TV & Radio
N.J. group buys airtime for ad backing transgender rights
By MATTHEW VERRINDER
Associated Press Writer
December 1, 2005, 5:42 PM EST
TRENTON, N.J. -- A gay and lesbian rights group has bought airtime for a 30-second television ad to back legislation that would expand state anti-discrimination law to include transgender people.
Titled "Carol," Garden State Equality's spot features Carol Barlow, a Clifton woman who claims to have been cold-shouldered by 1,000 potential employers because she is transgender.
"Transgender people are being treated like dirt and it's disgraceful," said Steven Goldstein, the group's chairman. "The passage of this legislation would rank right up there with legalizing marriage of gay couples as one of the top two priorities of New Jersey's gay and lesbian community."
The legislation is currently before the Judiciary committees of both the Assembly and Senate.
The ad will air 21 times on News 12 New Jersey between Dec. 5 and Dec. 11, most heavily during commercial breaks of its "Power and Politics" program.
Garden State Equality's legal adviser, Leslie Ann Farber, 49, was born a male but started living as a female more than a year ago.
"I've lost a few clients since I've become a woman," Farber said. "Doors get closed in people's faces, so this bill is crucial."
Transgender people include those who have not only altered themselves physically or sexually to appear like the opposite gender, but those who dress or act, even occasionally, like the opposite sex, Farber said.
Current state anti-discrmination law includes only sexual orientation or affection, not gender identity.
2 Women Elected to Saudi Commerce Team
By ABDULLAH AL-SHIHRI, Associated Press Writer
Wed Nov 30, 3:02 PM ET
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - Two businesswomen have become Saudi Arabia's first female elected officials, a historic step in a deeply conservative country where women are largely barred from public life.
Saudi officials said Wednesday that Lama al-Sulaiman and Nashwa Taher had won election to the board of Jiddah's chamber of commerce. Little information was available about the two women, who could not be reached for comment.
The chamber's weekend elections were the first polls in Saudi Arabia in which women were allowed to run and to vote.
"It seems the decision ... came from very high up, and it's likely going to be followed with more steps," said Badreiah al-Beshr, a Saudi sociologist who follows women's issues. "It was a preparatory move, but the road ahead is still a difficult one."
Women were not allowed to vote or stand as candidates in the kingdom's first nationwide municipal elections earlier this year. Electoral officials have said women might cast votes in municipal balloting in 2009.
The Jiddah Trade and Industry Chamber initially rejected the nomination of 10 women for its board of governors, but the kingdom's trade minister order the chamber to open the door to female candidates, and allow women to vote, after a flood of petitions from businesswomen.
King Abdullah, who ascended to the throne in August and is seen as a reformist monarch, has said he wants to lighten restrictions on women. Women are prevented from driving cars or traveling abroad without permission of a male guardian.
Earlier this year, female business executives in the eastern city of Dammam were allowed to vote in their chamber of commerce polls, but only if a male guardian cast their ballots for them.
Al-Beshr said the government was approaching the issue of women in politics cautiously because of the kingdom's long-standing and deeply conservative brand of Islam. The Saudi royal family retains absolute power and Saudis cannot hold public gatherings to discuss political or social issues.
Jiddah, a Red Sea port, is the kingdom's second-largest city after Riyadh, the capital. Women make up about 10 percent of the 40,000 members of the Jiddah chamber. The two women will join 16 men on its board.
Saudi women make electoral breakthrough
Brian Whitaker and agencies in Riyadh
Thursday December 1, 2005
Two candidates became the first women to win elected office in Saudi Arabia yesterday when they took seats on the board of Jeddah's chamber of commerce.
In a country where women are generally excluded from public life the surprise result was viewed as significant. When the conservative kingdom held local government elections earlier this year - the first in more than half a century - women were not allowed to vote or run for office.
"I'm a bit in shock, but this shows people are ready for women to play a role," Lama Sulaiman, one of the winners, told Reuters. She and fellow-businesswoman Nashwa Taher will join 10 elected men on the board, along with six other people to be appointed by the government.
Some 21,000 members of the chamber were entitled to vote, with a choice of 71 candidates - 17 of whom were women. Voting was spread over four days and, in accordance with the Saudi tradition of segregating the sexes, the first two days were reserved for female voters.
It became clear yesterday that the women, who both secured more than 1,000 votes, had been elected mainly through male support. About 100 women voted, compared with around 4,000 men.
By tradition, attitudes in the port of Jeddah are far more liberal than those in the capital, Riyadh. Some businessmen said they voted for female candidates because they believed in women's participation, and others said it was because women were running on an electoral list they favoured. A banker, Mazen al-Tamimi, told the Jeddah daily, Arab News, that he had voted for three women. "They are able women, otherwise I wouldn't have voted for them," he said.
Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 November 2005, 16:13 GMT
Women candidates are business leaders in Jeddah - BBC
Two Saudi businesswomen have been elected in the kingdom's first ballot in which women were allowed to stand.
Lama al-Suleiman and Nashwa Taher were among 12 successful candidates voted onto the board of Jeddah's chamber of commerce and industry.
The turnout was low and the election was only a local affair, but analysts say it is a significant step.
Earlier this year women were barred from voting or standing in elections for seats on local councils.
"I'm happy, but I'm still in shock," said mother-of-four Mrs Suleiman, 39.
"It's a big leap for Saudi women, an answer to what people want," she told AFP news agency.
Seventeen women competed with 54 men for seats on the board.
Women voted on Saturday and Sunday, and men on Monday and Tuesday, in line with Saudi restrictions on unrelated men and women mixing in public places.
But the turnout was low among the female electorate, with only 100 women voting compared with about 4,000 men.
That means the women were elected with strong support from their male counterparts.
In general, voting is still a novelty in the kingdom, says BBC analyst Roger Hardy - and for the many Saudis who want reform, progress has been painfully slow.
Eight months after the elections for the all-male municipal councils the councils have yet to meet.
King Abdullah has made the promotion of women in society a priority of Saudi Arabia's 2005-2009 development plan, but the authorities have emphasised it will have to be in line with what they see as the principles of Islam.
Saudi women score twice in first polls
Wed Nov 30, 3:12 AM ET - AFP
Two Saudi businesswomen swept to an unprecedented victory in elections to the board of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the first polls in which women stood as candidates in the conservative Muslim kingdom.
"I'm happy, but I'm still under shock," Lama al-Suleiman, one of the two winners, told AFP, summing up the feelings of many election activists and watchers who had expected one woman at best to be voted into office.
"It's a big leap for Saudi women, an answer to what people want," said Suleiman, a 39-year-old mother of four.
Suleiman and fellow female winner Nashwa Taher ran on a list of heavyweight business people and industrialists which clinched the 12 board seats up for grabs, according to results released early Wednesday.
With only 100 women among the some 3,880 chamber members who cast ballots, the pair's victory was effectively handed by men.
"We should give them (women) a chance because they have little representation in society," one male voter said Tuesday, adding he had voted for four women.
The two businesswomen's win came several months after landmark municipal elections across oil-rich Saudi Arabia from which women were barred but which were credited by many for heightening public interest in the chamber polls in the Red Sea city and turning them into a hotly-contested race.
The fact that women, who previously were entitled only to vote for the Jeddah chamber's board of directors, stood as candidates "was also an unusual event which contributed to making this election unusual," said Othman Basaqr, a member of a task force which assisted the elections committee.
"This is what everybody seems to be telling me," Suleiman said when asked if she felt she had made history.
Seventeen women were among the 71 candidates in the elections which took place from Saturday through Tuesday. Businesswomen cast their ballots on the first two days and businessmen on the following days, in line with traditions whereby Saudi women do not mix in public with men other than relatives.
Some 21,000 members of the Jeddah chamber, or about half the total membership, were eligible to take part in the polls, but election officials said both the turnout and the number of candidates were a record in the chamber's 60-year history.
Suleiman admitted she partly owed her victory to having run on a strong list, but she said it was also due to the fact that "a lot of people wanted to encourage women."
In their election programs, both Suleiman and Taher, who sits on the board of a group of family companies, vowed to back a center which assists businesswomen and to help women working from home.
Victory "means we will have more work ... There's a lot for us to learn, but I'm sure we will manage," said Suleiman, who holds a PhD in nutrition from Kings College in London.
Trade and Industry Minister Hashem Yamani is due to appoint an additional six members to the Jeddah chamber board.
The polls were rescheduled from late September by Yamani specifically to enable women to stand after the elections committee linked to his ministry had rejected the candidacies of seven women.
Hisham Khoja, a merchant who said he voted for one female hopeful, noted that the Saudi government was giving women more job opportunities.
But one businesswoman, who asked not to be named, said she did not think US pressure for reform was helping Saudi women.
"In fact, it may be delaying progress ... We are moving forward in our own, low-profile way," she said.
インドのＨＩＶ感染爆発の恐れ 国連合同エイズ計画指摘 (東京 2005/12/02)