
Countries with greater gender equality have lower percentage of female STEM graduates, MU study finds
Jeff Sossamon, News Bureau, University of Missouri, Feb. 14, 2018
The underrepresentation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields occurs globally. Although women currently are well represented in life sciences, they continue to be underrepresented in inorganic sciences, such as computer science and physics. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri and Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom have found that as societies become wealthier and more gender equal, women are less likely to obtain degrees in STEM.
The researchers call this a “gender-equality paradox.” Researchers also discovered a near-universal sex difference in academic strengths and weaknesses that contributes to the STEM gap. Findings from the study could help refine education efforts and policies geared toward encouraging girls and women with strengths in science or math to participate in STEM fields.