The Gender Beat: Transgender Rights Bill Redrafted, Readers Respond to Sexism by Naming Women Writers

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

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Government introduces free injectable, oral contraceptives for women in India

The Union government has introduced injectable and oral contraceptives into the National Family Planning Programme. These contraceptives will be available for free at all primary and community health care centres and district hospitals.

In an official statement, health minister JP Nadda said that family planning efforts have been scaled up improve the health of women and children. Nadda says that the government plans to collaborate with private organisations to ensure the wide availability of these contraceptives.

In the past, women’s activists have opposed the introduction of injectable contraceptives on the grounds of side effects.

New provisions added to the draft of the Rights of Transgender Persons bill

The draft of the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill has been reworked to include new chapters and provisions by the ministry of social justice and empowerment, says India Today.

The new provisions give transgender people more land and housing rights, and detail provisions to legally protect transgender communities from violence, including assault and sexual violence.

The bill also includes a provision for the creation of a national council that will advise the central and state governments on how to promote and preserve the rights of transgender persons.

The draft has been referred for inter-ministerial consultation.

India has highest number of women coders participating in global code sprints: HackerRank

A platform called HackerRank has published an infographic which shows that India has the largest number of women coders who participate in global code sprints. These are 24-hour code contests open to developers worldwide. The platform also found that Indians in general make up the largest numbers of people participating in global hackathons, reports The Economic Times.

Film Review: A transgender activist responds to the film Jenana

In a review published by Gaylaxy magazine, transgender activist Raina Roy has called the Bengali film Jenana “misinformed” and “objectionable” in its portrayal of transgender communities.

“I wonder if the director even remotely understands the sort of exploitation and struggles that are faced by the trans and hijra community,” writes Roy, taking strong objection to the use of Ulti (hijra code language) in the film, pointing out that it leaves an already marginalised set of communities even more vulnerable to violence.

Books: Writers and readers respond to Gay Talese’s failure to name women writers

Last weekend, author Gay Talese, known as the founder of New Journalism, was asked during an appearance in Boston University to name a female writer who inspired him. His answer – “None” – has led to widespread condemnation.

Readers of the Guardian’s books blog have responded with the names of women writers they have been inspired by. These responses have been compiled into a list, which includes Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Angela Carter. Read the full piece here, and also read responses by authors.

University of Queensland bake sale ends in rape threats

The University of Queensland’s Feminist Week saw the holding of a ‘gender pay gap’ bake sale, which charged its customers according to how they identified. Those who identified as men paid $1, others paid less, in proportion to the actual gender, ethnicity, disability wage gap in Australia.

The organisers of the event faced a volley of vicious verbal abuse and threats of sexual violence and murder after the bake sale was announced, says a report in the Brisbane Times.

The point of holding the sale was to highlight wage gap disparity based on gender, and other factors such as race, sexual orientation, and disability.

How to fight transphobic violence in Brazil

A worldwide petition has been launched to demand that the Brazil government take steps to stop the murder of transgender people in the country. One of the people who has launched this campaign, Kelli Anne Busey, writes in The Advocate that Brazil has the most amount of homicides of transgender people of any country worldwide.

Theresa Kachindamoto: the Malawian chief who broke up hundreds of child marriages

Theresa Kachindamoto, senior chief in the Dedza district in central Malawi, has made 50 of her sub-chiefs sign an agreement to end child marriage in her district, annulled existing child marriages, and sent all the children involved back to school.

A report in the Huffington Post says: “To ensure children are not being pulled out of school, Chief Kachindamoto operates a secret network of parents to keep an eye on others. And when parents can’t afford to pay school fees, she’ll pay them herself or find someone else who can.”