Sunday, May 3, 2020

Female Genital Mutilation Outlawed in Sudan

Sudan’s new government has outlawed the practice of female genital mutilation, a move hailed as a major victory by women’s rights campaigners in a country where the often dangerous practice is widespread.

The United Nations estimates that nearly nine in 10 Sudanese women have been subjected to the most invasive form of the practice, which involves the partial or total removal of external female genitalia and leads to health and sexual problems that can be fatal.

Now, anyone in Sudan who performs female genital mutilation faces a possible three-year prison term and a fine under an amendment to Sudan’s criminal code approved last week by the country’s transitional government, which came to power only last year following the ouster of longtime dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

“This is a massive step for Sudan and its new government,” said Nimco Ali of the Five Foundation, an organization that campaigns for an end to genital mutilation globally. “Africa cannot prosper unless it takes care of girls and women. They are showing this government has teeth.”

Genital mutilation is practiced in at least 27 African countries, as well as parts of Asia and the Middle East. Other than Sudan and Egypt, it is most prevalent in Ethiopia, Kenya, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Djibouti and Senegal, according to the United Nations Population Fund.

“The law will help protect girls from this barbaric practice and enable them to live in dignity,” said Salma Ismail, a spokeswoman in Khartoum for the United Nations Children’s Fund. “And it will help mothers who didn’t want to cut their girls, but felt they had no choice, to say ‘no.’”

read more here @ The New York Times

Ancient Egyptian teenage mummy buried 3,600 years ago found with bridal clothes and jewellery intact

From The Sun:
An ancient Egyptian teenage girl has been found buried with her 'bridal jewellery'.

 The coffin was uncovered during a project involving a Spanish teamThe treasures buried with the mummy in the 3,600 year old coffin are thought to be a dowry of expensive items that would have been gifted with a bride at a wedding.

The fascinating discovery was made by a Spanish team working at a necropolis in Luxor, Egypt.

The team, from the Djehuty Project, found the coffin on a hill called Dra Abu el-Naga.  In ancient times this would have been in the city of Thebes, the capital of Egypt in the Middle and New Kingdom periods.

The wooden coffin was discovered in an impressively well-preserved state and some of its white paint was still intact.

read more here @ The Sun

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Irish woman who shot Mussolini in the face

Violet Gibson, daughter of the first Lord Ashbourne, of Co Meath, who wounded Signor Mussolini with a revolver in Rome.From Irish Central
In 1926, Irish woman Violet Gibson attempted to assassinate the Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. On April 7, 1926, an upper-class, 50-year-old Dublin woman tried to shoot Benito Mussolini, Italy's fascist leader, in the face. 

An Irishwoman's attempt to assassinate Mussolini is often ...How had Violet Gibson’s life gone from the well-heeled upbringing of Merrion Square in Dublin to dying in a mental asylum having attempted to assassinate a world leader and how different the world may have been if she had succeeded?

What’s worse is that Gibson’s attempted assassination triggered a wave of support for Il Duce which possibly helped strengthen his grip on Italy.

read more here @ Irish Central and the Guardian and the Irish Times

further reading:
The Woman Who Shot Mussolini by Frances Stonor Saunders

Violet Gibson - Irish Journal

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Bolivian Women Fighting Social Discrimination

From PHmuseum
Argentine photographer SofĂ­a Bensadon portrays the women behind Bolivia’s construction industry. By documenting their work and recording their testimonies, she looks to capture their resilience and determination despite the marginalisation they are subjected to.

Since the Chaco war in Bolivia real-estate development has been evolving, especially during Evo Morales presidential period. As a result of this rapid demand, today many women have joined the construction industry in their country. 

Women Builders in Bolivia Lobby for Respect | Pulitzer Center

In La Paz and Alto, it is socially questioned that women have joined this traditionally male expected labour. Despite social discrimination Bolivian women have continued to work in the field and gained their work pal and family members respect. Bensadon inspired by her father’s traditional views on construction’s sites, she embarked on this ongoing personal project that looks to give a voice to Bolivia’s resilient women.

read more here @ PHmuseum and Pulitzer Center

Another side of Julia Gillard and her thrill at being an interviewer

Guests from Hillary Clinton to comedienne Sandy Toksvig talk to Gillard about leadership and the road to gender equality.

Former prime minister Julia Gillard is chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, and in that role she has been interviewing a diverse group of women – from world leaders to stand-up comedians – for A Podcast of One’s Own.

Hon Julia Gillard MP – Parliament of Australia“We want to find as many [role models for young women] by telling the stories of female leaders from around the world. Through A Podcast of One’s Own I have the time and space to have real conversations with the women interviewed, to learn the lessons from their lives and hear their insights into what works to get more women into leadership positions,” Gillard says.

“A great benefit of [podcasts] is that no one ends up distracted by how people look. Instead, the focus is 100 per cent on what they think. It’s also a low-cost way of sharing stories ... With very little equipment or formality, I can chat to a podcast guest wherever I am.”

read more here @ Brisbane Times

Rural decline threatens Estonia’s ancient isle of women

For centuries on a small, forested island in the Baltic Sea, women in headscarves and striped red skirts have done most of the work: from farming to lighthouse keeping, leading church services and even dressing up as Santa Claus at Christmas.

The men of Kihnu island, 10km off the coast of Estonia, are away at sea fishing for weeks or months at a time, leaving the women to run what is often dubbed one of the last matriarchal societies in Europe.  Gender roles may have blurred, but one job still lies squarely with the women: keeping Kihnu’s centuries-old culture alive.

   Tradition dictates that the Kihnu women must organise all of the island’s major events and festivals, as well as funerals and weddings.

Since the global economic crash hit Estonia hard that year, the island’s year-round population has halved. Kihnu life still revolves around ancient folk traditions and songs, a unique culture which Unesco describes as a “masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity”. “We are going to lose it if people don’t live here any more, ” Matas says. “We don’t know what to do.”

read more here @ The Star Online

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The woman who discovered the first coronavirus

From BBC News
The woman who discovered the first human coronavirus was the daughter of a Scottish bus driver who left school at 16.

June Almeida with her electron microscope at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto in 1963
June Almeida went on to become a pioneer of virus imaging, whose work has come roaring back into focus during the present pandemic.

Covid-19 is a new virus but it is a coronavirus of the type first identified by Dr Almeida in 1964 at her laboratory in St Thomas's Hospital in London.

June Almeida died in 2007, at the age of 77. 
Now 13 years after her death she is finally getting recognition she deserves as a pioneer whose work speeded up understanding of the virus that is currently spreading throughout the world.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

What Happened to Eleanor of Aquitaine’s Daughters?

From History Hit
There are many books about medieval kings and some about their queens, but what’s so special about the princesses born into, or marrying into, the Plantagenet dynasty?

A 13th-century depiction of Henry II and his children, left to right: William, Henry, Richard, Matilda, Geoffrey, Eleanor, Joan and John.

The chroniclers who documented the births and lives of medieval princes were celibate and misogynistic monks who showed little interest in the births of girls, which were often not even noted. So we know much about the sons of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II who founded the Plantagenet dynasty: Henry the Young King, Richard the Lionheart, Geoffrey of Brittany and Bad King John. Of Eleanor’s little-documented daughters and granddaughters we catch only glimpses.

read more here from Douglas Boyd @ History Hit

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Meet the female shoplifting gang who ruled London’s West End

What it’s about: Move over, mafia! From the 1870s (and possibly earlier) through to the 1950s, an all-female crime syndicate ruled London’s black market, robbing from high-end stores and their wealthy patrons, and enforcing their rules on smaller gangs and petty criminals. Also known as the Forty Thieves, the gang operated out of London’s Elephant And Castle district, hence the name.

19th Century Female Shoplifter.jpg

Biggest controversy: The 19th-century ladies of the gang were able to turn Victorian social mores to their advantage. The same outfits designed to conceal a scandalous glimpse of bare ankle were also useful for concealing fenced goods. It was considered shocking and indecent to search a lady, especially in the high-end stores where the Elephants operated, and unthinkable to interrupt a woman in a changing room. They also flouted the era’s social mores in another way: Members of the gang earned enough money to support their husbands, who were either “idle men who lounged at home, [or] inmates of the British prison system.”

read more here @ AVClub