Action needed to stop harassment of women.
The harassment of women in public places is both uncivilized and un-Islamic. In the Gulf, this problem began about 15 years ago and it seems to be on the increase nowadays. It was originally the result of accumulated wealth during the boom period and also the lack of proper guidance by parents who were focused on other matters, forgetting their most important responsibilities.
Expensive cars were given to teenagers; their pockets were filled with money and the free time they had allowed them to cruise the streets in their cars. Driving together in groups, young men passed by women, uttering snide comments and throwing out pieces of paper with their phone numbers on them.
These acts, abominable in themselves, became a regular nuisance. In Dubai, an executive decision was made recently to publish the pictures of these "female teasers." After several had their pictures published in newspapers, the number of harassment cases dropped considerably.
But what about the cause of such behavior? The main reason, I think, is family neglect and the failure to instill moral and social codes in their children. I have also noticed from my own experience that parents who spend time in discussion and exchange of opinions with their children have few or no problems with their behavior.
Why do all so many young men congregate in streets and shopping malls? Because they have nothing else to do. Remember the maxim: "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." Sadly, these young men have no role model at home. The father is too busy attending functions or merely playing cards; the mothers are engaged in social visits and if there are older brothers or sisters, they too are busy with their lives. It is this vacuum that has created the unhealthy and un-Islamic problem in our society.
In order to solve this problem, continuous parental monitoring of children's activities plus the implanting of proper codes of conduct in accordance with religious teaching along with helping in a child's involvement in sports, social and cultural activities is a must. All these activities channel energy in a positive direction and make young people active members in the "wheel of developments", benefiting not only themselves but society as a whole.
The media of course must play a prominent role in helping rid us of this menace. May God bless and protect our children and keep them from harm.
According to the Geneva-based International Labor Organization (ILO), one billion people - 30 percent of the world's workforce - are either jobless or under-employed. In its annual employment report published recently, the ILO argues for a renewed commitment by national governments to the concept of full employment with a sustained annual global growth rate of more than 3.5%, helping to resolve the crisis. The report says that full employment is still feasible and highly desirable. According to Michel Hansenne, director general of ILO, "current levels of unemployment make no economic sense and are neither politically nor socially sustainable."
The ILO report seeks to demolish a range of assumptions about world employment. According to the ILO, the nation state is still the dominant influence on economic and labor-market outcomes. Global financial markets punish unsound macro-economic policies which are undesirable in their own right. The report also questions the popular view that the world is running out of jobs.
The ILO says the employment growth rate has remained "almost unchanged over the last 35 years and has not slowed down significantly since 1973" with the pace of job creation remaining steady in the face of the reduced economic growth rate of 1980s. Nor does the ILO accept that job changes are becoming more frequent and employment more unstable: "The job-moves are declining and, instead, the length of job tenure is increasing". The only exception is Spain and it is "probably because of institutional changes."
The main underlying cause of increased unemployment is the slowdown in economic growth and the rise in wage inequality. "There is no convincing evidence that it is manpower supply side constraints, rather than a deficiency in demand that have caused the prolonged period of low growth."
The ILO calls for a return to coordinated pay bargaining, the creation of social pacts between unions and employers, more efficient labor market policies with subsidies for low wage employment, incentives to employers for recruiting long-term jobless, etc. The report says that developing countries should be committed to full employment and it argues this can be achieved by creating more open and competitive economies that benefit fully from expanding trade and investment flows in the global economy.
However, the market reforms will be weak unless they are accompanied by programs to strengthen the productive capacity of the poor through improvements in rural infrastructure, education and health services. Thus it is evident that much more work must be done in order to achieve full employment.