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Thursday, January 3, 2013

  • Indian Gang-Rape Victim’s Attackers Charged with Murder, Protesters Push for Broader Women’s Rights

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    Five men have been formally charged in India with the kidnapping, gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student on a moving bus. The woman was mutilated so badly during the rape on December 16 that she needed a gut transplant, but ultimately succumbed to severe organ failure. "I think it was a cumulative effect and a cumulative feeling of anger and outrage," says Kavita Krishnan of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, one of the main organizers of protests against sexual violence in India. "It all burst out in this, perhaps because this young woman was doing something so normal: She boarded a bus to go home after watching a film with her friend. And I think that somehow stuck such a huge chord because everyone identified with her … I think they all felt a deep connection with this nameless person." The gang-rape case has shone a light on other instances of sexual violence in India, where one woman is raped every 20 minutes, according to the national crime registry. "I think we also need to look at the changes happening as a result of various social and economic and cultural forces that are underway—increasing globalization, movements of people, conspicuous consumption, the representation of all this in the media that is so easily available," notes Elora Chowdhury, associate professor of women’s studies at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. "All of these, I think, and just the changes happening in urban spaces as a result of all of these different kinds of forces and gender dynamics jostling with one another, create different kinds of changes in gender dynamics." [includes rush transcript]

  • Exposé Reveals Wal-Mart Blocked Improvements Despite Vows to Improve Safety After Deadly Factory Fire

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    Wal-Mart has vowed to improve safety problems among suppliers who make clothes for the company after at least 111 workers died in a deadly fire at a Bangladesh garment factory. But inspection reports found inside the facility underscore fundamental problems with how Wal-Mart’s supply chain allows it to avoid improving conditions. "One of the main monitoring companies, inspection companies for Wal-Mart, admitted that 'We don't even check whether factories have emergency exits, whether they have fire escapes or fireproof, smoke-proof enclosed staircases.’ And this factory did not have outdoor fire escapes, did not have enclosed staircases," says Steven Greenhouse, labor and workplace reporter for the New York Times about his latest investigation, "As Walmart Makes Safety Vows, It’s Seen as Obstacle to Change." [includes rush transcript]