News roundup for April 2003

The number of men working in primary schools in Wales has reached its lowest level in nearly 10 years.

BBC Report

It is thought one of the reasons for the decline could be fears about false allegations of abuse against children. One teaching union says it has dealt with more than 1,500 allegations against its members and yet a very small number went to court. Concerns is growing that – while men are turning away from the primary sector – children could be missing out on valuable male role models both at home and at school. In 1993, just over 21.5% of all staff working in primary schools were male, but this had dropped to by nearly 2% four years later.

“It’s a struggle to be heard above the male-driven din of conflict”

Observer Report

How women’s roles are camouflaged in War as soldiers, protestors, victims and reporters.

“In the 1991 Gulf war, 34,000 women fought – the majority American, 1,000 British. In this war, the Ministry of Defence is bizarrely coy, refusing to divulge numbers. Still, we know they are there. We have seen a couple, photographed as perfect propaganda tools, not as serving soldiers but as soldiers’ sweethearts”

Why is it that the British press want to write more pieces on the war against women than the war we were fighting? It is known that women are twice as more likely to kill than a man – because it’s taken them twice as long as a man to get to that state of mind. Yet we are still being thrown the notion that women are not fit to go on the front line… or even report from it and we are in 2003. As one female peace marcher who was quoted said: “I’m not opposed because I’m nicer…I’m opposed because I’m informed.” Perhaps that’s the reason why?!

Margareta Winberg, deputy prime minister of Sweden, at a Washington conference on sex trafficking.

US Info Report

More than 120 nations were invited by Colin Powell to the international conference on “Pathbreaking Strategies in the Global Fight against Sex Trafficking” February 23-26 in Washington.The meeting highlighted strategies from throughout the world that have been successful in the prevention and prosecution of trafficking, or in the protection of its victims. The conference is was sponsored by the U.S. State Department in partnership with the non-governmental War Against Trafficking Abuse.

In a male dominated “new ” South Africa – women are “bearing the brunt of the Aids epidemic” says Liz MacGregor

Observer Report

Aids in South Africa is getting to epidemic proportions as more and more women are being raped. “Compared with Aids in the developed world, in South Africa the disease is primarily one affecting women: more women than men carry the virus, they are infected at a younger age, and they die earlier” Not only are they being raped, being infected with the Aids virus but they are also being stigmatised by their families and communities. Two-thirds of those caring for Aids patients in their last year of life are female relatives.

17.7 per cent of women between the ages of 15 and 49 were HIV-positive, compared with 12.8 per cent of men. The highest rate of new infections is in women aged 15 to 20, and HIV has just been identified as the leading cause of death in pregnant women. The reason is biological; the virus does not survive long outside the body but it does stay alive in the vagina long enough to be able to enter the bloodstream through little tears which are often the result of the rape.. In 1998 alone, 49,286 rape cases were reported to police, 41 per cent of which were to do with people under the age of 17. Organisations have called for better male role models such a Nelson Mandela to speak up.

Rebel lords put date rape law in peril

Observer Report

“… the biggest clash on 31 March, when the bill is due to reach its committee stage in the Lords, will be over Clause 1, which makes a man guilty of rape if he had sex with a woman who was not consenting in circumstances in which a ‘reasonable person’ would think she was unwilling.”

Actress Pamela Anderson has donned a lettuce leaf bikini to persuade fat Britons to become vegetarian

BBC Report

Good Old Pammie seems to be in a healthier talk frame nowadays: first we heard how she caught hepatitis and now we are being alerted to the fact that we Britons are just too fat. They are hoping to get males interested in eating vegetables. It’s amazing to think that a couple of photos of Pammie will get the majority of him indoorssuddenly interested in a couple of spuds. Will this work? Will it get us being ever more vigilant with our weight – or will it get the youngest of children in to anorexia and bulimia faster with unrealistic body expectations as they notice Anderson appearing on a billboard poster across the city, wearing just a few strategically-placed lettuce leaves? The poster is also expected to go up in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton, the other four “fat” cities.

A court judgement which could have seen an abortion broadcast on UK television for the first time has been overturned by the House of Lords.

BBC Report

Pro -Life Alliance ( the anti abortion ) who wanted to show an abortion on British television have been knocked back after the Lords voted ( by a majority of 5 to 4 ) in favour of Television companies who refused to show the party political broadcast with ” shocking images ” of abortions in 2001. Anne Sloman, the BBC’s political advisor said: ” we are delighted with the result…we have been fighting the case in one form or another for a number of years” Pro – Life were said to be ” dissapointed and surprised by the decision”.

New Legislation from 6th April to help parents with children under 6 go part time and increasing Maternity Leave

Personnel Today

From this month, parents with children under the age of six (and disabled children under 18), have the right to request changes to the hours they work, the times they work or location of their work. All employers, including small businesses, will be obliged to seriously consider any requests for flexible working. Yet many companies still had no policy to introduce this despite the legislation on 6th April “…we were surprised that so many businesses still had no policy in place.” The legislation also included increasing maternity leave to 26 weeks paid and 26 weeks unpaid to a total of 52 weeks and introduced paid paternity leave.