A collection of extracts on what’s being said about gender equality in our world.
Asaram Bapu: Indian guru sentenced to life for raping girl
BBC News, April 25, 2018
A self-styled Indian spiritual guru who claims millions of followers worldwide has been given a life sentence for raping a 16-year-old girl.
Asaram Bapu carried out the 2013 attack at his ashram in the northern city of Jodhpur, the court ruled. He is expected to appeal.
The guru, who is 77, has 400 ashrams around the world where he teaches meditation and yoga.
He is also on trial in another rape case in western Gujarat state.
Jodhpur is on high alert because of concerns there could be violence from the guru’s supporters, reports BBC Hindi’s Priyanka Dubey who is in the city.
Two of the guru’s aides were also convicted and given 20-year jail terms. Two more were acquitted.
“Nothing can compensate for the trauma that the victim and the family have gone through,” Utsav Bains, the victim’s lawyer, told NDTV ahead of sentencing.
The security measures come after followers of another guru, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, ran amok after he was found guilty of rape last year. The resulting violence killed 23 people.
Hopeful: As Arrest of Smallville Star Dominates Media, These 5 Celebrities are Fighting To Stop Human Trafficking
Rachel Blevins, Stillness in the Storm, 04/26/2018
There are a number of celebrities who are using their influence to combat slavery and human trafficking through technology and education.
As police arrest former Smallville Actress Allison Mack on charges of sex trafficking and forced labor for her role in a Hollywood sex cult that was used to abuse thousands of women, it serves as a reminder that sex slavery runs rampant in the entertainment industry and some of the abuse that has been exposed recently has been ongoing for years.
However, it appears that Hollywood is not completely corrupt, and there are a number of actors and musicians who are using their large following on social media and their celebrity status to speak out against human trafficking and sex slavery.
Here are five celebrities who are taking a stand:
1. Actor Ashton Kutcher
As an actor who has been a regular face on TV since he debuted on “That ‘70s Show” in the late 1990s, Ashton Kutcher co-founded a nonprofit organization in 2010 with the mission to fight back against exploitation of children around the world. Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children is described as an organization that is working “to stop the spread of child sexual abuse material and stand up to child traffickers.”
Kutcher made headlines in February 2017 when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about his efforts to combat sex slavery, and he called on Congress to study and to pursue the types of new software his organization is using to fight human trafficking.
“As part of my anti-trafficking work, I’ve met victims in Russia, I’ve met victims in India, I’ve met victims that have been trafficked from Mexico, victims from New York and New Jersey and all across our country. I’ve been on FBI raids where I’ve seen things that no person should ever see,” Kutcher said. “I’ve seen video content of a child that’s the same age as mine being raped by an American man that was a sex tourist in Cambodia. And this child was so conditioned by her environment that she thought she was engaging in play.”
2. Actress Demi Moore
As an actress who has been appeared in movies and on television since the 1980s, Demi Moore is also a co-founder of Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children. The foundation’s efforts have resulted in the arrests of more than 6,500 child sex traffickers and the identification of nearly 6,000 child sex victims.
Moore was recognized for her efforts to combat human trafficking when she was given the Visionary Woman Award last month. During her acceptance speech, she said, “We don’t have to fight much, we just need to unite. The power of our collective is only going to bring the light and the success to an even greater level.”
Statement by the Prime Minister on gender equality as top priority of Canada’s G7 Presidency
Status of Women Canada, Apr 27, 2018
OTTAWA, April 26, 2018 /CNW/ – The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on gender equality as a top priority of Canada’s G7 Presidency:
“Women’s empowerment is a key driver of economic growth that works for everyone. All of us benefit when women can participate freely, fully, and equally in our economies and society, and supporting and empowering women and girls must be at the heart of the decisions we make.
“That is why we made gender equality and women’s empowerment a central theme of Canada’s G7 Presidency – and created the Gender Equality Advisory Council for Canada’s G7 Presidency. Thanks to the Council, we will make sure a focus on gender equality guides the work done at the G7 Leaders’ Summit – and set a precedent for the G7 going forward.
“In discussions with the Council and the Women 7 (W7), a formal G7 engagement group, as well as other feminist leaders, we explored ways we can promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through the G7 and beyond. The W7 and the Council bring together feminist leaders and advocates from around the world who are trailblazers in their communities. Thanks to their work and to generations of feminist leadership, we have made important progress toward a world where everyone, no matter their gender identity, can realize their full potential.
“Gender equality must play a key role in creating lasting solutions to the challenges we face as a world – whether building economies that work for everyone, preparing for jobs of the future, fighting climate change, or advancing peace and security. Investing in girls’ education, especially in crisis situations, is a vital part of making that a reality.
Barbershop about how to involve more men in promoting gender equality and combatting sexism
EU Committee of Ministers, Strasbourg, 26 April 2018
Members of the Parliamentary Assembly, Ambassadors of the 47 member states to the Council of Europe and Judges of the European Court of Human Rights are meeting in Strasbourg on 26 April to discuss how to involve more men in promoting gender equality and combatting sexism.
The conference is co-organised by the Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, the Icelandic Authorities and the Council of Europe. Mr Ásmundur Einar Daðason, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, Iceland and Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General, Council of Europe will open the conference.
Sexism in the public sphere is a societal problem, the resolution of which requires the engagement of women and men. Together, we will engage in a lively discussion on our roles as individuals, as partners, and as policy-makers on how men can join women in advancing gender equality and combat sexism. The time for action is now! Participants will be asked to recognize, explore, and challenge harmful gender stereotypes – including those specific to manhood and masculinity – which prevent us from achieving gender equality.
The Barbershop was an initiative taken by Iceland and Suriname in 2014 inspired by the HeForShe campaign and the Geneva Gender Champions initiative and several conferences has since been held among others in the UN and NATO.
Barbershop events provide a setting for male-to-male discussions and reflections about their own behaviours, privileges, and roles creating barriers for women‘s empowerment and how men can instead become agents of change in realising gender equality. This way, the Barbershop platform encourages men to make a proactive commitment to gender equality at an individual and collective level, inspire other men to join them and bring the discourse on gender equality to barbershops and locker rooms around the world.
The Barbershop Toolbox was developed to enable others to mobilize the men around them for gender equality. The Toolbox is part of Iceland’s commitments to the HeForShe movement and can be accessed on the movement’s website.
Denmark and Iceland will also host a reception at 18:30 on Thursday 26 April, at the European Parliamentary Association (76 allée de la Robertsau, Strasbourg).
STAR-Ghana Trains Partner CSOs And Media In Gender Equality And Social Inclusion
Ivan Heathcote – Fumador/Belinda Lebene Ami Bamezor, Modern Ghana, April 26, 2018
Civil society organizations across the country have been challenged to lead the charge for better gender equality and social inclusion as a catalyst for development in Ghana.
The subject has headlined a learning workshop spearheaded by accountability, Transparency and resource pooling NGO STAR GHANA which has been working with partner civil society organisations on a five year Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) project.
The GESI Project IS jointly funded by the DFID, DANIDA and the European Union.
The initiative falls in line with THE UNITED Nations Strategic development Goal 4 which seeks to ensure gender equality, human rights, the rule of law and universal access to public services.
The initiative also seeks to reduce relative poverty and other inequalities that cause social exclusion; Prevent and eliminate violence and exploitation, especially for women, children and persons living with disabilities.
The event which kicks started at the Golden Tulip Hotel in the Ashanti Regional capital in Kumasi is being attended by some forty (40) beneficiary CSOs drawn from all ten regions across Ghana.