Protecting women’s rights
It’s every woman’s right to be a mother, just as it’s her right to manage her fertility. But no woman should have to risk her life because she doesn’t want another child. That is exactly what is happening across India right now as the government tries to control its 1.3 billion population from growing.
Tragically, 15 women died at a sterilisation camp in Chhattisgarh last November after a government doctor carried out a staggering 83 operations in five hours – in filthy theatres using the same scalpel for every 10 women before changing it. There was little time to change the bed linen between operations either, so police found it covered in blood after 60 women fell ill. The dead included a woman who had given birth a few days before and a mother who left behind her baby, two sons and a devastated widower who only agreed for her to have the surgery because he feared he couldn’t feed another mouth. He tells us on page 20 how his wife died after taking post-operative antibiotics that were made at a factory where investigators have now found traces of rat poison.
Campaigners have labelled these en masse sterilisations “massacre camps” and called on the government to clean up the operating conditions and ensure women’s safety. Surely it’s the least they could do?
On a more positive note we are celebrating women in this issue – ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8 – and show you how to age beautifully on page 54 and the women we admire for their style and substance on page 46. Enjoy!