India’s R&D Workforce has Less than 15 Per Cent Women: President Kovind
The Indian Express - New Delhi, India, 2/29/2020
On the occasion of National Science Day, whose theme this year was ‘Women in Science’; President Ram Nath Kovind said that women comprise less than 15 per cent of the workforce in research and development. He announced three key initiatives for gender advancement and equality in academic and research institutions: Vignan Jyoti which will create a level playing field for meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) which will develop a comprehensive framework for assessing gender equality in STEM; and an online portal for science and technology resources, such as scholarships, fellowships and career counseling for women.
High Court Rules Access to Surrogacy for Same Sex Couples
The Jerusalem Post - Israel, 2/28/2020
The High Court of Justice of Israel on February 27, 2020 asked the government to fix laws that discriminate against same-sex couples within 12 months. Current policy allows gay adoption, but raises a number of hurdles which cause substantial delays, hindering adoptive parents from gaining full adoption rights until they obtain an additional court order. Itai and Yoav Finks Arad of the Association of Gay Fathers, who filed the petition, said that the judgment is a progressive step for LGBTQIA+ rights in the country. This judgment was a continuation of the High Court’s decision on February 4, 2020, when it ruled in the favour of gay adoption by Israeli citizens of children born through surrogacy abroad.
Surrogacy Bill to Benefit Widows and Divorcees Too
The Times of India, India, 2/27/2020
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020 was approved by the Cabinet on February 26th, 2020. The bill states that ‘willing woman’ can become a surrogate mother thus; expanding the scope of surrogacy to divorced and widow women. The proposed insurance cover for a surrogate mother has also been increased from 16 months to 36 months. Cabinet minister, Prakash Javadekar stated that the bill aims to regulate surrogacy while prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic ones. Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani further added that only Indian couples, with both partners from Indian origin can opt for surrogacy in the country. The Rajya Sabha select committee that examined the bill argued that restricting the surrogate mother to a ‘close relative’ potentially affects the availability of surrogate mothers.
Taking Pivotal Steps to End Child Marriage
Inquirer, Philippines, 2/26/2020
Four bills have been filed in Congress which aims to penalize the facilitators and solemnizers of child marriage, which may include parents or legal guardians of the children. The bills also propose a coordinated set of preventive actions across government bodies and communities to transform the cultural attitudes and gender stereotypes underpinning violence against the girl child. The ‘Girls Not Brides’ bill, defines child marriage as a grave form of abuse and exploitation that endangers the survival and development of children. Child marriage also heightens the risk of early or unplanned pregnancies that can lead to serious consequences in a country where the maternal mortality rate remains extremely high; and where the soaring adolescent pregnancy rate was declared a ‘national social emergency’.
Sri Lanka- UNFPA Meeting in Colombo Notes Discrimination of People with Disabilities
MENAFN - Colombo, Sri Lanka, 2/25/2020
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) organised a panel discussion in Sri Lanka on February 25th, 2020. The panel discussion was titled 'Addressing birth defects from the lens of Human Rights & Inclusion’, and it was focused on human rights and a gender equality angle to disability and birth defects. The discussion was part of the 9th International Conference on Birth Defects and Disabilities in the Developing World. It brought together experts from the fields of medicine and sociology who discussed about societal barriers in accessing reproductive health services for people with disabilities from the human rights perspective. Conclusively, the discussion provided an open platform for open dialogue between policy makers, health professionals, academics, civil society, media and other stakeholders.