AFC Women’s Futsal Championship: Iran champions again!
The Iran women’s national futsal team has vigorously ended its campaign at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Futsal Championship, and defended its title as the champion of the continental tournament.
The Iranian sportswomen defeated the Japanese outfit 5-2 in the final showdown of the event at Indoor Stadium Huamark in the Thai capital city of Bangkok.
Both teams began the battle as expected, playing a high pressure game with intense marking from the first blow of the whistle.
Iran and Japan national futsal teams were evenly matched and had their fair share of ball possession during the first half. Their efforts, however, failed to yield results and they went into the cloakrooms tied at nil.
The Asian powerhouses continued to present attacks after the break, until Iran’s Sara Shirbeigi unleashed a fine shot that was buried into the net in the 28th minute, and gave the reigning champions the lead.
Fereshteh Karimi then made no mistake to double Iran’s lead in the 30th minute.
Shirbeigi displayed spectacular individual skills later on, when she dribbled through the Japanese defense before netting her brace.
The Iranian skipper completed her hat trick in the 31st minute.
Japan’s numerous attempts to pull back a goal finally paid off in the 36th minute and Mika Eguchi opened the scoring for her side.
Fahimeh Zarei then shot into the goalmouth, and put Iran 5-1 in front.
Anna Amishiro jabbed Japan’s second goal of the match in the 39th minute.
Earlier in the day, Thailand clinched the third place, defeating 3-2 in a penalty shoot-out after the exciting play-off against Vietnam ended scoreless.
President of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) Mehdi Taj, head coach of Iran’s national football team Carlos Queiroz and Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, in separate messages, have felicitated the triumph, and praised the efforts made by female Iranian futsal players to win the championship.
The 2018 AFC Women’s Futsal Championship, which was the second edition of the international event, started on May 2 and closed on May 12, 2018.
The Manchester mum campaigning to end pregnancy discrimination at work
Joeli Brearley was four months pregnant when she announced the news to her employer.
She was working for a children’s charity and instead of congratulations and support, she was sacked by voicemail the following day.
After speaking to other mums, Brearley, who lives in Manchester, realised pregnancy discrimination was a much bigger problem with mums paying the price for wanting a family and a career.
In fact, 54,000 women a year pay the motherhood penalty in Britain, from being pushed out of their jobs to facing a glaring gender pay gap if they do return to work.
Joeli Brearley was four months pregnant when she announced the news to her employer. She was working for a children’s charity and instead of congratulations and support, she was sacked by voicemail the following day. After speaking to other mums, Brearley, who lives in Manchester, realised pregnancy discrimination was a much bigger problem with mums paying the price for wanting a family and a career. In fact, 54,000 women a year pay the motherhood penalty in Britain, from being pushed out of their jobs to facing a glaring gender pay gap if they do return to work. Joeli Brearley was four months pregnant when she announced the news to her employer. She was working for a children’s charity and instead of congratulations and support, she was sacked by voicemail the following day. After speaking to other mums, Brearley, who lives in Manchester, realised pregnancy discrimination was a much bigger problem with mums paying the price for wanting a family and a career. In fact, 54,000 women a year pay the motherhood penalty in Britain, from being pushed out of their jobs to facing a glaring gender pay gap if they do return to work.
Women journalists in Afghanistan defiant in the face of violence
The dangers of working as a journalist in Afghanistan have been dramatically underlined by an attack in the capital Kabul on Monday in which nine Afghan photographers and reporters were killed. They had gone to report on a suicide attack, and were targeted by a second suicide bomber when they arrived on the scene.
The cold-blooded killings took place just days before World Press Freedom Day marked annually on May 3rd.
Outside the Afghan capital, the dangers of reporting the news, particularly as a woman, have never been so apparent.
Sediqa Sherzai is the news director of Radio-TV Roshani, a media organization In Kunduz in the north of Afghanistan. Her female reporters are under constant threat not only from insurgents but also from men who do not want women to work in the media.
“When insurgents seized Kunduz in 2015, they came immediately for our station because they didn’t like our content focused on women’s rights,” she said. “Even though most of our reporters fled in advance of their arrival. They looted our equipment and destroyed what they could not take.”
Despite the challenges of working as a woman in the media in a conservative and conflict-affected country, Sediqa Sherzai is committed to ensuring that the voices of Afghan women are heard ahead of the country’s elections slated for October this year.
In the volatile province of Kunduz where some territory is beyond government control, women say they fear to speak to the media and talk about human rights, much less advocate openly for democracy and change. Even Sediqa Sherzai and her staff of women shy away from photographs, cautiously protecting their identities.
Elections are considered essential to solidify fragile the social and human rights advances made during the last 17 years. The struggle for full women’s suffrage in Afghanistan, reminiscent of similar fights in centuries past in other nations, has gained broader international support in the last two decades.
Screaming woman ‘is viciously beaten by women in Iran because her red headscarf is deemed an “insufficient” hijab’
A terrified woman has been savagely beaten by morality police thugs in Iran because her headscarf was deemed an ‘insufficient’ covering, activists said.
The outrageous scene, in what appears to be a public park in broad daylight, was secretly filmed by an onlooker and has been spread online by dissident groups.
The disturbing footage initially shows a woman with a red scarf pushed to the back of her head having a heated conversation with a man and another woman.
Seconds later, two women wearing all-black coverings that leave only their faces visible barge onto the scene and begin grabbing and shouting at the woman.
The aggressive goons – who are believed to be members of the Islamic theocracy’s morality police – become increasingly violent towards their frightened victim.
Other women, who do not appear to be members of the force, assist the primary attackers as an argument rages throughout.
The victim can be heard screeching in terror as the sickening abuse continues.
She can later be seen lying on the floor, crying in pain and without her headscarf, as a large crowd surrounds her.
At the end of the video, the brutal attackers can be seen pointing and shouting at members of the crowd who appear to disagree with their barbaric actions.
Egypt women fight for right to army combat posts
While President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared 2017 to be the “Year of the Egyptian Woman,” it failed to empower women militarily. Still, Jihad el-Komy, founder of the Moganada Masriya (Female Egyptian Conscript) campaign has continued to seek to convince officials to accept Egyptian women as soldiers and officers in combat units of the armed forces. On March 11, Komy met with Maya Morsi, head of the National Council for Women, to ask her to bring up the campaign to other top government officials.
Morsi praised the campaign as a true reflection of Egyptian women’s increasing awareness of the security threats facing the country. She promised to discuss the demands of the campaign with officials and pointed out that such strong determination will put the campaign’s demands into force very soon. Morsi, however, has yet to take tangible steps in the matter.
In an interview with Al-Monitor, Komy said the campaign was launched in June 2011 but failed to receive adequate media coverage due to the political situation in Egypt following the January 25 Revolution.
She said calls for Egyptian women to be recruited into the armed forces have been recurrent since Sisi praised the role of women in the Jan. 25 and June 30 revolutions and following the 2014 presidential elections, which prompted the wide use in December 2014 of a hashtag that translates as “Egyptian female soldier.”
Komy said all this allowed her, in February 2015, to meet with then-Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, who promised to consider allowing women in combat roles and come up with the necessary legal amendments. He raised the issue with the Cabinet and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. However, no progress was achieved as Mehleb’s term came to an end in September of the same year.
She said she then tried to raise the issue in September 2015 by asking many citizens from various provinces to sign a petition calling for allowing women to become soldiers and officers in the army’s combat units, but her attempt was not met by any official response.
“We reiterated our calls for [including] young women in the armed forces in February 2018, concurrently with the comprehensive armed forces operation in the Sinai Peninsula against terrorism, as four young women went to volunteer in the Egyptian armed forces Feb. 15,” she added.
This year, Komy’s repeated calls have received wide media coverage, especially after she met with Morsi. Several newspapers and media outlets interviewed Komy, most recently the Masrawy portal. During a March 13 interview with Masrawy, Komy reiterated her call for Minister of Defense Sedky Sobhy to consider the recruitment of young women, their participation in the war and arming them in emergency cases such as that of the comprehensive operation in Sinai. She said more than 20,000 young women are willing to join the army.
Komy noted that the campaign does not aim to impose conscription on women, as is the case with men, but rather to allow their voluntary recruitment into combat troop units, instead of having their role limited to being in the administrative and nursing departments, as is currently the case.
Women’s Rights Are Human Rights, and Women Have the Right to Equality in Sport
Today, on the United Nations (UN) International Day of Sport For Development and Peace, we are reminded of the unifying power of sport and its role in sending a message of peace and equality for all. The field of play offers a powerful platform for social change — for dismantling barriers and building bridges, and for bringing people together regardless of race, nationality or gender. Yet, discrimination against women persists in many areas, including in the athletic arena, even as attitudes around gender-based stereotypes continue to evolve.
As an Olympian myself — and as a broadcaster who started covering the Olympics at age 17 — I have seen firsthand how participation and access to sports can help to close the gender gap.
Sports can and do have a positive influence on the advancement of gender equality. Not only does the field of play provide a platform upon which to build a better world, it also allows for a space where we can promote gender equality, giving girls and women equal opportunities to benefit from sport. There is no better venue for this than the Olympics. Every country competing must follow the same rules and play on the same field – and having the opportunity to represent your country and meet strong, talented women from around the world opens up your perspectives. The Olympics become an equalizer within women’s sports.
Playing sports empowers female athletes with the skills and confidence to survive and thrive in the world today, on and off the field. Individual and team sports have the power to transcend the boundaries of gender, religion, race and nationality. They promote health and wellness, self-confidence, decision-making and social skills, and, above all, perseverance. Women in sport smash gender stereotypes, providing inspiring role models for all girls, and portraying gender equality.
Opening Up Opportunities
While we’ve come a long way in leveling the playing field in terms of gender equality, it wasn’t always this way. When I competed in the Rome 1960 Summer Olympic Games, and in the Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympic Games, the opportunities and resources available to female athletes were extremely limited. Women competed for less than one-third of the medals. The first women’s Olympic team sport — volleyball — was only added in Tokyo — forget the marathon, forget basketball and soccer, and never mind how the press portrayed female Olympic athletes at that time. It was not until 1972, with the passage of Title IX, which I proudly helped champion, that things began to change.
Time right to do more in the uplifting status of women
Kenya this year celebrated the International Women’s Day with the launch of First Lady Margaret Kenyatta’s strategic plan for beyond zero campaign to end maternal and child deaths.
While the importance of this initiative cannot be disputed, the sole focus on it by Kenya’s top leadership denied the country a chance to critically examine what progress has so far been made broadly on women’s rights and what more need to be done to achieve gender equality, including in the three areas of political representation, ownership of land and economic participation.
In 2017, for the first time three women were elected governors and another three as senators. While this has been hailed as a great milestone, we must not forget that this only constitutes six per cent of women in the senate and in governorship, in a country whose population is 52 per cent women.
In Parliament, out of 290 elected members, only 23 are women. At 12 per cent, this is the lowest in the region. And despite the constitutional requirement that two-thirds of parliamentarians cannot be of the same gender, Parliament remains unconstitutionally constituted.
Further, it has been a long and violent journey even for those that have been elected. These women fought against a culture and a patriarchal system that does not believe in women’s leadership, against political parties whose nomination process are not based on merit but favouritism, and on the elections trail, they fought against politically instigated violence. There also is an unacceptable minimisation of women in politics.
Rights to ownership of land
The 2010 Kenyan constitution gives equal rights to men and women, boys and girls to inherit land, but this is just not happening.
Harassment, Humiliation and Sexism, Ignored for Years
Utah State University’s head piano instructor retired after an outside investigation found that he had discriminated against women in the department for over a decade, administrators said Friday.
The university also removed a second professor implicated in the investigator’s report from his position as piano program coordinator and will pursue disciplinary action against him.
“Step one in moving forward is standing up and admitting that we at Utah State made mistakes in the way we handled issues of abuse, of mistreatment of students and even of instances of sexual assault,” President Noelle E. Cockett said during a news conference.
Utah State University’s head piano instructor retired after an outside investigation found that he had discriminated against women in the department for over a decade, administrators said Friday. The university also removed a second professor implicated in the investigator’s report from his position as piano program coordinator and will pursue disciplinary action against him. “Step one in moving forward is standing up and admitting that we at Utah State made mistakes in the way we handled issues of abuse, of mistreatment of students and even of instances of sexual assault,” President Noelle E. Cockett said during a news conference. Utah State University’s head piano instructor retired after an outside investigation found that he had discriminated against women in the department for over a decade, administrators said Friday. The university also removed a second professor implicated in the investigator’s report from his position as piano program coordinator and will pursue disciplinary action against him. “Step one in moving forward is standing up and admitting that we at Utah State made mistakes in the way we handled issues of abuse, of mistreatment of students and even of instances of sexual assault,” President Noelle E. Cockett said during a news conference.
UN sees ‘worrying picture’ of rights violations in Iran
The United Nations said the human rights situation in Iran has worsened since the international body’s previous report on the country, which had given assurances it would make improvements.
“The Special Rapporteur [Asma Jahangir] has observed a worrying picture developing in the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran since the issuance of her last report in August 2017,” read the UN report.
“Despite assurances from the government, improvements are either not forthcoming or are being implemented very slowly and in piecemeal,” it added.
Jahangir, who drafted the report, died in February. Her findings were to be debated at the UN Human Rights Council.
The report mentioned violations in the legal process; arbitrary arrests; executions, including of juveniles; restrictions on freedom of expression; torture and other ill-treatment in detention; as well as discrimination against women, religious and ethnic minorities.
There was a slight reduction in the number of executions but Iran still executes hundreds of people every year. The report said there were 482 executions reported in 2017, compared to 530 in 2016 and 969 in 2015.
The report said the United Nations is alarmed by the number of death sentences “not least because of a consistently reported pattern of serious violations of the right to fair trial and denial of due process by the courts in the application of death sentences.”
The UN report disapproved of the minimum age of criminal responsibility in Iran, which is 9 years for girls and 15 years for boys. Iranian laws contravene with international standards, which prohibit the execution of people under 18 at the time of the offence, regardless of the circumstances and nature of the crime committed.
The report noted that 80 individuals on death row were sentenced to death for crimes committed when they were minors.
The United Nations noted that detainees appear to be systematically subjected to torture and abuse, including sexual violence.
“Consistent reports received suggest a pattern of physical or mental pressure applied upon prisoners to coerce confessions, some of which are broadcast,” the report said.
Banned from watching soccer, the women of Iran are being failed by FIFA
With the World Cup in Russia less than 100 days away now, excitement is escalating for obsessive fans around the world. Even in places that have long excluded women from watching sports events in person, the ground is shifting; in January, Saudi Arabia lifted its long-standing banon women in stadiums.
But in Iran, women who are enthusiastic soccer and volleyball fans are still barred from even watching matches in stadiums—and are detained by police when they try.
This month, global soccer’s top official, FIFA president Gianni Infantino, had a chance to side with Iran’s women and insist they be allowed into Azadi Stadium when he was in Tehran to preside over a match between top teams Esteghlal and Persepolis.
Instead, he joined a public event that excluded women entirely—in a stadium that seats 100,000.
“When Mr. Infantino was enjoying a football match in men-only stadium, Iranian female football fans were under arrest,” wrote @OpenStadiums, an Iranian women’s advocacy group on Twitter.
As for women and girls who hoped to cheer their teams, at least 35 were detained by police outside Azadi Stadium, (Ironically, “azadi” means “freedom” in Farsi.) The group detained included teenagers and women dressed as boys who regularly risk arrest attempting to sneak in to cheer their teams.
The prospect of being detained is ever-present yet women in Iran have been protesting the ban on half the population in stadiums for decades, defiantly posting their photos on social media.
After Saudi Arabia lifted its ban in January, Iran is now the outlier barring women from sports stadiums. Journalist Negar Ehsan spoke for many Iranian women when she wrote, “I have to confess, after I saw the photos of Saudi women in football stadium, I feel like crying for two reasons: I was happy for Saudi women who were oppressed for so long and at the same time I was sad for how patient we have been.”