Despite a wobbly start, Just Eat has gone from strength to strength. The takeaway portal has been connecting hungry customers with their local takeaway restaurants for the past 14 years.
UK fashion house Burberry yesterday appointed former BBC and Yahoo executive Fabiola Arredondo to its board. It hopes the Spanish-American will bring her digital consumer savvy to the non-executive director role and the audit, remuneration and nomination committees.
Uber has announced plans to create one million jobs for women as drivers by 2020, as it looks to bounce back from negative publicity received in recent months.
The taxi app company has partnered with the United Nations to accelerate economic opportunities for women and help them to become more independent. UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick said they are working towards a shared vision of equality and female empowerment.
In the past, the tech startup has been accused of having a “frat culture”, and recently came under fire for an advertising campaign branded sexist by its critics. In October, Uber France was forced to apologise after it offered customers in Lyon a free 20-minute ride around the city with an “incredibly hot chick” at the wheel. Photos of women in lingerie appeared on the app for customers to choose from. This was later cancelled after a social media backlash.
“This sexism and misogyny is something different and scary. Women drive Ubers and ride in them. I don’t know how many more signals we need that the company simply doesn’t respect us or prioritise our safety,” Lacy wrote towards the end of last year.
Uber has rapidly expanded since it was founded in San Francisco in 2009 and is now available in almost 300 cities in 55 countries. It has said it is co-operating with authorities over an alleged rape committed by an Uber driver in India last year.
“In the US about 14 per cent of our driver partners are women,” said Uber spokesman Harry Porter.
How one Guatemalan woman’s quest for justice inspired a regional anti-violence movement (Latin Correspondent)Published January 29, 2015 Uncategorized Leave a Comment
Tags: Central America, femicide, guatemala, Justice for my Sister, Kimberly Bautista
Kimberly Bautista originally went to Guatemala to make a documentary about domestic violence and the under-reported issue of femicide (the violent killing of women). But that was just the beginning.
Her award-winning film Justice for My Sister, which started out as a proposed project on a graduate school application, has propelled her on a Central American-wide movement to demand an end to gender-based violence.
Justice for My Sister tells the story of Rebeca, a Guatemalan woman desperate to seek justice for her sister, who was beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend, in a country where the rule of law is weak and impunity reins.
One in every five women will be sexually assaulted, and in Central America more than 90 percent of domestic violence or murder cases are never solved, according to the film’s official website.
For Bautista, the eradication of gender-based violence is a personal subject — she herself was targeted and raped at gunpoint during a home invasion while producing Justice for My Sister in Guatemala.
“I realized then that the film had to be much more than an advocacy piece,” says Bautista. “It needed to be part of a larger solution to actively prevent gender-based violence through leadership development, so that participants are trained to become resources to their peers.”
So, while on a regional tour with the film, Bautista and the Justice for My Sister Collective launched 16 short documentaries on their YouTube channel to address the issue of domestic violence and chronicle the stories of survivors to encourage others to break the silence.
“Every time we screen [the documentary] audiences come forward and share their own stories. In 2013, I decided I wanted to document some of the other stories to highlight the far-reaching impact of gender-based violence and bring more visibility to other cases as well. Many of the stories in our web series are of survivors that had seen Rebeca’s story in the feature documentary and decided they also wanted to share their stories,” says Bautista.
The team has also produced materials and trainings in domestic violence prevention tailored towards a variety of audiences, including police, judges, lawyers, indigenous communities and men who work in male-dominated industries.
“Entire communities need to empower themselves by understanding how to identify the different forms of violence, as well as how to offer solutions, which is why we develop local resource guides (many audiences otherwise don’t know where to go for help) and it’s also why we emphasize the importance of healthy relationships,” says Bautista.
On Valentine’s Day, the Justice for My Sister Collective plans to host an English and Spanish web chat with different activists on their YouTube channel about self-love and smashing patriarchy. The following month, Justice for My Sister will be screened at the United Nations in New York City as part of the Commission on the Status of Women.
“In the case of a documentary that deals with human rights issues, getting an audience to see a film can be a question of life or death. I ultimately hope to affect real change in people’s lives by educating audiences about these unsolved and sometimes unreported murders. I hope that audiences will be inspired by Rebeca’s unwavering determination to bring justice to light and will question how they can contribute to diminish violence against women and rework the way they think about gender power dynamics in their own lives,” says Bautista.
The small village of Horcones sits at the end of a pot-holed road in Jutiapa, south-eastern Guatemala. Around 40 percent of the population is dedicated to producing livestock, earning an income that is not reflected in the wealth of the white-washed, Grecian columned houses that decorate this farming community.
The majority of people here seem to know someone who works abroad and sends money home, a situation that is replicated around the region and accounts for affluent properties springing up in less than affluent areas.
Remittances, money sent by expatriate workers to their home countries, have been steadily rising in Guatemala, despite increasing deportations, and now account for around 10 percent of the country’s GDP, according to 2012 data from the World Bank.
In 2013 Guatemala received more than $5.1 billion in remittances – the second highest amount in Latin America after Mexico – and Guatemala’s Central Bank predicts the figure will grow by around five percent this year.
Griselda Toj lives in Sacatepequez, 40 kilometers from Guatemala City. Each month she receives, on average, $330 from her husband who works on a dairy farm in Idaho.
“The money he sends back helps us a lot to buy food for the children, send them to school and buy them medicine if they get sick. If he wasn’t there we wouldn’t be able to cope because over there he’s got a lot of work.”
Poverty, violence and family reunification are among the main driving forces behind Guatemalans deciding to make the journey north.
“Our life is difficult here. My husband left three years ago because my son became ill – he had asthma and bronchitis,” says Griselda. “The medicine is expensive and he had to use a special apparatus. We could hardly afford to pay for it.”
In October, more than $500 million was sent back by Guatemalans working abroad, predominantly in the US, which represents an 8 percent increase compared with the same month last year.
Like many people who receive remittances, Griselda is saving to build a house – an example of the effect that Guatemala’s Construction Chamber says money sent from abroad is having on reducing the country’s housing deficit. However, others say it is pushing up the price of land, which adversely affects non-migrant households.
Experts highlight that while remittances enable some people to save, invest in education and contribute to the local economy, it is an unstable source of income that is often squandered due to a lack of financial information for recipients on how to manage the money.
“Yes, remittances can reduce poverty,” says Beatriz de Azurdia from the National Council of Migrant Services (CONAMIGUA). “But we need to take into consideration the risks migrants face and the abandonment kids feel, which can cause families to disintegrate and children to lack guidance. Also, the senders have little say over how the money is invested.”
To combat this, a Guatemalan company recently introduced an electronic remittances gift card, which allows migrants to specify where the money they send back is spent.
In July, the Guatemalan government launched a campaign outlining the risks of exploitation and death that illegal migrants face on their journey north. However, the lack of employment opportunities in Guatemala and many people’s desire to emulate the improved lifestyle of their remittances receiving neighbor, is keeping the American Dream alive.
Israel Castillo came to Guatemala City when he was 23 years old. For more than five years he has stood on guard outside small supermarkets and malls in the Guatemalan capital, brandishing a .38 revolver, 12 bullets and a billy club. Before moving to the capital, Castillo had never even held a firearm — he harvested coffee and maize in his native Jalapa, a mountainous region 175 km from where he now stands.
“I don’t really like living in the city,” he says. “I grew up in the countryside so am more used to that. But I had to come here; there is money to be made and you can always find work as a security guard. This way I can support my family better.”
Castillo is just one of thousands employed by the private security industry, which has exploded in Guatemala over the past decade. According to research by Dr. Otto Argueta, an investigator at the GIGA Institute of Latin American Studies in Germany, in 1990 there were around 75 private security companies operating in the small Central American nation. By 2010, this number had quadrupled.
Although exact statistics are unknown, security analysts estimate there are between 100,000 and 150,000 private security agents working in Guatemala, outnumbering the country’s 30,000 police officers by almost four to one.
Many of these security guards earn minimum wage, carry dangerous weapons and often lack proper training: a lethal combination that at times threatens, rather than protects, the country’s citizens.
More crime, more security guards
According to the United Nations, Guatemala has one of the highest levels of violent crime in Latin America, reporting an average of 99.5 murders a week in 2012. In Guatemala City, entrances to fast food restaurants, hair salons and coffee shops are lined with armed guards – a reaction to a crime rate so high that even the smallest of businesses seek extra protection.
Many argue that crime is worse now than it was during the bloody civil war that ended in 1996, leaving 200,000 people dead and displacing an estimated 50,000. One explanation for the spiking crime rate is the rising influence of drug trafficking cartels that have infiltrated Central American society and stunted the region’s development, allowing criminal gangs to grow, violence to intensify and corruption to penetrate at the highest level.
Decision Ejecutiva is a private security company with approximately 500 employees that has been operating in Guatemala since 1996. They offer clients everything from patrol cars to night watchmen and even personal courses on how to fire a gun.
“Ten years ago security was not as necessary in Guatemala as it is now,” says the company’s Director-General, Ohad Steinhart. “But as a result of the need that has been manifesting in the country, our business and services have grown.”
Wealthy residents and the business elite say that, in a country where mugging, carjacking and extortion are rife, private security companies can offer protection that the police cannot. So they take personal safety into their own hands: hiring bodyguards and chauffeurs to drive them around the city in bulletproof vehicles. At the end of the school day, the gates of top private schools swarm with bodyguards waiting to escort their employers’ children back to their gated communities. Inside the city’s lavish malls, men in dark suits follow families around, eyeing passersby and muttering about potential threats to invisible colleagues through their Bluetooth headsets.
An “arms sweatshop”
The majority of people living below the poverty line in Guatemala are concentrated in rural, majority-indigenous areas where access to education and jobs are limited. Because few private security companies require their employees to have prior experience or a high level of schooling, many unemployed people from the rural areas flock to the capital to seek work as a security guard, allowing them to earn a salary without the need for credentials.
“Private security has become a labor option for a large section of society – namely displaced agricultural laborers,” says Dr. Argueta, the German researcher. “It works like an ‘arms sweatshop’: offering low wages, evading taxes and labor responsibilities, and contracting casual staff that lack qualifications.”
In 2010, in an effort to reign in the industry, the government passed a law requiring all private security companies to obtain a license in order to operate in the country, and gave them two years to do it. The Private Security Services Department (DIGESSP) was established to create a database of all private security agents working in the country, with the aim of monitoring companies and ensuring all the weapons they use are registered.
“It’s been a big challenge and I applaud the work,” said Interior Minister Mauricio Lopez Bonilla in a recent DIGESSP statement. “We’re working hand in hand with the security companies to be able to help them comply with the law and certify their services.”
However, two years after the closing date for applications, only 15 of the hundreds of security companies in Guatemala have obtained the official license, while most continue to operate with little or no oversight.