Sunday, February 20, 2011

You can't make this stuff up: Republicans' recent asssaults on women's rights

While we're on the topic of threats to women's human rights - and in light of International Women's Day coming up - I've posted the list below, courtesy of MoveOn. It lists the top 10 Republican assaults on women's rights in the US. If you're interested in the list of sources for these claims, let me know in the comments section, and I'll post those links.

1) Republicans not only want to reduce women's access to abortion care, they're actually trying to redefine rape. After a major backlash, they promised to stop. But they haven't.

2) A state legislator in Georgia wants to change the legal term for victims of rape, stalking, and domestic violence to "accuser." But victims of other less gendered crimes, like burglary, would remain "victims."

3) In South Dakota, Republicans proposed a bill that could make it legal to murder a doctor who provides abortion care. (Yep, for real.)

4) Republicans want to cut nearly a billion dollars of food and other aid to low-income pregnant women, mothers, babies, and kids.

5) In Congress, Republicans have proposed a bill that would let hospitals allow a woman to die rather than perform an abortion necessary to save her life.

6) Maryland Republicans ended all county money for a low-income kids' preschool program. Why? No need, they said. Women should really be home with the kids, not out working.

7) And at the federal level, Republicans want to cut that same program, Head Start, by $1 billion. That means over 200,000 kids could lose their spots in preschool.

8) Two-thirds of the elderly poor are women, and Republicans are taking aim at them too. A spending bill would cut funding for employment services, meals, and housing for senior citizens.

9) Congress voted yesterday on a Republican amendment to cut all federal funding from Planned Parenthood health centers, one of the most trusted providers of basic health care and family planning in our country.

10) And if that wasn't enough, Republicans are pushing to eliminate all funds for the only federal family planning program. (For humans. But Republican Dan Burton has a bill to provide contraception for wild horses. You can't make this stuff up).

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What will the Egyptian uprising mean for women's rights?

As Michelle wrote in the comments on the previous post, our discussion last night turned up some surprising facts: Liza pointed out that over 90% of Egyptian women are "circumcised" (or rather, have experienced female genital mutilation)*. This seemed very strange to me, because I had the impression that there had been strong women's movements in Egypt, and I assumed that FGM would be the kind of thing that women's movements would oppose.

Having looked around a little, it turns out that Egypt does have a history of important activism by women, including opposition to FGM. Nadje S. Al-Ali's The Women's Movement in Egypt, with Selected References to Turkey and Nadia Wassef and Nemat Guenena's Unfulfilled Promises: Women's Rights in Egypt both give good overviews of women's activism and key issues.

It's also important to note that this history of women's activism has had some significant results. For example, women's representation in parliament is guaranteed throughthe provision of a minimum number of seats, and women have a significant presence in Egyptian higher education.

At first media coverage of the recent Egyptian protests included very few images of women (Opinioness of the World gives a good overview of this, with plenty of useful links, and a number of news sources have noted that women have been present in significant numbers at the protests (see, for example, Lindsey's article on PRI and Topol's article on Slate).

I'm curious to see what happens over the next few months in Egypt. After last night's discussion, I'll be paying special attention to whether women's concerns are addressed (or even raised) at any stage during the elections and negotiations.

* Nadia Wassef, an activist against FGM, discusses why she uses the term "female circumcision" rather than FGM in this article. It's worth a read.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Launch: Bluestocking Institute Discussion Group

The Bluestocking Institute is launching its discussion group and all are invited! Gatherings will be held on the second Sunday of each month. Participants are invited to discuss events, publications, movies and anything else linked to the pursuit of social justice.

The first session will be held on Sunday the 13th February at 5pm at the Moon Cafe (323 William St Northbridge). The central topic is ‘The role of the media in the Egyptian uprising’. The following articles and commentaries provide a starting point for discussion:

Please RSVP on our Bluestocking Facebook page or email Sky if you have any questions

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Activist Campaign Tools (ACT) Course

Katrina writes:
"Did you ever feel concerned about an issue but feel like you didn't have the skills or connections to do much about it?

If so ... the Activist Campaign Tools (ACT) Course may be for you!

Designed for all activists, campaigners or anyone inspired about an issue, ACT is an 8 week, low cost, skills training course.

Learn practical skills to transform your next campaign or increase career prospects in the environment and social justice sectors.

The course is run by a series of specialist facilitators and includes topics such as - Campaign Planning, Marketing and Media, Communication and Meeting Skills, Event Management and Fundraising, Law for Activists, Lobbying and Sustainable Activism.

All ages, experience levels and pet issues welcome and you don't need to be currently involved in a campaign to come along.

6.30-9pm, Tuesdays 8 Feb-29 March 2011
Earthwise Subiaco

$100 waged - $60 unwaged - Bookings essential - numbers limited!

For bookings and more information, e-mail katrina73 at iinet dot net dot au with any questions or to request a free brochure or see"