'What I Will', by Suheir Hammad.This poem spread among my friends on Facebook yesterday. These are the words I needed following the celebration of Osama bin Laden’s assassination in the midst of endless war. Suheir Hammad is a Palestinian-American poet and acivist.
Zrinka Bralo was a journalist for several years in Bosnia, spending five years at the National Radio in Sarajevo. After war broke out, she reported from Sarajevo, alongside some of the world’s leading war correspondents. As the conflict escalated, Zrinka sought asylum in the United Kingdom. She was at first refused and fought deportation for three years, finally winning the right to stay in the country. To this day, she is a fierce advocate for asylum-seekers, and set up the National Coalition of Anti-deportation Campaigns in London.In northern Bosnia, she helped found an organization called Most Mira (Bridge to Peace), which hosts an annual arts festival for children born into segregation and facing postwar trauma. Stella Mkiliwane is of the minority Ndebele tribe in Zimbabwe and after being abducted, interrogated and threatened by security agents, she fled to South Africa in 2007.Soon after, she began volunteering with the Refugee Ministries Centre (RMC). A family therapist and social worker by training, she played a significant role in humanitarian relief and protection in response to the wave of violence against foreigners in South Africa in May 2008, when approximately 100,000 families were displaced. She mobilized relief and resources for those displaced and later carried out assessment work of those living in temporary shelters.
The right to legal, safe abortion has to be one of the most of fundamental tenets of women’s rights. The ability to control one’s reproduction by means of good sex education, easy access to contraception and ultimately the option to terminate an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy, are characteristics that no women’s movement can do without.Unfortunately, in many parts of the world women cannot count on abortion services should they require them. It is not only an issue in developing nations, or places where there never was a women’s movement or even regions where access to abortion was never legal. Poland is another such country which at the moment has one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. Those restrictions are only on the books since 1993. I would like to be optimistic about the future of reproductive rights in Poland. Feminist groups are working hard to have an honest, just discussion about the realities for millions of women, but large sectors of society are not ready. The power of the Church on Polish policy doesn’t bode well for women’s rights. Being from Poland, I notice minor social and cultural changes every time I visit, but the recovery from decades of communism is not obstacle free. For the necessary changes to come there needs to be a constant, steadfast push by national and global women’s groups to ensure women’s rights are a priority in every regard.
The spiritual home of golf, St Andrews, is closer than ever to abandoning a tradition that perhaps belongs in the past. While discrimination is clearly an issue that needs to be resolved in every day life, are single-gender sports clubs really guilty of it? Currently the reported 2000 members of the St Andrews Golf Club are all male and this had long been a rather contentious issue. There are many single gender clubs in modern society but, for some reason, single gender golf clubs are thought of as immoral and are therefore highly frowned upon. The R&A, which needless to say has close ties to St Andrews, has resisted calls to admit women as full members and have provoked criticism from various parties including the Labour party following its refusal, in 2009, to extend honorary membership to the latest principal of St Andrew’s University, Dr Louise Richardson, because she was a woman. Arguments over discrimination on a basis of gender have been at the forefront of current affairs for some time now and in most cases changes have indeed been needed and fully justified. However while there are plenty of people who are supportive of the issue in hand, there are those who don’t see single-gender sports clubs as a problem.
In Saudi Arabia, a country in which women can do virtually nothing without the permission of their male guardians and are banned from voting, the last thing electoral officials expected was for a group of women to march in to a voter’s registration centre with the firm intention of signing up on electoral registers. Yet that’s exactly what happened in Riyadh on April 24, and the scene was caught on camera. A day earlier, immediately after the electoral lists were open to register for the upcoming municipal elections, dozens of equally determined women had tried to pull off the same feat in registration centres in the Saudi cities of Jeddah, Mecca, Khobar and Nairan. The daring attempts were coordinated via Facebook and Twitter, a sign that new technologies may be helping Saudi women tackle century-old patriarchal traditions. As a result, Saudi authorities were forced to officially reassert that women would not be allowed to vote during the municipal elections, arguing that the electoral commission was “not ready” to collect their votes. On April 28, a Saudi feminist activist lodged a complaint against the government for having denied women the right sign up onto the electoral register. When we were at the centre, we insisted on the fact that there is no law which states that we cannot vote [Saudi electoral law grants “all citizens” the right to vote, ed.]. It is exactly the same case for the driving ban. These bans have become the norm but when you ask which law prevents you from doing this or that, we always get the same response: “We’ll discuss it later”. Today we are hoping to obtain basic rights which will mean that we are no longer treated like children. For the moment, we are not asking for total equality between the sexes. All we want is the right to vote, the right to move around freely, and the end of the masculine guardian system (a system which places women, from birth, under the legal authority of a man). At the end of the 1950s, King Faycal decided to set up schools for girls, even though a lot of people were against it. He did it because he knew that it was the right thing to do. One can’t imagine such a gesture happening today. It’s a shame because the county is ready for change. My husband and the men in my family all support me. Even the man that you can see in the video was friendly. He was certainly surprised but he finished by saying: “It’s great that you came. We don’t understand why the government doesn’t move forward.”
Aboriginal Women and Feminism: How do feminist principles and Aboriginal teachings from local territories intersect? Is there such thing as Aboriginal Feminism(s)? Given Canada’s context of colonization and systemic privileging of some over others, how have feminists been able to stand as allies with Aboriginal women and activists? Darla Goodwin speaks about matriarchal leadership, respect across genders, histories of oppression, and advice for allies.The interview commences at 14:50 mins.
The maternal mortality rate in rural regions of northern Vietnam is 10 times higher than the national average. In this observational film we follow a Hmong ethnic minority midwife who has been trained to provide maternal care to her community in the isolated Chi Ca commune. We observe her journeys into the harsh mountain terrain, her work tending to pregnant women and her efforts to change the Hmong's cultural attitudes towards maternal health against a backdrop of poverty and remoteness. Filmmakers: Nick Ahlmark and Nicole Precel/Storytime Films This is a beautiful and inspirational story. Please take 25 mins of your time to watch. (Comment by CSullivan)
Gender equality and gender development's question moves around the ‘power' women held. Indian women regardless of their caste, religion or class, have never enjoyed equal status in the society even in their families. Although constitutional and legal safeguards and several empowerment programs and policies of their development have improved the status of women, yet they lack power in many fields and hence they are subordinate to men. The meaning of gender equality in true sense is to provide equal or same opportunities for men and women in every walk of life. Government has introduced a number of programs and initiatives for 360 degree societal and economic development of Indian women along with the minority classes. The success of these programs duly depends on the strategic scanning of environment, to formulate the rational policies and their successful implementation. This article has extracted from the research on Gender Equality and Present Status of Indian Women conducted by Dr. Neeraja Sharma. She is an Associate Professor at Accurate Institute of Management and Technology.
The Women's Fund of Omaha notes that few women serve on the city's most influential corporate boards.Women, who make up more than half of the nation's management and professional positions, hold about 3 percent of CEO spots at the nation's Fortune 500 companies and fill about 16 percent of those companies' board seats. That's according to Catalyst, an international nonprofit that measures women in leadership.In Omaha, the corresponding numbers are zero and 11 percent. "It's important to have a board with diverse viewpoints, particularly for companies interested in marketing to women", said Monica McGrath, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, where 40 percent of MBA students are women. “Boards who do not access (women) run the risk of losing a vital source of talent and perspective,” she said. The three-fold explanation long given for women's absence in top corporate spots is pipeline, contacts and choices. Women may enter an industry in strong numbers but few make it to the top in part because they're cut out of the formal and informal male networks, and many opt out. Frustrated women might seek more fulfilling work elsewhere or dial back careers to care for children or aging family members. Business management professor Mary Uhl-Bien offers a fourth explanation: homophily — or bonding with, liking, then hiring “people like you." "This goes to diversity in general, not just women,” said Uhl-Bien, who holds the Howard Hawks Chair in Business Ethics and Leadership at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Thursday evening's Take Back the Night at Ohio State was no event for fair-weather feminists. Despite strong winds, temperatures of about 50 degrees and intermittent rain, more than a hundred people participated in the annual WARR (Women and Allies Rising in Resistance) event to protest gendered violence. "Take Back the Night is an event that's been going on since the 70s," said Tess Sabo, the event coordinator. "It's a response to violence in the streets, and violence in our homes, violence against women, sexual assault and other forms of abuse. It's designed to raise awareness and empowerment, and hopefully to eventually bring an end to violence." This year's theme was "Back to Our Roots," where the focus was taken away from the distinction between second and third wave feminism in favor of best practices and success stories.Many participants spoke on the efforts to end gendered violence being a responsibility of men as well as women. While the march was exclusively for women, men did participate in the other aspects of the event by discussing their role in ending the rape culture. Kenny Myers, a second-year in international studies, built a collaboration between WAAR and College Democrats for Ohio State. "It's okay to be a man and be a feminist. You're not losing your masculinity," Myers said. "In fact it's actually quite masculine to be able to stand up for a woman instead of committing a crime against her.
The theme of Women’s Worlds 2011 is “Inclusions, exclusions, and seclusions: Living in a globalized world”. Why? Where globalization and women are concerned, provocative questions abound: Does globalization include, exclude, and/or seclude women? As global hierarchies realign, how are gender roles and identities evolving? How are social identifications like power, privilege, citizenship, and nation affected? Ours is an increasingly integrated world – one where boundaries are shifting under growing flows of capital, goods, power … and people. Who and where we are as individuals and communities becomes less clear within this contemporary, globalized context. Around the world, women are grappling with changing political, cultural, economic, social, and environmental realities. And the effects of numerous crises – be they economic, ecological, or health-related – intensify obstacles to women’s equality. Globalization has contributed to the destabilization and marginalization of women and communities. Yet certain consequences have yielded positive results for women. Globalization has meant enhanced communications and organizing – trans-national connectivity that must be deepened as women’s organizations and networks struggle to sustain themselves and maintain resilience in the face of forces that oppose women's equality. Women’s Worlds 2011 will be a place for the exploration of these complex matters through reflection, learning, and sharing a variety of ideas and experiences – especially those of women most deeply affected. This site contains a video archive in which acclaimed actor, producer, and former parliamentarian TINA KEEPER (from Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba, Canada), talks about the new needs for Indigenous feminism and the role of Aboriginal and Indigenous women at Women's Worlds 2011. A health worker, Acadian organizer, Aboriginal leader, student activist, political strategist, community organizer, international development campaigner, filmmaker, queer activist, and others share why they look forward to WW 2011.
A year into the Tory coup, it is no great surprise that Cameron has the confidence to say in public what he really thinks. His "calm down, dear" remark to Angela Eagle clearly gave Gideon a cheap thrill. "Reactionary men think reactionary things," is not a shock. What is, though, is the view taken at face value that this is funny. It reveals the sense of humour of a 70-year-old guy trapped in the body of a 40-something. Icky! We look forward to some cutting-edge Benny Hill quips.As I keep saying, we are going backwards. The last election sidelined women as wives. As the Tories secure their position, there is an increasingly public anti-women rhetoric in situ. The mantra of conservative culture that "feminism has gone too far" is ringing in our ears. Indeed, many younger women, having seen their mothers' generation over-stretched, may well opt out of the having-it-all means doing-it-all scenario. Nonetheless, young women cannot assume that the rights won by their mothers' generation are extended to them. Especially in the field of employment. The push for equality stopped years ago. We have stalled. Women need to wake up to what has really happened. Listen to Sheryl Sandberg addressing a conference at TED. Sandberg is Facebook's chief operations officer, and talking about the situation in the US, but it applies here too: "My generation, really sadly, is not going to change the numbers at the top. They are just not moving. We are 50% of the population, but in my generation there will not be 50% of women at the top of any industry." This is from a woman in her early 40s who is hugely successful. This is the context in which we celebrate the marriage of a woman who works part-time to be available for her man. This is the context in which we are voting for a more representative voting system. This is the context in which equality has not been achieved, yet a regressive, conservative establishment is bearing down on women's rights. This is the context in which Cameron tells a woman to 'calm down'. I say, do the opposite. Dears.
BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – Women workers in Asia face the risk of “persistent vulnerability, poverty and exploitation” despite a recovering economy and their huge potential due to prejudice, according to a report by the International Labour Organisation and Asian Development Bank. A large majority of women here are stuck in lower-end, lower-pay jobs in vulnerable, informal and insecure sectors with little social protection and at the lowest rung of the global supply chain, it said. While progress has been made in past decades addressing gender inequalities, “discrimination against women remains pervasive throughout the labour markets of the region,” Women and labour markets in Asia: Rebalancing Gender Equality said. According to the report, the Asia Pacific region is losing $24 billion to $47 billion annually because of women’s limited access to employment opportunities and another $16 billion to $30 billion as a result of gender gaps in education. Also listen to the following radio broadcast on Radio Australia http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/connectasia/stories/201104/s3203663.htm
On Sunday, President Obama announced that the United States conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, and strongly proclaimed “justice has been done.” The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), US Section extends our hearts to all people who have suffered as a result of violent acts of terrorism, but deeply challenges the belief that “justice has been done” when the blood of another has been spilled – even if it was a person who caused great harm. In choosing, once again, to use force rather than to pursue justice through established rules of law, the US. Government missed out on profound opportunities to advance universal guarantees of human rights, strengthen peace and security, and open pathways for greater understanding and reconciliation.
Sadly, it is not surprising that Afghanistan is again ranked as the worst place in the world to be a mother, according to Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report, released Tuesday. It’s difficult to build a stable democracy when health, education and opportunity indicators for women and children are so low. U.S. policymakers must remember: An investment in people that improves their chances to survive and progress is an investment in U.S. national security. Helping the civilian population has long been a key component of the U.S. national security strategy, because encouraging economic opportunity and optimism is one of the surest defenses against instability and radicalism. In Afghanistan, as elsewhere, that means listening to the concerns of women, who are half the population and affect the development of the future generations. Washington spent about $667 billion on defense last year, but only $17 billion on humanitarian and poverty-focused development assistance. How much more could we have accomplished if we had invested a lot more, and much earlier, in things like hospitals and schools and midwives and medicine for the women and children of Afghanistan and other developing countries?
Malawi is a small country in southern Africa, neighboured by Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania. The women living in this country have experienced great challenges in gaining access to political and leadership positions. Since Malawi attained democracy in 1994, it has achieved some gains in women’s participation the political domain, particularly an increase in women’s parliamentary representation. However, the country compares poorly with many of its African neighbours, in terms of development of gender equality. Patrimonial rhetoric remains prevalent and constrains Malawian women who seek to engage in political and governance spheres. Spaces for women to participate and make their voices heard are very limited. “While there are currently more women in parliamentary seats than ever before in Malawi’s history, the overall representation of women in key decision-making positions in Malawi remains low,” Malawian women have a long history of forming and participating in organisations such as saving-clubs, church groups, entrepreneurial clubs, arts and crafts groups and the like. They are eager to engage in public life and improve their prospects for political inclusion. Now, many of these groups are working with Government to overcome common challenges Malawian women face, including the inheritance of property after the death of a husband, domestic violence, poor access to education and the lack of political spaces to make their voices heard. The process of promoting gender equality in Malawi may be a slow process, but definite, positive steps are being made on this journey. By Veleska Langeveldt
What will happen to Afghan women when the United States begins withdrawing troops later this year? Will women be thrown under the bus as soldiers head for the exits? To find out what Afghan women think, my colleague Sarah Smiles Persinger and I authored the report Afghan Women Speak, based on more than 50 interviews in Kabul with policymakers, diplomats, military officers, and most importantly Afghan women, including female parliamentarians, activists, health and NGO workers. The women we interviewed realize they cannot achieve progress in a militarized environment. They favor a peace process and reconciliation with the Taliban and insurgent groups. But they do not want a peace that is purchased at their expense.The challenge is how to demilitarize while preserving the gains women have achieved in recent years. Many stakeholders in the West have had high expectations about empowering Afghan women, but we have learned over the past decade that deeply rooted gender prejudices and misogyny will not be erased rapidly and certainly not by outside forces. Nonetheless the United States and other donor states have significant leverage, which must be used to improve security, preserve women's political rights, support Afghan women's organizations actively working for change, and sustain programs for public health, education, and economic opportunity that have improved women's lives. By David Cortright, the Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
In the lawless eastern region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, press freedom means having a voice to speak out against horrific violence against women and children. This World Press Freedom Day, the International Center for Journalists has teamed up with Vital Voices to help Congolese radio reporter Chouchou Namegabe, ICFJ's 2009 Knight International Award Winner and Vital Voices' 2009 Fern Holland Award recipient. Chouchou's hard-hitting radio reports convinced the International Court of Justice in The Hague to declare rape a weapon of war. During 15 years of war, hundreds of thousands of women and girls have been raped and tortured in the Congo. After meeting with Chouchou, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the perpetrators as war criminals. Chouchou is not only giving these women a voice in their community. She is also giving them the skills to expose injustice through radio reports. But she can't do this alone. Chouchou is desperate for funds to conduct much-needed basic journalism training for rural women eager to tell their community's stories.In honor of World Press Freedom Day on May 3, our organizations seek to raise $45,000 for Chouchou and her network of women journalists. With this money, we will provide much-needed training and basic equipment for Chouchou's network of Congolese women, enabling them to speak out against these crimes. All proceeds will go directly to help Chouchou. On this World Press Freedom Day, please make a contribution so that women in the Congo can cover these atrocities--and ultimately live without fear of abuse.
TED Talks Blogger Courtney Martin examines the perennially loaded word "feminism" in this personal and heartfelt talk. She talks through the three essential paradoxes of her generation's quest to define the term for themselves.
Today, illegal abortions are the leading cause of death among young women in Latin America. Whether they are performed in major cities or in the isolated countryside, these 'back room' abortions are leaving thousands of young women dead each year. Guatemala has the highest fertility rate among women and yet it remains the poorest country in the region where women can ill afford large families. Unwanted pregnancies, coupled with the forces of tradition and politics, leave few options for these families. Through the work of an activist and the medical team she leads, this film explores the questions of family planning, which many see as the right to life. Maternal health is about more than just mothers and babies. Across the globe the very business of delivering life into the world is determined by power, politics and, all too frequently, poverty. From rural Vietnam to urban America, Birthrights examines the challenges surrounding childbirth. Warning: documentary contains some graphic and disturbing content.
There is still just one country with a female parliamentary majority: Rwanda, according to the latest numbers from the Inter-Parliamentary Union. According to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, currently 50.9 percent of its parliamentary seats are held by female politicians (56.3 percent in the country’s lower house, and 34.6 percent in its upper house). Around the world, 19.2 percent of all national parliamentary positions (including seats in the upper house or senate, where applicable) are held by women. Of the 181 countries for which data was provided, the United States ranked almost exactly in the middle: 92nd, just above Turkmenistan.
A UN-based women's group criticises the lack of response by candidates in the Welsh assembly election to its open letter raising gender equality issues.The Wales Assembly for Women asked every candidate standing on 5 May about their commitment to women's interests. So far, fewer than 10% have responded. Describing the response as "woeful", Wales Assembly for Women chair Adele Baumgardt, said: "Why aren't potential candidates really engaging with 52% of this voting population?" She added: "We know that women's votes very often make the difference for political candidates." Ms Baumgardt said the responses, or lack of responses, had to be seen in a wider context. She told BBC Radio Wales's Sunday Supplement: "We see quite a dismantling of what's been fought for and attained over the last 40 years of feminism in terms of women's representation and getting the women's voice on the policy context. "There's this concept that feminism has been done, women've got everything, there's no glass ceiling any more - all of which I would refute quite strongly. But there is a wider lack of acceptance that taking a generic, equality approach towards policies and the political context will do the job for women. Actually what we know is that it won't. There needs to be a distinctive, feminist, gender, sex-equality agenda in policy."
One more Labour Day is observed across the world to give credit to workers and to pay tribute to them. Through casting a glance at history, it becomes clear that in the 19th century, particularly during its last decade, various social movements emerged like a storm against the oppressors for getting due rights. The well-known movements were women’s suffrage movement, labour movement, progressive movement, environmental movement and so forth. It witnessed a huge and significant change in the globe, and can be called an era of re-formation of old traditions. Through analysing the division of labour in a male chauvinistic society, one can find two major types of labour, on the basis of gender, that are paid and unpaid workers. Majority of women in Pakistan passing through the ‘suffrage’ era, and are still deprived socio-culturally and politico-economically depicting the last decade of 19th century. They are yet fighting the same war for their rights that was fought by the first wave of feminism under the pioneer-ship Mary Wollstonecraft.
CAIRO: The Alliance for Arab Women, which comprises women’s rights activists from across Egypt and the Arab world, is planning a women’s protest in Tahrir Square this Sunday, which coincides with the Egyptian Labor Day. “What is going on at the moment in terms of marginalization of women needs a stand and the protest is to tell decision-makers that we are here and have to be put on the map,” said Hoda Badran, head of the Alliance for Arab Women. “Furthermore, this ongoing campaign of referring to all the laws that grant women rights as ‘Suzanne’s laws’ and calling for their cancelation is completely unfair because we can’t personalize laws,” she explained. Women’s rights activists have recently expressed their concern that the accomplishments in terms of women’s rights during the last 30 years may be washed away because of their association with former first lady Suzanne Mubarak. Some people were even calling for the disbandment of the National Council for Women, which acted as a lobby for female rights as they directly associat it with the former first lady. “These laws have been a step forward in the right direction and we have to continue down this path and pursue our rights,” said Badran. She said that they will be in Tahrir Square with banners stating their different demands, which include not associating women’s issue with the former first lady and regime; not canceling any of the laws pertaining to women’s rights; and finally the participation of women in all forms of decision-making.
On the March 8th, amidst celebrations for International Women’s Day, YWCA Australia launched the CEDAW Action Plan for Women in Australia. The CEDAW Action Plan highlights 15 points that the Federal and State and Territory Governments, must work towards in responding to the international community’s concerns about the human rights of Australian women. The Action Plan is based on findings released by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). In July 2010, the performance of the Australian Government under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was reviewed at the United Nations. The CEDAW Committee released Concluding Observations that commended Australia’s performance in certain areas, and also highlighted several areas for improvement, including: - protection from violence - public and political representation - education and employment - the anti-discrimination and human rights legal framework and - in particular, the need to improve the universe of human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, and women with disabilities.
UN Women Australia commissioned a short documentary to be made to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day. ‘On Her Shoulders’ follows the history of International Women’s Day and the struggles women have faced. In addition, it looks at what still needs to be achieved to ensure that gender equality can be fully realised.that outlines the progress of women's rights in Australia. There is a link to the 11 minute video on this site. DON'T MISS IT!