Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Girl Effect - Where is it?

Now, I usually shy away from expressing any opinion that is remotely feminist... but I think it's time I had a little rant...

At School, I have joined up with a team of fellow comrades in order to spread awareness about the rates of maternal mortality in developing countries. We successfully organised our own community leaders forum, Dying For Life, which resulted in gaining a reasonable level of support and the pledging of resources for our cause. During the Q&A session two issues were raised which really struck me: the potential power of the social network in combination with the uncensored state of the internet, and the value of women in the global society. The reality of the situation is that theoretically everyone has access to the internet – the obvious exception resting in the most isolated corners of the world and controlled states such as China and North Korea. Thus, these times (where poverty and lack of social consciousness seem to dominate) have been blessed with an advantage: a stepping stone in the expansion of education and the rallying of the masses. We need to unite and use this advantage to the full.

Having recently read Catlin Moran’s column in the Times’ Magazine, she reflected on The Guardian’s survey of the position of British women in the professional and political sphere: 78% of newspaper articles & 72% of Question Time contributors are men.  Catlin asked the same answer I did - LADIES? WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? WHERE IS OUR VOICE? One of the flaws in our current British political landscape is the rising level of apathy, which makes our system fundamentally undemocratic. We need to participate more and really fight against what matters. Which brings us back to maternal mortality rates: the fact is, is that not only the authorities in developing countries but also in MEDCs, need to commit to the salvaging of these women – they need to DECIDE that women are worth saving and direct their resources & manpower accordingly. This of course is not just relevant to this cause, it is a widespread unconscious attitude among the leaders of society; and as active citizens we need to combat this.

Thursday, 15 December 2011


Today tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets of cities of Western Russia,  to show Putin and indeed, the rest of the world, the true nature of their anti-government stance. After the Duma elections last week, leaving Putin’s United Russia with a 49% majority (losing 70 seats since the previous 2007 elections), YouTube was flooded with clips of blatant electoral corruption, facebook was in outrage; the statistics were laughable: 90% of the mentally handicapped voted for Putin, and in one region 147% of voters favoured United Russia.
The election saw over 1000 arrests, including that of anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny who became the hero of today’s protests. I have spent the day following a myriad of tweeters (mostly reporters) in order to gauge the sheer scale of the protests. It has proved to be the largest political demonstration in Moscow since the fall of the Soviet Union, with as many as 50,000 people joining together near the Kremlin to loudly express themselves. No one could have predicted it. Just last month, I sat listening to Luke Harding (former Russian correspondent for the Guardian who was expelled in February 2011) mournfully telling his audience that Vladimir Putin could potentially be in power until 2024, without a flicker of dispute from the Russian people. But do banners saying “The rats should go!” and “Putin without Russia!” imply another era of cold-hearted Putinism? I would not be so bold as to speculate whether this signifies the beginning of the end of Vladimir Putin and his FSB dominated state, but as @shaunwalker7 declared “[I] Really don’t think [it is an] exaggeration to say Russia will be changed permanently”. Indeed, BBC correspondent Daniel Sandford stated “It is in many ways a political reawakening”.