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DE LTAWOMEN MAGAZINE

The Third Gender ! Women, War and Worsening situations When Art Immitates Life GET A
The Third
Gender !
Women, War and Worsening situations
When Art
Immitates
Life
GET A
COLLECTION
OF
PHOTOS
AND
ART

May 2012

PLUS

“Conviction” and “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone” Review

How one woman from Uganda is helping teen mothers sur- vive and thrive

The

Death of

Frank

GENDER
GENDER

2 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.org

from the editor

EDITOR

Elaheh Zohrevandi

Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

PHOTOGRAPHy

Eleanor Bennet Claudia Fierro Maureen Littlejohn Su Tomesen Chioma Nneji

COnTRIbUTORs

Ngoako Jay Morokolo Nichole Beard Lacey Jean Frye Maureen Littlejohn Ana Isabel Martinez Charlotte Lazarus Christina Y. Kim Effat Allahyari Elaheh Zohrevandi Kirthi Gita Jayakumar Kanika Jain Katherine Vasquez Tarazona

Leila A. Fortier Marie Keith S. Epe Hadi Barazandeh Paola Brigneti Fatemeh Mohseni Zafar Ihsan Denise Falcone

CRITICs

Daniela silva

Maureen Littlejohn

CEO

Elsie

DELTAWOMEN MAGAZIN is published monthly

All rights reserved ©

2012

DeltaWomen magazine has arrived!

“Gender”is a silenced yet very controversial issue and that is why we have decided to talk about it in words and photos and even in silence.

If you feel like there has been things unsaid or stories untold, read this month’s DW and you’ll change your mind as we always try to change your hearts.

Does “Gender” define who you are? It doesn’t define us and that’s why we have asked our guy, Hadi, to write us a poem regarding Gender.

We have articles written by DeltaWomen staff plus stories written by friends from outside and movie/song reviews.

Our featured artist is Eleanor Bennett who is young and talented enough to always move us.

outside and movie/song reviews. Our featured artist is Eleanor Bennett who is young and talented enough
outside and movie/song reviews. Our featured artist is Eleanor Bennett who is young and talented enough
outside and movie/song reviews. Our featured artist is Eleanor Bennett who is young and talented enough
outside and movie/song reviews. Our featured artist is Eleanor Bennett who is young and talented enough

www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | MAy | 3

Who said that Princess Cannot Wear Hiking boots?

by Paola brigneti

I remember watching all the

Disney princess movies when

I was growing up. I remem-

ber I watched them, enjoyed them for what they were, and then moved on. Even though I

played with Barbie dolls, I never felt compelled to look like one.

It appears that at the time I was

growing up, companies were not as concerned with (aggres- sively) marketing their products to young girls, at least not in a way that translated into a cul- ture of princesses and Barbie dolls.

Looking at girls nowadays and at how they are heavily tar- geted by advertisement and by franchises like the Disney princesses, I am relieved I did not have to deal with that addi- tional societal pressure on top of all the other challenges I en- countered as a girl during my formative years.

I am sure we all remember

the time in our lives when we became aware of our bodies. For me it was at age 14 when

a classmate pointed out that “I

was getting a bit bigger.” For most girls, this awareness is not a pretty thing as they start

to realize that society has a set of standards they are sup- posed to comply with. If they don’t, then they become fail- ures by default.

Can you feel the pressure?

Now imagine this same age of awareness in a world that not only tells girls that they are supposed to look beautiful, like models, perfect without any blemishes; but that also tells them they are supposed to be like princesses, like the ones in the Disney movies. Many might argue that girls’ desire—and perhaps also need—to emulate princesses is not a big deal, but the reality is that girls are inter- nalizing the princess stereo- types, and are being psycho- logically, and even physically harmed in the process.

There is evidence that girls who succumb to the princess craze are less likely to be active be- cause princesses are not nec- essarily the most athletic role models out there—the movie Rapunzel, I believe, made an attempt at trying to change this.

Following

the

princess

mad-

ness, some girls have been reported to refuse to wear ten- nis shoes or shoes that are not like the ones princesses wear. As a result, you now are more likely to see very young girls— as young as 3 or 4—wearing kiddies high heels or balleri- na flats. If you ask any grown women, they will tell you that ballerinas (and especially high heels) are not the most com- fortable shoes to play in. When girls wear these “cute” shoes, they are less likely to engage in physical activity and play (did I hear anyone say obesity epi- demic?), which is essential to their mental, physical and so- cial development.

In fact, somewhere I saw this new shoe trend be described in terms of modern foot binding because it prevents girls from engaging in normal girl activi- ties like running around or play- ing.

The problem, however, is not necessarily that girls want to be like princesses (or that they are told they should). The real problem is what princesses are created to stand for, to act like and to look like. Indeed, the

4 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.org

Who said that Princess Cannot Wear Hiking boots?

by Paola brigneti

problem is rooted in gender and in the societal norms that surround girls and princesses. If it weren’t about gender, boys would be equally targeted with prince merchandise but, in- stead, they are targeted with action heroes, super heroes and plain heroes, all of which are plenty active, plenty tough and, in some cases, plenty ugly too.

Girls’ merchandise is designed to turn them into helpless, frag- ile, vacuous little people. Boys’ merchandise, in comparison, is designed to make them tough, brave, even heroic.

Girls’ self-esteem continues to be jeopardized while boy are only getting more confident.

Is this the message we want our girls to receive? Are par- ents aware that by promoting the Disney princess craze they are wrongly gendering their girls to become everything the feminists fought against?

Like I said, when I was grow- ing up I played with dolls and watched the princess movies, but I also played in the dirt,

hiked up mountains, and ran a lot. I still love running. I could not imagine a childhood with- out all those things. I grew up from a girl into a woman, but I certainly was not gendered into a lady-like princess, and I thank my parents and my lim- ited exposure to advertisement for that.

I think it’s time to act against the princess trends. Let’s not allow the media to gender our bright, beautiful, playful, adventurous girls into empty-headed car- toon princesses. They deserve better than that.

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www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | MAy | 5

ART & PHOTOGRAPHy Kirthi Gita Jayakumar is a Commissioning Editor for e-IR. she currently also
ART & PHOTOGRAPHy
Kirthi Gita Jayakumar is a Commissioning Editor for e-IR.
she currently also volunteers with the United nations,
and works with Femina and Rainmaker as a writer.

DEnIsE FALCOnE On GEnDER

“I was angry with my friend:

I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.”

Willam Blake

Fear of disappointing someone, fear of being wrong, feeling afraid to cause conflict, or the fear of hurting someone’s feelings or making them angry often silences us. As a result, our true voices disappear and we end up adopting a sub-

missive, holding-in, self- silencing behavior. Confrontation can be scary. It’s invasive. It can ruin a day. It can chip away at our defenses before we know it or before we are ready to let them down. We might take note of feel- ings of shame by thinking that being angry is wrong, or of feelings of alienation brought on by taking all the responsibility for why our attempt at communication has failed. There might be the realization that the very connection we have been trying so hard to preserve, at the expense of ourselves, has fallen apart. If we do muster up the

courage to let our voice be heard, we might be shocked to hear that it is a loud angry voice. Rather than take this all in, we might just as well prefer to stay mad. On the other hand, an- ger can empower us. It is a strong drug. It intoxicates us and makes us feel big, important, and visible. This is especially true when we feel invisible.

Anger is polluting our world. Unresolved, uncon-

trolled anger is seeping into our lives like toxic waste. This is because when we are angry we are afraid. Standing up for ourselves can evoke feelings of separ- ateness and aloneness - we feel ourselves separating. Separating into ourselves can be terrifying. We are cutting through the bloody tangled knotted mass that keeps us involved. How we were made to feel as children can affect how we direct our anger now. Then it becomes a two- folded place of dealing with our anger: all that retroac- tive rage of the past and today. If we can confront those old feelings, dust the cob- webs off to understand them, we can move on from

a place of being scared or

from a place of hating and even allow someone to be mad at us without becoming paralyzed by its power. Why make waves? Because a new voice emerges from a woman who is confident and secure in

her anger. Feeling entitled to her feelings, even in anger, she comes through with

a more grounded, clearer

voice in communicating to others. When she loses the fear in her voice, she looses her status of shrew, scold, bitch, hothead, spoiled child, man-eater, and nag.

6 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.org

Maureen Littlejohn

building Hope for young Women

How one woman from Uganda, now based in Canada, is helping teen mothers survive and thrive

It was fitting that I met Solome

Nanvule on March 8th, Interna-

tional Women’s Day. I was giving

a slide presentation in Toronto on

the inspiring women I had met in

Ethiopia during CUSO Interna-

tional assignment. Afterwards, a

soft-spoken young woman ap-

proached me. “I really liked your

talk,” she said shyly, adding, “You

might be interested in learning

what I am doing for teen moth-

ers in Uganda.” She pressed a

business card into my hand and

we agreed to meet the following

week.

Solome is 28 years old, married

to Godfrey Ssembeguya, and the

couple have two young children.

Ssembeguya works as a site

manager at a non-profit urban

environmental charity and is very

supportive of his wife, helping

care for the children whenever

she needs him to step in. This

month Solome graduates from a

social work program at a Toronto

university and will head out into

the world to ply her newly minted

skills. Her history of helping oth-

ers goes far beyond her school-

ing, however. Originally from a

small village outside Kampala,

Uganda, she came to Canada 10

years ago, sponsored by Father

Raynald Pelletier, a Quebec

Catholic priest who had be-

friended her during his 26 years

in Uganda.

“I met him when I was 10 years

old. My mother was going

through a divorce and wanted to

send me to a Catholic boarding

school. He was part of the con-

gregation and after meeting my

mother, volunteered to pay my

tuition.”

Chioma nneji MAKInG A DIFFEREnCE In sLUM UPGRADInG In nORTHAbURI, THAILAnD
Chioma nneji
MAKInG A DIFFEREnCE
In sLUM UPGRADInG In
nORTHAbURI, THAILAnD

www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | MAy | 7

When she graduated from high school in 2002, Pelletier arranged

a

numbers of homeless girls,” says Solome.

girls were not in school and not being cared for. I took over the

Solome had a studio built on the

“We started out with 15 girls. Last

for her to continue her studies in Canada. Her enrollment at Ryerson University didn’t hap- pen immediately, though. “I was pregnant with my first son plus dealing with the culture shock of

On the PTMOF website, some of the teen mothers share their stories. Annet Namalwa, 16, dropped out of school due to financial problems. She was helping her aunt at home when

shelter, co-coordinated the girls. You are not allowed to attend regular school if you have a child, so I started a vocational school where the girls could learn skills for a sustainable livelihood,” says Solome. After her mother died in

new country. I started school in 2007,” Solome explains. She has fond memories of Pelletier, who passed away in 2011. “He was

friend of her father’s promised

a

to pay her school fees. He got her pregnant instead and denied

Another young woman, Tracy

2003, Solome moved the shelter and school to her mother’s prop- erty. There are 10 adults and nine

a

gentle, dedicated and spiritual

responsibility. Annet describes

children currently living there. Her

man who dedicated his life to caring for orphaned children and single mothers with their children in Uganda,” she recalls. The Pel- letier Teenage Mothers’ Founda- tion (PTMOF) was his legacy, an organization that provided shelter and training for children and mothers who had nowhere else

how she and her baby daughter survive on spare change she gathers from singing for people. Her hope is one day to go back to school and get a certificate in arts and crafts so she can earn a living making sweaters.

sister Maria acts as housemother, buying food and resolving con- flicts. Her other sister Betty, who is deaf and dumb, also resides there.

land where girls learn sewing, hairdressing and business skills.

to turn.

Nambatya, 20, tells of her polyga- mous family, of a co-wife putting

The facility has three hair-drying chairs, three sewing machines

“It is especially difficult for teen

a

spell on her mother to become

and one laptop computer. A social

mothers because often they have been raped, sometimes by family or friends. If they are pregnant, they are kicked out of the home. They have nowhere to go and no

ill, and of looking for money to help cure her mother. She found work in a woman’s house, but was raped by the woman’s boy- friend. Now she is living with her

worker comes and does volun- teer outreach programs and train- ers come to teach on Saturdays.

year when I visited there were

way to make a living,” explains

grandmother and wants to start

50

mothers between the ages of

Solome.

her own business.

14

and 25 who wanted training,”

One PTMOF’s mandates is to al-

ter the view that teen pregnancy

is shameful. This is especially

important when a young woman has been victimized. “We have re-connected many teen mothers to their immediate families. We are promoting community aware- ness and this has lowered the

PTMOF brought hope to many of Uganda’s most vulnerable wom- en and children. When Pelletier retired and returned to Canada in 2000, he entrusted the care of the foundation to the local elders. “They were not faithful and went back on their word. The funds were not used properly. The

says Solome, who goes back an- nually for two or three weeks at a time.

The program is popular because it can lead to independence. “Once they are trained, we help them get small loans to start a business. We also teach them about family planning,” says

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Maureen Littlejohn

Solome. Right now, the trainers teach five girls at a time, and the others watch their children, waiting for their turn the follow- ing week. “We have play time for around 60 children and a learning program that is run by volunteers for children who are ready to go to school. We also network with the local medical centre where the children get health assis- tance,” she explains.

Solome has seen the suffering and abuse young girls in Uganda have to endure. Family, teachers or church members have be- trayed many of the teen mothers she encounters. Some die due to botched abortions, and some contract HIV/AIDS. “They come from abusive homes. Uncles or fathers promise another man sex with their daughter or niece for a glass of vodka,” she explains.

Solome’s father had seven wives. He beat her mother regularly and refused to be tested for HIV/ AIDS. After the divorce, Solome and her family survived on less than a dollar a day. Pelletier’s kindness came at a crucial time and Solome’s desire to honor her mentor and guardian is under- standable.

Since Father Raynald Pelletier

passed away, Solome has taken

on full responsibility for PTMOF. Last May she had a fundraising event in Toronto. Friends donated food and played music while So- lome collected donations at the door. She raised $500 for a new roof at the PTMOF vocational center. She’s also been support- ing the foundation with money from her part-time job, leading

a high school girls’ group for

delayed development students.

“I have 13 people, including

myself, pledge $20 a month to the PTMOF account to facilitate vocational programs, food, clean water, workshops, volunteers and medication. We also receive ongoing gifts and one-time dona-

tions from volunteers and friends

in the USA, UK, Canada and

Uganda.” In addition, the founda- tion receives gifts-in-kind includ- ing clothes, diapers, formula, food, water, toys, books and shoes.

“I’m going to Uganda for five or six months after I graduate. I need to hire more people who can commit to the project. I’d also like to steer some of the girls towards PLAN Canada’s lo- cal business management pro- grams.” Her hopes for the future of PTMOF are big. “I’d like to buy some land where we can build a

maternity clinic, plant a garden and create a community center.” Where will the funds come from? She’ll start with friends, fam- ily and established donors who have watched PTMOF’s steady progress. “I’m planning to make my graduation party a fundraiser in Toronto. I have asked all my friends not to buy me gifts but in- stead to donate to the foundation. Whatever we do, it has to be an achievable goal,” she says.

The many heartfelt ‘thank yous’ from beneficiaries on the PTMOF website reinforce the organiza- tion’s core beliefs – “Through our faith in God and services to our fellow women and their children we can, and are making a differ- ence.”

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Eleanor bennett

Claudia Fierro

Eleanor bennett

Marie Keith S. Epe Who, Me? Twisting your long hair Clipping the strands Checking the

Marie Keith S. Epe

Who, Me?

Twisting your long hair Clipping the strands Checking the mirror With your right hand.

Adding colors on the lips Perfecting each arch of the brows More pink on the cheeks you mused, just now.

The car is waiting but your skirt is too long Changed it to a shorter one While humming your favorite song.

surveying again you were pleased. Tucked your purse on your left hand strutting down the steps, that must not be missed.

Opening the door There he is.

you gulped hard, a smile on your heart that skipped a beat

but the smile died when he simply said “Pleased to deliver your pepperoni pizza, steve!”

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Eleanor bennett

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Kanika Jain

Today I want to write about something different in the context

of gender. Not about gender issues and not about gender

bias or discrimination, but about gender identity and gender

roles in the society.

Before delving into a discussion, it is essential to under-

stand what these actually mean. Gender identity is often

defined as an individual’s conception of himself and is

primarily self-identified influenced by both internal and

external factors. Gender role, on the other hand, reflects

this gender identity. It is an exterior personality manifesta-

tion. In societal context, it is defined in an individual’s habits;

way of living and reactions. Gender role is developed and

impacted by a diverse set of factors such as religion, culture,

climate, history, ethics, the values system etc.

Traditionally masculinity has been demonstrated by per-

forming physically challenging activities such as hunting,

war etc. while females have been homemakers indulging

in activities such as raising children etc. Thus, tradition-

ally people in society took up gender roles based on

their gender identity and biological orientation. How-

ever, with modernization and changing values, the

very significant differences between the males and

females are slowly becoming more subtle and even

disappearing, especially in developed societies.

The pressing concern in this context is what the soci-

ety’s stand on these gender roles is and what are its rendi-

tions for humanity?

With well connected societies and better educated individuals,

societal roles are now slowly being derived based on individual

choices and interests. The clash occurs when some traditional

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Kanika Jain

Who am I, what do identify with and where do I belong?

Claudia Fierro

Preventing sexual harassment Freedom of speech. Hindrances: loud stalkers. Let your words be few. America + sexual harassment. Life is a miracle. Business ethics: per- spective in moral and immoral. Consent is important regarding what is moral and immoral. Compassion is given through a kind word. Pratical application is good habits make good practice.

In hopes every generation rises up in humility standing on common ground overlooking all irritation and being slow in anger. Love is life, peace, joy in all circumstances, whatever love we bring today, Lord Jesus be with us always.

Christina Y. Kim

www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | MAy | 17

Hadi barazandeh

Two

Worlds

Boy’s World

In the midnight of fear and spark

A kid, homeless and still in shock

A couple of cops and the five-year-old

boy

Filled with fears of helplessness and

void

A white pad, a son, a kid

Has cried under the load of that body

heat

His mother sold him for dope

A man hurt him with his lust

The kid feels like he's behind bars

Feels like he's nothing but a sex prize Doesn't deserve being next to his

mom

Wanders around in the park and feels like a scum With tears and pain pleaded to God "Don't take me back home I'm filled with faults and sins The man broke my innocent boundar-

ies

I can't recall, can't say what he did He ruined my world with his fast

breathe

I'm a mess, separated from my inno- cent world Why did he touch me and made me feel cold" The five-year-old full of desire to die Only five but broken like a man, Why?

Girl’s World

Waiting for an opportunity to bring her home Like a slut Can't you see you're hurting her Her eyes are as red as blood She didn't get any love from home That's why she's sleeping in your bed Then you call her a whore Even when you see her more and more Her culture's attitude is summarized in one word Are you in god's shoes to judge her world?

see her more and more Her culture's attitude is summarized in one word Are you in

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Katherine Vasquez Tarazona

Randomness

When reading the international section on the daily journal, one often finds stories related to minorities, and,

usually, it is fascinating. Finding stats about how many women (in such larger number of countries) undergo

female genitalia mutilation is astonishing. Moreover, realizing that infants are forced to marriage at age 14 (or

less) and to deliver newborns by 15 with parental consensus (but not them as individuals) just can break our

minds (and hearts). But when we deal with minorities, we also think about indigenous societies and their laws

before the State ones; or consider, race and discrimination issues (from restraining access to public spaces

such restaurants and clubs to public humiliation); or the abuse of religion minorities in non-secular countries

(whether this be oral or behavioral). Truth is when it comes to minorities rights, the media and, in general, so-

cieties tend to treat these issues as a “them vs. us” business. And this replicates in advocacy too. “Their rights

are being overlooked” –we hear. “Their fight against our society”- most say. And in such simple terms,” they”

remain as a minority and “us” become some sort of heartless monsters that can’t recognize their differences,

be tolerant, and welcome them into our world.

Many years ago, I watched a comedian (Mexican Adal Ramones) prepare a segment where reality had been

inversed. In this sketch, homosexuals became the majority and heterosexuals were the ones socially con-

strained from” stepping out of the closet”. It was hilarious yet the comedian intentions were clear. It showed

majority as bully and judgmental about the minority, regardless the ingredients, reality was actually the same.

Recently, my best friend brought to the table an interesting discussion about feminism being a male invention. I

think most have heard this and overlooked it by being offensive and so not worth our time. Since I have lots of

time, it seemed only right to look at this more thoroughly.

So, why is it possible for anyone to consider that feminism is actually a masculine theory? Well, I believe that

this is based on that “them vs. us” discourse. We pretend to be tolerant and engaged but most take it on the

bases of differentiation.

Oh, don’t take me wrong. I am not saying that everyone is the same or that our differences don’t deserve to be

observed (as enhancers). To be honest, diversity is one of my favorite features. The learning curve is immense

and so rich, when it comes to other cultures, religions, ideals, ideologies, habitudes, and so on. This is only

achieved with great respect and tolerance, and recognizing that no one owns such thing as the truth. Accord-

ing to this line of thought, reality is constantly shifting and gaining new values and visions. And no matter what

people say or how politically wrong this may sound, this is not an easy task. It is not easy to understand and,

needless to say, to accept other’s absolute truth.

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Katherine Vasquez Tarazona

I have been fascinated about the role of women in different societies. This takes me longer to process when

their own communities share values and visions of the world completely opposite to my own. Moreover, this

comes incredibly impossible to achieve when considering human rights and respect. As in a puzzle, one in-

tends to make every piece to fit, and it gets frustrating when it doesn’t. I believe this is what happens when we

judge under our rules (sometimes so intrinsic to oneself and not applicable to most) and lose to see the bigger

picture.

I am thinking about regions were our role seem to fade into clandestine shapes. Though, later we are taught

differently. Consider the Asian culture. If you follow Chinese cinematography, you’d find that women are given

obscure significance and need to be stopped in order to achieve liberty. This is interesting because of the ste-

reotype that female tend to have; they are smart and difficult to mislead; and therefore they become a central

aspect in arts. Something similar happens in the Middle East where women put the weight of morality on their

shoulder, regardless male interaction. Another fascinating example is the fact of religion been carried on by the

womb, giving women a key role in Jewish society.

on by the womb, giving women a key role in Jewish society. Preconceptions are helpful for

Preconceptions are helpful for rapid assessments but are just as harmful for understanding and depth develop-

ment. Women aren’t weak or the strongest ones. We have jumped from one extreme to the opposite.

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Katherine Vasquez Tarazona

I get it, this was mandatory in times where our vote didn’t matter and had no voice. And considering that in

many places in the globe this is still the case, I can see why advocacy groups have chosen to continue with

this perspective. However, I know women part of the modern society where their rights as human being aren’t

at risk who have chosen to stay at home, have a husband and kids, left work for being a full time mom, and are

very happy with it. On the other hand, we find the strong women, independent, who not only don’t need anyone

else’s help but don’t want it, even if needed. There’s also that wonder-woman paradox, “we want it all… and

will have it” discourse, where women have jumped into everyone’s shoes to show their value and irreplaceable

feature. The cape is on and I am making the” woosh” sounds.

Regardless my stand on any of those, I believe we are entitled to find our way in life without risking being called

a stereotype. Or even, if we want to become one, let us be. Somehow, we’ve lost our way in between tags (eye

candy, wonder-woman, executive-woman, mother, and so on), forgetting the ulterior goal: achieving equality.

My research on some gender issues such as rape or female genitalia mutilation had shown me the relevance

and effects of gender cooperation where male intervention is as important as the female demand (and in some

cases, even vital). Community involvement might be the only feasible way of finding change. It is incredible that

women are considered to be minority in the world where today’s proportion is about 60% to 40%, and expected

to reach “equality” within a year time. Yet there is a gap in equality, not every human being is looked the same

by law or their society.

Minorities are after all defined as social groups who are limited in their access to power on the community; may

this one be political or social.

As I see it, this may be the main reason for minority groups to protect their rights in a rather radical manner, not

only to preserve their rights but to demand to be acknowledged. It is because they are overseen and misunder-

stand.

As a woman, I can assure you: gender equality has not being achieved and it is been lost of focus for the most.

It has been translated into a fight about strength and power, instead of being a matter of humanity. Today’s

world proposes us solutions as quotas and media indignation, when the case may relay instead in equal oppor-

tunities to access and equal treatment. To engage in gender equality, one doesn’t need to neither be a woman

nor the one that everyone is expecting her to be. One needs to be passionate about humanity, able to recognize

our differences and embrace them. We might be from Venus and men from Mars, yet on the Earth we sure look

all the same and gender cooperation and interaction leads to human survival. Though, as I often mention in

development issues, humans are not here to survive, we deserve to live.

www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | MAy | 21

Lacey Jean Frye

THE DEATH OF FRAnK

The Chordettes tore through the thick black radio as she sat bitch in the back of the gunmetal se- dan her father had restored from the ground up. The rebuild had always fascinated her, though she couldn’t muster the proper dad to daughter arm shrugs and shooting the shits routines just yet.

“Dad?” “Throw me that wrench, will ya?” “Here. Dad, I wanted to tell you, see I thought maybe we could—” “Bastards! I can’t get this snug! Yeah? Go in the house and fetch me a cold one, will ya?”

The dogs were barking all over town.

Her stepmother couldn’t look at her daughter who spat out the broken parts of her father, whom the stepmother married to avoid another mess of food stamps, not to mention the bachelor roommate who gropes in the kitchen, gropes in the bathroom, and gropes all over the chairs that were easy in the first place.

And naturally, the stepmother played defense and whirled a steak knife around at her father during every episode of “Who’s Coming to Dinner?” And luckily, the stepmother was visiting a friend of a friend with an aunt she never spoke to out in Nebraska for the season.

During hunting season, she and he resided in the cabin her grandfather built just outside of Fulton, Missouri. And because her father hadn’t been close to his daddy, Frank was invited to fill in, to bond in a way her father had incorrectly assumed she and he could bond, on account of her mother’s belly producing a she and not a he. A daddy could only avoid his baby becoming a female for so long. She’d sprouted mosquito bites for boobies last summer.

Gallons of snow hovered around them like a Christmas tree skirt, the kind her stepmother haphaz- ardly washed, ironed, and tucked around the base. As she sat in the sedan, snug and safe in her school puffer, she sifted through the croons of The Chordettes, failing to keep her mind from reveling in her stepfather’s absence of the good part of the morning. He’d left for a walk hours ago. And she’d eaten all of his crab meat soaked in cocktail sauce the moment he’d slammed the screen door; she’d thrown his overalls off the bathroom hook where they soaked up the excess water from the leaky toilet; she’d ripped up his fishing magazines and shoved them in the bottom of the trash can, underneath the chicken bones he’d licked clean the night before.

22 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.org

Lacey Jean Frye

THE DEATH OF FRAnK

The front seat engulfing her string bean of a father bounced frantically in her peripheral, catapulting her out of the melody and into the passenger seat’s window, where his index finger was jamming the glass. Her father bellowed, “Frank! Frank! Frank!” He had come across what they had been looking for: the body of her step-grandfather. By the time she’d outsmarted her seatbelt and jammed her feet back in her snow boots, her father was already out of the warm sedan and parallel to Frank’s blue face. Frank was staring up at the canopy of white branches. She wobbled like a turkey’s wattle, coming closer to the blue form as her father spat, “Go! Up to Henry’s cabin—he’s got a telephone. Now!” Her shoulders turned inward as the weight of the task clenched down. She turned and tried to run, but the knee-deep snow made a mockery of her footwork. The mile-long walk uphill was only made worse by the icy glaze atop the three feet of snow. Her boots filled with white powder. The cake under the icing melted on impact against her sweaty calves. Panic rose in her throat as she lost sight of the road once, then twice. As she inched toward Henry’s cabin, she sent up a hard prayer for the man in the snow—she’d wished Frank dead secretly but never anticipated her role in the undertaking.

“Such a pretty girl, you know that? You look like an angel.” Frank’s lips shining with saliva, his hands paused over her thighs hidden underneath the gingham tablecloth. She silently moved the cards as she turned into rubber. Solitaire, she recalled. Someday, her stepmother would speak of Frank performing his card tricks on her. Someday, she’d understand why her stepmother had left her—a much daintier person—alone with such a beast.

Deciding the side trail safer on account of the trees blocking most of the snowdrifts, she trudged over to the trail, edging closer to the formidable cabin. Somewhere, she’d lost her breath. A fast prayer to find it was sent up, as her lungs burned underneath two layers of rough long johns. The last moments of her inverted crawl were a blur of icing, of numb fingers and sliced heartstrings. She only remembers pounding her fists furiously on Henry’s door, only to unveil her father, his eyes never looking so clear.

“I drove the sedan up the road right after you. He’s gone, honey.”

“Finally,” she breathed, crumbling like leftover bread—bread for the birds. For Mister Sand-

man.

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www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | MAy | 23 Maureen Littlejohn CHILDREn OF TEEn MOMs sOLOME nAnVULE

Maureen Littlejohn

CHILDREn OF TEEn MOMs

MAGAZInE | MAy | 23 Maureen Littlejohn CHILDREn OF TEEn MOMs sOLOME nAnVULE (CEnTRE) AnD THE

sOLOME nAnVULE (CEnTRE) AnD THE TEEn MOTHERs

MAy | 23 Maureen Littlejohn CHILDREn OF TEEn MOMs sOLOME nAnVULE (CEnTRE) AnD THE TEEn MOTHERs
MAy | 23 Maureen Littlejohn CHILDREn OF TEEn MOMs sOLOME nAnVULE (CEnTRE) AnD THE TEEn MOTHERs
MAy | 23 Maureen Littlejohn CHILDREn OF TEEn MOMs sOLOME nAnVULE (CEnTRE) AnD THE TEEn MOTHERs

sOLOME nAnVULE AnD CLOTHInG

24 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.org

Claudia Fierro
Claudia Fierro
24 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.org Claudia Fierro
24 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.org Claudia Fierro

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Elaheh Zohrevandi

The Third Gender

In our confined world of names and labels, sexuality presents itself in only two forms while Intersexu- ality presents itself in numerous different forms, occurring both in individuals with a standard karyo- type (the chromosomal make-up of the body’s cells) of 46, XX

Until recently, the overwhelming

stigma-

conventional appendages. From the 1960s, it became common practice to trim down an enlarged clitoris, and to fashion a mal- formed penis into a vagina. The line among surgeons was alleg- edly: “It’s easier to dig a hole than build a pole.”

thing. In a country where girls are forced to wear scarves and even long veils to cover their bodies, and boys are pressured to look though just not to be made fun of, living as a third gender can be the hardest thing to do.

(female) or 46, XY (male), as well as in those with more unusual karyotype combinations such as 47, XXY or 47, XYY.

response among doc- tors was to surgi- cally “correct” a baby’s ambigu- ous genitalia on the grounds that he/

Intersexed babies with XY chro- mosomes have therefore fre- quently been “reassigned” as female, with parents advised to raise them as girls, and oestrogen pills administered to induce female puberty. This is largely due to the hugely influential 1960s “optimal gender policy” of psychologist John Money, and his famous as- sertion that “nurture could override nature”.

India -in my opinion the most democratic place on earth- has the most recognized group of people living as the third gender among all the countries. Thailand holds the next place on the list. Compar- ing the records, western countries are just recognizing the intersexed as real people while eastern countries have already set up their cultural rules of acceptance.

Facebook is eating the world and here remains the big question:

she would,

The prevalence of corrective sur- gery is in part responsible for our

“When is media going to recognize the third gender?”

in later life, be

general ignorance about inter- sexuality, which is far more wide- spread than most of us realize; the

No one can predict the future, but it does seem as though our culture

tized

number of live births displaying

is becoming, albeit slowly, less

by

“genital dimorphism” is estimated at approximately one in every

rigid about gender roles, and more accepting of unconventionality in

these

2,000.

general.

un-

 

The concept of “Third Gender” is not always chemical or physical; it can be a mental and psychological

Who knows, maybe next time that you try to build an account some- where in the visual world, you think twice before choosing your gender!

26 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.

su Tomesen

26 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen. su Tomesen MARCELO, 2006

MARCELO, 2006

AnATOMICAL

CORRECTnEss

Age 5

At the babysitter’s turquoise house, there is an olive-skinned who keeps “showing himself” to the girls. I don’t know what this means, I just overhear my babysit- ter on the phone.

Later, I climb the dark staircase to the bathroom. I’m sitting on the toilet when the olive-skinned boy walks in.

“Here’s mine.” He unzips his pants and shows me a dark, floppy bit.

I pull my pants up and run down the stairs.

I try to avoid the olive-skinned boy every day that I’m there.

Age 6

We watch TV with our mom. It’s an adult show. She tells us to cover our eyes during some parts, but I peek. I always peek.

Age 7

My mom and sister are inside; I’m out on the porch. The neighbor girl comes out, she’s a year younger than me, I think.

She asks, “Do you want to play sex?”

I’m hesitant, but she pulls me over.

nichole beard

She tells me to lie down on the ce- ment porch.

She lies on top of me for a few seconds. And then she tells me to do the same.

After a few seconds, I feel the same kind of guilt that I feel in church. I tell her I have to go.

Age 8

While our mom is at work, we play at the neighbor’s house. It’s sum- mer and they have a pool. Two brothers live there; one is in my grade.

As the cool water splashes over me, my schoolmate’s little brother dips underwater. He tugs at my schoolmate’s swim trunks, and that’s when I see it: the protrud- ing bit of flesh. And then it’s gone before I can study it further.

At lunch, his mother serves us macaroni and cheese with chopped up hot dog on top. I’ve never had this dish.

Age 9

At my dad’s house, I go through the box of movies. I pull out one with the title “Dirty Dancing.” It has a picture of a man and a woman hugging on the cover. My step- mom puts it back and tells me I’m too young to watch it. Later that

night, I watch it alone.

Age 10

My twelve-year-old sister gets her period. Our mom pulls out a notepad and we lay on the bed on our bellies. Mom sketches out what she tells us is a “uterus.” She draws the parts inside and points, “These are the Fallopian tubes.” We giggle and say it sounds like a place, like The Fal- lopian Islands. Mom laughs with us because we haven’t changed yet.

Age 12

I’ve made my first middle school friend. She invites me to sleep over at her house. While her mom is upstairs, she goes to the website, penis.com because that’s the only thing she can think of typing in. She asks me if I’ve ever seen one. I stay silent as she scrolls through the pictures.

“My mom says it’s okay for me to look, so that I know.” She says.

Later, she puts on dark purple lip- stick and kisses the laundry room door.

“That’s how you do it,” she says.

When she hands me the lipstick and tells me to try, I giggle. “You looked funny. I’d rather do that foreal.”

She grins.

Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

Women, War and Worsening Situations

War, conflict and all kinds of armed battle have hor- rible impacts. Society is torn apart, often having to be rebuilt from the grassroots. People find them- selves crushed by injury, their means of livelihood being thwarted by an exchange of fire and their lives itself, smashed to smithereens with them left to pick up the pieces. But of the lot, women are known to be the worst sufferers of conflict.

As report after report seems to underline the fact, the trend still continues in the same direc- tion. World over, women are the greater part of the segments of society that flee from the scene of conflicts. With most of the men folk taking to the armed forefronts, women find themselves be- ing made the sole breadwinner of their families. Coupled with the economic considerations, there is always the looming threat of sexual violence. Oftentimes, the bodies of women become the battleground, as combatants and non-combatants exploit women sexually.

Why is sexual violence so common on every war- front? Why are women the easiest targets? The fact is, that rape is cheap, easy and extremely effective. Armed groups, combatants and non- combatants alike use rape as a means to terrorize and control women and communities. Subjecting women to sexual violence earns the woman the indelible mark of stigmatization that society throws on them. Shrouded with humiliation, families then wind up turning these women out of their homes, and when women are spurned the backbone of a societal structure is broken. Men don’t want to marry women subject to sexual violence. Fami- lies don’t want to have them around anymore- ei- ther the stigma is too much to bear, or the fact that these women burden them since they can’t be married off (especially true in societies where

marriages bring in bride prices). Sexual violence is calculated, brutal and absolutely bereft of hu- manity. Using sexual violence as a modus ope- randi in warfare is intricately woven with the he- gemonic desire for power. Soldiers thirst to drive fear and strive to humiliate and punish women and their communities, in the hope that by doing so, they would invariably break down society entirely. Sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situ- ations is a preferred method that is used to rein- force gendered and political hierarchies.

Considering this, it is absolutely imperative that women be made an integral part of the process of preventing conflicts, and part of the peace-build- ing and peace-keeping roles. Although this would contribute heavily towards protecting women, the ground reality is that the inclusion of women in pre and post conflict measures has been ignored largely. A UNSC Resolution (Res 1325 in 2000) worked to urge all the member states to “ensure increased representation of women at all decision- making levels in national, regional and internation- al institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict”. Aside of reflecting the evident lack of the involvement of women in dealing with conflict, the resolution also showed signs of being a proactive initiation of the process. However, the situation a decade since shows no signs of improvement, or abatement. Consequently, a recent endeavour was made by the Security Council, with a host of deliberations that discussed the means that may be deployed to effectively implement Resolution 1325.

The frugal to non-implementation of the resolution boils down to the question of policy. The involve- ment of women in the process of peace-building and peace-keeping, as also in the active political

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www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | MAy | 29 Kirthi Gita Jayakumar trajectory of a state is
www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | MAy | 29 Kirthi Gita Jayakumar trajectory of a state is

Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

trajectory of a state is largely up to the state itself, and its policies vis-a-vis women. In most parts of the world, women find themselves inadequately equipped and inadequately represented. Further- more, in several post conflict regions, women find themselves in a situation of fear, and in a situation where they are placed as sole breadwinners, and thinking of participation in the political process is far too distant a proposition. Where the fear factor goes, most women believe that participation in a vociferous political framework might bring them more harm. This is especially true in the context of the Democratic Republic of Congo. When women are forced to be sole breadwinners by circumstance, they are obligated to put their families first. This often makes them want to reach out to things that would benefit their families more than anything else. Consequently, these women wind up either voting for leaders who offer them sops and freebies but no future plans of empowerment, or wind up stay- ing outside the political framework in search of a means of liveli- hood that could provide for their families. This is particularly true in DR Congo and Zimbabwe, and to some extent in Nigeria.

Having said that, it is important to remember that the involvement of women alone will not suffice to solve conflict and restore peace. The UN however, needs to stabilize its policies. On the one hand, it cannot afford to silently allow war to burgeon- albeit through false claims of self defence (Afghanistan, Iraq) and humanitarian inter- vention (Libya), while on the other hand try seeking women out to foment peace.

Involving women in the peace process is not easy, and is certainly not free of obstacles. A strong commitment is needed from the states themselves, to determinedly keep its women safe, and offer them a good social standing. On the part of the women, as hard as it might be, it is necessary that they put all their trust in themselves, to take a leap of faith.

Charlotte Lazarus

WHAT yOU THInK Is WORKInG AGAInsT yOU Is ACTUALLy WORKInG FOR yOU

O ften we think that God is punishing us when we are placed in difficult, hurtful and hopeless situations. We are filled with

anger, rage, despair and fear. We are deeply concerned of what will become of us. How will we ever overcome this pain, will we ever triumph over fear?

A friend of mine, whom had met the love of her life a few years ago, thought that she was going to spend her entire life with

this person. She imagined a life with him full of bliss, marriage, and eventually kids down the line. She pretty much had already envisioned her destiny with this person. However, despite her good intentions and outpouring of love toward this individual, their love was not to be. After a few years of dating, he decided to break up their blissful union. She pleaded to him to take her back, to give their relationship another chance, to make things work, but he bluntly declined rejecting her plea for reconciliation and love. The breakup left her sad, lost, confused, unhappy and angry. A pool of painful emotions floated in her heart and head. She always went the extra mile for him, but all her good works did not make any difference this time around.

and head. She always went the extra mile for him, but all her good works did
and head. She always went the extra mile for him, but all her good works did
and head. She always went the extra mile for him, but all her good works did
and head. She always went the extra mile for him, but all her good works did

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Charlotte Lazarus

WHAT yOU THInK Is WORKInG AGAInsT yOU Is ACTUALLy WORKInG FOR yOU

Not much time had passed before he had already started dating somebody else. Not only did he find a replacement very quickly, but he spread vicious, tainting rumors about my friend. Coupled with the breakup and the false rumors, this was all too much to handle.

Luckily, nothing stays the same, especially if you make a decision to grow.

Time passed and my once self-sacrificial friend evolved into this ex- ceptionally outwardly person – so deep in thought inner strength and beauty.

To her surprise, the guy whom once took away her supposed future called her not so long ago. He desperately wanted to meet up and know how life was going, was she seeing somebody etc . She agreed to meet. 3 years had passed since they last spoke. He wasn’t the same person she had once known. Everything about him seemed different. She was not longer nervous or in awe of his presence. She had moved beyond his start status, overcome the pain he had caused her and thus was no longer a prisoner of her thoughts. Her life had changed dramatically in those three years. She has realized that her true worth was not defined by another person or dictated by society, but it was defined by her relationship with herself, loving and respect- ing herself first and foremost and steadily learning that happiness lies within her. To put the icing on the cake, love was possibly re-entering her life, her studies are going very well, she has met so many amazing people along her journey and equally amazing she may have a bright future in the public sphere.

Her experience is just another testimony of how life may seem unwav- eringly hard at times, but if we take time to reflect a bit deeper and learn to stand the test , we will understand that in due time what we think was working against us is actually working for us.

to stand the test , we will understand that in due time what we think was

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Fatemeh Mohseni

Conversion

Conversion

I’m in this part of the world. I’m near Damavand’s mountain. I’m sitting in the corner of my room. I’m holding a pencil in my hand. And I’m changing my friends’ sexualities in my phone book:

mostafa -> farzane fardin -> fariba.

Just because my father, well, he can’t see me hanging out with people of his own sex, even when we are talking on the phone.

He’s under lots of pressure and so is me, Mostafa and Fardin.

33 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.

Marie Keith s. Epe WHERE HAVE ALL THE COWbOys GOnE

In the latter part of 1996, Paula Cole, an American singer-songwriter released her album called, This Fire, which featured her single, “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone”? Finding an inspiration to write an article about “gender”, this song came first to mind. Primarily because it obviously identifies gender roles and gender-related issues which more families could relate to nowadays. Second, Paula Cole never stifled all the issues that women encountered and still expe- riences, when it comes to gender discrimination. In this song, men were identified in the society as the provider in the family. A provider means the sole source of income and always going out for work, be it farming, carpentry, electronics or corporate jobs. Men or the providers pay all the bills to raise a successful home. Women, as clearly depicted in this song, stays at home, do laundries or take care of children. Women, who are programmed to do ‘womanly work’, automati- cally provides coffee or food for her husband. Aside from that, she must juggle all these household chores while preparing her maternal health for her next new- born. The song above tells a story of a family which more women could identify themselves with. This is very typical of how society views a family. Society dictates that men should work, while women stays at home nurturing children, preparing home-cooked meals and hoping unending happiness for their family. Later in the song, the woman, after wearing a new dress was not even noticed by her husband. The hus- band kept agreeing to have an unfailing nightly date with his beer or with his happy-go-lucky comrades at the local bar, instead. Women stayed at home mak- ing sure that their family will have a better or brighter future the next day. While men stayed out, planning their next bar to visit. When women had to deal with this kind of dys-

functional behavior from their partners, she feels abandoned. And the question will always be: why do women have to carry ALL the burden in raising a happy and successful home? The labels on gender are very much unreliable. If we are going to adhere to it, more women will feel used and abused. Reversing the song in which women becomes the irresponsible wife, partying every night like an apocalypse would hit the next day, gobbling all the beer to burst her already pregnant belly, or even asking her husband to prepare food for her and demand three more sugar cubes on her coffee, would definitely get ‘boos’ from the society, needless to say, no producer or music label would even sign this kind of song for release. It is always a question of gender equality. Tracy Chap- man’s Fast Car had a similar theme where the man, from the father to the husband in the song, repeated the cycle of irresponsibility. Men who were supposed to project strength and the Superman in every family, becomes the liability and displays every reason for his family to disrespect and disown him by drowning himself with alcohol and laziness. It’s funny how songs haunt us. We may just be hum- ming them, singing them on top of our lungs or sim- ply ignoring them when it became number 1 in the radio countdown. And when we have to speak out for something we believe in, we suddenly remember the song, line by line, beat by beat, which guides us to- wards enlightenment. Songs that encourage and give strength. Songs that open our awareness to the rotten labels on gender of our society. We can continue living this cycle and be the topic, again, on the next pop song that would hit the number 1 spot in music charts. Or we could speak out, forget the labels, ignore our gender and do our best to make a happy family worth living and fighting for.

34 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.

Daniela silva

| MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen. Daniela silva THE ART IMITATEs LIFE Movie based on

THE ART IMITATEs LIFE

Movie based on true events, tells the story of a woman who, while having arrested and wrongly convicted brother, decides grad- uating from law to advocate for this cause, and thus prove the innocence of his brother.

The movie “Conviction,” portrays the tragedy experienced by Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) and Kenny (Sam Rockwell), two broth- ers who end up having their lives changed when Kenny, having an impulsive and ex- plosive behavior, turns out to be monitored by police, which culminates in his prison accused of a crime he did not commit. The fact undermines dramatically the life of Betty, who is very attached to her brother since childhood, leading her to renounce her life

for justice and innocence of her brother. Obstinate and persevering, she goes to law school and graduate goes on to defend his brother (sentenced to life imprisonment), to get together enough evidence to exempt and get free her brother’s conviction. Sensitized by the Cause, and to have witnessed numer- ous cases of people accused of crimes they did not commit, Betty Anne engages in an organization that lives and works in defense of people accused of crimes not commit- ted. The film, based on a true story, inspires delights and attracts. Tells the story of a woman, surpassing the impossible barriers to prove the possible dream. A dream called Innocence.

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ngoako Jay Morokolo

A THANK YOU KIND OF LOVE

Wouldn’t it be great to come back from a long day and everyone is due to be home to spend time with, your

children and your spouse?

Isabella lounged around the living area with her husband. She had a glass of red wine while he had dark rum.

They’re both on the couch and watching the match highlights between Chelsea and Manchester United.

‘Honey I have to meet this woman tonight. I’m doing a radio interview with her on Friday afternoon.’ She had

already dialled her when she told Richards this.

‘Good evening, it’s Isabella again. As promised, I’ll be on my way any moment. Can you please say directions

to your place? We’ll take it from Easter Mall…’

‘Yea. I then turn left? Then right

Which traffic lights?’ Richards isolated himself from Isabella and populated

the sofa to enjoy the game.

‘No wait, before I get to those traffic lights, I need to have passed that Cathedral ― church on my left and then

on my right would be a local park.’ She has now put a glass on the coffee table and stood before Richards.

‘Is there any other prominent feature close to your house?’ She felt as though she was getting nowhere.

‘So I’ll drive past the church and you are only five streets away? Okay, no. 592 you say? Okay, I’ve got it. I’ve

got it, thanks.’ She said at last.

‘Ag, some women and their directions

She was disappointed now.

‘Aren’t you the one who threw out your GPS by the window, on Queen Elizabeth Rd last month?’ Richards

asked.

‘Oh Richards, that thing was useless. I’m journalist and I need not running around some places while I’m chas-

ing story. I won’t take long alright.’ She was already on her way.

‘Love you.’ She said promptly. For the woman who has been hurt before, she really meant these words.

‘Okay thanks.’ Richards said as she made for the door.

She stared at Richards with a probing face. She definitely had questions on her mind when she came back

again. Meanwhile, Richards was working his laptop.

‘What’s the matter?’ he queried after she stood behind him at a length, although she was taking off her cut

jacket.

‘The woman, she made me realise how important family is.’ Richards continued working on his computer.

‘Are you listening?’

36 | MAy | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZInE | www.deltawomen.org

ngoako Jay Morokolo

Wouldn’t it be great to come back from a long day and every- one is due to be home to spend time with, your children and your spouse?

Isabella lounged around the living area with her husband. She had a glass of red wine while he had dark rum. They’re both on the couch and watching the match highlights between Chelsea and Manchester United.

‘Honey I have to meet this woman tonight. I’m doing a radio interview with her on Friday af- ternoon.’ She had already dialled her when she told Richards this.

‘Good evening, it’s Isabella again. As promised, I’ll be on my way any moment. Can you please say directions to your place? We’ll take it from Easter Mall…’

‘Yea. I then turn left? Then right Which traffic lights?’ Richards isolated himself from Isabella and populated the sofa to enjoy the game.

‘No wait, before I get to those traffic lights, I need to have passed that Cathedral ― church on my left and then on my right would be a local park.’ She has now put a glass on the coffee

table and stood before Richards.

‘Is there any other prominent feature close to your house?’ She felt as though she was getting nowhere.

‘So I’ll drive past the church and you are only five streets away? Okay, no. 592 you say? Okay, I’ve got it. I’ve got it, thanks.’ She said at last.

‘Ag, some women and their direc- ’

now.

tions

She was disappointed

‘Aren’t you the one who threw out your GPS by the window, on Queen Elizabeth Rd last month?’ Richards asked.

‘Oh Richards, that thing was useless. I’m journalist and I need not running around some places while I’m chasing story. I won’t take long alright.’ She was al- ready on her way.

‘Love you.’ She said promptly. For the woman who has been hurt before, she really meant these words.

‘Okay thanks.’ Richards said as she made for the door.

She stared at Richards with a

probing face. She definitely had questions on her mind when she came back again. Meanwhile, Richards was working his laptop.

‘What’s the matter?’ he queried after she stood behind him at a length, although she was taking off her cut jacket.

‘The woman, she made me realise how important family is.’ Richards continued working on his computer.

‘Are you listening?’

‘Just a minute, I have to finish this…’

‘All right then, I’ll go downstairs and start dishing out.’

‘We already had supper.’

‘Am I that late that you had had supper without me? I said I wasn’t going to take long.’ Rich- ards said very little. ‘It’s not like I come back home late everyday. Unlike you, nowadays I don’t even know where you are half the time.’

‘I’ve been busy and you know it. We were just hungry, no need to work yourself up. I have an early meeting tomorrow morning. So

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Eleanor bennett

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ngoako Jay Morokolo

I’m going to have a shower and then straight to bed. Would you be all right?’ Richards asked as soon as he finished.

‘I’ll survive. Can I use your lap- top since it’s still on? I want to Google this woman some more. I’ll bring it back with me.’

‘Yes you may.’ Richards said as he kissed her cheek bone.

Truth be told, Isabella was not going to Google any woman. However, she was searching faults, signs of dishonesty the woman had pointed out. She has never done an interview on “divorce”, not especially so soon after her new marriage with Rich- ards.

It’s true that some people will have profound influence, result- ing from their experiences but nobody is above scrutiny. She seems to have forgotten this when the woman suggested she keep tabs on the man. She must have been mesmerised by the interviewed.

At least all these things are hap- pening before the radio interview, wouldn’t you say? It can cost Isa- bella a chunk of her career if she were to react live on the national

radio station.

The woman comes from a disas- trous divorce that ruined her ca- reer and lost all her possessions. She is well-known, was married to a high-profile politician, whom is owed a nickname “ruthless”. She’d had to start again from the beginning. She built herself up everyday, step-by-step and she is now more an independent woman than she ever was.

She advocates women’s inde- pendence, but her approach is now barely alienating men, making women some stands alone. I really wish you were to listen to her interview. She’s re- ally moving. She can stir up deep emotions. Thoughts you’d never thought will come up anywhere near your future. She is the power, a strong voice.

‘I’ll start with e-mails.’ Isabella told herself and indeed she had her husband’s password, though never used it before. Well, there’s first time for everything.

The mail account is ready and there are messages. There are three kinds of messages. There are of business, advertorial and then, there are personal messag- es, the ones she hopes to sink

her teeth in. The first one reads.

Producer: Yo Richards my man, I’ve got interesting staff. This one is going to blow your socks off. The girls from the States are off the hook.

Richards: Alright, let’s meet when you come back at Beyer’s Kitch- en at 18:45 from Easter Mall.

Bring the demo with you.

Producer: Okay boss.

It sounded like a colleague to her when she went on to open another message.

Sender: Yesterday was hot fun. Especially with all that “let’s do it baby. It sexes my soul”. I loved every minute of it.

Richards: I’m glad you did.

Sender: Hope it’ll be as hot as it were.

Richards: Next time we go all the way. Just make sure you get your lines and all your Notes right and we’ll go far.

Sender: For sure my man. Keep it cool bro.

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ngoako Jay Morokolo

‘What is hot fun? Sexes my soul? And why would Richards say this to anyone man? Isn’t this a man talking? But he sounds too pansy. Why would Richards spend time in the studio with some ― pan- sexual boys when he’s in fact, the owner of the record label? She then came across a LinkedIn Update and a link that led to his a login page.

She punched in a password and she received an error message.

‘What records does he produce? Okay, let me try hip-hop.’ She spoke to herself.

‘Damn it!’ It doesn’t work.

‘Okay, let’s say Isabella or Cadil- lac or afro-fusion706… no, let me say Madonna.’ It didn’t work

either. She sat in front of a laptop,

thinking

password question that led her back to the e-mail account and she finally opened LinkedIn and she found nothing in there.

She then answered the

However, the LinkedIn account is connected to Twitter.

‘Mhmmm…’ she taps the table with her manicured nails in utter silence. Her face shone with light of joy like the sun victorious of

the dark. She went on to Twitter account using the LinkedIn pass- word and she logged in success- fully.

The page read: following 2853; followers 2267. She scrolled down the tweets until she was tired. She found nothing! Or noth- ing of her use anyway.

Meanwhile, she was too oblivi- ous to think what she was doing is wrong and she relished at her next thought.

It is now late at night and she turned off the computer and packed her staff. Richards was fast asleep. She came to put the laptop on the divan close to Richards’ bedside. She noticed his iPHONE lay silently on his bedside table.

Her thought came back rushing like water filling up all the dry pines and she’s tempted. She’s standing right before Richards and she’s gazing the cellphone, her heart is pounding her chest.

Richards must have seen a frame of a woman when he changed turns and then he opened his eyes to find Isabella standing in front of him.

‘Baby?’

‘No I just finished working on the computer. I’m going to put it here on the divan. You can go to sleep honey.’ She was all jittery now.

‘Ooh

afford to say.

That’s all Richards could

‘Yea, sleep well honey. I love you.’

‘Thank you.’ Richards said from his sleep. These words became bitter-sweet in just days. But did Richards have neither ample time nor the energy to digest these words and have a respond she needed? She went to bed a mad woman.

She never heard Richards sing in the shower before but today she woke up to Richards’ voice as molto as that of Luciano Pava- rotti.

‘Oh Lord!’ She flipped the duvet and tiptoed towards the bathroom to hearken the lyrics.

‘My husband wants to be a singer, on his thirty-fourth year of living? It’s impossible! How can you own a recording company and yet sing for it? Perhaps it’s possible. He seems to have got it

www.deltawomen.org | DELTAWOMEn MAGAZIn | MAy | 40

Eleanor bennett

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Eleanor bennett

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Eleanor bennett

Claudia Fierro Eleanor bennett

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ngoako Jay Morokolo

this morning, but I am certain not from me.’

He stopped singing suddenly and went for the door. She returned to her bed with a whoosh and covered herself in a thick duvet, pretending as though nothing had happened.

It’s sad what we’re made to do sometimes because we have something to prove. More like self-inflicted torture. Maybe it’s not the case with Isabella. Per- haps she’s right to believing that her husband is cheating with an- other woman. Except so far she has nothing on hand. But it’s not over until she gets to the bottom of this, if she ever will.

‘Okay baby, I’m off to work now. I’ll see you later.’ He was in a good mood like a boy child who just had their best cereal for breakfast. He was in a good suit too. He kissed her a kiss on the forehead for goodbye.

‘Take care now.’ He cried.

‘You too honey. Love you.’

‘Thank you.’ He closed a door behind him and hastened for the garage.

‘He just said thank you. Again!’ She spoke to her friend on the phone.

‘Who’s he? Isabella, come down.’

‘When I say “I love you” he just says “thank you”. What does that supposed to mean? Is this man still in love with me? Tell me Martha.’

‘Can that be possible? You wed- ded him five months ago.’ Said Martha Pule.

‘I swear to you Martha, he has changed suddenly. He does not pay me attention. He does not give me that love the way he used to. He started coming home late. What am I going to do should he leave me? I had borne him a daughter. I have built my life around the man, Martha. He can’t do this to me.’

‘Isabella, come down please. Are you telling me he’s cheat- ing now? I think all these things don’t add up, I just don’t believe it. I mean the man you describe is not Richards I know and you know it too. That is not Richards! Have somebody told you some- thing?’

‘I cannot believe I called my last

best friend on earth and she told this. You know what? Save it, I’ll prove it to you!’ She replaced the receiver.

It was exactly six-thirty when

Richards said he’ll have an after work meeting with one of his producers who flew in from San Francisco today. And so he drove his black Cadillac. A man of taste and stature, a man of measured gait, you’ll enjoy watching. Isa- bella was watching him too from the living area.

As he drove off from the gate, Isabella started the engine and followed him in her car. She gave herself a substantial following distance.

Richards stopped at the Easter Mall and met his producer. She

watched them in the restaurant, Beyer’s Kitchen. The man also gave Richards some papers and

a disc, more like a demo disc.

Moments later, she was peeking over people as the two walked out of the mall to the parking lot.

Both men shook hands and stepped into their cars and drove away.

She followed Richards wherever

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ngoako Jay Morokolo

he was going.

As she drove, as she followed Richards, it is clear now that the road is leading to one place. Too many thoughts were now filling her mind.

She can now recognise the traf- fic lights where she passed the beggars yesterday. In her mind, she knows where Richards is go- ing and she won’t bother herself asking how he connects with the woman. She can clearly see that she’s approaching that park and the church.

‘Lord, help her for if…’

Richard indicated to enter the church.

‘What? What is Richards doing in the cathedral? We never go to church. Is he seeking help from the pope? But why go this far when we have a church nearby, with a priest I’m sure?’ She was perplexed.

She stopped a few metres away from the gate of the church. She looked inside the yard. There were eight most expansive cars parked in a raw, facing a matured church.

She made a U-turn and now enters the yard. Only now she was able to read the name St. Mathews’ Cathedral, written is old English typeface. The church is entirely quiet from outside.

She does not know what to ex- pect. She’s nervous.

She said a silent prayer as she gets off the car and slunk towards the entrance. As she approach- es, she hears the voices, male voices. They sung and stopped like in a choir practice.

She got close where she poked her head through the door and she could now see men lined up and singing. Her husband formed part of the choir. She listened to his voice in particular.

The voice that was now warming and powerful to cause her a lump in her throat. Her eyes were burn- ing with tears. The operetta lyrics unknown to her penetrated her doting heart and all she wanted was to cry. She listened to the notes that echoed the hall that she did not see Richards coming for her.

‘Isabella? What are you doing here? How did you get here?’

Richards was rather calm when he questioned her.

‘You were following me right?’

‘I am so sorry Richard, I’m so sorry.’

A big sorry was indeed written on

her poor face and he understood.

‘It’s okay. Ssh! It’s okay baby.’ He took her in his strong arms.

‘So, you sing a choir? How long have you started this?’

‘It’s only been several weeks now. These guys were in my school choir and we just wanted to do our own little get-together.’

‘…by singing a choir?’

‘Ssh! Come on in.’ He took her inside and sat on a pew while the rest continue like nothing was happening. ‘It’s going to be alright. He assured her. ‘Don’t worry, It’ll be alright, you’ll see. I love you, okay!?’ He reassured her and jumped back onto the stage.

‘Oh thank you honey.’ She said it herself. ‘How can I do this to my husband?’

Tears began rolling as she spoke to herself. ‘I don’t deserve him, his trust, his

Tears began rolling as she spoke to herself. ‘I don’t deserve him, his trust, his honesty, his love. God how can I do such stupid things because of one person’s opinions?’

She looked up the white ceiling as if she could see God. She was trying to constrict her tears of bliss and fading agony. It was the first time in many years she was touched by love and she understood too well, too well that all she could say to God was ‘Thank you! I am grateful.’

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Ana Isabel Martinez

Climate change: When the nature becomes a discriminatory force

Addressing climate change is

investments due to the eco-

When it becomes a gender is-

a

global prime concern to be

nomic crisis, Canada withdraw

sue

tackled. Unless it is efficiently

from the Kyoto Protocol, and

managed, it will have dramatic repercussions, not only on the environment, but also on an economic and social realm.

Disastrous consequences of climate change can be al- ready felt in natural hazards such as the increase of mud- slides, floods, hurricanes and draughts. Biodiversity is threat- ened, agriculture, food securi-

the COP17 – 17th Conference of the Parties and last United Nations Convention on Climate Change –last year in Durban, South Africa, ended in disillu- sionment and modest accom- plishments such as the prom- ise to work toward a new global treaty in coming years and the establishment of a new climate fund.

And when it comes to inequal- ity, also women are in the spot- light.

Women’s subordinate rela- tionship to men defines a lim- ited access and control over resources and opportunities. They compose the greater part of the world’s poor – 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in con- ditions of poverty are women –

ty, water resources and human

Uneven

effects

and

conse-

and they are more dependent

health, settlements and living standards are endangered.

quences

Climate change has an uneven

for their subsistence on natural resources, some of which are threatened by climate change.

A

global failure to manage the

range of consequences. As

issue

the IPCC – Intergovernmental

The economy of rural areas in

According to FAO – Food and

The general debate about how

Panel on Climate Change – pointed out in 2001, “The im-

developing countries is highly based on natural resources,

to

confront the global warming

pacts of climate change will be

and therefore are more vulner-

is facing a complicated mo- ment. The CO2market has be- come a profitable business for industries and private compa- nies – not so much for States, that lost great amounts of mon-

ey paying their extra emissions

differently distributed among different regions, generations, ages, classes, income groups, occupations and sexes.” Cli- mate change exacerbates in- equality: developing countries, rural and poor areas are the

able to the effects of climate change.

Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – around two thirds of the female labour force

without achieving its main

most likely to suffer the harsh

in developing countries and

propose: the reduction of CO2 emissions.

effects and a more restricted access to food, clean water

more that 90 percent in many African countries are engaged

Europe is reticent to increase

and other resources.

in agricultural work. Some of the effects of climate change

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Ana Isabel Martinez

Climate change: When the nature becomes a discriminatory force

they might have to cope with is the scarcity of traditional food sources, the increase of food prices and ever periods of shortage in the poorest areas.

Climate change is producing deforestation, resulting in a further location of the forests in relation to the places where people live. In many develop- ing countries women are in charge of collecting traditional fuels such as wood, agricultur- al crops and forest resources, facing an increase of the time they have to dedicate to these responsibilities.

In Nepal, for example, women often suffer from bladder prob- lems as a consequence of car- rying large amounts of firewood while being pregnant.

The inadequate access to fresh water resources increases the amount of labor and time spent to haul water from distant sources, to store and to distrib- ute it, again a burden usually borne by women.

Because of their limited ac- cess to resources and mobil- ity, women in some contexts are highly affected by natural disasters such as landslides, fires and floods because they see restricted their access to shelter or medical attention.

The only successful procedure

These are only few examples on how a global issue such as climate change affects un- evenly, and how gender is again a characteristic that de- picts inequalities. Despite, women must be seen not only as victims, but also as effective agents of change that must be encouraged and empowered.

Negotiations about climate change are difficult and often fruitless. New ways to deal with climate change have to be de- veloped, and it is necessary to identify gender-sensitive strat- egies to respond to the chal- lenges that are being arisen.

It is indispensable a better un- derstanding of the different

gender vulnerabilities and ca- pacities to fight climate change and strengthen of women par- ticipation. Implementing poli- cies and programs that seek for greater equality is essential to have a complete view on the relation between the human beings and the ecosystems, and therefore to find an ap- propriate way to battle climate change.

LEILA A. FORTIER Woman A Woman Does not always Know her path~ Her course Is

LEILA A. FORTIER

Woman

A

Woman Does not always Know her path~ Her course Is not always understood~ she is both Moth and the flame she is drawn to~ This

Is no chemical imbalance- This is her primal nature~ she wants to fall effortlessly through Each moment~ To withstand the impact of Her own making- as co-creator of her Destiny~ she does not belong to The wrath of Lilith or The naivety of Eve~ she Has yet To be Painted~ she spends Days in solitude And nights in fevers~ In sky she displays both her Fullness and eclipse~ she harvests Her experiences like unborn stars of Potentiality~ At times, she is afflicted by her very own hand~ This is how she learns to endure the wounds Of an imposing world~ Her Truth resides not in What she

says-

but within Her eyes incapable Of secret~ she cares not for the Fruit of your labor~ but the essence of your

song~ she discards reality in an instant for the interior world

Man has yet to create~ Here…she is already living her next life~ Where

Her kiss was meant only for the lips of her God~ And her language is yet to be written

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Zafar Ihsan

Unsung bravery of

Swat is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan. The river Swat runs through the length of the val- ley and there are lush fields and orchards on both sides of it. The hills that surround the valley have pine and oak forests. The only ski resort in Pakistan is located over here. Swat has cool summers and cold winters and is a major tourist resort for Pakistanis who want to escape from the summer heat of the plains.

In late 2008 the Taliban started making inroads into Swat and taking over this peaceful valley. The newly elected civilian govern- ment tried to reach an agreement with the Taliban. The Talban after wasting time in haggling finally reached an agreement with the government. While the politicians went about patting their backs and acclaiming what a fine job they had done in saving Swat from Tali- ban rule; the Taliban started taking over Swat. This was their original plan. The first victim of the Taliban destruction was girls’ schools and colleges. The Taliban virtually took over the valley and trapped the residents in their vicious designs. The entire population went into trauma and shock. Men were executed publicly everyday in the valley’s biggest city Mingora. A

major cross road known as ‘green square’ was renamed as ‘bloody square’ as all the executions were carried out here. Women were flogged on the slightest whim by the Taliban. The entire population of this pristine valley was sub- jugated into fear. Some women were forced into marrying Taliban fighters and were forced into the sordid business of prostitution.

In 2009 the Pakistan army started an operation against the Taliban in Swat and their first act was to move the people of Swat into temporary camps setup in the safer areas of Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera. Some of these camps were run by the government, while the rest were setup and managed by non-government organizations and philanthropists.

On a visit to one of the camps in Swabi what surprised us was that the camp was extremely well man- aged and a temporary school had also been setup in it. What was more surprising was that it was the educated women in the camps who had volunteered as teachers. When talking with the women in these camps, their bravery and resilience amazed us. A number of them had lost their men folk and were stuck with raising their

children on their own, without any source of income. Yet these wom- en had not surrendered to beggary or selling their bodies. They asked us for nothing in terms of monetary help. Yes, what they did ask us was to help them find a respect- able way to earn a living. Upon asking them what type of help they sought. They replied almost in unison, ‘We can all do embroi- dery, get us needles, thread, cloth and embroidery frames and help us sell our work’. Their preferred choice in color of cloth was black, red and dark green.

We immediately arranged to buy these items, which did not cost the earth and gave it to them to be distributed. In the meanwhile we talked to shop owners that sold handicrafts to buy Swati embroi- dery from us and contribute to a good cause, which most of them agreed to. We started shuttling be- tween the camps and Islamabad and the women started earning their livelihood. We encouraged non-government organizations and shop owners to setup direct links with the women in the camps, which they did.

After the army succeeded in re- storing peace in Swat and flush- ing out the Taliban the displaced

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Zafar Ihsan

Women of swat

people returned to their homes or what was left of them. The women who have lost their men folk have continued in doing embroidery and selling their products to mer- chants. They must be commended

for their bravery in facing the worst tragedy in their lives and yet not succumbing to it. Today the girls are back in schools and many aspire to become teachers and to continue educating the children of Swat. The women are involved in

a respectable profession by doing

their traditional embroidery and earning from it.

Anyone who comes across a piece of Swat made embroidery any-

where in the world; please do buy

it as you won’t know that you may

be helping a woman in a remote corner of the world raise her chil- dren and live a respectable life.

know that you may be helping a woman in a remote corner of the world raise
know that you may be helping a woman in a remote corner of the world raise

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Effat Allahyari

Here There’s no encouragement for the sky

Here There’s no place for a tear to fall No cry for an angel’s departure at all

Here Everyone lives like a woman, a wife Or dies like a man in life

Here There’s no wings to fly No light to let you pass by

Everyone lives like a woman, a wife Or dies like a man in life Here There’s

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PHOTOGRAPHy

Eleanor Bennet Claudia Fierro Maureen Littlejohn Su Tomesen Chioma Nneji

COnTRIbUTORs

Ngoako Jay Morokolo Nichole Beard Lacey Jean Frye Maureen Littlejohn Ana Isabel Martinez Charlotte Lazarus Christina Y. Kim Effat Allahyari Elaheh Zohrevandi Kirthi Gita Jayakumar Kanika Jain Katherine Vasquez Tarazona Leila A. Fortier Marie Keith S. Epe Hadi Barazandeh Paola Brigneti Fatemeh Mohseni Zafar Ihsan Denise Falcone

Eleanor bennett

EDITOR

Elaheh Zohrevandi Kirthi Gita Jayakumar

CRITICs

Daniela silva

Maureen Littlejohn

CEO

Elsie Reed

bennett EDITOR Elaheh Zohrevandi Kirthi Gita Jayakumar CRITICs Daniela silva Maureen Littlejohn CEO Elsie Reed