Irish dads to hold Christmas vigil
A story published today by the Irish Examiner reports that Ray Kelly, founder of the
unmarried Fathers of Ireland will be holding a silent vigil in Dublin for fathers who
won't see their children on Christmas Day.
Kelly expects to be joined by at least 50 men who will stand on O'Connoll Bridge and
brave the chilly wind that blows from the River Liffey.
It has been six years since Ray, a father of three, enjoyed Christmas Day with his
Still, he counts himself luckier than most of those fathers, who, for one reason or
another, have no access to their children.
"Taking the father out of Christmas has already proved too much for four of our
members who committed suicide recently," he said.
"We'll be thinking of them on Christmas Day."
One of the biggest problems faced by men like Kelly is getting the judge to listen to
their side of the story in child custody cases and accepting that fathers love their
Kelly went to court 41 times in a bid to increase the time he could see his daughters
from just six and a half hours a week.
Eventually, the court ruled that he could have 16 days a month with his children.
"I fought tooth and nail to be with my children because I love them
"It's been so difficult - I have only ever had them once for Christmas Day."
Wednesday, December 12, 2001
Chinese university students must
stay single at school or else
A story released today by the South African Press Association reports that many Chinese
Universities in China are barring their students from getting married in hopes that they
focus more on their studies rather than raising a family.
"Even though university students are mature in a biological sense, they are not
yet mature members of society," said Peng Xiaohui, a professor at the city's Central
China Normal University.
"Once they have married, they will face enormous economic problems," he said.
The issue emerged after the education ministry said early this month that in future it
would be up to the universities themselves to decide if they allowed married couples on
In the past, government rules dictated that Chinese university students who married
should be expelled, but the ban had become obsolete after authorities decided this year to
let people of all ages take degrees, the report said.
Britain becoming a nation of singletons
A story published today by the Scotsman reports that according to a new British
research, the proportion of people living alone in the United Kingdom has doubled in the
past 30 years.
The findings are contained in a report by the Office of National Statistics called
Living in Britain - the 2000 General Household Survey. The report showed the proportion of
households containing just one person went from 17 percent in 1971 to 32 percent last
The reports findings have far-reaching implications for the nuclear family in
Britain, which appears to be slowly declining. The proportion of families with children,
where both parents live together fell from 92 percent in 1974 to 74 percent last year.
At the same time, single parent families have more than tripled in number - from 8
percent to 26 percent.
Alison Walker, the editor of the report, said: "One of the most interesting things
we found in the report concerns the living arrangements of those aged between 25 and 44.
More and more of this age group are choosing to remain single and live alone, which has
far-reaching implications for policy makers and planners."
The ONS report found that as well as an increasingly large section of the population
choosing to remain single, the popularity of marriage has plummeted, with young men and
women increasingly opting to cohabit.
Ms. Walker said: "There is much change to record over the last 30 years, most
importantly in the way that families live."
"The majority of families are still headed by two parents who live together, with
74 percent of households existing like this, but the situation is going to keep changing
and our policy planners and academics have to be ready for this."
Friday, December 7, 2001
Japanese corporations focusing on single women to resurrect the housing market
A story published in Far Eastern Economic Review which is scheduled for release on
December 13 issue reports that like thousands of other Japanese women, single Japanese
women are turning to veteran real-estate consultant Hiromi Kojima for help. Kojima, who
heads an organization dubbed "a study group designed to create comfortable homes for
women," has been teaching women the ins and outs of the real-estate market for a
decade. Her ее1,000 seminars now attract hundreds of potential buyers, who can also get
free individual consultations.
Membership in the study group tops 20,000 women and grows by 100-200 a month, says
Kojima, who is involved in designing and marketing the condos that are targeting single
women as new homeowners. Most of the members live in Tokyo and are between 20 and 40 years
old. More than 30% have actually bought a condo. That makes Kojima a hot property. As the
recession bites and demand for housing from young families keeps falling, young, single
women are becoming an increasingly important target for condo developers.
Tokyo was home to 724,300 single women between the ages of 25 and 49 in 2000, up 47%
from a decade earlier. In 1998, some 14% of single women in that age bracket owned their
own home or condo, well above the 10% of single men who did so, according to government
Kojima says many single working women are concerned about having to keep paying Tokyo's
high rents after they retire and see owning a condo as a form of lifestyle insurance.
"They don't reject marriage and want to have children," she says. "But they
also think of living alone on pension pay-outs." With low interest rates and falling
prices, Kojima thinks it's time to buy.
Developers are eager to meet the needs of women who value a convenient residential
location and security. In recent years, a number of small, well-designed condos priced
between ее25 million and ее40 million have sprung up in popular neighborhoods in
Tokyo. "Developers are rushing to build condos catering to women," says Kojima.
"They have a great influence on the market."
Sumitomo Corp. tapped Kojima's expertise in mid-October when it presented its condo
building targeted at women. Units in the building, Jiyugaoka Heim Comforte, were first
offered to members of Kojima's study group, and almost all condos designed for women in
the building were sold immediately, says Satoshi Yamazaki, an assistant manager at
Sumitomo's housing division. Kojima's network, he says, is quicker and more efficient than
distributing flyers or the Internet.
"Kojima is very demanding on products and service," says Kensei Suzuki, a
marketing manager at Daiwa House Industry. The Osaka-based homebuilder started consulting
Kojima about six years ago when it began targeting female customers. Suzuki says Kojima
taught him and other salespeople what women look for and how they want to be treated.
Kojima also helped Daiwa with design, suggesting large closets, plenty of shelves in
the bathroom and boutique-like exteriors. So far, Daiwa has constructed eight condo
buildings in conjunction with Kojima and Suzuki says the number of female customers in
Tokyo and Osaka has quintupled in the past five years. "Women want to listen to
viable points and persuasive talk that touches the heart. Only Hiromi Kojima can do
that," he says.