News from the Global South

Gender-Based Violence Rooted in Gender Inequalities – Omo-Agege

Leadership, Nigeria, 1/14/2021

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege said recently at a conference that gender- based violence is rooted in gender inequalities and that it affects people regardless of income, race, gender, or socioeconomic status. He also said that sexual violence, physical violence, emotional and psychological violence, child marriage, femicide, female trafficking, female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic violence and rape were destroying relationships, lives and shattering the bedrock of societies in every corner of the globe. Dr. Simon Bako Lalong, Governor of Plateau State also remarked in order to advocate for a safe Nigeria for women and girls, the mindset of men and boys must change to not only appreciate that women and girls deserve protection, but have rights and freedoms enshrined in the constitution.

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GBV Cases Increase by 200% Due to Covid-19 Lockdown – UN

New Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe, 1/13/2021

During the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, cases of gender-based violence (GBV) in Zimbabwe surged with the national hotline recording a 200% increase. Recently, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that between January and September, 2020 a total of 5,507 gender-based violence cases were reported through the national GBV hotline as compared to 2019, when 1930 GBV cases of violence were recorded. OCHA further added that distressed households were reporting increased use of negative coping mechanisms including child labour, early marriage and transactional sex, while economic challenges were creating barriers for children’s return to education, especially for girls.

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Army to Induct Women as Pilots in Aviation Wing

The Indian Express, India, 1/12/2021

In a major move, the Indian Army has decided to induct women as pilots in its aviation wing and the first batch is likely to be admitted and start their training in July, 2021. Chief of Army Staff Gen MM Naravane, addressed a press conference and said that he had issued the order a month prior to the decision to induct women in the flying branch of the Army. He added, “The adjutant General’s branch, the Military Secretary branch and the Aviation Directorate have arrived at a consensus that women officers can be there in the flying branch for flying duties.” After one year of training, they will be able to join frontline operations units for flying duties.

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China Denies Coercive Birth Control Measures in Xinjiang

The New Indian Express, India, 1/11/2021

On January 11, 2021, Xu Guixiang, a Chinese official, denied Beijing has imposed coercive birth control measures among Muslim minority women, following an outcry over a tweet by the Chinese Embassy in Washington claiming that government policies had freed women of the Uighur ethnic group from being “baby-making machines”. Guixiang, told reporters that Uighur women made birth control decisions autonomously without the interference of any organisation or individual. An Associated Press investigation in June, 2020 found that the Chinese government was forcing draconian birth control measures on Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang including IUD fittings, contraceptives, abortions and sterilisations.

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Lockdown Took Toll on Mental Health: Experts

The Times of India - Jaipur, Rajasthan, 1/10/2021

Jaipur-based psychologists have confirmed that the number of persons suffering from stress and depression has increased manifold following the Coronavirus pandemic. Dr RK Solanki, senior professor and unit head, Department of Psychiatry, SMS Hospital, said that initially the distress calls they received were primarily due to uncertainty of life, future, and career. However, during lockdown the focus entirely shifted to financial stress and uncertainty in life. He added that the latter cases were more vulnerable due to mounting pressure on families and individuals during the pandemic. He agreed that not all individuals can reach out to counsellors but believed that with support from family, relatives, friends and society, they can overcome these issues.

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