News Archives

In a First in Kerala, Women Can Drive Govt Vehicles

Hindustan Times - Kerala, India, 8/22/2019

The Kerala Government on August 22, 2019, decided to allow the appointment of women drivers in government departments and public sector undertakings, a post so far reserved for men. ‘Directions have given to all government departments and PSUs to make the driver post gender neutral. This has been done in accordance with the State Government’s policy on gender equality,’ said a statement issued by CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s office adding the existing recruitment rules will be amended for this. In Kerala, barring the State Road Corporation, women were earlier not allowed to apply for driver posts in any other department, and many women’s organisations have been protesting against this ban for years. Hence, rights activists and organisations (like the Mahila Congress) have hailed the government’s new move.

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China's Parliament Rules Out Allowing Same-Sex Marriage

Reuters - Beijing, China, 8/21/2019

Limiting marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman will remain China’s legal position, a parliament spokesman said on August 21, 2019, ruling out following neighbouring Taiwan in allowing same-sex marriage, despite pressure from activists. Taiwan’s parliament passed a bill in May 2019 that endorsed same-sex marriage, after years of heated debate over marriage equality that has divided the self-ruled and democratic island. China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, has a thriving gay scene in major cities, but there has been little sign the ruling Communist Party will legalise same-sex marriage. Asked at a news briefing whether China would legalise same-sex marriage, a spokesman for parliament’s legal affairs commission said that Chinese law only allowed for marriage between one man and one woman.

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Kannada Writer’s Story on Sexuality Makes it to BCU’s UG Syllabus

The Times of India - Bengaluru, India, 8/20/2019

In a bold and progressive move, the newly revised curriculum of Bengaluru Central University (BCU) has included short stories on sexual minorities, and folk tales on male perversities and patriarchal hegemony. ‘The Unpalatable Offering’, one of the translated short stories exploring sexuality, urbanisation and class from Kannada writer Vasudhendra’s Mohanaswamy, has been included in the recently published Additional English textbook for first year undergraduate courses. This is a small yet significant step in creating a more diverse educational environment. BCU also has a compulsory course on gender studies on the postgraduate level. LGBTQ inclusive curricula at school and college levels is crucial for not just helping young people develop a deeper understanding of these issues, but also to help LGBTQ students feel represented.

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Salvadoran Woman Cleared of Homicide Charges after Stillbirth

New York Times, El Salvador, 8/19/2019

After giving birth to a stillborn baby, Evelyn Hernández Cruz was charged with aggravated homicide. Ms. Hernández said she was raped by a gang member and was not aware she was pregnant. The courts in El Salvador, a country with one of the world’s strictest abortion bans, found her guilty in 2017 and sentenced her to prison. On August 19, 2019, a Judge acquitted Hernández, a decision hailed as a victory for advocates in a country where prosecutors have pushed beyond the harsh abortion laws to criminalise obstetric emergencies. The case has tapped into deeper concerns over social inequalities and discrimination, testing the willingness of the courts to accept homicide prosecutions of low-income women who lose their babies because of a lack of access to medical care.

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IMA to Start Sexual Health Courses for Doctors

The Hindu - Andhra Pradesh, India, 8/18/2019

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has decided in principle to start courses on sexual health to educate doctors from the next academic year. Stating that sexual health awareness was not only important for children and adolescents but also for the doctors who need to offer the right counselling and treatment to different age groups when they encounter one problem or the other, IMA national vice-president T. Narasinga Reddy said the IMA Council of Education would prepare the modules and curriculum to facilitate the introduction of the course. Reddy also said that since talking about sex in the open was still a taboo, many seek out sexual health counselling from doctors, and hence doctors need to be trained to offer help in this regard.

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