Gender Beat: Hasan Rouhani Slammed For All-Male Delegation; Rajasthan Tackles Crimes Against Women

A round-up of what’s happening in the worlds of gender and sexuality.

Iranian president comes under fire for an all-male delegation to meet Swedes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has come under fire for choosing an all-male entourage while hosting a predominantly female delegation that was visiting the country from Sweden, The Guardian reported.

Pictures showing Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, who was accompanied by six women, and Rouhani at Tehran’s presidential palace have drawn criticism from women all over the country.

Leila Alikarami, who monitors women’s rights in Iran, told The Guardian that Rouhani’s all-male delegation was particularly disappointing given his campaign promises to promote equal rights for women.

“Women’s rights is not this system’s priority, it only comes up at election time,” Alikarami said.

Many even took to Twitter to point out the stark gender gap clearly depicted in the images.

“The sensitivity around this issue is important because women should have been present among the Iranian delegation,” women’s rights activist Sussan Tahmasebi said.

Rouhani, according to The Guardian report, has a number of women in his cabinet serving as his vice presidents but does not have a single woman minister.

CPI(M) youth wing calls for decriminalising homosexuality and education, job reservation for transgenders

The Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the youth arm of CPI-M, has adopted a resolution demanding the right to education, jobs and social equality for the members of the LGBT community.

At the tenth national conference of the organisation that was held in Kochi recently, DYFI also urged the government to decriminalise homosexuality, Times of India reported.

According to the 2011 Census – the first one to recognised the transgender population – the community has about 4.88 lakh members, nearly 60% of them are illiterate and 23% of them belong to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.

A transgender attends a rally in Mumbai. Credit: Reuters

A transgender attends a rally in Mumbai. Credit: Reuters

According to Hindustan Times, demanding special budgetary provisions for the education of the community, the DYFI resolution also states that transgenders should be “treated as socially and educationally backward classes and given reservation in jobs and education institutions like scheduled tribes, scheduled classes and other backward classes.”

Andhra Pradesh, UN Women sign pact to foster gender-responsive governance

Andhra Pradesh has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, to foster a “gender-responsive governance” and enhance efforts being made towards the advancement of gender equality and empowerment of women.

As per the MoU, UN Women will provide support to the state government in its efforts to end violence and discrimination against girls and women, PTI reported.

“In the long term, the collaboration will establish an enabling and conducive policy environment for improved status of women and girls in the state while building on the government’s capacity to deliver on India’s commitment to the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women,” the MoU stated.

Both UN Women and the state government have also agreed to collaborate to provide livelihood opportunities and equal access to resources to women and to strengthen institutional capacities for gender-responsive governance at the local level.

LGBT groups urge Trump administration to retain Obama era transgender protections

Four advocacy groups in the US have sent letters to attorney general Jeff Sessions and education secretary Betsy DeVos, urging them to retain the Obama administration’s guidance to public schools on protecting transgender students.

According to a Reuters report, the guidance issued to all the public schools in the country last year urged them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms that matched with their gender identity.

Donald Trump holds up a rainbow flag with "LGBTs for TRUMP" written on it. Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

Donald Trump holds up a rainbow flag with “LGBTs for TRUMP” written on it. Credit: Reuters/Carlo Allegri

“Each of these guidance documents is based on years of careful research to accurately reflect a substantial body of case law and proven best practices from schools across the country,” the letter said.

US president Donald Trump has spoken in favour of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, however, LGBT advocates have questioned the commitment of conservatives Sessions and DeVos to transgender rights, wrote Daniel Trotta.

Rajasthan set to recruit officials to tackle crimes against women

The state’s women and child development department is set to appoint officials at the district level to address crimes against women and children.

Anita Bhadel, the women and child development minister, told Hindustan Times that the state would become the first in the country to create a “separate cadre to redress women and children’s issues.”

At the district level, a protection officer would ensure that the victims of domestic violence are medically examined, are provided aid under the Legal Services Authority Act and even a shelter home if required.

According to the Hindustan Times report, women supervisors at the block level will act as a link between the district level officers and the village-level workers for women at the gram panchayat level.

Even though there was a decline in crimes against women in the state such as dowry deaths and kidnapping in 2016, incidents of rape increased by 0.54% and harassment by 0.33%.

That’s it for this week! If you liked what you read, please consider subscribing to this weekly newsletter.

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