Sunday, November 3, 2019

POLL - 81% back idea of Japan having female emperor

From Kyodo News

A whopping 81.9 percent of respondents to a Kyodo News survey over the weekend said they are in favor of the idea of Japan having a female emperor, while 13.5 percent indicated they are opposed.

Concerns persist over the stability of Japan's imperial succession, as the 1947 Imperial House Law stipulates that only males of the patrilineage can ascend the throne.

Following the enthronement of Emperor Naruhito, 59, the family now has only three heirs -- the emperor's younger brother Crown Prince Fumihito, 53; the crown prince's son Prince Hisahito, 13; and Prince Hitachi (Masahito), 83, the uncle of the emperor.

Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako have a daughter -- Princess Aiko, 17 -- and there are other females in the imperial family, but the Imperial House Law requires women to abandon their imperial status after marrying commoners. 

Regarding whether to allow heirs of female lineage to ascend the throne, 70.0 percent in the poll supported the idea, while 21.9 percent were against it.

read more here @ Kyodo News

'Little Miss Sumo' wrestles sexism in Japan's ancient sport

From Reuters
A young wrestler dubbed “Little Miss Sumo” is fighting sexism in the ancient Japanese sport, hoping to inspire other women to step into the ring and elevate sumo to Olympic status.

Hiyori Kon is the focus of a new Netflix documentary “Little Miss Sumo”, which tracked her attempts to take on sporting inequality in a society that lags on all manner of women’s rights.

Popularly regarded as Japan’s national sport, sumo pits two giant wrestlers, clad only in loinclothes, in a test of brawn and skill waged - with crouches and charges - inside a ring floored with clay and edged with straw bales.

Image result for little miss sumo trailer

But tradition in a sport that began more than 1,500 years ago forbids women from entering the ring as the space is sacred and any female presence is considered a pollutant.

“Even if you are faced with someone who is big and strong - it’s not something to run away from, but engage with - like in the sumo way,” said 22-year-old Kon when asked how other wannabe but wary women wrestlers should take up the sport.

read more here @ Reuters

Scientists reconstruct face of 1,000-year-old Viking warrior woman

Scientists have re-created the face of a female Viking warrior who lived more than 1,000 years ago. 

The woman is based on a skeleton found in a Viking graveyard in Solør, Norway, and is now preserved in Oslo's Museum of Cultural History.

While the remains had already been identified as female, the burial site had not been considered that of a warrior 'simply because the occupant was a woman', archaelogist Ella Al-Shamahi told The Guardian

But now British scientists have brought the female warrior to life using cutting-edge facial recognition technology. 

read more here @ Daily Mail Online

Scientists reconstructed the face of the female warrior who lived more than 1,000 years ago by anatomically working from the muscles and layering of the skin

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Why is Emily Wilding Davison remembered as the first suffragette martyr?

“She paid ‘the price of freedom’. Glad to pay it — glad though it brought her to death (..) the first woman martyr who has gone to death for this cause.” In the context of the women’s suffrage campaign who do you think was the subject of this eulogy? Was it Emily Wilding Davison, the centenary of whose death is being honoured this June?

Mary Jane Clarke.jpgUnlike Emily Davison, Mary Clarke was not merely a member of the WSPU, but one of its inner circle, fully involved in the campaign from its early days, twice imprisoned after taking part in deputations, and, from mid-1909, based in Brighton as a paid organizer. Her final imprisonment came at the end of November 1910; she had thrown a stone through the window of a London police station. On 23 December, on her release from Holloway, she spoke at a WSPU ‘welcome’ luncheon and two days later, aged 48, died of a brain hemorrhage attributed to the strain of her prison sentence. Her sister, Emmeline, was at her side when she died.

read more here @ OUP Blog

Saturday, October 5, 2019

The Purest Choice: the Egyptian mothers standing up to female genital mutilation - Equal Times

From Equal Times
According to the World Health Organization, Female genital mutilation (FGM) “includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons”. Although often associated with the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, some evidence suggests that the practice originated in Ancient Egypt and then spread to the south of the continent. Exactly when it emerged is hard to say, but reference to it is made on papyrus dating back to the 2nd century BC, indicating that it already existed at the time of the Pharaohs.

Today, around 90 per cent of Egypt’s female population aged between 15 and 65 have undergone FGM, a practice that is referred to as “purification” in Arabic and that is deeply woven into the country’s social fabric. Although religious grounds are untiringly used to justify it, both within Christian and Muslim communities, there is no real mention of FGM in sacred texts. In 2008, the Egyptian government passed a law prohibiting the practice, but only three members of the medical profession have since been prosecuted – including one who is still known to be performing FGM today. The weight of tradition and the political instability in the country are hindering any real action, based on concrete initiatives, to tackle the problem.

The idea behind this photo report is to give a voice to the women who, in spite of social pressure, have decided to say “no”. The Purest Choice is a portrait series of women who have suffered FGM, each photographed next to their daughters, who they have refused to subject to genital cutting, giving new meaning to the idea of “purification”. Far from being passive victims, as they are all too often depicted, these survivors have managed to take their own traumatic experience and turn it into a source of positive change. By choosing not to perpetuate this practice, each of these women has become an activist in her own way.

read more here @ Equal Times

Trinity College’s new sculpture: 30 women to put on a pedestal

It has been more than 200 years coming, but better late than never: the provost of Trinity College Dublin wants the first woman to join the 40 men memorialised in marble busts in the Long Room of the Old Library. 

Worthy of honour:  all of these women, from Thekla Beere (top left) to Lillian Bland (bottom right), are ideal candidates for Trinity College Dublin's Long Room bust

Patrick Prendergast has asked for nominations for who should sit alongside Aristotle, Isaac Newton, Edmund Burke and Jonathan Swift, among others. The woman needn’t have a Trinity connection nor be Irish, just be a scholar who is no longer alive. 

To get the ball rolling, here are 30 Irish scholars, writers and thinkers worth considering for the honour. 

read more here @ Irish Times

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Bangladesh bride walks to groom's home in stand for women's rights

From BBC News
When 19-year-old Khadiza Akter Khushi led hundreds of people to the home of her soon-to-be husband, she didn't do it for her guests.

She did it for all the Bangladeshi women she hoped would follow in her footsteps.

The walk is thought to be a first in a country where, for centuries, the opposite has happened: men have walked to the homes of their brides on their wedding day.

Tariqul Islam (right) and bride Khadiza Akter Khushi pose for a photo during their wedding in Meherpur

"If boys can bring girls to marriage, why can't girls?" she asked BBC Bengali in the days after her wedding to Tariqul Islam had gone viral.

But it has both inspired and horrified. One man suggested the couple and their families should be beaten with slippers.

read more here @  BBC News

Mexico’s women protest violent status quo in a ‘feminist earthquake’

They were called vandals and provocateurs.

But Irinea Buendia didn’t mind. She was thinking of Mariana, chanting for an end to gender violence in Mexico, a photo of her murdered daughter hanging by a string around her neck.

This latest demonstration of women was organized under the hashtag #terremotofeminista (feminist earthquake) and controversially called on Sept. 19, the day the city marks two of its deadliest quakes. But it was just one that has gained force – and backlash – here in recent weeks.hey were called vandals and provocateurs.

But Irinea Buendia didn’t mind. She was thinking of Mariana, chanting for an end to gender violence in Mexico, a photo of her murdered daughter hanging by a string around her neck.

This latest demonstration of women was organized under the hashtag #terremotofeminista (feminist earthquake) and controversially called on Sept. 19, the day the city marks two of its deadliest quakes. But it was just one that has gained force – and backlash – here in recent weeks.

In a country where 41% of women say they’ve experienced sexual violence – and nine are killed each day, according to the United Nations – female anger is mounting. But with it has come even greater outrage directed back at them, with critics lobbing sexist slurs. Others support their goals, but not their methods. Yet far from viewing it as a step back, many of these women say the rejection of their movement is a sign that a paradigm shift is underway.

read more here @ Christian Science Monitor

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Frances Willard: Armenia’s Angel on Capitol Hill

Inside the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., each state is represented by a statue of its most honored citizen. While most of the 50 states have chosen men to represent them, it was Illinois, the land of Abraham Lincoln, which became the first state to select a woman. Her name is Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard.

When she died in 1898, flags flew at half-mast in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Her body was transported by rail from New York to Chicago, pausing along the way for services like a presidential funeral train. In Chicago, tens of thousands of people passed by her casket in one day alone. Biographer Ruth Bordin wrote, “The nation mourned her with grief, admiration, and respect it would have bestowed on a great national hero or martyred president. No woman before or since was so clearly on the day of her death this country’s most honored woman.” The New York Independent wrote, “No woman’s name is better known in the English speaking world than that of Miss Willard, save that of England’s great queen.” Another declared that she was the most influential woman of the age and that her name would become more and more revered in ages to come.” Prominent British newspaper editor, W.T. Stead, went as far as calling her “the uncrowned Queen of American Democracy.”

read more here @ The Armenian Weekly