Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Vietnam: Marriage Brokers

From Viet Nam News:
According to statistics by the General Statistics Office, between 2005 and 2008, 32,000 Vietnamese women married foreigners, mostly Chinese, Taiwanese and South Korean.

Meanwhile, statistics by the South Korean's Statistics Office show that, the number of Korean men marrying Vietnamese women increased from 134 in 2001 to 5,822 in 2005.

According to Ho Xuan Huy from the Viet Nam International Organisation for Migration (IOM), most foreign marriages are arranged through marriage brokers.

"These agencies earn their fees by enticing Vietnamese women with false information about their future husbands," Huy said.

Many women are then forced to become servants for their husbands' families and made to work hard and sometimes even hit, according to a report by the IOM.

Lack of knowledge among Vietnamese women living in rural areas and a lack of adequate regulations on foreign marriages are problems that need to be addressed to tackle the issue, according to Quy.

Le Thi Hoang Thanh, from the Institute of Legal Science of the Ministry of Justice, said that Viet Nam did not have any systems in place to provide information to citizens who wish to marry foreigners. There are also no regulations for the protection of Vietnamese women who choose to settle in their foreign husbands' country, as no agreements have been reached for Vietnamese women's rights abroad.

Daughters of American Revolution Famous Ladies' Tea

From the Reading Eagle:
Berks County singer and longtime nurse administrator Runette Gabrielle, 75, Spring Township, will portray black abolitionist and humanitarian Harriet Tubman, one of 10 famous historical women to be spotlighted this year at the Berks County Chapter of the Daughters of American Revolution Famous Ladies' Tea.

The fundraising scholarship event, scheduled for April 17, follows two months of national history highlights with Black History Month in February and Women's History Month in March.

History of International Women's Day

From the Washington Free Press:
Women are a revolutionary force. That fact shows in their holiday, International Women's Day (IWD), both its past and present.

The holiday's roots are in the struggles of working women and their socialist supporters. It's believed that a mass protest by women garment and textile workers in New York City in 1857 occurred on March 8, and that in March two years later the same women won a drive to unionize. They were fighting against brutal working conditions, low wages, and the 12-hour day.

On March 8, 1908, socialist women organized a demonstration of 15,000 in New York. Their demands were pay raises, shorter hours, the vote, and an end to child labor. After that, the Socialist Party of America decided to celebrate a women's day in the US, the first of which was held in 1909.

The Women of Mossad

From the Telegraph:
Meir Amit, the director-general of Mossad in the 1960s, laid down the rules for kidon women in a document that remains in force today. It contains the following passage: “A woman has skills a man simply does not have. She knows how to listen. Pillow talk is not a problem for her. The history of modern intelligence is filled with accounts of women who have used their sex for the good of their country... It is not just sleeping with someone if required. It is to lead a man to believe you will do so in return for what he has to tell you.”

'Gideon’s Spies: The Inside Story of Israel’s Legendary Secret Service’ by Gordon Thomas is available from Telegraph Books.

Pearl Cleage: Song for Coretta

From Freep. com:
She was watching television when the women came to her.

The news program showed thousands of people, mostly women, lined up in the rain to pay their respects to Coretta Scott King after her death in 2006.

Pearl Cleage wondered about those women, from all walks of life, united by that moment in history. So Cleage (pronounced cleg) did what she's done since childhood: She made up a story.

That story, about five fictional women whose lives intersect in the damp funeral line, became a play called "Song for Coretta," which is being presented at the Detroit Repertory Theatre through March 21.

Turn of the Century Women

From My Central Jersey:
Bound Brook Memorial Library, 402 E. High St., will present a program entitled, “Women at the Turn of the Century 1880-1920” at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 4.

At the turn of the century, society’s perception of women was in transition, due to the changes going on in the country. Technology, urbanization and immigration were driving changes in the social and economic status of women.

This presentation will discuss women’s advancement into the professions, arts and business, in addition to how women took the initiative to drive social change and innovative approaches to serious social issues like health, public welfare and suffrage while improving their own position in society.

This program is free and open to the public. Call 732-356-0043 to register.

Response Network of the Women's Giving Circle

From the Baltimore Sun:
When $1,000 or less prevents a woman in dire circumstances from taking a major step toward reversing the downward spiral of her life, the Response Network of the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County comes alive.

The network is an electronic call to action that sets a speedy fundraising mechanism in motion each month by e-mail, which is currently dispatched to 1,000 women and asks them to pledge whatever amount they can.

WGC, which is a fund of the Columbia Foundation, will join in celebrating that organization's 40th anniversary March 3 by presenting a program on philanthropy that is open to all women.

Ghana: Plight of Women

From Ghana Web:
IN Ghana today, most women are discriminated against in jobs, pay, education and welfare. Most women are financially dependent on a man, and without assistance, carry the burden of looking after children and caring for the sick and old. Society's perception formers’- ranging from judges to journalists, cabinet ministers to advertising copywriters, take it for granted that women are inferior. In hindsight, they reduce all women, whatever their occupation, experience, Politics or interests to one dimension, sex, and judge them by whether they measure up to what men desire.

In our society, women don't have equality, they don't have freedom, and they don't even have respect in any meaningful sense. What can be done about it? Women have to be able to fight back, for themselves and for the future of all women. This doesn't mean an out-and-out conflict with all men all of the time. Separatism--the view that women can fight for liberation only on their own and against men--is a counsel of despair and a way of dividing women and men still further. Women have a right to organise with men to fight against the society that keeps us all down, to make men see that the world has to be changed. This doesn't mean that women can't organise their own meetings, demonstrations, pickets or whatever, when appropriate-- we have that right, too--but we should be trying to reunite women and men in the struggle for socialism.

Iran: International Conference on Women

From the Tehran Times:
The second International conference on women is to be held in Tehran, from February 24 to 25, 2010.

Aimed at spreading Islamic thoughts about families, women; their rights and responsibilities, the conference is to be convened on the theme of “Contribution of the Islamic world to women’s issues and analysis of the consequences of feminism”.

Negative impacts of feminism, particularly in western societies, and its devastating effects on families’ foundation are among the issues to be discussed at the two-day event.

The conference is to be held by women’s cultural department of the Office for Supreme Leader Representative in Universities in cooperation with Iranian Foreign Ministry, the ministries of culture, health, and science as well as World Forum for the Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, and the Ahl-ul-Bayt (A.S.) World Assembly.

About 300 essays in Persian and 100 in other languages from other countries have been so far submitted to the secretariat of the congress.

The First International Conference on women was held on the theme of “women, social-cultural issues, and globalization” in Tehran in April 2005.

Saudia Arabia: Women Lawyers

From the Daily Times:
Saudi Arabia could soon allow women lawyers to appear in court, though they would only be able to represent women, Saudi Justice Minister Mohammed al Issa said on Sunday.

According to a Saudi newspaper, al Issa said the ministry is drafting new rules to permit female lawyers to fight family cases, adding the new law was part of King Abdullah’s plan to develop the legal system.

The newspaper said the women would only be able to represent other women in marriage, divorce, custody and other family cases.

Female lawyers in Saudi Arabia, where strict Islamic doctrine and shariah law have enforced separation of genders, can currently work only inside the women’s sections of law and government offices, where they do not come into contact with men. All judges in the kingdom are male religious clerics. The new legislation will also allow Saudi women to complete certain procedures without the presence of a witness. agencies.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Mystery of "Penelope"

From the Daily Mail:
To her neighbours in the nearby Rue Verdun, Penelope was just another eccentric foreigner living her life as best she could in the heart of war-torn west Beirut.

What has, however, become apparent is that far from being an innocent Englishwoman abroad, Penelope was a Mossad spy trained to use her feminine wiles to inveigle her way into the life of one of the world's most feared terrorists - and then help kill him.

Evidence that has emerged over the years suggests that she was in fact a British woman by the name of Erika Maria Chambers, and she was born and brought up in London as part of a wealthy Anglo-Jewish family.

But there is one further, extraordinary, twist to the story. Erika Maria Chambers, 'Mossad assassin', has a brother. His name is Nicholas Chambers - and he is a QC and leading civil court judge who is a pillar of the British judicial establishment.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

World of Blogs

Some items and blogs worth checking out this week include:

The Silent Village @ Culture 24

Shajar al-Durr @ Medievalist

From Egypt to Umbria: Jewish Women and Property in the Medieval Mediterranean @ eScholarship

Why She Sits Defiantly @ Ludmilla's Diary

Al-Majida - A Tribute to the Iraqi Woman @ Blog from the Middle East

High Price of a Cuppa @ Care2 Make A Difference

Patricia Jennings & the AAUW

From the Jackson Citizen Patriot:
Patricia Jennings is committed to the mission of the American Association of University Women. It was the organization's mission to ``promote equity for women and girls through education, research, advocacy and philanthropy'' that interested Jennings 43 years ago.

Jennings is a life member of the association, and this is her third year as the group's state communications director. In that role, she helps increase the visibility of the organization as well as attract new members.

She has been involved with the association's annual book sale and assisted in the development of an informational DVD.

For Jennings, part of moving the association forward means being involved with several events, including Equal Pay Day at the state Capitol and women's suffrage events at the Michigan Women's Historical Center and Hall of Fame.

Karnataka: Women Unsafe

From the Times of India:
It’s tough times for women in Karnataka — they’re increasingly falling prey to all kinds of atrocities. Last year was the worst over a five-year period, and husbands or their relatives were the perpetrators in most cases. In 2009, there were 8,839 cases, up by 1,141 from 7,698 cases in 2008. Gang rape, molestation, abduction and murder for dowry were just a few of the crimes listed by the State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB).

Curiously enough, some crimes which faded away have started showing up: two cases under importing of girls (forcing minors for domestic or factory work), one under Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act 1986 and five cases under kidnapping and abduction of women for prostitution. Shockingly, there’s a significant rise in rape cases — up to 486, of which six are of gang rape. As many as 2,186 women were molested last year. The highest number of crimes have been committed by the husband or his relatives — in 2009, there were 3,185 such cases.

Even kidnapping and abduction of women is increasing — from 253 cases in 2004 to 445 last year. Of these, five are related to prostitution.

Other crimes against women are abetment to suicide and murder for dowry. Especially, murder or death due to dowry harassment is increasing with more than 200 cases recorded every year. There has, however, been a reduction in the number of trafficking cases. While in 2004, there were 1,170 cases, in 2009 the number came down to 329.

Saudia Arabia: Women Only Buses

From the Gulf Times:
A report has found that some 35% of Saudi women’s monthly income is spent on drivers and taxis as they are forbidden from driving and are largely excluded from the public transport system.

The survey, conducted by the Saudi Centre for Studies and Media (SCSM), is recommending the establishment of women-only buses in the kingdom and is currently being studied by Saudi Arabia’s legislative branch, the Majlis A-Shoura (Consultative Council).

The line of women-only buses, called Hafilati (“My Bus”), will employ male drivers.

“This is the first programme of its kind in Saudi Arabia to transport female passengers for a price that is fair and equal to that of men,” Jamal Banoun, director of the SCSM told The Media Line. “The primary aim of this is to provide protection for women against moral problems and sexual harassment that they sometimes face from taxi drivers.”

In recent years the kingdom has been undergoing gradual reforms and women are becoming a more significant part of the work force. “The need for transportation for women in Saudi Arabia hasn’t been given the same attention that it’s been given for men,” the report read. “Men have options such as driving a car and other modes of transport that facilitate their movement whenever they want. But the Saudi woman is limited in her options in using transportation.”

Saudi Arabia is not the first Middle Eastern country to consider creating a segregated transportation system and the idea is not always welcomed by rights activists. In Cairo’s subway system, the fourth and fifth carriages are reserved exclusively for women. Also, women-only taxis, which are both driven by women and serve women, are either operating, or being discussed, in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, Dubai and Jordan. Women-for-women taxis are currently not an option in Saudi Arabia where women cannot take the wheel.

Bedouin Women of the Negev

From the Alternative Information Centre:
Many women in the West perceived the women of the East as a woman of the noble savage, an obedient woman who sits at home. Their perception of Arab women in the East was a colonial one, and over the years the Bedouin woman was transformed into a magical oriental object. Bedouin women in Israel became exotic research subjects for external researchers, both women and men, who tagged the women as obedient, helpless and under the limitations of male tradition and structures of oppression of both society and the state. The accepted perception was that under these structures, the Bedouin women have no chance to move forward, see the light and liberate themselves from the oppression.

The feminism of Bedouin women is necessary not only for them; their struggle for gender is a struggle for an improvement in the condition of the Bedouin society in general. Their personal struggle is also a political struggle.

Trapped: 300 Malayali Women

From Sahil Online:
Almost 300 Malayali women who have been recruited illegally to Gulf countries as housemaids and forced into immoral activities are trapped in the Gulf countries.

According to a News portal of Kerala, Souda of Pathanamthitta and Ahamed of Kasargod together run the sex racket in UAE. People came to know about the sex racket when some traumatic stories were revealed by a woman, who moved the Kerala High Court.

The woman approached the court demanding an officer not less than the rank of an IG to probe the case. The plea was considered by a division bench of Acting Chief Justice P R Raman and Justice C N Ramachandran Nair.

The portal said in his report that the agents lure women from poor families promising them jobs in Gulf countries. A small amount would be given to their families after considering their poor financial condition. The passports have to be surrendered once you reach Gulf. The women can contact their parents only in the presence of these agents.

Central America: The Informal Economy

From IPS News:
According to the third regional report on the labour market in Central America and the Dominican Republic produced by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Central American Integration System (SICA), 64 percent of women in the labour force in the region work in the informal sector, compared to 50 percent of men in the workforce.

Of the women in the workforce in Guatemala, 73 percent are in the informal economy, compared to 64 percent in El Salvador and 45 percent in Costa Rica, according to the ILO/SICA study, which defines the informal sector as including the self-employed, domestic workers and unregulated microenterprise.

Although the number of women in the labour force has been growing faster than the number of men since 2001, poverty, lack of education and discrimination complicate the employment outlook for women in Central America, says the study, which was released in October 2009.

In Central America, over 38 percent of the workforce have not completed primary school and 73 percent have less than a complete secondary school education, says the ILO/SICA report. Of the 20 million people in the labour force in the region, 60 percent are unskilled, it adds.

This region of 43 million people is one of the most unequal areas in the world, with half of the population living in poverty, according to international bodies.

And against that backdrop of inequality, women face fewer employment opportunities than men, earn less than men in every area, especially manufacturing, and have higher unemployment rates than men.

Informal Economy - street vendors, craftmakers, self-employed, domestic workers and unregulated microenterprise.

Israel: Women's Prayer Quorum

From Ynet News (Israel News):
Women's prayer quorum during the Purim holiday have become in recent years a widespread phenomenon in many religious communities in Israel, but a new Jewish ruling considers them illegal and forbidden.

Chief Ramat Gan Rabbi Yaakov Ariel stated that "to begin with, forming a women's prayer quorum is against the Halacha," and accused the participating women of withdrawing from society on the basis of "social and feminist considerations".

Rabbi Ariel, who is one of the leaders of Religious Zionism and a senior arbiter, warned against the phenomenon Thursday during an interview with Arutz Sheva (Channel Seven) and claimed the it is "not right" and "forbidden."

According to Ariel, "it's good that women want to be involved, but if a woman wants to be more god-fearing and pray in a quorum – she should do so in a men's quorum. The Torah did not command women to pray in a quorum," he added.

Religious women's organization Kolech criticized Rabbi Ariel's ruling. A spokeswoman for the organization told Ynet: "The Halacha states that a woman may fulfill the duty of prayer for another woman. The same ruling was also stated in the Shulchan Aruch (book of religious law from the Rabbi Yosef Karo), by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and more.

JEF: Ushers a Hit

From Arab News:
The Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF) has always attracted the attention of young people who want to learn and gain new experiences. It is no surprise to see young men and women, dressed in black and white, standing in every corner with warm smiles on their faces, helping and guiding those attending the forum.

The Gulf Research Center, the organizers of the JEF, has collaborated with Spot Event Management and gave Spot the opportunity to hire the young people. The presence and quality of the ushers is one of the few things that have been well managed at this year's JEF. The young girls wear black abayas and white headscarves and are friendly and professional, giving directions, answering questions and providing headphones for translation.

The volunteers were chosen for their qualifications and experience. "I collected resumes and we chose 17 qualified girls to take part as volunteers at the JEF," she added. The age of the young women ranges from 20 to 23 and they were chosen from different universities and educational institutions in and around Jeddah. They will each receive a certificate at the end of the event.

Year of Women in Local Government

WOLLONDILLY Council gets excited about International Women’s Day each year but this year is different because 2010 is the official Year of Women in Local Government.

To celebrate the event on March 8, the council will once again put on several activities for residents.

Wollondilly Council acting community services manager Gay Hardwick invited shire women to get involved on the day.

“Council will host a morning tea to celebrate International Women’s Day 2010 and the theme will be Women Evolving in Wollondilly,” she said.

“Guest speakers will be involved throughout the morning discussing what life was like in Wollondilly.”

The event will be organised in partnership with Community Links Wollondilly, the Wollondilly Heritage Centre and other community organisations.”

“International Women’s Day is a time to celebrate the wonderful and varied talents of local women and the contributions they make to their communities,” she said.

“It is also a time to reflect on the hardships that many women around the world face and this year’s theme is Empowering Women to End Poverty by 2015.”

Pink Taxis for Hebron

From Ynet News (Israel News):
Palestinian news agency, Maan, reported on Monday that a Palestinian company is planning to establish a taxi service in Hebron for women only.

This is a popular phenomenon in many cities in the Arab world, and apparently will soon be instated in the Palestinian Authority.

Hazem at-Takrawi, the director of Ishraqat training and development firm, said in an interview that his staff is already training women to drive the taxis, just as is done in cities like Beirut, Dubai, Cairo, and Tehran. As in Beirut, the women-only taxis will be pink.

At-Takrawi said that the company has already conducted a survey that showed that 95% of Palestinians welcome the initiative. In his eyes, he said, there is no reason residents would not agree to the idea.

At-Takrawi noted that the plan would many jobs, and said that more than 100 women, mostly university graduates, have already applied for positions.

If the model proves to be a success, it may be expanded to include other cities in the West Bank.
This has to be one of the most successful business ventures of this decade - and is taking off in quite a number of countries as we have reported here over the past couple of years.

Ghana: Women & the Church

From the Ghana Newsagency:
An educationist has appealed to the leadership of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG) to make conscious efforts to re-orient women in the church to believe in the church's doctrine and turn to it when in need and at all times.

Mrs Victoria Priscilla Darkwa, who made the appeal, said "this way, the exploitation of women in the church by spiritualists as a result of their vulnerability would be reduced drastically if not eliminated completely".

She made the appeal in her acceptance address when being inducted into office as National President of the Committee on Women's Ministry (CWM) of the church for the next three years at the Zimmermann congregation at Abokobi in the Greater Accra Region on Sunday.

Mrs Darkwa said addressing women issues required collective effort and mutual responsibility and more importantly the need to recognise their role and place and assert themselves as equal partners in the socio-economic and spiritual development of the church and country.

Egypt: No to Female Judges

From the Times of India:
The council of state’s association voted by an overwhelming majority against appointing women as judges in the council, Egypt’s MENA news agency said.

Three-hundred and eighty judges took part in the general assembly and voted, with 334 rejecting the appointment of females to judicial posts in the country and 42 agreeing, with four abstentions.

Egypt’s supreme judicial council, which has jurisdiction over criminal and civil courts, selected 31 women in 2007, who were later appointed by presidential decree. But the decision angered conservatives who said women were not suited for the role.

League of Women Voters

From the Newton Daily News:
Ninety years ago, Iowa native, Carrie Chapman Catt first proposed a League of Women Voters to “finish the fight” and work to end all discrimination against women.

And so the League of Women Voters was founded on Valentine’s Day in 1920, six months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. In 1920, after a 72-year struggle, passage of the 19th Amendment appeared to be imminent, and members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association met to form the League of Women Voters, the organization to educate the newly franchised women to effectively use the vote.

The Newton unit of LWV was organized 1934 through the efforts of Mrs. E. L. Gladys Nelson, who lived in Grinnell. After she and her husband moved to Newton, Nelson organized a unit in 1934 in Newton at the urging of Grinnell League members.

Women Soldiers' Testimonies

From the Sydney Morning Herald:
After last year's war in Gaza, and the later report for the United Nations Human Rights Council by Justice Richard Goldstone that accused Israel of war crimes, sensitivity to how Israel is perceived abroad has been more heightened than ever. Yet the most piercing insights into the Israeli-Arab conflict today have nothing to do with the foreign media. They come from within Israeli society itself.

In the past two years, internationally acclaimed films such as Waltz With Bashir, Ajami, and Lebanon, have added exceptional context to the deep divisions within Israeli society and the long-term effects of the conflict on its people. More disturbing still are the verbatim accounts of some of the soldiers who have served in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The damaging effects of the occupation, not just on Palestinians but on the soldiers themselves, are laid bare in a booklet published last week by the group Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli army veterans who have taken it upon themselves to expose life in the occupied territories to the Israeli public. Titled Women Soldiers' Testimonies, the booklet details the experiences of more than 40 female soldiers who have served in various roles in the territories since 2000.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Prison Baby Shower

From the Chicago Tribune:
State lawmakers will host a baby shower at the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis.

Legislators also will eat lunch prepared by some of the inmates Wednesday.

The state Department of Correction says Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, and Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, solicited gifts from other lawmakers after members of a women's caucus became interested in the Wee Ones Nursery at the prison. The gifts will be presented Wednesday.

The program for pregnant offenders began in early 2008 and is one of six similar programs in the nation. It provides parenting education and is aimed at strengthening the mother-infant bond.

To live with their newborns in the separate unit, mothers must have never been convicted of violent crimes and have less than 18 months left on their sentences.

Allahabad University: Centre for Women's Studies

From the Times of India:
A new Centre for Women's Studies (CWS) has started functioning at the Allahabad University. AU was recently selected by the University Grants Commission for opening the centre which would impart short and long term courses in gender related issues.

The centre, which is functional in various universities in the country, was first started in 1986. Today, there 57 such centres in universities all over the country, informed Prof Sumita Parmar, director, AU CWS. She said the primary function of the centre would be to introduce gender perspectives in as many domains of knowledge as possible in order to empower women. It would also make them more visible and acknowledge their contribution to the society.

Moreover, it also help in documentation and the generation of resource material. Studies related to women are an emerging discipline and was initially conceptualised as a branch of social sciences and humanities, she said. It also engages with other disciplines and professions such as life sciences, biosciences and other areas of science and technology such as agriculture and forestry, medicine and architecture as developments in these areas have a great bearing on the lives of women. Over the last 25 years, through teaching, research, analysis and field action the centre has gained in academic structure and developed a rich body of theories based on a complex and multilayered understanding of the realities of a woman's life.

Pioneering OB's Murderers?

From Babble Australia:
Two doctors, mid-18th century London, are pioneering a brand new field of medicine and hiring henchman to kill their patients so they could conduct experiments on them.

It sounds like a Hollywood historical hit, but it’s not.

William Hunter and William Smellie really were pioneers in the field of obstetrics, and they laid the groundwork for many of today’s childbirth practices.

But a new study suggests that as brilliant as the two Williams were, they were also cold-blooded killers willing to sacrifice the lives of heavily pregnant women to further their research.

Historian Don Shelton published his work in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. He claims that while death and disease were common in a “near-anarchic” London, deaths among pregnant women in their last trimester were relatively rare. Yet between 1749 and 1755, and then again between 1764 and 1774, Hunter and Smellie seemed to have no problem finding deceased pregnant women for their experiments.

And the article from the Guardian: - Founders of British Obstetrics "Were Callous Murderers"

England: Tension Over Female Bishops Continues

From the Catholic News Agency:
As the Church of England’s General Synod begins, some Anglo-Catholic leaders have said if their concerns about the introduction of women bishops are not addressed they will withdraw their resources from the Anglican Church and focus them on ministries outside the formal church structure.

The Church of England introduced women to its priesthood in 1994. It is committed to the consecration of female bishops as well, The Telegraph reports, but controversy continues about the implementation.

Many of those who favor female bishops argue they should be introduced on the same basis and with the same powers as men. They fear the development of a two-tier system.

Those who oppose female bishops argue they had been assured that provisions would be made for them. They point to the current “flying bishops” arrangement for parishes that cannot accept the oversight of female vicars and so have bishops from other regions as their overseers.

National Women's Alliance: Women in the Workplace

From ABC News:

The National Women's Alliance is calling on the federal and state governments to remove the barriers for women wanting to return to work after caring for children or others.

A new report called Barriers to Women's Employment found that women going back to work do not have the same access to job finding services as unemployed people on welfare.

Report author Marie Coleman says while more women are working now than 60 years ago, many are not eligible for assistance with fees to retrain and also struggle with inflexible work hours and child care.

She says governments are not making enough of an effort to meet the specific needs of those women.

"I would think the political party that went to the next election with a really well-tailored program that would provide for before and after school [care], and school holiday programs, would be greeted with thunderous applause by most Australian working women," she said.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Something of Interest

Some interesting articles from a number of sources:

Medieval Women as Master Craftsmen @ Hawkin's Bizzare
5000 Medieval historical Novels @ Medieval News
Macbeth: A True Story @ Medieval News
Tycho Brahe to Be Exhumed by the Copenhagen Post

And some further reading:
* Matthew Carr - Cast Away: Blood & Faith: The Purging of Muslim Spain
* Charles Lachman - The Last Lincolns: The Rise & Fall of a Great American Family
* Susan Wise Bauer - The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade
* Richard Beeman - Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution
* Philip Dray - Capitol Men: The Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen

    Maidenhead Museum: Spitfire Women

    From Culture 24:
    Maidenhead Heritage Centre & Museum is uncovering the fascinating story of the many female pilots who ferried aircraft to the RAF in World War Two with a new Research Centre & Exhibition dedicated to the work of the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA).

    Due to open this summer the Museum is looking for information on pilots and others who worked for the ATA at airfields across the UK during World War II.

    ATA pilots, many of whom were women, delivered much needed aircraft from factories to front line squadrons. They were based at 13 Ferry Pools at airfields around the country, including the ATA’s headquarters at White Waltham outside Maidenhead.

    “1200 male and female pilots of 28 different nationalities delivered over 309,000 aircraft, an amazing achievement, especially as most ATA pilots had only flown light aircraft before the war,” explained Richard Poad, aviation historian and Chairman of Maidenhead Heritage Centre.

    Europe: Cadiz Declaration

    From Euroalert:
    European women in charge of ministries and other european political organisms gathered at Cadiz on the occasion of the "European Summit of Women in Power" have produced a joint statement condemning the low participation of women in certain spheres of public life and its absence at high levels of responsibility and decision making.

    After their meeting in Cadiz, organized by the Spanish Presidency of the European Union, the EU women ministers and political leaders have signed a joint document which is a statement of principles, objectives and termination of the current reality of the situation of women in public life.

    In this paper, already known as the "Declaration of Cadiz", the European leaders have pledged to work to make gender equality a priority on the political agendas of Member States and of the EU and to intensify their efforts to identify and address the obstacles which prevent, impede, or limit the participation of women decision-makers, especially in the fields of politics, economics and knowledge society.

    The ministers call on governments, European institutions, academic and scientific, social and economic agents and media to remove the obstacles which prevent the full participation of women in all areas of society and their access and progression in decision-making positions, thus contributing towards a fairer, more equal, more inclusive and successful society. The full text of Cadiz Declaration can be found on page site of the Spanish Presidency of the Union.

    It is expected that in 2010 the European Commission will renew its pledge to promote equality, and adopt a gender equality strategy to replace the current road map for equality between women and men.

    UN: Aid Needed For Women & Children

    From the Voice of America:

    The United Nations Children's Fund is appealing for $1.2 billion to provide life saving emergency assistance to millions of children and women in dire need. UNICEF says earthquake-stricken Haiti is only one of 28 countries where children and women lack even the most basic means of survival.

    In previous years, the U.N. Children's Fund has classified Haiti as a country 'in crisis.' Since the devastating earthquake struck, UNICEF has increased its efforts to restore shattered lives and protect children and women who are among the most vulnerable victims of this disaster.

    While Haiti remains a priority, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director, Hilde Johnson tells VOA there are many other emergencies that are critical and must be addressed.

    Every year, UNICEF responds to some 200 emergencies around the world. These crises are most acutely felt in the 28 countries that figure in the Humanitarian Action Report.

    The greatest needs are in sub-Saharan Africa, where some 24 million people in the Horn of Africa are being affected by drought, chronic food insecurity and armed

    UNICEF's three biggest operations are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Ethiopia. Johnson says more than six million people in Ethiopia are going hungry because of drought and famine. She says children there are at risk of severe and acute malnutrition.

    Australia: WRANs Honoured

    From the Warrnambool Standard:
    MARGARET Morton remembers her time in the Royal Australian Navy with great affection. “I loved it,” she said of her stint in the Women’s Royal Australian Navy (WRAN) Service at HMAS Cerebus from 1945-1946.

    As an 18-year-old WRAN, her roles included working as an officer’s stewardess, and in the kitchen and serving meals.

    The naval jacket she wore as a WRAN is one of a number of items in the Women in Uniform exhibition on display at the Warrnambool RSL.

    Mrs Morton, 83, of Warrnambool, said she was pleased the contribution of women to Australia’s armed services was being recognised by the sub branch.

    She said she loved the camaraderie of the WRANs at Cerebus and continued to enjoy the company of fellow ex-servicewomen who met at the Warrnambool RSL on the first Monday of every month.

    Mrs Morton said she joined the navy to make a contribution to Australia’s effort in the World War II and “just made it in” before the war ended.

    While Mrs Morton’s memories of her time in the armed services are happy ones, they contrast sharply with the war experiences of the late Mona Wilton, of Naringal, whose war service medals and citation are also in the exhibition.

    Ms Wilton, 28, was killed during World War II when she was serving as a nurse.

    The exhibition will be open until September.

    Egypt: Divorce Radio

    From the Christian Science Monitor:
    Mahasen Saber spent more than three years in the Egyptian court system trying to divorce her husband. In the lonely and often confusing process, she met many women in similar circumstances who relied on each other for moral support. But their battles didn’t end in court – what followed were stares and whispers.

    Four months ago, Ms. Saber started “Divorce Radio,” an Internet-based station that seeks to reverse popular conceptions of divorced women and create a supportive community. Her initiative is part of a broader push in Egypt’s conservative Muslim society to challenge social stigma attached to divorced women.

    “Here in Egyptian society, the woman is looked upon at as if she is the one who made a big mistake getting a divorce from her husband. She’s always at fault,” says Saber, whose station is an extension of her popular blog, which has made her something of an icon in Egyptian media. “I want Arab society to respect women who are divorced.”

    Awesome Land: Women of Dirt

    From the Seattle Times:
    In the final moments of "Awesome Land: Women of Dirt," two of the professional female cyclists championed by this unabashedly enthusiastic sports documentary go tearing down a winding, bumpy trail in a forest for the sheer pleasure of it. Afterward, in the waning afternoon light, they head to a beach where they disappear beneath a gathering wave because, well, it feels good.

    Mountain-biking documentaries are hardly rare, yet rarely do they convey the kind of heightened experience of being alive that the women athletes in "Awesome Land" so clearly feel. Many of the cyclists shown engaging in their extreme sport are past and present champions of women's downhill racing and related competitions in dirt jumping and free riding. But, on film at least, they spend little time talking about their personal victories, preferring to celebrate their inclusion in an activity gradually gaining respect in a male-dominated field.

    Austin Women's Club

    From the Statesman:
    The Austin Women’s Club building downtown was named to preservation Texas’ annual list of most endangered historic places in the state, officials with the nonprofit group said today.

    The building, which was built in 1874 at 710 San Antonio St., suffers from deterioration and antiquated infrastructure,” according to a statement from the group.

    “The members of the Austin Woman’s Club, like members of many other civic organizations, struggle to preserve their historic headquarters while continuing their history of serving the community,” Preservation Texas President Susan Lassell said in a statement. “This … structure with its strong
    ties to Austin’s political and cultural growth merits community support.”