feminism https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/3128/all cached version 19/02/2019 08:29:52 en Feminisms contested https://www.opendemocracy.net/blog/openusa/feminisms_contested <p> In a searching piece in the left-of-centre weekly <em>The Nation</em>, <a href="http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080519/betsyreed">Betsy Reed</a> parses through the debate amongst feminists prompted by the ongoing contest between Clinton and Obama. Many &quot;progressive feminists&quot; reject out of hand the assumption - as posited by a number of their older brethren - that women should vote in terms of gender interests before racial ones. Clear fault-lines in American feminism are emerging as a result of the campaign. </p> <blockquote> <p> In some sense, this is a clarifying moment as well as a wrenching one. For so many years, feminists have been engaged in a pushback against the right that has obscured some of the real and important differences among them. &quot;Today you see things you might not have seen. It&#39;s clearer now about where the lines are between corporate feminism and more grassroots, global feminism,&quot; says [law professor Kimberlé] Crenshaw. Women who identify with the latter movement are saying, as she puts it, &quot;&#39;Wait a minute, that&#39;s not the banner we are marching under!&#39;&quot; </p> <p> Feminist Obama supporters of all ages and hues, meanwhile, are hoping that he comes out of this bruising primary with his style of politics intact. While he calls it &quot;a new kind of politics,&quot; Clinton and Obama are actually very similar in their records and agendas (which is perhaps why this contest has fixated so obsessively on their gender and race). But in his rhetoric and his stance toward the world outside our borders, Obama does appear to offer a way out of the testosterone-addled GOP framework. As he said after losing Pennsylvania, &quot;We can be a party that thinks the only way to look tough on national security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush and John McCain. We can use fear as a tactic and the threat of terrorism to scare up votes. Or we can decide that real strength is asking the tough questions before we send our troops to fight.&quot; </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> </blockquote> <!--break--> openUSA openUSA openUSA politics women feminism Obama race Clinton gender Tue, 06 May 2008 16:11:36 +0000 openUSA 37939 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Abortion as a human right: the case of Karen Noelia Llontoy vs. Peru https://www.opendemocracy.net/blog/jessica_reed/abortion_as_a_human_right_the_case_of_karen_noelia_llontoy_vs_peru <p> <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2017/1747155089_7e4c36bbf6_o.jpg" alt="" width="360" height="38" /><br /></p> <p> <strong>Abortion as a human right</strong> </p> <p> A lot of the speakers at the <a href="http://www.globalsafeabortion.org/">Global Safe Abortion Conference</a> addressed the right to safe abortion as a human right. </p> <p> <a href="http://www.reproductiverights.org/ab_bios.html">Luisa Cabal</a>, director of the <a href="http://www.reproductiverights.org">Center for Reproductive Rights</a>' International Legal Program, underlined the fact that human rights are a universal language, a common ground to build on, and a tool for governments to save women's lives. [<a href="/blog/jessica_reed/abortion_as_a_human_right_the_case_of_karen_noelia_llontoy_vs_peru">more...</a>] </p> <p> The declaration issued at the World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995 <a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/platform/declar.htm">states</a> that reproductive rights are human rights. CEDAW (<a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/">Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women</a>) has declared that to deny access to health services that only women need is discriminatory, and therefore recommended that governments make abortion accessible (meaning they should not hinder access to providers). </p> <p> <strong>The case of Karen Llontoy vs. Peru</strong> </p> <p> Unfortunately, many countries still do not facilitate access to abortion providers, and women seeking to terminate a pregnancy face many barriers. </p> <p> In Peru, therapeutic abortion is only allowed in order to save the life of the woman and to preserve the health of the woman. The therapeutic abortion is admitted when the state feels as though it will be shamed for denying the importance of the life of the mother or there is risk of a serious and permanent detriment to health; in practice it is as if all abortions are illegitimate and therefore few are performed. </p> <p> <a href="http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/undocs/1153-2003.html">This happened to Karen Noelia Llotoy</a>, a 17 year-old Peruvian woman who was denied access to a therapeutic abortion and was forced by state officials to carry a fatally impaired foetus to term. She eventually gave birth to the baby, who died two days after birth. The case was brought to<font><font class="text11_black"> the <a href="http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu2/6/a/introhrc.htm">United Nations Human Rights Committee</a> with the help of <a href="http://www.demus.org.pe/">DEMUS</a> (a women's rights NGO based in Peru) whom we briefly talked to yesterday (our conference podcast will be posted on openDemocracy soon). </font></font> </p> <p> DEMUS has requested that "<em>the Peruvian State recognizes the violation of rights committed, and therefore accepts that the right to the health of women, that justifies therapeutic abortion, includes as much the physical health as the mental health</em>". </p> <p> Indeed, the state has not yet complied with the opinion of the Committee of Human Rights, but the case has nevertheless been instrumental and of crucial importance for NGOs campaigning for women's rights. A change of attitude of the Peruvian population regarding abortion has taken place. According to DEMUS in 2005 41.6% of Lima's population was in favour of abortion to avoid the birth of children with malformations. In 2007 that figure has risen to 57.4%. </p> <p> We exchanged a few words with Karen - the shy and strikingly young-looking woman was at the conference as both an activist and representative of Peruvian women seeking to exercise their right, and was happy to grant us a podcast interview to make people aware of her experience. Even though the ordeal was understandably extremely traumatic for her, she was happy to share her story and hoped to see things progressively change in her country. </p> 50.50 50.50 Jessica Reed oD Today 5050 feminism Global safe abortion conference Marie Stopes abortion Thu, 25 Oct 2007 16:59:29 +0000 Jessica Reed 34925 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Gender based violence linked with reproductive rights and HIV/AIDS https://www.opendemocracy.net/blog/jessica_reed/gender_based_violence_and_its_relation_with_reproductive_rights_and_hiv_aids <p> <img src="http://www.afppd.org/Newsletters/Issue_Mar_Apr07/images/p7c.jpg" alt="" width="219" height="116" /></p> <p> A lot of the breakout sessions organised by the <a href="http://www.womendeliver.org">Women Deliver </a>conference focused on AIDS/HIV treatment and prevention for women and girls, and how it should be treated as an integral part of the fight for reproductive rights for all women, everywhere. </p> <p> One of the most important and recurrent issues underlined by speakers is that the spread of HIV/AIDS is directly linked to gender based violence, especially in unstable regions where rape is used as a weapon of war, or where women have to sell their bodies as a means to survive and provide for their families. [<a href="/blog/jessica_reed/gender_based_violence_and_its_relation_with_reproductive_rights_and_hiv_aids">more...</a>]<br /></p> <p> It is only since 2004 that reproductive rights started to be articulated within the HIV lexicon (which was a breakthrough in terms of donors and fundraising for both fields). The benefits of linking Reproductive Rights and HIV/AIDS in the global political discourse are many: coverage of hard to reach parts of the population increases along with greater support, less stigma is attached to the patients' lives, access and uptake is improved. </p> <p> During a session titled <em>Meeting the Needs of Young Women and Girls: HIV prevention and its Links to Wider Action</em> Naana Otoo-Oyortey (a technical support officer for <a href="http://www.ippf.org/">International Planned Parenthood</a>) talked at length about child marriage and HIV. </p> <p> The UN's 1989 <a href="http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm">Convention on the Rights of the Child</a> defines child marriage as a union between anyone under the age of 18. Up to 51 million women between 15 and 19 years old are married worldwide - and sadly, statistics are undeniable: more young girls have HIV than boys, due to a high rate of in-marriage infections. The majority of sexually active married women between 15 and 19 years old tend to have higher HIV status than their sexually active unmarried peers. In rural India, 40 percent of girls below 18 are married, as opposed to 8 percent of boys. </p> <p> More often than not, poverty and economic survival are crucial reasons to explain child marriages; parents sell their daughters to pay off debts or provide to their other children. These practices are even more prevalent where family and community norms prevail. As <a href="http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2007/10/15/married-into-traffic">blogger Deepali Gaur Simgh states</a>: </p> <p> <em>(...) for the millions of child brides in the continent, marriage is the vehicle that transports you into yet another zone of exploitation beyond redemption - due precisely to the protection marriage enjoys as a societal sanction. </em> </p> <p> This makes girls all the more vulnerable to gender based violence, and twice as physically vulnerable to HIV, especially in the cases where the girl is then sold to the sex trade industry. These issues need to be addressed by tackling the lack of economic opportunities, systematically outlawing gender based violences and implementing programs integrating young brides to educate them about their rights. </p> <p> With these steps fundamental attitudes towards child marriage can be changed to slowly work towards the realisation of the <a href="http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/">Millenium Development Goals</a>. </p> <p> <strong>Related links</strong>: International Women Health Coalition's <a href="http://www.iwhc.org/resources/childmarriagefacts.cfm">fact sheet</a> about child marriage, the <a href="http://www.unfpa.org/intercenter/violence/gender2d.htm">UNFPA's page</a> about child marriage. </p> 50.50 50.50 Jessica Reed oD Today 5050 feminism women deliver child bride HIV/AIDS Mon, 22 Oct 2007 15:29:04 +0000 Jessica Reed 34894 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Sexual violence as a weapon of war https://www.opendemocracy.net/blog/jessica_reed/sexual_violence_as_a_weapon_of_war <p><img src="http://www.textually.org/textually/archives/archives/images/set2/Darfur_Destroyed.jpg" alt="" width="280" height="207" /></p><p>Last Tuesday the UN Security Council<a href="http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL01769848.html" target="_blank"> approved the use of a hybrid armed force</a> in Darfur, hoping it will help to bring a sense of stability in the region. The resolution also grants the use of force ("necessary measures") to the UN soldiers who will be in charge of securing the region by protecting and assuring the circulation of humanitarian workers, stoping the attacks and threats towards civilians, and encouraging the peace process in Sudan. (<a href="/blog/jessica_reed/sexual_violence_as_a_weapon_of_war">more...</a>)<br /></p><p>This force will not intervene before the beginning of next year, but this is still a positive step in the right direction. French Minister of Foreign Affairs <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Kouchner" target="_blank">Bernard Kouchner</a> said the resolution brought "great hope" - I personally hope this force will make a significant change in the daily life of thousands of women living in <a href="http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engafr540762004" target="_blank">the fear of rape</a> in Darfur, where sexual violence is used as a weapon of war by both the Janjawid and the government's army.</p><p>Rape, sexual violence and sexual enslavement have <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/4078677.stm">been used</a> in conflicts zones for decades - such practices contain and humiliate 'enemies', effectively becoming a tool of political repression. A UN human rights expert reported on Monday that such atrocities were also <a href="http://news.bostonherald.com/international/africa/view.bg?articleid=1014209" target="_blank">widely spread in Congo</a>:</p><blockquote><p>"Sexual atrocities in Congo&rsquo;s volatile province of South Kivu extend "far beyond rape" and include sexual slavery, forced incest and cannibalism, a U.N. human rights expert said Monday. <br /><table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"><tr><td height="8">&nbsp;</td></tr></table></p></blockquote><blockquote>Yakin Erturk called the situation in South Kivu the worst she has ever seen in four years as the global body&rsquo;s special investigator for violence against women. Sexual violence throughout Congo is "rampant," she said, blaming rebel groups, the armed forces and national police."</blockquote><blockquote> </blockquote><blockquote> </blockquote><blockquote> </blockquote><strong>Related:</strong> Amnesty International's campaign "<a href="http://support.amnesty.org.uk/amnesty/default.asp" target="_blank">stop the rape in Darfur</a>". <blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p></blockquote><p>I </p> 50.50 50.50 Jessica Reed oD Today 5050 feminism sexual violence darfur Wed, 01 Aug 2007 14:27:41 +0000 Jessica Reed 34245 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Pathways of Women's Empowerment https://www.opendemocracy.net/blog/jessica_reed/pathways_of_womens_empowerment <p><strong>by Jessica Reed</strong></p><p><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1423/913792961_63c09288cb.jpg" alt="" width="359" height="46" /></p><p>To kickstart our collaboration with the Pathways of Women's Empowerment consortium (as part of our <a href="/democracy-fifty/debate.jsp">50.50</a> initiative), we are launching our <a href="/blog/pathways_to_womens_empowerment" target="_blank">brand new themed blog</a>, an <a href="/article/pathways_of_womens_empowerment" target="_blank">article</a> and a <a href="/pathways/podcast/1" target="_blank">podcast</a>. Enjoy!</p> Jessica Reed oD Today Pathways of women's empowerment feminism Fri, 27 Jul 2007 16:15:30 +0000 Jessica Reed 34191 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Women's resistance vs. feminism https://www.opendemocracy.net/blog/jessica_reed/womens_resistance_vs_feminism <p> <img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1049/916041211_d0a383a579_m.jpg" alt="" width="169" height="240" /></p> <p> Is it fair to label any form of women's resistance groups as atoms of the global feminist movement? </p> <p> Josephine Ahikire was intrigued by the wording surrounding women's resistance and feminism, and how it systematically separates the two. In her view, what a woman resists is mediated by her situation, which is itself affected by gender, class, employment or poverty issuses - so by definition, it is about feminism. </p> <p> Ahikire cited as a case study the <a href="http://www.historians.org/Tl/LessonPlans/nc/Trask/abarebels.htm" target="_blank">Aba women's riots of 1929</a>, part of Nigeria's struggle against colonialism: was this an act of feminism? Josephine argued that the gendered nature in which those women experienced colonialism and how they organised resistance made it a feminist act. <br /></p> <p> When the example of the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mothers_of_the_Plaza_de_Mayo" target="_blank">Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo</a> was suggested, murmurs of disagreement could be heard: some say this mobilisation was gendered, but not feminist. According to Cecilia Sardenberg, the protestors are not questioning the system <em>as women</em>. Many disagreed: they were all mothers, incarnating a female role linked to feminist struggles. </p> <p> Srilatha Batliwala offered a tentative answer to a question she posed: she questioned the exercise of agency by women in public projects. A lot still has to be done in trying to understand how women use available spaces which in turn enable them to become public actors. A search for agency is not only one taking place in the private realm, as it is sometimes implied: one of the most pressing forms of exclusion of women is the practices which push them away from public projects, and one form of resistance is to try to access these - whether or not it is a feminist one is the next layer of disctinction<strong>. </strong> </p> <p> <em>Pictured: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Ekpo" target="_blank">Margaret Ekpo</a>; Nigerian women's right advocate </em> </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> <p> &nbsp; </p> 50.50 50.50 Jessica Reed Pathways Of Women's Empowerment 5050 Pathways of women's empowerment feminism Fri, 27 Jul 2007 14:20:58 +0000 Jessica Reed 34186 at https://www.opendemocracy.net