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Women scientists out of the spotlight; Hong Kong children should learn traditional Chinese forms of characters; Discussion of honor killings didn’t begin with Oscar-winning documentary; Calm response to Brussels is needed

A roundup of global commentary for the April 11, 2016 weekly magazine.

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Pakistani journalist and filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy accepts the award for Best Documentary Short Subject Film for 'A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness' at the 2016 Oscars.

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The Sydney Morning Herald / Sydney, Australia

Women scientists out of the spotlight

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“Australia really needs more women to enter, stay, and succeed in STEM areas,” writes Emma Johnston. “By turning off girls, by teaching both men and women that while women can study science, they can’t be science leaders, we are hindering our ability to become the smart and agile society we need to be if we are to be truly competitive in a rapidly evolving world.... Of all the serious issues facing women in science today, the lack of visible role models may be the easiest to fix. We just need to be given a chance to say we’re here, we do fascinating research, we have wonderful jobs, and we know what we’re talking about. Come find us and we’ll break the cycle together.”

South China Morning Post / Hong Kong

Children in Hong Kong should learn traditional Chinese forms of characters

“As a locally educated Chinese person, I consider the simplification of Chinese characters to be an affront to the aesthetics of the Chinese language...,” writes Raymond Young. “[But language] is key to understanding a culture. If we and our next generation cannot read with ease all the written materials published on the mainland, how can we have an informed view of what is going on there? Hong Kong has always prospered on being an efficient service provider to the world, so what harm can be done by equipping our younger generation to service our biggest client – mainland China – better? Preserving our ‘local’ values, whatever they are, should not be at the expense of our ability to communicate with the 1.3 billion people on the mainland.” 

Dawn / Karachi, Pakistan

Discussion of honor killings didn’t begin with Oscar-winning documentary

“International and local media give the impression that the film and the current discourse on honour killing have emerged from a vacuum...,” writes Sara Malkani. “In fact, honour killings have been a prominent part of the social discourse for more than two decades, thanks to the efforts of women’s rights activists. These activists have consistently highlighted one of the main obstacles to ending honour killings, which is the fact that they are very difficult to prosecute.... Ultimately, real change for the women in Pakistan will not come through prestigious and glamorous awards. It will come if and when the government hears the voices of the women most marginalised by our legal and political system – the women it unfortunately continues to ignore.”

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The Guardian / London

Calm response to Brussels is needed

“Reacting to terrorist incidents otherwise, in ways that do not play into terrorism’s hands, may seem hard,” Simon Jenkins writes. “A free media feels a duty to report events, as politicians feel a duty to show they can protect the public.... We can respond to events in Brussels with a quiet and dignified sympathy, with candles and silences. To downplay something is not to ignore it. The terrorists have specific aims, deploying their atrocities for a political cause. There is no sensible defense in a free society against atrocity. But there is a defense against its purpose. It is to avoid hysteria, to show caution and a measure of courage.... It is not to alter laws, not to infringe liberties, not to persecute Muslims.” 

Standard Digital / Kenya

Water in Kenya is key for jobs as well as survival

“Kenya heavily relies on agriculture for food production and wildlife for tourism,” writes Collins Liko. “These two sectors require immense use of water. The informal sector which includes car washing dens, vendors who sell water, truck drivers transporting water, those who work for water supply companies, etc., are direct beneficiaries of jobs created by water resources.... Good management of water requires unconditional commitment from the government in terms of having excellent policies that are effectively implemented.”