Stop the abuse!

March 8 was celebrated as International Women’s Day by the United Nations (UN) and this year’s motto was ‘Be Bold for a Change’. Women have moved ahead in many ways. They shine in every field. Yet, there are still some places where women are ill-treated or suppressed. Everyone speaks about gender equality, but many deny women at home this equality and freedom. They are exposed to a lot of atrocities in their workplaces, homes, hospitals, and in public places. No place is considered completely safe, despite central and state governments around the world coming out with new schemes aimed at providing safety and security. Rapes continue and most women face the fear of exposing the perpetrator, especially when the culprit is a family member.

Children too, are not spared, and minors are abused, leaving a deep scar in their minds. Recent incidents involving a female artiste who was kidnapped, and a 16-year-old school girl who was abused and impregnated by a 48-year-old priest, have rocked Kerala, India, and have been far too disturbing. As we celebrate Women’s Day this year, let us pledge to protect women, whether at home or in public places, so that they too, can enjoy the same freedom that men relish. Parents should teach their sons how to behave. Statistics shows that even in a 100 per cent literate state like Kerala, five rape cases are reported daily, and cases which are not recorded by the authorities are higher than this number. There are a lot of laws to protect human rights but these laws have not fully helped in the protection of women and children. Without women, men would not exist. Let us pledge to make every day Women’s Day – the empowerment should begin from within every family.

From Mr Eappen Elias


Time for change

Is the world a better place for women than it was during my grandmother’s youth? Or my mother’s? I ask myself this as I put my three-year-old daughter to sleep at night and wonder what the future holds for her. Globally, about one in three women will be beaten or raped during their lifetime, according to a UN report. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Nearly two thirds of illiterate people are women, a proportion that has not budged for two decades. An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked into slavery each year, of which, 80 per cent are girls. The gap between men and women’s earnings is at its lowest level in history, but men still earn 17.5 per cent more than women on average, per hour, according to a national report in the UK. These figures are staggering, but we must not lose hope. Such facts must serve as a rallying call for women everywhere. Keep pushing the envelope. Keep breaking that ceiling. Our work is not done.

From Ms Alina Mitra

Abu Dhabi

Time for change

Even though the theme for International Women’s Day focuses on change, the biggest challenge would be to address the increasing violence that women face today. Violence against women goes against the perceptions of creating a society with equal respect and regard between the two genders. The #BeBoldForChange concept unveiled recently by the UN, urges the international community to focus on core issues, such as education and empowerment, in an attempt to focus on lowering the increasing violence against women, especially in countries that have been severely hit by conflicts and civil wars for more than a decade.

Women have yet to be fully recognised in key administrative areas, particularly in the framework of democracy. Developing countries that are democratic, must look into revising constitutional norms that are affecting the course of progress women want to achieve in this new age of evolution.

From Mr Ramachandran Nair


Waste not

Turning off your engine when pulling over or waiting for someone for five minutes is actually more wasteful than keeping it running, according to a study by Green Action Centre, Canada (“8 ways to save money on petrol”, Gulf News, March 6). Studies show that cranking or starting an engine consumes more fuel than when you leave it running for a short period of time.

From Mr Nitsuga Shoj


Mindset change

As a culture, we need to stop spending in an unsustainable way. Not driving an unsustainable vehicle with a V8 engine would also help. Do some research on fuel economy before purchasing your new car – something many people in the West have been doing for the past 30 years.

From Mr Matthew Bocock

Abu Dhabi

All about respect

Respect the rule of land, otherwise leave the country – that’s what I believe (“Welder accused of blasphemy on Facebook”, Gulf News, March 6). Lack of education and basic knowledge led him to behave in this way.

From Mr Midhun Dharmaraj


Why are animals attacking humans?

Destruction of wildlife habitat and increasing human population are the main causes behind this problem (“Leopard sows terror in Indian city, mauls 3 people”, Gulf News, March 6). Unabated and massive levels of deforestation are also responsible for rising encounters between man and animal. The buffer zone between the human habitat and the forest areas have been shrinking with every passing day, resulting in growing human-animal conflict. Authorities should not allow encroachments near forested regions. The need of the hour is to give more importance to sustainable development, rather than economic development, in order to conserve Nature.

From Ms Megna Rajagopal


Animals not to blame

It’s the cities that are to blame! Man is venturing into jungles. Animals are where they were always supposed to be.

From Mr Bilal Ahmad Shaikh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Stay away

Stop encroaching on their habitats! Wild animals are flocking to cities because their natural habitats have been destroyed, due to factors like urbanisation. And then people wonder why they are coming to cities!

From Ms Cassandra Jr. Sandra


Overcoming exam stress

It is that time of the year when every student is gripped by exam fever (“A sound way of beating exam stress”, Gulf News, March 5). Irrespective of their academic abilities, most students suffer from heightened anxiety, stress, and low confidence during exams. Stress becomes an unavoidable part of life during this time. Lack of preparation, lapse in time management, burning the midnight oil at the last moment, high expectations from parents and competition from peers are some of the reasons students become easy prey to overwhelming anxiety and low self-motivation. Many children end up suffering from insomnia, nervousness, eating disorders and several other ailments.

But every problem has a solution. Students need to introspect, pause, reflect and choose a path that will help them overcome the impasse. A systematic study routine, meticulous planning and time management, getting enough sleep, following a healthy diet, spending a little time in pursuing their passions and engaging in outdoor activities are of immense help in infusing confidence, pep and vigour in them. Parents play a pivotal role in motivating and encouraging their children, and in helping them follow a balanced routine. Do not forget that there is life after exams. Things might seem intense now, but they will not remain so forever. Keeping calm and believing in yourself will surely go a long way.

From Ms Jayashree Kulkarni

Abu Dhabi


Pakistan can make all the effort, but some countries do not see the development Pakistanis have made (“Lahore hosts PSL final amid high security”, Gulf News, March 5). Anyhow, this was a big slap on the face for those who were trying to make Pakistan Super League (PSL) unsuccessful! Thankfully, we did it.

From Mr Waqas Sajid


Politics defeated

Cricket has won and beaten politics. I pray dirty politics never touches culture and sports. It was nice to watch PSL.

From Ms Tinku Sharma

Jalandhar, India

Triumph of peace

Thank you very much to cricketers Darren Sammy, Marlon Samuels, David Malan, Chris Jordan and others for showing courage and ignoring all kinds of rumours and risks, to play in Pakistan. Their names will go down in history with those of soldiers who fought against the war on terror. This year’s PSL wasn’t just a cricket tournament. It was a battle between terrorists and the people of Pakistan, who just want to live in peace. The ultimate winner was peace – thanks to Pakistan’s people, cricketers and the country’s army.

From Mr Adil Afridi


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