Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Megatrends: Climate Change; Women’s Rights

Comedian, writer, Daily Show co-founder and now political organizer Lizz Winstead discusses women’s reproductive rights as the midterm election season gears up. Plus: Global ambassadors talk climate change ahead of this weekend’s huge climate march in Manhattan; and a look at why big social changes, like globalization and unstable weather patterns, require close study. 

Source: http://www.wnyc.org/story/the-brian-lehrer-show-2014-09-19/

Monday, 22 September 2014

Gambia: EU On Crusade to Improve Women's Rights in Gambia

The European Union (EU) has intensified its campaign to reduce all forms of violence against women as well as enhance their economic status to improve women's rights and welfare.
EU Charge d' Affaires Madam Agnes Guillaud said issues of women's rights including female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practices should be effectively addressed for the country to achieve its development objectives including the MDGs.
In view of this, the Delegation of the European Union to The Gambia recently launched a project in Foni Jarrol District dubbed 'Women's empowerment for change'.
The project financed by the EU to the tune of D10.5 million aims to promote women's rights by empowering vulnerable women and raising awareness about their rights as human beings.
"It [the project] is focused on economic empowerment and reducing violence against women, including female genital mutilation," Madam Guillaud said.
Widespread domestic violence
She noted that issues like domestic violence should be effectively addressed "in order not to hamper the efforts to achieve our shared development objectives, including the MDGs".
The EU charge d' affaires said:"Indeed domestic violence remains a widespread problem in the country.FGM and other harmful traditional practices are still widely perpetrated, especially in rural areas. Such is also early marriage, which can conduct to health complications and sometimes death, not to mention the missing out on education."
Madam Guillaud said economic dependency is another issue the EU together with its partners is highly committed to addressing.
In The Gambia, as in many other countries in the world, gender inequality and poverty are closely related, she explained.
Besides lacking financial resources, she said women have unequal access to other basic goods and services including employment, information, educations, healthcare, and access to all their basic human rights guaranteed by various international and local legislations.
Significant progress
The EU Charge d' Affaires said in The Gambia significant progress has been made in the past decades to promote gender equality and women empowerment, despite widespread domestic violence
She noted that The Gambia government has made "remarkable" efforts to address domestic violence and other harmful traditional practices and that the EU will continue to support initiatives willing to tackle inequality and social injustice.
According to the senior EU official, the Union is committed to gender equality which she said has been identified as one of the five essential principles of EU cooperation strategies."Equal opportunities and access to resources for both men and women are essential to eradicate poverty and to achieve all MDGs."
The Foni Jarrol project is one of three programmes funded by the EU and implemented by the NGOs amounting to more than D44 million, as part of its initiatives to improve women's rights in The Gambia.

Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/201409181388.html

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Women's reproductive rights mark key issue in N.C. Senate race

A dramatic gender divide has the potential to influence one of the most tightly contested U.S. Senate races in the country.
The current senatorial race between incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and N.C. House of Representatives Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, has been too close call. According to a recent Elon University poll, 52 percent of women are in favor of Hagan retaining her seat in the U.S. Senate, while 33 percent of women support Tillis’ bid instead. The male breakdown is almost a mirror image, with 50 percent of men supporting Tillis and 38 percent supporting Hagan.
The voting records of the candidates stand in stark opposition on several issues—including on women’s health issues such as abortion and birth control. Planned Parenthood Votes, an organization that advocates for women’s health, has recently stepped into the ring by announcing a $500,000 ad-buy in North Carolina attacking Tillis’ record on women’s issues.
“Kay [Hagan] believes that decisions about women’s health should be between a woman and her doctor, not between a woman and her boss, and not between a woman and her senator, for that matter," said Chris Hayden, press secretary for the Hagan campaign.
Despite Hayden's assertion that Tillis' voting record is harmful to women's rights, a number of female N.C. voters stand by the Republican candidate. Zan Bunn—president of the North Carolina Federation of Republican Women—for example, is confident in Tillis's campaign.
“First of all, all issues are women’s issues. Women are concerned with jobs, and the economy, and whether their families are able to put money on the table,” Bunn said.
Hayden referenced Tillis’ support for the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision, which granted corporations the right to refuse birth control coverage on religious grounds. The Hagan campaign, as well as Planned Parenthood, has independently raised objections to numerous other measures Tillis has supported.
Among these is a controversial ultrasound bill that required abortion doctors to deliberately show women a picture of their ultrasound–a move that drew accusations of shaming women out of abortions and intruding on the privileged relationship between doctors and patients. A federal court later struck down the law. Other measures the Hagan camp finds objectionable include Tillis’ attempts to defund Planned Parenthood—which Hayden described as instrumental for providing women preventative care—and his killing of an equal pay law in Raleigh.
The Hagan campaign had no comment on Planned Parenthood’s recent ad-buy, but did reiterate that Planned Parenthood Votes is unaffiliated with the campaign.
“Tillis’ policy position masquerades as a solution, but it is not one. Women aren’t fooled by this last-ditch political ploy,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of Planned Parenthood Votes. “We’re going to work every day between now and November 4th to make sure voters know where the candidates stand on birth control access and other important women’s health issues.”
Tillis’ attempts to reconcile with women voters have been met with controversy. He recently expressed support for expanding over-the-counter birth control pills, but Planned Parenthood has used a recent ad campaign to argue that Tillis is putting on a false act. PPV contends that by removing birth control from insurance coverage, Tillis’ measure actually makes birth control more of a burden for women.
"On election day, we will know whether more men or women support Tillis or Hagan," Bunn said. "If people examine the difference, I think they’ll report Tillis.”
John Aldrich, Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science, argued that Tillis will face a daunting challenge if he wants to recover the female vote.
“Insofar as he’s able, I think he’s going to stay away from them. I think it’s easier for him to do it that way. Its always possible something forces him to address it, but unless that happens I think he’s going to stay silent,” Aldrich siad.
He added that Tillis’ main strategy from this point on is to avoid further antagonizing the women demographic and thus driving them to the polls.
There is great potential for that the female demographic to have a big impact on this election, Aldrich said. Hagan’s chances of winning depend on how well she mobilizes the women’s vote, he explained.
“It’s hard to observe how successful the Hagan campaign has been in this regard. Its going to be a sort of mystery, from an observer’s point of view," Aldrich said. "She did a good job in 2008, but that was six years ago.”

Source: http://www.dukechronicle.com/articles/2014/09/19/womens-reproductive-rights-mark-key-issue-nc-senate-race

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Group dedicated to women’s equality celebrating 25th year

On one hand, it’s all about the numbers for Patrice Sayre, chief business officer with the Iowa Board of Regents.
But number crunching is just one piece of the puzzle for the artist-turned-career accountant who pours as much passion and energy into women’s equality issues and the next generation of women confronting them.
Sayre, 62, of Ankeny, is a two-decade board member with the Chrysalis Foundation, a women’s advocacy, support and leadership organization celebrating 25 years in operation this year.
For its silver anniversary, Chrysalis will host its annual Inspired fundraising luncheon Thursday at the Iowa Events Center. It features female leader and philanthropist Dr. Tererai Trent, known as Oprah Winfrey’s “all-time favorite guest.”
Trent is a woman from a small Zimbabwe village who realized her dream to achieve an education in America after being forced into marriage at age 11 and mothering three children before she turned 18. Her story of success touches the broad gamut of issues that Chrysalis encounters daily through programs and services, Sayre said.
“It’s about making sure women and girls have access to programming and opportunities to make a better life,” Sayre said of Chrysalis.
Sayre joined Chrysalis as a board member in 1992 at the invitation from her friend, Louise Rosenfield Noun. The founder of Chysalis, who died in 2002 at the age of 94, led a life of feminist activism and philanthropy that inspired Sayre and many others.
Sayre talked with The Des Moines Register about Chrysalis today and how it’s making a difference in Iowa:
Q: How did Chrysalis start?
A. It was started by three women, particularly Noun, a well-known philanthropist in Des Moines. She was very interested in assuring that women and girls had opportunities in career and education and all the issues that affect women and their families.
Q: Why did you get involved?
A. I’m a product of my time; growing up I was surrounded by huge societal changes in America — antiwar protests, civil rights, women’s rights. My passion for social justice focused on the second wave of feminism: women having credit rights in their own name, insurance coverage equal to men’s, equality before the law, career opportunities, adequate health care, the right to determine who you are without some stereotype telling you who you should be.
Q: What does the 25th anniversary mean for the organization?
A. It is very important. We started out with one women, a philanthropist, who used her funds to start this. Now we’ve grown into a bigger organization that has become independent and developed a name in the community respected by women and girls.
Q: If someone gives money to Chrysalis, where does it go?
A. We’re thankful to have a generous endowment that funds all daily services and operations. That means everything we raise we are able to put back out into community services and programs.
Q: What specific programs and services does Chrysalis access?
A. We focus on issues of home life, career, dreams, financial literacy and things that help a girl succeed. We work with an economic development for adult women group, Iowa Homeless Youth Center, Young Women’s Resource Center, Women’s Alliance and we’ve partnered with Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa. The best we’re known for is our after-school program.
Q: What’s the after-school program all about?
A. It focuses on healthy and successful development of adolescent girls. There is a particular need (to reach) girls in middle school. That’s an age where a lot of girls lose their self-confidence and there was a missing link there to help girls feel comfortable in today’s society. So we launched the after-school program in 1998 and it now serves more than 500 girls each year at 30-plus locations.
Q: Are there any new efforts or initiatives that Chrysalis is promoting?
A. We’ve been focusing a lot on sex trafficking lately and making that issue known. We are a state that has a lot of sex trafficking going through since we’re at the intersection of Interstate Highways 80 and 35 and (traffickers) head from one place to another. I think Chrysalis was very necessary in providing a public service campaign on that issue.
Patrice Sayre
AGE: 62.
LIVES: Ankeny.
GREW UP: Des Moines, North High School graduate.
FAMILY: Husband John Sayre, three adult sons.
FUN FACT: First college degree was in art. Switched to accounting after being laid off from first job out of college. “I was laid off on a Friday and enrolled in classes for a master’s degree in accounting (at Drake University) by Tuesday the following week.”
Inspired event
The annual fundraiser luncheon for Chrysalis, a charity for girls and women, will feature guest speaker Dr. Tererai Trent, Oprah Winfrey’s “all-time favorite guest.”
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.
WHERE: Iowa Events Center, 833 Fifth Ave., in the Grand Ballroom.
COST: $50 per adult, $25 per student.
RESERVATONS: Register by this morning online at www.chrysalisfdn.org.

Source: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/2014/09/10/group-dedicated-womens-equality-celebrating-th-year/15373415/

Friday, 19 September 2014

Rights group: African Union soldiers raped, exploited Somali women, girls

(CNN) -- African Union soldiers stationed in Somalia have raped and sexually exploited women and girls on their military bases, Human Rights Watch says in a new report.
The report released Monday accuses soldiers of working through Somali go-betweens to use a variety of ploys, such as humanitarian aid, to force women and girls to have sex as well as to sexually assault women who came to the bases seeking medical help or water.
"Some African Union soldiers have misused their positions of power to exploit Somalia's most vulnerable women and girls," said Liesl Gerntholtz, executive director of the women's rights division at Human Rights Watch.
The rights group said it interviewed 21 women and girls who recounted being raped or sexually exploited by Ugandan or Burundian troops serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia since 2013.
2013: What's the situation in Somalia?
In the boat patrolling for pirates
Among the cases described in the report is a 15-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by a Burundian soldier after she went to a military base to try to get medicine for her sick mother.
African Union challenges report
The African Union said it was "concerned" by the report and would "thoroughly" investigate the allegations. But it took issue with much of the content of the document, accusing it of "imbalance, inaccuracies and partial view."
The regional body said the portrayal of the AU mission and the broad conclusions in the report "constitute a misrepresentation of the sacrifices, achievements and genuine commitment" of the mission.
AU troops are in Somalia to support Somali forces cracking down on Al-Shabaab, a group fighting the government in hopes of turning the country into a fundamentalist Islamic state.
The mission's mandate includes helping with humanitarian assistance in Somalia, which is plagued by war, poverty and famine.
Scale of problem unclear
The AU said the Human Rights Watch report "uses a small number of cases to arrive at a generalized conclusion."
The rights group said it didn't "assess the scale or prevalence of the abuse" because of the sensitivity of the subject and the "profound reluctance" of victims and witnesses to speak out.
"Nonetheless, the findings raise serious concerns about abuses by AMISOM soldiers against Somali women and girls that suggest a much larger problem," the report said.
It called on the countries who contribute troops, the AU and donors to the mission to "urgently address these abuses and strengthen procedures inside Somalia to seek justice."
The AU said in its statement it had developed mechanisms "to prevent and respond to issues of misconduct and abuse in peace support operations, in accordance with the AU's zero-tolerance policy on this matter."
Contacted for comment, a spokesman for the mission referred CNN to the AU statement.
Somali government to launch investigation
The Somali Prime Minister's office issued a statement Tuesday expressing concern over the "grave allegations" in the Human Rights Watch report.
"The government condemns all forms of abuse against the Somali people and remains committed to ensuring perpetrators of any crime against its civilians are brought to justice," the office said.
"The government will lead a rigorous and prompt investigation into the allegations with all stakeholders and necessary action will be taken as required."

Source: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/09/world/africa/african-union-soldier-allegations/

Thursday, 18 September 2014

News for Today

Contributed by Karol Arámbula:

'Islamic State recruiting women from US heartland' (The Guardian):

'Dying out here': US job gains leave balck women behind' (NBC News):

'Men say women 'not as hot' after age 21' (Discovery):

'ISIS Jihadists forcing Yazidi women to work as sex slaves' (Breit Bart):

'Women donate their brains to science' (Stuff NZ):

'Yes, it's official, men are from Mars and women from Venus, and here's the science to prove it' (The Telegraph):

Contributed by Farah Najar Arevalo:

El calvario de las esclavas sexuales del Estado Islámico: 
La falta de mujeres en los campos de la ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas (CTIM) = Problemas en el sector privado: 
http://blogs.iadb.org/sectorprivado/2014/08/28/mujeres-en-ciencia-y-matematicas/ http://blogs.iadb.org/sectorprivado/2014/08/28/mujeres-en-ciencia-y-matematicas/ 
What these Indian men have to say about rape will shock you 
Male Birth Control Is Almost Here — And No, We Don’t Mean Condoms http://www.mtv.com/news/1926484/male-birth-control/ 
Más de la mitad de usuarias del transporte público en AL ha sido acosada sexualmente, dice estudio del Banco Mundial 
Beliefs About Sexual Assault That Are Totally Wrong 
Los abortos elevan el costo de las niñas en India: 

A Clevelander, Retired Flight Attendant, And Women’s Rights Pioneer

    Barbara "Dusty" Roads grew up in Cleveland, and is now 86 years old. She was a long-time flight attendant who in the 1960s, stood up to gender and age discrimination for her and her peers. Ideastream's Tony Ganzer spoke to her. She'll be participating in a panel discussion Wednesday, called "the Fight for Fairness in Flight."
In the last century the fight for women’s rights has been fought on on many fronts, including in the air. Barbara “Dusty” Roads grew up in Cleveland, and is now 86 years old.  She was a long-time flight attendant who in the 1960s, stood up to gender and age discrimination for her and her peers.  Ideastream’s Tony Ganzer spoke to her about her life, beginning with her youth in Cleveland.
ROADS: “It was the easiest place to grow up in the world, I think.  We had no gangs, we had no tattoos, we had no drugs, and we didn’t have all this 20% of all college girls expect to be sexually harassed.”
GANZER: “We you brought up with self-confidence, being a young woman?”
ROADS: “Yes, my mother worked, and my father was an attorney.  He graduated from Adelbert in 1912, and he was a captain in World War I, and my mother adored him. And it was a happy, happy family.  My grandmother lived with us.”
GANZER: “You had a long career with the airlines, but maybe one of the most fiery portions of your career was when you stood up to them, and you said the rules for flight attendants, of when they had to retire, were not fair.  Could you remind us of that story?”
ROADS: “I was with American Airlines, and I joined American as a stewardess—we were stewardesses then—in 1950.  And in 1953 American Airlines so deemed, in a contract, that anyone that was hired by American after November 1953 would be fired at age 32, and also if you married you were fired.”
GANZER: “Really?”
ROADS: “Yes.”
GANZER: “Now one interesting thing you did was you used the press, and you brought your fellow flight attendants together.”
ROADS: “They used the press, and so did we.  We had that wonderful news conference in 1963.  Nothing happened that day, we were lucky, we didn’t go to war, no bad thing happened, and we hit all the papers.  And it was amazing because stewardesses were glamorous, and.. ‘What do you mean they’re firing you at age 32?’”
GANZER: “What do you think you accomplished with that? Do you think you opened these people’s eyes?”
ROADS: “I don’t think we opened American Airlines’ eyes, because they knew it.  And the airlines wanted that because it was cheaper.  It was cheaper to have someone that’ll never get married, never have babies, never get pensions, never get the highest rate of pay, and never get 6 weeks vacation.”
GANZER: “Something I found interesting in your story, is that we may take about the Women’s Rights Movement, but this was part of the Civil Rights Movement in this country, more broadly.”
ROADS: “Yes it was. But it was also..I think…we had so much help from a congresswoman named Martha Griffiths, from Detroit.  And Martha had been, pardon the expression, screwed, because she and her husband had graduated from Missouri, and they applied to Harvard Law School.  He was accepted, and the Ivy Leagues did not take women in law school.  So they went to Michigan, University of Michigan and they changed Michigan politics forever. And Martha was the woman who got the Equal Rights Amendment through the House after years and years of trying, and no one could do it then.”
GANZER: “You’ve told a story in the past about going into, just after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is founded, and you go into the office, and it’s mostly African-Americans there.”
ROADS: “We were the first ones there, they hadn’t even unpacked the typewriters.  And they looked at us, white, dressed in our uniforms.  And they asked us ‘what are you doing here? You’re free, white and 21.’ And I said Oh honey we’ve got a story to tell you.  And they looked at us..they couldn’t believe.  We came close to going on strike in August of 68.  I knew we couldn’t get 22 year old girls to go on strike for 32 year old ladies, because they’ll never be 32.  So I called Martha and said we’ve been worried about this, we may go on strike.  And I said if you know anybody at the EEOC, call them, and make a decision one way or the other.  And the next day American came in and said the age thing was out.”
GANZER: “I’ve heard before that there is hope in the younger generations, especially in young men, in how we look at women, and there’s more respect, I guess, general respect from a younger age.  Do you see that, too?”
ROADS: “Well, I just saw on television where a young guy beat the hell out of his wife in an elevator, cold-cocked her, knocked her out.  And she married him.  He belongs in jail, and she belongs in an insane asylum.”
GANZER: “So you’re not optimistic for social change?”
ROADS: “Well, there’s been a lot of brutality.  I don’t know whether the fathers are not teaching their sons how to treat women, or not.  I don’t really know. But there’s a lot of sexual harassment in college that we never had.  I don’t remember that.  We just don’t know how to treat each other anymore.  I think women are doing a lot…we have more women in Congress, but we have a long way to go.  When I was growing up there’s was no such thing as a woman Supreme Court Justice, now we have three.  Next year, the White House.”

Source: http://www.ideastream.org/news/feature/a-clevelander-retired-flight-attendant-and-womens-rights-pioneer