BBC Reports that women make up less than a third of senior positions when considering 11 main sectors including politics, business and law.
“Men outnumber women by four to one in Parliament and only a third of local councillors are women,” the group’s Preethi Sundaram said.
“When we look at the top quarters of power in the political world there are only five women there out of 22… It’s quite an appalling fact really.”
Read more at BBC News.
Iceland is a magical place! Not only do Icelanders believe in little people, the black lava rocks and lack of trees make it feel like you are visiting land similar to the moon. The area around the Blue Lagoon pictured below was especially beautiful.
No wonder Iceland has given birth to unique and talented musicians such as Bjork, Sigur ros, Mum and now recently Of Monsters And Men… A land like this must provide tons of creative inspiration! Reykjavik is also gorgeous and reminds me of an oversized fisher’s town. At night, Icelander’s enjoy drinking as cafe’s and burger joints by day, turn into bars and nightclubs.
The newly released UK Census from 1911 relating to illnesses and infirmities has provided us with an interesting look at how people then viewed their health. The responses, which are often amusing, were provided by the head of the household who usually had little medical knowledge. Some of the more strange health issues included “old age”, being “voteless”, “bald” and being “short of cash”.
My favorite part of the report is that Suffragettes often listed being voteless or disenfranchised as an illness. For example, four women reported that their ailments included being “voteless, and therefore classed with idiots and children”.
Read more about the report here.
Watch this HORRIFYING video!! The Eqyptian military and police are attacking, sexually assaulting and torturing women for the sole reason that they are female!! It appears the Eqyptian government has declared a full war on women! This is big news – and completely unacceptable. Please help these women in any way you can.
A shocking and horrifying video that will bring nausea to your stomach and put a lump in your throat. The expensive cost of dowry for the woman’s family, as well as the low status of women in general has lead to a nationwide trend of killing daughters. Families have become quite sophisticated in their elimination procedures, which include ultrasounds and abortions. The video below suggests that the issue has become so severe, that many men are unable to find a wife in certain Indian villages. Watch the video below:
The European Union recently blocked the release of a documentary commissioned by the EU about Afghan women in prison for moral crimes, known as Zina. The film follows two girls, one who was raped and another who ran away from domestic violence/ The documentary highlights the many injustices and human rights violations currently being carried out against women in Afghanistan. And even though the Afghan women had made recent strides in women’s rights, the film points out that sentencing of women for moral crimes has gone up.
Half of female prisoners in Afghanistan are sentenced for “moral crimes,” which Human Rights Watch estimates to be in the hundreds. These women are imprisoned for anywhere from 2 to 12 years, and sometimes there is a way out: in the case of rape you can choose to marry your rapist.
And when these poor women are set free? They have to worry about being murdered by their family members for bringing shame. One source quotes ”Quite a few of them feel like they’re going to be forced back into the abusive situation that they escaped from and some have said very clearly that they expect their families are likely to kill them, because they’ve brought shame on their families by ending up in prison.”
The reason the release was blocked, an EU official stated, was to protect the safety of the women in the film.
Read more here.
On Friday October 7th, the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to three women promoting peace, democracy and gender equality in Africa and the Middle East. The recipients were the first woman President (of Liberia) in modern Africa, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, as well as peace activist Leymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman who is a activist for democracy in Yemen.
Over the last 110 years, most Nobel Peace Prize recipients have been men. There has only been one prior female Peace Prize recipient, Wangari Maathai of Kenya, in 2004. The New York Times reports that Friday’s decision “seemed designed to give impetus to the fight for women’s rights around the world.” and that makes us pretty happy!
“We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society,” said the head of the Nobel committee who later added that the prize is, “a very important signal to women all over the world.”
This is a big victory for women and we are very proud. Read more at the New York Times.
Not only is Berlusconi an Italian media mogul, he is also the Italian Prime Minister. The 74-year-old seems to have a sick, teenager-like obsession with young girls, and has set out to share this obsession with the nation. As Italy’s third richest man ($9 billion in 2010), he has his influences spread across television, newspapers, publishing, and cinema. Berlusconi owns the three largest national television channels, the leading Italian advertising and publicity agency, and the largest Italian publishing house.
You can see his disgusting influences on Italian television here. He made female objectification, female nudity and plastic surgery a regular backdrop to his shows, advertising and news.
Now, wiretaps released due to suspicions of Berlusconi’s involvement in a prostitution ring, show clearly his unhealthy obsession with young, sexualized girls. Wiretapped telephone conversations between Berlusconi and a businessman charged with recruiting female escorts for sex parties were made public Saturday.The transcripts include gems like Berlusconi saying that he tries to act like a “prime minister in his spare time,” and “not to bring tall [girls], as we are not tall” (Berlusconi is 5′ 5″). He also boasts to “having been with eight [girls] in one night, even though I could have had eleven.”
Read more at MSNBC
A Rite of Torture for Girls
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF , Published: May 11, 2011 , HARGEISA, Somaliland
Damon Winter/The New York Times (Nicholas D. Kristof)
Original Article NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/12/opinion/12kristof.html?scp=5&sq=Nicholas%20D.%20Kristof%20&st=cse
People usually torture those whom they fear or despise. But one of the most common forms of torture in the modern world, incomparably more widespread than waterboarding or electric shocks, is inflicted by mothers on daughters they love.
It’s female genital mutilation — sometimes called female circumcision — and it is prevalent across a broad swath of Africa and chunks of Asia as well. Mothers take their daughters at about age 10 to cutters like Maryan Hirsi Ibrahim, a middle-aged Somali woman who says she wields her razor blade on up to a dozen girls a day.
“This tradition is for keeping our girls chaste, for lowering the sex drive of our daughters,” Ms. Ibrahim told me. “This is our culture.”
Ms. Ibrahim prefers the most extreme form of genital mutilation, called infibulation or Pharaonic circumcision. And let’s not be dainty or euphemistic. This is a grotesque human rights abuse that doesn’t get much attention because it involves private parts and is awkward to talk about. So pardon the bluntness about what infibulation entails.
The girls’ genitals are carved out, including the clitoris and labia, often with no anesthetic. What’s left of the flesh is sewn together with three to six stitches — wild thorns in rural areas, or needle and thread in the cities. The cutter leaves a tiny opening to permit urination and menstruation. Then the girls’ legs are tied together, and she is kept immobile for 10 days until the flesh fuses together.
When the girl is married and ready for sex, she must be cut open by her husband or by a respected woman in the community.
All this is, of course, excruciating. It also leads to infections and urinary difficulties, and scar tissue can make childbirth more dangerous, increasing maternal mortality and injuries such as fistulas.
This is one of the most pervasive human rights abuses worldwide, with three million girls mutilated each year in Africa alone, according to United Nations estimates. A hospital here in Somaliland found that 96 percent of women it surveyed had undergone infibulation. The challenge is that this is a form of oppression that women themselves embrace and perpetuate.
“A young girl herself will want to be cut,” Ms. Ibrahim told me, vigorously defending the practice. “If a girl is not cut, it would be hard for her to live in the community. She would be stigmatized.”
Kalthoun Hassan, a young mother in an Ethiopian village near Somaliland, told me that she would insist on her daughters being cut and her sons marrying only girls who had been. She added: “It is God’s will for girls to be circumcised.”
For four decades, Westerners have campaigned against genital cutting, without much effect. Indeed, the Western term “female genital mutilation” has antagonized some African women because it assumes that they have been “mutilated.” Aid groups are now moving to add the more neutral term “female genital cutting” to their lexicon.
Is it cultural imperialism for Westerners to oppose genital mutilation? Yes, perhaps, but it’s also justified. Some cultural practices such as genital mutilation — or foot-binding or bride-burning — are too brutish to defer to.
But it is clear that the most effective efforts against genital mutilation are grass-roots initiatives by local women working for change from within a culture. In Senegal, Ghana, Egypt and other countries, such efforts have made headway.
Here among Somalis, reformers are trying a new tack: Instead of telling women to stop cutting their daughters altogether, they encourage them to turn to a milder form of genital mutilation (often involving just excision of part or all of the clitoris). They say that that would be a step forward and is much easier to achieve.
Although some Christians cut their daughters, it is more common among Muslims, who often assume that the tradition is Islamic. So a crucial step has been to get a growing number of Muslim leaders to denounce the practice as contrary to Islam, for their voices carry particular weight.
At one mosque in the remote town of Baligubadle, I met an imam named Abdelahi Adan, who bluntly denounces infibulation: “From a religious point of view, it is forbidden. It is against Islam.”
Maybe the tide is beginning to turn, ever so slowly, against infibulation, and at least we’re seeing some embarrassment about the practice. In Baligubadle, a traditional cutter named Mariam Ahmed told me that she had stopped cutting girls — apparently because she knows that foreigners disapprove. Then a nurse in the local health clinic told me that she had treated Ms. Ahmed’s own daughter recently for a horrific pelvic infection and urinary blockage after the girl was infibulated by her mother.
I confronted Ms. Ahmed. She grudgingly acknowledged cutting her daughter but quickly added that she had intended only a milder form of circumcision. She added quickly: “It was an accident.”
Women covering war
Female correspondents recall their historic role reporting from Vietnam
Thursday, March 30, 2000
By Cristina Rouvalis and Bill Schackner, Post-Gazette staff writers
In 1967, Jurate Kazickas finagled a spot on the TV game show “Password,” but she wasn’t looking to get rich. She was trying to scrounge up enough money to fly to a place that most men her age desperately wanted to avoid — the jungles of Vietnam.
|“The first time I saw a soldier stop breathing, all filthy dirty, it was the most horrible death I could imagine,” says Jurate Kazickas, who is shown interviewing soldiers in Bien Hoa Army base, outside of Saigon, in 1967.|
Kazickas, a researcher for Look magazine, had been told by her boss that there was no way she would be sent to cover the war in Vietnam. After all, she was 24, totally green and had never published a word. The magazine’s male war correspondent had just been killed in Vietnam. It wasn’t about to send a woman.
But Kazickas was obsessed with getting a piece of the story of the decade. With her $500 “Password” prize money, she bought a one-way plane ticket to Saigon and became part of a gutsy group of women who forever changed the face of war reporting.
Kazickas got incredible access as a free-lancer, slogging through the jungles with U.S. troops. The soldiers liked talking to the 6-foot-tall, exotic-looking reporter, but their higher-ups hated that she was dodging mortar fire and photographing them in bloody battles.
“If I heard it once, I heard it a thousand times, ‘Combat is no place for a woman.’ “
Combat is arguably no place for anyone, male or female. But seven women who risked their lives to chronicle the hell of the Vietnam War will converge Friday, April 7, at West Virginia University for a reunion celebrating their place in journalism history.
The panel at 8 p.m. in the Health Sciences Auditorium will take place three weeks before the 25th anniversary of the fall of Saigon. Christine Martin, interim dean of WVU’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism, tracked down the panelists and is recording their stories in a book and in a documentary with a colleague.
The women war correspondents coming to Morgantown won’t reminisce about hanging out at a hotel bar in Saigon. Many of them covered combat, and Kazickas, now a 57-year-old free-lance writer in New York City, even has faint scars from the bloody siege of Khe Sanh.
It was a quiet day, March 8, 1968, and Kazickas was interviewing a group of Marines in the sunshine. Suddenly she heard a whistling sound and the men shouted, “Incoming!” A rocket exploded 50 feet away. Instead of throwing herself on the ground, she made the mistake of running toward the bunker. Shrapnel tore into her face, arms, legs and rear end.
Word traveled quickly that a female reporter was among those who had been helicoptered to a hospital in Da Nang. The military didn’t send her flowers. One colonel said, “She got what she was looking for.”
An obligation to go
Women were chronicling war before Vietnam, but never in such numbers or with such lasting impact. During World War II, an estimated 127 American women received Army accreditation, and some, such as Marguerite Higgins, made a name as war correspondents.
|Denby Fawcett aboard a jeep in Saigon in 1967. A chance meeting she had with Gen. William C. Westmoreland in a remote Army base in the Central Highlands led Westmoreland to try to ban women reporters from staying overnight in the field. That proposal was contested by women reporters and later rescinded.|
But overall these women, Martin said, occupied a small and precarious niche in journalism. When male journalists who had been drafted as soldiers returned from war, they reclaimed all the good assignments, leaving women out in the cold.
Because Vietnam was an undeclared war, it was paradise for free-lancers. All a reporter needed to secure a press pass was a letter from three news organizations expressing interest in using their work.
A press card let them roam the battlefields cheaply. It entitled them to free military ground and air transportation, interviews with field commanders, use of TELEX, food and shelter and even fatigue pants, combat boots and cushion-soled socks.
“There were flights everyday to Saigon,” said Martin, a native of Jeannette. “A lot more women went.”
All told, 467 women correspondents, including 267 Americans, made the trip.
Many women went over initially as free-lancers or even girlfriends. The only reason Laura Palmer went to Saigon was because she was dating a pediatrician who was stationed there. The romance fizzled, but she stayed in Vietnam to be a stringer for ABC-Radio and to write for Rolling Stone magazine. Years later, she wrote the book “Shrapnel in the Heart,” a chronicle of those who left poems and letters at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
As the Vietnam War dragged on and the women’s movement took hold, women went to Vietnam as full-time correspondents for news organizations.
In the early 70s, Edith Lederer and Tad Bartimus became Saigon correspondents for The Associated Press and later landed prestigious overseas posts and covered other wars. Bartimus begged and begged to go to Vietnam, and finally went over in 1973, saying she was “too stupid to be scared.”
Others went to Vietnam with some trepidation. UPI reporter Tracy Wood had mixed emotions when she was asked to go to Saigon in 1972.
“I am not a violent person by temperament,” said Wood, now the investigations editor for the Orange County Register in California. “You know you are going to see people get killed. It was not my life’s ambition. But I didn’t want to say ‘no.’ I felt an obligation to the sisterhood. If you turned it down, it would hurt all kinds of women.”
A fight to stay in battle
Even though women in Vietnam easily got press credentials, they were not always welcomed on the front lines of combat, especially early in the war. The biggest threat to their livelihoods came in June 1967, when Denby Fawcett, a 26-year-old woman filing battlefield stories for the Honolulu Advertiser, unwittingly became the focus of a tug-of-war between women and the military.
|The press pass of Laura Palmer.|
Fawcett, who had quit her job on the women’s page of another newspaper, had traveled out to a remote army base in the Central Highlands. Gen. William Westmoreland, commanding officer for U.S. troops, helicoptered into the base on short notice to boost morale of the troops, who had just suffered 64 casualties. As he mingled with the soldiers, Westmoreland did a double-take: there was Fawcett, a woman he recognized from back home. Her mother, Suzanne, played tennis back in Honolulu with Westmoreland’s wife, Kitsy. The general asked Fawcett how long she had been there. Several days, she replied.
Fawcett later learned that the seemingly casual encounter led Westmoreland to decide that women should no longer be allowed to stay overnight in the field. For the women war correspondents, such a directive would have been career death since it often was impossible to get to a battle location for a story and then back to Saigon the same day.
“You couldn’t demand a helicopter to take you out in the evening,” said Fawcett, now a political reporter for KITV-TV in Honolulu.
A group of women successfully lobbied against the directive and kept their battlefield access.
The cracks about them continued, though. They were bad luck, a logistical nightmare when it came to considerations like toilets and just plain stupid to come to war, some were told. Otherwise flattering news accounts of them found a way to be condescending. A story in the Army Reporter referred to Kazickas as “a pretty, round-eyed brunette” who was a morale booster for soldiers.
But being female had advantages, too. The soldiers liked talking to the rare female reporter, and standing out in the crowd helped when trying to bum a ride on a helicopter.
“You sure got noticed in a sea of 25 male reporters all scrambling to get on a helicopter. They would say, ‘We will take three of you and her,’ ” Kazickas said.
Women also came off as less threatening when they interviewed the Vietnamese women and children. This enabled them to do the stereotypical “soft” women’s stories, the human angle that became more important as Americans started questioning the wisdom of this war.
“At times, the women were more attuned to the human side of the war and the Vietnamese side of the war while many of us were zeroing in on the American side,” said George Esper, a celebrated war correspondent for The Associated Press.
Bartimus liked writing stories that some men dismissed as the “sob-sister stuff” — the student who played an off-key piano in a public square of a devastated city, the Vietnamese children who walked to school in clean uniforms past dead bodies.
“I wasn’t attracted to the bang-bang. War is not about shooting. It is about destruction,” she said.
Anne Morrissy Merick, an ABC-TV correspondent, also made no apologies for covering the human side of combat.
“The men were over there to cover the war, and I would cover the role of a nurse in Vietnam. They thought I was dumb. I thought they were dumb for just chasing firefights,” said Merick, who sometimes had her softer features cut from the broadcast in favor of the bang-bang of the nation’s first television war.
“It made better television to see people cowering in foxholes with a lot of banging and shooting and rocket fire.”
Still, some female war correspondents, including Kazickas, ran from stereotypical women’s stories. She resented it when commanding officers asked her why she wasn’t writing about orphans and refugees. Even so, it was wrenching to do combat reporting, interviewing an innocent young soldier one day, and seeing him dead the next.
“The first time I saw a soldier stop breathing, all filthy dirty, it was the most horrible death I could imagine.”
She rarely saw other female reporters, and though she would later become an AP correspondent, Kazickas often felt alone and lowly tromping through the swamps of Vietnam.
“It was very, very lonely. I had no girlfriends. No one visited me in the hospital. I was the lowest of the low, a 24-year-old girl bopping around. But I knew I was part of one of the most profound, important events in American history. It was a real privilege. I never took it lightly.”
In the April/May 2011 of POZ Magazine (a magazine that promotes literacy in health, life and HIV), there was an inspiring article dedicated to a gay right’s activist who is risking his life every day for this life-threatening fight. He believes and fights for something so simple as the basic human right to exist for those who are part of the LGBT community in Africa. Many times, if someone is even accused of being gay or lesbian in certain parts of Africa, they are murdered . I’ve scanned the article and click to enlarge below. It’s eye-opening.
Another disturbing tradition to come out of Africa that puts girls (some as young as 6) and women, in horrendously traumatizing, disgusting, dangerous and reprehensible violations of basic human rights and protection. Please read. (Link below)
Buy your tickets now!! More information here.
Angela Davis is a political activist with a wide range of interests to fight for. Her issues have included racism, the prison-industrial complex, sexism and gay rights. She is from Birmingham Alabama, holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, and was involved with the Black Panther Party and the Civil Rights Movement. Angela is also a professor (UCLA, UC Santa Cruz) and author (Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prisons, Torture, and Empire, Seven Stories Press, 2005).
This will be a wonderful talk and Loose Garments will be there (and blogging about it soon).