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     Volume 4 Issue 47 | May 20, 2005 |

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Books on Gender Issues

Women in News Media: A Study with Gender Lens
Afroza Akhter & Tanya H. Shahriar
Women For Women, Dhaka; March 2005

The role of media be it print, or electronic is gaining importance every single day and plays a very important role establishing a safe democratic world. Interestingly, in recent decades more women are involved in careers in the media and communication sector than ever before. Yet very few have attained positions in the decision-making level or serve governing boards and bodies that influence the media policy. This very interesting research oriented volume covers issues involving women working in the media and communication sector in Bangladesh. Dr. Afroza Akhter and the co-writer Tanya H. Shahriar have done an intense research on this very aspect. Here interesting case studies are carried out on various female media professionals around the country. And in most of the cases the picture that we can find is that the female journalists (or media professionals) are getting lesser chances and opportunities than that of their male counterparts and very few of them could actually climb up to the "decision-making" position. The barricade in this regard is both social and psychological. The book also contains data and detailed discussion on the findings. The concluding chapter focuses on recommendations and observations from various renowned journalists at home and abroad. The volume is surely a very concentrated research work ever done on this very field in our country. The book also comes up with a useful bibliography.
(Source: Women For Women: A Research & Study Group, 1/ 2 Sukrabad, Dhaka 1207.)

Inventing the Rest of Our Lives: Women in Second Adulthood
Suzanne Braun Levine
Viking Adult; January 2005
This is an upbeat guide for women who are into their 50s or beyond. Broadcast and print journalist Levine addresses her inspirational message to the 37 million women living in the US who were born in the 1940s and '50s, a generation whose perceptions of what women can do have been influenced and changed by feminism. She conducted in-depth interviews of 50 post-menopausal women of diverse backgrounds, talked with many others more casually, and consulted various researchers and writers to take the measure of what is happening to women in this age group. Her finding is that they are a powerful force, challenging the status quo in their personal lives as well as in society. For Levine, Second Adulthood is a challenging time, a time for asking questions, such as "Who am I now?" and "What am I going to do with the rest of my life?" Through individual stories, she demonstrates what happens when women undertake the tasks of reconsidering their work, their lives, their relationships, and their passions. Levine has a knack for speaking directly to her readers, adopting the personal "we" to describe common concerns and offering often funny, revealing anecdotes from her own personal experience. Each chapter opens with an inspirational quote (Dorothy Sayers, Erma Bombeck, Martha Graham, et al.) and is filled with short, punchy lines of Levine's own invention. Not much here that's really new, but it's all packaged in an especially easy-to-take, down-to-earth, yet uplifting way.
(Source: Friends Book Corner, Rafin Plaza, Dhaka New Market.)

Why Gender Matters?
Leonard Sax
Doubleday & Company, Inc.; February 2005
In the feminist conception of gender flexibility, no set rules apply: girls can play with trucks; boys can play with dolls. But pediatrician and psychologist Sax argues that our theories about gender's fluidity may be wrong and to apply them to children in their formative years is quite dangerous. Sax believes the brains of boys and girls are hardwired differently: boys are more aggressive; girls are shyer. And deliberately changing a child's gender-in cases of intersex (hermaphrodism) or accident (as in the case of David Reimer, who was raised as a girl after a hideous circumcision mishap)-can ruin a child's life. Sax also believes modern gender philosophy has resulted in more boys being given behavior-modifying drugs and more girls being given antidepressants. Much of his argument makes sense: we may have gone to the other extreme and tried too hard to feminize boys and masculinize girls. Sax makes a compelling argument for parents and teachers to tread lightly when it comes to gender and raises important questions regarding single-sex education, which he supports. His readable prose, which he juxtaposes with numerous interviews with school administrators, principals, scientists and others, makes this book accessible to a range of readers.
(Source: ETC, Gulshan 1, Dhaka.)

Compiled by: Sanyat Sattar


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