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Brothers are doing it for themselves

JOHANNESBURG, 8 October 2009 (PlusNews) - In the context of sub-Saharan Africa's HIV/AIDS epidemic, women have often been characterized as the victims and men as the perpetrators incapable of sticking to one partner or taking responsibility for their sexual health.

But what if men were victims of the social norms that define masculinity as much as women? And what if they were willing to change, and persuade other men to do the same?

Speakers at the MenEngage Africa Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa, this week have been debating ways to help men achieve this and to become part of the solution to the continent's twin epidemics of gender-based violence and HIV.

"When we talk about a feminized epidemic, we make the mistake of leaving men out of interventions," commented Mandla Ndlovu, programme officer of the recently launched "Brothers for Life" campaign.

The initiative by Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), USAID and the Sonke Gender Justice Network aims to spark a movement of "good" men to encourage their peers to take more responsibility for their health and that of their partners.

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2010 NYC Sex Blogger Calendar Release Party

Abiola Abrams

photo by JC, Stark-Arts

Friday, November 6, 2009 6:30 TO 9:30 PM




Celebrate the release of our Limited Edition 2010 Calendar

Meet your favorite sex bloggers and the hot photographers who shot them, get a free gift bag and maybe win an amazing raffle prize donated by on of our many sponsors and supporters.

Support Sex Work Awareness with a $20 calendar purchase.

Friday, November 6, 2009
6:30 – 9:30 PM

105 Eldridge Street
New York, NY

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Japan Gets Cracking on Gender Equality

By Catherine Makino

TOKYO, Oct 3 (IPS) - Japan's new female justice minister has promised to get serious about gender equality.

Minister Keiko Chiba said on Sep. 29, she intends to propose legislation as early as next year to allow women and men to choose to register different surnames at marriage.

There have been 20 attempts to approve such legislation. "I feel the failure to pass the legislation, even after the Legislative Council submitted its recommendations, is not normal," Chiba said.

In August, the United Nations told Japan to move on gender equality or risk international criticism for its lack of action.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women called for "immediate action" to fix a variety of problems ranging from wage gaps, legal inequalities, rape, pornography and poor representation of women in high-level positions.

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Positive Approach to Living With HIV in India

By Neeta Lal

NEW DELHI, Oct 2 (IPS) - At an age when most 20-year-olds dream of living a perfect life, Kousalya Periasamy found hers shaken by personal tragedies.

Within a month of her marriage in 1996 to a truck driver in Namakkal, in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, her spouse was diagnosed with AIDS. Six months later he died, but not before doctors confirmed Kousalya’s worst nightmare that she too was infected with the deadly HIV virus.

The hapless widow's life could well have followed an unhappy trajectory from there. But Kousalya chose to give things a different turn. "Even though I was furious with my husband for cheating on me and hiding his illness despite knowing about it at the time of our marriage, I soon realised that a negative attitude won't help me," says Kousalya, 35, who has studied till class 12 and has a nursing background.

The plucky woman channeled her angst into providing succor for others like her. "The doctors had warned me that I won't live beyond a few months, so whatever needed to be done must happen quickly," laughs Kousalya.

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Ethnic Minorities More Gender Divided in VietNam

By Helen Clark

CAO BANG, Vietnam, Oct 2 (IPS) - A drunk man slaps his wife, she hits the ground and the audience of mainly women laughs.  At a question and answer session that follows in Tay, one of the many ethnic minority languages, women stand up to talk at length about why husbands shouldn't hit their wives and why, as women, they deserve equal respect.

The open-air show at a weekly market in northern Cao Bang province is Vietnam government- and NGO-sponsored propaganda for minorities like the Tay.  It has been created with the aim of informing far-flung communities of the country's law against domestic violence and to help improve gender relations here.

Plays with a message are rare in this communist country.  Usually commune-level officials read out government directives, in Vietnamese, to bored audiences.  Many ethnic groups such as the H'Mong and Dao, especially the women, are not fluent in Vietnamese.

In 2006, an Italian non-governmental organisation (NGO) Gruppo de Volontariato Civile used theatre as a means of communication for the first time in Vietnam.  The concept has been repackaged as a 'gender caravan' now by Swiss NGO Helvetas in partnership with the Women's Union (WU), a government women's organisation with branches in every province in the country.

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Buck Angel: Bucking the System (episode one)

Buck Angel's new series sharing his perspective on gender and sexuality, with the accompaniment of a sign language interpreter. 

Buck is will answer questions every week on this show.  We will be posting the show here on  So, if you have questions for Buck about his career or life story, please send them to

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Gender Campus: Tools for gender-sensitive planning and implementation

Gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to development and peace. The new aid effectiveness agenda must offer opportunities to strengthen action towards the MDGs and gender equality.

The global development agenda: tools for gender-sensitive planning and implementation

Second Edition - download course information in English 111.77 Kb

Applications are open from 25 - 30 September, 2009

Attendance grants are subject to timely submission of the candidate's application form and its acceptance by the Selection Committee.

Apply now!

More details on this online course:


Gender equality and women’s empowerment are central to development and peace. The new aid effectiveness agenda must offer opportunities to strengthen action towards the MDGs and gender equality.

The overall purpose of this online course is to create greater awareness of these opportunities and initiate further action at the national and the international levels.

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Gender Advocates Keep a Close Eye on Climate Talks

By Lynette Lee Corporal

BANGKOK, Sep 29 (IPS) - After nine months of a rollercoaster ride pushing for a gender perspective on climate change, advocates are finally beginning to reap the fruits of their labour.

Amid dire predictions from various quarters that they will not make much of an impact on the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit scheduled for Dec. 7 to 18, representatives of the Global Gender Climate Alliance (GGCA) are nonetheless keeping their hopes high that their hard work in the last several months will pay off.

GGCA is a network of non-governmental and intergovernmental organisations as well as United Nations agencies working to ensure that climate change policies at the global, regional and national levels are gender-responsive.

Already the Alliance is watching closely the ongoing talks at the second to the last round of climate change negotiations before the December summit — otherwise known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP) 15 — which are currently underway in the Thai capital.

The Bangkok climate change conference, which opened Monday and will conclude on until Oct 9., is being attended by some 4,000 delegates from 177 countries. The last round will be held in Barcelona, Spain on Nov. 2-6.

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Actor Slash Model: Using Music & Film To Share Gender Identity

Actor Slash Model is the collaborative work of Simon Strikeback, an activist and educator, and Madsen Minax, an artist and filmmaker.

Through both music and film Actor Slash Model addresses issues of gender identity, gender performance and politics, a sex positive ideal, and the art making process. 

Riot Acts: Flaunting Gender Deviance in Music Performance

As a filmmaking duo, Actor Slash Model is currently producing a documentary chronicling gender identity and performance as it surrounds musicianship. 

The research for this project includes conducting in depth interviews, documenting the performances, rehearsals, and everyday interactions of trans and gender variant musicians across the United States and Canada.  Through this project they seek to reveal a particularly active and vibrant realm of community and artistic excellence. 

RIOT ACTS is a transfabulous rockumentary representing the whole lives of transgender and gender variant musicians, through a first-hand perspective of the intersections between gender performance and stage performance.

This feature-length documentary highlights issues crucial to interviewees such as songwriting, voice presentation, presenting a body/bodies on stage, audiences, venues, the idea of the spectacle, media representation, performing gender and notions about “drag,” and the personal as political.

The film culminates with the notions that identities and bodies are undeniably political, and that the trans experience isn’t always one of tragedy, but one of creativity and joy. (

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Maternal Health Task Force and Ashoka Present: Young Champions Fellowship

Building the Next Generation of Global Leaders—Maternal Health Task Force and Ashoka Partner

September 24, 2009, NEW YORK—The Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth and Ashoka will partner to create the first international fellowship program that links committed young professionals with seasoned social entrepreneurs to improve maternal health in developing countries. The Maternal Health Task Force and Ashoka will be featuring the Young Champions for Maternal Health Program as a commitment to action at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City, where it will be announced by President Clinton on September 25.

“This is the first fellowship program to focus exclusively on global maternal health and comes at a moment when the need is more urgent than ever. By supporting a new generation of passionate and committed innovators, we grow one step closer to saving women’s lives and eliminating the gross disparity between developed and developing countries when it comes to maternal health,” said Ana Langer, M.D., president of EngenderHealth.

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