GLOBAL UPDATES: Women's Rights

 

 

 

 

 
INDEX
 

 

 

  CELEBRATION OF BLACK MOTHERHOOD

WAITING FOR THE BOOM

WOMEN'S MARCHES

IVANKA TRUMP'S WEST WING AGENDA<

WOMAN FORCIBLY TAKEN TO SAUDI ARABIA WHILE SEEKING ASYLUM

FEARLESS GIRL STATUE

STEPPING OUT, MELANIA TRUMP HONORS WOMEN AFFECTED BY BIAS AND ABUSE

FIVE STEPS TO A FEMINIST FOREIGN POLICY

MEET 11 OF THE FEMINISTS IN THE 115TH CONGRESS

THE PLACE IN CHINA WHERE THE WOMEN LEAD

GENDER IS ON THE BALLOT

POLAND BACKS DOWN ON TOTAL ABORTION BAN AFT3ER MASSIVE PROTEST

REPORTING ON FORCED MARRIAGE IN THE U.S.

IN PRAISE OF WILLFUL GIRLS

CINDY GALLOP:ON THE JOB SEXISM GOES BEYOND SAATCHI & SAATCHI

GENDER GAP:The Women's Vote in the High Stakes Election of 2016

IN THE MALDIVES, GENDER EQUALITY IS ON THE WAY

THE NEXT SYLVIA PLATH? SCHOLASTIC WINNERS TALK FEMINISM, IDENTITY AND ART

GLORIA STEINEM LINKS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN WITH GLOBAL INSTABILITY

CONGRESSWOMEN LAUNCH FIRST EVER CAUCUS ON BLACK WOMEN & GIRLS

6 REASONS WE STILL NEED INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

WHY THE NEXT U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL MUST BE A WOMAN AND A FEMINIST

WANT PEACE? BRING WOMEN TO THE TABLE

SAUDI WOMEN BEGIN HISTORIC MUNICIPAL ELECTION

MEET THE COOL GIRLS AT A HIGH SCHOOL IN KABAL: #15GIRLS

MASS KILLINGS IN THE U.S:Masculinity, Masculinity,Masculinity

WHEELS OF CHANGE: Afghan Women Ride Bikes Despite Threats and Opposition

MATRIARCHY ON THE MARCH

OUR PROBLEM WITH POWERFUL WOMEN

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR CREATING HIV TEST

HOW TO SPOT A FEMINIST

FOUR SENTENCED TO DEATH, EIGHT TO PRISON FOR BRUTAL MURDER OF AFGHAN WOMAN

BRUTALLY MURDERED AFGHAN WOMAN BECOMES SYMBOL FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS

UN FINDS 'ALARMINGLY HIGH' LEVELS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

GIRL'S EDUCATION: A NEW PRIORITY FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

MALAWI'S PARLIAMENT VOTED UNANIMOUOSLY TO END CHILD MARRIAGE

SAUDI WOMEN STILL CAN'T DRIVE, BUT THEY ARE MAKING IT TO WORK

MOTHER,EMPRESS, VIRGIN, FAITH: 'Picturing Mary' And Her Many Meanings

FOREVER YOUNG:A Public Dialogue Between bell hooks & Gloria Steinem

FOR WOMEN, AN 'INFINITE VARIETY OF PATHS'

NON-VIOLENT MEN;THE NEW SILENT MAJORITY

EMMA WATSON SPEAKS ON FEMINISM AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS AT THE UN

SEEING WOMEN AS KEY TO ECONOMY, JAPAN'S LEADER NAMES 5 TO CABINET

BEYONCE AT THE VMAS:FEMINIST AND FLAWLESS

WHERE WOMEN FILL MORE THAN 50% OF GOVERNMENT SEATS

IS "LEAN IN" FAUX FEMINISM?

SINCE GENOCIDE, RWANDA'S WOMEN HAVE HELPED LEAD RECOVERY

JIMMY CHARTER ISSUES 'CALL TO ACTON' AGAINST SUBJUGATION OF WOMEN

THANK YOU WHITE HOUSE FOR TAKING ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

JANET YELLEN'S NOMINATION JUST CHANGED THE GAME FOR ECONOMISTS

BOSTON AIMS TO EASE GENDER PAY GAP

INDIA'S WORKPLACE CASES HIGHLIGHT ABUSE AGAINST WOMEN

ON ELECTION DAY, LATIN AMERICA WILLINGLY TRADES MACHISMO FOR FEMALE CLOUT

IN AFGHANISTAN, WOMEN BETRAYED

HOW SENATE WOMEN SHAPED THE BUDGET DEAL

WE ARE WHAT FEMINIST LOOK LIKE

GIRLS TWEETING THEIR WAY TO POWER

A GROUNDBREAKING WOMAN'S FILM FROM SAUDI ARABIA

SEX AND THE CITADEL

KUNIN:SHERYL SANDBERG AND MARISSA MAYER

SEXUAL VIOLENCE VICTIMS SAY MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM IS 'BROKEN'

LEAN IN: WHAT'S HOLDING WOMEN BACK

HOUSE PASSES VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

INTERNATIONALIZATION OF WOMEN'S ISSUES

REPORT BLASTS INDIA'S TREATMENT OF WOMEN

UK HIGH COURT RULES FOR EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN

WHY DO THEY HATE US?

LET'S END CHILD MARRIAGE IN A GENERATION

SOME FIND HOPE IN AFGHAN BRIDE'S ABUSE

I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE:The Secret Life of Girls Around the World

MASS MARCH BY CAIRO WOMEN IN PROTEST OVER SOLDIERS’ ABUSE

3 WOMEN'S RIGHTS LEADERS ACCEPT NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

RAPE AS A WEAPON OF WAR

TALKING THEIR WAY OUT OF A POPULATION CRISIS

AFTER THE REVOLUTION, ARAB WOMEN SEEK MORE RIGHTS

THINK! ENCOURAGING GIRLS TO STAY SMART IN A DUMB-DOWN WORLD

THE END OF MEN

WOMEN RISE IN RWANDA'S ECONOMIC REVIVAL

FIXING THE ECONOMY? IT'S WOMEN'S WORK

THE DEATH OF MACHO

THE WOMEN'S CRUSADE

 

 

 

 

CELEBRATION OF BLACK MOTHERHOOD

Beyoncé Is Not The Magical Negro Mammy

Beyoncé's ethereal, multimedia celebration of pregnancy in her Grammy Awards performance of "Love Drought" and "Sandcastles" was nothing less than stunning: With airy yellow goddess robes floating about her crowned head and her baby, Blue Ivy, joyfully prancing and giggling around her bare, pregnant belly, she created a powerful, dramatic piece of art, an exultant narrative for black motherhood.

It's a narrative that follows in the footsteps of exemplary black mothers like first lady Michelle Obama, the self-styled "mom in chief" who shaped her legacy in the White House around her role as a working mother dedicated to the concerns of America's children; and actress Jada Pinkett, who regularly expounds on her nontraditional but dedicated parenting style; and TV executive Shonda Rhimes, who has often waxed poetic about her role as a mother shaping daughters who will grow up to be powerful women. -Denene Millner

Serena Williams' Nude Pregnancy Photos Published in Vanity Fair Are A Joyful Celebration Of Black Motherhood

African-American mothers had a hard start on this continent. Enslaved, abused and often separated from their own children. And still, they mothered on. Lately, there are dramatic new images of black motherhood front and center in this country. Tennis great Serena Williams, pregnant, nude and boldly glowing on the cover of Vanity Fair. Superstar Beyoncé, resplendent with twins on Instagram. This hour On Point: old and new images of black motherhood in America. -- Tom Ashbrook, NPR OnPoint

To read more and listen to recording click here

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WAITING FOR THE BOOM

Micaela Brinsley

MS Blog

7/10/17

A study from Politico revealed that the United States now ranks 101st in the world when it comes to gender equity in national legislatures—down from 52nd in 1997. Less than a quarter of elected offices are currently held by women. According to the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics, women now make up 19.4 percent of Congress, 24.9 percent of state legislatures, 12 percent of governors, and about 20 percent of mayors...

After approximately 4.2 million people attended more than 600 women’s marches nationwide in January, organizations that train potential female candidates report massive increases in interest from women interested in running for office.

To read more click here

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WOMEN'S MARCHES

To view additional marches worldwide click here

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IVANKA TRUMP'S WEST WING AGENDA

By JODI KANTOR, RACHEL ABRAMS and MAGGIE HABERMAN

New York Times

5/2/2017

A month before Donald J. Trump was elected president, he and his aides watched his daughter’s coolly composed surface crack open.

Inside Trump Tower, the candidate was preparing for a debate when an aide rushed in with news that The Washington Post was about to publish an article saying that Mr. Trump had bragged about grabbing women’s private parts. As Ivanka Trump joined the others waiting to see a video of the episode, her father insisted that the description of his comments did not sound like him.

When the recording finally showed he was wrong, Mr. Trump’s reaction was grudging: He agreed to say he was sorry if anyone was offended. Advisers warned that would not be enough.

Ivanka Trump made an emphatic case for a full-throated apology, according to several people who were present for the crisis discussion that unfolded in Mr. Trump’s 26th-floor office. Raised amid a swirl of tabloid headlines, she had spent her adult life branding herself as her father’s poised, family-focused daughter. She marketed her clothing line with slogans about female empowerment and was finishing a book on the topic. As she spoke, Mr. Trump remained unyielding. His daughter’s eyes welled with tears, her face reddened, and she hurried out in frustration.

Seven months later, Ms. Trump is her father’s all-around West Wing confidante, an adviser whose portfolio appears to have few parameters, making her among the highest-ranking women in a senior staff stocked almost entirely with men.

The two trade thoughts from morning until late at night, according to aides. Even though she has no government or policy experience, she plans to review some executive orders before they are signed, according to White House officials. She calls cabinet officials on issues she is interested in, recently asking the United Nations ambassador, Nikki R. Haley, about getting humanitarian aid into Syria. She set up a weekly meeting with Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary.

In interviews last week, she said she intended to act as a moderating force in an administration swept into office by nationalist sentiment. Other officials added that she had weighed in on topics including climate, deportation, education and refugee policy.

Even as Ms. Trump said she was seeking to exert more influence, she acknowledged she was a novice about Washington. “I’m still at the early stages of learning how everything works,” she said, “but I know enough now to be a much more proactive voice inside the White House.”

Ms. Trump, 35, a former model, entrepreneur and hotel developer, says she will focus on gender inequality in the United States and abroad, by aiming to create a federal paid leave program, more affordable child care and a global fund for women who are entrepreneurs, among other efforts. Her interest in gender issues grew out of a “Women Who Work” hashtag and marketing campaign she devised a few years ago to help sell $99 pumps and $150 dresses. On Tuesday, the career advice book she worked on before the election, whose title echoes her hashtag, will be published.

By inserting herself into a scalding set of gender dynamics, she is becoming a proxy for dashed dreams of a female presidency and the debate about President Trump’s record of conduct toward women and his views on them. Critics see her efforts as a brash feat of Trump promotion — an unsatisfying answer to the 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording that surfaced during the campaign and the seas of pink, cat-eared “pussy hats” worn by protesters after the inauguration — by a woman of extraordinary privilege who has learned that feminism makes for potent branding. (Ms. Trump is not promoting her book for ethics reasons.)

In the two interviews last week, Ms. Trump talked about unleashing the economic potential of women — some of her phrases sounding uncannily like those of Hillary Clinton — and effused about finding a new role model in Eleanor Roosevelt, whose autobiography she is reading. Ms. Trump is reaching out to influential women like Ginni Rometty, chief executive of IBM, and Mary T. Barra, the C.E.O. of General Motors, and studying up on child care policy. She waved away questions about her motivations for embracing feminist themes.To read more click here

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WOMAN FORCIBLY TAKEN TO SAUDI ARABIA WHILE SEEKING ASYLUM

Erin Gistaro

Ms.Blog

April 21, 2017

Dina Ali Lasloom, a 24-year-old Saudi woman, was attempting to seek asylum in Australia last week before she was detained at the airport in Manila, Philippines and forcibly sent back to Saudi Arabia against her will...

Moudhi Aljohani, a Saudi women’s rights advocate who was in contact with Lasloom throughout her ordeal, posted videos and updates from the airport in a desperate attempt to solicit help from the international human rights community. Videos posted by eyewitnesses show Lasloom screaming for her life, insisting that the men she was with were going to either kill her or deliver her to someone who would.

“I knew when she contacted me—which was unfortunately too late because she was already detained, the Saudi embassy was already involved—I knew that this woman might be taken back and killed and silenced like hundreds of women in Saudi Arabia who have been killed for honor,” Aljohani said in an interview with Ms. “No one knows about these women, no one knows their names. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I wanted to make sure Dina’s name was out there. I didn’t want her to be killed in silence.”To read more click here

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FEARLESS GIRL STATUE WILL KEEP STARING DOWN WALL STREET'S BULL

Ryan W. Mille

USA Today

March 27. 2017

The "Fearless Girl" will continue staring down Wall Street's "Charging Bull" for at least one more year...After her installation on the eve of International Women's Day, the "Fearless Girl" has drawn widespread attention. Tourists have taken countless pictures with the girl and dressed her with both pink Pussyhats from the Women's March to red Make American Great Again caps from President Trump's campaign.To read more click here

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STEPPING OUT, MELANIA TRUMP HONORS WOMEN AFFECTED BY BIAS AND ABUSE

Mark Landler

New York Times

March 29, 2017

WASHINGTON — Melania Trump has been a spectral presence since her husband became president. But on Wednesday, the first lady stepped out of the shadows, speaking out on behalf of women who battle gender discrimination and violence around the world.

Wherever women are diminished, the entire world is diminished with them,” Mrs. Trump said at a ceremony at the State Department that honored 13 women who have faced rapists, acid-wielding attackers and the prejudiced courts that often protect them.

Speaking softly but firmly, from a teleprompter, Mrs. Trump challenged the members of her audience to put themselves in the shoes of these women — victims of domestic abuse, gender bias, or violence — who fought laws and social norms that sought to perpetuate the injustice.

“Ask yourself if you would have the fortitude of spirit, the courage of your convictions, and the enormous inner strength required to stand up and fight against such overwhelming odds,” Mrs. Trump said, gesturing to the women, from Yemen to Sri Lanka, arrayed behind her.

“Together,” she said, “we must declare that the era of allowing the brutality against women and children is over, while affirming that the time for empowering women around the world is now.”

It was a pointed message for Mrs. Trump to deliver given the tumultuous last weeks of the 2016 campaign, when Donald J. Trump came under withering fire for his crude language about women after the release of a 10-year-old video from the television program “Access Hollywood.”

Mrs. Trump’s speech was her first since becoming first lady, apart from brief remarks at another women’s event at the White House. . .

Mrs. Trump did not mention the president in her eight minutes of remarks. But she left little doubt she believes the White House should act as a guardian of women’s rights around the world. “Together with the international community,” she said, “the United States must send a clear message that we are watching.” “As leaders of our shared global community,” Mrs. Trump said, “we must continue to work towards gender empowerment and respect for people from all backgrounds and ethenicities, remembering always that we are all ultimately members of one race, the human race.” To read more click here ,/font size="4" style="line-height:200%">

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FIVE STEPS TO A FEMINIST FOREIGN POLICY

Jolynn Shoemaker and Sahana Dharmapur

Ms Blog

December 23, 2016

Today, in the United States of America, we need a feminist foreign policy more than ever.

Feminist foreign policy can be and should be a goal for the United States of America. The next administration should build on what has been learned about the correlations between equality, participation and peace. These are the five steps they have to take in order to do it.

1. Ask how American actions will affect women, men, girls and boys around the world differently.

2. Recognize that gender equality is central to American leadership.

3. Uphold global women’s rights principles.

4. Engage in diplomacy with civil society. Listen to women activists around the world.

5. Appoint leaders—men and women—who are champions of gender equality.

To read more click here

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MEET 11 OF THE FEMINISTS IN THE 115TH CONGRESS

Ms.Blog Editors

Ms. Blog

January 7, 2017

The 115th Congress was sworn in this week, and an impressive crop of new feminist women were among them—leaders who will take up the fight for women’s rights in the Senate and the House. There will be more women of color than ever in the U.S. House, and a diverse group of four women are making history as members of the Senate. Overall, women gained one seat in the Senate and lost one in the House this session—but there will be 10 new women House members, six of them women of color and two who defeated Republican incumbents to add to the net pickup of six seats for House Democrats.To read profiles of newly elected Congresswomen click here.

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THE PLACE IN CHINA WHERE THE WOMEN LEAD

Anthony Kuhn

NPR Weekend Edition

November 26, 20016

Have you ever wondered how matrilineal societies functioned in Paleolithic and Neolithic times? Now we have living proof that such a society can function smoothly and in a far more harmonious way than modern patrilineal society. Although patrilineal societies have been in existence for over 5000 years, in China a small matrilineal community still thrives to the present day. Thanks to a report aired on National Public Radio we have a close-up account of how such a community has thrived since Neolithic times when matrilineal societies were universal not the exception. As we learn from this report it is a society that is totally egalitarian, money is distributed equally and there is no divorce.

MOSUO CHINA

Nazhu says everyone in her family does whatever they're best at.

"My mom feeds the pigs and chickens," she explains. "I take care of relations with the businessmen, and paperwork for the inn, such as permits and contracts." Her mom is the honorary head of the household, but Nazhu herself manages the family's finances. Family members give her any money they make, for her to allocate as she sees fit.

In traditional Mosuo families, brothers and sisters live their whole lives together in the same house. They live with their mothers, and their mothers' brothers and sisters. Households can have three or four generations and dozens of people in one home, all of them related by blood, and none by marriage.

"Our language has no word for aunt," Geze explains. "Your mother's sisters are all your mothers. Which one gave birth to you is not important."

Everyone shares the family's belongings equally, he continues, as well as responsibility for raising their sisters' kids. The kids take their mother's surname. How many children to have, and when, is up to the women to decide themselves, with perhaps some consultation from other family members.

"I don't think I ever discussed whether or not to have children with my husband," Nazhu Zhuoma says matter-of-factly. "It seems he didn't really have much to do with it." She and her husband Zhaba Songding did manage to have two kids. He takes care of them while she works. But he doesn't live with her. He spends the nights with his wife, and returns in the mornings with the children to spend the days at home with his mom, where his siblings and maternal relatives also live.

In a "walking marriage," it's the men who do the walking. Before he got his wife's family's permission to marry her, Zhaba admits he didn't get much sleep.

"I had to sneak into her home after her family had gone to sleep around midnight or 1 a.m.," he recalls, "and leave at around 5 or 6 a.m. before they woke up." Thanks to this arrangement, the Mosuo say, male-female relationships are free of possessiveness, jealousy or regard for economic status, and their society has practically no widows or orphans, no war or crime.

Of course, they admit, it is also a survival mechanism. With the advent of tourism, survival is no longer an issue for the Mosuo, and so their social structure has begun to erode, as they opt for smaller families with higher incomes.

Geze Duoji estimates that roughly a quarter of Mosuo people have abandoned matrilineal families. He says there have only been two periods of serious damage to the matrilineal system in recent history. The first time was during the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution, when matrilineal families were banned.

The other is the present day, since the beginning of tourism. Chinese tourism to Lugu lake began in the early 1980s. Foreigners were allowed in in the early 1990s. Nazhu Zhuoma says that the prospect of freedom from family pressures once tempted her to leave her mother's home.

"But because I'm an only daughter, I know I must inherit the family line, I mustn't shirk my responsibility to my family."

Geze Duoji says that most of the psychological pressure on the Mosuo comes from being misunderstood or looked down upon. He says may Chinese tourists see the Mosuo and their matrilineal society as primitive and weird.

"Many people say: 'You're so backward, now that you've met advanced people like us, why do you still practice these walking marriages?'" he says. "It makes me furious. We feel we have no way to interact with outsiders on an equal footing."

Geze says that many outsiders have the impression that Mosuo women lord it over men. In fact, he says, decisions are made democratically at family meetings, with each adult member having his or her say, and labor is divided in a humane and equitable fashion.

Men preside over everything related to death, he explains, such as funerals and slaughtering livestock, while women are in charge of everything related to birth and life.

Traditionally, the Mosuo's political leaders were often women. Today, most Mosuo officials are men, but this too is a division of labor, as the Mosuo feel men are better suited to act as envoys to the outside world of male-dominated politics.

Many Chinese and foreign journalists have reported that Mosuo couples signal romantic interest in each other by tickling the palms of the hands. Geze says that this is simply a myth propagated by tour guides to entertain tourists.

Much of the time, Geze says he tells inquisitive tourists that he's not Mosuo, so that he doesn't have to answer their bothersome questions.To read more click here

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GENDER IS ON THE BALLOT

Kelly Dittmar

Ms.Blog

November4,2016

Gender is on the ballot on Tuesday, but not in the way many of us expected. In fact, while early expectations were that the most prominent gender dynamics in 2016 would be about a woman breaking the highest, hardest glass ceiling in American politics, the reality is that this race may well serve as a referendum on the re-entrenchment of presidential masculinity. The masculine dominance of the presidency is quite literally on the ballot, not simply in the sex of the nominees, but in the behaviors, values, and agendas they espouse.To read more click here.

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POLAND BACKS DOWN ON TOTAL ABORTION BAN AFTER MASSIVE PROTEST

Aimée Lutkin

Jezebel

October 5,2016

Is there a lesson we can learn from from the Polish Protest?

It has been reported that "Thousands of protestors flooded the streets in Warsaw on Monday. Women and men dressed in black boycotted work and classes to let the conservative Law and Justice party know that they were not gonna take it. It looks like they’ve been heard, because on Wednesday, Senate speaker Stanislaw Karczewski has said that the upper house of parliament would not initiate work on the bill that would make the abortion ban law." To read more click here.

News Update:Poland's parliament has voted overwhelmingly to reject a controversial citizens' bill for a near-total ban on abortion..

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REPORTING ON FORCED MARRIAGE IN THE U.S.

Gayle Lemmon

Ms. Blog

Sept. 15, 2016

It is one thing to report on girls forced into marriage against their will while reporting in South Asia. Quite another in the South Bronx. Or Northern Virginia. I had written a lot of print stories and even some policy papers on child marriage, but had never even thought to consider whether I should investigate the subject of forced marriage here in the U.S.

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IN PRAISE OF WILLFUL GIRLS

Lyn Mikel Brown

Ms. Blog

September 1, 2016

SPARK

In June a rape survivor addressed her rapist directly in court and then sent her statement to BuzzFeed News. In July Black Lives Matter protester, Iesha Evans, courageously blocked advancing Baton Rouge police in full riot gear. In August, amidst a steady stream of sexist and racist commentary, women dominated the Rio Olympic games.

It’s easy to dismiss each brave act as unique, each remarkable young woman as special. This is our way. We are a country enamored with individual achievement. We’re like the cameras focusing on the few dissenters inside the Wells Fargo Arena, ignoring the mass of human protest outside. We miss the forest for the trees, and so things tend to creep up on us.

But it’s not easy being an interruption.

Events of these past months suggest we have greatly underestimated this generation of girls and young women. Collectively they are way smarter, way braver and far more strategic and powerful than anyone has given them credit for. This isn’t about an exceptional few rising above the many. This is something more like a tipping point, a sea change. To read more click here. Also check out sparkmovement. on Facebook.

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CINDY GALLOP; ON THE JOB SEXISM GOES BEYOND SAATCHI & SAATCHI

John Huckenberry

Take Away NPR

August 5, 2016

Sexual harassment in the workplace has been all over the news these past few weeks. Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes has resigned following allegations that he sexually harassed more than a dozen women at the network, and just this week, Donald Trump was roundly criticized for saying that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, "would find another career; find another company" if she was harassed on the job.

Questions of sexual harassment and sexism have now reached advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi. The company's former chairman, Kevin Roberts came under fire after he said gender equality was "not an issue" in an interview with Business Insider last week, and announced this week that he would resign his position effective September 1st. To listen to feminist Cindy Gallop being interviewed by Huckenberry on the state of sexism in the work place click here.

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GENDER GAP:The Women's Vote in the High Stakes Election of 2016

Katherine Spillar

Ms.Magazine

Summer 2016

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IN THE MALDIVES, GENDER EQUALITY IS ON THE WAY

Dunya Maumoon

Ms Blog

June 20, 2916

Clearly, the success of women directly reflects the success of a society as a whole. In the Maldives [a chain of island atolls south of India], we are starting to witness tangible benefits in terms of social cohesion and economic output, and we are not the only Muslim nation challenging the naysayers. In the last decade we have seen legal and political reforms in many countries including Gulf states such as Qatar and Bahrain. They may not be the giant leaps that would satisfy some critics, but in the context of centuries of entrenched social and political culture they remain benchmark moments, and if we dismiss efforts at reform, not matter how nascent, then we in turn damage these young movements before they have hardly begun.

As with so much social policy, our efforts in gender equality start with our young people. A more educated, healthy female population brings economic benefits in terms of a more dynamic workforce. Educated women are less likely become mothers too young and fall into a cycle of dependency. We must let women find their potential academically and then in their careers.

This year, we are proud to see 55 percent of students passing out of high school in 2015 were girls. In fact, gender parity in Maldivian schools was reached a few years ago. 100 percent of Maldivian children are now enrolled in primary school. Our co-ed policy is a strong and unmoveable principle that is entrenched in our education system.

The work is not over. Quality of education needs to improve and girls must be encouraged to go into non-stereotypical careers. Yet we are reaping the benefits of this inclusive education policy.

In Maldivian state owned companies, there is a target of at least a third of female board members. Most companies have already reached 30 percent, and in our central 80 percent of the managing teams are women. This level of parity would be unheard of on Wall Street or even in London. For a young nation with existing cultural and societal norms, these are impressive statistics. They also repudiate the lazy stereotypes and veiled ignorance towards post-colonial nations that often emerges from commentators abroad.To read more click here.

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THE NEXT SYLVIA PLATH? SCHOLASTIC WINNERS TALK FEMINISM, IDENTITY AND ART

John Hockenberry

The Takeaway, Public Radio International

June 3, 2016

Older generations complain that young people are obsessed with social media, and according to a recent study from UCLA, they aren't totally wrong. Scientists found that for teens in the study, getting "likes" on their photographs activated the same brain circuits as winning money or eating chocolate.

But some teens are actively working to be different from the culture of "liking." Shayla Grace Cabalan of Indianapolis and Sophia Mautz of Portland, Oregon, are both about to graduate from high school, and both recently received Gold Medal Portfolio from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Read more and listen to an audio clip of poets Shayla and Sophia by clicking here.

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GLORIA STEINEM LINKS VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN WITH GLOBAL INSTABILITY

John Hockenberry

NPR The Takeaway

May 10, 2016

Iconic feminist pioneer Gloria Steinem has been an outspoken champion of women's rights for more than five decades, and at 82-years-old, she's showing no signs of slowing down.

Steinem is the host and executive producer of the new series "Woman," which traces the link between violence against women and social instability. Click here to listen to Gloria Steinem being interviewed by John Hockenberry on "The Takeaway".

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CONGRESSWOMEN LAUNCH FIRST EVER CAUCUS ON BLACK WOMEN & GIRLS

Feminist Newswire

March 23, 2016

Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Robin Kelly (D-Il) and Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY) launched the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls yesterday, the first caucus to focus specifically on ways to combat discrimination and reduce disparities faced by Black women.

“From barriers in education, to a gender-based pay gap that widens with race, to disparities in both diagnoses and outcomes for many diseases, our society forces Black women to clear many hurdles faced by no other group, and asks them to do it with little assistance,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “Black women deserve a voice in a policy making process that frequently minimizes, or altogether ignores the systemic challenges they face. This caucus will speak up for them.”

There are currently over 430 registered congressional caucuses and Member organizations, but until yesterday, not one focused on the needs of Black women and girls. The Congresswomen intend for the newly created Caucus on Black Women and Girls to provide a forum for these voices to be heard on national policy issues.To read more click here.

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6 REASONS WE STILL NEED INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY

Shiromi Pinto

Ms. Blog

March 9, 2016

This article is for men and women who say "Feminism is no longer necessary, they have won all their wars so leave us alone and let us go on with our lives". Unfortunately, there are still battles to be confronted and reasons to observe INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY. Six reasons listed here make good talking points but in reality there are many more when considering all our sisters across the globe suffering under the yoke of patriarchy.

Shiromi Pinto reminds us in this article that "Women and girls may have scaled unimaginable heights in politics, science, arts, sports and business, but they are still struggling. Not just for equal pay, which is a concern on so many people’s minds today, but for their basic human rights. Nowhere is this plainer than in women’s struggle for their sexual and reproductive rights. Here are six reasons why we think International Women’s Day is more important than ever." To read more click here.

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WHY THE NEXT U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL MUST BE A WOMAN AND A FEMINIST

Françoise Girard

Ms. Blog

January 26, 2016

Ban Ki-moon, the current secretary-general of the United Nations, will step down at the end of 2016. Francoise Girard, president of the International Women’s Health Coalition, emphasizes that "...the next secretary-general must be an unequivocal champion for women’s human rights, including their sexual and reproductive rights. She must work to address inequality in all its forms and address the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that many women and girls face. She must commit to ensuring that women’s movements are not just observers in U.N. policymaking, but active and equal participants. She must ensure that women are in senior roles throughout the U.N. system. She must call out the threats to women’s organizations and women human rights defenders around the world." To read more click here.

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WANT PEACE? BRING WOMEN TO THE TABLE

Lyric Thompson

Ms.Blog

December 10, 2015

Women are also an incredible force for peace, and recent scholarship points more strongly than ever to their power as peacebuilders. A recent study of 40 global peace processes shows that women increased the chances of agreements being reached, that their participation in talks contributed to better implementation of recommendations, and that they helped ensure the durability of peace. Perhaps most importantly, women repeatedly—and successfully—pushed for talks to take place where they weren’t, or to resume or conclude when they had stalled.

Still, women are routinely excluded from the peace table. From 1992 to 2011, less than four percent of participants in peace agreements and less than 10 percent of negotiators at peace talks were women, according to U.N. data.

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General awareness of women’s power as peacebuilders has risen considerably, thanks to increased coverage by the media and the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize going to three female peacemakers from Liberia and Yemen. In fact, one of the laureates, Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, rose to fame through the power of the media. The 2008 documentary Pray the Devil Back to Hell profiles her collaborative effort to bring women together for peace across religious and political divides.

Yet the high honor of a handful of women has not been shared by the millions of women organizing to end violence and conflict in their own countries and communities—a highly risky undertaking for which many women tragically pay the ultimate price. As we push for more places for women at the peace table, we must take care not to forget the plight of the millions more who are doing the same work in the streets.

For the past 16 days, activists everywhere have reminded the global community of the devastating effects that violence has on women, families, communities and entire nations. But women are not solely victims of violence; they are also powerful leaders and catalysts for peace and social change. With Human Rights Day marking the end of the 16 Days Campaign, let us remember the women and girls in the streets and villages, defending human rights and pushing for peace, often at their own peril. Until we universally and consistently assert their rights to raise their voices and to participate in the dialogues and processes that define their lives without fear of violence, harassment or death itself, we cannot say we have arrived at real and lasting peace.To read more click here.

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SAUDI WOMEN BEGIN HISTORIC MUNICIPAL ELECTION

FEMINIST NEWSWIRE

MEDIA RESOURCES:CNN 11/30/15, 8/23/15; AL JAZEERA 8/20/15, 3/2/14

DECEMBER 1, 2015

On Sunday, for the first time in Saudi Arabia’s modern history, more than 900 women have registered to run for the municipal elections. The municipal elections on December 12th will also mark the first time women are allowed to vote.

The Saudi monarchy has been widely criticized by international human rights organizations for a lack of equal rights for women. Saudi Arabia has also been heavily criticized by the absolute absence of freedom of speech and religion. It is the only country in the world where women are still not allowed to drive and must cover themselves in black from head-to-toe. Women must also ask a male member of the family to travel, leave the house, work, or marry.

Despite the many limitations caused by these patriarchal restrictions, the participation of Saudi women in politics is considered a step forward for women and for the defenders of women’s rights. The municipal councils have limited responsibilities but also approve budgets, suggest planning regulations, and oversee urban and development projects.To read more click here.

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MEET THE COOL GIRLS AT A HIGH SCHOOL IN KABAL: #15GIRLS

Rebecca Hersher

National Public Radio, Morning Edition

October 15, 2015

Hadia Durani is one of the cool girls at her school in Kabul. She's chatty and gets good grades, and when she grows up she wants to be president.

In class, Hadia is outgoing, but once she leaves the schoolyard, things are different. She says men and boys yell at her when she's walking to and from school. They tell her she should stay at home, and call her mean names, and when that happens, she just keeps her head down and ignores them.

"It will just start an argument," she shrugs. "And [the girls] get blamed." Hadia Durani is one of the cool girls at her school in Kabul. She's chatty and gets good grades, and when she grows up she wants to be president.

In class, Hadia is outgoing, but once she leaves the schoolyard, things are different. She says men and boys yell at her when she's walking to and from school. They tell her she should stay at home, and call her mean names, and when that happens, she just keeps her head down and ignores them. "It will just start an argument," she shrugs. "And [the girls] get blamed." The students at the Tanweer School, whom I interviewed for our series on girls at 15, know they're especially lucky to be able to attend classes. A lot of girls their age have dropped out because there's too much social pressure from their families who want them to spend their time in the home after they reach puberty. We interviewed these girls — and some of the boys at their school as well — on video. You can see that and more photos from their school here. At 15, they're full of dreams. Somaya Rahmanzai is a math and science nerd. In geometry class, she stands up confidently to volunteer the formula for the area of a circle. "My school has a laboratory!" she says. "We can learn biology and mathematics. We have many rooms and teachers. I love school." To read more click here.

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MASS KILLINGS IN THE U.S:Masculinity, Masculinity,Masculinity

Soraya Chemaly

Ms.Blog

October 8,2015

The term “beta male” succinctly captures certain attitudes about gender, hierarchy and sex. Whether role-playing or not, as one Redditor put it, some people are taking the idea that there are betas and alpha males seriously and concluding that, “Since sexual freedom is rising and women today can choose with whom they want to have sex, a small minority of ‘alpha males’ gets all girls while most betas are left in the dust. See this picture. After the betas have realized this, they’ll rise up and stop the feminist insanity that left them without pussy.”

However, many media outlets and analysts continue to treat information like this as an aside, or, when addressing the issue, actually feed it. Consider, for example, this headline: “Chris Mintz Defies The Age Of The Beta Male.” In the meantime, another young white man with a gun has wreaked havoc on a community and once again the media is fixated on a numbing conversation about guns and mental illness. These are important dimensions of this crisis, but they are insufficient ones. Without addressing the gender and race dimensions of male entitlement in the United States—and the role they play in the treatment of mental illness, gun culture and the targeting of victims—we will never tackle this problem in a meaningful way. To read more click here.

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WHEELS OF CHANGE: Afghan Women Ride Bikes Despite Threats and Opposition

Kitty Lindsay

Ms.Blog

September 28,2015

Even before the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan, women were banned from riding bicycles. Though they’re no longer officially banned, women’s cycling is still frowned upon in the conservative country.

But there are groups of women winding their way through cultural taboo and beating a new path to women’s equality, and they’re being profiled in a new documentary by filmmaker Sarah Menzies: Afghan Cycles.

The Ms. Blog caught up with Menzies to talk about the motivation behind the Afghan women’s cycling movement, the still-rocky road ahead and the resilience of the women who have become the engines for social change in Afghanistan.To read more click here

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MATRIARCHY ON THE MARCH

David Barasch

Wall Street Journal

March 27, 2015

Not many people could pull this off—but Dr. [Melvin] Konner [in his book Women After All] does. “In addition to women’s superiority in judgment,” he writes, “their trustworthiness, reliability, fairness, working and playing well with others, relative freedom from distracting sexual impulses, and lower levels of prejudice, bigotry, and violence make them biologically superior. They live longer, have lower mortality at all ages, are more resistant to most categories of disease, and are much less likely to suffer brain disorders that lead to disruptive and even destructive behavior. And, of course, most fundamentally they are capable of producing new life from their own bodies, a stressful and costly burden in biological terms, to which men literally add only the tiniest biological contribution—and one that in the not-too-distant future could probably be done without.”

Let’s face it: Men are responsible for much more than their share of the world’s wars, drug abuse and sexual misbehavior. To be sure, men have also been responsible for many of the good—even great—aspects of civilization, but this may be because they grant themselves more influence and opportunity in this regard. “Life on this planet isn’t threatened by women’s tears; nor does that brimming salty fluid cause poverty, drain public coffers, ruin reputations, impose forced intimacies, slay children, torture helpless people, or reduce cities to rubble. These disasters are literally man-made.” Indeed, if we were to magically do away with male-initiated violence, we would pretty much do away with violence altogether. (Of 80 mass killings in the U.S. involving guns between 1984 and 2014, men perpetrated 78.)

There are books about feminism and women’s rights and about the evolutionary biology of sex in animals and people, but none until now that combine the two. “Contrary to all received wisdom,” we learn, “women are more logical and less emotional than men. Women do cry more easily, and that, too, is partly biological, although certain male politicians and other prominent men seem able to deploy tears strategically in public.” “Women After All” is reminiscent of Ashley Montagu’s last and best book, “The Natural Superiority of Women” (1953). To read more go to Feminism on Facebook. Scroll down to Sheila Luecht March 29, entry.

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OUR PROBLEM WITH POWERFUL WOMEN

Bryce Covert

New York Times

June 5,2015

The arc of the history of women striving for the top, Mrs. Clinton assured her supporters, doesn’t just bend toward justice; it’s a straight line, carved by women clearing a path for those who come after.

She clearly believes in this story of progress, evidenced not just by her decision to run again but also, perhaps, by the token “progress pint glass” made from “shattered glass ceilings” for sale on her campaign website.

It’s hard to say whether the path truly is a little easier for women in politics every time one of them makes it into office. No woman has yet made it to the White House, and Congress is still less than 20 percent female, nearly a century after the first woman made it into the House of Representatives.

But we do know that politics most likely doesn’t reflect how progress works for women trying to crack the corporate glass ceiling. The path doesn’t get dramatically easier; in fact, it is often harder to make progress every time a woman steps into an executive office.To read complete article click here

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HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT WINS INTERNATIONAL AWARD FOR CREATING HIV TEST


Feminist Newswire

May 29,2015

Nicole Ticea, a teen from Vancouver, Canada, won a top prize at the Intel International and Engineering Fair, the world’s largest high school science research competition for her invention of a simple and low-cost HIV test.

Ticea, who is just 16, created a simple and inexpensive HIV test that can be sold over-the-counter at very affordable rates. It can also detect the HIV virus in babies under 18 months old and adults who have been infected for only three months. The test does not require electricity, can provide reliable results within an hour, and would take an estimated $5 to produce in the United States.

The Vancouver teen, who developed the test with help from a Simon Fraser University professor and grad student, has high hopes for the impact this test could have. “For me, the ultimate objective has always been to see my test being applied in an everyday setting where it can make a difference,” she said.

Since Ticea’s discovery last year she has created her own company, which received a US grant for $100,00 to continue to develop the technology. At the Intel International awards, Ticea took home $50,000 from the science competition for her invention.

Ticea’s invention could mean big things for women worldwide. Over half of all people living with HIV are women, and worldwide HIV is a leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. Ticea has been recognized by a myriad of other awards, including the Sanofi BioGENEius Challense in Canada, and has been lauded by the World Health Organization

Media Resources: Huffington Post 5/18/15; NotImpossible Now 12/1/4; Ms. Magazine 8/30/13; UN AIDS Global Report; BBC 3/5/10;

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HOW TO SPOT A FEMINIST

Go to #How to Spot a Feminist.

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FOUR SENTENCED TO DEATH, EIGHT TO PRISON FOR BRUTAL MURDER OF AFGHAN WOMAN

FeministNewswire



May 6,2015

Farkhunda, who was an Islamic law student, accused a local Mullah of acting inappropriately. The Mullah then began to shout that Farkhunda was an infidel who had burned the Koran, she was also accused of being mentally ill – both accusations were later said to be false. A crowd of hundreds of men were incited to attack her, and they beat her to death, set fire to her body, and threw her body in a river. Of the 49 men tried in this case, four were sentenced to death, and eight were sentenced to 16 years in prison. Nineteen police officers are facing charges and will be sentenced separately. The rest were not charged. The Mullah responsible for provoking the mob to attack Farkhunda was among those sentenced to death - the first Mullah in Afghanistan to be executed. Activists who have been calling for justice for Farkhunda are celebrating the sentencing. “It’s making me hopeful and it’s making think that all the work that we did, all the protest that we did is finally reaching something,” said one woman who has been active in seeking justice, and who wished to remain anonymous. Others felt the sentencing was too lenient. Omar Haidari, another activist, said the judge’s ruling was “totally unacceptable,” claiming the 18 men who were acquitted should not have gone free. “They were all part of the game and should be punished severely,” he said. “At least they should be sentenced to life in prison for what they have done.” Farkhunda’s murder sent shockwaves through Afghanistan and the world, as videos of the mob attack went viral. She has been called a martyr among women’s rights and Islamic people alike who believe the woman was unjustly killed for speaking up for her beliefs. A group of all women carried Farkhunda’s coffin at her funeral, which breaks the tradition that has men carrying the coffin while women stay home to mourn.

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BRUTALLY MURDERED AFGHAN WOMAN BECOMES SYMBOL FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS


Feminist Newswire

April 6, 2015

Last month, 27-year-old Farkhunda was falsely accused of burning the Koran then brutally murdered after standing up for her beliefs in front of a shrine attendant in Kabul, Afghanistan. She’s now being held up as a champion of Islam and women’s rights.

Farkhunda, who was an Islamic law student, decided to speak up against the practice of mullahs selling tahwiz, which are verses from the Koran that are said to bring good luck. Farkhunda said the practice was un-Islamic. The shrine attendant then began to shout that Farkhunda was an infidel who had burned the Koran, she was also accused of being mentally ill – both accusations were later said to be false. A crowd of hundreds of men beat her and set fire to her body.

“This is heartbreaking — she was innocent and she was a woman,” said Fawzia Koofi, a women’s rights activist and politician who is also on the investigation team created by the Afghan president. “This happened to her because of her gender.”

But now, weeks after the incident, Farkhunda is being called a martyr among women’s rights and Islamic people alike who believe the woman was unjustly killed for speaking up for her beliefs. The beatings were caught in cell phone videos and led to an uproar on social media. A group of all women carried Farkhunda’s coffin at her funeral, which breaks the tradition that has men carrying the coffin.Click here to read more.

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UN FINDS 'ALARMINGLY HIGH' LEVELS OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Somini Sencuptas

New York Times

March 9, 2015

UNITED NATIONS — The evidence is ubiquitous. The gang rape of a young woman on a bus in New Delhi sets off an unusual burst of national outrage in India. In South Sudan, women are assaulted by both sides in the civil war. In Iraq, jihadists enslave women for sex. And American colleges face mounting scrutiny about campus rape.

Despite the many gains women have made in education, health and even political power in the course of a generation, violence against women and girls worldwide “persists at alarmingly high levels,” according to a United Nations analysis that the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to present to the General Assembly on Monday. Click here to read more.

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GIRL'S EDUCATION: A NEW PRIORITY FOR THE WHITE HOUSE

Stephanie Hallett

Said President Obama in announcing the initiative:
"Wherever they live, whoever they are, every girl on this planet has value. Every girl on this planet deserves to be treated with dignity and equality. And that includes the chance to develop her mind and her talents, and to live a life of her own choosing, to chart her own destiny. That may be obvious to us, but we know it’s not obvious to everyone. Sixty-two million girls around the world who should be in school are not. That’s not by accident. It’s the direct result of barriers, large and small, that stand in the way of girls who want to learn."
Click here to read more.

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MALAWI'S PARLIAMENT VOTED UNANIMOUOSLY TO END CHILD MARRIAGE

FEMINIST NEWSWIRE

February 25,2015

The Malawian Parliament voted unanimously last week to ban child marriage, an important move for a country with one of the highest child marriage rates in the world...Women’s rights activists are optimistic for what this new law may mean both for Malawian girls and for the development of the country. “This law is very important because of the number of girls who drop out of school because they are going to get married, and because of the high number of girls who are dying when they are giving birth,” said Jesse Kabwila, who was advocating to get the bill through Parliament.

“What marriage does to the kids is it really destroys their future, it destroys their hopes, it just turns them into something they are not supposed to be,” Kakenya Ntaiya, who avoided a child marriage after being engaged at age five by opting instead to undergo the brutal process of female genital mutilation, told Ms. magazine in their Winter 2015 issue. Ntaiya now runs the Kakenya Center for Excellence in Enoosaen, which currently is home to over 150 girls. “I wanted to see a different future for them,” she continued, “[and] school was the place I could achieve that.” To read more click here

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SAUDI WOMEN STILL CAN'T DRIVE, BUT THEY ARE MAKING IT TO WORK

Deborah Amos

NPR, Morning Edition

February 25, 2015

The open workspace looks a lot like a college dorm: desk clutter, potted plants, family pictures and a snack table with chips and chocolate. Assery says she recruits women exclusively because they are more motivated than Saudi men.

In this deeply conservative country, a woman needs permission from a male guardian to travel, for education, even for some medical procedures. But when it comes to business, men and women are equal under the law, Assery says. Go here to read more

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MOTHER,EMPRESS, VIRGIN, FAITH: 'Picturing Mary' And Her Many Meanings

Susan Stamberg

NPR

December 24, 2014

This Christmas, images of the Virgin Mary created over five centuries glow on the walls of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. Mary's role as Woman, Mother and Idea is portrayed by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Rembrandt as well as other major and lesser-known artists from the 1400s through the 1900s.To read entire review click here or go to National Museum of Women in the Arts

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FOREVER YOUNG:A Public Dialogue Between bell hooks & Gloria Steinem

October 6, 2014

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. She travels in this and other countries as an organizer and lecturer and is a frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. She now lives in New York City, and is currently at work on Road to the Heart: America As if Everyone Mattered, a book about her more than thirty years on the road as a feminist organizer.

bell hooks (née Gloria Watkins) is among the leading public intellectuals of her generation. Her writings cover a broad range of topics including gender, race, teaching, and contemporary culture. This fall marks the 20th Anniversary of the publication of Teaching to Transgress: Education as a Practice of Freedom, Dr. hooks’ seminal book on educational practices. (Introduction by Dr. Ann Snitow, Eugene Lang College)

To view youtube video of dialogue between bell hook and Gloria Steinem click here

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FOR WOMEN, AN 'INFINITE VARIETY OF PATHS'


National Public Radio: Morning Edition

September 30, 2014

Writer Rebecca Traister says until very recently, getting married marked the beginning of a woman's adult life. But in the past few decades, there has been a dramatic jump in the average age women get married — from around 22 to around 27 — a change that's been profound. "We have now shifted our vision of what an adult woman's life path usually entails, and it now entails some period of economic, social, sexual independence," says Traister, a senior editor at The New Republic and author of an upcoming book about unmarried women. And she says that while the shift in marriage patterns is mostly a good thing for women, it can also be seen as a destabilizing force in society. To read more click here.

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NON-VIOLENT MEN: THE NEW SILENT MAJORITY

Rob Okun

Ms Blog

September 22,2014

Since the vast majority of men don’t act violently toward those they love, why have we men become a new, deafeningly silent majority? Many of us are not even bystanders; we’re AWOL. Many of us don’t know men who speak out against the minority of men who abuse. That’s got to change.

The good news is that for nearly two generations a growing number of men of all races and ethnicities in the U.S. and around the world have followed the lead of women, working to prevent domestic and sexual violence and to redefine and transform traditional ideas about manhood, fatherhood and brotherhood. We’ve been called all kinds of names, but many of us describe ourselves as members of the profeminist or anti-sexist men’s movement.

Profeminist men hold the simple “radical” belief that gender and sexual equality are fundamental democratic goals and that women and men should each have the same rights and opportunities. Although marginalized and largely absent from the national conversation about gender in the mainstream media, modern-day profeminist men have been engaged in a sweeping critique of manhood and masculinity since the 1970s. To read more click here

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EMMA WATSON SPEAKS ON FEMINISM AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS AT THE UN

Tom Ashbrook

National Public Radio: On Point

September 25, 2014

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SEEING WOMEN AS KEY TO ECONOMY, JAPAN'S LEADER
NAMES 5 TO CABINET

Martin Fackler

New York Times

September 3, 2014

TOKYO — Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan unveiled a reshuffled cabinet on Wednesday that included five women, an apparent nod toward his promises to raise the status of women in the workplace. The appointments tie the record for the number of women in top political positions in Japan.

Since taking office in December 2012 Abe has spoken of the need to revive Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, by more fully unleashing the potential of its huge pool of highly educated women, who have long been relegated to relatively low-ranking positions in the work force.

To read more click here

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BEYONCE AT THE VMAS:FEMINIST AND FLAWLESS

Anita Little

Ms Blog

August 25, 2014

If you missed the MTV Video Music Awards last night, there was only one image you really needed to see: Beyoncé literally putting the spotlight on feminism. And seeing the word FEMINIST emblazoned on a huge screen behind the singer was a galvanizing sight to behold.

The millions of people who tuned into the VMAs last night found out what we at Ms. already knew: Beyoncé has been building up her feminist credentials for years now. From penning a piece on equal pay in the Shriver Report to sampling Nigerian feminist author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her latest album to evoking Rosie the Riveter on her Instagram, she’s been unabashedly feminist. In being so unapologetic and quietly outspoken, she’s made feminism accessible to young women around the world who otherwise never would have identified with the movement. Beyonce has shown, as bell hooks expressed in her epochal 2000 text, that “feminism is for everybody.Gasinzigwa.To read more click here

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WHERE WOMEN FILL MORE THAN 50% OF GOVERNMENT SEATS

by Diana Buckhantz

Ms Blog

August 21, 2014

We always talk about the fact that in order to really change attitudes and behavior towards women and to correct gender inequity in Congo, there need to be women leaders. It seems like a pretty obvious statement, but as we know, this is far from an obvious truth in many countries around the world (including ours).

Today, I learned that for all of the challenges facing democracy and governance in Rwanda, it is at the same time a hopeful example of women’s access to leadership. Currently, Rwandan women hold over 50 percent of the positions in government. There are few jobs or professions in which a woman cannot be found.

Much of the shift allowing women access to positions of power came as a result of the devastating genocide. The Rwandan genocide, during which an estimated 800,000 to 1 million civilians were killed in 100 days, took a severe toll on the male population. Women simply had to step up to help run the country—serving in proportions well beyond the 30 percent quota for women reserved in the Rwandan constitution.

As a result, there is much greater equity between the sexes in Rwanda than what we have observed elsewhere. Unlike in Congo, where women’s rights are enshrined in the constitution but left almost totally ignored, in Rwanda equal rights seem not only enforced, but encouraged.

In the past, for example, women could not inherit money from their fathers. Today, it is mandated that the boys and girls in a family share equally in any family inheritance. Women can own property. Girls and boys are equally educated.

There are, of course, serious concerns about Rwanda’s governance structure, both in regards to the levels of real democratic access for its own citizenry and with respect to Rwanda’s culpability in the atrocities being committed across its borders in Congo. There is, still, an instructive lesson here for how to shift cultural perceptions of women.

No country will ever reach its full potential without the participation of both halves of its population, and women will never be granted their due until there are women in positions that can impact real change in society. It is hard to keep women down when women are represented equally—or in the majority—of public office. And Congo needn’t worry. There’s a whole generation of incredible women just aching to step into those roles.

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IS "LEAN IN" FAUX FEMINISM?

John Hockenberry

Take Away NPR

May 12, 2014

Listen to John Hockenberry's interview of black feminist bell hooks discussing Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" call. She believes that it is mainly directed at successful white feminist women. She also discusses patriarchy and it's continued impact on the feminist movement and economy.

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SINCE GENOCIDE, RWANDA'S WOMEN HAVE HELPED LEAD RECOVERY

Rachel Martin, host

NPR, Weekend Edition, Sunday

April 6, 2014

The Rwandan genocide left a deep and profound wound. It not only decimated the Rwandan people, it destroyed the nation's political and social structures.

In 1994, after the killing stopped, women made up 70 percent of the population.They were needed to lead Rwanda's recovery. Rwandan women moved away from traditional roles and joined politics in unprecedented numbers.

Twenty years later, the Rwandan Parliament has more women than anywhere else in the world.

Political participation has meant that women in Rwanda have better educational and economic opportunities, says , a member of the cabinet in Rwanda and minister of Gender and Family Promotion. Gasinzigwa spoke with NPR's Rachel Martin about the terrible time of genocide and how women have found their way since. To read Martin's interview with Gasinzigwa click here

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JIMMY CHARTER ISSUES 'CALL TO ACTON' AGAINST SUBJUGATION OF WOMEN

Rachel Martin, interviewer

March 22, 2014

In Jimmy Carter's new book,'A Call To Action', Carter addresses the subjugation of women in cultures around the world. Click below to hear a recording of Rachel Martin interviewing Jimmy Carter on NPR's Week End Edition.

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THANK YOU WHITE HOUSE FOR TAKING ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

Stephenie Hallett

Ms Blog

February 3, 2014

President Obama’s administration has been plagued from the outset by Republicans’ persistent effort to chip away at women’s human rights. Two recent examples: In 2012, Republicans stalled the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act for the first time since it was signed in 1994. In 2013, 70 measures to restrict access to abortion were enacted across the country, second only to 2011 for most restrictions enacted in one year. To say it’s been an uphill battle to combat Republicans’ anti-woman lobbying is an understatement.

But Obama’s administration has been persistent, too, particularly in the battle to end sexual violence. Earlier this week, the White House Council on Women and Girls, along with the Vice President’s office, released a report detailing the far-reaching impact of rape in the U.S. The report is powerful in its simplicity: It contains a catalog of the number of rapes committed against particular groups, examines the mental-health consequences of the crime and details the ways in which law enforcement is failing victims.Click here to read more

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JANET YELLEN'S NOMINATION JUST CHANGED THE GAME FOR ECONOMISTS

Jullian Berman

Huffington Post

November7,2013

TIMES MAGAZINE called Janet Yellen the "The Sixteen Trillion Dollar Woman", in other words the most influential woman in the world. Who is she and how did she rise to the top of the pyramid and become a role model for women? Jullian Berman answers some of those questions in her Huffington Post article.

"The backstory to Yellen's nomination [to the Federal Reserve]highlights some of the reasons it's been so hard for women to break into this old boys' club. Despite her experience at the Fed, critics derided Yellen for being “too dovish” or for “lacking gravitas,” instead favoring Obama’s trusted economic adviser Larry Summers. Some saw these criticisms as code for the fact that Yellen didn’t look like the men who typically serve as high-level economic policymakers.

But now that Yellen is poised to become the country's most important economist, the idea of a “typical” economist may start to change, making it easier for other women to get to the top. "She's a great role model, and she is someone who has gotten there because of her hard work and her talent and her brilliance," Hartmann said. "Every high-level woman in every field changes perceptions. In this case the value is not just to women, the value is to Americans, because she's the best person for the job." To read more click here.

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BOSTON AIMS TO EASE GENDER PAY GAP

Katie Johnson

Boston Globe

October 13, 2013

Boston has the best-educated women of any major US city, and now Mayor Thomas M. Menino is trying to make it a better place for them to earn a living. The goal: to make Boston the first city to eliminate the wage gap between men and women.

Menino plans to announce this ambitious initiative on Thursday, when he rolls out a compact signed by 38 employers that have committed to ending pay disparities. Nationally, women earn 77 cents for every dollar men make. In Boston, it’s 83 cents to the dollar — a difference of almost $10,000 a year, or about $400,000 over a career, according to a report by the city’s newly formed Women’s Workforce Council.

Menino has made working women a cornerstone of his agenda in his last year in office, creating initiatives for small business owners, girls and technology, and wage negotiation. By the end of the year, he hopes to have at least 50 companies dedicated to learning the causes of the wage gap, putting measures in place to equalize pay, and participating in style="line-height:200%"a biennial review of their progress. Click Here To read more

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INDIA'S WORKPLACE CASES HIGHLIGHT ABUSE AGAINST WOMEN

Julia McCarthy

National Public Radio

December 16, 2013

As India marks the anniversary of the infamous gang rape in New Delhi, it is ending the year as it began: in upheaval over its treatment of women. In a recent series of cases, men in positions of privilege are alleged to have sexually harassed or assaulted female employees. The episodes spotlight the absence of women's rights in the Indian workplace. Click Here To read more

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ON ELECTION DAY, LATIN AMERICA WILLINGLY TRADES MACHISMO FOR FEMALE CLOUT

Simon Romero

New York Times

December 14, 2013

SANTIAGO, Chile--When Chileans vote Sunday for their next leader, they will choose between a former president seeking to broadly expand access to higher education, and a staunch conservative opposing tax increases aimed at reducing Chile's high levels of inequality.

The fact that both candidates--Ichelle Bachelet, a former president who narrowly missed a first-round victory in November, and Evelyn Matthei, her right-wing opponent--are women reveals an area where Latin America is surging: the empowerment of female leaders in politics(italics added)

Eight of the estimated 29 women in the world who have been elected as presidents of their countries since the 1970s have done so in Latin America and the Caribbean, long considered a bastion of machismo, with half of them ascending since 2006. Up and down the Americas, with the notable exception of the United States, women are soaring into the highest political realms. Click here to read more

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IN AFGHANISTAN, WOMEN BETRAYED

By Heather Barr

New York Time

December 10, 2013

KABUL, Afghanistan--When, in late November, I read a draft law prepared by Afghan government officials that reintroduced execution by stoning as the punishment for the "crime"of adultery, I was horrified but not that surprised. The draft, leaked to me by someone desperate to prevent reinstatement of this Taliban-era punishment, is just the latest in a pattern of increasingly determined attacks on women's rights in Afghanistan.Click here to read more

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HOW SENATE WOMEN SHAPED THE BUDGET DEAL

Catalina Camia

USA Today

October 18, 2013

WASHINGTON - The male Senate leaders may have tied the bow on a deal aimed at ending the government shutdown, but credit for shaping the package is being given to a group of women, led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Collins, a moderate Republican in her third term, was the leader of a bipartisan group of 14 senators - six of them women - who developed a compromise to end the 16-day partial federal shutdown and temporarily raise the debt ceiling so the nation isn't on the brink of default. While the group's proposal was not left intact, Collins and other senators who participated say elements have been incorporated and helped provide the framework for the final deal hammered out by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Click here to read more

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WE ARE WHAT FEMINIST LOOK LIKE

If you are reluctant to think of yourself as a feminist or admit it to friends try going to We are What Feminist Look Like

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Girls Tweeting (Not Twerking) Their Way to Power

COURTNEY E. MARTIN

New York Times

September 4, 2013

It is becoming more and more clear that unless women unite their impact on a patriarchal culture will be very disappointing. For example the feminist/non-feminist divide is hurting the progress made in the 60's. That is why it's gratifying to see teens using social media to move the powers that be to bend to their causes. That means their campaigns for social justice especially those which involve women and girls. In a recent article published in the New York times we are give a look into activism on a teenage level. Clearly our hope for the future.

"[Carmen] Rios is a member of SPARK, a nonprofit organization that trains girls from 13 to 22 years old, to be activists. In the wake of the much-discussed Steubenville, Ohio, rape case last March, in which the sexual assault on an incapacitated high school girl was documented on social media and became headline news, the network of young women who blog and create campaigns through SPARK were outraged and wanted to do something about it." To read more click here.

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A GROUNDBREAKING WOMEN'S FILM FROM SAUDI ARABIA

Natasha Turner

MS Magazine (Blog)

July 15 2013

Haifaa Al-Mansour is Saudi Arabia’s first woman filmmaker. Her mesmerising new film Wadjda is the first film to be shot entirely within Saudi Arabia. A beautiful and heartwarming story, Wadjda has graced film festivals across the world, from the Venice Film Festival 2012 to the Los Angeles Film Festival 2013.

The film tells the story of a young girl growing up in Saudi Arabia’s capital, Riyadh. Despite her conservative surroundings—women can’t play sports, travel without permission or drive a car—Wadjda is outspoken and determined to raise money for a bicycle so she can race the young boys around the town–a very improper desire for a girl in Saudi Arabia. The film reflects the struggle of women in Saudi Arabia for equality and for their voices to be heard.

Ms. was lucky enough to get a chance to interview Al Mansour about her film and about the reality of being a woman in Saudi Arabia. To read Natasha Turner's interview of Haifa Al-Mansour click Ms. Blog. and Washington Post.

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SEX IN THE CITADEL

Shereen El Feki

National Radio: The Body Sphere

March 10, 2013

Shereen El Feki has written a book that amongst other things reveals the hidden world of women in the Arab world. In SEX IN THE CITADEL Feki uses the citadel as a metaphor for the impregnable structure that separates Arab women and men who have complied with the Islamic ideals of heterosexual marriage and those who haven't or can't or reject them. In discussing marriage in the Arab world Feki is able to open a window into what Arab men and women really feel inside and outside their private lives.Feki is exceptionally well positioned to engage in such conversations because she is the daughter of a Welsh mother and a Islamic Egyptian father. She is also trained as a doctor and journalist with an assignment to study the spread of HIV in the Arab world. With such credentials Feki was seen as both Western and Islamist as both a woman and a professional doctor. This mix allow her to be accepted and mingle freely with both men and women who felt comfortable with her Islamic and professional identity. What she learned is recorded in her book SEX AND THE CITADEL. To read a transcript or listen to an audio of Amanda Smith interviewing Shereen El Feki for Nation Radio click here.

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KUNIN:SHERYL SANDBERG AND MARISSA MAYER

Madeleine Kunin

Vermont Public Radio, Commentary Series

March 14, 2013

In a recent hard-hitting commentary on Vermont Public Radio Madeleine Kunin, former governor of Vermont and women's rights advocate, spoke forcefully about the need for women to take command of their life in the workplace. She believes Sherl Sandberg's is right when Sandberg urged women "to be more demanding, confident and ambitious." "She's half right", agrees Kunin. "Women must develop a firm handshake, a confident voice, and the courage to ask for a promotion without hesitating."

"But women,"Kunin adds, "have to do more than advocate for themselves. They have to use their voices in the workplace to push for sensible family friendly policies that will make it more feasible for all working women and men to manage their work lives and their family lives without sacrificing one to the other." To read more or listen to the commentary click here.

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SEXUAL VIOLENCE VICTIMS SAY MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM IS 'BROKEN'

Quil Lawrence and Marisa Penaloza

National Public Radio, Morning Edition

March 21, 2013

Myla Haider says she initially decided not to report that she'd been raped because she'd "never met one victim who was able to report the crime and still retain their military career."Click here to read entire story or listen to interview

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WHAT'S HOLDING WOMEN BACK

Sheryl Sandberg interviewed by Renee Montagne.

National Public Radio

March 11, 2013

The book LEAN IN: WOMEN, WORK, AND THE WILL TO LEAD — is something of a feminist call to arms. In it, Sandberg, a 43-year-old former Google executive with two Harvard degrees, is calling on other women, as she puts it, to "lean in" and embrace success. And it has struck a chord in the weeks leading up to the book's publication on Monday.

Listen to full interview.

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BREAKING NEWS: House Passes Inclusive VAWA


Feminist Majority Foundation

Febuary 28, 2013

The House of Representatives voted 286-138 to pass the Senate version of VAWA that included protections for students, the LGBT community, immigrants and Native Americans. This came after a bipartisan decision to reject a gutted substitute bill proposed by the House leadership that rolled back the provisions expanding protection.

Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, said "The House passed by a wide margin (286-138) the strong, bipartisan Senate version of VAWA which was supported by the Feminist Majority and scores of women's rights, civil rights, labor, and domestic violence and sexual assault groups and organizations. ... Women's groups and their allies acted as one and created a massive grassroots lobbying campaign to pass a strong VAWA despite the Republican House leadership opposition. We cannot forget that 138 Republicans and no Democrats voted against final passage of the real VAWA. Nor can we forget those that voted to roll back full protections of VAWA for college students, immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans as well as to weaken of the Office of Violence."

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OUTRAGE OVER GANGRAPE SPREADS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Feminist Majority Foundation_Feminist News-CNN

2/11/13

Earlier this month, a seventeen year-old woman was brutally gang-raped in Bredasdorp, South Africa. The victim, Anene Booysen, had been raped by multiple men and then mutilated and abandoned. Despite medical efforts, she died of her extensive injuries this past weekend. Booysen's aunt said that she lived long enough to identify a family friend as one of the attackers. The attack has gained local and national attention, with many taking to the streets in protest of South Africa's high rate of violence against women.

South African president Jacob Zuma made a statement on the crime: "The whole nation is outraged at this extreme violation and destruction of a young human life...[t]his act is shocking, cruel and most inhumane. It has no place in our country. We must never allow ourselves to get used to these acts of base criminality to our women and children." The Associated Press notes that Zuma himself was embroiled (but acquitted) in the rape of a friend's daughter in 2005.

Concerned citizens marched through Bredasdorp this weekend chanting "no more violence!" Lindiwe Mazibuko, a member of Parliament, said she will throw into motion public hearings and debates on the issue of deeply ingrained patriarchy and its relation to sexual violence.

Talk Radio 702, a popular radio station in South Africa, now plays a chime sound every four minutes to represent how often a woman or child is raped in the nation. South Africa is home to one of the highest rates of rape in the world. From 2010-2011, over 56,000 rapes were reported in South Africa, averaging about 154 a day. Around 71% of women report being sexually assaulted according to CNN.

South Africa is not the only country that has seen extreme cases of violence against women gain international attention recently. In December, the violent gang-rape of a medical student in India that resulted in her death led to international outcry. As a result, the Indian government recently approved stricter punishments for sexual assault. The trial of her attackers is currently underway.

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REPORT BLASTS INDIA'S TREATMENT OF WOMEN

Steve Inskeep and Julie McCarthy

National Public Radio

January 24, 2013

A panel reviewing sexual offenses in India has submitted its report to the government almost a month after the rape and murder of a female student in New Delhi. The report says India systemically discriminates against women, and does little to respond to violence against them.To read entire transcript Click Here.

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THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF WOMEN'S ISSUES

LUISITA LOPEZ TORREGROSA

New York Times

1/8/2013

"Women issues are world issues," Michelle Bachelet, the executive director of U.N. Women and former president of Chile, said recently. (..) Familiar issues like equal pay, workplace policies, family-work balance and political power haven't gone away in the United States or anywhere else. Basic needs and basic rights remain elusive for many women in the developing world. And those issues, too, will not go away anytime soon. But more women in more regions of the world are stepping up and living better lives, just about everyone in the field agrees. And as the old women's issues become global, the expectations rise, and the challenges get larger.For complete article Click Here.

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New Women Elected to the House and Senate, 2013

Picture credits: Emily's List.See Emily's Lists for more information.

Women elected to House of Representatives

Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts

Claire McCaskill, Missouri

Mazie Hirono, Hawaii

Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin

 

 

 

UK High Court Rules for Equal Pay for Women


London-AP

Oct. 24, 2012

Photo: Getty Campaigners, some dressed as suffragettes, attend a rally organised by UK Feminista to call for equal rights for men and women on October 24, 2012 in London, England. Hundreds of women from around the UK congregated in Westminster to attend a rally and lobby their local MPs to demonstrate against any legislation that damages women's rights.

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WHY DO THEY HATE US?

Mona Eltahawy

Foreign Policy

May/June 2012

In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her." Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer -- so much more satisfying that she can't wait until the next prayer -- and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap. Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. "She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was," Rifaat writes.

In a crisp three-and-a-half pages, Rifaat lays out a trifecta of sex, death, and religion, a bulldozer that crushes denial and defensiveness to get at the pulsating heart of misogyny in the Middle East. There is no sugarcoating it. They don't hate us because of our freedoms, as the tired, post-9/11 American cliche had it. We have no freedoms because they hate us, as this Arab woman so powerfully says.

Yes: They hate us. It must be said.

For the complete Foreign Policy article click here.

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LET'S END CHILD MARRIAGE IN A GENERATION

Jennifer Buffett

Huffington Post

September 22, 2011

Speaking with a group of Ethiopian girls, I got a lifetime's education in a single afternoon. I sat and listened as girl after girl described to me how they had become the wives of much older men. One woman told me she fled after being told she was going to be married at the age of four! She ran away crying in terror and heartbreak, only to return to her village after realizing she had no options whatsoever.

All of these girls had been forced to leave school in favor of working in their in-laws' homes and bearing children while still children themselves. And none of these girls had wanted this fate. They all had hoped to go to school and grow up with their friends and families.

To read more Click Here. Also see Girls Not Brides.

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SOME FIND HOPE IN AFGHAN BRIDE'S ABUSE

AP—January 04, 2012—KABUL, Afghanistan—Just 15 years old, Sahar according to officials in northeastern Baghlan province, Gul’s in–laws kept her in a basement for six months, ripped her fingernails out, tortured her with hot irons and broke her fingers — all in an attempt to force her into prostitution. Police freed her after her uncle called authorities.

The horrific images, captured by television news cameras last week, transfixed Afghanistan and set off a storm of condemnation. President Hamid Karzai set up a commission to investigate, and his health minister visited her bedside. Police arrested her in–laws, who denied abusing her. A warrant was issued for her husband, who serves in the Afghan army.

The case highlights both the problems and the progress of women 10 years after the Taliban’s fall. Gul’s egregious wounds and underage wedlock are a reminder that girls and women still suffer shocking abuse. But the public outrage and the government’s response to it also show that the country is slowly changing.

"Let's break the dead silence on women's plight," read the title of an editorial Wednesday in the Afghanistan Times. Despite guaranteed rights and progressive new laws, Afghanistan still ranks as the world's sixth-worst country for women's equality in the U.N. Development Program's annual Gender Inequality Index. Nevertheless, Afghan advocates say attitudes have subtly shifted over the years, in part thanks to the dozens of women’s groups that have sprung up.

Fawzia Kofi, a lawmaker and head of the women's affairs commission in the Afghan parliament, says the outcry over a case like Gul's probably would not have happened just a few years ago because of deep cultural taboos against airing private family conflicts and acknowledging sexual abuse--such as forcing a woman into prostitution.

"I think there is now a sense of awareness about women's rights. People seem to be changing and seem to be talking about it," Kofi said. Ending abuse of women is a huge challenge in a patriarchal society where traditional practices include child marriage, giving girls away to settle debts or pay for their relatives’ crimes and so-called honor killings in which girls seen as disgracing their families are murdered by their relatives.

And some women activists worry that their hard-won political rights may erode as foreign troops withdraw and Karzai’s government seeks to negotiate with the Taliban to end their insurgency. Women's rights, they fear, may be the first to go in any deal with the hardline Islamic militants.

"I'm afraid we won't have all this anymore if the Taliban are allowed back into society," said Sima Natiq, a longtime activist. Freedoms for women are one of the most visible — and symbolic —changes in Afghanistan since 2001 U.S.–led campaign that toppled the Taliban regime. Aside from their support for al–Qaida leaders, the Taliban are probably most notorious for their harsh treatment of women under their severe interpretation of Islamic law.

For five years, the regime banned women from working and going to school, or even leaving home without a male relative. In public, all women were forced wear a head–to–toe burqa veil, which covers even the face with a mesh panel. Violators were publicly flogged or executed. Freeing women from such draconian laws lent a moral air to the Afghan war.

As U.S. troops begin to draw down, activists say Afghanistan is unmistakably a better place to be born female than a decade ago. In parliament, 27 percent of lawmakers are female, mostly because the constitution reserves 68 seats for women. More than 3 million girls are in schools, making up 40 percent of the elementary school population, according to the education ministry. A survey last year indicated that women dying in childbirth had dropped by nearly two-thirds to below 500 per 100,000 live births since 2005, although that is still one of the world’s highest rates.

Still, for every improvement, there are other signs of women’s continued misery. The U.N. says more than half of Afghanistan's female prison population is made up of women sentenced by local courts for fleeing their marriages—a charge is often phrased as "intent to commit adultery," even though that's not a crime under Afghan law. And the U.N. women's agency UNIFEM estimates that half of all girls are forced to marry under age 15, even though the legal marriage age is 16.

"There's very good standards on paper. There's very active women's networks, "said Georgette Gagnon, the U.N.'s human rights director in Afghanistan. A lot has been done, but there is still a long way to go."

A U.N. report in November also found that a 2009 law passed to protect Afghan women from violence was rarely enforced. For the 12–month period ending in March 2011, prosecutors filed indictments in 155 cases, only 7 percent of all 2,299 crimes reported. And activists say those complaints are a small fraction of the true level of abuse.

Part of the problem is the ingrained attitudes of police and courts that cause them to turn a blind eye or even send women back to their abusers, said Latifa Sultani, coordinator for women's protection with the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

Some local officials still believe women shouldn’t have rights,Sultani said. Last month, Karzai pardoned a 19–year–old woman who was imprisoned after she was raped and impregnated by a cousin. A local court sentenced her to 12 years in prison for having sex out of wedlock, a crime in Afghanistan. The judge told her she could get out of prison if she agreed to marry her alleged rapist, but she refused and gave birth to her daughter in prison.

Passing laws that protect women is one thing, enforcing them is another. Women’s groups are pressing Karzai to do more, but most acknowledge that with the central government so weak, the real battle will be fought in individual police stations, courtrooms and prosecutors' offices. Not least will be persuading Afghans to change their views.

That’s why the gruesome story of Sahar Gul’s imprisonment and torture is seen by some activists as an opportunity for the government to recommit publicly to women's rights. They say are encouraged that Karzai felt compelled by the outcry to become involved.

This is a sign of progress in a way, Kofi said. This is just a small example. We have hundreds of thousands of women like Sahar Gul who are victims of violence, but their voices are not heard. For now, Gul remains in a Kabul hospital, where she transferred from a local hospital in Baghlan province. An Afghan official said this week that she will be sent to India for further medical treatment. It’s unclear where she will go when she returns to Afghanistan.

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I'M AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World

Eva Ensler

NPR ONPOINT
December 29, 2011

Eva Ensler author of the VIRGINA MONOLOGUES is interviewed by Tom Ashbrook on her new book I AM AN EMOTIONAL CREATURE. You can listen to the interview by clicking here.

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MASS MARCH BY CAIRO WOMEN IN PROTEST OVER SOLDIERS’ ABUSE

David Kirkpatrick

New York Times
December 20, 2011

Drag me, strip me, my brothers’ blood will cover me! they chanted. Where is the field marshal? they demanded, referring to Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the head of the military council holding onto power here. The girls of Egypt are here.

The event may have been the biggest women’s demonstration in Egypt’s history, and the most significant since a 1919 march led by pioneering Egyptian feminist Huda Shaarawi to protest British rule. The scale was stunning, and utterly unexpected in this strictly patriarchal society. Previous attempts to organize women’s events in Tahrir Square this year have either fizzled or, in at least one case, ended in the physical harassment of the handful of women who did turn out. Click here to read more.

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3 WOMAN’S RIGHTS LEADERS ACCEPT NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

Scott Sayare

New York Times December 10, 20011

Tawakkol Karman of Yemen delivering her address at the Noble Peace Award’s ceremony

PARIS—In a ceremony in Oslo that repeatedly invoked gender equality and the democratic strivings of the Arab Spring, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was presented to three female activists and political leaders on Saturday for their struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights as peacemakers.

To spirited applause and at least one ululating cry, diplomas and gold medals were presented to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, 73; her compatriot Leymah Gbowee, 39, a social worker and a peace activist; and Tawakkol Karman, a Yemeni journalist and a political activist who, at 32, is the youngest Peace Prize laureate and the first Arab woman to receive the award. The promising Arab Spring will become a new winter if women are again left out, said Thorbjorn Jagland. To read more click here.

Also read first announcements of awards in October 2011.

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THE WOMEN'S CRUSADE

Nicholas Kristof

New York Times
August 17, 2009

There's a growing recognition among everyone from the World Bank to the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff to aid organizations like CARE that focusing on women d girls is the most effective way to fight global poverty and extremism. That's why foreign aid is increasingly directed to women. The world is awakening to a powerful truth: Women and girls aren�t the problem; they're the solution.To read more click here

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THE DEATH OF MACHO

Reiham Salam

Foreign Policy June 22,2009

For years, the world has been witnessing a quiet but monumental shift of power from men to women. Today, the Great Recession has turned what was an evolutionary shift into a revolutionary one. The consequence will be not only a mortal blow to the macho men's club called finance capitalism that got the world into the current economic catastrophe; it will be a collective crisis for millions and millions of working men around the globe.To read more click here

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FIXING THE ECONOMY IS WOMEN'S WORK

By Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Atlantic Monthly July 12, 2009

While the pinstripe crowd fixates on troubled assets, a stalled stimulus and mortgage remedies, it turns out that a more sure-fire financial fix is within our grasp -- and has been for years. New research says a healthy dose of estrogen may be the key not only to our fiscal recovery, but also to economic strength worldwide. The sexy new discussion in policy circles around the world, thanks to the recession, is whether a significant shift of power from men to women is underway -- or whether it should be. Accounting giant Ernst & Young pulled out charts and graphs at a recent power lunch in Washington with female lawmakers to argue a provocative bottom line: Companies with more women in senior management roles make more money. The latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine sweepingly predicts the "death of macho." Economists at Davos this year speculated that the presence of more women on Wall Street might have averted the downturn. Adding to this debate is the fact that the laid-off victims of this recession are overwhelmingly men.To learn more click here

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WOMEN RISE IN RWANDA'S ECONOMIC REVIVAL

By Anthony Faiola, Washington Post Staff Writer

Washington Post
May 16,2008

The march of female entrepreneurialism, playing out here and across Rwanda in industries from agribusiness to tourism, has proved to be a windfall for efforts to rebuild the nation and fight poverty. Women more than men invest profits in the family, renovate homes, improve nutrition, increase savings rates and spend on children's education, officials here said.

It speaks to a seismic shift in gender economics in Rwanda's post-genocide society, one that is altering the way younger generations of males view their mothers and sisters while offering a powerful lesson for other developing nations struggling to rebuild from the ashes of conflict.

"Rwanda's economy has risen up from the genocide and prospered greatly on the backs of our women," said Agnes Matilda Kalibata, minister of state in charge of agriculture. "Bringing women out of the home and fields has been essential to our rebuilding. In that process, Rwanda has changed forever. . . . We are becoming a nation that understands that there are huge financial benefits to equality." To learn more click here

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RAPE AS A WEAPON IN WAR

Susannah Sirkin

Physicians for Human Rights

According to international law, using rape as a weapon of war is a war crime. Despite this legal protection, in dozens of recent conflicts, armies have used rape as a tactic of war, ethnic cleansing, and genocide with impunity.

Through our medical and forensic documentation of rape in conflict areas, we work with local partners and the growing international campaign to end rape in war by

* Assuring greater accountability for mass rape by training doctors, nurses, lawyers, police, and judges to thoroughly and accurately document evidence of rape for use in courts.

* Raising awareness regarding local cultures of impunity that allow women to be raped.

* Enabling survivors to obtain justice, including reparations for their suffering.

Learn more about Rape in War.Click here

See global map of countries where rape is used as a weapon of war.

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TALKING THEIR WAY OUT OF A POPULATION CRISIS

Helen Epstein

NY Times October 22, 2011

When it comes to initiating social change for women it may be that the most potent tool women have is a free voice. When women are empowered to speak without the fear of reprisal, they can achieve startling social changes that have proven intractable by any other means. A study in Ghana offers an insight on how researchers discovered a community who had achieved family planning without any intervention by outsiders.

"With mortality rates from disease falling, the population of some countries could increase eightfold in the next century...Africa�s future matters to all of us... So it is important to think carefully about the response to Africa�s exploding population.

Early next year, researchers will publish findings that provide good, if surprising, news: relaxed, trusting and frank conversations between men and women may be the most effective contraceptive of all.Click here to read how women, no matter how poor, can change their world when given the chance to speak.

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AFTER THE REVOLUTION, ARAB WOMEN SEEK MORE RIGHTS

by Sheera Frenkel

National Public Radio, Morning Edition
August 6, 2011

Images of women marching alongside men in countries like Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Jordan led to predictions that women's rights would also make huge strides forward.

She[Kamel, journalist] had been optimistic initially, when she celebrated President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in February. She had spent days sitting in Cairo's Tahrir Square alongside thousands of others. She said she found the sight of men and women protesting together an inspiration.

"I think the youth that were in Tahrir ... people my age or people that were demonstrators or whatever, were OK with the concept of men and women having equal rights," said Kamel.

"In the months that followed, the feminist honeymoon was lost," she said. Click here. to read more.

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THINK! ENCOURAGING GIRLS TO STAY SMART IN A DUMB-DOWN WORLD

Therese Borchard

HUffington Post June 16,2011;

In her gutsy book, Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, attorney and national television legal analyst Lisa Bloom paints a dire picture.

The problem is not just about that 25 percent of young women who would rather be hot than smart; rather, it's about a culture that actually makes that a rational choice: rewarding girls for looks over brains. And it's about ALL of us, intelligent American females, ranging from girlhood to old age, who are dazzling ignorant about some critically important things.

An aggravating thing happened in the last generation. As girls started seriously kicking ass at every level of education (girls now out-perform boys in elementary, middle, and high schools; we graduate from college, professional, and graduate schools in greater number than males -- go team!), our brains became devalued.

I had to take a break after reading those paragraphs and ask myself four questions:

Did Lisa Bloom drink an extra shot of espresso before she penned those paragraphs? Does she have a hidden agenda that is fueling her passion? Is she exaggerating a personal opinion just to be heard? OR are we, in fact, raising stupid girls?

A few hours later, I sat down with my daughter as she watched the Disney Channel and, in between segments of Witches of Waverly Place, where Selena Gomez plays Alex, the naughty girl who has never opened a book in her adolescence (unlike her intellectual brother Justin, who loves the life of the mind), I saw the music video of the pop star Selena as she danced around a set in a skimpy dress, singing about lightning and thunder -- which apparently meant more than lightening and thunder by the way she was groping the microphone, practically licking it.

Alright, maybe Bloom does have a point, I said to myself, after less than 10 minutes in front of the tube. Young female celebrities aren't exactly rewarded and celebrated for their cognitive abilities and IQs. Imitating bold hip thrusts seem to matter more than SAT scores. And the more I see my seven-year-old stand in front of the mirror and mimic their moves, the more tempted I am to send her to a convent. One with lots of bookshelves holding scholarly works of all kind!

When I asked a friend of mine if she were saving for her daughter's college education, she sarcastically remarked, "No. I'm spending all the money on her wardrobe now, hoping that she'll be discovered." I laughed and cringed at the same time, because even as she intended sarcasm, there is too much truth to that philosophy in our culture. Look at the payoff, says. Bloom. "Many of us spend more time looking in the mirror than looking out at our planet, and the thing is that doing so is rational because there can be a bigger payoff for being sexy than brainy."

Now you're really lucky if you're cute and smart!

But seriously, I didn't realize how repressed I was intellectually and academically during my junior high and high school years until I attended an all-women's college. Even as I promised myself I'd never become one of those girls who paid more attention to tossing her hair back and forth than taking down algebra notes, I certainly held back in those co-ed classrooms. I didn't ask questions. I didn't engage with texts. I let the peer pressure of looking good win over stretching my mind, and so by trying to be ladylike, I compromised my education.

After the first semester at Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, I could clearly distinguish between a classroom that sets women up for success, and those that indirectly tell girls to shut up. It can be so subtle that you don't pick up on it until you are out of that environment, and in one that nurtures and encourages a woman to use her mind to make the world a better place. Writes Bloom:

We've got to use our brains for more than filler in the space beneath our smooth, Botoxed foreheads. The generation before us fought like hell and won for us equality in education and employment. Let's use that for a higher purpose than sending pictures of kittens on Facebook ... Bottom line: your critical thinking skills are desperately needed right now for your own good as well as for the sake of your community, your country, and your planet. That nagging little voice? It's your brain, and it's telling you that it wants back in the game.

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THE END OF MEN

Hanna Rosin

Atlantic Monthly June 16, 2010;

Earlier this year, women became the majority of the workforce for the first time in U.S. history. Most managers are now women too. And for every two men who get a college degree this year, three women will do the same. For years, women’s progress has been cast as a struggle for equality. But what if equality isn’t the end point? What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women? A report on the unprecedented role reversal now under way and its vast cultural consequences. To read more click here.

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