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Women of The Revolution
recognising the struggles and achievements of women throughout the world
Curated by Cindy Sullivan
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Saudi women campaign for recognition of right to play soccer

Saudi women campaign for recognition of right to play soccer | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it

Two Saudi women have established a women’s soccer and basketball team in the port city of Jeddah in a bid to persuade the government to allow and support women’s right to engage in competitive sports in a country that officially bans women from competitive sports. In a rare airing of debate on the issue, soccer team captain Rima Abdallah and basketball player Hadir Sadqa appeared on a Saudi television sports program risking a confrontation with authorities that severely curtail women’s rights, according to a transcript of the program released by Washington-based Middle East Research Institute (MEMRI).Their battle highlights the soccer pitch as a battlefield for women’s rights across the Middle East and North Africa, a part of the world where resistance to gender equality and women’s exertions in sports is deeply rooted. Women soccer players confront the toughest obstacles in Saudi Arabia, ruled by one of Islam’s most puritanical sects. Physical education classes are banned in state-run Saudi girl’s schools and female athletes are not allowed to participate in the Olympics. Women's games and marathons are often cancelled when the clergy gets wind of them. Some clerics condemn women’s sports as corrupting and satanic and charge that it spreads decadence. They warn that running and jumping can damage a woman's hymen and ruin her chances of getting married. In defiance, women have quietly been established soccer and other sports teams with the backing of more liberal members of the ruling Al Saud family as extensions of hospitals and health clubs. The International Olympic Committee has threatened Saudi Arabia with suspension if it does not create frameworks for women’s sports. Ms. Abdallah suggested that the team’s prospects were limited not only because of government and conservative resistance to the notion of women’s sports but also because of lack of support by world soccer body FIFA. She said FIFA’s failure to recognize the women’s team had reinforced a decision by the Saudi football association to ban them from participating in a women’s soccer tournament last year in neighbouring Bahrain.

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India: schoolgirl defies tradition to reject child marriage

India: schoolgirl defies tradition to reject child marriage | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it

Her fate looked sealed when her family began organising the nuptial celebrations. But the bride-to-be, a shy schoolgirl from a remote village in western India, wasn't ready to say "I do". In a region where patriarchy and age-old customs dictate a woman's life from birth to death, 15-year-old Sapna Meena in April joined a small but growing number of girls who are standing up against the widespread practice of child marriage in India. "My family was in the midst of planning my wedding," recalled Sapna, her black hair pinned in a bun and a gold stud in her nose, as she sat on a step outside her home in Badakakahera village in Rajasthan state. "My grandfather had decided that while he was alive he wanted to see that I get married and settled. I was scared to say anything against it at first. "I went to my mother and told her I wanted to study more and get a job, and only after that would I get married," added the girl, who is from a subsistence farming community that ekes out a living by growing crops like wheat and maize. But Sapna didn't stop there. She went to local officials in the city of Bhilwara -- some three hours by bus -- to seek advice and press home the point to her family that the legal age for marriage in India is 18. The authorities played a mediating role and her family suspended the wedding plans. What's more, Sapna was awarded a certificate of gallantry by the government for being an "agent of change" in her community. Gender rights activists say Sapna is proof that, through education and exposure to the modern world, girls are beginning to take decisions over their own lives and are helping to lift the curse of early marriage that has plagued India for centuries. (Sapna Meena's Story: http://t.co/fQVlZQl #India #ChildBrides #Feminism...)...

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Ladies unite against Kenyan road carnage

Kenya ranks among the highest in the world concerning road accidents. 3,000 people die yearly according to the Kenya Roads Authority. Men are driving in Kenya, and now ladies started a car repair school and going to teach their husbands better manners.

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Quick Hit: African Women’s Day!

Quick Hit: African Women’s Day! | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Today is African Women’s Day! The African Union designated July 31st as a day to honour the women of a continent riddled with challenges but at the same time brimming with opportunities, and sprinkled with examples of progress. Despite incredible odds African women are advancing in governance, business, and education, among other fields. Ellen Sirleaf Johnson governs former war-torn Liberia, women make up more than half of Rwanda’s Parliament, Ory Okolloy a Kenyan blogger and founder of NGO Ushahidi serves as the Google Policy Manager for Africa, and Wangari Maathai a fellow Kenyan is the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. These are just a few of the many women across Africa leading the women’s movement. There is still much work to be done though and July 31st provides a chance to not only reflect on the progress made by women, but also the challenges that remain. Women have limited access to education, healthcare, authority positions, and property. Daily, their human rights are withheld from them. Equality is distant. But with this day and each and every other, the women of Africa are getting closer.
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No Justice for Women in DRC

No Justice for Women in DRC | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Two years ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the unprecedented step of extending a diplomatic visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in order to travel across the country and meet directly with rape survivors in the country’s war-torn eastern region. The Secretary heard brutal, firsthand accounts of targeted sexual violence women had suffered as part of a systematic campaign by armed groups intended to terrorize civilians and maintain control. In response, Clinton committed her office to elevated efforts to prevent and respond to sexual violence, including a $17 million investment in survivor services and other programs. Yet two years later, the headlines coming out of the Congo paint no better picture for women—indeed, it may be worse. Mass rapes have continued, many orchestrated by troops and commanders in the national army, while delays, corruption and disputes amongst Congolese authorities point to a calculated effort to sidestep rather than facilitate the administration of justice. By whatever means, prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigations must be conducted into these crimes in accordance with international standards and perpetrators must be prosecuted. Survivors and witnesses seeking justice must be protected during investigations, and they must be able to access medical, psychological and other support services. The Congolese government seems incapable or unwilling to do so directly, but it is under no circumstances to be permitted to stand in the way of international efforts to do so in its stead. The United States is chief among those who has pledged to end Congo’s war on women; now, more than ever, it is time for Secretary Clinton to keep those promises.
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The Most Watched Game You Never Heard of: Sexy Sexy World Cup Soccer

The Most Watched Game You Never Heard of: Sexy Sexy World Cup Soccer | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Whereas the modifier-free (AKA men’s) World Cup is a chance for the world to celebrate that which we have in common—soccer, sport fandom, and some form of partying—a chance to shout and sing and be a bit globally rowdy– the Women’s World Cup has produced only a whisper of enthusiasm. Or has it? Despite the calm of the Berlin streets, and the relative emptiness of US bars, the actual number of viewers tells a different story. On June 26th, 14.09 million Germans turned on the Germany vs. Canada match. And Olympia Stadium in Berlin—where that game was held—sold out. No women’s team had ever played in front of such a large audience. Then on June 30th, 16.39 million Germans sat down to watch their team make the hoped-for “summer fairy tale” (Sommermärchen) come true. In the US the stats were similarly huge (especially considering the number of Americans who care about soccer)—2.6 million watched the semi-final game against Brazil, and 8.6 watched the final against Japan. By way of comparison, the baseball World Series 2010 drew an audience of 8.4 million viewers.While neither the German nor the US women’s team could deliver the hoped-for 2011 summer fairy tale, the question remains: why did they come and will the fans stay? The answer unfortunately is: they came for some combination of actual respect for the women as athletes and a (sub)conscious draw to their sex appeal. And no. They probably won’t stay. Apparently there is a feeling that most people don’t really care about women’s soccer—big media corporations have just duped them into buying the event. And possibly by the German women’s team itself—a handful of the “prettiest” players posed not only for a number of ads, but also for Playboy in the months leading up to the World Cup. All, of course, contributing to the “hype.” In the “making of” video, one player says she wanted to prove to the world that women soccer players aren’t she-males. And, they wanted to raise interest in the game. In the US a huge amount of the attention the women’s team received focused, at least in part, on the sexuality of the women. People obsessively google “Hope Solo boyfriend.” German TV had fun showing one American fan with a banner “Marry me Hope, I’m Solo” in the Frankfurt Stadium. So record numbers are watching, the sport is being taken more seriously, and yet the best compliment we can give these athletes is a nice comment about their Playboy spread or a marriage proposal.
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Summer's Eve Pulls Controversial Talking-Vagina Videos | Adweek

Summer's Eve Pulls Controversial Talking-Vagina Videos | Adweek | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Summer's Eve pulled three videos off its website and YouTube on Wednesday following claims that they were racially insensitive.agency founder Stan Richards saying they were meant to be "relatable," not stereotypical. But on Wednesday, Richards PR executive Stacie Barnett told Adweek that the criticism had begun to overshadow the message and goal of the larger campaign—to educate women about their anatomy and break down taboos in talking about it—and that the online videos had to go."Stereotyping or being offensive was not our intention in any way, shape, or form," said Barnett. "The decision to take the videos down is about acknowledging that there's backlash here. We want to move beyond that and focus on the greater mission." Agency and client had expected the campaign to be provocative, Barnett said, but for its frank talk about female anatomy, not for any racial issues. (And indeed, it was parodied by Stephen Colbert on Monday night, in a segment Barnett said the agency found amusing.) "We do not think they are stereotypical, nor did we obviously intend that. However, it's a subjective point of view," said Barnett. "There seems to be an important perception out there that they may be, and we would never want to perpetuate that." Barnett said agency and client remain strongly committed to the rest of the campaign, which includes a 60-second anthem spot and an online quiz about female anatomy called ID the V, which Barnett said 16,000 women had completed in the past two weeks. Much of the criticism of the hand-puppet videos online has been inseparable from criticism about Summer's Eve products themselves. Some people are simply opposed to the products, which could make them pre-disposed to oppose any marketing of them. Barnett acknowledged that is a barrier for the brand, but she made a distinction between douching products and the cleansers being advertised in this campaign.
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Anders Breivik's chilling anti-feminism

Anders Breivik's chilling anti-feminism | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Following much of the media's initial "fact-free conjecture" about the origins of the atrocity in Norway, we have since had to reckon with Anders Behring Breivik's own account of his motivations put forward in his 1518-page manifesto entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence. Overlooked, however, in the focus on Islamism and Islamophobia's culpability for Breivik's pathology is the way his gargantuan manifesto presents multiculturalism as just one form of the "ideology" which "now looms over western European society like a colossus". This ideology, most often known as political correctness, has, Breivik tells us, several other names. One of them is cultural Marxism, and the other is feminism. Breivik's introduction is entirely given over to a half-baked history of political correctness, "no aspect" of which, he tells us, is "more prominent … than feminist ideology". The PC-project is bent on "transforming a patriarchy into a matriarchy" and "intends to deny the intrinsic worth of native Christian European heterosexual males". But more than that, it has succeeded. The "feminisation of European culture" has been underway since the 1830s, and by now, men have been reduced to an "emasculate[d] … touchy-feely subspecies". The antipathy to feminism – and women – threaded throughout Breivik's document is more than just incidental.
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Tell Summer’s Eve to End its Sexist & Racist Ad Campaign “Hail to the V”

Tell Summer’s Eve to End its Sexist & Racist Ad Campaign “Hail to the V” | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Fleet - the company that owns the Summer's Eve brand - has launched a new campaign to promote their Summer's Eve feminine hygiene products. Attempting to portray their products as empowering to women, the “Hail to the V" campaign includes a series of video advertisements with Black, Latina and Caucasian talking hands, representing vaginas, that speak in a very stereotypical manner. The Richards Group, the agency behind these ads, has dismissed the criticism that the ads are racist, stating that their “in house multi-cultural experts” approved the campaign.

There is also a video ad that features knights jousting and martial artists fighting, backed by a voiceover that claims “over the ages and throughout the world, men have fought for it, battled for it and even died for it”. The accompanying series of print ads claim that famous women in history would have used Summer's Eve products had they been available back then. An ad featuring Cleopatra refers to her vagina as her “most precious resource” while an ad featuring Helen of Troy suggests that the fall of Troy was due to “more than her face”.
Their "Hail to the V" is really "FAIL to the V". The entire campaign is overwhelmingly sexist and insulting to both genders, as it reduces women to a single body part – “the center of civilization” as one ad calls it – and implies that all men’s actions are based solely on their desire for it. It also perpetuates stereotypes about black and Latina women. Summer's Eve ads claim to be about empowerment, but they're really about selling women the idea that we need their (unnecessary and often unhealthy) products in order to "feel fresh".
We’re asking Fleet to pull both series of ads and end the entire insulting campaign.
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Iceland: the world's most feminist country

Iceland: the world's most feminist country | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Iceland is fast becoming a world-leader in feminism. A country with a tiny population of 320,000, it is on the brink of achieving what many considered to be impossible: closing down its sex industry. While activists in Britain battle on in an attempt to regulate lapdance clubs – the number of which has been growing at an alarming rate during the last decade – Iceland has passed a law that will result in every strip club in the country being shut down. And forget hiring a topless waitress in an attempt to get around the bar: the law, which was passed with no votes against and only two abstentions, will make it illegal for any business to profit from the nudity of its employees. Even more impressive: the Nordic state is the first country in the world to ban stripping and lapdancing for feminist, rather than religious, reasons. Kolbrún Halldórsdóttir, the politician who first proposed the ban, firmly told the national press on Wednesday: "It is not acceptable that women or people in general are a product to be sold." When I asked her if she thinks Iceland has become the greatest feminist country in the world, she replied: "It is certainly up there. Mainly as a result of the feminist groups putting pressure on parliamentarians. These women work 24 hours a day, seven days a week with their campaigns and it eventually filters down to all of society." The news is a real boost to feminists around the world, showing us that when an entire country unites behind an idea anything can happen. And it is bound to give a shot in the arm to the feminist campaign in the UK against an industry that is both a cause and a consequence of gaping inequality between men and women.
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Will the Arab revolutions lead to women's empowerment?

Will the Arab revolutions lead to women's empowerment? | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
The Arab spring is not blooming for Arab women. Women activists are concerned that many of their initial hopes have been dashed by the way events have panned out in some countries so far. The transformations could take away many accomplishments made by women, they fear, or at best keep them right where they are today. At the same time, others believe it is "difficult" to predict the impact of the revolutions on the status of Arab women, as political changes in many Arab countries are still ongoing processes.

"I think in terms of women's political voice and power, it is has been very exciting to see how women have been on the forefront of some of the Arab spring campaigns for democracy in the region," commented Laura Turquet, lead author of a recently-released report on women in the world by the UN's women's organisation.
High participation
A high presence of women in protests calling for change which swept several Arab countries, including Tunisia and Egypt, has raised big hopes of the introduction of more freedoms for women and equality between the sexes in male-dominated Arab societies, according to women activists.But when the regimes were changed in the two north African Arab countries of Tunisia and Egypt, "a general view began to emerge as if the people who were demanding freedom, democracy and equality, were only men and no women were involved".Rabea Naciri, a Moroccan woman activist, said: "Therefore, my assessment — and that of my comrades in a number of countries — is that there is not much optimism in the way things are going."It seems that women's issues, equality and eliminating discrimination are not on the agenda of reforms in many countries.""It is possible to bring down political systems, but you can't bring down a patriarchal system," Rabea said in reference to the deeply-rooted social norms and the powerful role of men in the family.
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Nearly half of Turkey's women suffer abuse - ABC Online

Nearly half of Turkey's women suffer abuse - ABC Online | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Human Rights Watch is calling on the Turkish government to do more to protect women from domestic and sexual violence. A study has found that 42 per cent of Turkish women suffer physical or sexual violence at the hands of their husband or partner, despite tough laws designed to protect them. But women's advocate and researcher Gauri van Gulik says the laws are rarely enforced. Our reporter Ashley Hall spoke to her from Berlin.
GAURI VAN GULIK: The main thing that I have to say about the abuse in Turkey is that the level is quite extreme. Now we see abuse everywhere we work but what we encountered in Turkey was really not just the daily beatings or just sexual abuse but also very severe kinds of abuse like poisoning, we encountered cases of stabbings, gunfights as well, horrible cases of abuse, very, very sickening frankly. And we encountered that throughout the country in different areas of the country.
ASHLEY HALL: And you encountered it you say because you met these women and heard their stories?
GAURI VAN GULIK: Exactly, yes. We spoke to the women themselves, but we also spoke to lawyers as well as health workers and social workers, police officers as well. So we've really got a good picture of the kind of abuse that's happening and particularly what happens with women when they reach out and they try to get help for themselves.
ASHLEY HALL: In response to this concern the government in Turkey has passed strong laws to protect women. Why are they not making a change?
GAURI VAN GULIK: Well this is exactly the second reason why we worked on Turkey is this incredible paradox between progress that has been made on the one hand, which is really quite impressive and it has to be said that there have been incredible reform of the penal code, there's been a protection system in place, but on the other hand it's just a lack of enforcement. We studied why that is and we've really followed women through the system and there's no easy answer, but a large part of it lies in attitudes, and still a lack of regard for women's issues, for women's problems, for a severe sort of putting family as the whole, as an institution on a pedestal. So the family is more important than the woman individually, and we see that police officers turn away women when they look for help, prosecutors saying no when women come to them for help, judges even do that et cetera et cetera. So there are problems throughout the system
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RWANDA: Defying History | World Pulse

RWANDA: Defying History | World Pulse | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
It’s been 17 years since more than 500,000 Rwandans were killed in the horrific genocide of 1994. Today, this tiny East African nation has become a poster child for women’s rights. How have they done it?“I think it’s true to say that women have been extraordinary because of the huge burden they had to carry after the genocide,” said Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, a physician who’s also Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, speaking at a February forum on the progress of women in Rwanda. “Women here have had a choice to be an active part of the rebuilding of the country and the reconciliation. And it was ordinary women and leaders, in the towns and rural areas—everyone participated.” She’s quick to add that many hands joined the gender revolution, including men in the post-genocide Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) leadership. “We have not done this alone,” she adds. “It has involved all sectors of society, including the government and the President. The national policies have supported women to play a more active role.” Dr. Binagwaho also credits First Lady Jeanette Kagame for serving as a strong role model and for her advocacy on behalf of women, genocide and rape survivors, orphans, and people with HIV/AIDS. “I admire the First Lady a lot,” she added. “She’s very dynamic and intelligent and has done a lot for women here and for Africa.”With husbands and sons murdered, women and girls made up 70% of the post-genocide population, many Tutsi women who had previously done only “women’s work”—farming, trading, caring for children. The door to public life swung open, and women joined the workforce and the government at all levels: as police, soldiers, engineers, builders, taxi, and bus drivers—all things once socially taboo. They also took roles in the judicial system, and it was there that the revolution began.The genocide illuminated pre-existing inequities that made it harder for women survivors to recover. Widows discovered that they had also lost the right to their family property, since property laws did not allow women or girls to inherit. Others found that male relatives demanded they serve as “second wives.” Still others, now sick with HIV contracted from rape, found themselves evicted from family homes or lands. “It became clear to us that we had to reform the laws to address this discrimination,” said Ingnatienne Nyirarukundu, president of the Rwanda Forum of Women Parliamentarians (FFRP).
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Somali women harassed, raped en route to Kenya

Somali women harassed, raped en route to Kenya | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it

As if having to flee your home and your country because of famine isn’t enough, many Somali women and girls experience street harassment and even rape en route to refugee camps (and then at the camps) in Kenya. “The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Regional Director for Africa Bunmi Makinwa has expressed concern that women and young girls are being subjected to rape and other forms of sexual harassment when fleeing from Somalia to camps in Kenya. Mr. Makinwa who visited the Dadaab Camp to assess the condition on Friday urged aid partners to also focus on helping victims and survivors of sexual abuse since they require medical attention and psychosocial assistance. ‘UNFPA is working with partners to offer lifesaving psychosocial assistance to women who have survived sexual violence. Indeed, UNFPA was informed by partners that many women had been subjected to rape and sexual harassment during their long journey to the camp,’ he said. Additionally, Voice of America reports that women and girls also face sexual assault at the refugee camps and when they leave camps to gather firewood. In response, UN workers are providing women with firewood (something the UN often does at refugee camps for this very reason) and moving women who are located on the outskirts of the camps into more populated areas where they may be safer. But aside from providing much-needed assistance to women and girl survivors who arrive at the camps, it doesn’t sound like the UN – or any other group – is trying to prevent the harassment and assaults women and girls face on the roads as they flee Somalia…Surely something can be done?

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Mexicans jump off a plane for gender equality

Mexicans jump off a plane for gender equality | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it

It's early in the morning, but the soldiers in their camouflage uniforms have already been awake for several hours. They're getting their gear ready, making sure all of their safety equipment, hooks, belts, and straps are in working order. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, until you take a closer look. Among the 270 recruits getting their basic paratrooper training, there are 71 women.After a 50-minute check-up, they all board military planes that will take off from the Santa Lucia Military Air Base near Mexico City. This is the first time in 22 years that women in the Mexican armed forces are being trained as paratroopers. The program was suspended in 1989 for unspecified reasons. Now it's back again, but officials haven't said if it will instituted permanently. Once they reach an altitude of 1,500 feet, it's time to jump and put into practice the four weeks of training they have received. It's a small jump for these women soldiers, but one giant leap for the Mexican military. Corporal Raquel Gutierrez is among the first women who signed up for paratrooper training. "I think this is an activity that only a few can do. We are a group of women who have decided to enter a space previously reserved for men," Gutierrez says. For the Mexican military, training women as paratroopers means more personnel at the ready; many in Mexico also see this training as an important step towards gender equality.

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Stigmatising feminism in Latin America

Stigmatising feminism in Latin America | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it

Although more women than ever are leading Latin American countries, few of them base their campaigns on women's issues. As more and more women are elected president in Latin America, one would think that, when running for office, female candidates would advocate for gender equality. Yet female candidates have so far refrained from invoking women's rights to win elections. In fact, it was a man who first used a feminist argument against his female opponent. Peruvian president Ollanta Humala won a tight runoff race against Keiko Fujimori by focusing his campaign on women's right to decide over their bodies.The presidential race between Humala and Keiko was tight until the very end. In the weeks preceding the election, five out of six election polls predicted victory by a small margin for Keiko. Things turned around during a presidential debate on May 29, when Humala brought up Alberto Fujimori's record of forced sterilisations in the 1990s. Forcing Keiko to take a stand on her father's policies that violated women's bodies, Humala catapulted gender issues to the forefront of the presidential race. Humala thus tackled an issue that received little visibility at the international level but has been extensively discussed in Peru. Between 1996 and 2000, the Fujimori regime executed an aggressive sterilisation programme, imposing quotas on medical institutions and staff. The result was the forced sterilisation of an estimated 300,000 mostly poor women living in rural, indigenous areas. In 1997, current Peruvian congresswoman Hilaria Supa Huaman, also vice-president of the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas and leader at the United Nations Forum for Indigenous Peoples, was one of the first women to denounce the forced sterilisations. Encouraging witnesses to come forward, she fostered the creation of the Association of Women Affected by Forced Sterilisations of Anta (Cusco) in 2005. Today, the Association, of which over 2,000 women are members, is pursuing legal action both in Peru and in international human rights courts. Damoisel's documentary "A Woman's Womb" recently brought the Fujimori programme of forced sterilisations to international attention.

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Quick Hit: Gaza’s Through the Eyes of Women Film Festival

Quick Hit: Gaza’s Through the Eyes of Women Film Festival | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Last week was the second annual Through the Eyes of Women festival, the only women’s film festival in Gaza. Hosted by the Gaza Women’s Affairs Center, the festival showcased 35 female-directed movies from around the world, including the Middle East, Europe and South America. Six of the 35 were specifically from Gaza. The films screened were both narrative and documentary, spanning topics from female journalists during wartime to profiles of fortune tellers in Gaza. Though the festival is small, it highlights the incredible diversity that exists in the work of female Arab filmmakers.For a women’s film festival to be held in Gaza is an inherently political act. Hamas regularly censors film, television and web-based media in Palestine, and Through the Eyes of Women is no exception.
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Why does it take L'Oréal to tell us women are interested in science?

Why does it take L'Oréal to tell us women are interested in science? | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Maggie Aderin-Pocock was standing on a soapbox on London's South Bank, explaining astronomy to an agog crowd (I'm not being sarcastic, by the way – we were agog), holding her small daughter in her arms. The next solar max, when the sun is at its hottest, is in 2013, she told us. We will need to beware coronal mass ejections because they can seriously mess with your electrical transformers, never mind your satellites. Some pointy-heads – and I refuse to genderise this, even though there will be people who would add "the female ones" – are incredibly good at understanding what a lay person will get and what we won't get. Many of them can't make that leap at all, and over-explain the simple stuff, then rattle through black holes like they're telling you how to make gravy. But Aderin-Pocock was vivid and clear. She didn't lose me until the end, when she said: "I'd love to be just left on the martian surface, so I could do lots of fantastic science." It reminded me of that joke about the doctor, the lawyer and the mathematician, discussing whether it was better to have a wife or a mistress. The doctor says "wife", the lawyer says "mistress" and the mathematician says: "I'd have a wife and a mistress, then they could chat, and I could go off and do maths!" The point of this – and Aderin-Pocock was not alone, there was a fantastic woman called Charlotte Watts talking about maths epidemiology, in which she is a professor – was a sort of message-mix between "women do science too" and "science is really interesting". All the professors were in lab coats that said L'Oréal on them, which made it look as if they were just about to tell you that retinol-A really works on the seven signs of ageing. The company awards four fellowships a year to female scientists, money which can be spent on anything at all. They can spend it on childcare if they like, and you can't say that about many research grants. "The big myth," said Nathalie Pettorelli, a research fellow in biology, specialising in climate change, "is that women aren't interested in science. There are plenty of female undergraduates - in biology it's better than 50-50 - but they don't stay."
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It's Not Girls' Fault

It's Not Girls' Fault | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, gave a TED Talka while back, which I watched; I was impressed with her poise and interesting opinions. Her talk helped answer a very important question: why we have too few women leaders.I would like to challenge, however, the widely held idea that since girls aren't becoming leaders as a result of naturally being less boastful, entitled, and commanding than most boys, girls need to start assuming those qualities in order to become CEOs. (That's paraphrased). This does, however, seem to be the idea -- girls don't speak up enough, take the lead enough, boast enough. As Sheryl Sandberg pointed out, when girls try to be commanding, it's called bossy. When a girl boasts about her personal appearance or her latest work, it's being a show-off, etc. (This is all speaking in very general terms, mind you. If you haven't already watched Sheryl Sandberg's speech, do, otherwise the rest of this will be confusing). So we need to stop criticizing girls for the qualities we praise in boys.The problem I see with this is that I felt the underlying message is that women need to be more like men in order to succeed in what is still a men-dominated area (business). It needs to be okay for women to brag, to ask for raises, to be aggressive. Sandberg focused more on making society accept women when we do those things; rather than changing our expectations of what a CEO should do.
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Kung Fu grannies combat rape in Kenya

Kung Fu grannies combat rape in Kenya | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
NAIROBI, KENYA (Global Press Institute) – Shanty houses made from rusted corrugated iron sheets line a lone tarmac road in Korogocho, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Garbage is strewn along the dusty sidewalks, and a herd of goats trots by, oblivious to their surroundings. Amidst the shanty houses stands a robust church made of blue corrugated iron sheets with its name painted in white. Outside the church, a sound of yelling and pummeling become audible, like out of a kung fu movie. “No! No! No! No! No!” is shouted repeatedly. The church door flings open, revealing a room of almost 30 elderly women in their 60s and 70s who are taking turns chopping, hacking and pummeling a punching bag. Some even use their walking canes to pulverize the imaginary assailant. This is a self-defense class for elderly women in the heart of Korogocho, one of Nairobi’s largest slums, with an estimated 200,000 residents. The class is run by No Means No, a local organization that offers various programs to protect Kenyan women. Sheila Wanjiku of No Means No says she was part of a larger team that brought the elderly women of the Korogocho slum together in 2007. They taught them a variety of martial arts techniques to defend themselves against rapists. Now the elderly women train diligently every Thursday and Saturday to protect themselves from attacks in the slum, an area rampant with crime.
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The Equality Path: Planning and Budgeting with a Gender Lens

Producer: UN Women; Date of Release: July 2011
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Interview with Organizer of Afghanistan Anti-Street Harassment March

Interview with Organizer of Afghanistan Anti-Street Harassment March | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Noor Jahan Akbar, 19, founder of rights group Young Women for Change is a huge inspiration to me. She’s taking on the taboo issue of street harassment in Afghanistan and as a first step, she organized a successful march of 50 women and men in Kabul on Thursday, garnering worldwide media attention. She is a prime example of how most activism on this issue is by young women, the ones who are most impacted by street harassment. Young women around the world are learning to not be silent, to not ignore street harassment any longer, but rather to speak out and demand it’s end, even in a country deemed the least safe for women.
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In pursuit of justice: laws that increase women's access to land

In pursuit of justice: laws that increase women's access to land | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Land rights are an ongoing struggle for people throughout the world, particularly women, who, in many countries, are denied both access to and ownership of land because of their gender.The right to land ownership was one of many topics highlighted during a panel held last week by UN Women to acknowledge the organization’s first full-length report on the progress of the world’s women. “In Pursuit of Justice,” the title of both the report and the panel, reiterates the organization’s task of ensuring that justice systems work for women.“Although the rule of law is a cherished principal and a cornerstone of democratic governance worldwide,” UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet told the audience, “in too many countries still, the rule of law rules women out.”In parts of the world where customary and constitutional laws coexist, women’s rights are often overshadowed. Customary law, like land inheritance, usually follows the tradition of passing land from older to younger male relations. “Land rights is an extremely complex issue and very different from one country to the next,” Lead Author and Report Manager Laura Turquet told MediaGlobal News.For example, the issue of land rights is particularly challenging in parts of Africa where there are high instances of HIV and AIDS. “If husbands or partners are sick or dying, land rights don’t transfer,” Turquet explained. Another example is in places where the giving of a dowry is practiced. Land is occasionally registered in a woman’s name as a way of attracting suitors. Once married however, the land title is transferred to the husband’s family.“Women play a critical role in food production in many parts of the world,” Turquet stated. “However, they don’t always have secure access to land.” Women constitute a significant part of the agricultural workforce but receive wages that are much lower than their male counterparts. Those working on family-owned land usually receive no wages at all. “We know that justice systems can provide the means for women to demand accountability, to put a stop on violence or…of course, to claim the land inheritance or pay to which they are entitled to,” Bachelet stated.
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Indian feminism more complex than of West

Indian feminism more complex than of West | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Feminism in India is more complex compared to the West, says writer-publisher-activist Urvashi Butalia, whose essay on a transgender`s life is the lone Indian contribution in the latest Granta anthology."A bit of blandness has crept into Western feminism. The Western feminists feel that most of the issues they have fought for have been achieved. But what we have here is much more," Butalia told reporters.Butalia`s essay, ‘Mona`s Story,’ the life of transgender Mona Ahmed and her search for a feminine identity, features in the British anthology of new-age writing, ‘Granta: The F Word,’ devoted to exploring the changing dynamics of feminism through articles, opinions, life stories and poems."I am amazed that the current issue of Granta has engaged so many people in the debate about feminism," Butalia said.Her biography of Mona dredges up the debates over gender swap which continues to vex millions of Indians to this day when alternative sexual groups and minorities are asserting their rights the world over and winning brownie points in their crusade.In India, despite the amendment of Article 377 by the Delhi High Court to allow the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities marginal sexual freedom, eunuchs are still objects of curiosity and doubt in the conservative social fabrics - given the historical stigmas, roles and lifestyles associated with them.
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A Considerable Difference: Women and Representation in Southern Sudan

After more than 20 years of civil war and a long struggle for independence, South Sudan officially became Africa's 54th nation on 9 July 2011. In the making of the nation, women played a significant role in achieving independence—making their voices heard, particularly in the political arena. (Producer: UN Women; Date of Release: July 2011)
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