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SHE STEMS to prepare Omani women for nation’s manufacturing 

Emphasizing hands-on skills development and on-the-job training, SHE STEMS aims to prepare more Omani women for the nation’s manufacturing and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors…reports Asian Lite News

Believing in the importance of joint work between the public and private sectors, as well as emphasizing the principle of integration between the service units of the state’s administrative apparatus, and in order to achieve the objectives of Oman’s Vision 2040, the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI) on Tuesday 9 August 2022 signed the SHE STEMS social development program agreement with Oman Cables Industry (OCI) and the Ministry of Labour (MoL).

The program was signed on behalf of MoHERI by Her Excellency Dr. Rahma Ibrahim Al-Mahrooqi – Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation; for the MoL by the Ministry’s Undersecretary for Human Resources Development Salim bin Musallam al Busaidi; and for OCI by the company’s CEO Cinzia Farisè.

Emphasizing hands-on skills development and on-the-job training, SHE STEMS aims to prepare more Omani women for the nation’s manufacturing and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) sectors.

Registration in the program starts in September 2020 with a first cohort of 20 Omani women who will attend an extensive 6-month practical “Operating Maintenance” course certified by MoHERI. The training will be supervised by a number of highly proficient, qualified instructors. Upon completion, each participant will receive a SHE STEMS certificate recognized by MoHERI.

The eligibility criteria for participants are: Omani nationals aged between 18 to 28 years who are registered as job seekers with the Ministry of Labour, and who have a General Education Diploma as a minimum academic qualification. (It should be noted that this training will not be applicable if the candidate has attended other training supported by the Oman government). For enrollment, interested parties apply through omancables.com/careers before August 25th, 2022.

Speaking about the SHE STEMS program, Her Excellency Dr. Rahma Ibrahim Al-Mahrooqi stressed the importance of engaging all vital sectors in the effort to achieve the goals of the nation’s comprehensive development plans, and to implement Oman’s ambitious Vision 2040 with regard to building promising national employees in all fields. Her Excellency Al-Mahrooqi explained that she valued OCI’s initiative in collaboration with the MoHERI and MoL, which would serve to develop the skills of Omani women, and open new horizons for them in the labour market.

Her Excellency Al-Mahrooqi also indicated the Ministry’s keenness to cooperate with many sectors to ensure the quality of programs directed at female graduates and job seekers is maintained. This would ensure that participants receive high quality practical skills and work ethics, which would qualify and empower them to compete in local and international labour markets.

Underlining its support for SHE STEMS, the Ministry of Labour affirmed its full readiness to cooperate in this qualitative program and to provide the necessary support and incentives to contribute to the upgrading of human resources in the Sultanate of Oman.

According to Cinzia Farisè, CEO of Oman Cables Industry, the SHE STEMS program is considered an important milestone in OCI’s social ambition to support the local community. “We are very pleased and honored to launch this program in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and the Ministry of Labour. SHE STEMS forms part of a global initiative that has been molded, initiated, and launched within the Sultanate of Oman. This is an exciting program that aligns closely with OCI’s stated values of Innovation, Empowerment, and Excellence. We are confident that it will attract and empower more Omani unemployed women to achieve excellence in their individual career fields within Oman,” Cinzia Farisè explained.

The CEO added: “As part of the Prysmian Group, OCI is launching SHE STEMS as a joint amalgamation with Prysmian’s sustainability development strategy and goals, and within the framework of the Prysmian Social Ambition 2030 objectives of Diversity; Equality and Inclusion; Digital Inclusion; Community Empowerment; and Employee Engagement & Upskilling.”

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UAE News

NAMA to expand footprints in empowering women entrepreneurs worldwide

Since its commencement in South Africa, projects initiated under FPI have enhanced the capacities of more than 16,000 women-owned enterprises to participate in various value chains…reports Asian Lite News

During a recent field visit to South Africa, NAMA Women Advancement (NAMA) reviewed  both the achievements and challenges of its “Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs” flagship programme, launched in the country in partnership with UN Women in 2018 to remove structural barriers to gender equality and foster women’s economic empowerment.

Participating in a series of roundtable discussions, briefing meetings, and field visits with HE Mahash Saeed Al Hameli, UAE Ambassador to South Africa, Fatima Yousuf Al Suwaidi, First Secretary at the UAE Embassy in South Africa, stakeholders, national partners, and beneficiaries of the programme during the five-day visit,  NAMA also identified areas for improvement and new opportunities to expand its footprints in empowering women entrepreneurs worldwide.

With a focus on South Africa and the UAE, the Flagship Programme Initiative (FPI)  is designed to build and maximise the capacity of women-owned businesses to benefit from public and private sector procurement contracts, especially in non-traditional sectors. By leveraging the commitment of the government and corporate sectors, the programme aims to foster the creation of an SME support ecosystem and facilitate access to new procurement markets and finance, while also addressing the demand and supply constraints of buyers and entrepreneurs.

Leading the NAMA delegation, Her Excellency Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, outlined the transformational potential of creating an enabling ecosystem for women entrepreneurs by leveraging gender-responsive procurement as a force for strengthening the capacities of women business owners to access finance and enterprise development.

A broad range of stakeholders including representatives of UN Women, officials from the South African government, private sector entities – namely signatories of Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), representatives of women associations, local NGOs, and training institutions were part of the visit that highlighted the progress of NAMA’s flagship programme activities in South Africa to identify best practices and lessons learned.

Creating an equitable future

Implemented in partnership with UN Women, governments, the private sector, investors, civil society, women entrepreneurs, and women’s enterprise associations, the ongoing Flagship Programme Initiative offers capacity building to women-owned enterprises. Under the FPI, UN Women has also spearheaded high-level advocacy and dialogue to place gender-responsive procurement as a strategic lever for driving women’s enterprise development.

Commenting on the visit, Her Excellency Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA, said: “We are committed to promoting gender equality and empowering female entrepreneurs and business owners, by creating market opportunities for women-led businesses worldwide. Providing them with equal opportunities enables women entrepreneurs to grow and thrive as leaders, innovators, and high-impact changemakers.”

She added: “Guided by the vision and strong leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of NAMA, our strategic collaboration with UN Women in launching the Flagship Programme Initiative is aiming to transform the business landscape and close gender gaps in South Africa by promoting women’s economic empowerment. Together with the unwavering support of our partner, UN Women, NAMA is fulfilling its vision of uplifting women and creating a more equitable future for women worldwide.”

Aleta Miller, South Africa Multi-Country Representative for UN Women said “UN Women’s long standing partnership with NAMA Advancement for Women, & the South African Government & people, has led to positive,  tangible outcomes for women across South Africa.

What’s made the programme implemented with support of  NAMA Advancement for Women so successful, is working at all levels to overcome systemic structural barriers .This included two key strategies: facilitating women’s access to procurement opportunities from both the public and private sector by creating an  enabling environment; and providing  consistent capacity support to women-owned  enterprises

South Africa demonstrates the power of bringing women into the economy, & NAMA Advancement for Women has played a key role in supporting a host of successful initiatives.”

Reaching over 16,000 women in South Africa

Since its commencement in South Africa, projects initiated under FPI have enhanced the capacities of more than 16,000 women-owned enterprises to participate in various value chains.

A total of 6,452 women entrepreneurs have benefited from skills and capacity development programmes, enhancing their participation in procurement processes and increasing their access to business opportunities, income, and growth. Five sustainable and scalable capacity-building ecosystem approaches and models for women-owned businesses have also been developed here to date.

Leveraging the technology of Buyfromwomen, an innovative e-commerce platform, the flagship project has connected Women Owned Enterprises (WOEs) in Energy, Transport, Agriculture and General Entrepreneurship to improve access to markets.

With x7 modules, the Learning Management System (LMS) assisted women in assessing online self-paced training during Covid-19. Of the 3,693 women who were profiled, 1,264 enrolled on the LMS.

UN Women’s advocacy efforts further delivered results when the President of South Africa earmarked 40 per cent of public procurement projects for women-owned enterprises. Key government sector departments such as the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Department of Women, Youth & Persons with Disabilities have commenced procurement spending on women-owned businesses in the sanitary dignity value chain. 

In line with the programme goals  in 2019, the Amathole District Municipality reviewed its supply chain policies and set specific targets for women-owned enterprises, effectively increasing its procurement spend on women-owned businesses from 4% to 38%. Together with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), UN Women worked with the municipality to mobilise 300 WOBs within the targeted district to learn about their participation in supply chains and create a database of women-owned enterprises in the Amathole District.

ALSO READ-NAMA, UN Women economically empower 340,000 women globally

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Sport Sports

Women’s team extends unbeaten run at Chess Olympiad

Vaishali played splendidly in a drawn position, pressurising her opponent with precise positive play and finally scoring a delightful victory…reports Asian Lite News

Indian women’s A team notched up their seventh successive victory against sixth seed Azerbaijan with a 2.5-1.5 score to maintain their sole lead in the women’s section with 14 points at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu on Friday.

India A, though, suffered a few hiccups after Humpy ended on the losing side in the first game. However, Tania Sachdev and R Vaishali once again rose to the occasion magnificently by scoring hard fought victories while Harika Dronavalli also battled hard to split the point.

Vaishali played splendidly in a drawn position, pressurising her opponent with precise positive play and finally scoring a delightful victory.

Vaishali later commented, “Till the 40th turn, my game was dead equal and I considered settling for a draw. After Humpy’s loss, I had to keep pressing and interestingly, this was one position which we had worked in the camp with Boris Gelfand and I followed his suggestions to the ‘T’.”

A hall mark of the women’s A team has been the ability of every player to score a win when the team needed it most.

“The way Harika, Vaishali and Tania continued in this pressure situation is very heartening. The players understand the situation perfectly and deliver,” India A captain Abhijit Kunte said.

Meanwhile in the open section, India A hit the accelerator when it mattered, defeating fellow countrymen in India C with a 3-1 score.

Arjun Erigaisi defeated Abhijit Gupta and S L Narayanan outplayed Abhimany Puranik even while Pnetala Harikrishna was held to a draw by Surya Shekhar Ganguly and SP Sethuraman forced Vidit to split the point.

India B, after a loss to Armenia in the 6th round, bounced back with a 3.5-0.5 score against Cuba with D Gukesh leading from the front once again to notch his seventh successive victory in the tournament.

Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa too made merry with two fine victories while Adhiban B was held to a draw.

In another setback for the star-studded USA Team, Armenia held them to a 2-2 draw and continued their sole vigil at the top of the points tally with 13 points. India A and India B, USA , Uzbekistan are trailing behind with 12 points each.

India B in the women section lost to Greece 1.5-2.5.

Divya Deshmukh scored the lone victory for India while Vantika Agrawal and Soumya Swaminathan lost their encounters and Mary Ann Gomes had to stay content with a draw.

India Women C team defeated Switzerland 3-1.

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India News

Amarnath Yatra a blessing for these women

The recent cloud burst and the resultant flash floods, in which several Amarnath pilgrims died, is an example of how extreme and erratic the weather can be in the region…reports Asian Lite News

Sushma Devi, a member of Baba Hardev, a self-help group (SHG) in Jammu’s Samba district, stitches raincoats and tracksuits for pilgrims visiting the Amarnath cave shrine. She’s part of a 13-member women’s group that works across different SHGs in Samba, for whom the annual yatra has become a means to ameliorate their families’ financial constraints.

The 13 members of Baba Hardev also make these garments for officials of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, who are deputed at different locations in Kashmir, including the base camps of Baltal and Nunwan.

The initiative to involve these women in stitching the tracksuits and raincoats was taken after it was decided that these shrine board officials, at the base camps of the 43-day-long pilgrimage, would wear uniforms in the form of tracksuits, says Indu Kanwal Chib, director of the Jammu and Kashmir Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKRLM).

“It was also important to provide them with raincoats as the weather is unpredictable in these areas in the Valley, and monsoon is already here,” she adds.

The recent cloud burst and the resultant flash floods, in which several Amarnath pilgrims died, is an example of how extreme and erratic the weather can be in the region.

After these women provided the required material to the officials, they decided to stitch the same for the pilgrims. Within just a week of the yatra’s commencement on June 30, over one lakh pilgrims visited the holy cave shrine in Kashmir. The union territory administration permitted women in at least seven districts to set up stalls at different locations along the route. In fact, women in Samba had their stalls erected along the national highway in the district, from where the pilgrimage passes after entering Jammu & Kashmir.

Clinging to hope with ‘Umeed’

The JKRLM’s Umeed scheme aims to alleviate poverty by identifying and organising the poor and engaging them in livelihoods that enable them to tap into their potential. Its mission is to reach out to 66 per cent of the rural population across the 125 blocks of Jammu & Kashmir and link them to sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Panchayats and district development councils identify women in need for the SHGs. The government provides Rs 15,000 on the initiation of a SHG, followed by other monetary help, including Rs 40,000 as a loan to these women. They can also seek a loan to purchase raw material for the products they make.

Sushma, who has a daughter and a son, says the Baba Hardev SHG under Umeed provides her much-needed financial help to sustain her family. Her husband works as a daily wager with the Jal Shakti department, but doesn’t earn enough to sustain a family of four, including their children’s education expenses.

During other times of the year, Sushma sells homemade snacks and other eatables; this is her first time catering to the pilgrims. She’s also started a boutique at her home, where women from nearby villages come to get their clothes stitched.

Exploring various livelihood options

Women in Samba and other districts of J&K are also engaged in making bamboo products, rakhis, file covers and other handcrafted items. Before the pilgrimage, this used to be their primary source of income.

Sonia Kumari, who works with another SHG in Samba, earns Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,500 every month through the sale of bamboo buckets and other showpieces as well as sleeping bags. For the Amarnath pilgrimage, the buckets are filled with sweets that are offered to the deity as prasad and sold to the pilgrims going to or returning from the holy cave shrine.

“The women of our SHG purchase the cloth, foam and zipper to make the sleeping bags from Pathankot in Punjab as the raw material is cheaper there,” says Sonia. “We earn a profit of nearly Rs 300 on each sleeping bag. The sale has increased owing to the inflow of pilgrims, and a stall has been set up along the national highway near a prominent temple in Samba.”

Since the beginning of the Amarnath Yatra on June 30, Sonia has been earning Rs 2,500 a week just by selling sleeping bags. Members of the group divide the total money earned through the sales in accordance with the tasks they undertook.

Women prepare buckets for sanctified sweets in Samba district for people visiting the Amarnath temple.

Empowering women the SHG way

Chib says many such SHGs also operated in Kashmir, especially in the villages of Kulgam district, stitching gloves, socks and other woollens for the pilgrims.

“At least seven to eight SHGs there work towards making essentials, including raincoats, woolens and sleeping bags. The shrine board paid nearly Rs 4.5 lakh to produce them for the Amarnath officials,” she adds.

Nilofer (last name withheld on request) from Kulgam district had been struggling with financial difficulties. The 32-year-old mother of two couldn’t even afford to send her children to school till last year. Her husband works as a helper of a truck driver and is mostly away from home, travelling with his vehicle to Punjab, Haryana, New Delhi and other places.

“I joined an SHG under the Umeed scheme in the area to support my family financially. Here, we make snacks, woollen gloves and socks. The opportunity not only allowed me to earn but also provide better education to my children. While the Amarnath pilgrimage provides much needed financial support to those directly associated with it, even the SHGs providing essential items to the pilgrims are benefitting,” says Nilofer.

ALSO READ-Amarnath tragedy could have been averted

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India News

Wave of new-age enterprising women in J&K

At the beginning of the year, Kashmir exported handicrafts (including carpets) worth millions to Germany…reports Asian Lite News

Women are at the forefront of all entrepreneurial initiatives in Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory. Lakhs of women across the UT are utilising the Centre’s schemes meant to encourage self-sufficiency through interest-free loans, subsidised raw materials, free skill coaching programs, and other monetary and vocational training benefits.

The Lt Governor e-inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for New District Rural Haats spread across the UT and dedicated the facility to women entrepreneurs.

Up until three years ago, women participating in upliftment of rural economy was unheard of. But today, the result of this entrepreneurship movement shows their focused pursuit of excellence.

It is these women in far-flung areas who keep the socio-economic progress of J&K going. Their contributions to the government’s efforts to reduce disparities and inequalities are commendable. The LG highlighted the importance of women’s potential as leaders and change-makers in society.

Government initiatives like SAATH, HAUSLA, UMEED, and TEJASWINI have created a culture, almost a need for the financial independence of rural women. Usually, people in remote and rural areas are agriculture dependent; their employment is seasonal and that gives them a lot of idle time. Right direction and collaborative efforts between men and women can lead to constructive employment in other sectors of the economy resulting in optimum use of manpower and a dignified way of earning bread for the rural population.

The Centre is aiding the women with the necessary technical know-how and marketing tools for their small businesses. Many women who started from their homes today have opened up hands-on learning centres.

Some Self-Help Groups have created a niche for their products and are fiercely fighting on online platforms like Amazon India for a spot. Some products like the well-known Kashmiri carpets are competing for global recognition in international markets.

Last week Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha attended an event for Women Entrepreneurs organised by J&K Rural Livelihood Mission at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre in Srinagar.

At the beginning of the year, Kashmir exported handicrafts (including carpets) worth millions to Germany.

Kashmir handicrafts and handlooms are a focal point in Jammu and Kashmir’s Trade and Export Policy (2018-2028), which envisages it to grow almost five times in the next five years. The policy provides an e-commerce platform for artisans to foster the growth of the handicrafts sector. In line with the policy, the LG hopes to attract as many women to the handicrafts sector since it requires a small industrial setup — feasible for women who wish to earn in the comfort of their homes.

One recent example is a resident of Ashmuji village in Kulgam district of South Kashmir, Ruby Jan. Under the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM) she acquired a loan to start a bakery shop. She and her brother are earning about Rs 25,000 monthly. Seeing the success of their humble shop, more than 200 women have followed suit registering themselves with NRLM. This is the women empowerment that JKUT is aiming for.

Today 5 lakh women are a part of 56,000 Self-Help-Groups in the UT. In 2022 assistance and support will be extended to an additional 1.5 lakh women entrepreneurs.

This Independence Day, 75 progressive women entrepreneurs from Rural Livelihood Mission Self Help Groups will be honoured for their contribution to women empowerment.

At the event the Lt Governor unveiled the Product Catalog of Self-Help Groups and JKRLM’s gift hamper. He also distributed Micro ATMs and felicitated the outperforming Sakhies. Inspecting the live stalls, the LG declared to procure the SHGs products for use in the government departments and popularise them further.

Rural Livelihood Mission is heavily focusing on the branding and packaging aspect of these goods. Packaging is the first introduction of a product to a prospecting customer. A district-wise packaging unit is being set up to assist the SHGs with this. Besides this, 2,600 individual enterprises will kickstart under the Start-Up Village Enterprise Program. A micro food processing campaign is another initiative in talks for women entrepreneurs.

Public welfare reforms introduced by the government in the last two years are finally paying dividends and the people on the final ladder of development are receiving the benefits. JKUT is witnessing an impressive turnaround in various industrial sectors improving the quality of life. Engagement of all in the economic progress will uplift all sections of the social hierarchy. As the youth is involving themselves with contributing to the economy, their attention towards violence and terrorism imported to Kashmir by parties with a vested interest is slowly evaporating. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop; while a goal-oriented mind can move mountains. And this is the progress Jammu and Kashmir has been aiming for.

ALSO READ-Women in Jammu realise true potential of SHGs during pandemic

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-Top News USA Woman

Biden vows to protect women travelling for abortions

President Joe Biden said that his administration will also “ensure access to pills that caused abortion in states where it was prohibited”, reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden said that women travelling for abortions across the country will be protected by the federal government as millions of women have lost their constitutional reproductive right after the Supreme Court overturned its 50-year-old Roe v Wade decision.

Addressing a virtual meet of Democratic Governors on Friday, the President said that his administration will also “ensure access to pills that caused abortion in states where it was prohibited”, reports the BBC.

He also expressed his opinion that some states would attempt to arrest women who crossed state lines for abortion access.

“I don’t think people believe that’s going to happen. But it’s going to happen,” the BBC quoted the President as saying.

On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned the landmark decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in the nation.

The decision came after the Supreme Court had considered an appeal case involving a Mississippi law banning all abortions over 15 weeks gestational age except in certain circumstances.

Thirteen states have already severely curtailed or blocked abortion access since the court’s decision.

ALSO READ: Massive protests in US as abortion right ends

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Arab News Dubai UAE News

UAE marks first-ever International Day of Women in Diplomacy at UN

The United Arab Emirates has marked the first-ever International Day of Women in Diplomacy at the United Nations…reports Asian Lite News

The UAE was one of the main sponsors of a UN General Assembly resolution adopted earlier this week, declaring 24th June as the International Day of Women in Diplomacy.

“Every day, women lead and make vital contributions to diplomatic efforts across the globe,” said Lana Nusseibeh, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for Political Affairs and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN.

“The UAE was proud to serve as one of the main sponsors of this historic resolution, ensuring that we recognise the critical roles and perspectives women bring to diplomacy and international affairs. At home and around the world, we will continue to encourage the interests of women in foreign policy, train women diplomats, and promote women into important diplomatic roles,” Nusseibeh added.

She continued, “Today, women make up 43 percent of the workforce at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Here at the Permanent Mission of the UAE to the UN, we have achieved gender parity across our diplomatic delegation as we strive to find common ground in our shared efforts to maintain global peace and security. However, worldwide, there is still more work to be done. The UAE’s delegation will continue to champion women in diplomacy and throughout the UN system because we cannot achieve peace until every member of our global community is given the opportunity to participate and engage meaningfully.”

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The resolution invites member states, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, and others to observe the International Day of Women in Diplomacy every year, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.

Women have always been an integral part of political and diplomatic life in the UAE. The UAE will continue to place the empowerment of women and girls at the heart of its national and foreign policies.

At the launch of UN Women’s “HeForShe” campaign in 2014, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, became the first foreign minister in the Arab world to sign on to the campaign. HeForShe is a social movement that engages men and boys as advocates and agents of change to achieve gender equality. (WAM)

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Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

Art with fashion for modern Indian women

The strong colours are an ode to Tina and her team, a definitive voice in the fashion landscape of India today…reports Asian Lite News

Ensemble India and Payal Khandwala are proud to present a collaborative collection to commemorate Ensemble’s 35th anniversary, reflecting Payal’s design aesthetic of marrying Art with Fashion for modern Indian women and Ensemble’s ethos of presenting Indian crafts in a contemporary light.

Ensemble has been working with PayalKhandwala for nearly a decade, and this collection is an ode to their journey together. Ensemble gets a poetic ride through rich colorscapes, complete with maximalist prints on luxe fabrics.

Consider one-shoulder drapes with micro-pleated details and bohemian vibes, billowy printed shirts for daytime occasions, pleated saris with dramatic prints, and more. The capsule includes versatile classics that can be worn separately and then passed down as heirlooms to the next generation.

“I love how Payal’s design vocabulary has evolved over the years. You can see the artist in her in the way she combines colours and her graphics. The identity of a PayalKhandwalawoman is very synergistic with the Ensemble woman – very stylised, free thinking and independent. We are thrilled that our relationship has gone from strength to strength and this collection is a real testament to that,” says Tina Tahiliani Parikh, CEO Ensemble India.

“We visualised an exclusive palette, in a continuation of Release 7, to celebrate 35 years of Ensemble being stalwarts in the design industry. The strong colours are an ode to Tina and her team, a definitive voice in the fashion landscape of India today. Wishing Ensemble many more decades of style and success!” Says Designer Payal Khandwala.

The collection is live on www.ensembleindia.com and also available at Ensemble’s Khan Market store in New Delhi.

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-Top News London News UK News

Sadiq unveils new plan to tackle violence against women

It will target the behaviour of those who perpetrate abuse and make sure they are the focus for change…reports Asian Lite News

A new plan that champions a public health approach to ending violence against women and girls has been unveiled by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan on a visit to Waltham Forest.

While there the Mayor met a beautician and visited a dry cleaners and library to see first-hand the training and education being delivered to men about VAWG to help them become more active allies.

Cafes, libraries, dry cleaners, pubs, beauticians, gyms and other everyday venues across London are being encouraged to be part of the Mayor’s ‘whole society’ approach to tackling violence against women and girls.

The holistic approach will see close to £18m of additional investment from City Hall on specialist services to improve support for victims and survivors, tackle the behaviour of perpetrators and better educate the public on the help they can provide.

The investment in support services includes a specialised response to support all victims to have equal access to justice and services.

The Mayor’s newly refreshed strategy recognises that more robust policing or the threat of the criminal justice system alone cannot prevent violence against women and girls. 

Sadiq’s new strategy will adopt a public health approach to preventing and reducing violence against women and girls. It will place a stronger emphasis on partnership working, prevention and education across a wide range of services in London.

It will target the behaviour of those who perpetrate abuse and make sure they are the focus for change.

“The epidemic of violence is a crisis which should shame us all which is why I’m uniting with partners across London to not only provide support to women and girls but to help educate and inform all Londoners, especially men, about the danger posed by misogynistic attitudes and behaviours,” Sadiq Khan said.

“As well as record investment in services for victims and survivors, I am also funding initiatives which address the behaviour of those at risk of offending or reoffending to help prevent them turning to violence,” he added.

As part of the new plan, local authorities, the NHS, night-time venues, high street shops, Transport for London and the transport industry, universities, the police and the criminal justice system will work more closely with support services tackling VAWG to spot the signs and intervene earlier as part of the Mayor’s whole society approach to effectively tackling violence against women and girls.

High street venues across London, including dry cleaners, beauticians and cafes are being urged to sign up to become information points so that victims of violence or those at risk can be directed to support services safely, quickly and discreetly.

Civic settings such as libraries are also being encouraged to become disclosure settings where women and girls can seek specialist help. City Hall will also convene a round table discussion next month with partners to determine how the NHS and wider health sector can better tackle VAWG collectively in the capital.

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Africa News Woman

Catherine Kitandwe: Breaking the barriers

Ugandan flight instructor Catherine Kitandwe inspires girls into male-dominated field

 Like many children, Catherine Kitandwe’s dream was to become a pilot. Along the way she digressed but later in her adult life, she found a footing in a profession she dreamt of.

Kitandwe is now one of the only two women flight instructors in Uganda, according to the Uganda Professional Pilots Association (UPPA), an umbrella organization bringing together pilots and aeronautical engineers.

Kitandwe graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in public health. A year after her studies, Kitandwe embarked on pursuing her childhood dream of flying planes. Her first hurdle was convincing her parents to allow her to follow her childhood dream.

“It was tricky talking to them about this crazy dream. But I was determined. This is what I wanted. I had faith,” the 28-year-old told Xinhua in a recent interview.

She started applying to various schools both within and outside Uganda until she was admitted to Vine Air Flight Academy, a local flight school. The admission into the flight school left Kitandwe’s parents apprehensive because of the costs involved. Evelyn Kitandwe, her mother, said they were not sure they would manage to take her through the training.

“We feared the heights involved, the possibility of there being accidents and all sorts of things,” Evelyn Kitandwe added.

June 2020 was a memorable time for Kitandwe in flight school. It marked the shift from “ground to airwoman.”

“This was the first time I had my successful solo flight. This is when I gained my weight as a pilot,” she said.

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After getting her commercial pilot license in 2021, Kitandwe went for further training as a flight instructor, and in April 2022, she graduated, joining Captain Esther Kyokunda, another woman in the category.

“This also called for more passion as it was more challenging. It was not easy switching seats and going up there with someone who has no much experience flying planes,” Kitandwe said.

INSPIRING OTHERS

The UPPA described Kitandwe’s graduation as a flight instructor as an inspiration and is optimistic that many other women would take on the role.

“We are happy taking on this role ad hope to see more ladies become instructors in the future,” the association said.

“It is not about gender but the skills one acquires. Nothing is impossible,” Kitandwe said, advising more girls to follow their dreams.

With the training she received, Kitandwe said she is now ready to impart the same skills to others.

Kyokunda, the other woman flight instructor, described Kitandwe as a hardworking young woman.

“I am happy she became an instructor. She has all the qualities of a good mentor,” Kyokunda said. “She is a good role model and other girls should learn from her.”

Kyokunda advised other girls to join them in the cockpit. “Let them know that it is possible for them to become pilots and even instructors. Today we are two female instructors, we want to be three or even more tomorrow.”

Catherine Kitandwe, a commercial pilot and flight instructor, takes a walk after an interview with Xinhua in Kampala, Uganda, on April 16, 2022. (Photo by Kiggundu Joseph/Xinhua)