Friday, April 21, 2006

Fight Till I Die!

Billie Jean, 62 years, six Wimbledon singles championships and four U.S. Open titles winner is still continuing her fight against Wimbledon over equal prize money for both men and women. Wimbledon offers men more prize money. Wimbledon made 25 million pounds last year and the gap in prize money between the sexes was $450,000. Last year, women's winner Venus Williams earned about 30,000 pounds ($53,000) less than men's champion Roger Federer.

The whole story appears here. One can read more about Billie Jean here.

She argues why women and men should be paid equal even when women play best of 3 and men best of 5 as follows:

We have always been willing to do that," she said. "That is their decision not to let us play three out of five sets. And how about everybody playing two out of three? That would really be helpful. Entertainers don't get paid by the hour," she said. "They get paid, period. If Elton John does a concert, it could last one hour or fours hours, it's a done deal."

Also no one can argue that women's game draw less crowds and thus less money. Larry Scott, chief executive of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, said, "The last time I checked, from the Round of 16, quarter-finals on, women's matches are sold out just as the men's matches are sold out."

But how long can she fight alone? Can't all the women tennis players unite and boycott Wimbledon and see how the officials handle the situation? If they still refuse to pay women the same prize money, then hell with Wimbledon. There are other as equally important Grand Slams all of which pay the same amount of prize money to women and men .

Thursday, April 20, 2006

First Woman Prime Minister of South Korea

Ms Han Myeong-sook was endorsed by the National Assembly as the first women Prime Minister of South Korea. She is a member of President Roh's Uri Party, has been the Minister for Environment and Minister for Gender Equality, and is also a well known feminist and democracy activist. She was jailed in 70'the s for protesting against the authoritarian rule of the government at that time. Aged sixty-two, she has been known as a critic of the US approach to North Korea and speaking out her mind on various issues of national interest.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Stocks and Shares

In India, more and more women are entering the investment arena. Though they were always there (I've seen that among my own family and acquaintances), their numbers are increasing (still a long way to go). The story is here .

According to ICICI Bank officials, out of the 8,000 or so new demat accounts opened every month, 20 per cent are by women, compared with the 10 per cent it saw a couple of years ago. "There has been a 20 to 30 per cent increase in demat and brokerage accounts opened by women," sources from HDFC Securities said. ... these women are also assering themselves as shareholders. Kulkarni, for instance took a flight to Bangalore in June 2005 to attend the annual general meeting of Infosys Technologies where she is a shareholder. "During that visitand visits to other companies, I observed that there is an evident increase in the number of women making their presence felt at AGMs," she added.

In the USA, every bank has an agent who would offer free advice to the bank's clients regarding shares, stocks and bonds. S/he would also invest, monitor the market, keep a tab on the client's portfolio, advice one accordingly so that the client has an overall gain. In most banks, a client can start an investment by investing only $50. More money can be pour into investments once she becomes aware of how the market works and is ready to take some calculated risks (some books for dummies are available in bookstores; most big newspapers carry a big section on economy, stock-prices, shares, etc; also being aware of the new technologies that are coming into existence - for example biotech and nanotech are emerging technologies now; so we can hope that one day companies dealing with these techs would have a large market share and thus the stocks and shares of these companies would be profitable and thus perhaps are good companies to invest in).

Friday, April 14, 2006

India's Tragedy

in AFC. The third edition of the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) U-19 Women’s Championship is going on in Malaysia since April 8, 2006. It is going to end on April 18. India was in Group A along with Japan, DPR Korea and Korea Republic. Group B consisted of Australia, China, Jordan and Malaysia. India stands bottom in the table, losing all the three games. The champion from Group A is Japan. From Group B, winner is Australia with the host country at the bottom. From the results,

Korea Republic 11 - 0 India
DPR Korea 0 - 3 Japan
India 0 - 14 DPR Korea
Japan 2 - 1 Korea Republic
Korea Republic 1 - 2 DPR Korea
India 0 - 6 Japan

it seems like that India is just not a weak team, but an extremely amateur team. India had made it to the championship by beating Kyrgyzstan 7-0 and a weak Bangladesh side 10-0. Their coach is Harjinder Singh. But kudos to them for making it to the championship.

From Group B, the results are as follows:

China PR 0 - 1 Australia
Malaysia 1 - 2 Jordan
Australia 16 - 0 Malaysia
Jordan 0 - 9 China PR
China PR 22 - 0 Malaysia
Australia 7 - 0 Jordan

Semi-final matches will be between Japan-vs-China PR and Australia-vs-DPR Korea on April 15. The final is going to be on April 18 at KLFA Stadium Cheras, and the match for the third place is also going to be on April 18 at the same venue.

The teams which finish in the top-three positions in the championship will represent Asia in the under-20 Fifa women’s championship to be held in Russia in August.

Source of information is AFC-Website.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Age is in your mind

Age is in your mind has always been my motto and what better example than the story of this 106 year old Gandhian can I find to prove it?

Saraswathy Ramaswamy was born on January 1, 1900 in Secunderabad, India and soon after birth, being a girl child, she was abandoned. But fate had something else for her in store. The midwife, who delivered her, found her, brought her back to her parents and her life-journey began which is still continuing. Some excerpts from Rediff where the story appeared:

At the age of 7, two major events occurred in her life. She began going to school, and she was married to a 12-year-old boy named Ramaswamy. She stayed with her parents until she completed her Bachelors degree though, travelling across India. "I was sent to my husband's house when I attained puberty at 18. It was the custom."

When Gandhi came with his wife Kasturba to Nagpur, where Saraswathy then lived, she went with her friends to meet them. "I asked Kasturba what I could do for the country. She asked me if I knew how to use a charkha. I said I didn't. After teaching me, she told me to spread the knowledge to others."

Following Kasturba's instructions, Ramaswamy and his wife packed their bags and moved to the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. There, Saraswathy taught students to spin and also took tuitions, while her husband organised meetings. Over the next five years, she taught English, Tamil and mathematics to at least 500 children

It was remarkable for a woman of that time to complete a bachelor degree and then teach English and Mathematics.

If August 15, 1947 was a day of joy for all of them, January 30, 1948 was a day she still mourns. Not only because Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, but because she lost her husband and three sons in the riots that followed. Her husband was shot at; her children, crushed to death. She was in Mysore to give birth to her fourth child. On hearing the news, she rushed to identify the bodies of her loved ones. Shortly thereafter, she lost her daughter to chickenpox. "I lost my family for the sake of my country. I shouldn't be crying," she says."

What a brave woman, wife and mother she was!!! Really an inspirational story. Of course, there were thousands and thousands of such courageous women were there in India at that; we simply don't know about them. And, there also exists such fearless women now. To be honest, I am amazed by the wives/mothers of men astronauts/cosmonauts, explorers and soldiers (of course, due respect should also be given to the fearless husbands/fathers of women in those occupations, but well this is a blog for women), how cheerfully they encourage their husbands/sons to excel in their occupations/careers when they know that their loved ones can die any moment!

From 1949 to 2004, she made Pattukottai her home, teaching children until she reached the age of 104. She was sure about one thing though: she would never go to the government for pension or any such concessions. That was like begging for her. Many of us Indians, especially some filthy-rich cricketers and celebreties, should learn this lesson from her .

A remarkable life. I wish I could meet her and talk to her.

Friday, April 07, 2006

An Irony?

Women sex workers perform puja to Goddess Durga during Navratri in Varanasi. Please read the details here . They dance for the Gods and Goddesses and Priests, throughout the night, with the hope that they will be born into higher castes in their next lives so that they can enter temples.

To me it seems a big irony. They are praying to be reborn into higher castes to enter temple! But what are they going to achieve? Women, whether low or high castes, are not allowed to enter the inner sanctum in many many temples across India or even touch the Gods or Goddesses. And even where they can enter they will never be allowed to become priests.

Bengal, the region of India where I come from, has a tradition of worshipping a God called Narayan. In fact, any pujas of any Gods/Goddesses you do in Bengal, you first have to worship Him (Narayan). Now these pujas are carried out in homes by the women of the home only - that is they set up the place or mundap, set up the statues of Gods/Goddesses, decorate the area, cuts all the fruits, make other foods (to be offered to the Gods/Goddesses), make garlands out of flowers, and do all sorts of things so that the puja ceremony can be hold. The main puja, where the mantras are chanted and other rituals are done is always performed by a man. And, this man or the priest (called purohit) will bring this Narayan with him and no woman can touch Narayan or the priest as long as the Narayan is with him. Why? Well no one could give me a satisfying answer; according to some because we women are vulgar and dirty and if we touch man we can corrupt him. I do not know whether or not this is true, but I know that women are not allowed to worship, perform any kind of puja, enter any temples in India while they are menstruating because they becom dirty and literally untouchables during that time!!!!!!! Amen!

So, instead of dancing to reborn in higher status, these women and every other woman in India should stand up and claim their rights to become priests. Hey, if the Gods can be females (in fact, all the important and powerful Gods are actually Goddesses in Hinduism), then why can't the priests be???

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Is it a curse

to be born as a woman? I often times wonder so. It doesn't matter where you are born; as you grow up you will realize that you cannot go out anytime to anywhere (because if you do you're bringing rape to yourself; good girls don't wander out the house at night!!); you would find it very hard to find any idols - watch tv and you see men are the sports personalities and CEO's, watch movies or cartoons and all the main characters will be males in 99% of them and the sole female will be there to be rescued by a man(it was no exception this time as I watched Ice Age II; the She-Mammoth was rescued by the He-Mammoth! ), read books (especially if you are a child, immersed in children-literatures) and hallelujah, the beautiful girl is waiting to be rescued by her father, brother or the handsome prince. This doesn't mean that books or movies don't exist that show the female characters in positive lightings; you just have to work really hard to find them.

As you grow older, you have to struggle and prove yourself twice worthy at each and every step - go for a career in math, astrophysics and computer science and people will wonder what a woman doing in these fields; go to any electronic or computer stores or to a car-mechanic and the employees there will treat you condescendingly while you can teach each and every one of them right from the managerial level how those electronic gadgets work, the science behind them, the mathematical formulas that drive them!! Striving to become a CEO one day? Be ready to give up marriage, family life and don't even dare to become a mother (unless of course you happen to be born in Norway or some of those Scandinavian countries); hammer out this last point that you hate babies and are ready to wring their necks if you happen to be a young woman appearing for a job interview for industries and service sectors. Interested in women sports? Well, you definitely then need a multi-millionaire prince to travel around the globe to witness women in actions or to get digital or paid tv-channels to watch their games ; otherwise, you will be in a tough luck to watch/read/hear anything remotely related to womens sports (unless of course it happens to be Tennis or Olympics) in any media.

So, it is no wonder that these 5 Saudi women decided to change their sex . Is that solution? I think not and hope not. We will be accepting defeat if we follow that path. Only solution is struggle, struggle and struggle...fight, fight and fight, and get united and support each other with the hope that our granddaughters and great-granddaughters will inherit a much better society to live.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Housewives are worse than donkeys

Yep! that is what is being taught to 14-year old kids in Rajasthan, India in a state-approved text-book. Read the details here . According to the state education official, Mr A. R. Khan, "the comparison was made in good humour.'' does this mean that I am allowed to make all sorts of racist, sexist jokes publicly, insult our flag, anthem, constitution, judicial system, President, threaten the Prime Minister, make cat-calls and light-assault and then at the end say that all those were done with a sense of humor??

I would not have mind these banters if a truly utopian society existed with love, respect and concern for each and every living creature. But in a society where women are considered burdens and looked down as inferiors, dowries are common, domestic-violence is rampant, female infanticide is highest in the world, women are constantly sexually harassed on roads, I don't understand the meaning of having such humors in the class. Does the state government make sure that teachers point this out as a joke while teaching it????? If not, then how can they (the state government) gurantee that these kids will grow up with the correct idea that housewives and donkeys should not be compared, that men and women are equal, each should walk by the side of the other, hold hands and become friends???

Ms. Bee

I wish Anna Rose Wright is always with me whenever I am updating this blog. Then, I don't have to take out my dictionary often or search on the internet for the correct spelling of a word. Meet her in this article which I am reproducing, verbatim, from Yahoo's News Site . Her achievement follows at the heels of Akeelah (Akeela) and the Bee, an uplifting movie about an African-American girl who is a spelling prodigy. The movie is releasing on theaters on 28th April, 2006. I hope all of us will watch this movie, support it and make it as one of the blockbuster. This movie will not only be inspirational for girls (how many movies, serials, animation films are made which a girl can watch and find a role-model!? Nada!!!!!!), but also for the African-American community. I have recently become a professor of math-science; before that I was always an instructor or TA. Through all my teaching experiences of dealing with hundreds of students, I can count how many African-American students in math-science I have taught - hardly 5 or 6!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, enough boring lecture. Here is the article:
BILLINGS, Mont. - After 41 rounds and 4 1/2 hours, Anna Rose Wright won the Treasure State Spelling Bee Saturday. "I have never seen a bee go this long," said round judge Lynn Schwanke of Missoula, a previous state bee director for more than 20 years. "It was really remarkable."

Anna Rose, 13, and Tim Best, 12, of Joliet battled head-to-head for 25 rounds after the remaining 63 contestants fell out of the competition.

Anna Rose, a home-schooler competing in her fourth bee, won an all-expenses paid trip for two to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C. in late May, a $100 savings bond and a dictionary.

She correctly spelled "mumpsimus," — a person who persists in a mistaken expression or belief — and then clinched the victory by spelling "galenical," — a medicinal preparation made mostly of herbs or vegetable matter.

The contest, which seesawed between Anna Rose and Tim, requires the winner to correctly spell two words after their challenger misses a word. Twice, Anna Rose corrected the pronunciation of words.

Beginning with the 29th round, the contest moved into words not included on the word list given to all contestants to study.

Anna Rose said she had been studying spelling words since last summer, a couple hours most days, using word lists used at the national spelling bee, an online dictionary and tapes that include word pronunciations.


Information from: Billings Gazette,

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Delhi Blues Win Against PCB Greens -- 1st and 2nd ODI

As reported earlier, India's Delhi Blues are playing 5 ODI against Pakistan's PCB Greens. Delhi Blues are currently leading 2-0 against PCB Greens. Asha Rawat scored 54 off 84 balls, hitting six fours. Amita Sharma took four wickets.

Scores were PCB GREENS: 142, 48.5 overs (Urooj Mumtaz 41, Sajida Shah 25, Nazia Nazeer 22; Amita Sharma 4-20, Rajinder Kaur 2-16).
DELHI BLUES 145-3, 39.1 overs (Asha Rawat 54, Gurdeep Kaur 26, Shilpa Gupa 22).

The source of the above information was Dawn .

In the 1st ODI also Asha Rawat scored 62 off 88 balls, hitting six fours, leading her side to victory. Delhi Blues scored 218 for 7 in 50 overs in reply to which PCB Greens were all out for 177 in 43.3 overs.

More details for the 1st ODI can be found in Dawn .

Saturday, April 01, 2006

India vs Pakistan (Womens Cricket)

India's Delhi Blues (Delhi Women Cricket Team) will be playing against Pakistan's PCB Greens (Pakistan Women Cricket Team), reports WebIndia123. The itenary is as follows:

March 29: arrival of the Indian team
March 31: 1st one-day at Bagh-I-Jinnah
April 1: 2nd one-day at GCU Ground
April 3: 3rd one-day at Aitchison College
April 4: 4th one-day at GCU Ground
April 6: 5th one-day at LCCA
April 7: departure to Delhi

Today is 1st April and that means they have already played the first game. Unfortunately I can't fight any report on the game or any score or anything :(:(:(...Oh Well, as usual....