Thursday, May 7, 2015

"Banned from driving, Saudi women flock to ride-share apps"

From the LA Times, in a story that implies the acute connection between gender autonomy and physical movement: 

When Hala Radwan returned to Saudi Arabia after obtaining a business degree in France, she was eager to put her new skills to use.

She found a job in the marketing department of a big international company. There was just one problem: How would she get to and from work in the only country that does not allow women to drive?


May 7, 2015 in International, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Crying Rooms" for Women

The story--from the Korea Times--is depressingly spare in details, especially for a publication that claims to be a newspaper, but deeply suggestive in its weirdness:


By John-Patrick Gerard Thackeray

Japan will introduce hotel rooms for women "to cry the stress away."

The "crying rooms" will be tested in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo and will offer scented tissues, make-up and movies specifically for women.

A hotel spokesperson said the rooms would "help woman overcome emotional problems and cry the stress away." They will cost about $84 a day.

In Asia, hotels and motels are slightly different from those of the Western world, mostly because of the experiences offered. These can range from themed rooms offering "planet experiences" to rooms that enable many to sleep together, which roughly translates as "sleep together shops."

With Asian women becoming more independent, the need for areas that are female-only is growing. After all, everyone needs time to let off a little steam occasionally. 


May 6, 2015 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 27, 2015

World's Most Progressive Gender Identity Law?

(Pope Francis meets with Malta’s President, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca during a private audience in September Gabriel Bouys / AP)

That Malta--the small archipelago in the Mediterranean--should pass the world's most progressive gender identity law is surprising.  Malta's constitution states that its official religion is Catholicism, and until 2011, it forbade divorce.  

But now:  

The Mediterranean country of Malta adopted the world’s most progressive gender identity law on Wednesday in a final vote by the country’s parliament on Wednesday.

The law is the latest in a series of LGBT rights laws ushered in by the Labour Party after taking power in 2013, a dramatic about-face for the country which has a constitution establishing Catholicism as the official religion.

The law — which goes beyond those its fellow European Union members have passed — would allow for someone to change their legal gender through simply filing an affidavit with a notary without a significant waiting period, eliminates any requirement for medical gender reassignment procedures, and prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. It now heads to the desk of President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, and LGBT rights advocates expect her to sign.

It also includes some groundbreaking provisions for minors and intersex babies, those born without clearly male or female anatomy. Medical experts estimate that around .1 - .2 percent of children are born with atypical genitals that cannot be classified as either male or female, and in much of the world doctors operate on these children to make their anatomy clearly male or female.


April 27, 2015 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

China Detains Women's Rights Activists

NYT, Chinese Police Seeking Charges Against Detained Women's Activists, Lawyer Says

Police officers in Beijing have asked prosecutors to charge five women’s rights activists who have been detained for more than a month with organizing a crowd to disturb public order, lawyers for two of them said on Thursday.


The filing allows the police to detain the activists, all of them women whose plight has led to harsh criticism from abroad, for seven more days while prosecutors make a decision on whether to bring charges.


The police had originally investigated the women on suspicion of “picking quarrels” but have since changed the charges they want prosecutors to impose, said one of the lawyers, Wang Qiushi.


He said the charges of organizing crowds to disturb public order were tied to two actions: an attempt by the women to organize a nationwide campaign last month against sexual harassment on public transportation, as well as an earlier public campaign they had carried out against domestic violence in which they wore wedding dresses smeared with fake blood.



April 9, 2015 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sweden Adds Gender-Neutral Pronoun

WashPost, Sweden is About to Add a Gender-Neutral Pronoun to its Official Dictionary

In the Egalia, a preschool in Stockholm, there are no male or femalestudents. Instead, all children are referred to as 'hen' – a gender-neutral pronoun that has become so established in Sweden that it will be recognized next month in the newest edition of the country's official dictionary.


The Swedish Academy's SAOL dictionary, which is updated every 10 years and will be republished April 15, will feature 'hen' as an alternative to the male pronoun 'han' and the female 'hon.' The revised edition will also include thousands of other new words.


According to linguistic expert Sofia Malmgård, the gender-neutral term can be used in two ways. "First, if the gender is unknown or not relevant (as in: "If anyone needs to smoke, 'hen' may do so outside"). Second, it can be used as a pronoun for inter-gender people (as in: "Kim is neither boy or girl, 'hen' is inter-gender")," she explained.


To many Swedes, the decision of the Swedish Academy reflects how quickly their society has embraced gender-neutral language. "Over the last few years, the word 'hen' has more and more found its way into the Swedish language," Malmgård told The Washington Post.


Five years ago, barely anyone in Sweden was aware of the word. The decision to now include 'hen' in the authoritative SAOL dictionary is expected to facilitate an even more frequent use of it in everyday conversations. Set up in 1785, the academy was established with the aim to adapt the Swedish languages to changing cultural and societal influences – a role the institution still feels committed to.


According to experts, the 'hen'-revolution in Sweden has two primary origins: LGBT groups have promoted the pronoun as a way to raise awareness for their cause. However, support for the idea has also come from a more unexpected side: Nurseries, kindergartens and preschools such as Egalia increasingly argue that the pronoun's usage allows children to grow up without feeling the impact of gender biases. "The public debate over the pronoun actually only started after the publication of the country's first gender-neutral children's book", Lann Hornscheidt, an professor of Scandinavian languages and gender studies at Berlin's Humboldt University explained.

April 7, 2015 in Gender, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 3, 2015

The Struggle for Male Suffrage

A commentary in the Guardian UK: 

On 23 March, while arguing the case on these pages for a Minister for Men, Tim Samuels apologised for trespassing on feminism’s most hallowed ground and said: “We men have not had to fight tooth and nail for our votes”.

No doubt, everybody would go along with that. Everybody in this country is taught from infancy that the Suffragettes had to wrest votes for women from a brutal male establishment that was protecting the monopoly exercised by all men. My daughters learned that lesson at primary school before they had even been introduced to the cardinal beliefs of the world’s leading religions.


As is so often the case with the feminist catechism however, everybody - including Mr Samuels - is looking at history with one eye. As a matter of fact, men did have to fight before all men could get the vote. And men’s fight was not conducted in debating halls, demonstrations and salons, nor even from the relative safety of the prison cell. Before all British men were allowed to vote, poor young men had to be wounded in millions and to die in hundreds of thousands in a war from which all women were exempted solely by reason of their gender.

Mr Samuels was writing almost exactly on the 99th anniversary of the Military Service Act, under which every British man 18-41 was subject to conscription for the First World War. The actual wording of the Act was that every man of that age was “deemed to have enlisted”.

April 3, 2015 in International, Manliness, Masculinities | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Denial of Abortion as Cruel and Inhuman Treatment

Alyson M. Zureick, "(En)Gendering Suffering: Denial of Abortion as a Form of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment," 38 Fordham Int'l L. J. 1 (2015) 

From the abstract:

The regulation of abortion has long been considered a prerogative of the state. In recent years, however, international human rights bodies have begun to consider the conformity of domestic abortion regulations with a state’s human rights obligations. This paper examines a notable trend among human rights bodies: namely, finding that denying or obstructing a woman’s access to abortion can amount to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment under multiple human rights treaties. First, human rights bodies have found that states can be responsible for CIDT inflicted on women who are harassed and denied services that are legally available to them under the state’s laws. Second, human rights bodies have found that the application of restrictive abortion laws themselves may inflict CIDT by depriving women of an abortion in particularly serious cases, such as rape or when the woman’s life is threatened. I argue that these findings reflect an understanding that certain restrictions on abortion — or the state’s failure to act to prevent de facto restrictions from arising — are unjustifiable and disproportionate to lawful state aims. They also demonstrate a limited but important recognition that deprivations of autonomy in the reproductive rights context can lead to the kind of pain and suffering that is unacceptable in modern societies. At the same time, I argue that human rights bodies should further strengthen their understanding of women’s autonomy interests in this context, particularly the ways in which the frustration of their reproductive autonomy can inflict severe and unacceptable pain or suffering tantamount to CIDT. 

April 2, 2015 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Glass Ceiling of the Australian Supreme Court

Harry Hobbs, Finding a Fair Reflection on the High Court of Australia

Of the 51 Justices appointed to the High Court of Australia, only four have been women. Although all eminently qualified, there is something fundamentally wrong with this statistic. The principle of fair reflection is neither at odds with the fundamental principle of judicial impartiality, nor controversial when it comes to federal balance on the Court. It is time that the untrammelled discretion of the Attorney General is confined to require a 40% composition of either gender on the Court. Doing so would increase the quality of the Court’s decisions, and its sociological legitimacy.

March 28, 2015 in International, Women lawyers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

France Debates Weight Laws for Fashion Models

NYT, French Parliament Debates Weight Standards for Fashion Models

The French Parliament is debating legislation that would effectively set minimum weights for women and girls to work as models, a step that supporters of the bill say is necessary to combat the persistence of anorexia.


If it becomes law — it is backed by President François Hollande’s Socialist government — modeling agencies and fashion houses that employ models whose body mass index measurements do not meet minimum standards would face criminal penalties.


Israel already bans the use of underweight and underage models, while other countries, including Italy and Spain, have weighed legislation similar to the one under consideration in France but for now continue to rely on voluntary pacts with the fashion industry.

March 26, 2015 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Pope Condemns Gender Theory as Attack on Family

The story: 

NAPLES, Italy, March 23, 2015 ( -- For at least the third time in his pontificate Pope Francis has used very strong language to condemn the gender theory, one of the intellectual underpinnings of the ‘LGBT’ agenda. Speaking Sunday with young people on his voyage to Naples, Italy, Pope Francis spoke of the “ideological colonization” of families seen throughout Europe and the West.

“Gender theory is an error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion," he said. “So the family is under attack.” As to how to deal with the “secularization” or the “ideological colonization,” the pope said he does not have the answer. He pointed however to the Synod on the Family, which he called inspired by the Lord.


The comments echo those made in an in-flight interview Pope Francis gave while returning from Manila in the Philippines on January 19, 2015. Francis lamented the Western practice of imposing a homosexual agenda on other nations through foreign aid, which he called a form of “ideological colonization” and compared it to the Nazi propaganda machine.

Asked by a reporter to explain the phrase “ideological colonization,” the pope gave an example from 1995 when, he says, a minister of education in a poor area was told she could have a loan for building schools so long as the schools used a book that taught “gender theory.”


"This is ideological colonization,” he said. “It colonizes the people with an idea that wants to change a mentality or a structure." This ideological colonization, he added, “is not new, the dictators of the last century did the same.”  "They came with their own doctrine. Think of the BalilLa (The Fascist Youth under Mussolini), think of the Hitler youth."

March 25, 2015 in International, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sweden Introduces Gender-Neutral Pronoun

From the Guardian UK: 

The official dictionary of the Swedish language will introduce a gender-neutral pronoun in April, editors at the Swedish Academy have announced.

“Hen” will be added to “han” (he) and “hon” (she) as one of 13,000 new words in the latest edition of the Swedish Academy’s SAOL.

The pronoun is used to refer to a person without revealing their gender – either because it is unknown, because the person is transgender, or the speaker or writer deems the gender to be superfluous information.

“For those who use the pronoun, it’s obviously a strength that it is now in the dictionary,” one of the editors, Sture Berg, told AFP on Tuesday.

March 25, 2015 in International, LGBT, Manliness, Masculinities, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Gender Inequality and Gender Violence in Irish Law

Featuring the work of Kris McDaniel-Miccio (Denver) 

  • Confronting the Gendered State: A Feminist Response to Gender Inequality and Gender Violence In the United States and the Irish Republic, 15 Wisc. J. Law, Gender & Society____ (forthcoming 2015). 
  • An American in St. Patrick’s Court: Gender-Violence, Gender Inequality and the Irish Feminist Response, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: A COMPARATIVE APPROACH (Oxford Univ. Press 2015).

March 17, 2015 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Britain and Gender Abortion

From the Telegraph UK:  

Prosecutors have been accused of leaving the door “wide open” for gender abortion in Britain after blocking an attempt to bring charges against two doctors accused of agreeing terminations based on the sex of unborn baby girls.

Dr Prabha Sivaraman and Dr Palaniappan Rajmohan were facing the first ever private prosecution on gender abortion charges after being filmed apparently agreeing to arrange terminations because of the gender of the foetus in an undercover Telegraph investigation in 2012.

The pair had been summoned to courts in Manchester and Birmingham to answer allegations laid by Aisling Hubert, a pro-life campaigner from Brighton, and supported by the Christian Legal Centre, in what would have been a landmark prosecution.

But the CPS has announced that it is to use its powers to quash the case.

It said that, although there is potentially enough evidence to bring a successful prosecution, it had concluded it would not be in the “public interest” to pursue the case.

March 16, 2015 in Abortion, International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 9, 2015

"Will women's gains be sold out in Taliban peace deal?"

From Aljazeera:

As March 8 falls on what is rumoured to be the eve of the first round of negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, Afghan women's rights activists were anxiously anticipating unadulterated assurances from Ghani to the effect that women's achievements will not be compromised in an eventual peace deal. Afghan women demand greater say in politics Though Ghani never directly mentioned the talks, Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah's message read in his absence clearly stated that the government will present a red line on women's rights and will not compromise Afghan women's achievements in exchange for a peace deal.

Some women's rights groups, including the Afghan Women's Charter, have requested that at least one woman be included in the government's team of negotiators. They have further demanded that belief in women's rights be part of the criteria for selecting male negotiators.

Women's angst stems from a quivering political will that the Afghan political leadership has demonstrated in the past decade on the issue of women's rights and status in this male-dominated society. Afghan women, as determined and talented as they are, could not have achieved their gains of the last decade had it not been for the international community's presence and pressure on Afghan political leaders.

March 9, 2015 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Gender Equality in Immigration Law

Mariela Oliveras (Howard), Unreformed: Towards Gender Equality in Immigration Law, Chapman L. Rev. (2015).

From the Abstract:

This Article advocates for comprehensive immigration reform that encompasses gender equality by including legislative provisions that benefit women. In this way, immigration law and policy can ameliorate the discriminatory effects of the explicit and implicit oppression against women that has characterized immigration law from its beginning. 

Part I provides a basis to understand this legacy of oppression by exploring the subordination of women in immigration law. Since its inception as formalized federal law, immigration law has restricted the manner in which immigrant women could come to the United States and the type of immigration status benefits for which they could be eligible. Building on this historical foundation, Part II discusses the current state of immigration reform and comments on the continued oppressive measures that have infiltrated these proposals. Even though comprehensive legislative immigration reform remains elusive, this Part discusses a piece of proposed legislation that passed the Senate, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 20132 (“2013 Border Security Bill”). While the political process has likely stalled the chance of law reform passing in the current congressional session, the 2013 Border Security Bill serves as an illustrative case study in understanding current legislative trends and how they continue to disadvantage women. This Article concludes by discussing the feasibility and efficacy of a continued push for gender equality in immigration law and policy, given the environment of heightened anti-immigrant animus. Though change may be difficult to obtain, the history of immigration law teaches that the law has evolved to encompass more gender-neutral norms. Thus, equality will be achieved only through vigilant, unceasing efforts.

March 5, 2015 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 2, 2015

"How girl activists helped to ban child marriage in Malawi"

From the Guardian UK:

Child marriage is both the cause and consequence of grinding poverty, gender-based violence and the inescapable inequality that girls experience every day. For example, Florence Mwase, an eight-year-old Malawian orphan, had to give up her dream of becoming a nurse because her aunt couldn’t afford her school fees. Her aunt sent her to attend a sexual initiation camp when she turned 13. At the camp, Florence and the girls were forced to participate in kusasa fumbi a traditional practice common in southern Malawi to cleanse girls of their “childhood dust” and prepare them to become wives. Florence was forced to have sex with the “hyena,’” an older man who was paid by the village to have sex with all girls attending the camp.


After Florence returned from the camp, Florence’s aunt arranged her marriage to a 27-year-old man. Florence lived as a virtual slave to her husband, with no way to escape his physical and sexual abuse. After two years, Florence was able to leave her marriage through the support of the Girls Empowerment Network (Genet), which is leading Malawi’s fight for girls. And despite the brutality she suffered, Florence was lucky – most Malawian girls never get a second chance.


Malawi’s Stop Child Marriage campaign was launched in 2011 by Genet and Let Girls Lead on the principle of empowering girls to fight for their own rights. We trained over 200 girls in the Chiradzulo District of southern Malawi to become advocates. The girls lobbied 60 village chiefs to ratify and enact by-laws that protect adolescent girls from early marriage and harmful sexual initiation practices. These bylaws force men who marry girls under the age of 21 to give up their land in the village and pay a fee of seven goats, a major economic penalty in the region. The bylaws also penalise parents who marry off their underage daughters by imposing social sanctions that include three months of mandatory janitorial service in the local health clinic.



March 2, 2015 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bahayi is a symbol of freedom for the women she drives (Washington Post)

From the Independent UK: 

Sara Bahayi is Afghanistan’s first female taxi driver in recent memory, and she is believed to be the only one actively working in the country. She’s 38, unmarried and outspoken. And in a highly patriarchal society, where women are considered second-class citizens and often abused, Ms Bahayi is brazenly upending gender roles.

Every day, she plies her trade in a business ruled by conservative men. She endures condescending looks, outright jeers, even threats to her life. Most men will not enter her taxi, believing that a woman should never drive for a man.

Yet she earns $10 (£6.50) to $20 a day, enough to provide for her 15 relatives, including her ailing mother. She relies on ferrying women shackled by traditions and fear, who vicariously live their dreams of freedom through her.

March 2, 2015 in International, Violence Against Women, Work/life, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Charting Murder of Women by Men in Britain

From the Guardian UK:

 On Thursday a database will be launched online entitled Femicide Census: Profiles of Women Killed by Men. It is a project designed to force a recognition of the scale and significance of male violence against women and is the culmination of several years of work by Ingala Smith, who began a grim and time-consuming task of counting Britain’s murdered women and putting their names on her own blog back in 2012. There were 126 women killed through male violence that year, 143 in 2013 and 150 in 2014.


Scouring news websites and police reports, she pieced together what she says is an important pattern that was not being represented in the way crime and other statistics are collated. It became a personal tribute, too: “It’s really hard sometimes and I admit I’ve had a cry now and again. A photo captures a moment in time that trials don’t. A moment of the person who that woman was. What suffering she endured, and the suffering that continues for their family is so very hard to grasp.”

The database launch, by Ingala Smith – chief executive of London-based domestic violence charity Nia Project – together with Women’s Aid and the legal firm Freshfields, will mean a public tally of the dead is kept in a more formal manner, using police statistics as well as court reports. The site will be used to store as much information as possible on the background and the crime, available for approved subscribers – the first time such details have been held together – to make research and studies easier.

February 13, 2015 in International, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gender Balance Council Forms in Dubai

Story from the United Arab Emirates:

DUBAI // A council that will ensure women are given leading roles in the development of the country has been established by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai.

Forming the Gender Balance Council showed the Government’s keenness to increase the roles of young Emirati women in the nation’s progress, Sheikh Mohammed said on Tuesday.

“I am happy to be part of this discussion,” he told the Government Summit in Dubai.

“We have a great opportunity to uncover new paths that we may walk on together.

“We have moved beyond the phase of empowering women. Indeed, we are empowering society through women.

“The impact of a significant female presence in leadership roles has wide-ranging benefits on the economy, on governance and on society at large.”


February 11, 2015 in International | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Female Terrorists Finding Their Way in Militant Ranks

From the LA Times:

From bikini-clad beachgoer to veiled jihadist fugitive, the partner of Paris gunman Amedy Coulibaly underwent a startling metamorphosis that illuminates the dangerous potential behind militant groups' efforts to increase their recruiting of female terrorists.

Although French police initially questioned Hayat Boumeddiene, 26, five years ago, they acknowledge that she was subsequently able to make hundreds of phone calls and arrange meetings for Coulibaly through the wives of fellow assailants. She is then believed to have fled to Turkey just before the rash of killings in Paris this month, and is believed to have crossed into Syria.


January 25, 2015 in International, Manliness, Masculinities, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)