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· May, 2009

Stories about Women & Gender from May, 2009

Russia: Bloggers’ Memories of Soviet Maternity Hospitals

Last year, Sinisa Boljanovic translated a number of heartrending childbirth stories, written anonymously by Serbian women and posted on the "Mother Courage" award-winning site, launched and maintained by Serbian blogger Branka Stamenkovic/Krugolina Borup. This month, LJ user germanych, a Russian blogger, asked his readers to share experiences of giving birth in the Soviet Union. While Branka Stamenkovic's "Mother Courage" initiative is an attempt to change the situation for the better, the Russian blogger's goal has been to document a lesser-known chapter of the Soviet history.

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East Timor: Thoughts on Abortion A Few Days Before Law Approval

  30 May 2009

A heated debate about the provisions of a new draft penal code pertaining to abortion is taking place right now in East Timor. If the law is passed, abortion will become a crime and those who perform it will be punished with 2 to 8 years imprisonment, even in cases of incest or rape. The blogosphere reacts, Timorese women raising their voices and questioning why the more pressing issue of underage prostitution is not being debated instead.

Azerbaijan: Toyland

Fighting windmills? Take a pill introduces its readers to “toy,” the local word for wedding, and comments on the role marriage plays in society in Azerbaijan.

Lebanon: Women in Parliament

“There are actually more men with the first name of Mohammad than there are women in parliament,” writes BabaGannouj et La Zaytouni about the current number of women parliamentarians and about the very small number of women candidates (12) compared to the hundreds of men running for the upcoming elections...

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Singapore: First LGBT Rally

  28 May 2009

More than 2,500 people in Singapore gathered at Hong Lim Park to form a human Pink Dot - a symbol of love and inclusiveness. It was Singapore’s first public rally in support for the Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

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Caribbean, UK: Padel resigns from Oxford post

  27 May 2009

After regional bloggers reacted en masse to the withdrawal of St. Lucian Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott from the race to be Oxford Professor of Poetry, Ruth Padel, Walcott's closest competitor who eventually won the coveted post, has resigned under pressure of mounting allegations that she was the puppet master behind the smear campaign. Caribbean bloggers do not seem surprised.

India: Saving Lives With Paper

  25 May 2009

Anuradha Parekh at The Better India writes about the struggles of the poverty ridden Sahariya tribe in Madhya Pradesh, India. A local NGO called TARA (Technology and Action for Rural Advancement) came to their rescue by teaching them how to make handmade papers and that has changed the lives of...

Jamaica: Calabash & Language

  25 May 2009

Annie Paul blogs about Jamaica's Calabash Literary Festival, at which some folks were offended by the colourful language in authors’ readings: “Does shielding young ears from words like pussy, bombaclaat, pumpum and other such words ensure a more sensitive, ethical adult? Especially when they can see for themselves the hypocritical,...

China: New development on Deng Yujiao's murder case

  25 May 2009

A concern group has been formed in Beijing to give support to Deng Yujiao, a nail beautician who stabbed a government official when defending herself from sexual assault. Joe Martinsen from DANWEI translated two statements, one by the government, one by Deng's lawyers, which gave very different story of Deng's...

India: Bowing Down Before Your Wife

  21 May 2009

Sumanth at Desicritics reports of a verdict of the Indian Supreme Court on a divorce case, which asked the plaintiff to “bow down before his wife's ‘diktat'”. The post containing Sumanth's reaction to the verdict sparks a heated debate in the comments section.

Guyana, Cuba: Day Against Homophobia

  19 May 2009

“What did it mean that there were no openly lesbian women where I lived in Guyana, a little over 20 years ago?” asks Signifyin’ Guyana, as she acknowledges the recent International Day Against Homophobia; Repeating Islands, meanwhile, notes that the occasion was recognized in Havana.

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Kuwait: Election History: Four Women Win Parliament Seats

Election fever has swept Kuwait, culminating in a historic and momentous event for the nation! Kuwait was expecting at best one or two women to make it to Parliament but we got four (Dr. Aseel Al-Awadi, Dr. Rola Dashti, Dr. Salwa Al-Jassar and Dr. Masouma Mubarak)! Amer Al-Hilal here with an extra-large 'Special Edition Election' post from Kuwait with reactions from the Kuwaiti blogosphere.

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Caribbean: Bloggers React to Walcott's Withdrawal

  18 May 2009

St. Lucian-born Derek Walcott is truly a West Indian man. He has been embraced by literature lovers of countless other regional territories who identify with his writing and see the nuances of the Caribbean come alive in his work. Which was why his Nobel Prize win for Literature in 1992 seemed like a regional victory - and why his withdrawal from the tight race for the coveted position of Oxford Professor of Poetry has left a bad taste in many bloggers' mouths.

China: Netizens stand with the waitress who killed an official

  17 May 2009

Deng Yujiao, a waitress in Hubei Province stabbed an official to death and injured another in resisting their sexual advances. Comments on the internet showed no sympathy with the dead official and generally support the 21-year-old girl, acclaiming that she is another Yang Jia who acted in response to an...

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