Election rallies in Malaysia

At election rallies in Malaysia last week, several women in purple headscarves were spotted at different places simultaneously, elbowing their way to the front of crowds and questioning candidates on their commitments towards women's rights.

The women all introduced themselves as Mak Bedah.

So who is Mak Bedah?

Several women represent this intriguing candidate and one of them joins Everywoman from Kuala Lumpur. 

Meera Samanther is a lawyer and member of the Women's Candidacy Initiative.

She tells Shiulie Ghosh what the women are asking for.

Read the 10 principles of the Mak Bedah Manifesto

Morocco to Beijing

Siham Hilali has set her sights on a medal at
the Beijing Olympics

Morocco has its share of great female athletes and the young Siham Hilali is fast joining their ranks.

Siham is a middle-distance runner who has competed in championships across the world.

She has now set her sights on a medal at this year's Beijing Olympics. 

But not only does Siham have to contend with a tough training schedule, she's also challenging people's perception of women's place in Moroccan society.

The Badi Women of Nepal

Recently hundreds of Nepalese women from the Badi community marched on Kathmandu to protest their lack of human rights. 

The Badi community is one of the most disadvantaged ethnic groups in Nepal. The women are often forced to rely on prostitution for money, because they have no other options.

The women in the Badi community are often
forced to rely on prostitution

Now they want the government to give them better rights, better political representation - and better jobs. 

Everywoman met some of those fighting to leave the stigma of the sex trade behind.

China may be rethinking its one-child policy; just a few days ago a Chinese official said changes were being considered, though he was not specific about details.

The policy has been in place since 1979 and is said to have reduced the population by 250 million, but critics say it has resulted in forced abortions, mass sterilisations and female infanticide because of a traditional preference for boys.

Egypt has just appointed its first female marriage registrar, or 'maazun'. Amal Soliman is the first woman in the country and possibly the world, to be authorised to conduct Muslim weddings, and sign marriage and divorce contracts.

Egypt's justice minister stressed her nomination was based on her abilities, not her gender - but the move has sparked a heated debate in the Arab country. 

And good news for women in Italy - Italian men are no longer allowed to grab their crotch in public after a Supreme Court ruled the act, which is believed to ward off bad luck, was against public decency.

Amal Soliman is the first woman in Egypt  to be
authorized to conduct Muslim weddings
The court said if men needed to touch their genitals, they should do it in the privacy of their homes. 

Last week we marked International Women's Day and this week we want to know who you would nominate for our top ten women - women who have fought to make a difference to people's lives, or who have courageously spoken out and refused to be oppressed.

Perhaps you think Qatar's First Lady Sheikha Mozah should be included for working to improve women's education and literacy; or maybe Hauwa Ibrahim, the Nigerian lawyer who defends women sentenced to death under Sharia Law.

Should the list include the Iranian sisters who created the OMID database of those missing or executed during the revolution?

Or perhaps you would nominate celebrities like Angelina Jolie, who works with refugees in her role as a UN ambassador?

It can be anyone you like, whether famous or not. Whoever you choose, send us their name and why you think they deserve a mention.

Watch part one of this episode of Everywoman on YouTube

Watch part two of this episode of Everywoman on YouTube

This episode of Everywoman aired on Friday, March 14, 2008


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