UNESCO Courier

Articles from September

A Bank That Only Lends to the Poor
The Grameen Bank, which was founded in Bangladesh in 1983 by Muhammad Yunus, a university professor, has won a unique reputation because it lends only to the very poor. Most of its clients are women. It has inspired similar ventures in other developing...
Africa's Invisible Women
The contribution of African women to the life of their continent is largely overlooked by the media In Africa, the exclusion of women from the media mirrors their position in society at large. Between 80 and 98 per cent of them work in subsistence...
A Time for Partnership
Men are from Mars, proclaims a recent book title, and women are from Venus. This two-planet image vividly expresses the lingering belief that women and men are fundamentally and unalterably different. But if it were true that women and men are inherently...
Baroque Zacatecas
Silver mines brought fabulous wealth to the Mexican city of Zacatecas, founded in the 16th century. In 1993 the remarkable monuments in its historic centre earned it a place on UNESCO'S World Heritage List. In December 1429, the Spanish conquistador...
Drylands and Deserts
"Around 900 million people living in drylands all over the world are directly affected by the phenomenon of desertification which is also responsible annually for the loss of some $42 billion in income: Asia accounting for $21 billion approximately,...
Going It Alone
Why are there so many women-headed households in countries of the South? According to the usual definition, the head of a family is the person recognized as such by him- or herself and by the other members of the household. In some countries of the...
Men Supporting Women
Most men have regarded the women's movement with bemused indifference. Some have actively opposed women's rights, as if women's freedom would diminish men's freedom. In a few countries there has been a men's movement to encourage men to run off to...
Nelson Freire Talks to Stany Kol
The Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire revealed his outstanding gifts and strong artistic personality at an early age. His international career, begun when he was very young, has taken him to cities on every continent, where he has given solo recitals and...
Norwegian Politics Bridges the Gender Gap
On 9 May 1986 a social democratic government was formed in Norway. Its composition set a world record: eight of the eighteen-member cabinet appointed by the new Prime Minister, Ms. Gro Harlem Brundtland, were women. Since then, no Norwegian cabinet...
Pride without Prejudice
* "I have a better life today than I did when my husband was alive," said Zapathan. A statement like this from a Muslim widow in Bangladesh would have been unthinkable twenty years ago, and I was taken by surprise when Zapathan made it. Sitting on...
Somalia: The Great Escape
In Somali society, male-female roles and power relationships are regulated by traditional beliefs and practices which do not admit equality between the sexes. Somali "culture" allows and equips men to dominate women, who are systematically relegated...
The Mothers of the Plaza De Mayo
Attached to the picket signs are photos of young faces with a 1970s look. The girls have long hair parted down the middle. The boys' expressions and hair styles could belong to no other decade. Each picket is carried by an elderly woman wearing a...
The North: A Disturbing Independence
The well-known American feminist writer and organizer Betty Friedan is the author of The Feminine Mystique (1963), a classic of feminist literature. In 1966 she founded the National Organization for Women (NOW), whose goals included the legalization...
The Road to Beijing
* Why is the Beijing Conference being held? -- It is the fourth in a series of major international conferences on women, the first of which took place just twenty years ago in Mexico City during International Women's Year. Thirty-six thousand women...
The South: A Joint Struggle
Aminata Traore (see "Five women in the spotlight", page 34) is a Malian social psychologist whose extensive fieldwork has brought her wide first-hand experience of African conditions. In Mali she has founded a cultural centre (the Santoro) and the Hampate...
Three Women from Pakistan
Women leaders in villages of the developing world are starting to take practical steps to dismantle the barriers that keep them in inferior status. Here are portraits of three of them. BIBI GUL Bibi Gul is thirty-five years old. She was born and...
We Have Come a Long Way
I am self-taught. When I was twenty I had the opportunity to learn another language and discover a different world from that of my own Maya culture. At the same time, unfortunately, I also had to leave my home and my land, and see my parents, my brothers...