Gloria Allred launched her keynote address to the 22nd annual Bakersfield Women's Business Conference by thanking the audience for being there instead of in London for the royal wedding.The conference included workshops on such topics as personal finance, career change and business etiquette and included a tribute to Lisa Green, Kern County's first female district attorney.The attorney urged women to fight for equal pay, child support enforcement, longer sentences for rapists and batterers and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment to the US Constitution.
In a Facebook Live panel, technology leaders discussed challenges for women in the workplace and solutions for the future.The facts paint a grim picture. Women make up half of the U.S. workforce but represent only 25 percent of the technology industry. Despite growth in entrepreneurship, women lead only eight percent of technology start-ups. And while women obtain the majority of college degrees, they represent only 15 percent of senior management in all industries. The discussion opened with a question on workplace flexibility. In households where men and women both work, women still do twice as much housework and three time as much childcare. Facebook's policy was used as an example of how to rebalance the system. Men and women each receive four months paid leave when they have a child, creating an office climate that embraces the duality of parenting and professionalism. The panel discussed two solutions for introducing more women into technology. Sandberg (Facebook's chief operating officer) introduced the importance of computer access, explaining that every woman she knew in technology played video games as a child. Since peaking around 30 percent in the late 1980s, the number of women taking computer science classes has since fallen to 18 percent. Despite many obstacles, women's influence on social media activity was identified as a key factor for future entrepreneurial leadership. "Seventy-one percent of the daily active fans and users on Facebook are women. Sixty-two percent of all the sharing activity is driven by women. With these facts, women have not only an important, but I think, a critical and valuable role to play at the founding and executive table of tech startups."
As we celebrate Earth Day, we would be wise to focus on the role of women as environmental leaders. All over the world, women are advancing the green revolution, from transforming farming in rural Africa, to creating businesses around clean technology in India, to investing in renewable energy. Whether in promoting conservation, combating climate change, protecting biodiversity and vital ecosystems, securing water access, or reducing indoor air pollution, women are developing and effecting innovative solutions to critical environmental problems. This should come as no surprise. Studies show it is women who are often most affected by the increased frequency of extreme weather events wrought by climate change. It is women who frequently spend half their days trekking long distances to collect water and fuelwood, which in conflict settings, increases their vulnerability to sexual and gender-based violence, and, in all settings, reduces the amount of time for education, employment, childcare, and other more economically productive activities. It is women who represent the majority of the world's small-holder farmers and who face the disproportionate burden of food insecurity. Women clearly have a stake in the future of the environment and are taking action. Take Nobel Prize-winner Wangari Maathai (pictured) who launched the Green Belt Movement, which has planted millions of trees in Kenya and transformed women into powerful advocates for their rights, good governance and democracy, and natural resource protection. "Sari Squads," groups of women environmental activists in southern Bangladesh, have banded together to form patrols to protect endangered forests from loggers.
ManpowerGroup is committed to providing women with the best possible opportunities to reach their full potential through which it helps disenfranchised women globally, and within every level of the organization.
Greater efforts to support girls and young women to acquire skills in information and communications technologies (ICTs) could help address projected shortages of manpower in those professions, the United Nations telecommunications agency said today, marking the first “Girls in ICT Day.“With many countries now forecasting a shortage of skilled ICT professionals within the next ten years, it’s vital that we attract young women into technology if we are to sustain healthy growth rates for the industry overall,” said Hamadoun Touré, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), in a statement announcing the launch of the Day. The Girls in ICT Day will be observed on the fourth Thursday of April every year to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women through the use of ICTs. It results from a resolution adopted at ITU’s Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, last year.
In southern Bangladesh, a small group of local women is taking the initiative when it comes to environmental protection.Wives, mothers and villagers, they have taken one more role in their community: guardians of the Chunati Wildlife Reserve. Every day, they don green saris and patrol the forest in the company of government rangers. Walking silently through the trees, they seek out anyone who wants to disturb the wildlife and the century-old trees. "When we come with in our green dress, the illicit tree fellers are scared of us. They hide from us," says Dilwara, a member of the patrol. In the years since they began their walks, she tells CNN, they have seen the resurgence of the 77-square kilometer sanctuary.
Stanford historian Estelle Freedman offers a comprehensive, accessible synthesis of interdisciplinary feminist scholarship, placing feminism in a global, historical framework. Freedman begins with theories of the emergence and diversification of patriarchy, outlining the ways that urbanization, colonialism, capitalism, and industrialization have intensified gender segregation and gender, race, and class hierarchies. Women’s resistance to male oppression also takes many forms specific to national identity, ethnicity, and class. As Freedman points out, feminism appeared after 1800 in Europe and North America, when capitalism and republicanism emerged, creating “both the need for feminism and the means to sustain it.” But while feminism was already an international movement by 1900, after 1970 it became pervasive, and Freedman’s discussion encompasses not only national and cultural differences but also feminism’s expression in the multiplicity of women’s activities, ranging from waged work to reproduction to artistic creation. As women’s political movements define much of the global agenda for the 21st century, Freedman concludes, “the quest for universal recognition of women’s equal worth is not likely to be reversed.”
Toronto police constable Michael Sanguinetti thought he was offering the key to rape prevention."I'm not supposed to say this," he told a group of students at an Osgoode Hall Law School safety forum on January 24, but to prevent being sexually assaulted, “Avoid dressing like sluts.” Despite Sanguinetti’s subsequent written apology and promises of further professional training, the victim-blaming gaffe heard round the world sparked a movement that began in Canada but is now sweeping the United States and abroad: 'SlutWalks'. “We had just had enough,” said Heather Jarvis, who founded SlutWalk Toronto with friend Sonya Barnett. “It isn’t about just one idea or one police officer who practices victim blaming, it’s about changing the system and doing something constructive with anger and frustration.” While Jarvis, 25, and Barnett, 38, initially expected only 200–300 people to show their support, upwards of 3,000 massed on the streets of Toronto on April 3, some wearing jeans and a T-shirt; others in outfits more appropriate for a Victoria's Secret fashion show: thigh-highs, lingerie, stilettos, and marched to police headquarters. Their goal: to shift the paradigm of mainstream rape culture, which they believe focuses on analyzing the behavior of the victim rather than that of the perpetrator. “The idea that there is some aesthetic that attracts sexual assault or even keeps you safe from sexual assault is inaccurate, ineffective and even dangerous,” said Jarvis. Since the movement’s inception, the SlutWalk campaign has gone viral. Facebook groups have been emerging to promote satellite SlutWalks in Europe, Asia, Australia and most major US cities. Asheville, Dallas, Hartford, Boston and Rochester will host SlutWalks between now and May 7th. The ubiquity of a rape culture that attributes sexual assault to a woman’s dress or expression of sexuality (both in the court of law as well as in the court of public opinion) helps explain the movement’s widespread resonance and popularity.
Ever since United States Congress passed the federal gender-equity law known as Title IX, universities have opened their gyms and athletic fields to millions of women who previously did not have chances to play. But as women have surged into a majority on campus in recent years, many institutions have resorted to subterfuge to make it look as if they are offering more spots to women. Each year, institutions must report their male and female participation numbers to the Department of Education. And even though the numbers would not be used in a formal investigation, many colleges manipulate them to avoid bringing about one. The embarrassment that comes with a public inquiry or a lawsuit can motivate them to do what it takes to stay under the radar. To produce an appearance of gender equity, colleges have given roster spots to unqualified players, counted male practice players as women and trimmed men’s rosters.
Since the day in 2002 when she decided to seek punishment for the men who had gang-raped her, Mukhtaran Mai has been a symbol of Pakistani women's struggle against a feudal and patriarchal society in which brutal crimes against women are condoned in the name of honour and custom. In Mukhtaran's case, a panchayat in her village abetted the rape as “punishment” for her 12-year-old brother's alleged illicit relations with a girl of a higher caste. It was expected that, after the treatment meted out to her, Mukhtaran, in keeping with tradition, would conveniently commit suicide, and no liability would fall on any man. But this extraordinarily brave woman, unlettered at the time of the monstrous crime, decided to defy societal taboos to take her attackers to court. It is disappointing that Pakistan's highest court has ruled against her. On April 21, a three-judge bench upheld, by a majority of two to one, the Lahore High Court's acquittal of five men accused of the rape (while confirming the life sentence to a sixth) on the ground of insufficient evidence. The verdict is unsettling for several reasons. In most of South Asia, for reasons that are well known, it is never easy for a woman to make a formal complaint of rape. This verdict sets the bar for evidence so high — in contrast are the evidentiary requirements in a blasphemy case — that it can only act as further discouragement to rape victims seeking justice.
NAIROBI, 25 April 2011 (IRIN) - Violations of human rights are on the increase in northeastern Central African Republic (CAR), with aid workers expressing concern for protection of civilians amid renewed clashes between government troops and the Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) rebels - one of the few groups that has not signed a peace agreement with the government. "Killings, arbitrary arrests, burning and looting of villages, forced disappearances and abductions are frequently reported, in particular in conflict-affected areas in the north and in regions where CPJP and LRA [Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army] are present," Fornelle Poutou, the secretary-general of the Association of Women Lawyers of Central Africa (AFJC), told IRIN. "People are afraid to [go] to the police because they have no confidence in them, fear repercussions or simply do not know their rights. Potou told IRIN: "Through legal clinics, we try to sensitize people to know their rights and refer to [the] justice system. Our biggest success is to see many women visit the clinic and tell us about the violation of human rights and report violence cases or to get advice. "Because of the presence of armed groups in Ndélé, the population keeps on living in fear of violence and human rights abuses. There is still a lot to do to get people to know their rights and claim them.
On 18th April 2011, the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new Constitution. The new text and the process under which it has been developed and accepted has been widely criticised as grossly curtailing human rights and democratic values. Especially of concern to women’s rights NGOs is that the new Constitution poses a grave threat to women’s sexual and reproductive rights, as it includes a sentence on the protection of the fetus from conception (“Everyone has the right to life and human dignity, the life of the fetus is protected from conception”). This sentence creates the possibility and probability of a tightening of Hungary’s legislation on abortion to make it the strictest in Europe, only allowing for the possibility of abortion if the mother’s life is threatened. The text will not only likely lead to a stronger restriction on abortion, it would also question the legality of other fertility and contraception methods and services, as conception takes place before pregnancy starts. In addition, the new Constitution also restricts marriage to heterosexual relationships, does not include sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds for discrimination, and allows for lifetime prison sentences for violent crimes without the possibility of parole, among other numerous problematic aspects.
Last week, a groundbreaking new international feminist alliance, Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justive, made its debut at a major United Nations meeting. The group of 20 young women from 14 countries, supported by IWHC, launched an action agenda that prioritizes women’s and young people’s sexual and reproductive rights and health and makes youth participation a priority in the international women’s movement. Read RESURJ’s Action Agenda and sign on to support it on their website, and follow their work on Twitter and Facebook. You can also watch a video and read the transcript of the statement RESURJ made at the UN. “If you could give your policymakers one message about sexual and reproductive rights and health for young people, what would it be?” Watch this video and find out.
Feminists helped defeat the Republican attempt to narrow the definition of rape to "forcible rape" in their recent efforts to put new restrictions on abortion. But as Ms. writer Stephanie Hallett reports in the forthcoming issue of Ms., the FBI—in its Uniform Crime Report—still uses an impossibly narrow and outmoded definition of "forcible" rape to gather its statistics. The FBI needs a modern definition of rape that reflects a popular understanding of the crime and doesn't exclude the vast majority of rapes. Rape is rape. Period. Without an accurate definition we won't have accurate statistics about rape, and without accurate statistics we will never have adequate funding for law enforcement to solve these crimes and stop violence against women. We also need to make sure that police departments swiftly test rape-evidence kits. The backlog of untested kits around the country is outrageous, as it leaves serial rapists—and the vast majority of rapes are committed by serial rapists—free to rape again. So we need your help. Join the No More Excuses! campaign of the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. magazine and demand that:
Africanews.com: Malawi promised to by 2005 to have at least 30 women in every 100 decision making positions but that has not been reached. Ning’ang’a: You are right but you should also understand that Rome was not built in a day. We indeed need to do more to empower women because for instance, in Parliament about 22 percent of women make Malawi’s Legislature. But it should also be emphasized that this cannot be left to government alone. We all need to join hands to achieve more progress in these matters. The Civil Society Organizations, journalists, the clergy, the private sector, academicians, researchers, politicians you name them we all have to play our roles in issues to do with promotion of women empowerment and their rights. Africanews.com: According to the Malawi media a day does not elapse without hearing cases of mainly women and children’s rights being violated including rape, defilement, gender based violence. What is your Ministry doing to eradicate these human rights violations in Malawi? Ning’ang’a: It is indeed very sad that such cases are still taking place. As a Ministry it is in our interest that every man, woman, boy, girl and child’s rights are protected. To achieve this noble objective we are sensitizing the general public that any form of violence against anyone is a crime and violation of human rights. We are also working with the Malawi Police Service to bring to book all those who break the law and provide counseling in Victim Support Units located in Police Station in the country. We have also recruited Child Protection Officers who have been deployed across Malawi who are working as watchmen for children to make sure that their rights are not violated. Implementation of the 2007 National Response to combat Gender Based Violence is also taking place. We have also developed and implemented the National Strategy to Combat Gender Based Violence which has resulted into establishment of Victim Support Units spearheaded by the Malawi Police Service under the Community Policing Pogrammes since 2002. Africanews.com: Final words. Ning’anga’: I am appealing to all Malawians as well as Africans from all cross sections of our societies that we should join hands to uplift women at all levels if we are to achieve social economic development and eradicate poverty at all levels. We have to face the reality that the continent cannot achieve social-economic development and eradicate poverty if women who mostly make majority of our populations on the continent are oppressed and denied opportunities.
These are federal standards to ensure women are on an equal playing field with the same opportunity to play sports on college campuses as their male counterparts. The New York Times found at the University of South Florida "more than half of the 71 women on a cross-country roster failed to run a race in 2009” and when the New York Times inquired, "a few laughed and said they did not know they were on the team."One of the tenants of Title Nine is that the number of female athletes should proportionately reflect the number of female students on campus. USF's Athletic Department says when it comes to these guidelines, their numbers look pretty good. They're only second to the University of Miami in the entire state of Florida. The policy USF athletics says it will change is making sure the female athletes have the choice to be counted on all three running teams and are active participants.
"The soul is healed by being with children," is a Dostoevsky quote that Beverly Akerman embraces in her new book The Meaning of Children. But it's not really the type of thinking that was popular during her own coming-of-age. "I grew up in the 60s when feminism was a part of life," she said. There was a strong sense that, "women should be able to do anything they wanted, but one of the problems is that we didn't have enough respect for traditional women's occupations," she said. Akerman has been a geneticist at the Montreal Children's Hospital who got into writing in 2006. "I worked in genetics, did research, had three kids and tried to juggle everything," she said. "It's difficult." But the struggle led her to an epiphany which she attempts to share in her recent work. "I rediscovered the respect we should have for traditional women's occupations, such as motherhood, nursing and teaching," she said. The 14 stories which comprise the book are by or about children, who are, after all, our future. This site includes an interesting interview with Akerman.
The literature is vast, but feminist writers, such as Betty Reardon, have suggested that the usual definition of peace is 'the absence of violence' and that is certainly how peace is currently experienced in Northern Ireland. In 1975 the Northern Ireland Women's Rights Movement was established and this has acted as an 'umbrella' for a wide range of organizations from both Nationalist and Unionist areas and has helped women to co-operate over common problems and demands such as the very low level of nursery school provision, the uneven implementation of the 1976 Sex Discrimination Order and legal rights over abortion and divorce. Different women interpret the relationship between their religious faith and the conflict in contrasting ways. Some see peacemaking as an integral part of the Christian message and therefore believe that they must become involved in seeking to improve community relations through links with members of other churches. For others there is a link between their personal faith and the existence of divisions in the society but it focuses on theological differences and is one which leads those to preclude inter church activities.
Squamish Nation elder and community activist Velma (Mazie) Baker, 79, has died. A funeral service was held April 22. Her niece Wendy Lockhart Lundberg said she had continued to work, against her doctor's advice, and had been unwell for some weeks before her death. Baker fought all her adult life for indigenous women's rights and campaigned against women being deprived of property rights on the Squamish reserve for marrying nonnatives. She was often at odds with the band leadership and demanded greater transparency in band spending. In her final week, Baker told the Turtle Island Native Network that the rejection by Squamish Nation members of a proposed historic land code was a rejection of self-government. "The people don't want self-government," Baker told the network. She said that the majority of the Squamish people didn't trust elected officials and did not want to give them more power over their lives. "They're not accountable -we don't know how much money there is or where it all goes," she said.
Gender discrimination is a root cause of hunger and poverty. Women and girls—the majority of the poor—face a lifetime of marginalization, often reinforced by violence or the threat of violence. As pointed out 40 years ago by Ester Boserup, development activities that fail to deliver the majority of their inputs to females are actually making things worse by widening the gender gap. Progress is being made, particularly through increasing girls’ enrollment in school. Far too little progress, however, has been made in other critical sectors such as a woman’s health and nutrition, income generation and having voice in the decisions that affect her life. Here are ten vital interventions (not in any necessary order) that are making a difference.
For the past nine years, Mukhtar Mai has lived in the same village where she was allegedly dragged into a house, raped and pushed out naked, while 200 higher-caste tribesmen sat in approval nearby and her father was too frightened to save her. Mai stayed in the community through tortuous police and judicial investigations, recounting her humiliation to male officials who doubted her story or were beholden to her alleged attackers, and to judges who acquitted most of the 14 men accused in her tribal punishment of revenge rape. She remained in Meerwala, a primitive sugar-growing village in the poorest part of Punjab province, even after she became internationally known as a symbol of women’s rights. Showered with awards and prizes, she used the money to build a private school. This week, after a Supreme Court panel ruled Thursday that it did not believe the prosecution’s version of what happened to Mai on June 22, 2002, and set all but one of the remaining defendants free, she said she still intends to stay there. “I have had offers to move to Canada or America, but this is my place and I am needed here,” Mai, 42, said in a telephone interview from Meerwala on Saturday. When news of the verdict came, she said, “many villagers showed sympathy, but the landlords gave out sweets,” a gesture of celebration. Pakistani women’s advocates said they feared the ruling will reinforce some of the cruelest traditions relating to women in rural society, where justice is meted out by semi-literate village leaders and the dominant land-owning clans wield more power than the police
Women oppose capital punishment more than men. And they're a force behind the national effort to end it.On March 9, Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn signed a measure ending the state's death penalty. Its passage was due in part to a woman, State Rep. Karen A. Yarbrough, who sponsored the House version of the bill. Like New Mexico State Rep. Gail Chasey, who authored the bill ending capital punishment there, Yarbrough is one of many women driving the national momentum to abolish capital punishment in the United States. This comes as no surprise: Polls and surveys from the 1970s to the present show a consistent, enduring "death penalty gender gap" between men and women, with fewer women supporting it. Historically, women were at the forefront of the modern death penalty repeal effort. Women cofounded the American League to Abolish Capital Punishment in the 1920s and female leaders in national, civil, legal and human rights groups helped establish the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty in 1976. One of the women now fighting hard against the death penalty is Martina Correia, the sister of Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis. This is a very interesting article about an important social justice/human rights issue. I recommend you read the entire article. (Comment by CSullivan)
After decades of gender equality efforts in many parts of American life, an analysis of the 100 top-grossing movies of 2008 conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that men still have an advantage over women in film.Only 32.8 percent of the speaking parts were given to women. The study looked beyond just on-camera roles, also finding that only 8 percent of directors, 13.6 percent of writers and 19.1 percent of producers were female. "Most male writers, directors or producers will write story lines, create story lines that feature more male characters," said Stacy Smith, who co-led the study by researchers at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, along with Marc Choueiti. Not only that, but 13-to-20-year-old girls continue to be "hypersexualized in film," according to the study. A substantially higher percentage of young women are shown wearing revealing attire then are men. An analysis of the 100 top-grossing movies of 2008 shows that for every five male directors, writers or producers, there was one female. In fact, 39.8 percent of females wore revealing attire in movies, compared to 6.7 percent of males. And females are shown partially naked 30.1 percent of the time, compared to 10.3 percent for males. One big name behind the camera is Kathryn Bigelow, who won a Best Picture Oscar for "The Hurt Locker," which she directed. When one or more female screenwriters are involved in penning a script, the percentage of female characters jumps by 14.3 percent.
In regions beset by war and revolutionary change, women's rights must be safeguarded for the good of the many.The woman in Tahrir Square was worried. "The men were keen for me to be here when we were demanding that Mubarak should go," she told me when I visited Cairo last month. "But now he has gone, they want me to go home". Some of the bravest people in the countries battling for a democratic future are women. They are doctors and lawyers, writers and human rights activists. They want a form of democracy in which they can play as great a role as men. However, there are worrying signs that this may be denied to them. Leave aside the moral principle for the moment: I shall return to this later. Think of the waste of talent that would flow from a refusal to break with inequality and sexism. Consider, for example, Mona Seif, one of the active participants in the protests in Tahrir Square. She grew up knowing her father, a human rights lawyer, only through her visits to the prison where he was held and frequently tortured. She told one interviewer of the role that women had played in the events that began on 25 January: "It was a female friend of mine who told me all the details and about arranging the distribution of food, collecting money and getting blankets. It was women who arranged the stage from which we made announcements and organised ourselves. Even providing the medical aid on the field while people were getting shot at and wounded. Women and girls were involved everywhere."