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GIRLS & WOMEN

This British Student Designed a Chair to Stop Manspreading

Laila Laurel's idea is to stop men invading women's space.

By Sonia Elks

LONDON, July 11 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) — A British student who built a chair designed to force men to sit with their knees together said on Thursday she hopes her work will encourage men to stop invading women's space.

Laila Laurel, 23, created the furniture to raise awareness of "manspreading", where men sit with their knees splayed wide apart on public transport or other cramped spaces, encroaching on their neighbour's space.

"Manspreading is so infuriating because it is quite minor... but it actually does affect women every day, all over the world, all the time and it infringes on their space," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"What my aims were for this chair were just to engage people in the idea and have people sit on it and raise some awareness and start conversations," she added.

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The chair, meant to reverse typical gender norms, is shaped with a wedge that narrows towards the front, forcing the user to keep their knees together.

Another chair she built for women widens out and features a raised block in the middle compelling those who sit on it to spread their legs widely.

Related StoriesJuly 2, 20192 Years After BBC's Gender Pay Gap Scandal, 3 Women Make the Top Paid List

Cities around the world including Madrid and New York have led recent campaigns recently to discourage manspreading on public transport.

The US city of Philadelphia launched a "Dude, it's Rude" campaign in 2014 and Seattle's transport provider put up signs on buses showing a self-centred purple octopus with its tentacles draped over bordering seats.

Laurel, studying 3D Design and Craft at the University of Brighton in south England, said she was inspired by her own experiences of men infringing on her space while travelling. She also drew on other women's posts about often small but regular incidents of sexism they experience using the hashtag "EverydaySexism" on social media sites like Twitter.

Her chairs won an award at a showcase last week for British student designers where judges described it as a "bold" and "purpose-driven" way to explore people's behaviour in society.

Related StoriesJuly 10, 2019Thomson Reuters FoundationAn All-Female Crew Is Set to Sail Around the World to Fight Ocean Plastic

Laurel said she hoped her work offered a "lighthearted" look at the issue, but could help raise awareness of everyday sexism.

"I think men are less aware of it, but dialogues about these issues are opening up so much more now and I think it is changing perspectives quite a lot," she said.

(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's and LGBT+ rights, human trafficking, property rights, and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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1 DE NOVIEMBRE DE 2019

 

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MEDIO AMBIENTE

Argentina podría convertirse en el próximo vertedero de desechos plásticos

Importar residuos plásticos es un negocio arriesgado.

 

 

Por qué es importante para los Global Citizens
La contaminación plástica está causando un daño inmenso a los ecosistemas del mundo y los gobiernos están comenzando a frenar la producción de plástico de acuerdo con los Objetivos Globales de las Naciones Unidas. Puedes unirte a nosotros para tomar medidas sobre este tema aquí.

Argentina pronto podría importar miles de toneladas de desechos plásticos de los Estados Unidos y otros países, llenando un vacío dejado por China cuando este país prohibió las importaciones en 2017, según informó recientemente The Guardian.

 

El país reclasificó los desechos plásticos como un producto básico en lugar de un producto de desecho en agosto pasado, lo que facilita que las empresas de reciclaje y gestión de desechos lo importen. Luego, el gobierno se unió a los Estados Unidos para votar en contra de una norma propuesta en la convención de Basilea, un organismo que supervisa el comercio internacional de desechos, que habría dificultado que los países desarrollados exporten desechos plásticos a las naciones en desarrollo.

 

Estos dos pasos hacen que los defensores ambientales y laborales estén preocupados de que pronto puedan establecerse contratos para la importación de residuos plásticos, de acuerdo a lo informado por The Guardian. Les preocupa que un aumento en los desechos plásticos importados pueda conducir a la contaminación del aire y del agua, y contribuir aún más al creciente problema de la contaminación plástica en los ambientes marinos.

 

La única razón por la que Argentina se convertiría en un vertedero de desechos estadounidenses es porque otros países han decidido dejar de jugar este papel en los últimos años.

 
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En 2017, China dijo que ya no aceptaría docenas de distintos tipos de plástico y otros materiales difíciles de reciclar. Países como los Estados Unidos, Reino Unido y Canadá han luchado para encontrar nuevos lugares para enviar sus desechos plásticos. Uno a uno, los nuevos países, incluidos Tailandia y Filipinas, comenzaron a prohibir el plástico importado.

 

En primer lugar, países como los Estados Unidos exportan desechos plásticos porque producen mucho más del que pueden reciclar o eliminar de manera sostenible. En lugar de incinerar el plástico o enviarlo a los vertederos, Estados Unidos paga a otros países para que tomen esta basura y asuman las consecuencias ambientales de tratar con ella.

 

En 2018, Estados Unidos exportó 157,000 contenedores de plástico a otros países, muchos de los cuales ya están saturados de desechos plásticos.

 

Los desechos plásticos importados a menudo se envían directamente a lugares donde son incinerados, llenando el aire con partículas tóxicas. Otras veces, el plástico se utiliza como relleno en vertederos o es vertido en cuerpos de agua.

 

La falta de aceptación del mundo del plástico importado ha estimulado a los países a restringir la producción de plástico y buscar alternativas. Decenas de países han promulgado leyes contra el plástico en los últimos años, y la Unión Europea, un importante exportador de plástico, ha prometido eliminar varios plásticos de un solo uso en los próximos años. En los Estados Unidos, las exportaciones de plástico han caído precipitadamente en los últimos años porque muchos países ya no lo aceptan.

 

Si bien Argentina aún no ha anunciado sus planes para importar desechos plásticos, la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de Estados Unidos ha comenzado a explorar esa posibilidad, según The Guardian.

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OCT. 8, 2019

 

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HEALTH

Homophobic Laws Linked to Low HIV Testing Across Africa

In Malawi, less than 1% of gay and bisexual men who are HIV-positive know their status.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Globally, 1 million people living with HIV die every year due to the virus. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 3 sets a target to end the epidemic of AIDS by 2030. In order to achieve this, the most at-risk groups, such as men who have sex with men, need to be tested and have access to treatment. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are less likely to be tested or know their HIV status if they live in an African country that criminalizes same-sex behavior, according to a recent study. 

The study, published in the Lancet HIV journal, found that levels of testing and HIV status awareness is significantly lower in countries with the most severe anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

Same-sex relations are criminialized in almost two-thirds of African countries and is punishable by prison sentences or the death penalty. 

In addition, stigma and discrimination toward LGBTQ+ people persist. 

“Violations include blackmail, violence, reprisals from family and communities, denial of housing, health care, and access to justice,” the study finds. 

While some countries such as Seychelles, Mozambique, and Lesotho have decriminalised same-sex relations in recent years, others such as Uganda and Nigeria have increased the severity of their anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. According to Human Rights Watch, Sharia penal codes in northern Nigeria criminalize “sodomy” with caning, imprisonment, or death by stoning. 

In Malawi, where same-sex relations are criminalized and punishable with up to 14 years in prison, less than 1% of gay and bisexual men who are HIV-positive know their status. Human Rights Watch reported that “some medical professionals denied people services based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Comparatively, in Namibia, where sodomy is criminalised but the law also not enforced, 60% of MSM who are HIV-positive are aware of their status. 

Related StoriesSept. 25, 2019Botswana Is Offering Free HIV Treatment to Non-Citizens Too in Major Policy Shift

According to the research, which looked at data from 28 African countries, HIV testing is on the rise among men who have sex with men, with the average percentage of MSM ever tested for HIV being 67% — an improvement of nearly 15% from before 2011. Testing rates varied greatly depending on the region, with the highest rates in southern Africa at 80%, and the lowest in northern Africa, at 34%. 

Despite significant improvements related to increased HIV testing among MSM in Africa, researchers say a lack of HIV status awareness and access to antiretroviral drugs means additional efforts are needed to reach the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target amongst MSM by 2020. 

The ambitious target aims for 90% of all people living with HIV to know their status, 90% of those who know their status to receive antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 90% of those who are on ARTs to have viral suppression, meaning that although HIV remains in a person’s body, it has been suppressed or reduced to an undetectable level. 

“However, since levels of diagnosis and antiretroviral therapy access remain low, ART use (24%) and viral suppression (25%) among all MSM living with HIV are critically low, meaning HIV spread within these populations will continue,” the study concludes. 

Dr. Kate Mitchell, a research fellow at Imperial College London who co-led the study, told the Telegraph that additional research is needed, particularly on MSM in Africa. 

“It would be good to look at countries which have repealed anti-LGBT legislation to find out what difference this has made,” she said. 

 

 

New research shows that despite improvements in HIV testing among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa, many are missing out on HIV treatment.

Read more about the study, led by researchers from @ImperialSPH: http://ow.ly/ygws50wFnqO 

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ENVIRONMENT

The Netherlands Turned 316 Bus Stops Into Homes for Bees

Bees and other pollinators are crucial for the cultivation of more than 75% of the country’s crops.


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Converting bus stop roofs into plant-covered habitats can not only help combat air pollution, a leading cause of death in the Netherlands, but will also help revive two-thirds of the more than 300 endangered bee species in the country. The United Nations’ Global Goals call on countries to reduce all forms of pollution and to support life on land. You can join us in taking action on this issue here.

The bus stops of Utrecht in the Netherlands aren’t just for humans. Bees can now make a stopover at any one of the city’s 316 bus stops whose rooftops have been turned into eco-friendly habitats that support bees and aid biodiversity

Now covered with sedum plants — succulents that can help purify the air — the bus stops attract bees, populations of which have been declining, as well as butterflies. The roofs will also capture fine dust and store rainwater. 

 

Go #Utrecht! In my city, 316 bus stops now have a green roof. These roofs help to capture fine dust, storage of rainwate, provide cooling in the summertime and they contribute to the city’s biodiversity, supporting insects. Want one too? | #climateaction https://www.brightvibes.com/1358/en/this-dutch-city-has-transformed-its-bus-stops-into-bee-stops 

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The initiative is part of a broader effort to help purify the air in the Netherlands, where an unhealthy environment, including bad air quality, is one of the leading causes of diseases — second only to smoking.

 
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Honeybees are the world’s most important pollinating agent, but they and many other bee species are declining around the world due to human activities. The diversity and number of wild bee and honeybee species in Holland, the Dutch capital, has increased by 45% since the 2000s. With its new bus rooftops, Utrecht hopes to continue boost its bee population. 

Last year, the Dutch government also introduced a pollinator strategy to revive bee, butterfly, and other insect populations, which are essential for the cultivation of more than 75% of the country’s edible crops.

As part of its plan to become more environmentally friendly, Utrecht is also planning to introduce 55 new electric buses, powered by windmill-generated electricity, and will only operate carbon dioxide-neutral buses by 2028.  

Read More: Global Citizens in the Netherlands Made Waves on World Water Day

Municipal workers are responsible for maintaining the bus stops, which are also outfitted with energy-efficient LED lights and bamboo benches, and will drive from stop to stop in electric vehicles.

The citizens of Utrecht are also urged to transform their own roofs into “green roofs” and can apply for special subsidies to convert them. The city suggests that residents replace their worn out roofs with green roofs instead of getting them refurbished conventionally.

To be eligible for the subsidy, roofs must be larger than 20 square meters. Residents with smaller roofs can apply together with their neighbors to get to reach the 20 square meter minimum.

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HIV/AIDS

Let’s talk about why AIDS is still a crisis

25 November 2019 7:28PM UTC | By: ONE

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Twenty years ago, HIV was sweeping the globe largely unchecked and a diagnosis was usually a death sentence.

We’ve come a long way in the fight to end AIDS since then. New HIV infections are down by more than 40% since their peak in 1997. Between this year’s historic Global Fund replenishment and vital medical and technological progress, we can now envision a world without AIDS — something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

But the work isn’t over yet and we can’t afford to become complacent now or forget that AIDS is still an emergency for millions of people.

Here are four key reasons why we need to keep up the fight against AIDS:

1. 3 people contract HIV every minute

Globally, that means 1.7 million people contract HIV each year. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable: Globally, over 800 girls and women ages 15 to 24 contract HIV every day. In sub-Saharan Africa, young women ages 15-24 are twice as likely to contract HIV as their male peers.

2. 14 million people still don’t have access to treatment

A lack of access to treatment means the death toll from AIDS is still unacceptably high: In 2018, 770,000 people globally died of AIDS. Access to treatment is also key to prevention and stopping the spread of HIV. If a person living with HIV takes their treatment regularly and has an undetectable viral load, there is effectively no risk of passing on HIV  to others via sexual transmission.

3. We’re short of the “90-90-90” goal

The United Nations set a target of “90-90-90” by 2020: 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of people that know their status receive treatment, and 90% of people receiving treatment have viral suppression.

Instead we’re 79–78–86: 79% of people globally knew their HIV status in 2018. Among them, 78% were accessing antiretroviral therapy. And 86% of people accessing treatment had undetectable viral loads. Reaching the 90-90-90 targets in 2020 will require significant efforts. For example, reaching the target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020 will require almost 7 million people to be added to treatment in the next year. In 2018, only 2 million people were added to treatment.

4) We’re over 25% short on the funding we need reach key targets

In 2018, $19 billion was mobilised for the global HIV/AIDS response. UNAIDS estimates that $26 billion will be needed in 2020 to reach key targets in these countries. This means there is a more than 25% global shortfall of funding needed to reach key targets in the world’s hardest hit countries.

What’s next in the fight

It’s vital that we take every step necessary to finish the job because where you live cannot determine whether you live. This is going to take a single-minded focus and a clear plan.

So this World AIDS Day we’re doing two things. First, we’re giving thanks — to the governments and private sector leaders who increased their commitments to tackling HIV/AIDS, to the activists who wouldn’t give up, and above all, to the real superheroes: the nurses and health workers who fight these diseases day in and day out in their communities.

Second, we’re vowing to keep up the fight until everyone, everywhere has access to the life-saving treatment they need that will help us end AIDS for good.

In 2020, we’re going to be keeping up the fight for good global health everywhere. Join us.

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We must insist on concrete action to end gender-based violence
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GIRLS AND WOMEN

We must insist on concrete action to end gender-based violence

13 November 2019 10:15PM UTC | By: EILEEN SMITH

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Stop sexual violence in Senegal

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Eileen Smith is a gender activist and a motivational speaker working in South Africa. Eileen is a survivor of gender-based violence and advocates against it and helps survivors transition from victim to victor. Here’s her story. This article discusses domestic violence.

I had no idea how serious gender-based violence (GBV) was until I fell under the statistics. Daily, I work with survivors of GBV and the severity differs, but the residual effects don’t. Trauma is trauma.

Words spoken become words lived. “You are nothing, you are useless, you are weak.” These “you ares” are bound to become “I ams” at some point, right?

It’s important that we do not just look at GBV as a crime against the victim, but also as a crime to society and our economy.

Every economy depends on the productivity of the people. But when there is a disease in the system — and yes gender-based violence is a disease — the system will become infected and suffer.

For a woman who lives in an abusive home, what happens at home will affect her attention span, self-esteem and her productivity. As a victim in her home, she will be the victim in the world. Correction becomes criticism because all self-esteem is lost, concentration is scattered because there’s a problem awaiting her at home. She will create the illusion of feeling stuck due to words spoken to her. If you are “stuck” how do you progress? Produce? Plan? Create? Grow?

Every economy depends on the productivity of the people — men and women. Everyone plays a role in the growth of the economy. But when there is a disease in the system — and yes gender-based violence is a disease — the system will become infected and suffer.

I wish that when I was her, I knew that there was a way out and that what he said wasn’t who I was. Fear is not a desirable state to remain in. It’s a constant fight or flight mode because you have accepted that as the norm. The feeling of never being good enough affected my work ethic and caused me to feel like the victim all the time.

GBV is not just a personal issue

GBV is not only a personal issue — it’s an issue for us all because we all form part of the chain.

It took years to rebuild my self-esteem. I recall a time when a simple typo in a document gave me anxiety and my boss’s thoughtful expression caused me panic, even when it had nothing to do with me.

Starting over again was not easy. I carried the words with me. When people made fast hand gestures, my heart would race. When I was rejected from a job, I would remember the words that put me down. I had to unpack my trauma and keep going.

But many women don’t know how to unpack their trauma. I try to use my experience to help survivors transition from victim to victor. I run workshops and host a women’s networking event called The Emotional Baggage Depot to assist women, to rebuild, recreate and deal with the emotional baggage and residual effects of life’s events.

I recently joined the Kuhluka Movement as the community moderator. I counsel and coach women and then we equip them to be pillars of support for other women in surrounding communities with counselling and life coaching tools to help address the residual effects of trauma.

We must insist on concrete action to end GBV. ONE’s petition to stop sexual violence in Senegal is one such effort.

As I counsel these women, I realize even more that GBV is really on the rise, and causes such as ONE’s petition in Senegal is truly amazing.

We must insist on concrete action to end GBV. ONE’s petition to stop sexual violence in Senegal is one such effort to put an end to gender-based violence. The petition is telling the government it’s time to step up.

If something doesn’t change, our societies and economies will continue to be impacted. Creating a war, rage, fear, violence cannot bring about a positive outcome and cannot grow the country.

Stop sexual violence in Senegal

Dear Malick Sall, Minister of Justice of Senegal; Dear Ndèye Sali Diop Dieng, Minister of Women’s Affairs, Family Affairs and Gender of Senegal,

We call on you to make every effort to enact and implement as soon as possible a new law that recognises rape as a serious crime in Senegal. In the face of renewed violence against women, it is time to act decisively to protect women and girls.

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