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Why caste still matters in India

Why caste still matters in India | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page |

INDIA’S general election will take place before May. The front-runner to be the next prime minister is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently chief  minister of Gujarat. A former tea-seller, he has previously attacked leaders of the ruling Congress party as elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Now he is emphasising his humble caste origins. In a speech in January he said 'high caste' Congress leaders were scared of taking on a rival from 'a backward caste'. If Mr Modi does win, he would be the first prime minister drawn from the 'other backward classes', or OBC, group. He is not the only politician to see electoral advantage in bringing up the subject: caste still matters enormously to most Indians."

Via Seth Dixon
Samuel D'Amore's curator insight, December 17, 2014 3:00 AM

While in some ways India has been quick to adapt to the 21st century such as in the technical industry and even in the loosening of ridged marriage practices this caste system has remained. This system of societal stratification has persisted and as this article explains plays a large role in the politics of India today. The castes also play a role in employment and marriage in determining who can do what work and who it is socially acceptable to marry.

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, April 8, 9:18 PM

I agree that until there are more jobs created for the people of India, the slower the caste will fade out.  Over time it will fade out eventually, but the creation of jobs and more social interaction will help the process move along faster.  

Chris Costa's curator insight, November 15, 2:51 PM

It was interesting to read about Modi's run for prime minister- I recently read a TIME magazine article about him, his original platform, and his subsequent work in office- and to see so much of Obama's run for office in Modi's struggle. Modi's support among his own caste, traditionally one that has been discriminated against in Indian society, is not at all different from Obama's support among the African American community. It goes to show that, for all our differences, people are a lot more alike then we'd care to think. Beyond that, it was interesting to see how much power the old caste system continues to hold in Indian society, much like the issues with race that Americans continue to struggle with within our own society. Appeals to different castes have been employed successfully by politicians and other forms of media; I once read that the most popular Indian films are often love stories revolving around "forbidden love" between two members of different, opposite castes. In a society that is so rich and complex, with hundreds of different languages and beliefs, it is so easy for lines to be drawn and for differences to be focused upon in a negative light. Happily for India, it has come a long way to address these problems and to move forward. While not perfect, India's future looks bright.

Rescooped by Jessica Robson Postlethwaite from AP Human Geography Digital Knowledge Source!

China's one-child policy creates massive gender imbalance

The Chinese government says its so-called "one-child policy" has succeeded in reining in its population. But more than three decades after the policy's imple...

Via Natalie K Jensen, Seth Dixon, Allison Anthony
Christina Dadaian's comment, July 5, 2013 4:13 PM
They'll have to balance out eventually. Either that or have the entire population suffer. It may take time but I imagine that things will correct themselves before it's too late.
Brooklyn McKenzie's comment, August 2, 2013 12:14 PM
It's kind of sad. I hope that those four brothers will some day find the love of their life. It must be pretty sad to see happy couples when you're single. Maybe one day things will even out.
Shelby Porter's curator insight, September 21, 2013 5:28 PM

This video gives a summary of the extreme consequences the "one-child policy" China has set in place. There are so many more men than women now, many are left to be bachelors for life. Many Chinese women are moving into the city looking for a rich and powerful man, and they succeed because there men are eager to marry. The Chinese have always had a preference for male children over female children. Now that the difference in population in so high, the government has made it illegal for doctors to tell parents the sex of their child before birth. This is a great example of the different kinds of culture that exist on the other side of the world. 

Rescooped by Jessica Robson Postlethwaite from Geography Education!

Special Series: 7 Billion

Special Series: 7 Billion | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page |
There will soon be 7 billion people on the planet. Find out why you shouldn’t panic—at least, not yet.

This whole year, National Geographic has been producing materials on the impacts of a growing global population (including this popular and powerful video).  Now that the year has (almost) concluded, all of these resources are archived in here. These resources are designed to answers some of our Earth's most critical questions:  Are there too many people on the planet?  What influences women to have fewer children?  How will we cope with our changing climate?  Are we in 'the Age of Man?'  Can we feed the 7 billion of us? Are cities the cure for our growing pains?  What happens when our oceans become acidic?  Is there enough for everyone?

Tags: population, National Geographic, sustainability, density.

Via Seth Dixon
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Religion, Gender and Public Space

These three issues are deeply interconnected in many parts of the world and in this news report from Israel, ultra-Orthodox from the town of Beit Shemesh are seeking to enforce their vision of a religiously appropriated gendered partition of space.  This particular news clip has caused a firestorm, and the Israeli PM has publicly states that gender segregation will not be tolerated.   


On Monday, as the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported, "about 300 ultra-Orthodox men attacked police officers, hurling stones at the officers after they removed a sign ordering women not to walk past a synagogue in Beit Shemesh."  Obviously they are not indicative of all Jews, but this raises many questions.  Why do we see a rise in of religious extremism (a loaded word, but I'll listen to alternatives) in this era of globalization?  Why is equality in where and how people can act in public such an important political freedom?  Why is there such strong cultural reactions to diverse gender norms in public?      

Rishi Suresh's curator insight, January 16, 2014 12:45 PM

Khanh Fleshman's insight: This relates to Key Issue #1 because it shows the intricate web of cutlure in religion and how different aspects of the country or adherent is affected or affects the religion.


Graham Shroyer's insight: This relates to this section because it talks about religions affecting behaviors. This also relates to the book "Half the sky" and the obstacle of gender inequality.


Vinay Penmetsa: This relates to the section by talking about religion, and gender inequality, and how many people do not want women to go against their cultural and religious beliefs.


Zahida Ashroff's Insight: This relates to Key Issue #1 because it talks about how religion affects the behaviors of people as they go about practicing their religions. Their particular religions influence their political beliefs and other parts of their daily lives.

Rescooped by Jessica Robson Postlethwaite from Geography Education!

Burka Avenger

"Burka Avenger is a new Pakistani kids' show about a mild-mannered teacher who moonlights as a burka-clad superhero."

Via Seth Dixon
Jacob Crowell's curator insight, November 19, 2014 12:45 PM

There is something to be said about how film and the media can be used as an effective tool to touch on broad cultural ideals. On a related note, I will be attending a conference soon in Boston on social studies education and one of the seminars I will be going to is how to use SciFi movies in the classroom. Ideals like equality, fighting oppression and free speech are timeless and span many cultures, in Pakistan, the Burka Avenger is that area's media outlet to discuss key social topics to young people.

Louis Mazza's curator insight, April 6, 4:25 PM

A modern day Batman/Superman, Burka Avenger, with great graphics and an in-depth plot. The television shows the Pakistanis children watch are the same type of shows that I watched growing up, and the shows that the modern day children of today’s youth are watching. The cross-cultural relationship seems so different, but at the roots it is the same. The kids in this show have friends, pets, enemies, a hero, a conflict; everything that an American television show would feature.  Whether the kids are facing a bully, a school closure from a villain, or a life peril from another villain, there undercover school teacher is there ready and willing to save the day. Everybody needs a hero to look up to, so this show is great for the Pakistani youth. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 6, 10:06 AM

I think this is wonderful.  It also reemphasizes the reality that all children are born without preconceived notions of what is right, what is wrong, what is good, or what is evil.  An American child might look at this and automatically think that the lady in the Burka is a "villain", due to American media and propaganda.  I can't help but think of the backlash that would surround this cartoon if they ever tried to put it on American airwaves.  

Rescooped by Jessica Robson Postlethwaite from Geography Education!

France bans popular English expressions

France bans popular English expressions | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page |
France declares war on the English language. Erin Burnett reports....

Via Seth Dixon
Courtney Barrowman's curator insight, November 5, 2014 8:21 PM

unit 3

Joshua Mason's curator insight, March 16, 2:52 PM

I can't say I was a fan of Ms. Burnett's reporting style. First of all, implying that America is the only country that speaks English was a little blind. Second, the little chuckles and smirks she gives is a bit condescending. She came off rather harsh and confronting of the French. And I'm sure France isn't "declaring war on English" as they are probably doing this to other languages. Finally, her last remark referencing the song "Voulez vous coucher avec moi" was a tad inappropriate in my opinion. That being said, it's understandable for a country to try and protect its language. It's part of its culture and its heritage.


Languages change overtime through interaction with other people. Like Ms. Burnett pointed out, there are some French words that have become common use in the everyday American conversation like a la carte and bon voyage. It is impossible to keep a language "pure" or rid of other language influences in today's society. With all the interaction happening via the web and other media outlets, people are bound to pick up words from other languages to use in their lives. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 9, 10:45 AM

Frances attempts at keeping the French language pure are futile. It is impossible to stop the spread of information in a society. In the age of the internet, information is going to spread. If the internet can take down middle eastern dictators, it is going to expose French children to English words. This entire policy is a bad public relations move for the nation of France.  It makes the nation and its government seem as if they are intolerant of other cultures and views. France prides itself on being an open democratic society. An open society can not ban a language. France should reverse this policy immediately.

Rescooped by Jessica Robson Postlethwaite from Geography Education!

The Body in Public Space

The Body in Public Space | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page |

Here are some seemingly eclectic topics.  All of them center around the appropriateness of the body being displayed publicly and the cultural norms that shape how we think about the issue.  I've included a sensational restroom, public nursing, top-free protests, and of course, the Kate Middleton scandal.


Tags: culture, popular culture, gender, place, space.

Via Seth Dixon
Victoria Morgia Jamolod-Umbo's comment, September 26, 2012 10:11 AM
Hilarious! The breasts of women are human parts of a woman which should be respected because it is where a human being feeds. It is a symbol of life.
Don Brown Jr's comment, September 30, 2012 8:07 PM
This cartoon clearly shows how breast are sexually marketed in our society and how we will can accept the fashionably sexual display of breast in public yet consider breast feeding offensive. In many ways this cartoon seems to show how some social norms seem to interfere with common sense as we should be more critical of the sexual advertisement of breast while breast feeding on the other hand should at the very least be tolerated.
Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, October 12, 2013 6:37 PM

I think the men who prohibit public breast-feeding of babies should be starved.  I have a baby cousin, whom I love dearly, and I would hate to delay his lunch as much as anyone else would hate to have their own lunches delayed.  To prohibit public-breastfeeding is cruel, discriminatory, and hypocritical, as these prohibitors were likely publicly breastfed at some point in their infant days.  A message overall about other people acting 'scandelously'- get over it.  Grow up.  I don't like having to hear from or about you, and it takes away from my definition of a perfect world when I see people starving my baby cousin.  Culture should accomodate to the entirety of the population, not a majority.  After all, as for babies- we've all been there, and as for old people- we'd be lucky to live that long, but we'll llikely be there too.  I don't think we should be governed by someone that some people elect and other people don't vote for, because it's really not fair... it would be better and a compromise to not be governed at all!  So don't be critical, be understanding... Peace and Love!

Rescooped by Jessica Robson Postlethwaite from Geography Education!

NPR: Saudi Women Drive Change Despite Mixed Signals

NPR: Saudi Women Drive Change Despite Mixed Signals | Ms. Postlethwaite's Human Geography Page |
Authorities continue to go after women who flout Saudi Arabia's ban on female drivers, but King Abdullah has pledged to give women more political power in the coming years.


This article focuses on public space and differentiated cultural norms that created deeply gendered spaces that are onerous to navigate. Gender, Place and Culture are all intertwined.   

Via Seth Dixon
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