Monday, July 27, 2009

Meaningful work

I’ve started compiling a list of resources for people interested in working in the non-profit/non-governmental sector – this includes volunteer positions, paid employment or maybe you just want to learn more about organisations aimed at creating social change. This is a preliminary list, so feel free to add more by posting a comment. - Includes jobs, volunteer opportunities, internships and events
Global charity jobs – Based in the UK, includes listings for jobs worldwide
Devzone – Based in New Zealand, includes listings for jobs worldwide esp. in Pacific region.
Foundation Center – Mostly management positions with US-based non-profit organisations.
Ethical Jobs - Job listings for Australian NGOs. Not many resources yet, but more to come.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bluestockings @ Barcamp

This Saturday Perth's 3rd BarCamp will be held at Central Tafe. BarCamps are "user generated conferences — open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants", which have a history of focusing on technology but can also be adapted to other issues.

The only other BarCamp I've attended was Bangalore BarCamp 5, and it was great. I went to sessions on social technology, community mesh networks, blogging, and low-budget films, and met a heap of fascinating people.

I haven't been to a BarCamp in Perth yet, so I've no idea what to expect, or what to contribute. Hopefully some of you will come down and bring some ideas.

UPDATE: my post about BarCamp is up over at witty title pending.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What does feminism mean to you?

My 15 year old cousin asked me on the weekend 'How come you knit and sew and cook and stuff even though you're a feminist?'

I would love to live in a world where that was a surprising and naive question. Instead, I've come across the same assumption over and over again: being a feminist means eschewing anything to do with traditional femininity. Someone told me recently: "I'm not a feminist because I enjoy being able to stay at home with my children". I wish I'd been shocked.

I came across a similar assumption today in a new and unexpected place: in's critique of Ridiculous Life Lessons From New Girl Games. While I entirely agree with the author's complaints that most of these games teach girls to focus on fashion and adventures, it seems that games can only win approval for teaching girls to engage in "non-stereotypically female activities" or to have "masculine qualities".

For me, feminism is about valuing qualities and activities that have traditionally been associated with both masculinity and femininity. I love having a place in academia, being able to teach and present my research. A hundred years ago, that would have been hard for a woman. I also love being able to make and fix things with my hands, whether it's crocheting a scarf or adjusting my bicycle gears. I want a world in which men and women (and those who don't fit our gender binaries) can choose to engage in 'caring work', where people have the same opportunities in the workplace and in the rest of their lives, no matter what gender they are.

Women in the West have it relatively easy, compared to women (and men) in the rest of the world, but we're not there yet. Women get paid less than men, mothers are less likely to be hired and are paid less, and a myriad of subtle gender structures shape and limit the possibilities that both men and women have available. For me, feminism is about changing this while connecting with and supporting other struggles throughout the world, including those in the Global South.

What does feminism mean for you?

Picture from Cross-stitch ninja.