We're sorry to announce that due to ill-health November's issue is suspended. At the moment it is next to impossible to use the computer. There may also be no issue in December, or a very limited one, but we hope to return at full strength in the new year. Apologies too for the lack of main features in September and October - delayed for the same reasons. Please stick with us, we will be back.
A word on navigation. There's a lot here, and a lot to post each month. To help you, the archive is at the top right of the page, just under this editorial. You'll see posts listed by month and topic. If you want to skip straight to Sport, or Arts, you can do so using these links. Otherwise you'll have to scroll down through more than one page to read everything each month. Please note that any queries about content or other matters should be directed to the original publications of linked articles as WHTW? can't be responsible for fact-checking and vetting sources of all of them.
This month's issue
While you are waiting, October's issue is full of fascinating articles. We are asking is child labour wrong? Girls in Bolivia's new child union don't think so (see Women/Work) and are demanding respect from society for their labour (and give us your view in our poll at the foot of the page). In Politics, Denmark has a new woman prime minister and you can read a statement on increasing women's political participation from UN women leaders, and research on peace and gender. In Family and society, there's a list of the best and worst countries for women and an article on the pros and cons of pirate husbands in Somalia. In Arts there's a comment on the furore over pop-star Rihanna's in-your-face raunch. And in Science and technology we celebrate Thai and Kenyan women's scientific achievements. In Health, there's a warning about injectable contraceptives and HIV infection, and a rise in breast cancer in UK Asian women. In Law, a US lawyer is protesting at the treatment of jailed women in childbirth. In the Mind, body and spirit post you can engage in debate over the Pill - or the lack of it - and its transformative effects on society. And, for a giggle, look at the men in pin-up poses in the And another thing section of this blog.
Our special feature this month will be a collection of links on Women in the Arab Spring. Look out for it coming soon!
We hope you will find this blog a useful resource and a provocative and productive place for debate. We look forward to your comments and feedback.
Anna Purna

Sunday, 30 October 2011

October editorial

In October's issue we are asking, is child labour wrong? Girls in Bolivia's new child union don't think so (see Women/Work) and are demanding respect from society for their labour (and give us your view in our poll at the foot of the page). In Politics, Denmark has a new woman prime minister and you can read a statement on increasing women's political participation from UN women leaders and research on peace and gender. In Family and society, there's a list of the best and worst countries for women and an article on the pros and cons of pirate husbands in Somalia. In Arts there's a comment on the furore over pop-star Rihanna's in-your-face raunch. And in Science and technology we celebrate Thai and Kenyan women's scientific achievements. In Health, there's a warning about injectable contraceptives and HIV infection, and a rise in breast cancer in UK Asian women. In Law, a US lawyer is protesting at the treatment of jailed women in childbirth. In the Mind, body and spirit post you can engage in debate over the Pill - or the lack of it - and its transformative effects on society. And, for a giggle, look at the men in pin-up poses in the And another thing section of this blog.
Our special feature this month will be a collection of links on Women and the Arab Spring. Look out for it coming soon!

Special Feature: Women and the Arab Spring

to follow

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Women/Politics: Denmark's PM, African politicians, peace, UN women

Denmark's new PM
Denmark elects its first woman prime minister, Helle Thorning-Schmidt: http://universitypost.dk/article/thorning-new-prime-minister  . UK comment from the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/16/helle-thorning-schmidt-denmark-leader?INTCMP=SRCH and  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/15/danes-female-prime-minister-helle-thorning-schmidt?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487. The win was subseqently hailed as a victory for women. Not only is Thorning-Shcmidt, leader of the Social Democrats, now PM at the head of a left wing coalition, but two other (of nine) Folketing (parliamentary) parties are also led by women: the Danish Social-Liberal party led by Margarethe Vestager and the right-wing anti-immigration Danish People's Party, led by Pia Kjaersgaard. http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-world/tough-task-for-denmarks-first-woman-pm-20110916-1kcj6.html

UN women's voices
Dilma Vana Rousseff, Brazil's first female president, also became the first woman to open an annual meeting of the UN General Assembly last month. Brazil's president has historically been given the honour of making the opening speech. Ms Rousseff took the opportunity to address the UN on human rights. Her speech, however, was criticised by some in Brazil:  http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/10/03/brazil-dilma-speech-un/
UN Women leaders
At the UN meeting of women leaders in September there were calls for greater participation of women in political decisionmaking. The leaders signed a joint statement setting out ways to increase women's participation in politics: http://www.unwomen.org/2011/09/world-leaders-draw-attention-to-central-role-of-womens-political-participation-in-democracy/#jointstatement . In the UK, the Fawcett Society commented: http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1207.

Women in African politics
Kenya's new constitution, passed in August 2010, looks set to create up to 80 new Kenyan women MPs. The constitution provides for an additional 80 seats in parliament which the government has now decided will be allocated via a nomination list to women until Kenya's parliament fulfils its new constitutional requirement of one-third of its members being women: http://allafrica.com/stories/201109211232.html
However, in other African states, women's representation is facing obstacles. In Uganda, women politicians and leaders complain they face continuing discrimination by being expected to fulfil traditional gender roles in addition to their political duties. This report contains personal statements from some leading women politicians on their own experience of campaigning for election: http://allafrica.com/stories/201110031115.html
In Zimbabwe, women remain disempowered and economically disadvantaged. The women's movement is calling for a 50%  quota system for elections. The government has announced various new measures to improve women's status, according to this report. But, the journalist wonders, "whether these gestures are improving the welfare of women or they are away of politely excluding women from the mainstream economy...when will women's empowerment become a top priority... in Zimbabwe's policies?"    http://allafrica.com/stories/201110030368.html
In Nigeria, newly appointed women ministers are being urged to work extra hard to show themselves worthy of key government positions that include finance, petroleum, aviation, water and environment: http://allafrica.com/stories/201109200819.html.

Peace and gender 
Peace and peace negotiations have become a critical issue for feminist intervention and action. This month sees the 11th anniversary of the UN Security Council's resolution 1325 providing for a range of measures to increase the inclusion of women in the prevention and resolution of violent conflict and address the role of women in peace negotiations. Research by Christine Bell and Catherine O'Rourke discusses the success or otherwise of the resolution's implementation in Asia. Issues such as the inclusion of sexual violence in peace deals are crucial to women, as is the inclusion of women in peace-building strategies and laying the foundations for future political structures. The research found that only 16 per cent of peace agreements contained references to women, but that this represented an increase since the passing of SCR 1325. Read UN Security Council 1325 and Peace Negotiations and Agreements and other documents on peace and gender from the Center for Humanitarian Dialogue here: http://www.hdcentre.org/publications?filter0=677

A report from the Cape Town Centre for Conflict Resolution on women and peacebuilding in Africa can be found here: http://www.ccr.org.za/images/stories/pdfs/Vol_9-WPA_Report_Final_Web-small.pdf. Author Joyce Laker's view is that women's participation in peace mediation and negotiations in African conflicts is unsystematic and ad hoc, and conditional on pressure from women's and other social movements.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Women/Economy and finance: US pay gap

US pay gap narrows
The narrowing of the pay gap between men and women in the USA may seem like good news until you look more closely. In fact, wages for both men and women fell between 2007 and 2010. The reason the pay gap has narrowed is that men's wages fell by 6% during that period, while women's fell by only 0.9%:

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Women/Family and society: Iceland best for women, pirate husbands, domestic violence, child marriage

The best and worst countries for women
Iceland has been named as the world's best country for women by Newsweek. Yemen, Afghanistan and Chad were the worst: http://www.thedailybeast.com/content/dailybeast/articles/2011/09/20/best-and-worst-countries-for-women-the-full-list.html. The Fawcett Society comments here: http://www.facebook.com/fawcettsociety/posts/124094124359883. “We know that gender equality is one of the best indicators for the overall quality of societies", said Iceland's Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir. The full report is available here: http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-2011/.

Pirate husbands required
In a country named as one of the world's worst for women's rights, perhaps it's no surprise that Somali women pursue pirate husbands:   http://thinkafricapress.com/somalia/somali-piracy-what-about-women .  The report on conditions for women is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/14/worst-places-in-the-world-for-women-somalia, and here the Somali minister for women comments: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/17/women-somalia-hell-worst-world

Domestic violence 
Ethiopian women are some of the most abused by violent partners according to the UN in a report entitled Ending violence against womenhttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6040180.stm. Some 60% of Ethiopian women suffer abuse at the hands of husbands and partners. Across 71 nations, around one in three women will suffer domestic abuse at some time in their lives.  Meanwhile in Angola, a long-awaited new law has been passed against domestic violence: http://allafrica.com/stories/201110040614.html, which aims to educate citizens about appropriate family behaviour as well as punish wrong-doers. Over 100 countries worldwide have no domestic violence laws.

Afghan women's survey 
ActionAid surveyed over 1,000 Afghan women on their feelings about living through war as part of a campaign to mark the 10th anniversary of western intervention/invasion of their country: http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2011/10/women_in_afghan. 72% believed their lives were better now than ten years ago.  

Men and child marriage
http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/sep/20/desmond-tutu-men-child-marriage Archbishop Desmond Tutu is calling on men to take responsibility over child marriage. About time, we say.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Women/Work: child labour, boardroom quotas

Is child labour wrong?
Bolivia has 1 million child workers – half of them girls. Now they have formed a union to demand respect from a society that doesn't recognise child labour as right or legal. One of the requirements of union membership is that the child workers continue in education. Domestic worker Ana Guadalupe Perez Rosas, 14, and president of the La Paz chapter of the national child labour union UNATSBO, says: "We are an organization of boy and girl child and adolescent workers—shoe shiners, street sellers, domestic workers, construction workers, many different sectors. Above all, we ask the government for protection as workers and that we be treated respectfully by society. Because, the majority of the time we are oppressed. They think that it’s not right for us to work, that our childhood should be for playing and learning. But they don’t want to recognize the reality in Bolivia. The majority of us kids work because our family needs something from us, like helping to put food on the table or to support younger siblings."  http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/09/21/bolivia-child-workers-unionize/. The original article appears here: http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/‘ground-shifters’-‘girls-gauntlets’-–-children-unionizing-bolivia-92051.

Belgium's boardroom quotas
In August, Belgium adopted a law to require public enterprises and companies listed on the stock exchange to give women 30 per cent of seats on management boards. The law is likely to come into force next year, when every board member that leaves is to be replaced by a woman until the quota is reached. http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/eiro/2011/06/articles/be1106021i.htm.

Women/Arts and culture: Rihanna, India photos, book award

Women changing India
http://events.magnumphotos.com/exhibition/women-changing-india-1. A Magnum exhibition in London on the diverse and changing roles of women in Indian society.

The Rihanna debate
Sex or sexism? After Rihanna was banished from a Northern Irish field by a farmer for a too-raunchy video shoot, this opinion piece asks if sexual puritanism should be mistaken for feminist concern: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/laurie-penny/2011/09/taking-stand-rihanna-sex-women

Nominate the best feminist book
Here's your chance to vote for the best feminist academic book of 2011: http://fwsa.org.uk/2011/10/14/2012-annual-fwsa-book-prize/.

Women/Science and technology: chemistry, Wangari Maathi, technology

Chemistry prizes
Four Thai women chemists have won L'Oreal fellowships in a year designated the international year of chemistry by UNESCO: http://www.bangkokpost.com/learning/learning-from-news/257343/top-thai-women-chemists. They worked on areas as varied as nanotechnology, shrimp molecular biology, and diagnostic tools for genetic diseases.

Death of a Nobel laureate
http://allafrica.com/stories/201110060053.html Wangari Maathai, scientist, first Kenyan woman PhD holder and first African woman Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died last month. This link celebrates her work and that of other Kenyan women scientists, and this:  http://allafrica.com/stories/201110070046.html her life and work. Here she is in action, telling a moving and meaningful tale: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGMW6YWjMxw.

Celebrating women in technology
http://womenshistory.about.com/b/2011/10/07/ada-lovelace-day.htm - Ada Lovelace day commemorates the daughter of poet Lord Byron who invented the computer 'operating system' and was inaugurated in 2009  to celebrate women in technology. A biography of Ada Augusta Byron Lovelace is available here: http://womenshistory.about.com/cs/sciencemath1/a/bio_lovelace.htm .

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Women/Health: childbirth, contraceptives, anti-depressants, breast cancer

Maternal mortality
Maternal mortality and neonatal mortality rates in China drop by almost two-thirds after the government gives incentives for hospital births: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/16/china-cuts-childbirth-mortality-rate . On the other hand, in South Africa, the maternal mortality rate has increased fourfold over a decade, from 150 deaths per 100,000 in 1998 to 625 in 2007 according to this Human Rights Watch report: http://www.hrw.org/node/100757 . Commentary here from the Guardian (UK): http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/aug/12/south-africa-maternal-mortality-health .

Injectable contraceptives double HIV risk
The World Health Organisation is calling a meeting to consider whether to advise women against using injectable contraceptives after a study conducted in seven African countries found that they doubled a woman's chances of contracting HIV/AIDS. Women using such methods also had increased risk of transferring the virus to their partners. The results of the study are particularly significant for women in African countries where the use of injectable contraception is popular because it can be kept secret from husbands and partners. http://allafrica.com/stories/201110051206.html .

Breast cancer rise
Asian women in the UK, who have historically had lower breast cancer rates than other UK women, have seen a surge in cases in the last year according to a Manchester hospital. http://menmedia.co.uk/asiannews/news/health/s/1460769_surge-in-breast-cancer-cases-in-asian-women-say-manchester-experts?rss=yes. The BBC suggests it is a failure on the part of the women themselves to spot signs and attend clinics that is causing the rise: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-11598498, while other sources point to cultural reasons, including misunderstandings about screening procedures and lack of information for Asian women that leads to later treatment. A new help group is being set up: http://www.garstangcourier.co.uk/news/regional/breast_cancer_help_for_asian_women_1_3846392.

Refugee doctor
Dr Cynthia Maung, "Burma's most famous doctor" is in exile in Thailand where despite threats and attacks by the Burmese government she treats Burmese refugees from camps across the border and helps send teams of medics into Burma to treat those in isolated and inaccessible areas. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/16/doctor-cynthia-burma-political-refugee?INTCMP=SRCH .

Anti-depressants: Petition
A third of UK women have taken anti-depressants with 24% of those on them for more than 10 years, and half being offered no alternative treatments. This petition calls for a review of the use and prescription of anti-depressants, especially among women, and for a better approach to mental health issues: http://campaign.publicaffairsbriefing.co.uk/petition.aspx?cid=d82d6619-bcb3-4f23-a35c-791be1f87f11. Briefing paper on the issues here: http://www.platform51.org/downloads/resources/briefings/antidepressants.pdf

Monday, 10 October 2011

Women/Development: missing women

The world's missing women
4 million women and girls are ‘missing’ in developing countries in terms of birth/survival rates:  http://allafrica.com/stories/201109200910.html . The full report from the World Bank, entitled Gender Equality and Development, which covers health, education, work, agency and recommendations for future action, can be downloaded here: http://allafrica.com/download/resource/main/main/idatcs/00021526:cfdf617c3524029c6e51d40e49d97628.pdf\

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Women/Law, crime and justice: shackled childbirth, Sri Lankan jails

Shackled childbirth
Rebecca Brodie, a Massachussetts lawyer, plans to have her third child in shackles as a protest against women's treatment during childbirth in USA prisons: http://www.colorlines.com/archives/2011/10/shackling_women_in_prison_during_childbirth.html

Sri Lankan jails "hell"
"About 150 of us sleep in a cell designed for 75 people. An open drain infested with rats runs the perimeter of the room. Recently, one of the inmates was bitten and had to be rushed to the hospital for an anti-rabies shot."  Conditions in Sri Lankan women's prisons are said to be like 'hell':  http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/07/2011725142452794174.html 

Can we remind you all of the petition also listed in the sidebar, to the UK government, to improve treatment for women in prison and on remand in the UK. The demands includes better mental health support, safe bail accommodation and an end to disproportionately punitive sentencing for women: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/women-in-the-criminal-justice-system.html . Please sign up! Thank you.

Women/Mind, body and spirit: the pill

The Pill
Did the pill bring about the sexual revolution in the 1960s? No, says Brenda Frink, for women marriage and work were revolutionised more: http://www.stanford.edu/group/gender/cgi-bin/wordpressblog/2011/09/the-pill-and-the-marriage-revolution/ .

No Pill
Whatever the revolution birth control brought about, just what would happen in reverse? Is an attack on the availability of contraception unthinkable? Not in the USA, says Katha Politt: http://www.thenation.com/article/163808/ban-birth-control-they-wouldnt-dare .

Friday, 7 October 2011

Women/Sport: football, judo

Football Princesses
Watch out women's football, here comes Ghana! An exciting future is predicted for Ghanaian women's football as its under-20 team, known as the Black Princesses, wins silver at the All Africa Games: http://allafrica.com/stories/201109201017.html .

Judo giants


Against Her Will: Open Society Foundation
Factsheet on forced and coerced sterilisation published: http://www.soros.org/initiatives/health/focus/law/articles_publications/publications/against-her-will-20111004?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed

The New Maids: Transnational women and the care economy, by Helma Lutz     http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/book/paperback/2011/new-maids , examines the relationship between globalisation, transnational working, gender and the care economy. The book looks at immigrant domestic workers from au pairs to cleaners, making the household a 'global market' for care work.

Women, Violence and Tradition: Taking FGM and other practices to a secular state, edited by Tamsin Bradley.
Is the practice of female genital mutilation on the rise in the USA, UK and other western nations? http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/paperback/women-violence-and-tradition.

And another thing....

Men in pin-up poses

Death of a daredevil
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/us/11skelton.html Betty Skelton, aerobatic aviator, racecar test driver, boat jumper, land and air speed record holder, trainee astronaut and all-round daredevil, dies age 85.  She used to fly barefoot.

A dubious record
Australia claims the world record for longest bikini parade - but frankly, 350 seems pretty tame to us: http://www.ekantipur.com/2011/10/03/video/australia-bikini-parade-breaks-record/341765/

Football crazy
Turkish FA bans men spectators at a football match for misbehaviour, leaving only women and children to watch: http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2011/09/41000_women_and

September editorial

Hello and welcome to the first issue of WHTW?. You could call this an experimental issue, firstly to see whether it is something you'll find useful and readable, second in terms of layout, posting schedules and so on, third in terms of its scope and ambition. We hope it will grow. We hope you will get involved. We hope it will become not just a forum and archive for international news and debate on women's issues but a way of seeing how developments - or losses - in one part of the world link to shifts and changes in another. We hope having information on what women are achieving, or having to face, in another part of the world will inspire you to act in your own locality.
You'll notice this looks like serious stuff. On the whole, it is. While we love shoes as much as the next woman, in our view there is a time and a place. So you won't find much about the latest trends in these pages. The same goes for lipstick and wrinkle-fillers, dating advice and baking recipes. It's not that we aren't interested, it's that we think there are better places to read about them and suspect that a focus on these issues in the mainstream media is what leads to a trivialisation of women's concerns. So less of the mascara, more of the predations of the cosmetics industry. Less of the apple pie, more of the economics and politics of motherhood. Think of us as the firm support undergarments of the women's magazine/feminist blog world rather than the lacy fripperies. There. You're warming to us already...
A word on navigation. There's a lot here, and a lot to post each month. To help you, the archive is at the top right of the page, just under this editorial. You'll see posts listed by month and topic. If you want to skip straight to Sport, or Arts, you can do so using these links. Otherwise you'll have to scroll down through more than one page to read everything each month.
This month's issue
Each month there'll be one - or possibly more - original articles, rather than just a round-up and summary of links collected from other publications. This month, the main article is on abortion, because abortion has been in the news: in the UK, in the USA, in Poland and elsewhere. Please note that any queries about content or other matters should be directed to the original publications of linked articles as WHTW? can't be responsible for fact-checking and vetting sources of all of them.
We think you'll also be interested in theEgyptian women's charter post-revolution (in Politics), the Rajasthan witch-huntinglink and the moral policing of women's relationships in Kerala in Family and Society, the annual £10,000 pay deficit of UK women managers in Work, the discussion of women in comics in Arts and the list of potential diseases attributable to silicone breast implants in Health, to name just a few.
Finally, you will find a link to a petition for better treatment of women in the criminal justice system in the sidebar. Please consider signing.
We hope you will find this blog a useful resource and a provocative and productive place for debate. We look forward to your comments and feedback.
Anna Purna

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Special Feature: Abortion

Apologies for the delay (due to ill health). The September special feature on abortion will be posted here shortly. Thanks.

Monday, 19 September 2011


Sex and power 
It could be another 70 years before women gain equal representation in the British parliament according to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), and women are missing from other positions of influence too: http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/news/2011/august/sex-and-power-5-400-women-missing-from-top-jobs/ . The Fawcett Society has produced a detailed response showing that, of 23 cabinet ministers, only 4 are women (a 10-year low), and only 19 of 119 minister positions (16%): http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/documents/Fawcett%20response%20to%20Sex%20and%20Power-%20August%202011.pdf . A UN Women report http://progress.unwomen.org/ shows that 28 of the world's countries have over 30% representation of women in parliament. These include Rwanda (51%), Tanzania (31%), Nepal (33%), Costa Rica (39%), Macedonia (33%) and Spain (34%). They do not include the UK or the USA. Even Afghanistan's parliament has 28% women representatives: http://www.unwomen.org/2011/08/afghanistan-resource-centre-women-parliamentarians/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+unwomen%2Fen+%28UN+Women%29&utm_content=Google+Reader .

Women and peace
Only 1 in 40 signatories to peace deals in the last quarter-century have been women yet women's consent and support are vital to the negotiation and maintenance of peace agreements. No Women No Peace http://www.nowomennopeace.org/the-issue is an organisation set up to campaign for women’s involvement in peace accords and negotiations. 

South Sudan's women
The world's newest country, South Sudan, has a minister for gender, Agnes Lasuba. She talks here about the effects of independence on the country's women: http://www.unwomen.org/2011/07/qa-south-sudans-minister-of-gender-child-and-social-welfare-on-africas-newest-nation-and-its-women/?

Egyptian women's charter
The women of Egypt have released a charter for women's rights and representations following the revolution, calling, among other things, for 40% representation in ministerial posts in a new parliament, a hand in drawing up the new constitution and constitutional rights to equality, justice and an end to discrimination: http://www.unwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/charter-egyptian-women-en.pdf    UN Women reports on the release event here: http://www.unwomen.org/2011/06/egypt-womens-charter-released-calling-for-a-democratic-transition/ .

Poland's gender quotas
However, in Poland, politicians are struggling with the new gender quotas they set themselves earlier  this year. There will be a general election in Poland in October, so parties are listing candidates but women are rarely being included in the guaranteed seat slots on party lists. Poland's gender quota regulations are being evaded and the Act appears to be a paper one only, say commentators:

Women/Economy and finance

Women's unemployment
Women are faring badly in economic stakes at present, not just in the UK but in many parts of the world.     The current recession has seen unemployment figures for women in the UK reach their highest for 23 years at 1.05 million: http://www.fawcettsociety.org.uk/index.asp?PageID=1241 , while in early September, UK labour market statistics showed that the number of UK women made redundant in the latest quarter of 2011 increased by 72.3% over the previous quarter: http://networkedblogs.com/n58GH .

But the shift away from women in recession isn't only confined to Britain or the West. The recession is having the same effect in Nepal: http://www.ekantipur.com/2011/09/03/business/industries-closure-hits-women-the-most/340176/ . 

UK government's plan for women
The UK Conservative-led government clearly has a 'blind spot' when it comes to women. UK single mothers are the hardest hit by cuts, job losses and welfare changes: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/jul/30/coalition-cuts-mothers-childcare-maternity-leave?CMP=twt_gu. A feeble memo has recently been leaked from the UK government to show that the Conservatives are aware of their failings and listing a series of measures – mere spin and tinkering at the edges – to win back women's support: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/interactive/2011/sep/13/leaked-memo-women-coalition-government. Ascerbic comment from columnist Suzanne Moore here:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/sep/16/coalition-smacked-down-women-message and from The F Word here: http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2011/09/how_could_the_g.

Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde has now taken over as the head of the IMF http://www.forbes.com/sites/mahaatal/2011/08/24/it-takes-courage-christine-lagarde/. Forbes ranks her at number 9 on its annual list of the world’s most powerful women: http://www.forbes.com/wealth/power-women.  But the Daily Mail (UK) concentrates on her femininity for all the wrong reasons: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2009973/Christine-Lagarde-Secret-life-new-IMF-boss.html, though we do learn she was once a synchronised swimmer, is vegetarian (!) and thinks women bring a “more inclusive” approach to power. 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Women/Family and society

A new draft law in Rajasthan, partly the result of concerted efforts by women's groups to end abuses, bans witch-hunting. But will it ever be passed or implemented? Voting bank politics and police complacency in the Indian state have so far ensured that violence against women, often widows or outspoken single women, continues, with the underlying aim of driving them out of the area and grabbing their land and property:

Lack of brides
Abortion of female foetuses in China and India has led to a generation of missing girls and a lack of brides for men to marry.  Now Chinese men are looking to Korea and Vietnam for wives, with the consequential risks of trafficking, violence, exploitation and the funding of an industry of pimps and brokers. In Tamil Nadu, southern India, cribs are placed in special centres to encourage women to leave unwanted girls instead of killing them. But does the lack of women lead to greater respect? It appears not: http://www.newint.org/blog/2011/09/05/mari-marcel-thekaekara-china-gender/ .

Moral policing
Women and couples are being beaten and harassed on 'moral' grounds for associating together. Women in Kerala travelling with or visiting a male friend are grabbed, questioned, and sometimes arrested for alleged moral offences as zealots clamp down on unauthorised relationships:  http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/devil-s-own-country-for-women .

Army misogyny
A deeply misogynistic culture in the Australian Defence Force has been revealed by a series of scandals over the filming of a sex acts without knowledge of woman involved and other invasions of privacy. When investigated, more women came forward with with claims of rape and other abuses: http://feministing.com/2011/08/26/yet-another-sexual-violence-scandal-at-the-australian-defence-force-academy/ . 

Violence unchecked
Guatemalan women experience some of the highest levels of violence in the world and few perpetrators are ever convicted: http://www.newint.org/blog/majority/2011/08/22/guatemala-femicide-murder-womens-rights/ . 

Honour killings
'Honour' crimes account for a third of all violent deaths in Jordan and  claim at least 25 lives a year. http://www.newint.org/columns/makingwaves/2005/04/01/rana-husseini/ is an interview with a Jordanian journalist who campaigns against honour killing of women in her country.

Later marriage
Asian women are now marrying much later or not at all, in large part because of women's changing attitudes to the burdens they have to bear in marriage. Statistical report on attitudes to marriage, numbers of children, divorce rates and age at marriage across South Asia, South East Asia, China and Japan.


Domestic worker abuses
New Cambodian legislation on domestic workers recruited by agencies to work abroad fails to tackle all the worst abuses, leaving migrant workers open to forced labour and huge 'recruitment' debts:

£10,000 pay deficit
The Chartered Management Institute has found that UK female managers are now paid an average of over £10,500 less than men doing the same job, with the gap having widened by £500 over the last year.  Junior female managers, however (at graduate recruitment level) are on average paid £500 more than their male counterparts, while women's salaries are rising faster than men's. The CMI said that despite this it would take 98 years for women to reach pay parity with men.

Women leaving labour market
UK women are being priced out of work because of cuts to public sector jobs and child tax credits, and the soaring cost of childcare, according to left-wing think tank IPPR. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/women-forced-out-of-jobs-by-rising-cost-of-childcare-2333282.html .

Women/Arts and culture

Women in film and TV
.Women are only 25% of creatives and 41% of characters on screen in US television and film according to Professor Martha M Lauzen, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, San Diego State University. The figures show a decline in the representation of women except for a few categories, and a marked drop in some, including writers, down from 29% to 15%, and directors, down from 16% to 11%  (contains a link to full report)http://www.wif.org/news/industry-articles-and-stats/732-boxed-in-employment-of-behind-the-scenes-women-in-the-2010-11-prime-time-television-season

Sexist comics
Women in comics – why so few, why so sexist? This link takes you to a report that discusses why there aren't more women in comics, particularly superhero comics, and looks at the industry's embedded sexist bias apparent in hiring creatives, focusing on a single genre, killing off women (and ethnic minority) heroes and alienating its female readers: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/08/29/superhero-comics-women-sexism/

Where are women artists?
Only 8% of exhibits in MOMA in New York are by women, and approximately 23 percent of solo gallery shows at top New York sites feature pieces by female artists. This article discusses why women are still so under-represented in the art world and among top-selling artists: http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=an_ego_of_ones_own .  Some further links to feminist art projects in the US here: http://feministing.com/2011/08/31/the-wednesday-weigh-in-feminist-art-edition/ .

Dancing girls
Traditional dancing girls in Swat valley in Pakistan, near the Afghan border, have been systematically attacked and killed by Taliban as an example to others, and forced to give up their profession. The report contains lengthy history of the region and its conflicts but several first person accounts from former dancers of their experiences:  http://www.worldpolicy.org/journal/fall2011/swat-valley . 


Maternity healthcare
Earthquake recovery programmes in Haiti are failing women and girls, according to Human Rights Watch. Women are still having to give birth in muddy tents, with few pregnancy and maternity services available. And where women and girls were vulnerable before, such as to rape and other forms of violence, the earthquake has intensified that vulnerability. http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/08/30/haiti-earthquake-recovery-failing-women-and-girls .

Silicone breast implants
US National Organization for Women is campaigning for better research on silicone breast implants. This report lists diseases linked to implants and areas where insufficient research has been conducted (including in breastfeeding and pregnancy) and demands better information and investigation and a suspension of the marketing of implants till companies fulfil their research and follow-up responsibilities in full:

Women/Body, mind and spirit

Lesbian ethics
Lesbian ethics - a justification and commentary on the necessity of a separatist ethics, through a reflection an essay by Sarah Hoagland:

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


Soccer star
Do you know who is the world's best women's soccer/football player? Neither did we. The five times winner of the FIFA woman player of the year award is - unsurprisingly - Brazilian, plays for a US team and her name is Marta Vieira da Silva. She is also  a UNDP goodwill ambassador, and here travels to Sierra Leone to promote women's empowerment: http://www.beta.undp.org/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2011/08/31/football-superstar-marta-visits-sierra-leone-to-promote-women-s-empowerment.html ,

Women/Missing links

Each month we seek to track down as many important stories from as many sources as we can manage. We don't claim to be comprehensive in our coverage but would like to be able to report and share as much information as is possible. To this end, we ask readers to contribute sources and suggestions, links and ideas to help to fill the gaps.

This month, there are no links on topics such as women law and crime, or women and environment or, except in reviews, women in development. We have only one international sport link (this is to ignore the mainstream of women's sport such as athletics, swimming etc that is covered regularly). And there is nothing here on women, science and technology. Please help us to fill these spaces and others you might be aware of, although we note that absence also suggests areas where women may traditionally be under-represented, under-reported and lacking a voice. 


Greenham Non-Violent Women v The Crown Prerogative, by Sarah Hipperson. http://www.newint.org/columns/media/books/2005/11/01/greenham/ : a new book on the Greenham women by a former activist who tells the story of resistance against the British legal system and the divisions between different groups of protesters.

The Women, Gender and Development Reader, ed. N. Visvanathan, L Duggan, N Wiegersma and L Nisonoff.  http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/book/paperback/2011/women-gender-and-development-reader : The "definitive" text for women in the development process, in five parts, covering migration, structural discrimination and environment issues as well as the impacts of social, economic and political change.

Forced Marriage, ed Aisha K Gill and Sundari Anitha. http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/book/paperback/2011/forced-marriage : Forced marriage discussed and conceptualised from a human rights and social justice perspective, challenging cultural essentialism.

Policing Sexuality by Julian C H Lee. http://www.zedbooks.co.uk/book/paperback/2011/policing-sexuality : examines how and why states seek to control the sexuality of their citizens.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

And another thing....

Nancy Upton's entry to American Apparel's competition for a so-called "plus-size" model has subverted the whole campaign with her witty photos: http://www.dangerousminds.net/comments/subverting_american_apparel_an_interview_with_nancy_upton/

Sexist gender studies
We agree with equality, but this may be taking things a bit too far...http://www.thefword.org.uk/blog/2011/09/access_to_acade : a man is suing LSE for its ‘sexist’ (anti-male) gender studies course.

Beer for babes
Would you buy this? We know we wouldn't. A beer specially designed for women. And just in case you missed who it was targeted at, it comes in a pink pack with a label sporting a little black dress... http://feministing.com/2011/09/02/finally-a-beer-just-for-women/

Are men finished?
If you are in the NY area, why not join this debate on 20th September, or post a question to be answered live? http://www.slate.com/id/2303488/ . Entitled "Are men finished?" the debate will pose the question of whether men are being left behind, at home, at work, in education and in society at large. Can men make a comeback? Or is this state of affairs just a gloss on the surface of the same old patriarchy?