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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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Largest feminist conference in a decade

Largest feminist conference in a decade | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Melbourne's largest feminist conference in more than a decade, the Feminist Futures Conference, took place over May 28-29.In the lead-up to the conference, a debate between the radical feminist supporters of Melbourne lecturer Sheila Jeffreys and the sex worker supporters of Elena Jeffreys broke out on the conference blogsite.In the end, Sheila Jeffreys pulled out of speaking, alleging she felt threatened by a transgender man who was scheduled to speak on the same panel.On the first morning, radical feminists promoting a rival conference at a nearby venue confronted people.About 350 women and a sprinkling of men, some from interstate, attended the conference over the two days. There was a big attendance from younger feminists. One of the organisers opened the conference by saying the Feminist Collective had planned this conference to underscore the idea that feminism is not dead and to strengthen the visibility of the movement.She said it was very timely for such a conference, after a federal budget that cracked down on society's most vulnerable, particularly single mothers. The conference began with a welcome from a Wurundjeri Indigenous owner of the land, Auntie Di, and was followed by a panel of Indigenous women. The three speakers, Tracey Bunda, Paola Balla and Rebecca Gerrett-Magee felt that it was appropriate that they speak first because they represented Australia's First Nations.They challenged those who questioned an Indigenous person's Aboriginality if they had light-coloured skin and outlined the continuing daily discrimination, disrespect and hardships Indigenous people, and women in particular, face. They challenged those present to engage earnestly with and seek to build bridges with Aboriginal people.They said dialogues must treat Aborigines as a sovereign people, as owners of the land, not as custodians of the land. Balla said: “Why should we reconcile? We haven't done anything!” They said it was despicable to use the plight of children to get Aboriginal land and use Indigenous women to justify the Northern Territory intervention.Raewyn Connell, Elena Jeffreys, Ludo McFerran and Alison Thorne spoke on the second panel titled, “Why Feminism Matters”. Each speaker tackled this question from a different angle.
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Women's rights in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban

KABUL (Reuters) - Women have won hard-fought rights in Afghanistan since the austere rule of the Taliban was ended by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in 2001.But gains made in areas such as education, work and even dress code look shaky as the government plans peace talks that include negotiating with the Taliban. This article contains some questions and answers about women's rights in Afghanistan today.
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"Shoot the Slut:" The 21st Century Backlash Is All About Sex | RH Reality Check

"Shoot the Slut:" The 21st Century Backlash Is All About Sex | RH Reality Check | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
As Susan Faludi demonstrated in “Backlash,” attitudes about gender and sexuality tend to be cyclical. Women’s success in the workplace, especially, has a tendency to create anti-feminist backlashes. As Faludi documented, the 80s backlash in response to the normalization of professional work for women took shape in demands that women embrace more feminine-submissive behaviors and fashions, the idolizing of housewives as perfect women, and attacks on reproductive rights. Despite the previous anti-feminist administration, the past couple of decades have been good for women: education levels rose to meet and exceed men’s, women’s leadership became more normalized from Condie Rice to Hillary Clinton, and the public debate over sexual harassment in the 90s was won by feminists (though social disapproval of it remains no more than an inch deep). Even the existence of the feminist blogosphere can be counted as a major triumph. The tendency of news magazines to periodically declare feminism “dead” can’t withstand the overwhelming online evidence that feminism is very much alive.And now we’re in a backlash period, and the focus hasn’t been on fashion or even sending women to the home as much---it’s all about sex, baby. Or more precisely, there’s been an alarming trend towards glamorizing chastity standards that have often been out of fashion for 50 years. It’s not just the nearly 1,000 bills in state legislatures aimed at punishing and controlling female sexuality by depriving women of access to birth control and abortion, though god knows that would be enough. As Faludi demonstrated in her history of the 80s, these things tend to spread and morph and infect the discourse and behavior of all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. One story recently brought home how very terrible the situation is getting when it comes to the policing and punishing of women for their lack of commitment to chastity. Jasmijn Rijcken was visiting New York City from her native Holland, and was pulled over by a New York City police officer and threatened with a ticket for wearing a short skirt on a bicycle. He called her skirt “distracting,” and only backed off when he learned she didn’t actually live in the city. He used the age-old excuse that women’s bodies are so “distracting” that they must be covered up, as men cannot control themselves when exposed to whatever body part the complainant deems too damn sexy. At least the cop in this case wasn’t suggesting men would be forced to rape her; he simply claimed that women’s alluring flesh would cause car accidents. Here’s a picture of the supposedly scandalous skirt:
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Men Behaving Badly... It's a Good Thing

Men Behaving Badly... It's a Good Thing | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Strauss-Kahn. Schwarzenegger. Edwards. Weiner. It's been a helluva month for men behaving badly. Am I the only one who sees this as a good thing? Has the tradition of men having it their way -- with women bearing the consequences -- hit a speed bump? Historically, women who have been victimized by men -- whether by a sexually harassing boss or a philandering husband -- were trained to hit the mute button. "He'll fire you if you complain." "He'll divorce you if you confront him." "Be glad you have a job / a roof over your head." And it's worked. But, of course, men have always had a litany of "universal truths" to back up their behavior that have been passed down from generation to generation: "Men have their needs." Or, "For men, it's just a physical thing." Or my all-time favorite, "Boys will be boys." Well, not so fast, boys. The most potent images from this, the ugly month of May, speak with certitude about how quickly those age-honored traditions are unraveling: Strauss-Kahn doing the perp walk in handcuffs. Weiner crying at the mic. And not a single wife standing silently at her cad's side, her face frozen in shame. (Okay, maybe Mme. Strauss-Kahn did -- but they're French.) This time, the wives were silent, alright -- silent as in gone. As those of us who fought the battles of the feminist movement in the early 70s know, change doesn't happen in giant leaps, but, rather, in smaller, significant steps. That's why this string of salacious spring scandals has filled me with optimism --because, in each case, women have drawn a new line in the sand.
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Gay Girl in Damascus a 40-year-old married man living in Edinburgh - Telegraph

Gay Girl in Damascus a 40-year-old married man living in Edinburgh - Telegraph | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
A blog about the struggles of a lesbian in Syria, which attracted international attention amid the country's recent violence, has been exposed as a hoax written by a 40-year-old married man living in Edinburgh.He pretended to be Amina Arraf, who was said to have been born in Virginia in October 1975, with Northern Irish roots and ancestors who fought in the American war of Independence. She attracted fans around the world with a post in April titled 'My Father, The Hero', in which she recounted in gripping detail how her father had saved her from Syrian security forces. "She is my daughter," she recalled him saying after being asked if he knew about her sexuality. "She is who she is and if you want her, you must take me as well." The piece led major media outlets to publish what they thought were interviews with Miss Arraf – who also had a six-month online relationship with a woman in Canada – conducted over email. However, doubts about her story were raised last week by Andy Carvin, an executive from National Public Radio in the US, after Miss Arraf was reported by her "cousin" to have been kidnapped. Mr Carvin, who has emerged as an expert on the Arab Spring uprisings, wrote: "I began to ask around on Twitter if anyone had met her in person, and I couldn't find anyone who had". A photograph given to newspapers for publication by Miss Arraf then turned out to be of a young woman from London. Over the weekend it emerged an address given by Miss Arraf in an online discussion group was owned by Mr MacMaster, originally from Georgia, who is working for a master's degree at Edinburgh. Computers used to send emails from Amina were traced to the university, and it was discovered that a photo on the blog was previously published online by Mr MacMaster's wife, Britta Froelicher. Last night, in a post titled 'Apology to readers', Mr MacMaster – whose thesis is on seventh-century Constantinople – confessed to being the blog's author. "I never expected this level of attention," he said. "While the narrative voıce may have been fictional, the facts on this blog are true and not misleading as to the situation on the ground". Mr Carvin wrote on Twitter that he was "trying to calculate the number of people Tom hurt – by pretending he was Amina and by taking attention away from Syrians."
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[Audio]FIFA Disqualifies Iranian Women's Soccer Team

The Iranian women's soccer team was disqualified last week from a pre-Olympic trial match in Jordan because of the type of head covering players were wearing.FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, contends that the players did not wear an approved head covering that met regulation requirements. Michele Norris speaks with James Dorsey, the author of the blog The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer and a visiting senior researcher at the National University of Singapore's Middle East Institute.
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Indigenous women shape women's rights

Indigenous women shape women's rights | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
The voices of indigenous women have repeatedly reminded national governments, human rights bodies and other national and international fora that their human rights as women need to be addressed as the rights of indigenous women. Accordingly, indigenous women have called on the United Nations bodies and processes related to women to adopt the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples “as a minimum standard in the fulfilment and enjoyment of rights by indigenous women”[1]. This call includes an affirmation that the objectives of the wider women’s movement, including equal status and pay, as well as the full participation of women in decision-making and the integration of mainstreaming gender perspectives, will be meaningless if inequalities between nations, races, classes and genders are not simultaneously challenged.[2] Women’s rights must therefore be understood within a wider economic, social and cultural context and appropriate standards to address the violations faced by indigenous women must address their specific status as both women, and indigenous persons.[3] As in other areas of indigenous peoples’ rights, rights to lands and resources firmly underpin indigenous women’s declarations and public statements. Indigenous women have emphasized that lands and resources are bound to their crucial roles as guardians of traditional knowledge related to health and herbal medicine, customary use of natural resources, as well as language and transmission of indigenous knowledge in all spheres. Military operations and extractive industry developments also place indigenous women’s struggle to be free from gender violence in the context of the denial of their right to own and control their territories. The mainstream women’s rights movement has not always proven an easy partner for indigenous women’s own advocacy. Feminist speeches in general have been criticised by indigenous women as ‘words written by white women, for white women’[5], with similar concerns expressed about wider human rights discourse generated through ICEDAW, the Millennium Developments Goals and the Beijing Platform. However some agencies and bodies have recognized these difficulties and tried to change them, such as the Commission on the Status of Women which recommended the effective participation of indigenous women in the follow-up, implementation and monitoring of women’s rights.[6] General human rights mechanisms can be effective advocates of indigenous peoples’ rights. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has proven active in affirming the relationship between the land rights of indigenous peoples and the human rights of indigenous women, through its Concluding Observations and through the adoption of a General Recommendation on gender related dimensions of racial discrimination.[7] The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights also looked at indigenous women’s issues through the lens of indigenous peoples’ rights, issuing specific standards at first mainly within the mandate of its Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities (WGIP). More recently, the Special Rapporteur on women’s rights in Africa, who is also a member of the WGIP, has initiated programmes and standards specific to indigenous women.
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Michelle ObamaTakes on 'Women's Issues'—Carefully

Michelle ObamaTakes on 'Women's Issues'—Carefully | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
I was among more than 1,500 people who braved the 102-degree heat in D.C. Thursday afternoon to hear what Michelle Obama had to say about work-family issues and other matters close to women’s hearts. The occasion was, officially, the 40th anniversary of the National Partnership for Women and Families, a major player in health care, paid leave, and workplace flexibility advocacy. But the event felt more rock concert than fundraiser when the first lady took the stage, dressed in hot pink and bangles. The audience immediately stood, craning our necks to catch sight of the woman who is to many a feminist megastar. The eruption of adulation in the giant ballroom made my eyes tear.The First Lady spoke warmly and respectfully of the women’s movement. Referring to 1971, when she was just seven and the National Partnership was founded, Obama noted that “The ceiling wasn’t just glass back then, it was more like concrete.” She lamented the fact that Richard Nixon had no women in his cabinet, and praised a law against pregnancy discrimination that was passed in 1978. But it was more what came out of her mouth that gave them impression that Michelle Obama is the First Feminist. She exuded the confidence of a woman who feels secure in – and beyond – her place of power. Adept at discussing legislation and cultural movements, she was just as comfortable throwing in a joke about polyester. (“Tough times,” she noted drily of the seventies-era obsession with the fabric.) Obama seemed to embody a notion at the center of feminism: that women can be not just intelligent and powerful, but at ease with that, too.The main obstacle to progress is Republican opposition. And given that opposition, there has been a surprising amount of success. Most notably, health reform passed which helps women and mothers, who are disproportionately uninsured,get health coverage. So did the Lilly Ledbetter Act, which extended the period in which a woman – or man – can file an equal-pay lawsuit, and which Obama signed upon entering office. The White House also created a Forum on Workplace Flexibility and another on Women and Girls. Still, it’s not the revolution that seemed possible during the campaign. And I can’t help but imagine how much more progress we might have made if Michelle Obama had been able to unleash her formidable power on issues central to women’s equality and workplace fairness.

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Bend it Like Beckham–in Cambodia

Bend it Like Beckham–in Cambodia | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
It was Wednesday and the Mighty Girls had practice again. The late afternoon sun beat down on the field in Battambang, a charming river town of 250,000 that is Cambodia’s second-largest city. A group of guys had assembled along the sidelines, menacingly close to the goal. They looked on while the girls ran drills and then began to scrimmage. They whooped, hollered and heckled. For girls to play football (soccer) in Cambodia is to challenge nearly everything it means to be a woman; it means invading the all-boys club that is Cambodian football. But the girls were unfazed, taking to the field with knitted brows, passing nimbly and running drills. The backs of their shirts say, “We’re the Mighty Girls! They’re used to this–used to being told they can’t play, or shouldn’t, or aren’t as good as the boys. Girls’ football in Cambodia, still an emerging phenomenon, has less funding, fewer practice resources, fewer training opportunities and scant community support compared to boys’ teams. SALT Academy (Sports and Leadership Training), a Battambang-based community football organization, started the ball rolling with girls’ teams a few years ago–pretty much because community members thought the idea was so preposterous. Khmer girls are supposed to be gentle, reserved and obedient, so they can grow up to be good Khmer women. Playing football is like throwing a monkey wrench into this, but one that more and more girls and women want to throw. After fostering the start-up of dozens of girls’ teams across the region, SALT assembled the Mighty Girls six months ago–a permanent select team and empowerment program for girls. The Mighty Girls includes some of the most promising female football players in the country; they’ve earned the opportunity to further their academic studies while still training competitively, especially those who lack the financial resources to continue their education otherwise.
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It's Time for Women's Rights in South Caucasus

It's Time for Women's Rights in South Caucasus | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Azerbaijan’s pardoning of its most celebrated journalist behind bars and Armenia’s release of all of its jailed oppositions is good news. But both ex-Soviet countries have a terrible record of women’s rights, and things seem to be getting worse. Armenia, for one, is the only country in the South Caucasus (which is made up of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia) without legislation on domestic violence. An ongoing trial of a man who murdered his wife is still being dragged while the woman’s mother-in-law, reportedly also involved in the killing, is free. In November 2008, Amnesty International issued a report on domestic abuse in Armenia stating that more than a quarter of women in Armenia have faced physical violence at the hands of husbands or other family members. Many of these women have little choice but to remain in abusive situations as reporting violence is strongly stigmatized in Armenian society. Armenia remains a hub and a source of human trafficking, and few seem to care. In 2007, to attract attention on the issue, I sarcastically wrote about a law that Armenia (I claimed) had passed to fight human trafficking. Some took it seriously but Armenia’s parliament – my target – didn’t even bother commenting. While Azerbaijan recently passed legislation on domestic violence, it has girls as young as 12 wed in arranged marriages, some to become victims of human trafficking.
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Afghan women fear setbacks as troops withdraw (Canada)

Afghan women fear setbacks as troops withdraw (Canada) | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
When Lauryn Oates started raising money to send women in Afghanistan to school, she wasn’t sure they would ever emerge from the underground classrooms that kept them hidden from the threat of the Taliban.“We went at this in uncertainty, not knowing if anything was going to change and the best we could do was to make sure girls were going to school in secret schools,” said the 29-year-old, who has been working with Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WA), an organization that has funded education programs for Afghan women since 1996. But things did change in 2001, when Osama bin Laden took aim at the United States, starting a war that would come back to the Middle East and provide some hope for the women living under the strict rule of the Taliban. Today, 50,000 women attend the schools and literacy classes supported by CW4WA in ten of Afghanistan’s provinces. More than 2.2 million girls are enrolled in school, braving daily threats to their safety, to get an education they could only dream of before 2001. The surge in female students is evidence of the gains women have made since the Taliban fell. Women can now vote, run for office, are protected by stronger laws and have voices in institutions like the Ministry of Women’s Affairs. Despite the impressive gains, the uncertainty has not disappeared for Oates or the women she works with. Canada’s combat mission in Kandahar is wrapping up in July and will be replaced with a training mission based out of Kabul, but there is fear that the fragile advances will be put at risk in the transition if the government doesn’t set an explicit and detailed plan for protecting and building on the gains made by women. “Women have gone after the opportunities that are there, they are just anxious that that is going to end prematurely if the international forces up and leave before those gains have been consolidated,” said Oates, who has travelled to Afghanistan over 20 times since the Taliban fell. “You see all the programs in Kandahar closing down and that sends a message that we are only in Kandahar so long as the military is here,” she said.The senators argue the government of Canada should make the advancement of women’s rights an explicit priority in its post-conflict training mission. Canada pledges continued support. Women’s rights, including their right to education, have long been a stated priority for the Canadian mission.
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Women's Rights Activist Drops Driving Rights Campaign

Women's Rights Activist Drops Driving Rights Campaign | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
A rogue Saudi woman detained last week for posting a YouTube video of herself driving a car was released from jail on Monday after abandoning her campaign to encourage Saudi women to drive. Though it's illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif's Women2Drive movement inspired other Saudi women to helm their family automobiles and videotape themselves breaking the law (see the Women2Drive YouTube channel for more renegade drivers). Al-Sharif, 32, faced stiff resistance from Saudi clerics, with one going so far as advocating a lashing for her transgression, reports The Guardian. Unfortunately, it appears that the conservative clerics have won. A Saudi newspaper has published a statement attributed to al-Sharif in which she appears to abandon her mission: "Concerning the topic of women’s driving, I will leave it up to our leader in whose discretion I entirely trust, to weigh the pros and cons and reach a decision that will take into consideration the best interests of the people, while also being pleasing to God, and in line with divine law."According to The New York Times, "While the statement seems to confirm that Ms. Sharif will not continue to press for protests, it also suggests that she has not, as one Saudi newspaper had claimed, entirely dropped her objections to the ban." The video shows al-Sharif's illegal driving video, which includes her explanation of why the country's law is wrong translated into English.
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Quality education and women's full access to science and technology imperative for achieving gender equality: CSW

Quality education and women's full access to science and technology imperative for achieving gender equality: CSW | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Quality education and women's full access to and participation in science and technology are imperative for achieving gender equality and women's empowerment. So said the Commission on the Status of Women as it urged Governments and relevant United Nations agencies to take appropriate actions to bolster women's access to education and to specifically strengthen capacities to ensure that science education policies and curricula were relevant to their needs. Those were among the key observations and recommendations at the core of the Commission's agreed conclusions, reflecting the overall theme of the body's fifty-fifth session, "access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women's equal access to full employment and decent work". UN Radio's Jocelyne Sambira reports.
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Catwoman: The Hyper-Sexualisation of a Sexual Woman

Catwoman: The Hyper-Sexualisation of a Sexual Woman | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Finally in the new century, Catwoman was given a more serious title of her own, with eye-catching and non-degrading covers, most famously by Adam Hughes. But this was immediately followed by Birds of Prey and Gotham City Sirens with art that was once more hyper-sexualised, valuing a body ideal over a expression of personality. The latest trailer for the game Batman: Arkham City shows a sexpot Catwoman strutting down the streets, working that ass, and winning a fight with a kiss. Much like contemporary feminism, Selina is caught between the capitalist truth that sex sells, and a struggle for recognition as a strong woman.The problem with this parallel to the feminism movement is that Catwoman's progression is almost entirely superficial. The comics industry is dominated by men, not just those behind the creation process (Catwoman has had three women writers in her time but all male artists), but by the male dominated society we live in as a whole. Films and music videos are a fantastic example of how media is (often unconsciously) constructed by and for the male gaze. Men make up the majority of comic buyers, cinema ticket purchasers, and memorabilia collectors. As a result, women in the media are tailored towards being a projection of male fantasy. They do not reflect the variety of women we see around us every day, but a highly sexualised image of an ideal female body. While this is the case women are less likely to consume such media, and so a vicious circle continues.No matter how much character progression Selina is granted, every time she puts on her bondage inspired costume and engages the male gaze, sexuality and power become confused. It could be argued that Batman wears a similarly tight costume, however his outfit serves to demonstrate his strength and agility, while Catwoman's only to highlight her curves and ideal sexualised body. Were she to wear the same amount of armoured costume as Batman, the effect would be rather different – still perhaps idealised, but not as sexualised.Her strength as a woman hero is admirable, particularly in the non-powered world of Gotham; Selina is not the spoiled rich kid dressing up (Bruce) or a villain obsessed by one objective (Joker), instead living within the grey area of anti-heroism. As neither the traditional "good girl" or the twisted "bad girl" who must inevitably face punishment (ideally, Frank Miller take note), Catwoman does enjoy the freedom to express her sexuality without (in story) repercussions. If any woman in comics was to have permission to behaved in a sexualised manner, it would surely be Catwoman.Can a feminist enjoy Catwoman? Sure. She's a strong woman, a sexy ass-kicking hero, and an intriguing character who uses her sex as a weapon and thrills at it. But whenever we defend women in comics, we must always remember the limited scope in which they exist.
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Women's rights and the internet at the Human Rights Council

Women's rights and the internet at the Human Rights Council | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
For the first time, the role of the internet on the right to freedom of opinion and expression is being reported at the 17th session of the UN Human Rightsi Council. This signals a clear recognition that the increasing prevalence of the internet in all aspect of our lives is becoming impossible to ignore, and that it is becoming pivotal in the realisation of our fundamental rights and freedoms. At the same session, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against womeni is also presenting her report on violence against women, its causes and consequences. The synchronicity of both reports, especially given the fact that human rights are universal, interdependent and indivisible, calls for a close reading to identify the points of connection that can be built in the effort to recognise, analyse and address violations that affect the recognition, protection and fulfilment of women's human rights. The specificity of women's needs in its diversity with regards to the right to freedom of expression and opinion, and to the right to security and bodily integrity is critical in their comprehensive analysis, understanding and responses. This is not possible without concrete efforts to include and integrate women's rights advocates and actors from the State machinery on gender equalityi and the advancement of women's rights in the deliberation, study and responses to address violations to the right to freedom of expression and opinion. Similarly, the impact of the internet on the broad range of women's human rightsi need to be analysed and studied in efforts to address violence against women and girls. This calls for inter-thematic/issue dialogues and partnership between State actors and human rights advocates who work to deepen the understanding of impact and to develop comprehensive and holistic responses.
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Thoughts on the Normalization of Gender Equality: Women@NASA 

Thoughts on the Normalization of Gender Equality: Women@NASA  | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
The childhood desire to grow up and become an astronaut is a rich metaphor for our majestic plans for ourselves, and for the possibilities that lie ahead in life, which is still a vast, endless stretch of time at that age. It’s also very American, in the way that exploration of the unknown and conquering of unfamiliar territory is American. Finally, it is STEM-related—so the astronaut dream is still dominated by males. For decades, American society has slowly been guiding science away from its male-dominated bubble toward a place where both sexes are equally represented. Contributing in a big way to this evolutionarily-paced societal change is NASA. No longer is Sally Ride the sole female astronaut to look to as a young girl; people like Mary Weber and Peggy Whitson have made headlines in the not-too-distant past. In honor of Women’s History Month in March NASA launched its Women@NASA website . The site links to resources, information, internships, and opportunities for women interested in STEM careers. The main draw of the site is the collection of 32 stories by women in NASA careers explaining their journeys, obstacles they have faced, and the joy and excitement they get out of their chosen careers. Stories include that of Lelia Vann, a first-generation Japanese American who pushed herself to the upper limits of success only to come to a very different philosophical viewpoint about her work, and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenberger, who fulfilled her dreams of space travel through the educator astronaut program. While researching this story, one thing I came across and would like to talk about is the slew of negative web comments—some thoughtful, some vitriolic—on many of the sites covering this story. Most focus on the perceived uselessness of the Women@NASA website in the face of today’s enlightened culture, a culture in which singling women out is counterproductive and degrading. One commenter pointed out his distaste for such exclusionary groups (read: exclusionary of white males), noting that his teenage daughter was bemused by the site because “ girls are just as capable as boys.” I used to hold an attitude similar to this one. It goes something like this: the goals of feminism, the Civil Rights movement, the Gay Rights movement—they all boil down to equality, and what is equal about having a website (or organization, speech, etc.) dedicated to one group? Today’s children are growing up in an increasingly more tolerant world, where abiding by negative gender- or race-based stereotypes is no longer tolerated. That means it can be assumed that the equal rights goals launched throughout history and emphasized during the 1960s have been largely met, and we no longer need to set out-groups apart, because those out-groups have now become in-groups. Mission accomplished.
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Think We've Cracked the Code on Gender Salary Equality in the Workplace?

Think We've Cracked the Code on Gender Salary Equality in the Workplace? | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
I really want to believe that men and women graduating from college with equivalent skills are entering the workforce on a level playing field. I really want to believe that it’s the choices we make as women that are affecting our salary inequity in the long run. I really want to believe, but a study by Edwin W. Koc published in the NACE Journal in April 2011 tells me otherwise. The study compared starting salaries for men and women undergraduates and found a whopping 17% difference. The average annual salary for men with bachelor’s degrees was $44,159, while women started at just $36,451, 82% of what their male colleagues averaged. The data can’t be explained away by saying women pick different careers; Koc looked at the differences by field, and in every instance the men outpaced the women – except engineering where women had a slight salary edge over the men. Coming out of the starting gate with this disadvantage will have a significant long-term impact to the total earning power of women, since most financial rewards and increases are based on current salary. Consider that it will take women ten years at a 2% annual increase to catch up to the salary their male peers started at, with women averaging $44,429 after ten years, while (with the same 2% annual increase) the men will be averaging $53,824. Kathy Korman Frey, Founder of The Hot Mommas Project and Entrepreneur in Residence at The George Washington School of Business, offers these tips:
"Believe it or not, asking is a form of negotiation, and there’s no harm in doing it. Did you know women don’t ask? We’re not so great at marketing ourselves and there are studies to substantiate this. Men initiate negotiations 2 to 3 times more often than women do.”
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Iranian Women's Soccer Team Disqualified From Olympics Over Headscarves

Iranian Women's Soccer Team Disqualified From Olympics Over Headscarves | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
The Iranian women’s soccer team faced defeat even before they could get off the sidelines to compete in a qualifying match against Jordan for the 2012 Summer Olympics.The team was to play an Olympic qualifying match against Jordan last Friday, but officials of the international football association, FIFA, disqualified the team because the players' Islamic headscarves violate the association's dress code, the Washington Post reported. “This ruling means that women soccer in Iran is over,” Shahrzad Mozafar, the team’s former head coach, told the Post. She said the Iranian government will not send women abroad for competitions if they cannot wear headscarves. Iran’s team designed special headscarves that can be wrapped tightly around players’ heads and necks after FIFA announced in April 2010 that it planned to ban headscarves in the Olympics. But Iranian officials were “informed thoroughly” before the match that the headscarves covering players’ necks are banned for safety reasons, an unidentified FIFA official told the Post. Prince Ali of Jordan, a FIFA vice president who officially took office Wednesday, vowed to get the headscarf ban lifted.
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WOMENS RIGHTS - ARGENTINA

WOMENS RIGHTS - ARGENTINA | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Argentina is moving backwards in terms of maternal mortality, with a rate three times higher than those of its neighbours Chile and Uruguay. Maternal deaths, which are actually increasing, are often the result of unsafe abortions, in a country where the practice is illegal. These are the conclusions of social organisations that monitor the official statistics on deaths of healthy young women from pregnancy-related causes. Complications related to pregnancy and childbirth are the main cause of death among young women, and many of these deaths are the result of abortion, which is only legal in this country in specific circumstances, such as rape. According to the latest Health Ministry statistics, from 2009, the maternal mortality rate that year was 55 per 100,000 live births, higher than the 2008 figure of 44 per 100,000 live births. The ministry attributed the rise to the H1N1 flu epidemic. Under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000, one of which is to reduce maternal mortality by 75 percent by 2015, from 1990 levels, Argentina's target is 13 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births by 2015. As part of MDG 5, on maternal health, Argentina has also made a commitment to close the gap in the mortality rate between the different provinces. But the gap keeps growing, especially between Buenos Aires and northern provinces like Jujuy or Formosa, where maternal mortality is at least twice the national average.The Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (FEIM) warned that there is also "a high level of underreporting" of maternal deaths, a large proportion of which she said are "preventable or avoidable." FEIM director Dr. Mabel Bianco told IPS that although Argentina has health and sex education programmes that are essential to addressing the problem, the public is still largely unaware of the services that are available, such as free birth control. In neighbouring countries like Chile or Uruguay, where universal access to such programmes has been guaranteed "for decades," the results are clear, she said. In Chile, the maternal mortality rate is 20 per 100,000 live births, while in Uruguay it is 15 per 100,000, she noted, citing statistics from 2005.
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Alaina Rahn's comment, October 1, 2013 6:30 AM
I think the United States should start helping women of other countries fight for their rights. I also think abortion is wrong but it should be the mothers choice if she wants to or not. It it her baby the government should not be able to tell the mother that she can't get an abortion. The country should also be doing this and educating women on how to not get pregnant so there would be less abortions. Complications with pregnancy are the main cause of death among women in these countries. The women need better heath care especially when pregnant.
Iloria Phoenix's comment, October 3, 2013 7:00 AM
I agree I think that not only the U.S but the super powers around the world should start providing health care for poorer countries to prevent women's death from birthing. Also I agree that the U.S needs to educate young women better so that there is less unwanted pregnancy
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Getting it right for Every Body: Feminism & Freedom of Gender

Getting it right for Every Body: Feminism & Freedom of Gender | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
The truth is that even the most progressive of us accentuate gender divides, often without realising it. Over the past month or two, my friends have organised women’s only hen nights, women’s only trips, and women’s only shibari workshops. People should have the right to shape environments that suit them but, over the longer term, we need to start to remove the qualifiers from some of these events. Implicit in them is the assumption that women cannot have certain experiences – and possibly even a feeling of safety– with men around. To my mind this assumption is insulting to women, and particularly those around me who I know are strong and independent people and able to determine, communicate and police their own boundaries. It unnerves me that people might assume that I do not know how to respect these boundaries, because of my body. I believe that the more we are able to open up shared environments, the better we will get at learning to negotiate potentially intimate situations. However, it’s not enough to widen our aims for gender quality to include “men’s rights”. Feminism needs to evolve not only beyond freedom from discrimination on the grounds of sex, but also towards freedom of gender. It’s ironic that the feminism is so often interpreted to mean “women’s rights”, when the word that has been chosen refers to feminine, which is a label that can be chosen and not limited to female-bodied people. As male-bodied boy who increasingly feels more female-gendered, I wonder how I fit into thismovement. Put another way, if dialogue is phrased only in terms of “men” and “women”, then I can’t locate myself within the arguments without making some compromise about how I identify. Feminism has concentrated on some of the most obvious examples of sex equality – and the gender pay gap in the UK, especially in part-time work, and differences in pension income for today’s generations of older people, are startling. This focuses the dialogue on issues which are mainly economic, or otherwise fits into a legal framework about discrimination. Feminist debate which allows for the possibilities of self-determination and freedom of expression about gender, for everybody, is thin on the ground, especially when it comes to male-bodied people.
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Don't forget Afghanistan's women - Ottawa Citizen

Don't forget Afghanistan's women - Ottawa Citizen | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
As Canada prepares to pull out its military troops from Kandahar after a long and difficult run in southern Afghanistan, where 156 Canadian soldiers have lost their lives since 2002, it is not only time to reflect on the sacrifices made and the gains achieved by the Canadian presence in this war-torn nation, but also to focus on creating momentum for durable peace and justice which includes the consolidation of democratic ideals and gender equality. Canada has invested $1.5 billion in development and humanitarian aid, alongside $10 billion in direct and indirect military expenditures in the last decade in Afghanistan. Much blood and treasure has been spilled and spent trying to bring peace, security and stability to a country which has known nearly 33 years of war, invasion, civil strife and immeasurable poverty. The Afghan people have suffered tremendously as a result of these last 33 years of conflict, and continue to suffer at the hands of the Taliban and extremists bent on ruining what Canada, the coalition troops and the international community have achieved and are still working toward bringing into fruition. A fragile situation exists today where the enemy looms from neighbouring safe havens, and conflict continues to rage in parts of the country unabated. Now with peace negotiations and reconciliation efforts with the Taliban on the Afghan and international agenda as a possible solution to bring about a political settlement, many are concerned about the direction Afghanistan is headed. Among the most concerned and worried are Afghan women, who suffered considerably under the Taliban regime as non-citizens without human rights or an active role in public life. Afghan women were tortured, beaten and killed at public executions, without the benefit of a legal system to protect them. They were forbidden to work, go to school, and travel freely in the streets, with little or no access to health care, creating the highest maternal mortality rate in the world. As a result of Canadian and international contributions over the last decade, Afghan women and girls have returned by the millions to attend school and work, benefiting from the strides made to bring about greater access to education, literacy, employment, health care and the enjoyment of their human rights. The 2004 Afghanistan Constitution recognizes women and men as equal citizens with equal rights, and through a quota system women are guaranteed 26 per cent of the seats in the Afghan Parliament and provincial councils.
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The War on Drugs = A War on Women and Families

The War on Drugs = A War on Women and Families | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
June 2011 marks the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United States, and has contributed to making America the world's largest incarcerator. Throughout the month, check back daily for posts about the drug war, its victims and what needs to be done to restore fairness and create effective policy. The "war on drugs" has had a devastating impact on women and families, who have been greatly affected by policies like mandatory minimum sentences, prosecution of low-level drug offenses, increased conviction and imprisonment of those with relationships to drug dealers, and criminalization of women with drug addiction and mental health problems and histories of sexual abuse. As the ACLU report "Caught in the Net" details, the number of women with convictions, especially low-level drug-related convictions, has skyrocketed. Over the past two decades, the number of women in prison increased at a rate nearly double that of men. Women of color are disproportionately affected: African-American women are more than three times as likely as white women to be incarcerated, and Hispanic women are 69 percent more likely. Two thirds of women state prisoners are the mothers of minor children.
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Amina Has Been Arrested (Damascus)

Amina Has Been Arrested (Damascus) | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Earlier today, at approximately 6:00 pm Damascus time, Amina was walking in the area of the Abbasid bus station, near Fares al Khouri Street. She had gone to meet a person involved with the Local Coordinating Committee and was accompanied by a friend. Amina told the friend that she would go ahead and they were separated. Amina had, apparently, identified the person she was to meet. However, while her companion was still close by, Amina was seized by three men in their early 20’s. According to the witness (who does not want her identity known), the men were armed. Amina hit one of them and told the friend to go find her father. One of the men then put his hand over Amina’s mouth and they hustled her into a red Dacia Logan with a window sticker of Basel Assad. The witness did not get the tag number. She promptly went and found Amina’s father. The men are assumed to be members of one of the security services or the Baath Party militia. Amina’s present location is unknown and it is unclear if she is in a jail or being held elsewhere in Damascus.I have been on the telephone with both her parents and all that we can say right now is that she is missing. Her father is desperately trying to find out where she is and who has taken her. Unfortunately, there are at least 18 different police formations in Syria as well as multiple different party militias and gangs. We do not know who took her so we do not know who to ask to get her back. It is possible that they are forcibly deporting her. From other family members who have been imprisoned there, we believe that she is likely to be released fairly soon. If they wanted to kill her, they would have done so. That is what we are all praying for. I will post any updates as soon as I have them.
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To Be Or Not To Be A Feminist?

To Be Or Not To Be A Feminist? | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
Looking at the wave construct of feminism, Mayra David writes about where we are now, in terms of equality, motherhood and gender roles, and how all of that is playing out in the political sphere.“People don’t really understand how strong ideology can be,” says Rebecca Walker. “I think sometimes of that group and that feminism as being close to a cult. I feel I had to de-programme myself in order to have independent thought. It’s been an ongoing struggle.” These are Rebecca Walker’s feelings toward her upbringing in general, and toward her mother, in particular. Her mother is Alice Walker, cultural icon, champion of the feminist movement, author of The Color Purple. For her part, Alice Walker has never really said anything on the subject of her estrangement from her daughter. Her daughter, by the way, who is herself quite a prominent feminist. Confusing? So who’s the real feminist? Frankly, it all reads like a math problem: If Alice Walker is a feminist, and her daughter Rebecca is a feminist, but the feminism each ascribes to contravenes the other, who is the true feminist? If Alice came first, does that make Rebecca an anti-feminist or just anti-Alice Walker? And if it’s true the elder Walker “resigned” as Rebecca’s mother, does that mean she is against mothering, or is this simply a family affair gone public? The truth is nobody can, in all actuality, be against “mothering”. That would be like being against life. And no reasonable person can really be against feminism (especially when they advocate for women’s well being). That would be like being against equality for women, and nobody here is against equality for women. Still, herein lies the crux of the whole confusion. One way to clear it up is not to ask, is she a feminist? But rather: which kind of feminist is she?
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Bringing feminism into Indian classrooms

Bringing feminism into Indian classrooms | Women of The Revolution | Scoop.it
This post is by Smriti Singh. It’s quite a challenge teaching pre-college sociology to adolescent girls and boys, but our semi-formal discussions of gender norms and values has helped me see the importance of bringing feminism into Indian classrooms.Some of the first remarks I got about myself from the class were related to my physical appearance. They came from young girls, who appreciated my relatively “thin” body and related it immediately to my appearing attractive. I was so surprised by their comments that I decided to probe deeper into the issue of body politics and this widely-held presupposition that “thin is in” (aka pretty). So, I asked the class, “Why is being thing considered synonymous with being pretty?” A female student responded: It’s because of the fashion magazines. The fashion designers design clothes for these thin women and only if you’re thin can you wear all these clothes and look pretty. I then asked, “Is being thin worth all this effort?” and “If most women are naturally not wafer thin, why is this body frame projected as a benchmark of prettiness?” One female student responded: It is worth it, because everybody looks at thin women as pretty, you can wear all the dresses you like, and that makes you look pretty. I quickly responded with another question, “Why are these dresses made so small, when there aren’t enough women who are thin enough to wear them?” Since the class was silent, I decided to take this idea further by explaining how it’s part of a larger market-economic logic that feeds into the promotion of a certain idea of what makes female bodies beautiful.As a feminist and teacher, I realize that feminism is not just about the historical trajectory of the women’s movement for political, social and economic rights. Nor is it restricted to the celebration of the contributions of some very remarkable women towards the creation of the world order as we know it today. To me, feminism is moving deeper into the consciences of individual women to bridge them to the sociological-historical-political context of subordination. Feminism is most relevant to these wars, the ones young girls fight each day, with the world and with themselves, to make better sense of womanhood. Feminism belongs in these lives. It belongs in schools and in classrooms.
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