Wednesday, March 25, 2015
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.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
- 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).
Monday, March 16, 2015
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.
Monday, March 9, 2015
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.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
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.
Monday, March 2, 2015
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.
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.
Friday, February 13, 2015
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.
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
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.”
Sunday, January 25, 2015
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.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Chinese health authorities on Wednesday described the gender imbalance among newborns as "the most serious and prolonged" in the world, a direct ramification of the country's strict one-child policy.
A Chinese government website
acknowledged that women were transferring blood samples overseas to determine the genders of their babies as part of an "underground chain for profit".
"This has further exacerbated the gender imbalance in our country's birth structure," the agency said.
Researchers have warned that large sex-ratio imbalances could lead to instability as more men remain unmarried, raising the risks of anti-social and violent behavior.
Monday, January 12, 2015
On Wednesday, Iceland will host a conference at the United Nations headquarters in New York City to discuss issues of gender equality such as violence against women, parental rights and female representation in business.
But the conference is different to others of its kind, because women have not been invited.
In the spirit of the “He For She” campaign launched last year by actress Emma Watson with a speech that urged “as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality”, the UN is calling upon world leaders and business executives, who are overwhelmingly male, to tackle the lack of women in senior political and financial positions around the world.
Friday, January 9, 2015
According to the BBC:
Russia has listed transsexual and transgender people among those who will no longer qualify for driving licences.
Fetishism, exhibitionism and voyeurism are also included as "mental disorders" now barring people from driving.
The government says it is tightening medical controls for drivers because Russia has too many road accidents.
"Pathological" gambling and compulsive stealing are also on the list. Russian psychiatrists and human rights lawyers have condemned the move.
The announcement follows international complaints about Russian harassment of gay-rights activists.
In 2013 Russia made "promoting non-traditional lifestyles" illegal.
Valery Evtushenko at the Russian Psychiatric Association voiced concern about the driving restrictions, speaking to the BBC Russian Service. He said some people would avoid seeking psychiatric help, fearing a driving ban.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Sahar F. Aziz, Texas A & M Law, has uploaded "Coercive Assimilationism: The Perils of Muslim Women's Identity Performance in the Workplace." It's forthcoming in the Michigan J. of Race & Law and its abstract reads as follows:
Fifty years after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, unlawful discrimination continues to ail American workplaces. Despite the prevailing narrative that America is now "post-racial" after the election of the first African American president, equal opportunity still eludes many Americans. Their membership in racial, ethnic, or religious groups stigmatized as the "other" adversely affects their access to education, political empowerment, and equal opportunity in the workplace.
At the time Title VII was passed, victims often experienced explicit bias against their protected group. The law’s immediate effect was to ban overt prejudice causing disparate intergroup discrimination between men and women, blacks and whites, different ethnicities, and Christians and non-Christians.As a result, Title VII, along with other anti-discrimination laws, has been relatively successful in rooting out explicit bias in employment. Many employers now refrain from overtly treating employees disparately on account of an immutable characteristic. But, as the data show, the absence of discriminatory policies on paper does not always translate into a discrimination free workplace in practice. Rather, it pushes bias into more covert manifestations wherein facially neutral factors become proxies for unlawful discrimination.
While Title VII prohibits covert bias; it is ill equipped to prevent two increasingly prevalent forms of discrimination: 1) implicit bias arising from negative stereotypes of protected classes; and 2) disparate treatment of subgroups of protected classes who do not conform to coercive assimilationist pressures.Because an employee alleging discrimination must show that a similarly situated worker outside the protected class does not receive the same adverse treatment or impact, an employer who treats a subgroup of a minority better than another subgroup of the same minority can evade liability.
Of course, if the difference in treatment among the subgroups is based on performance and skills directly related to the work at issue, then no liability should attach. However, that is not always the case. Disparate treatment of members of the same protected class arises from negative racial, ethnic, or religious stereotypes that privileges those able and willing to perform their identity in accordance with assimilationist demands of the majority group. The effect is intragroup discrimination based on intergroup bias rooted in implicit negative stereotyping.
Female employees who fall under multiple protected classes face an intersection of identity performance pressures as women, racial or ethnic minorities, and religious minorities.The dominant group’s expectations of how women or members of minority groups should behave, dress, and communicate to be "professional" are often contradictory due to conflicting stereotypes. A Black woman, for example, who is assertive, ambitious, and exhibits leadership qualities associated as masculine characteristics, risks being stigmatized as aggressive, insubordinate, and threatening because of negative stereotypes of blacks. Meanwhile, her behavior contradicts gender conformity norms that women should be deferential, gentle, soft spoken, and pleasant. And if she is a Muslim, then her behavior triggers stereotypes of Muslims as terrorists, disloyal, foreign, and suspect.
For workplace anti-discrimination laws to eradicate these multiple binds that disparately impact women of color, this Article argues that Title VII jurisprudence should take into account intergroup discrimination based on intragroup identity performance to assure all employees, not just a subset of a protected class, are covered by workplace antidiscrimination law. As such, a plaintiff’s treatment should not be compared only with similarly situated employees outside the protected class but also with similarly situated employees within the protected class whose identity performance accommodates coercive assimilationism rooted in stereotypes.
This Article applies social psychology and antidiscrimination theories to the case of Muslim women of color in the workplace, an under-researched area in legal scholarship. I examine in detail the identity performance challenges and contradictions faced by Muslim women of color as "intersectionals" facing stereotypes against 1) Muslims as terrorists, violent, and disloyal; 2) Muslim women as meek, oppressed, and lacking individual agency; 3) women as sexualized, terminally second best to men, and uncommitted to their careers; 4) immigrants as forever foreign and undeserving of equal treatment; and 5) ethnic minorities from the Middle East and South Asia as barbaric, misogynist, and anti-American. I conclude that Muslim women of color are at risk of falling between the cracks of Title VII jurisprudence due to courts’ unwillingness to recognize the harms caused by coercive assimilationst pressures to conform one’s identity to comport to high status group norms, irrespective of the relevance to work performance.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Orna Alyagon Darr, Carmel Academic Center, has uploaded an article forthcoming from the Yale J. of Law and Humanities. It's titled "Relocated Doctrine: The Travel of the English Doctrine of Corroboration in Sex Offense Cases to Mandate Palestine." The abstract reads:
The spread of the British Empire was accompanied by the relocation of legal doctrines, which took on new meanings and uses. This article follows the relocation to Mandate Palestine of the common-law doctrine of corroboration of victim testimony in sex offense cases. In England, corroboration was a cautionary rule that expressed mistrust of female complainants. In jury-less Palestine, the rule also expressed deep distrust toward non-English complainants, especially children. While the British rulers of Palestine prided themselves on imposing sexual regulation tailored to protecting women and children, an analysis of the way corroboration was applied in that setting reveals a rigidly imposed and hard-to-meet evidentiary standard. British colonial judges maintained that demanding corroboration in sex offense cases was an implementation of English law. However, the rule was not simply a ‘transplant’ that reproduced the original but, rather, acquired its meaning within the specific social context and in the subjectivities of its users.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Two interesting recent articles from the NYT. One is about the status of LGBT folk in Cuba. An excerpt:
Mariela Castro, the daughter of the current president, Raúl Castro, has led the charge on legislative and societal changes [for LGBT rights] that have given rise to an increasingly visible and empowered community. In the process, she has carved out a rare space for civil society in an authoritarian country where grass-roots movements rarely succeed. Some Western diplomats in Havana have seen the progress on gay rights as a potential blueprint for expansion of other personal freedoms in one of the most oppressed societies on earth.
“It’s fine to criticize, but you also have to acknowledge that they’ve done good,” said John Petter Opdahl, Norway’s ambassador to Cuba, in a recent interview. Mr. Opdahl, who is gay, said his government gave Ms. Castro’s organization $230,000 over the last two years. “She has taken off a lot of the stigma for most people in the country, and she has made life so much better for so many gay people, not only in Havana but in the provinces.”
Another article revisits the Stanford undergraudates from the class of 1994.
Friday, December 26, 2014
Ireland recently published a draft of a legislative bill that would protect transgender folk from discrimination. Here's a quick summary of it:
The Irish government has finally published a long-awaited bill which will recognise the gender of trans people.
At present, Irish law has no process for recognising that transgender people do not identify as their birth gender.
The bill, which was first announced in June, will bring Irish law in line with that of other countries, by legally recognising the gender of trans people in all dealings with the State, public bodies, and civil and commercial society.
And here's a critique of the bill from Amnesty International:
“This is a missed opportunity to enshrine the rights of all transgender people in Irish law. This bill will require substantial changes if it is to tackle the serious issue of discrimination against transgender people,” said Denis Krivosheev, Amnesty International’s Acting Europe and Central Asia Director.
“Rather than making it as easy as possible for all transgender people to obtain legal recognition of their identity, there are several groups that will be short-changed by the bill – in particular those who are married or in civil partnerships, minors, and those who do not wish to undergo medical treatment.”
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Feminist Study of Irish Discrimination Reform Shows Law Reinforces Gendered Assumptions about Work and Family
From Robert Lekey, at Jotwell, The Careless Ideal Worker, reviewing Olivia Smith, Litigating Discrimination on Grounds of Family Status, 22 Fem. Legal Stud 175 (2014).
It will not surprise readers alive to anti-discrimination law’s limited capacity to transform systems that Ireland’s reform to protect workers in certain care relationships from discrimination based on their family status has reinforced gendered assumptions about care and workforce participation. However much its findings line up with our pessimistic hunches, Olivia Smith’s study is worth reading because it exemplifies an admirable kind of feminist scholarship: quantitatively and qualitatively empirical; theoretically grounded; alert to the intersection of gender with other grounds of disadvantage, such as class; and self-conscious of its limits.
Smith offers a “contextualized assessment” of a dozen years’ tribunal litigation under the “family status” discrimination ground. Prior to this ground’s adoption in the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2011, women had challenged discrimination associated with their care obligations under the ground of gender. As Smith notes, that tack had confirmed the gendered view of care as women’s work. Yet while the gender-neutral ground of “family status” might signal that care obligations bear on men as well as on women, the litigation record shows it to have reinforced the gendered dynamics of Irish work and family life.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
The purpose of the workshop is to bring together researchers from different parts of the world to share their findings about the role of law in addressing some of the most challenging aspects of discrimination: those involving the intersection between gender, race and poverty. There were few opportunities of getting together researchers in Latin America, Africa, Europe and North America to work together on these issues. Despite the problems, the legal challenges and possibilities for reform are similar and closely related. The workshop will address the international and comparative law, and theory and practice.
The World Development Report 2012 identified substantive victories for women: there was an increase in their schooling, in their life expectancy and in their participation in the labor market. However, these gains were not reachable to poor women. Women in countries with low and middle income are more likely than men to die, they face unequal access to economic opportunities and are being marginalized in their homes and in society. This results in a cycle of discrimination and disempowerment. Women are responsible for a disproportionate share of care tasks in their homes, an activity that is not valued or remunerated, leading to lower levels of education and lack of preparation to seek financial independence in the formal labor market or to break with prejudices and stereotypes the role of women.
Whereas the World Development Report highlights that these gaps are more pronounced when gender and poverty are combined with other exclusion factors – ethnicity, caste, remoteness, age, race, disability and sexual orientation – there should have a critical study of forms of interaction between gender, race and poverty. While the feminization of poverty is a phenomenon long recognized, gender inequality, racial inequality and poverty are conceptualized as separate problems. Poverty is often approached from a neutral point of view with regard to gender, rather than adopting a comprehensive, integrated and holistic gender perspective. Likewise, racial discrimination is accessed by a neutral perspective regarding both gender and poverty. These approaches are not adequate to portray the various and intricate human rights violations experienced by poor women with multiple identities
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Athena Nguyen (Monash), Through the Eyes of Women? The Jurisprudence of the CEDAW Committee, Outskirts Mag. (May 2014).
In 1999, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (OP CEDAW) was adopted. The OP CEDAW was received with much enthusiasm as it enabled women, for the first time, to submit a communication to the CEDAW Committee about a violation of their CEDAW rights and to seek redress at an international level. Whilst some of this enthusiasm has since been dampened by the significant number of communications that have been declared inadmissible and by criticisms about the progressiveness of the Committee’s views, the Committee has nonetheless issued a number of important decisions on areas such as violence against women, reproductive health and gender stereotyping. In this paper, the jurisprudence of the CEDAW Committee’s views will be examined. The question will be asked, have the views of the CEDAW Committee been cautious or progressive? Consistent or inconsistent? Commendable or regrettable? This paper will demonstrate that in cases involving severe human rights violations, such as violence, rape or death, the CEDAW Committee has been strong in its views and has incorporated a good analysis of how gender has contributed to these violations. However, for matters in which the discrimination has not been as direct or the consequences have not been as severe, the Committee has not undertaken the more nuanced analysis that is needed to draw out the human rights violations that have occurred. Hence, whilst the CEDAW Committee has commendably advanced the international law on women’s human rights in some areas, it has also been reluctant and slow to do so in others.