Before You Take a Bite

Death in Bangladesh

A 30-year-old woman named Noorjahan was stoned to death in the village of Chatakchaara, Bangladesh in January. Noorjahan’s first husband had disappeared and her father had married her to another villager, against the wishes of the village religious leader, who wanted to marry her himself. He declared her second marriage invalid. The death sentence was decided on by the local village council.

Bangladeshi newspapers condemned the killing. The Daily Star (28 January 1993) wrote: “The death of Noorjahan has once again brought in view the desperate situation of women. Women here are encumbered by a feudal patriarchy, which institutionalizes male authority over them at home and in society….They are relegated to a second-class status and their labor deemed peripheral to social production, their being reduced to that of an object…”

New Women’s Think Tank in India

Akshara is a feminist research and documentation center in Bombay, India, committed to investigation the effects of social policy on women. Akshara has published three excellent and thought-provoking publications: Not Just A Matter of Faith, on religious fundamentalism and women; Shadow Workers, on home-based industries and the needs of women workers (the video “Always At Home” is also available); and The Quota Question: Women and Electoral Seats, on the implications of the Maharashtra government’s decision that 30 percent of all elected seats

In the UK there are three and one half million sufferers of eating disorders, mostly women. Yet $130 million a year is spent on advertising for chocolate in the UK, with most advertisements aimed at women. At least 32 dangerous pesticides are used in cocoa production, with their residues found in chocolate bars and in the soil where cocoa is grown. 80 percent of the workers on cocoa plantations are women, who report cases of respiratory diseases, nausea, headaches and skin rashes from their work. Most women earn an average of US $5 a day. The Politics of Passion campaign is working to highlight the injustice of the situation. Contact Naomi Diamond, Women’s Environmental Network, 22 Highbury Grove, London N5 2EA, UK.

The Debt is Bad for All of Us

A Debt Boomerang Campaign packet is available for £3 (cheque payable to Third World First). Material in the packet explains how unfair Third World debt effects both North and South, and tells you what you can do about it. The Campaign, a national student organization, works against world poverty. The Campaign provides speakers on the debt crisis, videos and stalls, and organizes workshops, conferences and training events. Activists are urged to boycott banks with bad Third World debt records. Such banks include Lloyds, Midland, NatWest and Barclays in the UK; ANZ in Aotearoa/New Zealand; Chase Manhattan, Citibank and Bankers Trust in the US; and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Other suggestions are to move your money account to a socially responsible bank, pension fund or investment scheme. Third World First, 217 Cowley Road, Oxford OX4 1XG UK. Tel. 0865 245678 Fax 0865 200179.

Veröffentlicht in WRI Women, October 1993, No. 14