How Will Women Fare in the World’s Newest Country?
She believes that education efforts in rural areas will be key to turning this around:
Our women need more enlightenment. There are other women, let’s say from the grassroots, that don’t know their rights. They always think that a man is more superior. … In the South, we have customs and traditions that a woman has no right to inherit, and cannot have so many things.
However, Benjamin adds, such cultures are not static, and can be changed gradually through workshops and conferences about women’s rights.
If we are to truly remove feminism from its white woman’s savior complex, we must understand that patriarchy– not culture, not religion—is the root cause of sexism and violence against women everywhere.
In North America, the U.S. women’s movement has long hesitated to identify with and support the global women’s movement. Why? Women in the United States have “a peculiar set of blinders,” says Linda Tarr-Whelan (2003), that separates their interests from those of women worldwide: the U.S. government’s failure to ratify the CEDAW and its miserly contribution to UNIFEM express this distance eloquently. “What’s in it for us?” these women seem to ask, and many Americans ask of the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto environmental accords, and other multilateral conventions and treaties.
Global women’s movement activists know that in the North, we must fight injustice in our own societies and governments and in their relationships with poor countries, not just fight for justice in other peoples’ societies and governments in the South.
The biggest challenges everywhere, are political participation and economic empowerment — and ending violence against women.
Morocco may allow abortion
In an interview last week, a top aide to Mr. Benkirane, Mustapha Khalifi, speaking in a personal capacity, confirmed media reports that the prime minister would support an initiative to allow abortions in cases of rape and incest.
UN Recommends Everyone Stop Telling Women What To Do With Their Bodies
Many White reproductive activists cannot relate to the experiences of Black women. They have never had to fight for the right to be mothers, or fight for the right to keep their children off the auction block. Unless the reproduction of a woman of colour is directly sanctioned by Whiteness, it is deemed an irresponsible act. Such language continues to occur in discussions of so-called third world Brown and Black women. Mommy continues to be defined as White, middle/upper class, able bodied, straight, soccer mom in a mini van. Undocumented workers are routinely accused of having anchor babies to secure citizenship, but when this is played out in the media, they most certainly aren’t referring to the undocumented workers from countries that are considered White. They mean the dangerous Brown and Black wombs reproducing at will. Women of colour are construed as a project in need of being saved, as long as the process does not mean truly acknowledging the role that race and class have played in our continuing oppression. Innovations like the pill and Depo Provera, that have been touted as life saving, and important to the advancement of women’s rights, were tested on women of colour, long before they entered the precious bloodstreams of White women. Yet, this history is erased to praise the ability of women to control their reproductive process. Once again, advancement for women was carried on the backs of women of colour. Even as I am writing this, I wonder how many blogs dedicated to reproductive justice have ignored this story and its historical significance, because it would mean confronting the horrible truth that reproductive justice is about far more than access to birth control, the right to have an abortion and supporting Planned Parenthood; its about validating the idea that women, and by women I mean women of colour, have paid the brunt of the cost in terms of violation due to the intersection or racism and sexism.
One in three girls in Tanzania sexually abused
Summary of story from BBC News, August 9, 2011
A new UNICEF survey has found that nearly a third of girls living in Tanzania experience sexual abuse before they turn 18. The figure for boys is 13.4 per cent.
Of those who had had sex before the age of 18, 29.1 per cent of women and 17.5 per cent of men had been unwilling to do so.
Shukuru Kawamba, Tanzania’s Education Minister, said that the government was determined to end child abuse in Tanzania and would set up reporting mechanisms for abuse victims and would encourage teachers to take care of children they felt to be vulnerable.
Similar surveys are being carried out in Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
More than half a million rapes occur annually in South Africa, and 25% of men admit to having raped.
One in three women says they have been raped in the past year. Gang rape is considered a “fun” activity, and there is a widespread belief that raping a virgin will cure AIDS, which results in more rapes of younger and younger women and children, as well as spreading the disease.
French feminism is back--with beards
La Barbe (“The Beard” – which also means “enough!” or “boring!” in old French slang) is emblematic of this resurgence. Members of the collective appear regularly on the front pages, sporting their fake beards. With 74 actions under its belt since its inception in March 2008, and with offspring organisations in Nantes, Toulouse, Niort and even Mexico (where they’re called Las Bigotonas – The Great Moustaches) La Barbe’s MO is to gatecrash high-level political, economic and cultural events every two weeks. Women wearing fake beards take the stage and stand silently in front of the array of individuals in suits and ties to underscore the pervasive over-representation of men in places where important decisions are made.