50.50 https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/5971/all cached version 20/09/2018 23:01:13 en We simply said ‘enough’: the story of Spain’s ‘Las Kellys’ hotel cleaners https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/las-kellys-hotel-cleaners-spain-fight-back <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From gruelling working conditions to more limited access to healthcare, austerity policies have hit women hardest. But they are fighting back.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRS1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Las Kellys in a demonstration in Canarias (Spain), 2017. Photo: Myriam Barros."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRS1.png" alt="Las Kellys in a demonstration in Canarias (Spain), 2017. Photo: Myriam Barros." title="Las Kellys in a demonstration in Canarias (Spain), 2017. Photo: Myriam Barros." width="460" height="263" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Las Kellys in a demonstration in Canarias (Spain), 2017. Photo: Myriam Barros. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>From eight to nine o’clock in the morning, she cleans the hotel’s common areas. Then, she’s assigned around 20 hotel rooms to clean in six and a half hours. If a client has finished their stay, she has to fully dress the room, which takes an hour. &nbsp;Often, she skips her lunch to be able to finish on time.</p><p dir="ltr">“A cleaner doesn’t know what it is to be paid for extra hours”, says Ana Nacher, who has worked as a cleaner for 17 years in Lanzarote (Canary Islands). Workers must finish cleaning their assigned rooms, however long it takes.</p><p dir="ltr">Working conditions worsened since the 2012&nbsp;<a href="https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2012/02/11/pdfs/BOE-A-2012-2076.pdf">labour market reform</a>, Nacher added. This reform reduced penalties on employers for unfairly dismissing workers, enabling companies to fire and reinstate them through temporary employment agencies (TEAs) on short-term contracts.</p><p dir="ltr">The reform also loosened requirements on companies to abide by rights and wages collectively agreed across the country, granting individual companies the ability to decide on pay and conditions unilaterally.</p><p dir="ltr">Nacher has been directly affected by these changes. Now, TEA contracts in Spain’s hotel industry may have a base salary of just €800 (£710) a month, she said, whereas previously hotels paid her according to the sector’s national collective bargaining agreement; about €1,300 (£1,150) a month.</p><p dir="ltr">Amid greater insecurity and higher workloads, 96% of maids in Spain suffer from anxiety according to a <a href="https://www.ccoo-servicios.es/archivos/hosteleria/Estudio-Camareras-Espana-AUITA-CCOO.pdf">2015 study</a> by the CCOO labour union.</p><p dir="ltr">But anxiety is not officially recognised as a work-related illness under Spanish law, meaning that workers suffering from this can't access benefits while on sick leave. Nacher said this means many won’t take time off when they need it.</p><p dir="ltr">“We keep on going with antidepressants and muscle relaxants. We can’t get sick,” she told me, sure that taking time off for being ill can also result in being fired or not hired again, because workers on temporary contracts are more easily replaceable. “Where you are, there can be another one,” she said.</p><p dir="ltr">Fed up with their situation, some hotel cleaners started to share their complaints with each other in a Facebook group in 2016, marking the beginning of <a href="https://laskellys.wordpress.com/">Las Kellys</a> – a national association of women hotel cleaners who are fighting to reclaim their rights. Today, this group is increasingly on the national stage.</p><p dir="ltr">In April, Las Kellys <a href="http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20180405/rajoy-se-reune-kellys-moncloa/1709382.shtml">met with Mariano Rajoy</a>, the previous president of Spain; this month they expect to meet with Pedro Sánchez, the current president.</p><p dir="ltr">They've succeeded in obtaining official recognition of work-related hand and arm conditions, though they continue to fight for this recognition to be extended to also cover anxiety, back and spine injuries, and other health impacts of their jobs.</p><p dir="ltr">Now, Spain’s parliament is expected to <a href="https://www.eldiario.es/tenerifeahora/economia/Estatuto-Trabajadores-proteccion-Kellys-septiembre_0_805269749.html">change the workers’ statute </a>to require that TEAs apply collective bargaining agreements to wages and conditions. This change will be thanks to Las Kellys, but it will affect all workers.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRS2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Myriam Barros, Ana Nacher and others from Las Kellys when they met President Rajoy, 2018. "><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRS2.png" alt="Myriam Barros, Ana Nacher and others from Las Kellys when they met President Rajoy, 2018. " title="Myriam Barros, Ana Nacher and others from Las Kellys when they met President Rajoy, 2018. " width="460" height="316" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Myriam Barros, Ana Nacher and others from Las Kellys when they met President Rajoy, 2018. Photo: Ana Nacher. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The so-called ‘Kelly law’ compiles the group’s demands, including regulating their workloads; banning the outsourcing of their jobs via TEAs; an earlier retirement age due to physical exhaustion; and official recognition of all their work-related illnesses.</p><p dir="ltr">Myriam Barros, president of Las Kellys, was part of the first Facebook group. When they decided to highlight working conditions inside hotels, she said “it didn’t sit well” with managers, major labour unions and some right-wing parties.</p><p dir="ltr">“We were only seeking dignity as professionals,” she added. “These [TEA] companies exist to steal from us, not only money, but also fundamental rights. We were simply women that said ‘Enough!’.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">These companies steal from us, not only money, but also fundamental rights. We were simply women that said ‘Enough!’</p><p dir="ltr">Over the past two years, Las Kellys have met with political parties and labour inspectors and have <a href="http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/europa/kellys-piden-ayuda-parlamento-europeo/4345369/">reported their working conditions to the EU Petitions Commission</a>, where EU groups can report rights violations by member states.</p><p dir="ltr">At Christmas in 2016, they sent coal to the hotels they considered to have the worst working conditions, following the tradition of giving coal to poorly behaved children.</p><p dir="ltr">What’s happened to the labour conditions of hotel cleaners like Nacher is an example of wider precariousness for workers in Spain since the 2008 global financial crisis, said <a href="http://singenerodedudas.com/quien/" target="_blank">Carmen Castro</a>, economist and co-founder of the Gender, Economy, Politics &amp; Development Observatory (<a href="http://genderobservatory.com/">GEP&amp;DO</a>).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">According to her analysis, Spain’s 2012 labour market reform has devalued salaries and encouraged companies to break up work into more short-term and part-time contracts. Women have been hit hardest by these changes; as in 2008, in 2018 they comprise the majority <a href="https://www.ine.es/jaxi/Datos.htm?path=/t22/p133/cno11/serie/l0/&amp;file=01004.px">of those with low salaries</a> and <a href="http://www.ine.es/jaxiT3/Datos.htm?t=4181">part-time contracts</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Spain’s 2011 <a href="https://www.boe.es/boe/dias/2011/08/02/pdfs/BOE-A-2011-13242.pdf">pensions reform</a> also increased the minimum number of hours that individuals must work in order to receive a public contributory pension, which is more difficult for women to reach, given that they are more likely to have part-time contracts – and when they do, they receive a lower pension.</p><p dir="ltr">According to Spain’s largest unions, <a href="http://www.ccoo.es/noticia:271271--Informe_La_brecha_de_genero_en_el_sistema_de_proteccion_social_desempleo_y_pensiones_">CCOO</a> and <a href="http://www.ugt.es/las-discriminaciones-laborales-de-la-mujer-penalizan-aun-mas-en-la-vejez">UGT</a>, the gap between the amount of money that men and women pensioners receive is now 37%. Ten years ago, that figure was very similar, at 40%. It hasn’t grown, but it hasn’t improved much either.</p><p dir="ltr">Austerity-driven budget cuts have also hit the 2006 <a href="https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2006-21990">law of personal autonomy</a>. This was a “pioneering law,” said Castro, “because it considered caring as a right that must be provided by the state.” It called for the development of a public service of carers, and said that those caring for relatives should also receive public pensions.</p><p dir="ltr">Official data shows that <a href="http://www.dependencia.imserso.gob.es/InterPresent2/groups/imserso/documents/binario/im_062035.pdf">89%</a> of unpaid carers in Spain are women. Without the required budget for the public services proposed in the 2006 law, caring remains their responsibility – and they won’t receive public pensions for it.</p><p dir="ltr">Laura Martínez, an Argentinian woman who has lived in Spain for 15 years, has also been affected by public service cuts. Before 2012, immigrants like Martínez could access the public health system if they were officially resident in Spain.</p><p dir="ltr">A <a href="https://www.boe.es/buscar/act.php?id=BOE-A-2012-5403">2012 royal decree</a> denied primary care services to any adult who wasn’t registered as a worker in the National Social Assurance Institute (INSS). Those not registered can only be treated for free for emergency care.</p><p dir="ltr">Up to 68% of those excluded from public health services, as a result, are immigrants not legally resident in Spain (with almost two-thirds of them women), according to a <a href="https://www.medicosdelmundo.org/actualidad-y-publicaciones/publicaciones/informe-reder-radiografia-de-la-reforma-sanitaria-la">2015 report</a> from the REDER civil society coalition.</p><p dir="ltr">Martínez’s mother moved to Spain after the 2012 law was passed. She suffers a heart illness that requires regular examination, but says she has been denied the health service card needed to access primary care.</p><p dir="ltr">Martínez met others in the same situation as her mother through the campaign group <a href="http://yosisanidaduniversal.net/portada.php">Yo Sí, Sanidad Universal (YSSU)</a> – ‘Yes, Universal Healthcare’. When the 2012 reform was passed, YSSU campaigned to inform health centre staff of other ways in which they could legally provide healthcare to all patients.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2015, the region of <a href="https://elpais.com/ccaa/2017/01/18/madrid/1484768710_153582.html">Madrid</a> passed its own reform to provide healthcare to all those living there, with or without legal papers. This is a temporary and local solution, however; a person can still be denied care if they move from the region, for instance.</p><p>In July 2018, the government passed a <a href="https://www.boe.es/diario_boe/txt.php?id=BOE-A-2018-10752">new royal decree</a> that promises to restore universal healthcare. But Marta Pérez, from YSSU, says it doesn’t specify how to do this, so regions aren’t required to change their current systems.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRS3.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="The platform Yo Sí Sanidad Universal marches in Madrid."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/RRS3.png" alt="The platform Yo Sí Sanidad Universal marches in Madrid." title="The platform Yo Sí Sanidad Universal marches in Madrid." width="460" height="299" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The platform Yo Sí Sanidad Universal marches in Madrid. Photo: Marta Pérez. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The past decade of cuts and reforms in Spain reflects “a neoliberal turn of public policies” according to Castro, the feminist economist.</p><p dir="ltr">She says the government has used the excuse of saving money to send a message: equality is dispensable. It even <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2010/10/20/actualidad/1287562624_850215.html">eliminated the equality ministry</a> in 2010 that managed just 0.03% of the state budget. “Was that actually for economic reasons?” she asks. </p><p class="mag-quote-center">The past ten years of cuts and reforms in Spain reveals “a neoliberal turn of public policies.”</p><p>Against austerity policies which prioritise reducing public debt, Castro proposes feminist economic measures to guarantee “public services that look after people and ecosystems.” For instance, she says that equal, non-transferable and fully-paid parental leave “increases men’s participation in caring tasks.”</p><p dir="ltr">Society is on the verge of a profound change, says Castro, and so we must ask ourselves what our goals are. “Do we have the courage to move to a socioeconomic system that supports the sustainability of life,” she asks, “or are we, instead, going to reinforce even more neoliberal belligerence?” </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/brittney-ferreira/10-years-of-womens-resistance-to-austerity-across-europe-in-pictures">10 years of women&#039;s resistance to austerity across Europe – in pictures</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Spain </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Economics </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Can Europe make it? Spain Economics Equality International politics Women's rights and economic justice women's movements gender women's work young feminists Rocío Ros Rebollo Tue, 18 Sep 2018 07:27:45 +0000 Rocío Ros Rebollo 119686 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Double discrimination: why Uzbek women in Kyrgyzstan are a minority within a minority https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/zhyldyz-frank/double-discrimination-in-kyrgyzstan <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>In the aftermath of Kyrgyzstan's 2010 revolution, the country's Uzbek minority population has seen their position worsen — and Uzbek women have been marginalised most of all.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/555493/1 (1).jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Aravan village, Osh region, 2010. (c) Elyor Nematov. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Echoes of the 2010 conflict between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks continue to be heard in the Osh region in southern Kyrgyzstan. The four days of clashes between the two communities <a href="http://www.osce-academy.net/upload/file/Policy_Brief_15.pdf">left hundreds dead and thousands injured</a>, and came on the heels of the violent change of government in the country in April 2010. Today, it is clear these events have strengthened nationalism and re-traditionalisation among the Kyrgyz people. In turn, this process has worsened the conditions of ethnic minority groups in Kyrgyzstan, especially for the country’s sizable Uzbek population.</p><p dir="ltr">This trend also affected gender issues among the Uzbek community. Kyrgyzstan <a href="http://hdr.undp.org/en/indicators/68606">ranks 120 out of 188 countries</a> in the world in UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index (GII), just after South Africa and before Iraq. Albeit slowly, the struggle for gender equality has progressed in the country thanks to the efforts of a number of open-minded feminists among Kyrgyz women. Uzbek women, however, lag behind.</p><p dir="ltr">The disparity in experiences between Kyrgyz and Uzbek women can be observed just strolling through the streets of the southern city of Osh, where both ethnic groups live side by side but rarely integrate – a state of affairs that has only been exacerbated by the 2010 conflict. Compared to young Uzbek women, young Kyrgyz women even appear more emancipated. In the morning, they can be seen going to work or university wearing the latest fashion. By contrast, young Uzbek women often appear in public dressed as kelin (young wives) and accompanied by their husband or mother-in-law, with a look of resignation to their second-class condition.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“In 2010, Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan felt that they were not treated as true citizens of Kyrgyzstan. They felt that they were foreigners in their own homeland, so they became more religious, more traditional”</p><p dir="ltr">“Why should one pursue higher education or a career, if after graduating we Uzbek women have few prospects for employment?,” Nafisa, a 16-year-old Uzbek girl from Osh, told me. “Instead, I will try to master some kind of craft to make a living and, hopefully, marry a good person who will support me financially.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right caption-medium'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562891/IMG_5428.JPG__0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562891/IMG_5428.JPG__0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="613" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-medium imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>“Announcement: I am 25 years old and there is a 50% discount on me.” Photo courtesy of the author. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>A study conducted by the <a href="http://kg.one.un.org/content/dam/unct/kyrgyzstan/docs/Library/Youth%20Research_Final%20Report_ENG_26June2017.pdf">UN Women Country Office in the Kyrgyz Republic</a> on professional and marriage choices by Kyrgyzstan’s youth captures this disparity well. Compared to young Kyrgyz women, who pursue higher education and are career-oriented, many young Uzbek women tend not to negotiate their educational, professional and marriage choices with their parents, husbands, and in-laws. </p><p dir="ltr">This culture of obedience and subordination curtails their potential for educational and professional development, because of the preponderant influence of conservative and patriarchal principles among Uzbeks, according to which a woman needs to sit at home and early (and even forced) marriages are the norm.</p><p dir="ltr">On a hot Friday last July, the imam of the Al-Ansari mosque in one of Osh’s Uzbek neighbourhoods delivered a sermon that exemplifies this misogynistic discourse.</p><p dir="ltr">“You men are responsible for your wives, daughters, sisters, sister-in-laws, and mothers! You men should not be dayus (who let their wives go out, who “share” their women with others),” the imam said. “Do not let your wives wonder out and about! Do not let your wives go to cafes and restaurants, where they encounter other men, because they will look at your woman. Keep the women at home. If they need to go out, put their hijab on and accompany them,” he continued.</p><p dir="ltr">According to some people in attendance, this mindset is the result of the prevailing patriarchal culture and Saudi-inspired conservative interpretation of Islam which has gained currency among Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan. An increased focus on religion and traditions among Kyrgyzstan’s Uzbeks has significantly contributed to this misogynistic attitude. However, it is problematic to isolate Uzbek culture as the reason for gendered mistreatment, as it is very similar to Kyrgyz culture. Moreover, many Kyrgyz are also becoming more religious but, in spite of this, gender activism is growing among Kyrgyz women and even <a href="https://knews.kg/2017/03/30/muzhchiny-feministy-v-kyrgyzstane-malchikov-vospityvayut-seksistami/">male feminists</a>. </p><h2 dir="ltr">Strangers in their own land</h2><p dir="ltr">A crucial factor that contributes to limiting the space for gender consciousness and activism among Uzbek women is the growing marginalisation of the Uzbek population as a whole in Kyrgyzstan. <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/georgina-rannard/in-osh-flames-have-died-down-but-not-discontent">Kyrgyzstan’s state-led discrimination</a> against Uzbeks, including the <a href="http://enews.fergananews.com/articles/3023">official policy to marginalise the Uzbek language</a> in favour of Kyrgyz, has worsened since the 2010 conflict, fostering gender inequality among Uzbeks in the country and severely damaging the Uzbek population’s trust in the state. Uzbeks now prefer to live in their own neighbourhoods, with little interaction with the majority Kyrgyz.</p><p dir="ltr">“In 2010, Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan felt that they were not treated as true citizens of Kyrgyzstan. They felt that they were foreigners in their own homeland, so they became more religious, more traditional. So, after the 2010 events, Uzbeks started relying on their traditions and Islam, which for them are the main sources of their identity,” Hurshida Rasohodjaeva, a rare Uzbek feminist from Osh, told me. “This trend in turn strengthened the existing patriarchal culture and reinforced traditional gender norms and values.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Gender could be a rallying point for women in Kyrgyzstan to act together for the common good, but ethnic identity has hindered the potential for solidarity, at least so far</p><p dir="ltr">Rasohodjaeva, 25, works for <a href="http://noviritm.org">Novi Ritm</a> (“New Rhythm”), an NGO where Nafisa also volunteers to promote a peaceful, democratic and equal Kyrgyzstan. Both girls are Russian speakers and do not consider themselves fluent in Uzbek. Yet the majority of Uzbeks are not fluent Russian or Kyrgyz speakers, which means they are excluded from alternative sources of information to religious and traditional literature, as this is not readily available in the Uzbek language.</p><p dir="ltr">Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan have suffered from limited access to information due to language restrictions fostered by Kyrgyz state policies. The number of high schools with Uzbek as the main language of instruction has drastically fallen since the 2010 conflict, and in 2014 the government <a href="https://24.kg/archive/en/bigtiraj/170455-news24.html/">abolished</a> university entry exams in Uzbek. This has discouraged students at Uzbek high schools from continuing their education, as they question the logic of studying in Uzbek for 11 years before taking a general university entry tests in Kyrgyz or Russian.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_right caption-medium'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/562891/IMG_5429.JPG_.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/562891/IMG_5429.JPG_.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="613" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-medium imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>“Now the neighbors will not condemn.” Photo courtesy of the author. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>“All these developments happened too quick. Had there been a representative of the Uzbek population in Parliament, they could have publicly voiced that education is important to integrate the Kyrgyz and Uzbeks of Kyrgyzstan,” Novi Ritm project manager Guliza Abdyzhaparova told me. </p><p dir="ltr">“Sustainable development hinges on the fair representation of the needs and concerns of different people. Uzbeks, especially Uzbek women, are left out of development programmes. The combination of patriarchal culture, lack of information in the Uzbek language, and discrimination have led Uzbeks to turn inwards. Consequently, uniting Kyrgyz and Uzbek women through gender activism is becoming less feasible,” Abdyzhaparova concludes.</p><p dir="ltr">Civil society in Kyrgyzstan has not been immune from these trends. Relevant information on the importance of education, gender equality, female healthcare, early marriage and domestic violence are rarely available in Uzbek. In addition, the Uzbek population of Kyrgyzstan is often excluded from development projects, and is rarely encouraged to participate in awareness raising activities organised by international organisations and NGOs.</p><p dir="ltr">Kyrgyz women are slowly <a href="https://kloop.kg/blog/2016/03/07/feministki-bishkeka-nam-ne-nuzhny-tsvety-nam-nuzhny-prava/">organising to fight the injustices</a> society imposed on them, such as <a href="http://www.warscapes.com/reportage/my-sister-didnt-give-her-consent">bride kidnapping and forced marriages</a>. But this trend has not caught up among Uzbeks, where women-led activism lags behind. Kyrgyz and Uzbek women have proved unable to unite for female empowerment. Gender could be a rallying point for women in Kyrgyzstan to act together for the common good, but ethnic identity has hindered the potential for solidarity, at least so far.</p><p dir="ltr">As a minority, Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan are left outside development programmes initiated both by the government and civil society. This lack of support and inclusion encourages isolation and reinforces traditional ways of life. Both Uzbek men and women have seen their position worsen in Kyrgyzstan, but the latter face double discrimination: as ethnic Uzbeks in Kyrgyzstan and as women within their own ethnic group. </p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/od-russia/elnura-alkanova/kyrgyzstans-indispensable-women-are-undervalued%20">Kyrgyzstan’s indispensable women are undervalued </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/od-russia/ulugbek-babakulov/farewell-to-kyrgyzstans-island-of-democracy">Farewell to Kyrgyzstan’s “island of democracy”</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/od-russia/botagoz-seydakhmetova/fighting-patriarchy-in-kazakhstan">Fighting patriarchy in Kazakhstan: problems and perspectives</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> oD Russia 50.50 oD Russia Zhyldyz Frank Kyrgyzstan Mon, 17 Sep 2018 06:20:03 +0000 Zhyldyz Frank 119559 at https://www.opendemocracy.net En el Paraguay rural, las mujeres están al frente de una ‘carrera contrarreloj’ para conservar las semillas nativas https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/maria-sanz-dominguez/paraguay-rural-mujeres-semillas-nativas <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">Ante la expansión de la agricultura industrial, los cultivos transgénicos y las patentes de semillas, las mujeres rurales están preservando las variedades nativas y enseñando sobre agroecología. <em><a style="font-weight: bold;" href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/maria-sanz-dominguez/in-rural-paraguay-women-fight-to-preserve-indigenous-seeds">English</a>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/_MG_2145.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/_MG_2145.JPG" alt="" title="" width="460" height="339" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Native seeds preserved in rural Paraguay. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.</span></span></span>En Chacore, a unos 200 kilómetros al este de Asunción, la capital de Paraguay, Ceferina Guerrero (68) camina entre estantes de botellas de plástico y tambores de metal cuidadosamente etiquetados. Cada uno contiene una variedad de semilla nativa esencial para la dieta de las comunidades rurales.</p><p dir="ltr">Sus etiquetas enumeran los nombres de las semillas en guaraní, un idioma indígena y la segunda lengua oficial de Paraguay, junto con el español. Guerrero las presenta cariñosamente, como una madre lo haría con sus hijos: éste es un poroto, éste es maní, éste es maíz.</p><p dir="ltr">Conocida como Ña Cefe en su comunidad, Guerrero dice que su apellido le viene como anillo al dedo. Ella es una de las fundadoras de la Coordinadora &nbsp;Nacional de Mujeres Rurales e Indígenas de Paraguay (<a href="https://www.conamuri.org.py/">Conamuri</a>).</p><p dir="ltr">Conamuri empezó como un pequeño grupo en los noventa. Hoy lo componen mujeres de más de 200 comunidades rurales en Paraguay. Además está conectado a otros aliados alrededor del mundo, al formar parte del movimiento internacional de campesinos <a href="https://viacampesina.org/es/">La Vía Campesina</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Aunque, asegura Guerrero, “no deberíamos olvidar nuestro primer objetivo”: recoger y conservar las semillas nativas en todo el país. Describe este trabajo como una carrera contrarreloj, y contra la expansión de la agricultura industrial a gran escala.</p><p dir="ltr">“Actualmente hemos perdido casi el 60% de las variedades nativas”, afirma. “Incluso tenemos comunidades en las que no se encuentra ninguna”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Actualmente hemos perdido casi el 60 % de las variedades nativas. Incluso tenemos comunidades &nbsp;en las que no se encuentra ninguna”.</p><p dir="ltr">Globalmente, entre el<a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/am307e/am307e00.pdf"> 60 y el 80% de los alimentos de la mayoría de los países en desarrollo, y la mitad de las provisiones de comida del mundo</a> son cultivadas por mujeres, según la Organización de la ONU para la Alimentación y la Agricultura (FAO).</p><p dir="ltr">Por otra parte, el mundo <a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y5609e/y5609e02.htm">ha perdido el 75%</a> de su diversidad en semillas durante el siglo XX. Ahora, únicamente nueve cultivos <a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1136440/icode/">constituyen el 66% </a>de la producción agrícola mundial. Tan solo tres (trigo, arroz y maíz) comprenden casi la mitad de las calorías diarias que consume la población mundial.</p><p dir="ltr">Estas tendencias han alarmado a las ONG, las organizaciones rurales y las instituciones internacionales. Mantener la biodiversidad, <a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1136440/icode/">insiste</a> la FAO, es “fundamental” para la seguridad alimentaria y la habilidad de adaptarse al crecimiento de la población y el cambio climático.</p><p>La pérdida de biodiversidad también tiene “impactos específicos” para las mujeres, quienes “tradicionalmente han sido las guardianas de un profundo conocimiento sobre las plantas, los animales y los procesos ecológicos”, agregó el <a href="http://www.ipes-food.org/images/Reports/UniformityToDiversity_FullReport.pdf">panel IPES de expertos internacionales en sistemas de alimentación sostenibles</a> en 2016.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/_MG_2136.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Guerrero holds corn seeds, in Chacore, Paraguay. "><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/_MG_2136.JPG" alt="Guerrero holds corn seeds, in Chacore, Paraguay. " title="Guerrero holds corn seeds, in Chacore, Paraguay. " width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Guerrero holds corn seeds, in Chacore, Paraguay. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.</span></span></span>En Paraguay, solo el <a href="https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Paraguays-Campesinos-March-to-Demand-Right-to-Land-20170329-0041.html">5%</a> de la población posee el 90% de la tierra. La mayor parte de ella es utilizada por grandes agronegocios para cultivar solo un puñado de cultivos (incluyendo soja, trigo, arroz y maíz) en vastas plantaciones para la exportación internacional.</p><p dir="ltr">El año pasado, el país <a href="http://web.senave.gov.py:8081/docs/informes/ANUARIO%20ESTADISTICO%20SENAVE%202018.pdf">importó</a> casi 24,000 toneladas de semillas. La mayoría eran para estos cultivos de exportación. Menos del 1% eran para frutas o verduras, principalmente patatas. Incluso se importaron semillas de la fruta nacional de Paraguay: mburucuya (maracuyá).</p><p dir="ltr">Mientras tanto, <a href="http://www.senave.gov.py/docs/servicios/bioseguridad-agricola/2017/Listado%20de%20eventos%20de%20modificacion%20genetica%20liberados%20comercialmente%20en%20el%20pais.pdf">28</a> variedades de cultivos genéticamente modificados (principalmente variedades de soja, maíz y algodón) han sido aprobadas por el gobierno desde 2001, <a href="http://www.monsantoglobal.com/global/py/quienes-somos/Pages/historia-de-la-compania.aspx">cuando Monsanto comenzó</a> a producir en Paraguay su variedad de soja resistente al pesticida Roundup.<br class="kix-line-break" /></p><p dir="ltr">En medio de la presión empresarial sobre la agricultura y la producción de alimentos, las mujeres que conservan variedades nativas, como Guerrero en Chacore, son “raras, como agujas en un pajar”, explica Inés Franceschelli, una investigadora de la ONG paraguaya <a href="https://henoi.org.py/">Heñoi</a> (“germinar”).</p><p>“Y si Paraguay es tan dependiente [de empresas extranjeras] para algo tan básico como la comida”, añade Franceschelli, “significa que este es un país subordinado”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Si Paraguay es tan dependiente [de empresas extranjeras] para algo tan básico como la comida, significa que este es un país subordinado”.</p><p dir="ltr">Tras una intensa campaña de megafusiones desde 2016, un pequeño grupo de solo <a href="https://www.eldiario.es/theguardian/alimentario-grandes-empresas-acaparen-semillas_0_564493892.html">tres supercorporaciones</a> (Bayer-Monsanto, DowDuPont y Chemchina-Syngenta) controlan ahora más de la mitad del mercado mundial de semillas.</p><p dir="ltr">Estos gigantes de semillas y agroquímicos también están activos en Paraguay, donde se les permitió <a href="http://www.senave.gov.py/docs/servicios/bioseguridad-agricola/2017/Listado%20de%20eventos%20de%20modificacion%20genetica%20liberados%20comercialmente%20en%20el%20pais.pdf">plantar</a> las variedades transgénicas de maíz, algodón y soja.</p><p dir="ltr">Guerrero me dijo que las semillas nativas crecen sin insecticidas, mientras que algunas semillas transgénicas pueden “producir una linda planta, con lindos frutos, pero si recoges las semillas y las plantas otra vez, no germinan. No podés reutilizar sus semillas y tenés que comprarlas cada vez”.</p><p dir="ltr">Lo que ella describió parece ser el efecto de una controvertida modificación genética que produce semillas estériles una vez que la planta ha dado sus frutos.</p><p dir="ltr">Llamadas a veces ‘semillas Terminator’, algunas ONG y organizaciones rurales advierten de que el uso de estas Tecnologías de Restricción de Uso Genético (GURT, en sus siglas en inglés) puede desplazar a las variedades nativas y amenazar la seguridad alimentaria local.</p><p dir="ltr">Paraguay también es un <a href="https://www.cbd.int/information/parties.shtml">signatario</a> de la Convención de la ONU sobre Diversidad Biológica, que en 2000 recomendó una moratoria de facto sobre las pruebas de campo y las ventas de estas semillas 'terminator'.</p><p dir="ltr">Se cree que las principales compañías de semillas del mundo tienen <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/dec/12/brazil-gm-terminator-seed-technology-farmers">patentes</a> para tales tecnologías, aunque todas niegan estar utilizándolas.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://monsanto.com/company/media/statements/terminator-seeds-myth/">Monsanto</a>, por ejemplo, ha dicho que "nunca ha comercializado una característica biotecnológica que diera como resultado semillas estériles o Terminator” en los cultivos y afirma que no tiene “ningún plan o investigación que viole este compromiso”.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/_MG_2139.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/_MG_2139.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="338" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Ceferina Guerrero, in Chacore, Paraguay. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.</span></span></span>Actualmente, Paraguay también <a href="http://www2.mre.gov.py/index.php/noticias/el-canciller-nacional-recibio-en-audiencia-al-presidente-de-la-union-de-gremios-de-la-produccion?ccm_paging_p=91">está siendo presionado</a> para que adopte el polémico convenio sobre las semillas ‘UPOV 91’ como parte de un acuerdo de libre comercio que está siendo negociado entre la Unión Europea y el bloque comercial sudamericano Mercosur.</p><p dir="ltr">Las asociaciones campesinas temen que esto desate la persecución <a href="https://www.nodal.am/2018/02/12-razones-las-decimos-no-al-acuerdo-libre-comercio-mercosur-union-europea-alianza-biodiversidad/">judicial contra los campesinos por compartir o intercambiar sus semillas nativas </a>, ya que no podrán cumplir con los requisitos para registrar sus semillas bajo este convenio.</p><p dir="ltr">Durante la última década, Conamuri ha desarrollado sus propios proyectos de ley para proteger las semillas nativas y criollas (que no son autóctonas, sino que se han adaptado a las condiciones locales durante siglos). Estos proyectos fueron rechazados en 2012, poco después del proceso de <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18553813">destitución del presidente Fernando Lugo </a>(quien se consideraba <a href="https://www.ultimahora.com/lugo-dice-que-monsanto-y-los-golpistas-son-los-sembradores-la-muerte-n562027.html">proclive a aceptarlas</a>).</p><p dir="ltr">“Entonces entendimos que el poder político era inestable, así que darle al gobierno control sobre nuestras semillas no era una garantía de protección de &nbsp;nuestra soberanía y seguridad alimentaria” explica Perla Álvarez, de Conamuri. “Las semillas tienen que estar en las manos de los y las campesinas”.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción, 4 august_0.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción, 4 august_0.JPG" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.</span></span></span>“Los y las campesinas conservan poder en su estilo de vida tradicional” cuenta Franceschelli, de la ONG paraguaya Heñoi, desde el poder de una nutrición saludable y una gestión sostenible de las tierras, hasta “vivir sin depender de las empresas”.</p><p dir="ltr">“La resistencia contra la estandarización y globalización se encuentra en las comunidades rurales e indígenas alrededor del mundo. Y esta resistencia es más fuerte en las mujeres”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr"> “La resistencia se encuentra en las comunidades rurales e indígenas alrededor del mundo. Y esta resistencia es más fuerte en las mujeres”.</p><p dir="ltr">En todo Paraguay, ante la expansión de la agricultura industrial, los cultivos transgénicos y las patentes de semillas, las campesinas como Guerrero lideran la lucha para salvar las variedades nativas antes de que sea demasiado tarde.</p><p dir="ltr">Están produciendo ‘abono verde’ que ayuda a las tierras de cultivo a recuperarse para la siguiente temporada, y enseñan a otros que la agricultura ecológica tiene en cuenta los ecosistemas naturales y promueve la siembra de diversos cultivos.</p><p dir="ltr">Cuidadosamente etiquetan los contenedores que almacenan las mismas variedades de maíz que sus abuelas cocinaban hace tiempo. También están redescubriendo y preservando semillas nativas que no han sido utilizadas en muchos años.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members 2_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members 2_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="258" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.</span></span></span>En Chacore, Semilla Róga ("la casa de las semillas") es un proyecto de &nbsp;Conamuri que recibe mensualmente a campesinos de todo Paraguay para intercambiar y aprender a preservar variedades de semillas nativas y criollas.</p><p dir="ltr">Aquí, Guerrero enseña técnicas sobre cómo cultivar alimentos sin pesticidas ni insecticidas. También tiene su propio almacén de semillas en casa, donde conserva más de 60 variedades de semillas que comparte con sus vecinos.</p><p dir="ltr">“Desde el comienzo de la agricultura”, explica, “las semillas nativas estuvieron asociadas a las mujeres, que fueron las primeras en recolectarlas, guardarlas y plantarlas”.</p><p dir="ltr">El proyecto Semilla Róga también tiene como objetivo preservar el conocimiento y las tradiciones de las comunidades que usan semillas nativas. “Cada variedad de maíz es adecuada para un tipo diferente de comida, y pertenece a un grupo de población diferente,” añade Perla Álvarez.</p><p dir="ltr">“Por ejemplo, indígenas como los avá y mbya guaraní utilizan maíz de colores para sus rituales, así que la planta también tiene un valor cultural”, explicó.</p><p dir="ltr">En Paraguay, las medicinas naturales derivadas de semillas no germinadas también son populares, y a menudo se usan como alternativas más baratas a los fármacos convencionales. (La semilla del cilantro, por ejemplo, se usa para aumentar las defensas naturales después de una enfermedad).</p><p dir="ltr">“Si perdemos el kuratu [cilantro], si perdemos el andai [una variedad local de calabaza], estamos perdiendo medicina, y estamos perdiendo también nuestra comida, una parte de nuestras tradiciones como campesinos, y una parte de nuestra cultura y nuestra identidad”, remarca Guerrero.</p><p dir="ltr">Mientras sujeta una gran mazorca de maíz nativo de color rojo, Guerrero explica que éste debe cosecharse cuando hay luna llena y la atmósfera es menos húmeda. Me enseña cómo tomar las pequeñas semillas en cada extremo para comer, y me explica que las que están en el centro, por el contrario, serán almacenadas para plantarlas en la siguiente temporada.</p><p dir="ltr">“Algunas personas me preguntan cuántos dólares me gasto al día. No entiendo esa pregunta, porque produzco lo que necesito, y por semanas no me gasto un dólar”, cuenta Guerrero. “Si tenés semillas en casa, nunca vas a pasar hambre”.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* Este artículo forma parte de la serie sobre derechos de las mujeres y justicia económica de 50.50 y la Asociación para los Derechos de las Mujeres y el Desarrollo (AWID) que muestra historias sobre el impacto de las industrias extractivas y el poder corporativo, así como la importancia de la justicia fiscal sobre los derechos de las mujeres, transexuales y activistas disidentes del género.</em></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Paraguay </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 DemocraciaAbierta Paraguay Women's rights and economic justice gender women's work Maria Sanz Dominguez Fri, 14 Sep 2018 13:08:36 +0000 Maria Sanz Dominguez 119614 at https://www.opendemocracy.net 10 years of women's resistance to austerity across Europe – in pictures https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/brittney-ferreira/10-years-of-womens-resistance-to-austerity-across-europe-in-pictures <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Women across Europe have not been passive victims of austerity policies. From Paris, France to Nicosia, Cyprus, they have protested and organised for alternatives.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/TopImg.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Woman protesting cuts in the UK, 2016."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/TopImg.png" alt="Woman protesting cuts in the UK, 2016." title="Woman protesting cuts in the UK, 2016." width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Woman protesting cuts in the UK, 2016. Photo: Ik Aldama/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>It’s harder to ignore women’s mobilisations today, when smartphone cameras are ubiquitous and anyone can post images online. Even so, stories of women’s resistance remain underreported, and while impacts of austerity on women may sometimes make headlines, those affected are often portrayed as helpless.</p><p dir="ltr">They’re not; across Europe, women have mobilised against harmful austerity policies enacted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Here are 10 images that capture 10 years of women’s resistance.</p><p dir="ltr"><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/2.16118644.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/2.16118644.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="291" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></em><strong>Nicosia, 23 March 2013</strong> - Confronted by mass bank closures, falling salaries and rising unemployment, women in Cyprus demonstrated in the country’s capital. The former offshore banking haven’s large financial sector and close financial ties with Athens left the country particularly vulnerable to economic collapse in the wake of the 2008 crash. The fallout included policies slashing social benefits, <a href="http://www.eif.gov.cy/mlsi/dl/genderequality.nsf/0/9D535C133413BC50C22579A70031224D/$file/CRISIS%20AND%20GENDER%20IN%20CYPRUS.pdf">with tremendous impacts on women</a>, particularly single mothers and domestic violence survivors.<em> (Photo: Florian Schuh/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved).</em></p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/2.16758350.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/2.16758350.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><strong>Paris, 9 June 2013</strong> - By 2013, France had seen <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/cs-true-cost-austerity-inequality-france-120913-en.pdf">several rounds</a> of austerity measures including cuts to public healthcare spending, public sector pay freezes and an increase in Value Added Tax on most goods and services, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/08/world/europe/french-austerity-measures-aimed-at-new-reality.html">including books and public transportation</a>. At a women’s march against austerity in Paris, women protested in the streets with signs saying “Austerity penalises women especially” and demanded rights for undocumented workers. <em>(Photo: Messyasz Nicolas/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved).</em></p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-20154307.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-20154307.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><strong>Athens, 18 June 2014 </strong>- 595 women cleaners were dismissed after their jobs were outsourced by the Ministry of Finance, <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-eu-29229555">a direct result</a> of job cuts ordered by the European Union after Greece’s near-bankruptcy. Adopting a rubber glove as a symbol of their resistance, with two fingers forming a V for ‘victory’, the women organised protests in Athens and demonstrated outside ministry offices. As their story gathered public support, 32 of the cleaners travelled to Strasbourg to lobby MEPs. Their jobs were <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-eu-29229555">reinstated</a> by the new Greek government.&nbsp;<em>(Photo: Georgiou Nikolas/ABACA/PA Images. All rights reserved).</em></p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-21061416.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-21061416.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="288" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><strong>London, 30 September 2014</strong> - In 2013, 29 single mothers formed the Focus E15 campaign after they were evicted from a Newham hostel and <a href="https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/focus-e15-mums-against-austerity-uk">deemed ‘intentionally homeless’</a> after refusing alternative accommodation far from their London-based communities. The next year, they <a href="https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/focus-e15-mums-against-austerity-uk">occupied</a> two vacant flats in Carpenters Estate. Outside, banners read: “These Homes Need People; These People Need Homes.” Developers eventually withdrew from the sale of the estate, which was then bought by an affordable housing charity.&nbsp;<em>(Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/PA Images. All rights reserved).</em></p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 16.00.59_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 16.00.59_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="321" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><strong>London, 7 June 2016</strong> - Members of feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut protested in front of the UK’s Parliament, where an art installation paying homage to the women’s suffrage movement was on display. Protesting women’s deaths from domestic violence, the group chanted “Dead women can’t vote” and set off smoke flares in the suffragette colours purple and green. Amid UK austerity policies, several domestic violence refuges <a href="http://www.sistersuncut.org/2016/06/08/we-are-the-suffragettes-sisters-uncut-chain-themselves-to-parliament-at-government-art-launch/">have been forced to close</a>, with specialist support services for women of colour <a href="http://www.sistersuncut.org/2016/06/08/we-are-the-suffragettes-sisters-uncut-chain-themselves-to-parliament-at-government-art-launch/">disproportionately impacted</a> by funding cuts.&nbsp;<em><em>(Photo: Niku Gupta)</em>. </em></p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-31833977.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-31833977.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><strong>London, 24 June 2017</strong> - Women rallied in front of Downing Street as leaders of the Conservative and DUP parties gathered inside. Many were dressed in red, a symbol of the blood of those who have died as a result of cuts to public spending – and tragedies like the Grenfell tower fire as well as opposition to, or restrictions on, women’s reproductive rights and LGBTIQ+ equality. <em>(Photo: Peter Marshall/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved).</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/LasKellys.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/LasKellys.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="316" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></em><strong>Madrid, 2 August 2017 </strong><em>-</em> In response to falling wages and increasing workloads, hotel cleaners in Spain have mobilised under the name ‘Las Kellys’ to protest the outsourcing of their jobs to agencies. The group’s most recent campaign, which aims to promote hotels with satisfactory employment practices and shame those without, puts pressure on leading travel site TripAdvisor to highlight hotels that receive the Las Kellys seal of approval. <em>(Photo: Diario de Madrid/Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 4.0).</em></p><p dir="ltr"><em><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/2.32496613_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/2.32496613_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span></em><strong>Rome, 24 August 2017</strong> - Women occupied a small square in Rome, Italy, after they were forcefully evicted from a building in the centre of the city. The building had housed about<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/24/italian-police-water-cannon-refugees-rome-square"> 800 people</a>, most of whom were asylum seekers and refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopia. The United Nations' refugee agency voiced “<a href="https://www.unhcr.it/news/aggiornamenti/roma-unhcr-esprime-preoccupazione-la-sorte-circa-800-rifugiati-richiedenti-asilo-sgomberati-via-indipendenza.html">deep concern</a>” as hundreds were left sleeping on the street. An associate director from the NGO Human Rights Watch <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/24/italian-police-water-cannon-refugees-rome-square">urged </a>authorities to provide alternative accommodation.<em>&nbsp;(Photo: Christian Minelli/NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved).</em></p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-35426631_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-35426631_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><strong>Barcelona, 8 March 2018</strong> - Thousands of women took to Barcelona’s streets on International Women’s Day to protest precarious employment conditions alongside other women’s rights issues. In response to rapidly rising unemployment post-2008, and EU austerity requirements, the Spanish government <a href="https://www.thelocal.es/20160307/spains-unfair-labour-reform-unemployment">passed</a> a series of increasingly flexible labour laws with the <a href="https://www.thelocal.es/20160307/spains-unfair-labour-reform-unemployment">stated aim of facilitating job creation</a>. Particularly controversial reforms have included: the deregulation of firing procedures, the promotion of temporary employment contracts and a reduction in young workers’ rights under training contracts.&nbsp;<em>(Photo: Ramon Costa/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved).</em></p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-36865380.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-36865380.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'></span></span><strong>Athens, 31 May 2018</strong> - Widows protested outside of Greece’s highest administrative court, where judges had debated the constitutionality of the government’s most recent course of pension cuts. Their banner read “NO to the abolition of pensions for widows under 55,” condemning &nbsp;new legislation that would reduce pensions for widows under 55 years of age and scrap them entirely for those below 52. The reforms, due to take effect in 2019, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/business/economy/greece-europe-bailout.html">were enacted in order to</a> comply with international bailout demands.&nbsp;<em>(Photo: Robert Geiss/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved).</em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Women's rights and economic justice women's movements young feminists Brittney Ferreira Fri, 14 Sep 2018 07:43:57 +0000 Brittney Ferreira 119430 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “This story rarely gets told”: 10 years of women’s resistance to austerity across Europe https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer/10-years-womens-resistance-to-austerity-europe <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From the UK to Greece, women have been hit hardest by austerity policies since the 2008 financial crisis. This month, 50.50 will spotlight our stories of resistance.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-35426631.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Women protest for equal pay and dignity at work in Barcelona, March 2018. "><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-35426631.jpg" alt="Women protest for equal pay and dignity at work in Barcelona, March 2018. " title="Women protest for equal pay and dignity at work in Barcelona, March 2018. " width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Women protest for equal pay and dignity at work in Barcelona, March 2018. (Photo: Ramon Costa/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved).</span></span></span>I was 17 and dating a particularly sexist boyfriend when the Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, sparking the global financial crisis and reshaping the world we live in. A decade on, I’ve lived the entirety of my ‘millennial’ adult life under austerity in the UK – and have found strength and friendship from families of resistance that women have created in response to years of harmful policies.</p><p dir="ltr">“This story rarely gets told,” political sociologist at the University of Warwick, Akwugo Emejulu, told me, of the resistance strategies of women of colour in particular. “Many activist women of colour are rendered invisible by their insistence on doing local community work,” she said, contrasting high-profile occupations such as Occupy London and Los Indignados with our “under the radar” organising. </p><p dir="ltr">Over the last decade, women across Europe have responded to austerity policies imposed on us since the 2008 crisis. We’ve fought to expose and challenge the specific impacts of austerity on women, creating new communities in the process, from <a href="http://www.sistersuncut.org">Sisters Uncut</a> in the UK to <a href="https://mwasicollectif.com">Mwasi Collective</a> (Paris) and <a href="https://soulsistersberlin.com">Soul Sisters</a> (Berlin). </p><p dir="ltr">These collectives, led by women of colour, are among Europe’s “most exciting and innovative,” says Emejulu. “They combine hard-nosed grassroots activism with cultural production to organise… and also create new cultural and artistic spaces by and for women of colour,” she explains, emphasising that resistance also consists of “self-help groups and sister circles where community and friendship can be built”. </p><p dir="ltr">Crucially, women, migrants, working-class communities, people living with disabilities, non-binary and trans people, aren’t passive victims to harmful economic policies: they resist. It’s this resistance that 50.50 will spotlight this month, in an alternative series to mark the tenth anniversary of the financial crisis, including special reports from Spain and Italy and a photo essay. </p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">A decade on, I’ve lived the entirety of my ‘millennial’ adult life under austerity in the UK. </p><p dir="ltr">I remember well the years following the financial crash – the horror of the coalition government coming to power in 2010 and student marches against rising tuition fees. But I was never massively taken by student politics, which I found male-dominated. </p><p dir="ltr">It wasn’t until 2014 when a friend dragged me to a protest that I felt politically at home. It was organised by Sisters Uncut – a feminist group that uses creative direct actions to highlight austerity as state violence. </p><p dir="ltr">On Valentine’s Day, we brought London’s busy Oxford Circus roundabout to a standstill. Dressed in funeral attire and holding placards saying ‘They Cut, We Bleed’, we read out the names of some of <a href="https://kareningalasmith.com/counting-dead-women/">the hundreds of women</a> in the UK who have lost their lives to domestic violence since 2010. </p><p dir="ltr">I remember being struck by the range of their ages, ethnicities and locations. Every week, <a href="https://www.refuge.org.uk/our-work/forms-of-violence-and-abuse/domestic-violence/domestic-violence-the-facts/">two women</a> are murdered by a partner or ex-partner in this country. Meanwhile, government cuts to domestic violence services and refuges have made it harder for many, and potentially impossible for some, to leave violent relationships. </p><p dir="ltr">While initial reports described the crisis as a ‘<a href="http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/id/10526.pdf">man-cession</a>’, focusing on men’s jobs at risk, the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/09/women-bearing-86-of-austerity-burden-labour-research-reveals">burden of austerity</a> has fallen largely on women. As <a href="https://www.womenlobby.org/IMG/pdf/the_price_of_austerity_-_web_edition.pdf">elsewhere in Europe</a>, women in <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Development/IEDebt/WomenAusterity/WBG.pdf">the UK</a> use more public services; they are the majority of welfare benefit recipients – and the majority of public-sector workers; they’re also more likely to make up for lost public services with unpaid care work. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 16.00.59.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Sisters Uncut protest in June 2016 outside parliament."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-09-06 at 16.00.59.png" alt="Sisters Uncut protest in June 2016 outside parliament." title="Sisters Uncut protest in June 2016 outside parliament." width="460" height="321" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Sisters Uncut protest in June 2016 outside parliament. Photo: Niku Gupta.</span></span></span>Sisters Uncut’s ‘<a href="http://www.sistersuncut.org/feministo/">feministo</a>’ list of demands begins: “To those in power, our message is this: your cuts are violent, your cuts are dangerous, and you think that you can get away with them because you have targeted people who you perceive as powerless. We are those people. We are Sisters Uncut. We will not be silenced.” </p><p dir="ltr">Since 2014, we’ve blossomed into a national movement. Our actions have taken many forms – and have left us feeling exhilarated, united in our resistance, powerful and dangerous. <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-38045460">We blocked Westminster bridge</a> in 2016, for instance, in a symbolic protest against cuts to domestic violence services. We also reclaimed an empty council flat in east London and <a href="https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/sisters-uncut-occupy-council-house-in-hackney-to-fight-gentrification_uk_57838055e4b0935d4b4b2a76">turned it into a community centre</a>. </p><p>Last year, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/01/domestic-violence-services-occupying-holloway-prison-sisters-uncut-cuts-women">we occupied Holloway women’s prison</a> in north London to demand that it become a domestic violence service, rather than luxury flats. This February, <a href="https://inews.co.uk/opinion/comment/theresa-may-acknowledges-demands-will-continue-use-direct-disruptive-action/">we stormed the BAFTAs</a> red carpet to call ‘Times Up’ on UK prime minister Theresa May for years of devastating austerity policies. &nbsp;</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">While initial reports described the crisis as a ‘man-cession’, focusing on men’s jobs at risk, the burden of austerity has fallen largely on women.</p><p dir="ltr">Across Europe, women have challenged waves of austerity policies and cuts to public services. They’ve led protests, occupied buildings, organised for employment rights and formed new communities of resistance, support and solidarity. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/2.32496613.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Women protest an eviction in Rome, August 2017."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/2.32496613.jpg" alt="Women protest an eviction in Rome, August 2017." title="Women protest an eviction in Rome, August 2017." width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Women protest an eviction in Rome, August 2017. (Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images)</span></span></span>In Montenegro, <a href="http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/montenegrin-mothers-threaten-radical-action-over-benefit-cut-03-13-2017">thousands of mothers demonstrated</a> in February 2017 against cuts <a href="https://apnews.com/b223cde0c9824bb0ab9e6cd33fa25e7e">of 25%</a> to financial assistance for women with three or more children. Dozens camped outside government offices overnight. The new policy, they said, would impact more than <a href="https://monitor.civicus.org/newsfeed/2017/02/24/cuts-welfare-provisions-prompt-protest-in-montenegro/">21,000 women</a>. They held placards <a href="https://apnews.com/b223cde0c9824bb0ab9e6cd33fa25e7e">reading</a> “Gentlemen from the government, beware of the women — mothers” and “Our children are hungry.”</p><p dir="ltr">Women also camped outside government offices in Greece after <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-eu-29229555">hundreds of cleaners</a> were dismissed from (newly outsourced) jobs in 2014, amid <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/0115f5ea-2af2-11e5-8613-e7aedbb7bdb7">European Union austerity demands</a>. The cleaners drew attention to their specific experiences as middle-aged women and adopted the symbol of a rubber glove with two fingers forming a V for ‘victory.’ They also travelled to Strasbourg to lobby members of the European Parliament. In 2015, the new Greek government <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/greece/11375490/Greek-cleaning-ladies-claim-victory-in-jobs-protest.html">reinstated their jobs</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">Workers’ rights have also been won at <a href="https://soasunion.org/campaigns/justiceforcleaners/">SOAS</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/12/college-cleaners-outsourcing-soas">LSE</a> universities in the UK through the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/may/25/lse-striking-cleaners-outsourced-university-injustice">‘justice for cleaners’</a> campaigns, as the workforce (made-up of mostly migrant women), has demanded better wages, sick leave and to be employed in-house. </p><p dir="ltr">As part of 50.50’s series, journalist Claudia Torrisi will report from Rome where many families live in occupied buildings amid a ‘housing emergency’. In the Viale del Policlinico occupation, 140 people of different nationalities (including children, women and old people) live in constant fear of eviction. </p><p dir="ltr">From Spain, journalist Rocío Ros will profile the ‘Las Kellys’ movement of hotel cleaners who have mobilised for better working conditions and against the outsourcing of their jobs. Their <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/02/spanish-chambermaids-seek-tripadvisor-help-to-fight-exploitation">recent campaign</a> promotes hotels with fair employment practices (and shames those without them), calling on the popular travel website TripAdvisor to adopt the Las Kellys ‘seal of approval.’</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 18.36.34.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Members of Las Kellys at an event in August 2017. "><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 18.36.34.png" alt="Members of Las Kellys at an event in August 2017. " title="Members of Las Kellys at an event in August 2017. " width="460" height="340" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Members of Las Kellys at an event in August 2017. (Photo: Diario de Madrid/Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 4.0).</span></span></span>I asked Emejulu, at the University of Warwick, specifically about the experiences of women of colour living under, and mobilising against, austerity. </p><p dir="ltr">She said they “have been all but erased from the narrative about who has been hit hardest by the crisis and austerity, who is organising to reverse these counter-productive cuts and who should be the target of policy action to address the misery that has been created because of the rollback of the social welfare state.”</p><p dir="ltr">Why? “Firstly and most importantly, there is a relentless focus on local conditions in neighbourhoods”, she said, giving as examples the community organising of women of colour against “the closure of community centres, the increasingly dirty streets and parks, the struggle for affordable housing and the cuts to benefits.” </p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Emejulu stresses, where women of colour “are routinely dismissed as alien Others,” their local organising and “creation of spaces of collective affirmation and solidarity is radical politics.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-center">Where women of colour “are routinely dismissed as alien Others,” their organising and “creation of spaces of collective affirmation and solidarity is radical politics.”</span></p><p dir="ltr">In London, the <a href="http://www.lawrs.org.uk">Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS)</a> is one example of a community group that creates space for migrant women who feel increasingly isolated due to the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policies coupled with austerity. </p><p dir="ltr">LAWRS provides advice, information, counselling and advocacy services for Latin American women, and safe spaces to talk about their experiences and interests. “By organising around issues that matter to the women they regain the power that they feel they have lost to an abusive system,” coordinator Ornella Ospino told me. </p><p dir="ltr">Through LAWRS, Ospino says, women migrant workers in precarious jobs have followed Latin American ancestral practices of collective support, offering advice on unions, resisting immigration raids and assisting with job searches. Survivors of domestic violence have organised to advise each other on how to navigate services. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/18471136634_203b7e2c26_z_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Anti-austerity protest in London, June 2015 amid the evictions of most residents from a Barnet housing estate. "><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/18471136634_203b7e2c26_z_0.jpg" alt="Anti-austerity protest in London, June 2015 amid the evictions of most residents from a Barnet housing estate. " title="Anti-austerity protest in London, June 2015 amid the evictions of most residents from a Barnet housing estate. " width="460" height="382" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Anti-austerity protest in London, June 2015 amid the evictions of most residents from a Barnet housing estate. Photo: Alan Stanton/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0). </span></span></span>Also in London is <a href="https://focuse15.org/about/">Focus E15</a>, formed in 2013 by 29 single mothers. After being served eviction notices and deemed ‘intentionally homeless’ for refusing to take accommodation offered in other cities, far from their communities, they occupied empty council flats. Developers eventually withdrew from planned sales. </p><p dir="ltr">The group continues to fight for better housing conditions for single mothers in east London. They organise an open-mic every week outside a local shopping centre where people can take the microphone and share their stories. </p><p dir="ltr">It’s important to support people “to have the confidence to directly challenge their circumstances,” said Saskia, one of the women involved in Focus E15. </p><p dir="ltr">“Their voice is very important, and they have a right to express anger about their situation and lead their struggle,” she said, adding: “We have become a solid family who share organising, thrash out differences, yet continue!”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“We have become a solid family who share organising, thrash out differences, yet continue!”</p><p dir="ltr">The community spaces we’ve created at Sisters Uncut are among the most radical actions we’ve taken. They expose (and respond to) the absence of community contact we all feel in this neoliberal austerity-stricken society. </p><p dir="ltr">As part of this collective, I feel I am part of a resistance to the government’s austerity agenda. It’s here that I’ve now formed some of my closest friends and networks – even both of my (biological) sisters organise with Sisters Uncut. </p><p dir="ltr">The pernicious austerity policies of the last decade were not passed unopposed. Overlooking the resistance of women has enabled a “tired narrative of equating economic crisis with right-wing populism” that Emejulu argues “doesn’t hold water.” </p><p dir="ltr">“If it did,” she asks, “what explains this flourishing of European Black feminist activism among those women who are in long-term economic crisis?” </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/brittney-ferreira/10-years-of-womens-resistance-to-austerity-across-europe-in-pictures">10 years of women&#039;s resistance to austerity across Europe – in pictures</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Can Europe make it? Civil society Equality International politics Women's rights and economic justice women's movements gendered poverty gender justice gender young feminists Nandini Archer Thu, 13 Sep 2018 07:38:38 +0000 Nandini Archer 119492 at https://www.opendemocracy.net In rural Paraguay, women are on the frontlines of a ‘race against time’ to save native seeds https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/maria-sanz-dominguez/in-rural-paraguay-women-fight-to-preserve-indigenous-seeds <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Amid the spread of industrial farming, transgenic crops and seed patents, rural women are conserving native varieties and teaching others about agro-ecology.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/viacampesina (1).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/viacampesina (1).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="336" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Native seeds preserved in rural Paraguay. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.</span></span></span>In Chacore, about 200 kilometers east of Asunción, Paraguay's capital, Ceferina Guerrero, 68, walks by shelves of carefully-labelled plastic bottles and metal drums. Each contains a native seed variety essential to the diets of rural communities. </p><p dir="ltr">Their labels list seed names in <em>Guarani</em>, an indigenous language and Paraguay’s second official language, as well as in Spanish. Guerrero introduces them warmly, as a mother would do with her children: this one is a bean, this one is peanut, this is corn.</p><p dir="ltr">Known as <em>Ña Cefe</em> in her community, Guerrero says her surname (which means 'warrior' in Spanish) fits her like a glove. She is one of the founders of the Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Women in Paraguay (<a href="https://www.conamuri.org.py/">Conamuri</a>). </p><p dir="ltr">Conamuri began as a small group in the 1990s. Today its members include women from more than 200 rural communities in Paraguay and it’s also connected to allies around the world as part of the international peasants’ movement <a href="https://viacampesina.org/es/">La Via Campesina</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">Still, Guerrero says, “we should not forget our first objective”: collecting and preserving native seeds across the country. She describes this as a race against time – and the expansion of large-scale, industrial agriculture. </p><p dir="ltr">“Now we have lost almost 60% of native varieties,” she told me. “We even have communities where you can’t find any.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Now we have lost almost 60% of native varieties. We even have communities where you cannot find any.”</p><p dir="ltr">Globally, <a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/am307e/am307e00.pdf">60-80% of food in most developing countries, and half of the world’s food supply,</a> is planted by women, according the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). </p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, the world <a href="http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y5609e/y5609e02.htm">lost 75%</a> of its seed diversity over the twentieth century. Now,<a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1136440/icode/"> </a>just nine crops <a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1136440/icode/">comprise 66%</a> of global agricultural production. Only three of these – wheat, rice and corn – account for almost half of the world population’s daily calories. </p><p dir="ltr">These trends have alarmed NGOs, rural organisations and international institutions. Maintaining biodiversity, <a href="http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1136440/icode/">the FAO insists</a>, is “fundamental” for food security and the ability to adapt to population growth and climate change. </p><p dir="ltr">Biodiversity loss also has “specific impacts” on women who have “traditionally been the keepers of profound knowledge of plants, animals and ecological processes,” <a href="http://www.ipes-food.org/images/Reports/UniformityToDiversity_FullReport.pdf">added</a> the IPES international expert panel on sustainable food systems in 2016. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/viacampesina (2).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/viacampesina (2).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="303" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Guerrero holds corn seeds, in Chacore, Paraguay. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez. </span></span></span>In Paraguay, <a href="https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Paraguays-Campesinos-March-to-Demand-Right-to-Land-20170329-0041.html">just 5%</a> of the population owns 90% of the land. Most of this is used by huge agribusinesses to grow just a handful of crops (including soybeans, wheat, rice and corn) on vast plantations for export internationally. </p><p dir="ltr">Last year, the country <a href="http://web.senave.gov.py:8081/docs/informes/ANUARIO%20ESTADISTICO%20SENAVE%202018.pdf">imported</a> almost 24,000 tons of seeds. Most were for these export crops. Less than 1% were fruit or vegetable seeds, mostly potatoes. Others included Paraguay's national fruit: <em>mburucuya</em> (passion fruit).</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, <a href="http://www.senave.gov.py/docs/servicios/bioseguridad-agricola/2017/Listado%20de%20eventos%20de%20modificacion%20genetica%20liberados%20comercialmente%20en%20el%20pais.pdf">28</a> genetically-modified crop varieties (mostly soy, corn and cotton varieties) have been approved by the government since 2001, when Monsanto<a href="http://www.monsantoglobal.com/global/py/quienes-somos/Pages/historia-de-la-compania.aspx"> started to produce its soy variety resistant to the Roundup pesticide here.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Amid corporate pressure on farming and food production, women who preserve native varieties, like Guerrero in Chacore, are “rare, like needles in a haystack,” said Inés Franceschelli, a researcher for the NGO <a href="https://henoi.org.py/">Heñoi</a> ('to germinate').</p><p dir="ltr">“And if Paraguay is so dependent [on foreign companies] for such a basic thing as food,” Franceschelli added, “it means that this is a subordinate country.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“If Paraguay is so dependent [on foreign companies] for such a basic thing as food, it means that this is a subordinate country.”</p><p dir="ltr">Following an intense campaign of mega-mergers since 2016, a small group of just <a href="https://www.eldiario.es/theguardian/alimentario-grandes-empresas-acaparen-semillas_0_564493892.html">three giant corporations</a> (Bayer-Monsanto, DowDuPont, and Chemchina-Syngenta) now control more than half of the world’s seed market. </p><p dir="ltr">These seed and agrochemical giants are also active in Paraguay, where they have been <a href="http://www.senave.gov.py/docs/servicios/bioseguridad-agricola/2017/Listado%20de%20eventos%20de%20modificacion%20genetica%20liberados%20comercialmente%20en%20el%20pais.pdf">allowed to plant</a> transgenic corn, cotton and soy. </p><p dir="ltr">Guerrero told me that native seeds grow without insecticides, while some transgenic seeds may “produce a nice plant, with nice fruits, but if you collect the seed and plant it again, it would not germinate. You cannot reuse their seeds, and you will have to buy them again and again."</p><p dir="ltr">What she described sounds like the effect of a controversial genetic modification that produces sterile seeds once the plant has given its fruits. </p><p dir="ltr">Sometimes called “Terminator seeds,” some NGOs and rural organisations warn that the use of Genetic Use Restriction Technologies (GURT) can displace native varieties and threaten local food security. </p><p dir="ltr">Paraguay is also <a href="https://www.cbd.int/information/parties.shtml">a signatory of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity</a>, which in 2000 recommended a de-facto moratorium on field-testing and sales of these 'terminator' seeds. </p><p>The world’s biggest seed companies are all believed to have <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2013/dec/12/brazil-gm-terminator-seed-technology-farmers">patents</a> for such technologies, though they deny dealing in them.</p><p><a href="https://monsanto.com/company/media/statements/terminator-seeds-myth/"> Monsanto, for instance, has said</a> that it “has never commercialised a biotech trait that resulted in sterile – or ‘Terminator’ – seeds” in food crops and that it has “no plans or research that would violate this commitment.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/viacampesina (3).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/viacampesina (3).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="334" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Ceferina Guerrero, in Chacore, Paraguay. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez. </span></span></span>Currently, Paraguay is also <a href="http://www2.mre.gov.py/index.php/noticias/el-canciller-nacional-recibio-en-audiencia-al-presidente-de-la-union-de-gremios-de-la-produccion?ccm_paging_p=91">being pressured</a> to adopt the controversial ‘UPOV 91’ seed convention as part of a free trade agreement being negotiated between the European Union and South American commercial bloc Mercosur.</p><p dir="ltr">Rural organisations fear that this <a href="https://www.nodal.am/2018/02/12-razones-las-decimos-no-al-acuerdo-libre-comercio-mercosur-union-europea-alianza-biodiversidad/">could enable</a> legal prosecutions against country-people for sharing or exchanging their native seeds, as they will not be able to meet the requirements for seed registration under this convention.</p><p dir="ltr">Over the last decade, Conamuri developed its own proposals for laws to protect native and creole seeds (which are not native but have adapted to local conditions over centuries). These were rejected in 2012, after the <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18553813">impeachment of president Fernando Lugo</a> (seen as <a href="https://www.ultimahora.com/lugo-dice-que-monsanto-y-los-golpistas-son-los-sembradores-la-muerte-n562027.html">likely to accept them</a>). </p><p dir="ltr">“Then we understood that political power was unstable, so giving the government control over our seeds was not a guarantee for our food sovereignty and security,” Conamuri’s Perla Álvarez told me. “Seeds must be in country-people's hands.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción, 4 august.JPG" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción, 4 august.JPG" alt="Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción." title="Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Native seeds in a seed exchange in Asunción. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.</span></span></span>“Country-people hold power in their traditional lifestyles,” adds Franceschelli, from the NGO Heñoi, from the power of healthy nutrition and sustainable land management to that of “living without depending on corporations.”</p><p dir="ltr">“The resistance against standardisation and globalisation is located in rural and indigenous communities across the world," she said. "And this resistance is stronger in women.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“The resistance is located in rural and indigenous communities across the world. And this resistance is stronger in women.”</p><p dir="ltr">Across Paraguay, amid the spread of industrial farming, transgenic crops and seed patents, rural women like Guerrero are on the frontlines of the fight to save native varieties before it’s too late.</p><p dir="ltr">They are producing 'green fertilisers' that help farmland to recover for the next season, and teaching others about agro-ecological farming that takes natural ecosystems into account and encourages planting a diversity of crops.</p><p dir="ltr">They are carefully labelling containers storing the same varieties of corn their grandmothers used to cook, long ago. They are also rediscovering and preserving native seeds that haven’t been used for many years.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members 2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members 2.jpg" alt="Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members." title="Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members." width="460" height="258" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Native seeds collected and classified by Conamuri members. Photo: Maria Sanz Dominguez.</span></span></span>In Chacore, Semilla Róga (“the house of the seeds”) is a Conamuri project that hosts country-people from across Paraguay each month to exchange and learn to preserve native and creole seed varieties. </p><p dir="ltr">Here, Guerrero teaches techniques on how to grow food without pesticides or insecticides. She also has her own seed store at home, preserving more than 60 seed varieties and sharing them with her neighbours. </p><p dir="ltr">“Since the beginning of agriculture,” she says, “native seeds were linked to women, who were the first ones to collect, keep and plant seeds.” </p><p dir="ltr">The Semilla Róga project also aims to preserve the knowledge and traditions of communities that use native seeds. “Each corn variety is suitable for a different kind of food, and belongs to a different group of people,” Álvarez explained. </p><p>“For instance, indigenous people such as the avá and mbya guaraní have coloured corn for ritual use, so the plant also has cultural value,” she said. </p><p dir="ltr">Natural medicines derived from raw seeds are also popular in Paraguay, where they are often used as cheaper alternatives to conventional drugs. (Coriander seed, for instance, is used to raise natural defenses after illnesses).</p><p dir="ltr">“If we lose kuratu [coriander], if we lose andai [a local variety of pumpkin], we are losing medicine, and we are also losing our food, a part of our traditions as country-people, and a part of our culture and our identity,” Guerrero told me.</p><p dir="ltr">Holding a big ear of native red corn, Guerrero explains that it should be harvested during the full moon, when the atmosphere is less humid. She shows me how to collect the little seeds on both ends for food; those in the middle will be stored for planting in the next season.</p><p dir="ltr">“Some people ask me how many dollars I spend per day. I do not understand that question, because I produce what I need, and for weeks I do not spend a dollar,” she says. “When you have seeds at home, you will never be hungry.”</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* This article is part of a series on women's rights and economic justice from 50.50 and the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), featuring stories on the impacts of extractive industries and corporate power, and the importance of tax justice for the rights of women, trans and gender non-conforming people.</em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Women's rights and economic justice women's movements young feminists Maria Sanz Dominguez Tue, 11 Sep 2018 07:46:03 +0000 Maria Sanz Dominguez 119389 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Re-imagining the American Dream: a decade of sisterhood with Positive Women’s Network https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sonia-rastogi/decade-sisterhood-positive-womens-network <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">Women living with HIV are mobilising to demand visibility and rights in the US. Our collective voice, vision and leadership offer hope. </p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/rastogi (1).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/rastogi (1).jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460"/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Members LaTrischa Miles, Naina Khanna, Vanessa Johnson, Evany Turk and Pat Kelly at PWN’s 10 year anniversary and national summit for women living with HIV. Photo credit: Positive Women’s Network - USA, 2018.</span></span></span>“Imagine what it would look like to create a space for 300,000 women and girls living with HIV to have a political home,” Naina Khanna, executive director of Positive Women’s Network - USA (PWN), told me over Skype, this May. She explained: “We cannot only fight for space at existing tables, we also need to create new tables.”</p><p dir="ltr">Ten years ago, 28 diverse women living with HIV in the US, including women of trans experience, set out to create precisely this political space. Through PWN, a group of mostly women of colour leaders harnessed their collective power to fill a void in voice, agency and visible leadership by women living with HIV in America. </p><p dir="ltr">Around the same time that PWN was founded, I received an HIV diagnosis. As a young woman of colour and daughter to immigrants who was raised to believe in the white narrative of the American Dream, I was struggling to articulate my own politics, let alone process the anger, confusion and sadness of an HIV diagnosis. </p><p dir="ltr">It would take another year for me to meet another person living with HIV. Luckily, that first person was a woman of colour who guided me to PWN.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“I came into myself when I linked into this collective voice of women living with HIV.”</p><p dir="ltr">I came into myself when I linked into this collective voice of women living with HIV. The power of language, of discovering your own truth, then speaking this truth to power with others is a cathartic experience. It is an experience that many women living with HIV have had when they’ve engaged with PWN.</p><p dir="ltr">Months after its founding in 2008, PWN members heard that other organisations were preparing policy recommendations for the incoming presidential team. No one had submitted recommendations on women living with HIV. Both McCain and Obama had made commitments to a national HIV/AIDS strategy, but it was unclear who would win. </p><p dir="ltr">For PWN, this was non-negotiable: women living with HIV had to be at the table defining their own priorities. Hundreds of hours of phone calls and many drafts later, PWN submitted the first-ever policy document authored entirely by women living with HIV to a sitting presidential administration. This marked PWN’s entrance onto the national stage. </p><p dir="ltr">Eight years later, the communities that PWN represents faced an increasingly hostile social, political and cultural climate in the run-up to President Trump’s election in 2016. </p><p dir="ltr">The evening after the election, PWN organised an emergency community call for people living with HIV to check-in, validate emotions and bridge the isolation so familiar to people living with HIV. “It made me realise we were going to have to be here for our communities in new and different ways,” Khanna told me.</p><p dir="ltr">As 2016 came to a close, PWN “took an intentional position to stand in active defiance [of Trump’s administration]. This is a dangerous place to be when you are a non-profit, but it is a characteristic response from PWN – we have to do it because our lives depend on it, not because we have a grant to do it,” said Barb Cardell, the board’s chair.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“We have to do it because our lives depend on it, not because we have a grant to do it.”</p><p dir="ltr">This defiance <a href="https://www.pwn-usa.org/policy-update-jan-2017/">has included</a>: scaling-up community organising; promoting the leadership and expertise of women living with HIV; bolstering efforts to shift cultural narratives around women and HIV; and most importantly, committing to stand for human rights and dignity of all people living with HIV. </p><p dir="ltr">“We are dedicated to hearing our membership in whatever form it comes across,” Cardell emphasises. She explains that, personally, “PWN changed me into the person I wanted and needed to be – it unshackled me.” </p><p dir="ltr">“Often women living with HIV are dismissed if they get emotional or angry," she added. "PWN acknowledges and validates that this rage and pain is real – it comes from surviving traumas we never should have had to survive. We honour the lived experience of women living with HIV and support them wherever they are at.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/rastogi (2).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/rastogi (2).jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460"/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Barb Cardell advocating for the Affordable Care Act and the right to health. Photo credit: Positive Women’s Network - USA, 2018.</span></span></span>Last year, PWN launched a <a href="about:blank">six-part intersectional policy agenda</a> that responds to the political moment and linked with reproductive justice, disability rights groups and mainstream policy think tanks to fight against attempts to repeal the <a href="https://www.pwn-usa.org/issues/policy-agenda/universal-health-care/">Affordable Care Act</a>. </p><p dir="ltr">As the US now heads into heated midterm elections, in November, PWN has deepened its political engagement by launching the PWN Action Fund, to endorse progressive candidates. Five statewide chapters are also leading local ‘get out the vote’ efforts. </p><p dir="ltr">“There are over a million people living with HIV in this country. Imagine the power of those voters,” said Khanna, describing PWN as “committed to non-partisan, progressive voter organising to increase turnout of voters who are informed about our issues.”</p><p dir="ltr">Today, PWN is a recognised leader and key player in the US advocacy and policy landscape. It now has thousands of members nationally, with six statewide chapters and state leads in another 13 states, while remaining committed to working internally and externally to deconstruct the ways <a href="https://www.pwn-usa.org/old-policy-agenda/a-declaration-of-liberation-building-a-racially-just-and-strategic-domestic-hiv-movement/">race</a>, patriarchy and misogyny structure power.</p> <iframe width="460" height="270" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/l8PS5dSkGdI" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p dir="ltr">PWN started as a network unapologetically by and for women living with HIV. “Symbolism is everything,” founding member Vanessa Johnson told me. “Every movement has started symbolically. People say symbols don’t matter, but they do”. </p><p dir="ltr">Now, PWN is “laying the groundwork for the next phase,” she said. “Social justice has to be our focus. We have a roadmap of how we are going to take the next step, how we look at health in America, how we as women organise and how we ensure everyone is able to live a quality life and authentically express their power.”</p><p dir="ltr">Ten years on, PWN’s values continue to guide my own engagement with the world. These include the centering of the voices and leadership of the most impacted communities; practicing unbending accountability to your constituents; and changing the balance of power through a social justice lens.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2015 and 2016 I was working on the frontlines of South Sudan’s civil war alongside many others delivering life-saving services to women, girls and communities affected by decades of conflict. It was PWN’s values, training and approach that give me hope and the will to know what to do in overwhelming and painful situations. </p><p dir="ltr">Where humanity seemed the darkest and most corrupt, these values let in a kaleidoscope of light.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> United States </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 United States Civil society Equality International politics 50.50 AIDS, Gender and Human Rights women's movements women's health Sonia Rastogi Wed, 05 Sep 2018 09:27:03 +0000 Sonia Rastogi 119490 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Gender justice activists are organising against online violence – and they need your support https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/bonnie-chiu/gender-justice-activists-organising-against-online-violence <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The burden of responding to violence should not fall on the most affected. We must do more to support these activists online, and offline.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/IMGBC.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Online harassment infographic. Image: Unesco/Wikimedia. CC SA-4.0."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/IMGBC.png" alt="Online harassment infographic. Image: Unesco/Wikimedia. CC SA-4.0." title="Online harassment infographic. Image: Unesco/Wikimedia. CC SA-4.0." width="460" height="359" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Online harassment infographic. Image: Unesco/Wikimedia. CC SA-4.0.</span></span></span>More activists are moving online to organise. This is especially true for women, given the sexual harassment risks and other constraints they face organising offline. Yet, the online frontier is not safe for them either. UN Women’s <a href="http://www.unwomen.org/~/media/headquarters/attachments/sections/library/publications/2015/cyber_violence_gender%20report.pdf?v=1&amp;d=20150924T154259">research</a> in 2015 found that “73% of women have already been exposed to or have experienced some form of online violence”.</p><p dir="ltr">There is no official or public documentation of the scale of this issue for women human rights defenders, but anecdotal evidence suggests that many have faced <a href="https://xyz.informationactivism.org/en/online-harassment-of-politically-active-women-overview">gendered online harassment</a> – the repeated or sustained use of digital tactics and technologies to harass, intimidate or silence women. Online violence can also precede or enable offline attacks.</p><p dir="ltr">One women human rights defender, whose identity cannot be disclosed for security reasons, told me that many activists in the Middle East and North Africa have chosen to maintain very low digital presences amid severe online risks. She said that some of the recently-<a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/06/women-arrested-saudi-ongoing-crackdown-activists-180609192341627.html">arrested</a> Saudi women’s rights activists had likely been hacked, as they had worked anonymously.</p><p dir="ltr">Despite these challenges, gender justice activists in this region and beyond are fighting back, with numerous groups and individual activists coming up with innovative solutions to risks they face organising online. Though the burden of responding to online violence should not fall on those most deeply affected by it. More must be done to support these women.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“The burden of responding to online violence should not fall on those most deeply affected by it.”</p><p dir="ltr">In June, <a href="https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=23248&amp;LangID=E">the UN Human Rights Council</a> discussed online violence against women human rights defenders for the first time. While it was encouraging to see this discussion convened, governments and technology companies also bear significant responsibilities in this area – and have stayed largely silent.</p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="http://tacticaltech.org">Tactical Technology Collective</a> (Tactical Tech), a Berlin-based non-profit that I have worked with, focuses on social and political implications of digital technologies. It was among the speakers at the UN meeting.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2014, Tactical Tech has engaged specifically with women human rights defenders, organising <a href="https://archive2015.tacticaltech.org/GENDER-TECH-INSTITUTE.html">Gender and Technology Institutes</a> for more than 200 activists in Asia, Africa and Latin America, providing digital security trainings, and supporting the development of a feminist critical discourse on technology.</p><p dir="ltr">Gender and Technology Institute Asia participants told me that, given online threats, there is a high degree of self-censorship and isolation. They also described the value of safe, supportive communities to share challenges and solutions to these risks. Offline interactions and networks remain critical, and can enable online solidarity actions when fellow activists are targeted.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Offline interactions and networks remain critical, and can enable online solidarity actions when fellow activists are targeted.”</p><p dir="ltr">Tactical Tech has also created resources including <a href="https://xyz.informationactivism.org/en/">XYZ</a> which share digital security and privacy tools and tactics for women, trans and non-binary individuals. This project aims to be a growing repository of information and resources for those who use digital technologies to advance their activism.</p><p dir="ltr">Semanur Karaman, Tactical Tech’s project lead for XYZ, described its goal to become a go-to reference point for women, “demystifying these technologies in a cis-men dominated sector.” She said it will be “a democratic space where women do not only talk about their authentic experiences using these technologies, including opportunities and challenges, but also actively contribute to discussions on alternatives moving forward.”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/ASdrive (1).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/ASdrive (1).png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The XYZ platform. Image: Screenshot, August 2018. </span></span></span>Another resource from Tactical Tech, <a href="http://myshadow.org/">My Shadow</a> includes training curricula and helps users identify their individual digital footprint and reduce their exposure to threats. Women human rights defenders in the Middle East described these as critical resources, amid very limited access to other digital training and knowledge in their region. They translated some of them into Arabic so that they can be more broadly available to activists in the region.</p><p dir="ltr">These resources explain tactics which activists can deploy to protect themselves online, from using secure chat apps such as Signal rather than Facebook Messenger, to ‘self-doxxing’ – researching what is openly available about you online to anticipate what others might maliciously expose.</p><p dir="ltr">An activist I interviewed, working across the Middle East and North Africa, told me that in the region, bots are very commonly used to generate hate speech and make sexual violence threats against women human rights defenders. Many of these bots are “propaganda arms of governments,” she said, supporting specific politicians in the Gulf or promoting state ideologies.</p><p dir="ltr">To combat this, activists have come up with comprehensive plans combining technical tactics such as identifying bots and sharing their account names, with humour – one activist made memes out of the bots which went viral.</p><p dir="ltr">Community support and solidarity, resources and grassroots actions initiated by gender justice activists are responding to online violence. But digital technologies are evolving at such a rapid speed.</p><p dir="ltr">We must show solidarity now with these activists, as well as using our resources to support their work directly. This means providing monetary support, as well as showing up physically, joining offline protests. Online violence is real violence, and must be confronted with great urgency.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 women's movements violence against women young feminists Bonnie Chiu Mon, 03 Sep 2018 07:38:05 +0000 Bonnie Chiu 119390 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ‘Bad girls’ in Holloway prison: when being a ‘loud’ black woman was an offence in itself https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/caitlin-davies/bad-girls-in-holloway-prison-black-women-extract <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Black women were disproportionately jailed and mistreated in London’s infamous Holloway prison. This is an edited extract from <a href="https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bad-Girls-History-Rebels-Renegades/dp/1473647746">“Bad Girls, A History of Rebels and Renegades”</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_8.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_8.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Vigil outside Holloway prison in June 2017, London. Credit: Nandini Archer.</span></span></span>On 11 January 2016 Sarah Reed became the last woman to die in Holloway Prison. According to the Ministry of Justice, she was ‘found unresponsive’ in her cell at 8 am; prison staff ‘attempted CPR, but she was pronounced dead shortly after’.</p><p dir="ltr">The 32-year-old mixed-race woman had suffered severe mental health problems ever since the death of her baby in 2003, including grief, depression, schizophrenia and bulimia.</p><p dir="ltr">Four years before her own death, Sarah had been brutally assaulted by white police officer James Kiddie on the floor of a shop in Regent Street, accused of shoplifting. The assault was caught on CCTV cameras; the police officer’s punishment was a community order.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2015 Sarah had been sectioned at a mental health unit, where she was charged with an alleged assault on another patient. She told her family she had been defending herself from attempted rape. Sarah was sent on remand to Holloway for psychiatric reports, where she was classed as at low risk of self-harm. She was placed in segregation, and then moved to C1, the psychiatric unit that had become notorious in the 1980s.</p><p dir="ltr">When her mother Marylin visited, she found her daughter looking unwell and acting strangely; it appeared she wasn’t being given her antipsychotic medication. One of her last letters home read: ‘Mum, this is just to say Merry Xmas . . . PS. Get me out of jail.’</p><p dir="ltr">Sarah Reed’s death quickly became linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, which had started in the United States and which highlighted deaths of black women and men in custody. Lee Jasper, who coordinated a justice campaign, wrote that: ‘This is a horrific tale of institutional racism, sexual violence, corruption and brutal incompetence/negligence that defies belief.’</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“This is a horrific tale of institutional racism, sexual violence, corruption and brutal incompetence/negligence that defies belief.”</p><p dir="ltr">On the night of 8 February, the day of Sarah’s funeral, hundreds gathered for a vigil outside Holloway Prison. Her name was marked out in candles on the pavement, and the crowd chanted, ‘Say her name: Sarah Reed. Black Lives Matter.’</p><p dir="ltr">Racism within the prison service had only been officially recognized in the year 2000, but there had been reports of racist treatment inside Holloway since at least the 1980s. Few records exist on the experiences of women from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups prior to this, and in the first 100 years of Holloway’s existence the vast majority of inmates were white.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_12.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_12.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Holloway prison, London 2008. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/booksnake/2223783958/in/photolist-7u7Mhg-bs5dPg-5112ez-9kX43f-5YHoLJ-57JvDR-oEuACp-rjqGmd-EyAkhB-x7NBvC-L4rnTC-Nnqne5-4ovtuJ">Matt S/Flickr.</a> CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span>By the 1980’s an estimated 30% of Holloway’s prisoners were black. As in the United States, the number of black prisoners was increasing at a faster rate than any other ethnic group. Black women were more likely to be arrested and given custodial sentences than white women, especially for drug offences, and less likely to be given bail.</p><p dir="ltr">Black women experienced discrimination right the way through a criminal justice system that was dominated – then as now – by white male police, judges and QCs. Within prison, meanwhile, black women received harsher treatment – denied medical attention, excessively punished, and verbally and physically assaulted by both staff and other prisoners.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Black women received harsher treatment – denied medical attention, excessively punished, and verbally and physically assaulted by both staff and other prisoners.”</p><p dir="ltr">Adaku, jailed at Holloway in the 1980s, described being sent to the punishment block for two days after a fight with a white inmate: ‘She called me a black bitch ...then she hit me and I had to hit her back.’ Black women were refused baths, their visitors were more thoroughly searched and watched, and hair, skin and cosmetic products handed out on reception were only for white women. Aduku was also refused access to her inhaler for asthma, told she only wanted it to ‘make myself high’.</p><p dir="ltr">Another inmate, Abbena, spent the first five months of a 20-month sentence at Holloway in solitary confinement because the prison authorities wouldn’t recognize her Rastafarianism or its dietary beliefs. ‘They kept coming each meal time, each week, with a pork sausage. This one officer kept calling me all these names like gollywog and nig-nog . . . One day I was having a wash and she was standing at the door calling me a black bastard and I threw the soap at her.’</p><p dir="ltr">Prisoners were refused black magazines like West Indian World, as well as Marcus Garvey books, and staff tried to keep black women separated from each other: ‘They’ll put one black girl in among 30 white girls. It’s common practice.’ There were no senior officers who were black, and no black doctors, while ‘one racist doctor . . . used to prescribe Depixol for non-white prisoners. About two-thirds of the black women prisoners are drugged.’</p><p dir="ltr">Between 1994 and 2003 the number of black females imprisoned in the UK rose by nearly 200%, higher than all other ethnicities. Angela Devlin, author of Invisible Women, identified two main stereotypes when it came to staff attitudes to black female prisoners: ‘poor mules’ and ‘strong fighters’. Poor mules were women serving long sentences for importing drugs from abroad, often West Africa, and they were regarded with some sympathy.</p><p dir="ltr">British black women on the other hand were seen as physically strong, aggressive and potentially violent and were treated very differently from white women on admission, despite being charged with similar offences.</p><p dir="ltr">‘White women, especially if they were young, attractive and well dressed, were patted on the head and told to run away and behave better in future,’ writes Angela Devlin, while black women’s crimes were regarded more judgementally and ‘any attempt at assertiveness was quashed immediately.’ Black prisoners were more likely to be disciplined, and heavily supervised, and male officers described them as ‘loud’, ‘mouthy’ and ‘gobby’.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/blackprison.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/blackprison.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Protest outside Yarl’s Wood Immigration Detention Centre, Bedford, May 2017. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/knox1013/34685799136/">Wasi Daniju/Flickr.</a> Wasi Daniju/Flickr. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>The rate of foreign national women in prison was also beginning to rise in the 1980s and many were young black women, ‘poor mules’ charged with drug-related offences. Some had been forced to import drugs at gunpoint and made to swallow lethal amounts of heroin or cocaine in ‘fingers’ of rubber gloves. But instead of focusing on the traffickers, punishment fell on the victims and they were sent to Holloway.</p><p dir="ltr">Foreign national women were also charged under immigration laws – often initially arrested for a minor crime and then incarcerated at Holloway. By the beginning of the twenty-first century up to a third of its 500 prisoners were foreign nationals, and the prison was also a designated detention centre for alleged illegal immigrants.</p><p dir="ltr">One woman, ‘Ms K’, had come to the UK from Nigeria as a victim of torture. She took part in a five-week hunger strike over conditions and treatment at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire, and in 2010 she was transferred to Holloway where she was told, ‘You are from the jungle, you should go back.’</p><p dir="ltr">Denise McNeil, a black woman from Jamaica who had left to escape domestic abuse, was labelled a ‘ringleader’ at Yarl’s Wood and held at Holloway for a year – without being charged. Prison was being used to control and punish ‘loud’ behaviour, and being black was almost an offence in itself.</p><p dir="ltr">Sarah Reed’s death in 2016 brought attention back to racism in the prison service. The last woman to die in Holloway Prison was working class, mixed-race and highly vulnerable, and like thousands of women before her, she should never have been jailed in the first place.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 women's movements women's human rights violence against women gender justice young feminists Caitlin Davies Thu, 30 Aug 2018 12:25:04 +0000 Caitlin Davies 119191 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Women’s bodies have become a battleground in the fight for Iran’s future https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/zaynab-h/womens-bodies-battleground-fight-for-iran-future <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A regressive law to boost the population has restricted the reproductive choices and rights of all Iranian women. Though some suffer more than others.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/zahnh.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/zahnh.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Women in Tehran, 2017. Photo: Jochen Eckel/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>In the early 1990s, Iran had one of best family planning programmes in the developing world. From 1980 to 2010, it managed to cut the average number of children each woman <a href="http://www.payvand.com/news/09/apr/1183.html">bore from six and a half to two</a>. But these gains have since been reversed and all Iranian women are suffering under regressive legislation passed in 2015. Though, of course, some are suffering more than others.</p><p>As a sexual and reproductive health and rights advocate, I have been working with marginalised women's collectives in underserved districts of Tehran for five years. I have seen how laws like The Comprehensive Population and Exaltation of Family Bill (or Bill 315, as it is known) most directly and severely affect the poorest women: sex workers, those with drug abuse issues, rural, migrant and ethnic minority women – those who were highly dependent on state provision of contraception. </p><p dir="ltr">The first call for a <a href="https://www.populationinstitute.org/resources/populationonline/issue/8/53/">reversal of Iran’s de facto two-child policy</a> came in 2006, when President Ahmadinejad said the population should increase from 70 to 120 million, with women working less and devoting more time to their “main mission” of raising children. In 2012, Supreme Leader <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4204741/">Ayatollah Khamenei said</a> the policy made sense 20 years ago, “but its continuation in later years was wrong,” because the country would face an aging and declining population “if the birth-control policy continues.”</p><p dir="ltr">And so <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2015/03/iran-proposed-laws-reduce-women-to-baby-making-machines/">Bill 315</a> was passed by Iran’s Islamic Consultative Assembly on November 2015, by 289 men and nine women. With it, a new chapter in family planning began, with women’s bodies positioned as a battleground in the fight for Iran’s future. This legislation aims to boost population growth by encouraging early marriage and repeated childbearing. It does this in a number of ways that disempower women and give them less say over their bodies and therefore their lives.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr"> “With Bill 315 a new chapter in family planning began, with women’s bodies a battleground in the fight for Iran’s future.”</p><p dir="ltr">The<a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/press-releases/2015/03/iran-proposed-laws-reduce-women-to-baby-making-machines/"> law mandates</a> that all private and public entities give hiring priority, in sequence, to men with children, married men without children, and married women with children. Articles 10 and 16 prevent unmarried men and women from assuming teaching positions or obtaining licenses to practice family law.</p><p dir="ltr">Articles 17 and 18 call for the “de-judicialisation” of family disputes with a view to preventing divorce with “peaceful settlements” through a specialised police unit with “married, mature and well trained officers”. The law shows no regard for whether such settlements could put women at risk of re-victimisation in abusive relationships.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">It also creates new barriers to divorce, described by Article 21 as “an anti-value with socially harmful consequences on spouses and children”. Articles 19 and 20 incentivise lawyers and judges to favour reconciliations with special bonuses. This adds an already discriminatory civil code where women (but not men) must provide reasons for divorce, like hardships that would make continuing marriage intolerable.</p><p dir="ltr">In practise, Bill 315 is an all-encompassing denial of women’s agency and their rights to decide freely whether and when to marry, divorce, or have children. It codifies women’s discrimination in the workplace. Family planning funding, which had significantly increased women’s access to modern contraception over the last two decades, was cut not long after the law came into force.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“It is an all-encompassing denial of women’s rights to decide freely whether and when to marry, divorce, or have children.”</p><p dir="ltr">The government has since halted all free family planning services. Family planning information has been removed from health centres, which are no longer allowed to distribute contraceptive pills and condoms, insert IUDs (intrauterine devices) or perform permanent contraceptive surgeries.</p><p dir="ltr">Doctors and nurses are obligated to encourage women to continue unwanted pregnancies and have the large families our grandmothers were forced to have. At school, classes on the need for population controls have been replaced by those encouraging marriage and bountiful reproduction.</p><p dir="ltr">Since the physical, mental, and emotional labour around contraception is still "women's burden" in Iran, Bill 315 has significant impacts on women's lives. But of course, it will not affect all Iranian women in the same way.</p><p dir="ltr">Wealthier women can still buy contraception and get abortions on the thriving black market that has developed under Bill 315. For those who can pay for it, surgical abortion for an early pregnancy is available for between 10,000,000 and 40,000,000 Rial ($200-400), depending on where you go.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Wealthier women can still buy contraception and get abortions on the thriving black market that has developed under Bill 315.”</p><p dir="ltr">With consistent conservative attacks on women’s health and reproductive rights, responses from women’s rights groups need to take into account the different experiences of different women; too often Iranian feminists ignore the dimensions of class and race in the complex matrix of power relations that shape inequality.</p><p>A social researcher and feminist working across Iran’s north, northeast and central rural areas told me that women are particularly suffering from cuts to free contraception in these areas, where “the economy of marginalised and poor villages is totally collapsed as the result of neoliberal economic policies.”</p><p dir="ltr">“People are facing shortage of water, famine and starvation in many areas,” she explained, asking: “In this situation, how can a woman manage her fertility with no access to affordable service as well as no power of negotiation with her husband?”</p><p dir="ltr">Iran’s family planning program was one to be proud of, but the political climate towards women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights has become increasingly aggressive and oppressive. The population might be improving in terms of numbers, but the lives of women responsible for this gain are being diminished even further.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 North-Africa West-Asia women's human rights women's health violence against women bodily autonomy Zaynab H Wed, 29 Aug 2018 08:24:06 +0000 Zaynab H 119380 at https://www.opendemocracy.net 25 alternativas feministas a los medios mainstream en España y Latinoamérica https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/25-alternativas-feministas-a-medios-mainstream-espana-latinoamerica <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>De los temas más divertidos a los más trascendentales, estas plataformas cubren la actualidad con una perspectiva feminista. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/25-feminist-alternatives-to-mainstream-media-in-spain-and-latin-america" target="_self">English</a></em></strong>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_6.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_6.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Marcha del 8M en Argentina, 2018. Foto: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Segundo_Paro_Internacional_de_Mujeres_-_8M_-_Santa_Fe_-_Argentina_-_Bel%C3%A9n_Altamirano-4.jpg">Belén Altamirano</a>/Wikimedia. CC S-A 4.0. </span></span></span>Alrededor del mundo, las mujeres hacen uso de internet para expresar sus opiniones y debatir cuestiones sobre las que, históricamente, no han sido escuchadas. Entre ellas, las feministas han creado blogs para reflexionar sobre el movimiento y plataformas en las que coordinarse y organizarse. También en redes sociales hemos visto la fuerza de su activismo, por ejemplo, con el hashtag #MeToo, que tuvo más de 12 millones de post, comentarios y reacciones en Facebook en un solo día.</p><p dir="ltr">Esta revolución digital ha tenido su impacto en España y Latinoamérica, donde han surgido múltiples blogs y periódicos online con una mirada feminista. Durante la última década se han creado docenas de proyectos que muestran los diferentes puntos de vista sobre el feminismo, y hablan de aquellos grupos sociales aún infrarrepresentados en los medios mainstream.</p><p dir="ltr">Aquí, una lista de 25 medios y plataformas de España y Latinoamérica que combinan su compromiso por la información de calidad con sus valores feministas:</p><p dir="ltr">* La webs españolas <a href="https://tribunafeminista.elplural.com/"><strong>Tribuna Feminista</strong></a> y <a href="http://www.amecopress.net/"><strong>Ameco Press</strong></a> dan a las mujeres protagonistas de cambios políticos y sociales la atención que no reciben en otros medios. Además, aplican la perspectiva feminista en su información, inclusive en temas masculinizados como economía o deportes.</p><p dir="ltr">* La agencia de comunicación mexicana <a href="https://cimacnoticias.com.mx/"><strong>CIMAC</strong></a> investiga la condición y el papel de las mujeres en la sociedad para aportar datos y noticias a otros medios con el objetivo de que estos incluyan una mirada de género en lo que publican.</p><p dir="ltr">* Establecido en Argentina, pero dirigido a toda Latinoamérica, <a href="http://latfem.org/"><strong>Latfem</strong></a> es un medio feminista interseccional que, principalmente, cubre las desigualdades de género, clase y raza.</p><p dir="ltr">* <strong><a href="http://www.pikaramagazine.com/">Pikara</a> </strong>es una revista vasca con ocho años de vida que se ha convertido en un referente entre los medios alternativos. Informa sobre temas sociales y culturales, así como sobre aquellos colectivos escasamente representados por otros medios.</p><p dir="ltr">* Durante siete años, la <a href="http://revistafurias.com/"><strong>Revista Furias</strong></a> ha publicado artículos escritos por, para, y sobre transexuales, lesbianas y, en general, mujeres de Latinoamérica con el objetivo de deconstruir la sociedad patriarcal.</p><p dir="ltr">* La primera revista feminista de Ecuador, <a href="https://laperiodica.net/"><strong>La Periódica</strong></a>, es un proyecto aún en construcción que nació el año pasado para aportar una visión crítica de la actualidad.</p><p dir="ltr">* En <a href="http://www.mujeresenred.net/"><strong>Mujeres en red</strong></a>, expertas en género reflexionan sobre los feminismos y comparten recursos para activistas que van desde libros, hasta convocatorias de manifestaciones.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/40699734321_1ab096531d_o.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/40699734321_1ab096531d_o.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Activistas feministas manifestándose en Madrid, España 2018. Foto: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/31112252@N00/40699734321">Gaudencio Garcinuño.</a> CC S-A 2.0. </span></span></span>* <a href="http://www.lavaca.org/mu/"><strong>Revista Mu</strong></a>, producida por la organización argentina La Vaca, analiza cada mes en profundidad un tema relevante para las argentinas, del aborto a los feminicidios, según la situación política del país.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://revistaemancipa.org/"><strong>Revista Emancipa</strong></a> publica artículos para toda Latinoamérica. Sus periodistas la <a href="https://revistaemancipa.org/emancipa-3/">describen</a> como una revista para “mostrar el punto de vista de las feministas del sur del mundo” y servir de inspiración para la transformación social.</p><p dir="ltr">* <strong><a href="http://lapoderio.com/">La Poderío</a> </strong>se ha propuesto representar a las mujeres de Andalucía (España); mujeres rurales y obreras en que han sido constantemente ignoradas por los medios convencionales.</p><p dir="ltr">* En Guatemala, la revista <a href="http://www.lacuerdaguatemala.org/"><strong>La Cuerda</strong></a> presenta los sentimientos y pensamientos de las mujeres de este país, así como propuestas políticas feministas.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://afrofeminas.com/"><strong>Afroféminas</strong></a> da voz a las mujeres negras de habla hispana. Trata temas que van desde la belleza hasta el emprendimiento, pero siempre enfocándose en las necesidades y perspectivas de las mujeres negras. También denuncia los casos de discriminación.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://www.rompiendoelsilencio.cl/"><strong>Rompiendo el silencio</strong></a> ha estado luchando por “la visibilidad política de las lesbianas y mujeres bisexuales” en Chile durante más de una década. <a href="https://sentiido.com/"><strong>Sentiido</strong></a> y <a href="http://agenciapresentes.org/"><strong>Agencia Presentes</strong></a> son otras dos plataformas online Latinoamericanas que buscan acabar con la discriminación del colectivo LGBTI contando casos particulares y experiencias personales.</p><p dir="ltr">* La juvenil revista brasileña <a href="http://azmina.com.br/"><strong>AzMina</strong></a> publica artículos de experiencias íntimas, como, por ejemplo, qué piensan las mujeres de sus vulvas, a la vez que reportajes más serios de temas como el racismo.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="http://malvestida.com/"><strong>Malvestida</strong></a> de México habla de belleza, moda y estilo de vida con una perspectiva inclusiva y diferente. “No encontrábamos la revista que queríamos leer, así que la creamos” es como se presentan en <a href="https://twitter.com/malvestida">Twitter</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">* La guatemalteca <a href="https://nomada.gt/category/nosotras/volcanica/"><strong>Volcánica</strong></a> (del periódico independiente Nómada), la española <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/badge/lola"><strong>Lola</strong></a> (de Buzzfeed) y la brasileña <a href="http://ovelhamag.com/"><strong>Ovelha Mag</strong></a> publican sobre temas muy diversos, desde series de televisión hasta la cultura de la violación. Son como esa amiga íntima con la que puedes compartir cotilleos y, al mismo tiempo, aquellos asuntos que te afectan profundamente.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Son como esa amiga íntima con la que puedes compartir los cotilleos y, al mismo tiempo, aquellos asuntos que te afectan profundamente”.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="http://ondafeminista.com/"><strong>Onda Feminista</strong></a> es un blog de noticias feminista creado en Venezuela con una sección específicamente dedicada a las emprendedoras.</p><p dir="ltr">* Otro blog de Brasil, <a href="http://www.siteladom.com.br/"><strong>Lado M</strong></a>, cuenta las historias de diferentes mujeres y escribe sobre el carácter feminista (o no) de películas, series o libros popularmente conocidos.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://cientistasfeministas.wordpress.com/"><strong>Cientistas Feministas</strong></a> (de Brasil) y <a href="http://economiafeminita.com/"><strong>Economía Feminista</strong></a> (de Argentina) publican piezas de expertas en economía, ciencia y salud para hacer estas materias más accesibles. También analizan cómo afectan a las mujeres, por ejemplo, las desigualdades económicas o las prioridades en la investigación sanitaria.</p><p dir="ltr">* La última (pero no la menos importante) no es una web, sino una serie de podcasts cuyas voces vienen de España. <a href="https://sangrefucsia.wordpress.com/"><strong>Sangre Fucsia</strong></a> cuenta la historia de las mujeres, y habla de cultura y activismo feminista. Sus creadoras se hicieron muy conocidas por &nbsp;<a href="https://sangrefucsia.wordpress.com/feminismos-reunidos/">“Feminismos Reunidos”</a>, un juego de trivial sobre las contribuciones de las mujeres a lo largo de la historia para el que recaudaron más de 70.000 euros (17 veces el presupuesto que necesitaban) en su popular campaña de <a href="https://www.verkami.com/projects/15984-feminismos-reunidos-la-revolucion-empieza-en-tu-salon-trivial-feminista">crowdfounding</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">¿Qué más añadirías a esta lista? Comparte tus sugerencias en el hilo de comentarios que hay abajo o en nuestro Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/5050oD">@5050oD</a>.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 DemocraciaAbierta Women's rights and the media women's movements feminism everyday feminism young feminists Rocío Ros Rebollo Wed, 22 Aug 2018 15:17:48 +0000 Rocío Ros Rebollo 119377 at https://www.opendemocracy.net 25 feminist alternatives to mainstream media in Spain and Latin America https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/25-feminist-alternatives-to-mainstream-media-in-spain-and-latin-america <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From the most playful topics to the most serious, these platforms provide alternative coverage of current affairs – with a feminist lens. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/25-alternativas-feministas-a-medios-mainstream-espana-latinoamerica" target="_self">Español</a></strong></em>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_6.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_6.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Marcha del 8M en Argentina, 2018. Foto: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Segundo_Paro_Internacional_de_Mujeres_-_8M_-_Santa_Fe_-_Argentina_-_Bel%C3%A9n_Altamirano-4.jpg">Belén Altamirano</a>/Wikimedia. CC S-A 4.0. </span></span></span>Women around the world are using the internet to express opinions and discuss topics about which, historically, they haven’t been heard. </p><p>Feminists have created blogs to reflect on the movement and platforms to coordinate and organise actions. We’ve also seen their strength on social media; in 2017, there were more than <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/metoo-more-than-12-million-facebook-posts-comments-reactions-24-hours/">12 million #MeToo posts, comments and reactions in just one day</a> on Facebook.</p><p dir="ltr">This digital revolution has had an impact in Spain and Latin America too, where there are many blogs and online newspapers with feminist perspectives. Dozens of projects launched over the last decade represent diverse points of view on feminisms, and issues and communities still underrepresented in mainstream media.</p><p dir="ltr">Here are 25 media platforms from Spain and Latin America that combine their commitment to quality information with feminist values:</p><p dir="ltr">* The Spanish <a href="https://tribunafeminista.elplural.com/"><strong>Tribuna Feminista</strong></a> and <a href="http://www.amecopress.net/"><strong>Ameco Press</strong></a> give women leading political and social change the attention they don’t receive from other media. They apply a feminist lens to their reporting, including on topics like economics and sports.</p><p dir="ltr">* The Mexican communication agency <a href="https://cimacnoticias.com.mx/"><strong>CIMAC</strong></a> investigates the conditions and roles of women in society to provide data and news to other media outlets so that they too can include feminist perspectives in what they publish.</p><p dir="ltr">* Based in Argentina, but publishing articles from across Latin America, <a href="http://latfem.org/"><strong>Latfem</strong></a> is a intersectional feminist media platform covering gender, class and racial inequalities.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="http://www.pikaramagazine.com/"><strong>Pikara</strong></a> is an eight-year-old Basque magazine that has become a key reference point in the independent media landscape covering a range of cultural and social issues. It also focuses on communities under-represented by other media.</p><p dir="ltr">* For seven years, <a href="http://revistafurias.com/"><strong>Revista Furias</strong></a> has published critical articles by, for and about Latin American women, trans and lesbians, deconstructing patriarchal societies.</p><p dir="ltr">* Ecuador’s first feminist magazine, <a href="https://laperiodica.net/"><strong>La Periódica</strong></a>, is a more recent project. It launched last year to provide critical coverage on current affairs and other topics.</p><p>* On <a href="http://www.mujeresenred.net/"><strong>Mujeres en red</strong></a>, women experts on gender issues reflect on feminisms and share resources, from books to calls for protest marches and demonstrations.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/40699734321_1ab096531d_o.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/40699734321_1ab096531d_o.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Activistas feministas manifestándose en Madrid, España 2018. Foto: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/31112252@N00/40699734321">Gaudencio Garcinuño.</a> CC S-A 2.0. </span></span></span>* <a href="http://www.lavaca.org/mu/"><strong>Revista Mu</strong></a> is produced by the Argentinian organisation La Vaca. Each month, it looks in-depth at a different topic, from abortion rights to femicides, depending on ongoing political debates in the country.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://revistaemancipa.org/"><strong>Revista Emancipa</strong></a> publishes articles from across Latin America. Their journalists <a href="https://revistaemancipa.org/emancipa-3/">describe it</a> as a magazine to “show the point of view of feminists from the South of the world” and inspire social transformation.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="http://lapoderio.com/"><strong>La Poderío</strong></a> is committed to representing Andalusian women – rural and worker women in Spain who have been consistently ignored by mainstream media.</p><p dir="ltr">* In Guatemala, the magazine <a href="http://www.lacuerdaguatemala.org/"><strong>La Cuerda</strong></a> represents the feelings and thoughts of women in that country, and presents feminist political proposals too.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://afrofeminas.com/"><strong>Afroféminas</strong></a> gives voice to Spanish-speaking black women. It deals with topics ranging from beauty to entrepreneurship, but always focusing on the needs and perspectives of black women, as well as reporting on discrimination against them.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://www.rompiendoelsilencio.cl/"><strong>Rompiendo el silencio</strong></a> has been fighting for “the political visibility of lesbian and bisexual” women in Chile for more than a decade. <a href="https://sentiido.com/"><strong>Sentiido</strong></a> and <a href="http://agenciapresentes.org/"><strong>Agencia Presentes</strong></a> are two other Latin American platforms focused on ending anti-LGBTI discrimination with content explaining personal experiences.</p><p dir="ltr">* Youthful Brazilian magazine <a href="http://azmina.com.br/"><strong>AzMina</strong></a> publishes articles about intimate experiences, like how women see their vulvas, as well as reports on topics like racism.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="http://malvestida.com/"><strong>Malvestida</strong></a> from Mexico, covers beauty, fashion and lifestyle with an alternative, inclusive perspective. “We couldn’t find the magazine we wanted to read, so we made it,” is how they introduce themselves on <a href="https://twitter.com/malvestida">Twitter</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://nomada.gt/category/nosotras/volcanica/"><strong>Volcánica</strong></a>, a section of the Guatemalan independent media platform Nómada, Spanish <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/badge/lola"><strong>Lola</strong></a> (from platform Buzzfeed) and Brazilian <a href="http://ovelhamag.com/"><strong>Ovelha Mag</strong></a> cover topics from mainstream TV series to rape culture. They are like that good friend with whom you can share gossip and, at the same time, the issues that affect you most deeply.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“They are like that good friend with whom you can share gossip and, at the same time, the issues that affect you most deeply.”</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="http://ondafeminista.com/"><strong>Onda Feminista</strong></a> is a feminist news blog founded in Venezuela with a section specifically focused on women entrepreneurs.</p><p dir="ltr">* Another blog from Brazil, <a href="http://www.siteladom.com.br/"><strong>Lado M</strong></a>, tells the stories of diverse women and writes about the feminist (or not) characters of popular films, TV series or books.</p><p dir="ltr">* <a href="https://cientistasfeministas.wordpress.com/"><strong>Cientistas Feministas</strong></a> (from Brazil) and <a href="http://economiafeminita.com/"><strong>Economía Feminista</strong></a> (Argentina), publish writing from women experts in economics, science and health to make these subjects more accessible and analyse how women are affected by, for example, economic inequalities or health research priorities.</p><p dir="ltr">* Last (but not least) is not a website, but a podcast series from Spain. <a href="https://sangrefucsia.wordpress.com/"><strong>Sangre Fucsia</strong></a> covers women’s history and other topics related to culture and feminist activism. Its creators are also known for <a href="https://sangrefucsia.wordpress.com/feminismos-reunidos/">“Feminismos Reunidos”</a>, a trivia game about women’s contributions throughout history that raised more than €70,000 (17 times the budget they needed) through a hugely popular <a href="https://www.verkami.com/projects/15984-feminismos-reunidos-la-revolucion-empieza-en-tu-salon-trivial-feminista">crowdfunding</a> campaign.</p><p dir="ltr">What would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the comment thread below, or on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/5050oD">@5050oD</a>.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Women's rights and the media women's movements feminism women's work young feminists Rocío Ros Rebollo Wed, 22 Aug 2018 09:37:07 +0000 Rocío Ros Rebollo 119345 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Cómo las periodistas feministas están sacudiendo el panorama mediático en español https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/como-las-periodistas-feministas-sacuden-los-medios-en-espa%C3%B1ol <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Cada vez nacen más medios y proyectos que informan de manera alternativa sobre diversos temas, desde economía hasta belleza. Aunque su sostenibilidad económica sigue siendo un reto. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/how-feminist-journalists-are-shaking-up-spanish-language-media" target="_self">English.</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (2)_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (2)_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="268" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>La nueva revista online española La Poderío. Foto: Screenshot, August 2018.</span></span></span>El año pasado tuve lo que Lucía Lijtmaer, periodista española, llama <a href="https://www.eldiario.es/cultura/libros/Manifiesto-chicas-listas_0_645336373.html">el Golpe en la Cabeza</a>: un momento de lucidez en el que te das cuenta de qué es realmente el feminismo y por qué aún lo necesitamos.</p><p dir="ltr">De repente conecté todas las experiencias de mi vida que me habían hecho sentir impotente por ser mujer: desde cuando mis padres no me dejaban salir con una minifalda “porque me podían violar” hasta el hecho de que, aunque me hubiese encantado hacerlo, no había viajado sola porque tenía miedo de lo que me pudiera pasar.</p><p dir="ltr">Estaba harta. En ese momento me convertí en activista feminista porque es indignante que la mitad de la población haya sido y sea discriminada, no importa dónde. Me pregunté por qué no me había dado cuenta de esto antes y, como periodista, solo había una explicación posible para mí: la falta de información y educación en feminismo.</p><p>Así es como, debido a mi necesidad de explicar qué es el feminismo y por qué aún nos hace falta, decidí crear mi propio medio feminista, <a href="http://proyectovmagazine.com">Proyecto V</a>. Mi intención es informar sobre las desigualdades en los llamados países desarrollados, donde hemos alcanzado una igualdad <em>legal</em>, pero no <em>real</em>.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (3).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (3).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="279" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Nosotras reímos, nosotras decidimos, enero 2018. Foto: Rocío Ros. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>El primer video-reportaje de Proyecto V, estrenado en enero, muestra estas desigualdades centrándose en nuestro sentido del humor. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy3iH0QQnvI"><em>Nosotras reímos, nosotras decidimos</em></a> explica cómo las mujeres han sido discriminadas en el humor y cuáles son las significativas diferencias entre el humor feminista y el que normalmente consumimos.</p><p dir="ltr">La mayor dificultad al emprender este camino es, sin duda, ser financieramente sostenible, ya que mis recursos son muy limitados. Muchos proyectos mediáticos con perspectiva feminista comparten esta problemática.</p><p dir="ltr">Lanzar un medio independiente es ya complicado porque es un sector muy precario. Pero además, lo hacemos priorizando la pluralidad y el rigor, evitando el sensacionalismo y el clickbait, y limitando la publicidad para ser coherentes con nuestros valores. Esto, al final, reduce nuestras posibilidades de financiación en comparación con los medios convencionales.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Priorizamos la pluralidad y el rigor, evitamos el sensacionalismo y el clickbait, y limitamos la publicidad para ser coherentes con nuestros valores”.</p><p dir="ltr">Activistas y profesionales mantienen muchas de estas plataformas feministas a cambio de poca (o ninguna) remuneración. Este es el caso de la mayoría de quienes he entrevistado o consultado online. Lo que reciben a cambio es la satisfacción de representar realidades que otros medios ignoran, así como contar con lectores leales que comparten sus ideales.</p><p dir="ltr">Aunque hay nuevas plataformas digitales creadas por periodistas feministas en España y Latinoamérica que han conseguido ser económicamente viables y dar una cobertura alternativa a diversos temas, incluidos aquellos típicamente escritos por y &nbsp;para hombres, como economía o deportes.</p><p dir="ltr">Para ello, han escrito sobre colectivos y puntos de vista infrarrepresentados, y han buscado formas creativas de financiar sus proyectos.</p><p><a href="http://pikaramagazine.com">Pikara</a>, la revista feminista vasca, es un ejemplo de éxito ya que ha llegado a ser económicamente viable desde su creación hace ocho años. Sus diferentes formas de financiación -desde subvenciones públicas, suscriptores, donantes, venta online y publicidad- son, en parte, la clave.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (6).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (6).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>June Fernández. Foto: screenshot de <a href="https://vimeo.com/130958626">video entrevista.</a> Credit: Mugarik Gabe. CC 2.0.</span></span></span>Al contrario que otros medios convencionales, la publicidad solo representa el 10 % de la financiación de Pikara. La revista online también limita el tipo de empresas que pueden publicitarse en ella. “Limitamos a grandes empresas, bancos… Además, los anuncios no pueden ser sexistas”, explica June Fernández, una de las fundadoras de la revista.</p><p dir="ltr">Las restricciones a los anunciantes permiten a Pikara ser consecuente con sus ideales de igualdad, diversidad y pluralidad, valores que les han convertido en un medio alternativo de referencia y les han generado una comunidad de lectores fieles que creen en su trabajo. “Para los medios independientes lo que importa es el compromiso con los lectores y buscar una coherencia”, afirma Fernández.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Para los medios independientes lo que importa es el compromiso con los lectores y buscar una coherencia”</p><p dir="ltr">Haberse adaptado a las nuevas formas de comunicación digital es otra de las claves del éxito de Pikara. “Nuestra revista fue la primera revista feminista nativa digital en España que usó el lenguaje de las redes sociales, un medio 3.0” añade Fernández, refiriéndose a su pronto y prolífico uso de redes como Facebook, donde actualmente cuentan con 118.000 seguidores.</p><p dir="ltr">Pikara nació de la necesidad de sus periodistas de aplicar una perspectiva feminista sobre la información de actualidad. Otros medios españoles también comparten esta meta, como los periódicos digitales <a href="https://tribunafeminista.elplural.com/">Tribuna Feminista</a> y <a href="http://www.mujeresenred.net/">Mujeres en red</a> de España, o las webs <a href="http://latfem.org/">Latfem</a>, <a href="https://laperiodica.net/">La Periódica</a> y <a href="http://www.lacuerdaguatemala.org/">La Cuerda</a> de América Latina.</p><p dir="ltr">Entre las plataformas feministas que han surgido en la última década también hay blogs para alzar una voz contra la violencia machista y llamar a la acción, como los de <a href="https://www.eldiario.es/autores/barbijaputa/">Barbijaputa</a>, <a href="http://www.locarconio.com/">Locas del coño</a>, <a href="http://mujeresenlucha.es/">Mujeres en Lucha</a> y <a href="https://www.laquearde.org/">La que arde</a>, y espacios digitales donde reflexionar sobre feminismos, sexualidad e identidades, como <a href="http://www.proyecto-kahlo.com/">Proyecto Kahlo</a> y <a href="https://lassimones.org/">Las Simones</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">También hay plataformas que buscan cubrir huecos informativos que otros medios, tanto mainstream, como feministas, han dejado. <a href="http://lapoderio.com/">La Poderío</a> es una nueva revista feminista española que arrancó en abril con la intención de representar a las andaluzas, mujeres rurales y obreras que han sido constantemente ignoradas en los medios.</p><p dir="ltr">Uno de sus primeros artículos trata sobre <a href="http://lapoderio.com/2018/04/11/jornaleras-de-huelva-el-sabor-amargo-de-de-los-frutos-rojos/">las jornaleras explotadas en los campos de fresas de Huelva (Andalucía)</a>. Este caso se hizo internacionalmente conocido más tarde, después de que Correctiv, un colectivo alemán dedicado al periodismo de investigación, publicara otro <a href="https://correctiv.org/en/blog/2018/04/30/rape-in-the-fields/">artículo que habla de agresiones sexuales a estas trabajadoras</a>.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (1).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (1).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="255" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Trabajadora en el campo, Andalucía. Foto: screenshot from <a href="https://vimeo.com/97816545">Red de Mujeres Urbanas y Andaluzas video.</a> Credit: Producciones Singulares. CC S-A 4.0.</span></span></span>La Poderío atrajo a miles de seguidores en redes sociales meses antes de publicar su primera pieza; a principios de abril su página de Facebook ya contaba con más de 5.900 seguidores.</p><p dir="ltr">“Esta gran bienvenida que tuvimos en tan poco tiempo para nosotras significó que el feminismo andaluz siempre ha estado ahí, solo había que ponerle un nombre” concluye Rocío Santos Gil, una de las periodistas fundadoras de la revista.</p><p dir="ltr">Cuando le pregunto por otros temas poco tratados en los medios feministas, Santos explica que, personalmente, ella siente que estos espacios “tienden a hablar de identidades, un tema que muy interesante, pero a mí me gustaría encontrar más información que hablara de lo que nos afecta como colectivo”.</p><p dir="ltr">Fernández hace una comparación similar. En Pikara les incomoda comprobar que los textos más leídos son los que hablan de temas que afectan a “mujeres blancas, urbanas, de clase media” (el perfil de la mayoría de sus lectoras) porque eso “invisibiliza otras propuestas editoriales”.</p><p dir="ltr">“Por ejemplo, un artículo [en Pikara] sobre mujeres refugiadas en el Líbano puede tener 500 visitas y otro sobre poliamor 30.000”, afirma.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Un artículo sobre mujeres refugiadas en el Líbano puede tener 500 visitas y otro sobre poliamor 30.000”.</p><p dir="ltr">Al otro lado del Atlántico, en Argentina, la plataforma <a href="http://economiafeminita.com/">Economía Feminista</a> cubre un hueco informativo diferente. Su objetivo es divulgar y hacer más accesibles la economía y la ciencia. Expertas en economía, ciencia y salud explican estos temas masculinizados, que suelen estar escritos por y para hombres.</p><p dir="ltr">“Estamos unidas por la desigualdad, para poner datos y argumentos y hacer más accesibles estos temas académicos”, cuenta Mercedes D’Alessandro, creadora de la plataforma.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (4).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (4).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="227" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>La plataforma digital Economía Femini(s)ta. Foto: Screenshot, August 2018.</span></span></span>D’Alessandro cree que son necesarios más mujeres y más feminismo en los medios para hablar de estas temáticas. “Cuando leo una nota sobre economía siempre está escrita por un hombre. No solo necesitamos mujeres hablando del impacto de género en la economía, también más mujeres analizando la economía en general” asegura.</p><p dir="ltr">Con el objetivo de generar más interés alrededor de cuestiones sobre género y economía es fundamental que más personas sean capaces de entenderlas y escribir sobre ellas, para evitar así que no sean solo “lectores pasivos” añade D’Alessandro.</p><p dir="ltr">“Yo me gradué en economía y en toda la carrera no tuvimos una sola materia de economía feminista; ¿cómo le vamos a pedir a un economista que sepa algo que ni siquiera está en su currículum de estudios?”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“No solo necesitamos mujeres hablando del impacto de género en la economía, también más mujeres analizando la economía en general”.</p><p dir="ltr">La perspectiva feminista no sólo es necesaria en temas masculinizados. La belleza y la moda son temas habitualmente copados por mujeres que también necesitan esta mirada según afirma Alejandra Higareda desde México, quien en 2016 creó la revista <a href="http://malvestida.com/">Malvestida</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Desde su punto de vista, las revistas para mujeres “reproducen estereotipos” demasiado a menudo y dejan de lado otros asuntos importantes “como política, ciencia o deportes”. Higareda solía escribir para este tipo de revistas y se dio cuenta de que no se identificaba con sus propios artículos.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (5).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (5).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="274" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Revista digital Malvestida. Foto: Screenshot, August 2018.</span></span></span>“Escribía sobre cómo quitarse la celulitis y pensaba: ‘¿Quién se cree esto?’, ‘¿a qué mujeres les estamos hablando?’” cuenta.</p><p dir="ltr">En Malvestida, Higareda también escribe sobre belleza y moda, pero con una perspectiva más inclusiva. “Tenemos artículos sobre por qué una chica ha decidido no volver a rasurarse; eso para nosotras es una forma de belleza”.</p><p dir="ltr">Higareda reconoce que artículos sobre “empoderamiento femenino” o “body positive” son más habituales ahora en las grandes revistas internacionales de moda, pero remarca que estas publicaciones “siempre tendrán lineas que no podrán cruzar”.</p><p dir="ltr">Asegura que las personas que escriben y leen estas masivas y comerciales publicaciones se enfrentan a “una burocracia y una estructura gigantes que, al final, responden ante una empresa multimillonaria manejada por hombres”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Tenemos artículos sobre por qué una chica ha decidido no volver a rasurarse; eso para nosotras es una forma de belleza”.</p><p dir="ltr">Incluso si llegase el día en el que la mayoría de los grandes medios incluyen la perspectiva feminista en su línea editorial y en su estructura empresarial, eso no significaría que ya no nos hiciesen falta medios feministas independientes.</p><p dir="ltr">El reto para quienes funden y mantengan medios independientes será, entonces, seguir buscando aquellos grupos y realidades olvidadas por el resto de los medios, así como continuar defendiendo la igualdad y estimulando el pensamiento crítico.</p><p dir="ltr">Más allá de esta posibilidad, las creadoras de medios independientes actuales debemos adaptarnos al competitivo y cambiante mundo de la información digital, y buscar formas creativas de financiar nuestros proyectos para que el peso de sostenerlos no siga cayendo sobre periodistas y activistas feministas poco o no remuneradas.</p><p dir="ltr">Nuestro objetivo común, tanto para los movimientos feministas, como los medios feministas en español, debe ser crear más plataformas con mejores recursos que nos puedan informar de cualquier temática desde una perspectiva feminista e interseccional que represente a todos los colectivos.</p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 DemocraciaAbierta Equality Women's rights and the media women's movements feminism women's work young feminists Rocío Ros Rebollo Tue, 21 Aug 2018 14:18:10 +0000 Rocío Ros Rebollo 119363 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How feminist journalists are shaking up the Spanish language media https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/how-feminist-journalists-are-shaking-up-spanish-language-media <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">A growing number of new media projects are providing alternative coverage of topics from economics to beauty. But the challenge of financial sustainability remains. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/como-las-periodistas-feministas-sacuden-los-medios-en-espa%C3%B1ol" target="_self">Español.</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (2)_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (2)_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="268" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>La nueva revista online española La Poderío. Foto: Screenshot, August 2018.</span></span></span>Last year, I had what Lucía Lijtmaer, a Spanish feminist journalist, calls a golpe en la cabeza (<a href="https://www.eldiario.es/cultura/libros/Manifiesto-chicas-listas_0_645336373.html">“a blow to the head”</a>): a moment of clarity when you realise what feminism actually is and why we need it.</p><p>I suddenly connected all of the experiences in my life that had made me feel powerless because I am a woman: from when my parents wouldn’t let me go out with a skirt on ‘because I could be raped’ to the fact that – even though I really wanted to – I wouldn’t travel alone because I was scared of what could happen to me.</p><p dir="ltr">I was fed up. At that moment, I became a feminist activist because it is outrageous that half of the population is still discriminated against, no matter when or where in the world. I asked: Why hadn’t I realised this before? As a journalist, there was only one possible answer for me: the lack of information and education about feminism.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s how, due to my determination to explain what is feminism and why we still need it, I decided to create my own feminist media project, called <a href="http://proyectovmagazine.com">Proyecto V</a>. With this, my aim is to inform people about inequalities in so-called ‘developed’ countries – where we have reached <em>legal</em> gender equality, but not <em>real</em> equality.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (3).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (3).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="279" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Nosotras reímos, nosotras decidimos, enero 2018. Foto: Rocío Ros. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Proyecto V’s first video-report, launched in January, presents these inequalities focusing on our sense of humour. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy3iH0QQnvI"><em>Nosotras reímos, nosotras decidimos</em></a> (We laugh, we decide) explains how women have been discriminated against in humour, and the significant differences between feminist humour and what we usually consume.</p><p dir="ltr">The main difficulty in taking this entrepreneurial path is, without a doubt, making it financially sustainable, as my resources are very limited. Many media projects with feminist perspectives share this problem.</p><p dir="ltr">Launching an independent media business is a very precarious activity. In addition, we do this prioritising pluralism and accuracy, avoiding sensationalism and clickbait, and limiting advertising to be coherent with our values. This, in the end, reduces our financing possibilities in comparison with conventional, commercial media.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“We prioritise pluralism and accuracy, avoid sensationalism and clickbait, and limit advertising to be coherent with our values.”</p><p dir="ltr">Activists and professionals maintain many feminist communication platforms receiving little (or no) remuneration. This was the case for most of those I interviewed or read about online. What they get in return is the satisfaction of representing realities that other media ignore, and loyal readers that share their ideals.</p><p dir="ltr">Though there are new digital platforms, launched by feminist journalists in Spain and Latin America, that have succeeded in becoming economically viable while producing alternative coverage of diverse topics, including those typically written about by and for men, like economics or sports.</p><p dir="ltr">To do this, they’ve focused on finding and covering underrepresented angles and groups, as well as creative ways of funding their projects.</p><p><a href="http://pikaramagazine.com">Pikara</a>, a Basque feminist magazine, is an example of such success. Unlike many other projects, it’s managed to become economically viable since its launch eight years ago. Its different funding sources – from public subsidies, subscribers, donors, its online shop and advertisers – are a major part of this.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (6).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (6).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>June Fernández. Foto: screenshot de <a href="https://vimeo.com/130958626">video entrevista.</a> Credit: Mugarik Gabe. CC 2.0.</span></span></span>Unlike conventional media outlets, advertising represents only around 10% of Pikara’s funding. The online magazine also limits the kinds of businesses that can advertise on its platform. “We limit [adverts from] big companies, banks… Besides, adverts can’t be sexist,” said June Fernandez, one of the magazine’s founders.</p><p dir="ltr">Restrictions on ads allow Pikara to be consistent with its ideals of equality, diversity and plurality; these ideals have made them a leader in the independent, alternative media landscape and have generated a loyal readership that trusts their work.</p><p dir="ltr">“For independent media, what is important is to commit to our readers and try to be coherent,” Fernandez told me.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“For independent media, what is important is to commit to our readers and try to be coherent.”</p><p dir="ltr">Adapting to new, digital ways of communication is another of Pikara’s keys to success. “Our magazine was the first feminist digital-native media in Spain that used social media language, a 3.0 media,” added Fernández, referring to its early and prolific use of platforms like Facebook, where it now has 118,000 followers.</p><p dir="ltr">Pikara grew out of its journalists’ determination to apply a feminist lens to reporting about current affairs. Other Spanish feminist media share this goal, including the online newspapers <a href="https://tribunafeminista.elplural.com/">Tribuna Feminista</a> and <a href="http://www.mujeresenred.net/">Mujeres en red</a> from Spain, or the websites <a href="http://latfem.org/">Latfem</a>, <a href="https://laperiodica.net/">La Periódica</a> and <a href="http://www.lacuerdaguatemala.org/">La Cuerda</a> from Latin America.</p><p dir="ltr">Other feminist platforms that emerged over the last decade include blogs speaking out against gender violence and calling for action, like <a href="https://www.eldiario.es/autores/barbijaputa/">Barbijaputa</a>, <a href="http://www.locarconio.com/">Locas del coño</a>, <a href="http://mujeresenlucha.es/">Mujeres en Lucha</a> and <a href="https://www.laquearde.org/">La que arde</a>, and digital spaces to reflect on feminisms, sexualities and identities, like <a href="http://www.proyecto-kahlo.com/">Proyecto Kahlo</a> and <a href="https://lassimones.org/">Las Simones</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">There are also platforms that seek specifically to cover information gaps left by other mainstream and feminist news media. <a href="http://lapoderio.com/">La Poderío</a> is a new feminist magazine from Spain which launched in April with the aim is to represent Andalusian women – rural and worker women who have been largely ignored by other media.</p><p dir="ltr">One of their first pieces was about <a href="http://lapoderio.com/2018/04/11/jornaleras-de-huelva-el-sabor-amargo-de-de-los-frutos-rojos/">women workers abused in the strawberry fields of Huelva (Andalucía)</a>. This case became known internationally only later on, after <a href="https://correctiv.org/en/blog/2018/04/30/rape-in-the-fields/">a report published by the German investigative journalism collective Correctiv</a>, about sexual aggressions against these workers.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (1).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (1).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="255" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Trabajadora en el campo, Andalucía. Foto: screenshot from <a href="https://vimeo.com/97816545">Red de Mujeres Urbanas y Andaluzas video.</a> Credit: Producciones Singulares. CC S-A 4.0.</span></span></span>La Poderío attracted thousands of social media followers months before publishing its first piece – their Facebook page had more than 5,900 followers in early April.</p><p dir="ltr">“This big welcome we had in a short time means, for us, that Andalusian feminism was always there, we just needed to name it,” Rocío Santos Gil, one of the magazine’s founding journalists, told me.</p><p dir="ltr">When asked about other topics undercovered by feminist media, Santos said that personally she feels these spaces “tend to talk about identities, a very interesting topic, but I would like to find more information that affects us as a collective.”</p><p dir="ltr">Fernández makes a similar comparison. Pikara, she said, has seen that its most read texts are about topics that affect “white, urban, middle-class women” – the profile of the majority of its readers – and that “makes invisible” other editorial proposals.</p><p dir="ltr">“For example, an article [on Pikara] about refugee women in Lebanon may have 500 visits, and another about polyamory 30,000,” she said.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“An article about refugee women in Lebanon may have 500 visits, and another about polyamory 30,000.”</p><p dir="ltr">On the other side of the Atlantic, in Argentina, the platform <a href="http://economiafeminita.com/">Economía Feminista</a> covers a different information gap. It focuses on making complicated economics and science topics more accessible. Women experts on economics, science and health explain these ‘masculinised’ topics that are usually written about by and for men.</p><p dir="ltr">“We are united by the [issue of] inequality, to provide data and arguments and make more accessible these academic topics,” said Mercedes D’Alessandro, the platform’s creator.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (4).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (4).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="227" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>La plataforma digital Economía Femini(s)ta. Foto: Screenshot, August 2018.</span></span></span>D’Alessandro believes that more women and more feminism are needed in the media to talk about these topics. “When I read a piece about economics it is always written by a man. We don’t just need women talking about the gender impact of the economy, but also women analysing the economy in general,” she told me.</p><p dir="ltr">In order to generate more interest around issues related to gender and the economy, it’s fundamental that more people are able to understand and write about them, so that they are not just “passive readers,” D’Alessandro added.</p><p dir="ltr">“I graduated in economics and, throughout the whole degree, I didn’t have one subject about feminist economy; how are we going to ask an economist to know [about] something that is not even in their studies curriculum?”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“We don’t just need women talking about the gender impact of the economy, but also women analysing the economy in general.”</p><p dir="ltr">A feminist perspective is not only necessary for such masculinised topics. Beauty and fashion are topics that are often written about by women that also need this lens, said Alejandra Higareda in Mexico, who in 2016 created the magazine <a href="http://malvestida.com/">Malvestida</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">From her point of view, magazines for women too often “reproduce stereotypes” and leave aside other important topics “like politics, science or sports.” Writing for these magazines herself, Higareda found that she didn’t identify with her own articles.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (5).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mediafemspa (5).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="274" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Revista digital Malvestida. Foto: Screenshot, August 2018.</span></span></span>She said: “I wrote about how to remove cellulite and thought ‘who believes in this?’, ‘which women are we speaking to?’”</p><p dir="ltr">For Malvestida (which means ‘badly dressed’), Higareda also writes about beauty and fashion, but with a more inclusive perspective. “We have articles about why a woman decided not to shave her body again; that’s a kind of beauty for us.”</p><p dir="ltr">Higareda noted that ‘women’s empowerment’ or ‘body positive’ articles are now more common in mainstream, international fashion magazines, but she said these publications “will always have some lines that they can’t cross.”</p><p dir="ltr">“In the end,” she said, writers and readers of these large, commercial publications are often dealing with “a giant bureaucracy and structure that answers to a multimillionaire enterprise managed by men.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“We have articles about why a woman decided not to shave her body again; that’s a kind of beauty for us.”</p><p dir="ltr">Even if one day mass media includes feminist perspectives in their editorial plans and business structures, that doesn’t mean that the need for independent and feminist media will disappear.</p><p dir="ltr">The challenge for those who fund and create independent media would be to keep looking for groups and realities forgotten by the rest of the media, in order to continuously defend equality and stimulate critical thinking.</p><p dir="ltr">Independent media creators must also adapt to the competitive and changing world of digital information – and look for creative ways of funding projects so that the burden of sustaining them does not continue to fall on non-remunerated (or poorly-remunerated) feminist journalists.</p><p dir="ltr">Our common goal, for feminist movements and Spanish-language feminist media, must be to have more and better-resourced platforms with these perspectives to inform us on all topics of interest. These projects must also be intersectional in their approach, writing about the realities of all groups.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Women's rights and the media feminism women's work young feminists Rocío Ros Rebollo Tue, 21 Aug 2018 09:06:32 +0000 Rocío Ros Rebollo 119343 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Tackling the trolls: how women are fighting back against online bullies https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sian-norris/tackling-trolls-how-women-fighting-back-online-bullies <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Refusing to be silent, women are leading research, campaigns and new strategies to stop trolls and create safer online spaces.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/online abuse (1).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/online abuse (1).jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="276" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Some of the abuse the author received on Facebook in 2012. Image: screenshot.</span></span></span>Back in 2012, I went to the police to report an incident of online harassment. <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/feb/09/closure-of-hooters-breastaurant-welcome">A man</a> had called me an obscene name, threatened to find out where I lived in order to post my details on 4Chan, and wrote “she must pay!!”. He accepted a caution.</p><p dir="ltr">This wasn’t my first incident of online abuse.</p><p dir="ltr">There was the rising academic and popular environmentalist who commented on everything I wrote, in a way that amounted to sustained harassment. When I wrote a piece on abortion rights, he called me a “fucking baby killer.”</p><p dir="ltr">In recent years, I’ve been told to <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2018/03/online-violence-against-women-chapter-2/#topanchor">drink floor polish</a> and <a href="http://sianandcrookedrib.blogspot.com/2012/07/i-hope-some-c-rapes-you-online.html">that I need to be raped</a>. I’ve been repeatedly called a bitch and a cunt. People have responded to my articles with images of dead babies. Last month, I was told to “shut my libtard cock-holster’.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/sep/03/caroline-criado-perez-rape-threats-continue">Feminist activists </a>have received endless abuse leaving some with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) symptoms. I know of women who have received <a href="https://longreads.com/2018/03/28/who-does-she-think-she-is/">bomb threats</a>; friends who have had their faces Photoshopped onto obscene images.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“When I wrote a piece on abortion rights, he called me a “fucking baby killer.”</p><p dir="ltr">Women, however, are refusing to be silent, striking back against online abuse and taking action to tackle the trolls. From <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/intimidation-in-public-life">governments</a> to <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2018/03/online-violence-against-women-chapter-1/#topanchor">NGOs</a> and grassroots <a href="http://www.troll-busters.com/">activists</a>, there is a growing effort to respond to online harassment.</p><p dir="ltr">One campaign is called <a href="https://yoursosteam.wordpress.com/about/">Troll Busters</a>. Founded in 2014, the project offers practical advice and support to journalists experiencing online abuse. It was set up with a clear message: “the trolls don’t have to win. We have your back!”</p><p dir="ltr">For founder Michelle Ferrier, this project is a chance to “create an anti-<a href="https://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/gamergate-scandal-erupts-video-game-community">Gamergate</a>”. Gamergate was the notorious and vicious online attacks co-ordinated by Men’s Rights Activists against women in the gaming industry.</p><p dir="ltr">Ferrier had been targeted by an increasingly violent stalker ten years previously, when a columnist for a Florida newspaper. She’s also experienced abuse online.</p><p dir="ltr">“I noticed that attacks on women online were increasing,” she told me recently, over Skype. “It wasn’t just me who was being attacked – it was other women, and other women of colour, journalists.”</p><p dir="ltr">“I wanted to try and stem the hate that I had seen happening online around the Gamergate movement,” Ferrier continued. “And to try and find some way of helping those women.”</p><p dir="ltr">“Our strategy is to find and address online attacks when they’re happening, so we can diminish the severity and the pile-on effect,” Ferrier told me.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Our strategy is to find and address online attacks when they’re happening, so we can diminish the severity and the pile-on effect.”</p><p dir="ltr">“We do that in two ways. We have a reporting mechanism, so people can contact us and we can go and operate in their social media feed,” Ferrier said.</p><p dir="ltr">“And we use social media monitoring and machine learning to find instances where journalists are under attack, and get their consent to operate in their feed.”</p><p dir="ltr">Troll Busters helps journalists deal with attacks, but also offers “one-on-one support to help them gather evidence for law enforcement, and to deal with management so they can restore their reputations and be protected from further abuse,” Ferrier said.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/online abuse (2).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/online abuse (2).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="219" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The Troll Busters project website. Image: screenshot.</span></span></span>Recently, 50.50’s Lara Whyte experienced exactly the kind of pile-on that Troll Busters aims to tackle and diffuse. Following her report on a men's rights conference in London, she was subject to a coordinated online attacks.</p><p dir="ltr">"I suddenly had loads of new followers who had done so for the explicit purpose of abusing me, or liking or commenting on others doing so,” Whyte told me. “I felt threatened because fringe elements of the MRA movement can be explicitly violent,”</p><p dir="ltr">“Online, there was a real pack mentality and none of the empathy or reasonableness that I had experienced in some of my offline interactions with individuals at the conference,” she added.</p><p dir="ltr">Comments ranged from "telling me how stupid I was, or how much of a liar I was, and lots of words and comments that were specifically targeted in order to upset me as much as possible,” she said.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/online abuse (1).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/online abuse (1).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="280" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>One of the comments directed at Whyte. Image: screenshot. </span></span></span>“I felt that this group of men who feel disempowered and furious were taking revenge, collectively, in a space where they still have a disproportionate amount of power – the internet," Whyte added.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“I felt that this group of men who feel disempowered and furious were taking revenge, collectively, in a space where they still have a disproportionate amount of power – the internet."&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">In the UK, the <a href="http://www.lwn.org.uk/">Labour Women’s Network</a> is currently putting together guidance on how to cope with trolling. This is, in part, a response to how during the 2017 election, women in all political parties were subject to torrents of online abuse.</p><p dir="ltr">One Labour MP received a staggering <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/05/diane-abbott-more-abused-than-any-other-mps-during-election">half of all abuse</a> sent on social media – Diane Abbott. The abuse sent to her was a toxic mix of racism and misogyny.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The discovery that Abbott received half of all the abuse sent to women MPs during the 2017 election campaign was made by <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/">Amnesty International</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The charity commissioned research to better understand the treatment of women on Twitter (declaration: I was interviewed about my own experience as part of this research). Their report, <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2018/03/online-violence-against-women-chapter-1/#topanchor">Toxic Twitter</a>, was a damning indictment of the social media giant’s failure to protect women users.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/online abuse (3).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/online abuse (3).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Diana Abbott speaking at Corbyn leadership rally, 2016. Photo: <a href="https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diane_Abbot_Corbyn_leadership_rally_August_2016.jpg">Paul NUK.</a> CC 2.0.</span></span></span>Amnesty researcher Azmina Dhrodia said they approached online abuse from a human rights perspective to “ask what are the government’s obligations to protect women from violence online, and what responsibilities social media companies have to make sure women aren’t experiencing abuse on their platforms.”</p><p dir="ltr">“We wanted to understand any patterns or trends of how women experience abuse online,” she told me, “in order to use human rights standards to look at solutions.”</p><p dir="ltr">Their <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2018/03/online-violence-against-women-chapter-5/#topanchor">research</a> warned that online abuse can have a “chilling effect on women speaking out online”.</p><p dir="ltr">The report <a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/research/2018/03/online-violence-against-women-chapter-5/#topanchor">warned</a> that the “silencing and censoring impact of violence and abuse against women on Twitter can have far-reaching and harmful repercussions on how younger women, women from marginalised communities, and future generations fully exercise their right to participate in public life.”</p><p dir="ltr">“When women experience abuse online,” Azmina told me, “it can negate the future of women and girls engaging in civic and political spaces. We don’t want women forced into silence, we want to see women able to express themselves in a free and equal way.”</p><p dir="ltr">Amnesty is now campaigning to get Twitter to improve its recording of women’s reports of abuse, and be more transparent about how they moderate these reports.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“We don’t want women forced into silence, we want to see women able to express themselves in a free and equal way.”</p><p dir="ltr">In March, a UK government report on <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/intimidation-in-public-life">Intimidation In Public Life</a> said: “the intimidation experienced by Parliamentary candidates, and others in public life, has become a threat to the diversity, integrity, and vibrancy of representative democracy in the UK”.</p><p dir="ltr">The report reviewed the “intimidation of parliamentary candidates in July 2017” when it said that “a significant proportion of candidates... experienced harassment, abuse and intimidation.”</p><p dir="ltr">Its authors argued “that our political culture can be protected from further damage if action is taken now” at this “watershed moment in our political history.”</p><p dir="ltr">Social media companies, it said, should “implement tools to tackle online intimidation through user options”; “do more to prevent users being inundated with hostile messages on their platforms; and “support users who become victims of this behaviour.”</p><p dir="ltr">Some magazines and newspapers have taken their own steps to reduce the abuse sent to their writers.</p><p dir="ltr">In the UK, the <a href="https://www.newstatesman.com/">New Statesman</a> was one of the first publications to remove comments from their website. Associate editor <a href="https://www.newstatesman.com/writers/helen_lewis">Helen Lewis</a> explained the decision to me over email, saying that “in 2012, I argued that unfiltered, un-moderated comments were ruining news sites. I stand by that analysis.”</p><p dir="ltr">Lewis found that “topics such as feminism, race, identity politics and immigration all attracted big reactions, and it wasn't clear whether that was an authentic expression of the feelings of regular [New Statesman] readers, or whether some topics attract ‘drive by’ comments from a handful of people across all the major news sites.”</p><p dir="ltr">She’s introduced other avenues for reader feedback, including a digital letters page.</p><p dir="ltr">I’ve spoken publicly about the abuse I’ve experienced online, here and elsewhere. Sometimes I tweet about it as and when it happens. This can bring solidarity into your timeline at a time when you are enduring a pile on or being targeted.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Because social media companies and the authorities often fail to deal with online abuse, there’s a lack of trust from women that reporting will be effective. Beyond reporting to the police, I’ve never contacted Twitter about the abuse I’ve received.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Online abuse doesn’t exist because of the internet. It exists because of misogyny.”</p><p dir="ltr">Sharing our experiences can be a powerful antidote to that distrust of these platforms. It helps to feel heard, believed, and listened to – especially when those hosting the abuse, or responsible for prosecuting the abuse, aren’t paying attention.</p><p dir="ltr">But it is exhausting to disclose over and over again what happens to you, as a woman online. Worse, it can be triggering for women who have experienced more severe abuse than me.</p><p dir="ltr">Research, campaigns, one-on-one support and government-led recommendations are all part of the fight against online abuse. But fundamentally, online abuse doesn’t exist because of the internet. It exists because of misogyny.</p><p dir="ltr">The visceral hatred of women experienced by me and other women online is an expression of the deep-seated misogyny, racism, homophobia, classism and transphobia that permeates our societies.</p><p dir="ltr">Social media has given that hatred a platform, but Twitter didn’t invent sexism.</p><p dir="ltr">If we are to end online abuse, then we have to tackle the anger some men feel against women who speak up, and take up public space. Until we tackle the misogyny that brews offline, we won’t succeed in combating it in the digital sphere.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 violence against women feminism women's work young feminists Sian Norris Wed, 15 Aug 2018 09:55:16 +0000 Sian Norris 119208 at https://www.opendemocracy.net ‘Feminism is cancer’: the angry backlash against our reporting on the men’s rights movement https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer/feminism-is-cancer-mens-rights-activists-online-backlash <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>50.50's recent dispatch on this movement received hundreds of comments and messages on social media. We read them so you don’t have to.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mra reaction (1).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mra reaction (1).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="298" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of tweet from @JuliusConrad88. Photo: Nandini Archer.</span></span></span>Men’s rights activists (MRAs) met in London last month at one of the largest gatherings of anti-feminists in the world. 50.50’s <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/lara-whyte/young-men-should-be-furious-inside-worlds-largest-mens-rights-activism">dispatch</a> from the conference aroused an angry backlash, as MRAs mobilised their supporters to try to discredit our report and drown out any positive response to it.</p><p dir="ltr">They left hundreds of comments under the article and on social media – which run from the misguided but sincere, through foolish and provocative to misleading, abusive, and hateful. They show what we’re up against, and reflect the abuse that women journalists so often face online.</p><p dir="ltr">In this case, conference organisers emailed participants to encourage them to attack the dispatch. Many apparently obliged.</p><p dir="ltr">We read their comments, so you don’t have to. If you’re sick of hateful vitriol, take this as a content warning.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“An unfiltered window into this angry, anti-feminist backlash.”</p><p dir="ltr">Countless commenters have left vehemently and explicitly anti-feminist messages, calling us “rabid feminists,” “crazy feminists” and “feminist bullies.”</p><p dir="ltr">Several comments were deleted by openDemocracy’s moderators because they made personal attacks on the article’s author, against our <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/info/opendemocracy-comment-guidelines">guidelines for commenters</a> on the website.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">One of these deleted comments asked, about our reporter: “Am I the only one who… thought: ‘something have to be done to keep such monster and her ilks away from male children and boys’?”</p><p dir="ltr">Another deleted comment said: “Why do you hate baby males, Lara? Baby males are innocent and weak, baby males can't beat you, Lara.”</p><p>Yet another was left by Paul Elam, founder of the US ‘<a href="https://www.avoiceformen.com">Voice for Men</a>’ movement who <a href="https://www.buzzfeed.com/adamserwer/how-mens-rights-leader-paul-elam-turned-being-a-deadbeat-dad?utm_term=.eow8JQ8xV#.ok93j23Ov">rallies against</a> ‘false’ rape accusations and family courts that he says favour women. His deleted comment said: “Feminism is Cancer.”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mra reaction (3).png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mra reaction (3).png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="210" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of comment from Paul Elam. Photo: Nandini Archer.</span></span></span>The same comment, “feminism is cancer”, was posted by another user called ‘Kronk’ (this was also deleted). On Twitter, @JuliusConrad88 also tagged our dispatch with the hashtag #feminismiscancer.</p><p dir="ltr">Others have taken the opportunity to make (unoriginal) objectifying comments about feminists. On Twitter, <a href="https://twitter.com/AlanEngland4/status/1022127515614281729">@AlanEngland4 said</a>: “Many so-called feminist gatherings are not pretty either; it's the three-day stubble which gets me!”</p><p dir="ltr">Still other commenters have been downright nasty. @bonedagger said on Twitter, about our reporter:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">“I don't know how she did it either. That bold, brave pathfinder. Incredible stuff. She could have been eaten alive or anything. I'm surprised she wasn't gang-raped and thrown into the Thames to drown.”</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Watching it unfold, I was particularly struck by how coordinated and quick the backlash against this dispatch was, and how certain themes were repeated in comments. Some of these I want to respond to directly.</p><p dir="ltr">Several people asserted that women were, in fact, welcome and present at the conference. (We know; women attendees featured in the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/lara-whyte/young-men-should-be-furious-inside-worlds-largest-mens-rights-activism">dispatch</a>, and in <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/lara-whyte-adam-bychawski-camille-mijola/backlash-podcast-episode-4-mens-rights-movement">our new podcast episode</a> on this movement).</p><p dir="ltr">MRAs and their supporters insisted that the international conference on men’s issues our reporter attended was diverse. ‘Kaarefog’ commented:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">“By the way – I think I remember that one of the men selling food was black. I am not quite sure, but I think so. So maybe not all men in the breakout room at that point of time were white.”</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Mike Buchanan himself, organiser of the conference, and founder of the <a href="https://j4mb.org.uk">Justice for Men and Boys</a> British anti-feminist political party, added:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">“Yes, he was. Likewise one of the security men. Though none of this matters. I have never encountered sexism, racism, ageism, or homophobia, in the men's rights movement. Such bigotry is anathema to MRAs.”</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">Considering Mike Buchanan is a white, straight cis-male, it comes as no shock that he’s never encountered these forms of discrimination.</p><p dir="ltr">And as a woman of colour, I’d also remark that if you notice two black men working in service jobs at a conference, this is not a sign of diversity, but more likely, a rather hierarchical system of labour. </p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mra reaction (2)_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mra reaction (2)_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="291" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of tweet from @bonedagger. Photo: Nandini Archer.</span></span></span>A common theme in comments has been anger towards the situation of men and boys globally, with some citing domestic violence against men, male circumcision, deaths from industrial accidents and suicide rates.</p><p dir="ltr">“How often are men told they need to be in touch with their emotions, but not anger of course,” said a commenter called ‘Omnia Incendent.’</p><p dir="ltr">We haven’t suggested that men shouldn’t be angry. But if anger is directed in an abusive and oppressive way toward women, rather than toward gender norms which impact both men and women, then it’s hateful, and not okay.</p><p dir="ltr">Mike Buchanan said in another comment:</p><blockquote><p dir="ltr">“But of course men of ALL ages - not just young men - should be furious at the state's assaults on their human rights, almost all of which are designed to privilege women and girls.”</p></blockquote><p dir="ltr">My take on this: whether it's control over women's bodies, the sexualisation of women, the gender pay gap, harassment walking home at night, domestic homicide, or child marriage, it's clear that male privilege is an essential building block of most societies.</p><p dir="ltr">That said, rigid norms which enforce a gender binary or toxic masculinities can, of course, harm men and boys as well, and many feminists work tirelessly to address these forms and impacts of oppression too.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">@Azeraph<a href="https://twitter.com/Azeraph/status/1022200903183491072"> wrote on Twitter</a>, about our reporter’s dispatch on the men’s rights movement: “All I got from this article was threatened woman reaction.”</p><p dir="ltr">Yet, the over 100 comments on this article, among many others on social media, suggest a different story – that MRAs and their supporters are the ones feeling threatened, by feminism and gains in women’s rights.</p><p dir="ltr">If the aim of their coordinated attack was to discredit 50.50’s dispatch, their tactics and insults has rather shown us, again, why many perceive this movement as sexist, misogynistic and hateful in the first place.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 UK Equality Women's rights and the media Tracking the backlash violence against women patriarchy feminism Nandini Archer Tue, 14 Aug 2018 12:00:14 +0000 Nandini Archer 119094 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The Backlash podcast episode 4: the men's rights movement https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/backlash-podcast-episode-4-mens-rights-movement <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>50.50 attended an international gathering of men's rights activists in London and spoke to some of the men, and women, involved in this movement.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_7.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_7.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="254" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Assembled delegates at the Men’s Rights Conference in the London’s Excel Centre. Picture credit: Justice for Men and Boys.</span></span></span>For our fourth episode of The Backlash podcast, we went inside one of the world’s largest gatherings of men’s rights activists (MRAs) in London, and spoke to some of the men, and women, involved in this anti-feminist movement.</p><p dir="ltr">We hear from Alastair (who didn't give us his surname) from the UK fringe political party Justice for Men and Boys which organised the conference. We also speak to Karen Straughan, a revered figure within the MRA movement and “the most famous anti-feminist in the world.”</p><p dir="ltr"><strong><iframe width="100%" height="120" src="https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?hide_cover=1&amp;feed=%2F5050od%2Fthe-backlash-episode-four-the-mens-rights-movement%2F" frameborder="0"></iframe></strong></p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Lara Whyte (LW):</strong> Hello and welcome to The Backlash: a podcast series tracking threats against women’s and LGBT rights, brought to you by <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/">50.50</a>, the gender and sexuality section of openDemocracy. I’m Lara Whyte and I am your host.</p><p dir="ltr">In July, 50.50 spent a weekend attending the International Conference on Men’s Issues in London, where men’s rights activists from 24 different countries gathered to discuss the evils of feminism and what can be done about it.</p><p dir="ltr">Concepts like mansplaining, manspreading, rape culture on campuses were all used as examples of how feminism and women’s rights have supposedly 'gone too far'.</p><p dir="ltr">When we talk about the backlash against feminism or women’s rights, men’s rights activists – or MRAs, as they call themselves – are a movement that we think needs serious and critical attention.</p><p dir="ltr">I wrote a dispatch on the conference for 50.50 and promptly received torrents of abuse – as the conference organiser emailed all attendees urging them to troll me in the comments section of our website.</p><p dir="ltr">There has been some extreme cherry-picking of the article, and claims of misrepresentation as I wrote how, when I walked into the room before the conference began, I was briefly the only woman in a room full of white men. It was worth mentioning, because it was the first thing I noticed as I entered, and it was quite intimidating. I did not say there were no women in the movement – there are – and at the conference there were a tiny handful of non-white attendees, including a speaker from the Indian men’s rights movement.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/16747525382_d32e43d8a7_o.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/16747525382_d32e43d8a7_o.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="258" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The Men’s Rights Movement in India. Photo:<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/127681690@N02/16747525382">Amit Deshpande/Peter Wright/Flickr.</a> CC BY-NC 2.0.</span></span></span>At the conference I spoke to a woman named Karen Straughan, who I really tried to understand in a lengthy interview where she talked about women's privilege and why she's never identified as a feminist herself.</p><p dir="ltr">Karen is a revered figure within the movement – and is loved for being, quote: “the most famous anti-feminist in the world.”</p><p dir="ltr">Before we go into that interview, here’s a man called Alastair from the British anti-feminist political party Justice for Men and Boys, which organised the conference. This is the description of feminists, and feminism, that he gave to openDemocracy’s Adam Bychawski, who was at the conference for 50.50.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Alastair: </strong>There is no pleasing them, there's no making deals with them. They are ideological terrorists. They are obsessed with their ideology and, regardless of what they say, they will attack you and resort to criminal and terrorist activities: bomb threats, violence, disrupting peaceful meetings and then, of course, just lies and slander.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Adam: </strong>And have you experienced that yourself?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Alastair: </strong>Personally no, but I have seen various examples. Just look at the famous case of Big Red, attacking the cafe meeting and then screaming that feminists don't hate men we just hate patriarchy and using various expletives.</p><p dir="ltr">So there has been case after case of feminists and feminist-aligned institutions attacking peaceful people just gathering to talk about their problems because they want to control the narrative. They are offended by men talking without women – no, without feminists – supervising. Feminism is an evil ideology and I want it to be equated with, say, the Westboro Baptist Church.</p><p dir="ltr">Other feminist organisations, I would rather have them classed as con groups. They are not charities, they are massive cons. They just lie about statistics to grab money. So that's not terrorism it's just con artistry. Like, wow, women's aid and things. They lie about statistics to get money, playing on people's sympathies – so they're just con artists.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Feminism is an evil ideology and I want it to be equated with the Westboro Baptist Church.”</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>So, that’s what we are dealing with there.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.youtube.com/user/girlwriteswhat">Karen Straughan</a> is a Canadian anti-feminist who has been writing and video blogging on gender issues since 2010. She has almost 200,000 subscribers on YouTube which, from the MRAs I spoke to at the conference, seems to be a vital platform for this movement. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Karen opened the conference with her keynote address which was called: “Why women must consign feminism to the dustbin of history.”</p><p dir="ltr">We spoke for about 40 minutes, and covered a lot of topics. She is a charismatic and incredibly engaging woman, and so her activism on men’s rights seems to add a certain legitimacy to this movement – which is why I wanted to talk to her to try to dig down into why she does what she does and what motivates her.</p><p dir="ltr">In Karen’s keynote address, she spoke about why she would give up her right to vote if it led to men and women having equality – and remember that she thinks that women have more privileges than men.</p><p dir="ltr">So I start here by asking her why she would possibly give up her right to vote.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_5.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_5.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="286" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Karen Straughan during her keynote speech. Photo: Lara Whyte.</span></span></span><strong>KS:</strong> I would if I felt like that was something that I had to do in order to make things more fair or redress an imbalance, I would certainly do that. That doesn’t mean that I want to, or that I would choose to do so for no reason whatsoever, so...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> So what is the reason then?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Well, you know, when women got the vote – when men got the vote, they got the vote, largely in the US, they got the vote because their voting rights and their citizenship rights were tied to conscription. And when women got the vote and full citizenship rights they didn’t have any similar obligation placed on them.</p><p dir="ltr">Women got the rights, got all the same rights, they didn’t get any of the obligations to the state. So I think that’s not fair. Personally, I would rather women be made to register in the selective service in the US, I think they should be held more accountable, as citizens, and have similar obligations to men.</p><p dir="ltr">You know, people say there’s no draft in Canada, but that’s just one act of parliament away from happening if it’s ever necessary, right? And if women aren’t included in that draft, then I don’t know that they deserve their vote.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>So what about the obligations on women to continue the population?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> There are no obligations on women to do that. Would you...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> But without those bodies none of us would be here...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>True. What we have is this idea that women have an obligation, you know, in quotation marks, to give birth, when women have no such obligation and they haven’t for at least 50 years.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> And so you think that’s a privilege, that women have more privileges than men? Is that correct or am I putting words into your mouth there?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Um, I think that women definitely have more privileges than men. Because a privilege is something that you get for nothing. Right?</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Women definitely have more privileges than men. Because a privilege is something you get for nothing. Right?”</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>So what are those privileges?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Well, if men got the vote because they’re draftable, and women got the vote for nothing, that’s a privilege.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> But do you not think everyone should have the vote?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> I think everyone should have the vote too, I just don’t think that only men should be drafted. And I think that the way we frame it now, it's all of these horrible men, who kept the vote away from women for no good reason whatsoever, when in reality the majority of women didn’t want the vote and essentially fought against getting the vote, some of them because they were worried that they would be drafted, and they didn’t want that.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> But fundamentally you do agree with the principle that women should be able to vote...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> I think that every adult should be able to vote, sure.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>So when you say 'I would give up my vote,' you are just being provocative, you don't really mean it?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>Not really, because I would, I absolutely would.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> You’re Canadian;</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>Yes.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>There’s a lot of Canadian women in this movement. What's that about?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> I don’t know; cabin fever? I have no idea why that is, we’re a little bit weird I guess.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>And what did draw you to the movement – and I’m trying to avoid the 'why are you here' question – if you could just kind of take me through the steps, like did you identify as a feminist?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> No.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>Never?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Never.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> But some of the arguments that the men’s rights movement put forward, to me as an outsider, do seem to be in line with some of the feminist goals…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Yes.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>So...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>It’s not about the goals, or its not about the stated goals – feminism isn’t just a prescription, right, it’s a description as well. So it not only says here’s what we want society to look like, in the future, it also describes what they feel society actually looks like right now.</p><p dir="ltr">That’s a diagnosis, right, so they are essentially saying: here is the disease, here is the mechanism as to how it operates and here is what we need to prescribe in order to get to a healthy body. And I think that they have the entire paradigm of disease wrong, the entire model and conceptualisation of the disease wrong.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/800px-Toronto-Slutwalk.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/800px-Toronto-Slutwalk.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Slut Walk protest in Toronto, 2011. Photo:<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Toronto-Slutwalk.jpg">Anton Bielousov.</a> CC 3.0</span></span></span><strong>LW:</strong> What has feminism got so wrong?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>Oh, that society is a patriarchy, where men oppress women for their own benefit. Who is raising these men who allegedly created a society that hates women? And how can you actually look at the men around you, that you care about, and say that you and people like you constructed a society based entirely on oppressing the people with whom you form the most intimate personal relationships with from the moment you are born. Oppressing them for your own benefit. What kind of psychopath would a man have to be to decide that this is how I want society to operate? That I want to oppress these women for my own benefit.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“What kind of psychopath would a man have to be to decide that this is how I want society to operate? That I want to oppress these women for my own benefit.”</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>But did they not just inherit this society where they had a privileged position so therefore they're unwilling to give it up?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> I wouldn’t call it a privileged position at all.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> Why not?</p><p><strong>KS: </strong>Why not, well, OK – have you ever spent any time being shelled in a trench?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> No, thankfully not.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> There you go. Well, you know, that was just something that men... all it took was social pressure from young women. There was a story I read on...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> Was that not more about government winning territory and utilising both men and women to do that?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Yeah, they utilised women to manipulate men into giving their lives. And why would men give their lives at the behest of women if they were interested in oppressing women?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> Your talk was about how women need to demolish feminism…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>I think you need to appeal to their basic sense of fairness. I think women do have a sense of fairness when it’s sort of really presented to them in bold terms.</p><p dir="ltr">So many of the women who have come into sort of the men’s movement or the non feminist and anti-feminist activated sectors of society it's because they had sons and they saw how their sons were treated at school or saw how their sons were treated by the system. They don’t want to dope their kid up with ritalin, just because the teacher doesn’t like his boy behaviour.</p><p dir="ltr">Things like that…</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“They don’t want to dope their kid up with ritalin, just because the teacher doesn’t like his boy behaviour.”</p><p><strong>LW:</strong> Within every newsroom that I’ve worked in, I’ve experienced a man on my level earning more. Have you never experienced any kind of sexism within your work that’s made you think: oh, something’s not really right here?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Not in terms of pay, no…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> So you’ve never been a victim of sexism?</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/5816885834_4a98ce02e0_o.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/5816885834_4a98ce02e0_o.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Australian Services Union Protest, 2011. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/asu_nsw/5816885834">ASU/Flickr.</a> CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.</span></span></span><strong>KS:</strong> Sure I have… not in terms of pay. And frankly, as far as pay goes, it wouldn’t really, you know, 50 cents an hour doesn’t bother me, I’ve always been a minimum wage worker, up until I started doing this. So that’s just arguing over pennies and...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>It’s value, and it's a sense of...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>OK, you know you have a right to be angry about that, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it's systemic, across society, it may just be in places where you’ve worked, or in a particular industry. You know, I could tell you that female runway models make 10-100 times more than male runway models…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> And male footballers make 10-100 times more than female footballers.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>That’s right, there you go, and there’s not necessarily any injustice there. Because female runway models bring in more money for the client, right, and so do male footballers, bring in more money for the league. So, essentially, what you're looking at: some of these issues are systemic, maybe; you can’t assume that all of it is sexism, and you don’t necessarily have to assume that any of it is sexism, because some of it can be explained just by personal preference of women.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> So you were featured in the film Red Pill. So one of the things that really struck me in that film was that there was a discussion of a loss of status for men, a kind of, a loss of income, a loss of place, and that women were kind of blamed directly for that. But at no point was there any discussion of capitalism. The economic realities of our time are that a few people are incredibly rich and everybody else is getting poorer, and the film really didn’t go into that.</p><p dir="ltr">And the men’s rights movement, from my so far limited experience of it, just seems to be anti-women it doesn’t seem to be anti-the other contributing factors that have led men to this space where they feel like they’re not being taken seriously, where their pain isn’t being heard…</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/800px--womensmarch2018_Philly_Philadelphia_-MeToo_(39096875124).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/800px--womensmarch2018_Philly_Philadelphia_-MeToo_(39096875124).jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Women's March in Philadelphia, 2018. Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:-womensmarch2018_Philly_Philadelphia_-MeToo_(39096875124).jpg">Rob Kall.</a> CC 2.0.</span></span></span><strong>KS: </strong>OK, well, here’s the thing: it hasn’t really mattered what system we’ve been operating under, men’s pain has not been heard. So, communism, you know, men’s pain was not heard. Capitalism, men’s pain was not heard. Socialism, men’s pain is not heard. Men’s pain is not heard. It doesn’t really matter what economic system we’re working under these are deep psychological, social-psychology problems right, that are intrinsic to us as human beings, they’re not some kind of bi-product of whatever economic system we’re using, they’re endemic to all of them.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Men’s pain is not heard.”</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>But it feels like feminism and women’s rights are being blamed for the conditions of where we are at the moment, and feminists would be advocating for some of the same things here… you know, men’s pain should be heard, they shouldn’t have to be strong, boys should be able to cry...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> I know, and it seems very surprising then that when men’s rights activists talk about their feelings, the male tears coffee mugs come out on Twitter, you know, from feminists, from the very feminists who say we want you to talk about how you really feel. When men talk about that, then they get: wha-wha, man-baby beer tears, sorry I hurt your man-feels.</p><p><strong>LW: </strong>But is that not more about the corporate capture of feminism and how capitalism is just making feminism…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Oh no, feminism has always been just absolutely rotten, right from the declaration of sentiments and probably before, it’s just absolutely rotten. It’s had a streak of man-hating a mile wide running through the middle of it, and go read the declaration of sentiments, read it with an uncharitable eye, okay, and look at it as a list of grievances: men have been horrible to women, end of story, period.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> But is the men’s rights movement not doing kind of the same thing by blaming women?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>We don’t blame women.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>Second part of that question is what’s it like being a woman within the men’s rights movement?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> It’s excellent, it’s excellent, it’s awesome to be part of this movement. One of the things that always struck me is, because I come to a lot of these things, and I have never ever in anyway felt uneasy or unsafe; there’s some wacky guys here sometimes, right, at these things, they’re a little socially awkward, they’re a little goofy, for sure. But I’ve never felt in anyway endangered while I’ve been here.</p><p dir="ltr">But, you know, there was this male feminist I did an interview with, and I did a sort of conversation with him online, about a year and a half ago, and he seemed desperate to jam me back into a female victim box – he seemed absolutely desperate to essentially say what you've said to me here, some of the things that you have said to me here, you know: don’t you feel you’ve been victimised by sexism? Don’t you feel you’ve been treated unfairly? Well, of course I have, everybody has. But he just seemed determined to cram me back into this box of female victimhood, where he could, I don’t know, be my rescuer and the rescuer of all woman and then, like 8 months later he shot his girlfriend to death.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> He’s not a feminist – if he shot his girlfriend, he’s not a feminist.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> But what is feminism? Other than trying to keep women in a box where they concentrate constantly on their victimhood. What I get out of the men’s rights movement is the feeling that I can serve, that I have something to offer people who are not like me, that I have something to give to society, something unique, something valuable, right, that I have an obligation and a responsibility to pick that up and carry it forward. Not for my own benefit, but for the benefit of others. That is a massively huge feeling. Feminism, all it ever told me was, you know: poor you. And that's just not who I am.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“What I get out of the men’s rights movement is the feeling that I can serve.”</p><p><strong>LW:</strong> So do you get abuse from people online?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> No…. I get the odd bit from feminists, the odd feminist will be like, you know, you’re a traitor to your gender, or you just want male attention. I just, generally I just ignore it. Every once in a while someone will put an actual argument rather than a slur, and I’ll get involved in a conversation, but generally it’s pretty, I keep things pretty genial.</p><p dir="ltr">But 99% of the feedback I get is positive, so…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>What do you think is the biggest myth about the men’s rights movement that you would like to bust?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> That we hate women, that’s the biggest myth that I would like to bust. I have never seen anybody at any of these events who I could describe in any way as hating women. Men are angry at women, at times, particularly, and I think, honestly, justifiably so. It’s justifiable to be angry like, when you ask, how do you convince women to give up these advantages, and it’s like: because that would be fair?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>What advantages do you mean?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>Like advantages in family court, the assumption that the mother is the best parent...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> But feminists would agree with you on this.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Except that they fight shared parenting bills.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>I think it was you that said earlier that a lot of shared parenting bills were brought in by women.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> They are brought in by women but they're not brought in by feminists.</p><p>You said: you guys seem so anti-women. And we are not anti-women. And honestly even when we talk about how men have specific masculine virtues – or like when I was saying there weren’t any women swimming through the caves in Thailand, rescuing those kids – like, you know, that’s fine, that’s fine. Because women have other things that they do, that they're good at, that men aren't necessarily good at, or don’t want to do.</p><p dir="ltr">And you know the whole idea is that we are complementarian, that we are together, and that we each have strengths and weaknesses and we balance all of these things out. That is what we want. We don’t want men and women to be in competition with each other – that’s just a recipe for unhappiness for everybody, especially children.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>You said something in your speech about gallons of water that would be saved if families stayed together. What did you mean by that?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Well, when you have a divorce and you have a family now living in two separate households instead of one, you use more water, you buy more refrigerators, and washing machines, and TVs...</p><p><strong>LW:</strong> Yeah, I get that, that’s not what I’m asking…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>If we didn’t have the divorce rate that we do, and if people were getting married at the age they were in the 1970s and staying married, then 30 billions gallons of water a year in the US would be preserved because we would have a lower consumption rate.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“If we didn’t have the divorce rate that we do… 30 billions gallons of water a year in the US would be preserved because we would have a lower consumption rate.”</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> But why would you stay in an unhappy marriage? You are not advocating for that are you?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>Unhappy, define unhappy. And how long does unhappy last? And can you work on it to make it less unhappy, or even back to happy? They surveyed women, I forget how many, what the sample size was, but they asked them what they were going to do and they followed them for 5 years, and asked them how happy they were, and the women who decided to end their marriages were less happy than the ones who decided to work on it and stick it out.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>That’s seems to be a really traditional, heteronormative view of the family...</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_6.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_6.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="375" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Paul Townsend/Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0) Some rights reserved.</span></span></span><strong>KW:</strong> But my family never decided what I was going to do with my life.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> If I could clarify, what I was trying to say there is, you know, the traditional family with the man being the head of it and the family staying together…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> I haven’t necessarily talked at all about…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> But that’s what it seems like to an outsider when we talk about families staying together…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>So you’re saying when women are the head of the family, families split apart... is that what you're saying?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>No, I’m not saying that…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Because that’s what it seems… when men are the head of the family, families stay together, when women are the head of the family, families break apart...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> Well, no, it’s normally when a family breaks apart that the woman becomes the head of the family not necessarily through choice but circumstances… but I suppose the point I was trying to ask you about was, in a wider sense, there seems to be a kind of over-romanticising of the past within this movement…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Not really…</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW: </strong>So you talk about your sons in the talk and how a lot of women come into this kind of advocacy after having sons. Why is that? And you talked about the tricks, the pitfalls, that girls can destroy boys' lives, what are they?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Oh, any kind of false allegation, for sure, even if it doesn’t really go anywhere other than rumour, it can destroy your social reputation as a boy.</p><p>Paternity fraud, going off birth control without telling him. How’s that? I know a guy, one guy whose wife ‘oops’-ed him for four out of their five kids.</p><p><strong>LW: </strong>And told you, and didn't tell...</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS: </strong>She told her sister and her sister told me. I think after the third time he pretty much knew. But by then he was stuck; it was cheaper to keep her. And every time he said he wanted a vasectomy she said she’d get a divorce. Well, yeah, she hasn’t worked the whole marriage, he’s stuck paying alimony, and she’d get custody and oh my goodness there’s his entire life in ruins, in shatters.</p><p dir="ltr">You know, like, honestly you realise that when men rape women, the legal system at least tries, at least acknowledges that those women have been wronged, but when women rape men, the legal system is the instrument that they use to do it.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“When women rape men, the legal system is the instrument that they use to do it.”</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> So you’re one of the most high profile women within the men’s rights movement, and more women are joining this movement, why do you think that is?</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>KS:</strong> Because I think that they see something wrong, and part of the reason why I do this isn’t just because I want my sons to be OK, I want my daughter to be OK too, and the world that I am leaving them. I’m not going to be here forever, and they're going to inherit this shit, this complete shit pile, OK, and so I feel like I have an obligation to try and make things at least liveable for them.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>LW:</strong> So that was Karen Straughan – and as you've heard, this movement and the men, and women, who lead it are complex. </p><p dir="ltr">Some of what they say actually chimes with feminist thinking, like when they talk about shared parenting responsibilities. But then other messages are just baffling: the suggestion that women, overall, are more privileged than men, or their obsession with men dying in wars for women.</p><p dir="ltr">We'll continue tracking the men's rights movement on <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050">50.50</a>, openDemocracy's gender and sexuality section. Before you go, I wanted to draw your attention to two fantastic pieces from the last month that you might have missed. Both of these pieces can also be read in <i>Español</i> – for those of you who can speak and read Spanish.</p><p><a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/diana-cariboni/conscientious-objectors-threaten-abortion-rights-latin-america">How ‘conscientious objectors’ threaten women’s newly-won abortion rights in Latin America</a> – it’s an amazing piece by Diana Cariboni. And also on <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/how-pamplona-is-fighting-sexual-violence-during-running-of-bulls" target="_blank">sexual violence at the San Fermin running of the bulls festival in Pamplona</a>, we have a special piece by Rocío Ros. So do check those two pieces out.</p><p>You have been listening to The Backlash, by 50.50, openDemocracy’s gender and sexuality section.</p><p dir="ltr">Big thanks to the team at the International Men’s Rights Conference this month including Camille Mijola, who is one of our feminist investigative journalism fellows, also to openDemocracy's Adam Bychawski, who did some great reporting with these MRAs.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050">50.50</a> is an independent feminist media platform. You can find us on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/5050oD" target="_blank">@5050oD</a>, and you can support our work by <a href="http://bit.ly/2pNDYDE">donating on our website</a>. Help us track the backlash against women’s and LGBT rights.</p> <p><b><i>This episode of The Backlash was presented and produced by Lara Whyte. Audio editing and music production by Simone Lai.</i></b></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 uk UK Equality Podcast Tracking the backlash patriarchy gender Camille Mijola Adam Bychawski Lara Whyte Mon, 13 Aug 2018 09:28:51 +0000 Lara Whyte, Adam Bychawski and Camille Mijola 119093 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Meet the women poets preserving indigenous languages in Mexico https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/b-reng-re-sim/meet-women-poets-preserving-indigenous-languages-in-mexico <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>“When you lose a language, you lose a whole culture," says Ana Chino Miguel, one of the women working to prevent this through storytelling and poetry.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_11.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_11.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460"/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Celerina Patricia Sánchez Santiago. Photo: Bérengère Sim.</span></span></span>Mexico’s culture ministry recognises <a href="https://www.gob.mx/cultura/articulos/lenguas-indigenas?idiom=es">68 indigenous languages</a> – although <a href="https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/04/140410-mexico-languages-speaking-cultures-world-zapotec/">some experts say</a> there are more than 100 spoken in the North American country.</p><p dir="ltr">Today, dozens of these languages are at risk of extinction – with battles to stop this being waged on multiple fronts. One of these is literary – with indigenous women among those preserving their languages through poetry and storytelling.</p><p dir="ltr">Celerina Patricia Sánchez Santiago is part of the Alliance for Indigenous Women in Central America and Mexico (<a href="http://alianzami.org/nosotras/">ALIANZA</a>) network strengthening the voices of indigenous women and their participation in feminist movements.</p><p dir="ltr">Preserving indigenous languages is “important to understanding who you are, to then understand the world, and to be a part of it,” says Sánchez, a linguist and indigenous rights activist from San Juan Mixtepec, in Oaxaca.</p> <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fopendemocracy5050%2Fvideos%2F2016080051757457%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="460" height="270" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe> <p>Sánchez speaks and writes poetry in Tu'un ñuu savi, the language of the Ñuu savi (‘the people of rain’), about her community’s culture, women’s lives, discrimination, resistance, and the multicultural composition of Mexican society.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2013, she published<a href="http://www.elem.mx/autor/obra/directa/121705/"> “Inií ichí”</a> (‘the essence of the path’), a compilation of her poetry in Tu’un ñuu savi and Spanish.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“When you lose a language, you lose a whole culture.” </p><p dir="ltr">“When you lose a language, you lose a whole culture,” adds Ana Chino Miguel, who is also from Oaxaca. She has written a children’s book as well as other teaching material in Zapoteco, the indigenous language she speaks.</p> <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fopendemocracy5050%2Fvideos%2F2016073075091488%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="460" height="270" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe> <p>“This is what we have to do, those of us who are aware of how valuable all of the languages in the world are,” Miguel said in Mexico City, where she lives. “Ours is also a language, but a lot of people discriminate against it and say it is a dialect.”</p><p dir="ltr">Over the years, she told me, elders’ customs have been forgotten. She said that she wanted not only to teach members of younger generations how to read their language but also to introduce them to these traditions.</p><p dir="ltr">“Raising awareness amongst children and young people, the culture will then be valued, with its craftsmanship, everything that constitutes a culture."</p> <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fopendemocracy5050%2Fvideos%2F2016041808427948%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="460" height="270" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true"></iframe> <p>More than <a href="https://www.gob.mx/cultura/articulos/lenguas-indigenas?idiom=es">7 million people in Mexico</a> (roughly seven in every 100 of the country’s inhabitants) speak at least one or more of these languages.</p><p dir="ltr">Mexico is one of the world's countries with the most indigenous languages, <a href="https://www.gob.mx/cultura/articulos/lenguas-indigenas?idiom=es">according to government authorities</a> – and second in Latin America after Brazil.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">In 2014, <a href="https://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/04/140410-mexico-languages-speaking-cultures-world-zapotec/">as many as 60</a> of these languages in Mexico were considered at risk of extinction, according to the public Centre of Research and Higher Studies in Social Anthropology, with 21 of these classified as ‘critically endangered.’</p><p dir="ltr">“In this world, even science has confirmed that diversity enriches our lives,” Sánchez told me: “So let us fight to be more diverse, to be different.”</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/aisling-walsh/how-mayan-women-in-guatemala-are-fighting-to-protect-their-designs-and-identity">How Mayan women in Guatemala are fighting to protect their designs – and their identity</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Mexico </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Culture </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Mexico Culture Women's rights and the media Bérengère Sim Thu, 09 Aug 2018 12:49:28 +0000 Bérengère Sim 119184 at https://www.opendemocracy.net La explotación del arte de las mujeres mayas es una historia de racismo, sexismo y capitalismo global https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aisling-walsh/la-explotacion-del-arte-maya-es-una-historia-de-racismo-sexismo-machismo <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Los cuerpos, el trabajo y el conocimiento de las mujeres mayas han sido explotados durante siglos. Es una vieja historia, ahora con un giro neoliberal. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/aisling-walsh/exploitation-mayan-women-art-racism-sexism-global-capitalism" target="_self">English</a></em></strong>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 4_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 4_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Textiles mayas dispuestos para una ceremonia. Foto: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>La vendedora de fruta, la cocinera de tortillas, la trabajadora doméstica, la niñera. Ellas son las Marías de Guatemala. Mujeres indígenas que continúan usando el traje maya tradicional. Las que la sociedad considera que no merecen una identidad o incluso un nombre propio; las que son valoradas solo en la medida en que proveen servicios a los demás.</p><p dir="ltr">No importa si son maestras, abogadas, académicas o doctoras, si usan su huipil y su corte maya, se las considera parte de la "clase servil". A los extraños no les da vergüenza pedirles que limpien sus casas. Sin embargo, la ropa que las marca como 'Marías' es admirada cuando se usa en el 'cuerpo correcto'.</p><p dir="ltr">"Nuestra ropa, cuando la usamos, es considerada un trapo", me contó Jovita Tzul Tzul, una abogada maya que apoya al Movimiento Nacional de Tejedoras. "Cuando los usan cuerpos blancos se convierten en algo hermoso", dijo. “El 'valor' de estos textiles depende de quién los vende o los usa”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“El 'valor' de estos textiles depende de quién los vende o los usa”.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Los textiles indígenas mayas son reconocidos internacionalmente por la complejidad y la vitalidad de sus diseños y la calidad de sus tejidos. Cada vez más, sus diseños se comercializan y empaquetan para turistas blancos o clientes en Europa y los EE. UU que buscan un toque del "exotismo maya".</p><p dir="ltr">El telar de cintura es un arte que ha pasado de generación en generación. Cada comunidad maya tiene su propio estilo y muchas veces los diseños reflejan la historia de esa comunidad o incluyen símbolos sagrados. Hay textiles para el uso diario y otros para el uso ceremonial.</p><p dir="ltr">Estas prendas son elaboradas y usadas por mujeres y hombres. Pero debido a la persistencia de estereotipos de género machistas y la discriminación racial, hay pocas comunidades donde los hombres sigan tejiendo o usando sus trajes. Por ende, son principalmente las mujeres mayas las que preservan este arte a través de su tejido y el uso diario de su ropa.</p><p dir="ltr">Sus tejidos y su medio de vida se enfrentan a amenazas significativas, como la producción masiva de textiles a bajo costo que está dejando a las tejedoras tradicionales sin trabajo, mientras que mujeres ladinas (un término local para personas que no se identifican como indígenas), diseñadores y compañías de ropa se están beneficiando del interés internacional por los diseños mayas.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“La explotación de las tejedoras mayas y la apropiación de su arte es posible gracias al racismo generalizado y la discriminación de género en Guatemala”.</p><p dir="ltr">La explotación de las tejedoras mayas y la apropiación de su arte es posible debido al racismo generalizado y la discriminación de género en Guatemala, un país que en gran medida todavía se organiza en torno a la estratificación racial que se estableció durante la época colonial.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Las mujeres mayas han ocupado un lugar entre los grupos más marginados durante siglos. Sus cuerpos, trabajo y conocimiento han sido considerados materia de explotación como trabajadoras agrícolas, nodrizas, esclavas sexuales, sirvientas domésticas y tejedoras.</p><p dir="ltr">La historia de Guatemala desde la invasión española hace más de 500 años ha estado marcada por un proceso constante de saqueo y despojo de tierras, territorios y culturas indígenas. Pocos aspectos de la vida se mantuvieron intactos, aunque podría decirse que, hasta cierto punto, los tejidos mayas resistieron este proceso.</p><p dir="ltr">Aunque esto ha cambiado a causa del impulso capitalista contemporáneo para privatizar, mercantilizar y sacar provecho de los conocimientos y recursos indígenas. Según Tzul Tzul, la comunidad ladina "tiene un profundo desprecio hacia las mujeres indígenas, pero un profundo interés por lucrarse con nuestra imagen y nuestras telas".</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Tienen un profundo desprecio hacia las mujeres indígenas, pero un profundo interés por lucrarse con nuestra imagen y nuestras telas”.</p><p dir="ltr">Sin embargo, las Marías están resistiendo. Las mujeres mayas están denunciando el racismo de <a href="http://avancso.codigosur.net/article/apunte-etnografico-en-la-vida-cultural-reciente-de/">las presentaciones folclóricas</a> en las que salen actores blancos disfrazados de "indios"; o modelos blancas vestidas con ropa indígena <a href="http://lahora.gt/racismo-de-revista/">en portadas de revistas</a> y compañías de ropa que usan <a href="https://www.prensalibre.com/guatemala/comunitario/maria-chula-ofrece-disculpa-publica-y-redes-reaccionan">el nombre María</a> en sus títulos para comercializar los textiles indígenas.</p><p dir="ltr">A través del Movimiento Nacional de Tejedoras, las mujeres mayas están luchando para que la propiedad intelectual colectiva sobre los diseños tradicionales sea reconocida y protegida por la ley. Están trabajando notablemente para recuperar y dignificar la indumentaria maya como una parte clave de su identidad y tradiciones.</p><p dir="ltr">Su lucha desafía el racismo sistémico que ha permitido a los blancos explotar y sacar provecho del arte de las mujeres mayas con impunidad.</p><p dir="ltr">“Elaborar nuestra propia ropa nos da autonomía” me dijo&nbsp;<span>Milvian</span>&nbsp;Aspuac, una de las fundadoras del Movimiento Nacional de Tejedoras. "Son un producto de nuestro conocimiento colectivo. Al hacerlos y usarlos rompemos que muchos esquemas patriarcales y lógicas individualistas". </p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Women's rights and economic justice women's human rights women and power patriarchy gendered poverty women's work young feminists Aisling Walsh Thu, 09 Aug 2018 09:50:21 +0000 Aisling Walsh 119142 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The exploitation of Mayan women’s art is a story of racism, sexism – and global capitalism https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aisling-walsh/exploitation-mayan-women-art-racism-sexism-global-capitalism <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Mayan women’s bodies, labour and knowledge have been exploited for centuries. This is an old story, with a neoliberal twist. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/aisling-walsh/la-explotacion-del-arte-maya-es-una-historia-de-racismo-sexismo-machismo" target="_self">Español</a></em></strong>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/image1_2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="Mayan weavings in a ceremonial display. Photo: Aisling Walsh."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/image1_2.jpg" alt="Mayan weavings in a ceremonial display. Photo: Aisling Walsh." title="Mayan weavings in a ceremonial display. Photo: Aisling Walsh." width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mayan weavings in a ceremonial display. Photo: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>The fruit seller, the tortilla maker, the domestic worker, the nanny. These are the Marías of Guatemala. Indigenous women, who continue to wear traditional Mayan dress. They are seemingly considered undeserving, of an identity or even a name of their own; valued only to the extent to which they serve others.</p><p dir="ltr">It doesn't matter if they are teachers, lawyers, academics or doctors, if they are wearing their Mayan huipil and corte they are considered part of the 'servile class.' Strangers have no shame in asking them to clean their houses. Yet, the clothing that marks them as a 'María' is admired when worn on the 'right body'. </p><p dir="ltr">“Our clothes, when we wear them, are little better than<em> trapos</em> [rags],” Jovita Tzul Tzul, a Mayan lawyer supporting the national weavers’ movement, told me. “When they are worn by white bodies they become something beautiful,” she said. The ‘value’ of these textiles depends on who sells or wears them. </p><p class="mag-quote-center">“The ‘value’ of these textiles depends on who sells or wears them.”</p><p dir="ltr">Indigenous Mayan textiles are recognised internationally for the intricacy and vibrancy of their designs and quality of their weavings. Increasingly, their designs are being commodified and packaged for white tourists or clients in Europe and the US looking for a taste of ‘Mayan exoticism’.</p><p dir="ltr">Backstrap weaving or Telar de Cintura is an art that has been passed down through generations. Each Mayan community has its own style and designs often reflect the history of that community or include sacred symbols. There are textiles for everyday use and others for ceremonial purposes. </p><p dir="ltr">These clothes are made and used by women and men. But amid ‘macho’ gender stereotypes and racial discrimination there are few communities where men continue to weave or wear them. As such, it is principally Mayan women who preserve this art through their weaving and everyday use. </p><p dir="ltr">Their weavings and livelihoods face significant threats – including from mass produced and low cost textiles that are running some out of business – while ladina (a local term for non-indigenous) women, designers and clothing companies are profiting off international interest in Mayan designs. </p><p class="mag-quote-center">“The exploitation of Mayan weavers, and the appropriation of their art, is enabled by widespread racism and gender discrimination in Guatemala.”</p><p dir="ltr">The exploitation of Mayan weavers, and the appropriation of their art, is enabled by widespread racism and gender discrimination in Guatemala, a country that is still largely organised around racial stratification dating from colonial times. </p><p dir="ltr">Mayan women have been amongst the most marginalised groups for centuries. Their bodies, labour and knowledge have been regarded as an exploitable as farm workers, wet nurses, sexual slaves, domestic servants and as weavers. </p><p dir="ltr">Guatemala's history from the Spanish invasion more than 500 years ago has been marked by a constant process of pillaging and dispossession of indigenous land, territory and culture. Few aspects of life went untouched, though arguably Mayan weavings resisted this process to some extent. </p><p dir="ltr">Though this has changed amid a contemporary, capitalist drive to privatise, commodify and profit from indigenous knowledge and resources. According to Tzul Tzul, the ladino community “show us nothing but contempt and yet they have a deep interest in profiting from our image and our textiles.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“Show us nothing but contempt and yet they have a deep interest in profiting from our image and our textiles.”</p><p dir="ltr">The María's are fighting back. They are calling out the racism of folkloric presentations using white <a href="http://avancso.codigosur.net/article/apunte-etnografico-en-la-vida-cultural-reciente-de/">actors dressed as 'indians'</a>; white models dressed in indigenous clothing on <a href="http://lahora.gt/racismo-de-revista/">magazine covers</a>; and clothing companies using the name <a href="https://www.prensalibre.com/guatemala/comunitario/maria-chula-ofrece-disculpa-publica-y-redes-reaccionan">María</a> in their titles to market indigenous textiles.</p><p dir="ltr">Through the national weaver’s movement, Mayan women are fighting for their collective intellectual property over traditional designs to be recognised and protected in law. Significantly, they are working to recover and re-dignify Mayan dress as a key part of their identity and cultural traditions. </p><p dir="ltr">In doing so, they are challenging the systemic racism that has allowed white people to exploit and profit from Mayan women's art with impunity. </p><p dir="ltr">“Making our own clothes gives us autonomy,” Milvian&nbsp;Aspuac, a founding member of the weaver's movement, told me. “They are a product of our collective knowledge. By making them and wearing them we are breaking many individualist ways of thinking and patriarchal norms.”</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Women's rights and economic justice women's human rights women and power patriarchy gendered poverty women's work young feminists Aisling Walsh Thu, 09 Aug 2018 09:40:06 +0000 Aisling Walsh 118947 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Argentina abortion vote divides the nation, from senators to doctors https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/diana-cariboni/argentina-abortion-vote-divides-nation-from-senators-to-doctors <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p dir="ltr">The senate votes this week on a potentially groundbreaking bill to legalise voluntary abortion. Opponents include some doctors and health facilities.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/senadoargentino.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/senadoargentino.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Argentina’s senate during a vote in 2017. Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Senado_Argentino_aprueba_reformas_previsional_y_fiscal.jpg">Senado de Argentina.</a> Public Domain.</span></span></span>While Argentina’s congress struggles to pass a potentially groundbreaking bill to legalise voluntary abortion in the country, further battles loom: in hospitals and in courts, over the implementation and enforcement of the law.</p><p dir="ltr">Argentina’s senate is voting this week on the bill which would loosen long-standing restrictions on abortion in the country, where it is currently legal only in cases of rape or when a woman’s life or health is at risk.</p><p dir="ltr">There are three options for the outcome of the vote: that the bill will be passed in its entirety; that an amended version is passed; that the bill is rejected – <a href="https://poroteo.ml/#/">which appears the most likely result at this point.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, even if reforms do pass, either now or when they inevitably return to congress later on, some doctors will likely try to ‘<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/diana-cariboni/conscientious-objectors-threaten-abortion-rights-latin-america">conscientiously object</a>’ and refuse to participate in these procedures.</p><p dir="ltr">Last month, 3,072 Argentinian health professionals signed a letter <a href="http://www.redaas.org.ar/noticias-item.php?n=765">committing to</a> “respect and guarantee the rights of the people who request our services for legal interruptions of pregnancies, within the framework of the law.”</p><p dir="ltr">“We do not have the task of judging those who make the decision to have an abortion,” said the letter, which was circulated by the #ContasConmigo (Count on me) campaign of health professionals.</p><p dir="ltr">The response “was overwhelming,” said physician Mariana Romero, head of the <a href="http://www.cedes.org/">Center for the Study of State and Society</a>, who led the campaign as a member of the <a href="http://www.redaas.org.ar">Safe Abortion Access Network</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">“In just three weeks we dismantled the argument [that there are] insufficient medical staff to deliver abortions,” said Romero, adding that the signatures collected represent just a fraction of doctors who would agree with the letter.</p><p dir="ltr">The Argentinian Medical Society also <a href="http://www.fasgo.org.ar/images/Postura_SAM_Aborto.pdf">endorsed the bill</a>, though the conservative National Academy of Medicine <a href="http://www.acamedbai.org.ar/pdf/declaraciones/CatedraAborto.pdf">has consistently opposed it</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Resistance to legal abortion is powerful and long-standing in Argentina, including at Catholic universities where an army of doctors and other professionals have studied ‘confessional bioethics’ in recent decades.</p><p dir="ltr">Course attendees include gynaecologists, nurses, midwives, psychologists and lawyers, trained to penetrate health services and influence judicial rulings and legislative debates, according to sociologist Gabriela Irrazábal.</p><p dir="ltr">Presently, doctors in Argentina <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/diana-cariboni/conscientious-objectors-threaten-abortion-rights-latin-america">can already refuse</a> as ‘conscientious objectors’ to participate in sterilisation, contraception and (currently substantially restricted) legal abortion procedures, though there are <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/diana-cariboni/conscientious-objectors-threaten-abortion-rights-latin-america">limits</a> to this.</p><p dir="ltr">Some anti-abortion groups “scout hospital wards and break into the rooms where women or girls await an abortion to ‘save the baby,’” added Irrazábal.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Anti-abortion groups “scout hospital wards and break into the rooms where women or girls await an abortion to ‘save the baby.’”</p><p dir="ltr">In Santa Fe province, where 3.5 million people live, there are 1,000 members of the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/1104059222994294/videos/vb.1104059222994294/1908341522566056/?type=2&amp;theater">Network of Health Professionals for Choice</a>, Paula Condrac, part of the National Campaign for Legal, Safe and Free Abortion, told 50.50.</p><p dir="ltr">Here, she said, local authorities have also established policies to address unsafe terminations; the public university has a chair focused on abortion; and a local pharmaceutical lab manufactures misoprostol.</p><p dir="ltr">But Santa Fe is also home to the Iturraspe hospital – “the grave of 19-year old Ana María Acevedo,” Condrac notes, referring to the young mother of three children who was diagnosed in 2006 with jaw cancer.</p><p>Two weeks pregnant at the time of her diagnosis, to protect the fetus hospital doctors denied her both an abortion and the chemotherapy she needed to survive. <a href="http://cosecharoja.org/la-dejaron-morir-en-nombre-de-la-moral/">She died a few months later</a>, after having a stillborn c-section.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/abajoobjeciondeconciencia.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/abajoobjeciondeconciencia.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="306" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Placard against conscientious objectors in Santa Fe, Argentina 2017. Photo: <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:8%22Panuelazo_por_ana_maria_acevedo_-_Santa_Fe_-_Argentina.jpg">Churrinche.</a> CC-A-S 4.0.</span></span></span>Incomplete implementation of abortion reforms is expected in the province of Córdoba where Romero says “anti-rights groups regularly challenge in courts the enforcement of current norms on abortion and sexual and reproductive health,” and “in northern provinces of Tucumán, Salta, Jujuy and Santiago del Estero where there is a lack of health services.”</p><p dir="ltr">Last week, Liliana Herrera, a 22-year old woman and mother of two young girls <a href="https://www.pagina12.com.ar/133225-otra-muerte-evitable">died</a> in hospital in Santiago del Estero after a clandestine abortion.</p><p dir="ltr">Herrera is the third life lost this year from unsafe abortions in Santiago del Estero where Catholic prayers are mandatory in public schools. The province’s three senators have each pledged to vote against the bill.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Last week, Liliana Herrera, a 22-year old woman and mother of two young girls died in hospital in Santiago del Estero after a clandestine abortion.”</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, a <a href="https://www.aacademica.org/gabriela.irrazabal/60">doctoral thesis</a> to be published later this year tracks how doctors and other professionals have been trained at Catholic universities to influence health services, judicial rulings and legislative debates.</p><p dir="ltr">Postgraduate courses on ‘confessional bioethics’ are offered at the Argentinian Catholic University and Austral University, which is inspired and supported by Opus Dei, says Irrazábal, its author.</p><p dir="ltr">These courses, which are also offered at some secular schools, cover topics such as “the fetus as a person and unborn child” and criticisms of allegedly “abortive” intrauterine devices and emergency contraception, shel found.</p><p dir="ltr">Their “apparent goal,” she wrote in a previous, 2011 <a href="http://ri.conicet.gov.ar/bitstream/handle/11336/9239/CONICET_Digital_Nro.8163_A.pdf?sequence=2&amp;isAllowed=y">paper</a>, “is to train secular professionals to be part of hospitals’ ethical committees,” which play crucial roles in deciding whether to accept or deny requests for abortion services.</p><p dir="ltr">‘Confessional bioethicists’ are networked and active at different levels within Argentina’s health facilities, according to Irrazábal. They may include nurses who ring a bell when a woman requesting an abortion arrives as well as members of ethics committees who deny requests for these procedures.</p><p dir="ltr">These committees may also delay decisions on abortion requests “until the pregnancy is so advanced that the procedure is riskier and doctors are more reluctant to proceed,” Irrazábal told 50.50.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">These committees may also delay decisions on abortion requests “until the pregnancy is so advanced that the procedure is riskier and doctors are more reluctant to proceed.”</p><p dir="ltr">A previous version of the bill currently at the senate would have penalised doctors for refusing to provide legal abortion services. Conservative groups lobbied successfully for some of these provisions to be removed.</p><p dir="ltr">In a statement last month, 44 private clinics said that they <a href="https://www.lanacion.com.ar/2156129-clinicas-y-sanatorios-privados-piden-libertad-y-derecho-de-abstenerse-a-practicar-abortos">required</a> “full freedom and rights to refuse delivering abortions … both for medical staff and private health institutions” when such services are “contrary to their principles, values and ideology” and without “preconditions or limitations.”</p><p dir="ltr">The bill’s draft text passed by the house of representatives in June (and currently at the senate) recognises the right of doctors to conscientiously object to providing abortions – but only if they had registered as objectors.</p><p dir="ltr">The draft also barred hospitals and clinics from claiming rights as conscientious objectors on institutional levels, based on their ideologies – though this has been removed in the text’s amended version.</p><p dir="ltr">Previously, it provided for one-year jail terms for doctors denying or delaying abortion services, and up to three years if this resulted in harm to the patient. These provisions have been relaxed.</p><p dir="ltr">Challenging the constitutionality of abortion reforms will be another strategy of their opponents, Alejandra Sardá-Chandiramani, director of programs with the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) told 50.50.</p><p dir="ltr">Austral University law professor Fernando Toller nodded in this direction at a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2K3q1WTlyg">senate hearing</a> last month. “There is not a single constitutional principle to justify the right to abortion,” he said.</p><p dir="ltr">Each year in Argentina there are more than 354,000 abortions, 70,200 hospital admissions resulting from unsafe procedures and 37 resultant maternal deaths, minister of health Adolfo Rubinstein <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJ4Gg6fVhOY">told senators</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">One thing is clear: regardless of how they vote this week, the battle around abortion rights in this country will escalate and those pushing for reform face opposition at multiple levels: from congress to health clinics.</p><p dir="ltr">If congress fails to pass the law “we will cry,” conceded Condrac. “But just for half an hour, and then will start all over again.”</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Tracking the backlash women's movements women's human rights women's health bodily autonomy Diana Cariboni Wed, 08 Aug 2018 11:12:28 +0000 Diana Cariboni 119188 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Cómo las mujeres mayas en Guatemala luchan por proteger sus diseños y su identidad https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aisling-walsh/como-las-mujeres-mayas-en-guatemala-luchan-por-proteger-sus-disenos <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Las tejedoras mayas se están organizando para defender su arte y presionar por una nueva legislación que reconozca y proteja su "propiedad intelectual colectiva". <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/aisling-walsh/how-mayan-women-in-guatemala-are-fighting-to-protect-their-designs-and-identity" target="_self">English</a>.</em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="309" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Tejidos mayas tradicionales. Foto: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>"La cultura maya es como los hilos de nuestros tejidos", cuenta Carmelina Lix Socop, refiriéndose a los textiles de colores brillantes que se han convertido en casi un sinónimo de la industria turística en Guatemala. Dichas prendas también han aparecido en boutiques y tiendas de moda en todo el mundo.</p><p dir="ltr">"No podemos separar nuestro lenguaje de nuestra alimentación, nuestra espiritualidad de nuestros tejidos. Todos ellos son parte de la misma cultura y de nuestra lucha para proteger nuestra identidad", explica Socop, una de las fundadoras del consejo local de tejedores en Tecpan, a unos 80 kilómetros de la Ciudad de Guatemala, la capital.</p><p dir="ltr">Socop es una de las muchas mujeres mayas en Guatemala que ahora se están organizando para defender su arte, e impulsar una nueva legislación para reconocer y proteger sus diseños tradicionales y su "propiedad intelectual colectiva".</p><p dir="ltr">Esa legislación, sostienen las tejedoras, es necesaria para proteger su arte de la apropiación por parte de empresas e individuos de todo el mundo.</p><p dir="ltr">"Estudiamos la posibilidad de denunciar a las empresas por robo de propiedad intelectual y descubrimos que no existe protección para la propiedad intelectual colectiva", afirma&nbsp;<span>Milvian</span>&nbsp;Aspuac, directora de <a href="https://thousandcurrents.org/partners/afedes/">la Asociación Femenina para el Desarrollo de Sacatepéquez</a> (AFEDES) que forma parte del Movimiento Nacional de Tejedoras.</p><p dir="ltr">"Así nos dimos cuenta de la necesidad de modificar las leyes existentes", me explica, y de crear una nueva legislación "que reconozca y proteja los diseños mayas como parte del patrimonio colectivo de las comunidades indígenas de Guatemala".</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Tejidos mayas tradicionales. Foto: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>El telar de cintura es un arte que se ha transmitido a través de las comunidades mayas durante generaciones.</p><p dir="ltr">Hoy en día estos textiles, junto con imágenes de tejedoras sonrientes, se utilizan para promocionar Guatemala a los turistas extranjeros (incluso en la cuenta de Instagram de la Agencia de Turismo del gobierno y en vallas publicitarias en Estados Unidos).</p><p dir="ltr">Los clientes de los centros comerciales y las tiendas de grandes marcas de moda de todo el mundo también deben haber encontrado diseños inspirados en los tejidos mayas colgados de sus bastidores o en línea.</p><p dir="ltr">Cada vez más diseñadores guatemaltecos y compañías internacionales como <a href="https://www.anitalara.com/">UNIK</a>, <a href="http://mariasbag.com/">María's Bags</a> (con bolsos a la venta por casi <a href="http://mariasbag.com/">1500 dólares</a>) e <a href="https://www.hiptipico.com/">Hiptipico</a> (con productos en venta en ASOS, Urban Outfitters y Free People) usan diseños mayas en sus productos.</p><p dir="ltr">Otras marcas como <a href="https://www.thefashionisto.com/missoni-2017-spring-summer-mens-runway-collection/">Missoni</a> y <a href="https://www.lookmagazine.com/2015/09/24/valentino-se-inspira-en-guatemala/">Valentino</a> también han creado líneas de moda "inspiradas" en textiles guatemaltecos. Dichos productos a menudo se comercializan a clientes internacionales de clase alta.</p><p dir="ltr">Pero las tejedoras locales dicen que no se han beneficiado de este interés comercial e internacional por el trabajo de sus comunidades, al mismo tiempo que tienen que enfrentarse a &nbsp;la nueva competencia que suponen los productores en masa, los telares mecánicos y la potencial creación de una patente de sus diseños por parte de otras personas o corporaciones.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 3.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Socop muestra su huipil. Foto: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>En Tecpan, Socop, quien también es maestra de escuela, asegura que está orgullosa de usar el huipil y corte (blusa y falda tradicionales) de su comunidad.</p><p dir="ltr">Sin embargo, cuenta, muchas mujeres que quieren usar ropa tradicional pueden terminar comprando textiles de producción masiva porque son más baratos.</p><p dir="ltr">También hay un gran mercado local para huipiles usados que pueden llevar hasta tres meses de trabajo para una tejedora. Un huipil tradicional puede costar entre 50 y 250 dólares, pero con el cuidado adecuado podría durar hasta 35 años.</p><p dir="ltr">Mientras que los textiles hechos con los telares mecánicos pueden producirse en apenas 30 minutos y solamente cuestan 20 dólares. Otros productores simplemente imprimen diseños mayas u otros en tela y cobran aún menos a los clientes.</p><p dir="ltr">Las tejedoras locales no pueden competir con estos precios, según Aspuac de AFEDES.</p><p dir="ltr">Y añade que la posibilidad de que las personas o empresas puedan patentar diseños creados y reproducidos por las comunidades durante generaciones pone en riesgo a las tejedoras que podrían incurrir sanciones financieras o legales si continúan usándolos.</p><p dir="ltr">En Guatemala también existe una gran presión social para abandonar el uso de la indumentaria maya, asegura Socop. "Las niñas y mujeres han dejado de usar nuestra ropa porque se considera anticuada o porque sufren discriminación".</p><p dir="ltr">"Si usas nuestra indumentaria indígena en Guatemala te conviertes en una María", agregó Aspuac en AFEDES. "Eres solo otra María. Serás insultada, escupida o tratada como una sirvienta ".</p><p dir="ltr">Jovita Tzul Tzul, una abogada maya que apoya al Movimiento Nacional de Tejedoras dice que los tejidos mayas adquieren valor dependiendo de quienes los venden o los usan.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">"Nuestra ropa, cuando la usamos nosotras, se considera poco más que trapos, pero cuando la usan cuerpos blancos se convierte en algo hermoso".</p><p dir="ltr">"Nuestra ropa, cuando la usamos nosotras, se considera poco más que trapos, pero cuando la usan cuerpos blancos se convierten en algo hermoso”.</p><p dir="ltr">Algunas compañías que comercializan los diseños inspirados en los tejidos mayas han subcontratado el trabajo a tejedoras locales. Pero AFEDES también descubrió que algunas de esas compañías, que dicen pagar salarios justos a las tejedoras, en realidad no lo hacen, asegura Aspuac.</p><p dir="ltr">Esta industria no está regulada, explica; sin precios mínimos ni máximos y con relativamente pocas tejedoras, se organizan en cooperativas que pueden exigir un mejor precio. Las empresas compran a particulares, negociando precios uno a uno.</p><p dir="ltr">Cuando AFEDES llevó a cabo una encuesta informal de las tejedoras en Santiago Sacatepéquez, donde se encuentra su oficina, descubrieron que las mujeres recibían a veces tan solo entre 50 centavos y 20 dólares por sus huipiles (nuevos y usados).</p><p dir="ltr">Por otra parte, cuando las tejedoras intentaron exportar directamente sus productos, se encontraron con múltiples obstáculos.</p><p dir="ltr">Tzul Tzul cuenta que estos obstáculos incluyen obtener las certificaciones necesarias de la autoridad nacional de exportación. El sistema, dice, favorece a los grandes productores comerciales y no a las tejedoras individuales ni a las pequeñas cooperativas.</p><p dir="ltr">Ahora, AFEDES y el Movimiento Nacional de Tejedoras están exigiendo reformas a las leyes de propiedad intelectual existentes en Guatemala para reconocer y proteger la propiedad intelectual colectiva de las comunidades mayas.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 4.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/mayan 4.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Tejidos mayas dispuestos para una ceremonia. Foto: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>En febrero de 2017, el Movimiento Nacional de Tejedoras propuso reformas a la ley de derechos de autor de Guatemala para reconocer los derechos colectivos de la propiedad intelectual.</p><p dir="ltr">También presentaron un amparo el pasado diciembre (que está aún ante los tribunales) contra <a href="https://www.lookmagazine.com/2015/09/24/valentino-se-inspira-en-guatemala/">el Instituto de Turismo Guatemalteco InGuat</a> por usar imágenes de las mujeres y los tejidos mayas sin su permiso ni remuneración.</p><p dir="ltr">Actualmente, las tejedoras están preparando un proyecto de ley para presentar ante el Congreso que propone proteger específicamente los tejidos mayas como parte del patrimonio de las comunidades mayas (en vez de patrimonio nacional) y regular el uso de sus tejidos y diseños.</p><p dir="ltr">Este proyecto de ley establecería mecanismos para el correcto uso de los diseños mayas por parte de terceros, y sanciones para quienes incumplan las normas. Los consejos locales de tejedoras, que están creando inventarios de diseños y patrones, serían los responsables de otorgar permisos y administrar los derechos de autor.</p><p dir="ltr">Las tejedoras esperan completar y presentar esta propuesta antes del final de este año. Sin embargo, existen pocas probabilidades de que logran aprobar la ley antes de las próximas elecciones en junio de 2019 y ya anticipan la oposición de las autoridades de turismo y exportación.</p><p dir="ltr">El Movimiento Nacional de Tejedoras ha establecido escuelas de tejido locales para enseñar las técnicas ancestrales y el significado de los símbolos y figuras utilizados. Enfatiza que el tejido maya es un arte complejo y significativo.</p><p dir="ltr">Estos tejidos finos, a veces con figuras y símbolos antiguos, no están hechos únicamente para ser atractivos; también pueden reflejar la historia de las comunidades o un aspecto de la cosmovisión maya.</p><p dir="ltr">Cuando nos conocimos en Tecpan, Socop llevaba un huipil de su comunidad que tiene un patrón en zigzag que representa uno de los dioses mayas más importantes, Kumatzin, la serpiente emplumada, y los altibajos de la vida.</p><p dir="ltr">"Nuestros huipiles están llenos de geometría y matemática", cuenta Socop. "El número de hilos utilizados puede depender de la edad de quien lo lleva, o reflejar números sagrados del calendario maya".</p><p dir="ltr">"Todo este conocimiento se perderá si no protegemos nuestro arte", advierte.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* Este artículo pertenece a la serie sobre derechos de las mujeres y justicia económica de 50.50 y de la Asociación por los Derechos de las Mujeres y el Desarrollo (AWID).</em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Women's rights and economic justice women's movements women and power women's work Aisling Walsh Wed, 08 Aug 2018 10:50:51 +0000 Aisling Walsh 119141 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How Mayan women in Guatemala are fighting to protect their designs – and their identity https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/aisling-walsh/how-mayan-women-in-guatemala-are-fighting-to-protect-their-designs-and-identity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Mayan weavers are organising to defend their art, pushing for new legislation to recognise and protect their ‘collective intellectual property’. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/aisling-walsh/como-las-mujeres-mayas-en-guatemala-luchan-por-proteger-sus-disenos" target="_self">Español</a></strong></em>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="309" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Traditional Mayan weavings. Photo: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>“Mayan culture is like the threads of our weavings,” said Carmelina Lix Socop, referring to the brightly-coloured textiles that have become almost synonymous with Guatemala’s tourism industry. Variations of these clothes have also popped up in boutiques and fast fashion stores worldwide.</p><p dir="ltr">“We cannot separate our language from our food, our spirituality from our weavings. They are all part of the same culture and our struggle to protect our identity,” said the founding member of the local weavers’ council in Tecpan, about 80 kilometres outside Guatemala City, the capital.</p><p dir="ltr">Socop is one of numerous Mayan women in Guatemala who are now organising to defend their art – pushing for new legislation to recognise and protect their traditional designs and ‘collective intellectual property.’</p><p dir="ltr">Such legislation, the weavers argue, is necessary to challenge the appropriation of their art by companies and individuals around the world.</p><p dir="ltr">"We looked into the possibility of reporting businesses for intellectual property theft and discovered there is no protection for collective intellectual property,” said&nbsp;<span>Milvian&nbsp;</span>Aspuac, director of the <a href="https://thousandcurrents.org/partners/afedes/">Women’s Association for the Development of Sacatepéquez</a> (AFEDES), part of the National Weavers’ Movement.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">“That is when we realised we need to modify the existing laws,” she told me, and create new legislation “that recognises and protects Mayan designs as part of the collective heritage of the indigenous communities of Guatemala.”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4_0.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4_0.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Traditional Mayan weavings. Photo: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>Backstrap weaving with a hand loom tied at the waist (telar de cintura) is an art that has been passed down through Mayan communities for generations.</p><p dir="ltr">Today, these textiles and smiling images of women weavers are used to market Guatemala to foreign tourists (including on the government tourism agency’s <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BbjYLA6gV1y/?taken-by=visitguatemala_">Instagram account</a> and advertisements across the US).</p><p dir="ltr">Customers at shopping malls and mass-market stores around the world will have also come across Mayan-inspired designs on the racks or online.</p><p dir="ltr">A growing number of Guatemalan designers and international companies such as <a href="https://www.anitalara.com/">UNIK</a>, <a href="http://mariasbag.com/">María's Bags</a> (with handbags are on sale for nearly <a href="http://mariasbag.com/">US$1500</a>) and <a href="https://www.hiptipico.com/">Hiptipico</a> (with products for sale on ASOS, Urban Outfitters, and Free People platforms) draw on Mayan designs in their clothing.</p><p dir="ltr">Other brands such as <a href="https://www.thefashionisto.com/missoni-2017-spring-summer-mens-runway-collection/">Missoni</a> and <a href="https://www.lookmagazine.com/2015/09/24/valentino-se-inspira-en-guatemala/">Valentino</a> have also created fashion lines 'inspired' by Guatemalan textiles. Such products are often marketed to international ‘upwardly mobile’ clients.</p><p dir="ltr">But local weavers say they have not benefited from this international, commercial interest in their communities’ work – while they must also contend with new competition from mass producers, mechanical looms, and the potential patenting of their designs by other people or corporations.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Scop displays her huipil. Photo: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>In Tecpan, Socop, who is also a school teacher, told me that she is proud to wear the <em>huipil </em>(blouse) and <em>corte</em> (skirt) of her community.</p><p dir="ltr">Though, she said, many women who want to wear traditional clothing may end up buying mass-produced textiles instead because they are cheaper.</p><p dir="ltr">There is also a thriving local market for used huipiles, which can take weavers up to three months to make. A traditional huilpil might cost between US $50 to $250 but with proper care it could last for up to 35 years.</p><p dir="ltr">On mechanical looms, meanwhile, such textiles can be produced in just 30 minutes and cost as little as $20. Other producers simply print Mayan or other designs onto cloth and charge customers even less.</p><p dir="ltr">Local weavers can’t compete with these prices, says Aspuac at AFEDES.</p><p dir="ltr">The ability of individuals or companies to patent designs created and reproduced by communities throughout generations, she added, puts weavers at risk of financial or legal penalties if they continue to use them.</p><p dir="ltr">In Guatemala, there is also significant social pressure to abandon traditional dress, said Socop. “Young girls and women have stopped wearing our clothing, because it is considered backward or because they experience discrimination.”</p><p dir="ltr">“If you wear our traditional indigenous clothing in Guatemala you become a María,” Aspuac at AFEDES added. “You are just another María. You will be insulted, spat at or treated like a servant.”</p><p dir="ltr">Jovita Tzul Tzul, a Mayan lawyer supporting the weavers’ movement, said that Mayan textiles’ ‘value’ seems to depend on who is selling or wearing them.</p><p dir="ltr">“Our clothes, when we wear them, are little better than <em>trapos</em> [rags],” she told me. “When they are worn by white bodies they become something beautiful.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Our clothes, when we wear them, are little better than <em>trapos</em> [rags]... When they are worn by white bodies they become something beautiful.”</p><p dir="ltr">Some companies marketing Mayan-inspired designs have subcontracted work to local weavers. But AFEDES has also found that some such companies, which claim to pay fair wages to weavers, don’t actually do so, said Aspuac.</p><p dir="ltr">This industry is unregulated, she explained, with no minimum or maximum prices and relatively few weavers are organised in cooperatives that can demand better. Companies buy from individuals, negotiating prices one-to-one.</p><p dir="ltr">When AFEDES carried out an informal survey of the weavers in Santiago Sacatepequez, where their office is located, they found that women were getting as little as 50 cents and up to 20 dollars for their (new and used) huipiles.</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, when weavers have attempted to organise direct exports of their products, they’ve come up against numerous obstacles.</p><p dir="ltr">Tzul Tzul explained that these obstacles include gaining necessary certifications from the national export authority. The system, she said, favours large commercial producers and not individuals or small cooperatives.</p><p dir="ltr">Now, AFEDES and the national weaver's movement are demanding reforms to Guatemala’s existing intellectual property laws to recognise and protect the collective intellectual property of Mayan communities.</p><p dir="ltr">In February 2017, the national weavers’ movement proposed reforms to Guatemala’s copyright law to recognise <a href="https://www.congreso.gob.gt/wp-content/plugins/iniciativas-de-ley/includes/uploads/docs/Registro5247.pdf">collective intellectual property rights</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">They also presented a legal challenge last December (and still before the courts) against the Guatemalan <a href="http://visitguatemala.com/">tourist board InGuat</a>, for using images of Mayan women and weavings without their permission or remuneration.</p><p dir="ltr">Currently, the weavers are preparing a draft law to present to Congress to specifically protect Mayan weaving as part of Mayan (rather than national) heritage and regulate the use of their weavings and designs.</p><p dir="ltr">This draft law would establish mechanisms for the correct use of Mayan designs by third parties – and sanctions for those who break the rules. Local weavers’ councils, which are creating inventories of designs and patterns, would be responsible for granting permissions and managing royalties.</p><p>The weavers hope to complete and present this proposal by the end of the year. Though passing such a law before the next elections in June 2019 is unlikely – and they also anticipate opposition from tourism and export authorities.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mayan weavings in a ceremonial display. Photo: Aisling Walsh.</span></span></span>In February 2017, the national weavers’ movement proposed reforms to Guatemala’s copyright law to recognise <a href="https://www.congreso.gob.gt/wp-content/plugins/iniciativas-de-ley/includes/uploads/docs/Registro5247.pdf">collective intellectual property rights</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">They also presented a legal challenge last December (and still before the courts) against the Guatemalan <a href="http://visitguatemala.com/">tourist board InGuat</a>, for using images of Mayan women and weavings without their permission or remuneration.</p><p dir="ltr">Currently, the weavers are preparing a draft law to present to Congress to specifically protect Mayan weaving as part of Mayan (rather than national) heritage and regulate the use of their weavings and designs.</p><p dir="ltr">This draft law would establish mechanisms for the correct use of Mayan designs by third parties – and sanctions for those who break the rules.</p><p dir="ltr">Local weavers’ councils, which are creating inventories of designs and patterns, would be responsible for granting permissions and managing royalties.</p><p dir="ltr">The weavers hope to complete and present this proposal by the end of the year. Though passing such a law before the next elections in June 2019 is unlikely – and they also anticipate opposition from tourism and export authorities.</p><p dir="ltr">The movement has further established local weaving schools to teach techniques and the meaning behind symbols and figures used. It emphasises that Mayan weaving is a complex and meaningful art.</p><p dir="ltr">These intricately-woven textiles, sometimes featuring ancient figures and symbols, aren’t made solely to be attractive; they may also reflect the history of particular communities or an aspect of the Mayan ‘cosmovision.’</p><p dir="ltr">In Tecpan, Socop was wearing a huipil from her community that has a zigzag pattern when we met. She said it represents one of the most important Mayan gods, <em>Kumatzin,</em> the feathered serpent, and the ups and downs of life.</p><p dir="ltr">“Our huipiles are full of geometry and mathematics,” Socop said. “The number of threads used can depend on the age of the wearer, or can reflect sacred numbers from the Mayan calendar.”</p><p dir="ltr">“All of this knowledge will be lost if we do not protect our art,” she warned.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* This article is part of a series on women's rights and economic justice from 50.50 and the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), featuring stories on the impacts of extractive industries and corporate power, and the importance of tax justice for the rights of women, trans and gender non-conforming people.</em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Women's rights and economic justice women and power women's work Aisling Walsh Wed, 08 Aug 2018 09:29:12 +0000 Aisling Walsh 118851 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Arrests of women’s rights activists put Saudi Arabia on the wrong side of history https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/zainah-anwar-kamala-chandrakirana/arrests-of-saudi-womens-rights-activists-wrong-side-history <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, Muslim women’s movements for equality are increasingly interconnected – and unstoppable.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-37187799.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title="A Saudi woman poses with her new driving license after the country’s ban on women driving was lifted in June, 2018."><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/PA-37187799.jpg" alt="A Saudi woman poses with her new driving license after the country’s ban on women driving was lifted in June, 2018." title="A Saudi woman poses with her new driving license after the country’s ban on women driving was lifted in June, 2018." width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A Saudi woman poses with her new driving license after the country’s ban on women driving was lifted in June, 2018. Photo: Gehad Hamdy/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Saudi Arabia’s ongoing <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/06/women-arrested-saudi-ongoing-crackdown-activists-180609192341627.html">crackdown on women’s rights activists</a> undermines Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s own reform agenda. It reveals a disconnect between this young leader who <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-model-for-a-saudi-reformer-1531868178">styles himself as a reformist and a women’s rights advocate</a> and the new reality in the Muslim world today.</p><p dir="ltr">Increasingly, Muslim women are reclaiming an Islam that has long espoused equality, justice and freedom for all. These women are leading change from within their communities. Through their collective actions, they have overcome long-standing barriers by reforming laws, introducing <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/zainah-anwar-ziba-mir-hosseini/decoding-%E2%80%9Cdna-of-patriarchy%E2%80%9D-in-muslim-family-laws">new narratives on religious thought and histories</a>, and creating new spaces (online and offline) for movement building across the Muslim world.</p><p dir="ltr">In the largest Muslim country in the world, Indonesia, women ulama are working with women’s rights activists to assert themselves. They’ve <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/mirjam-k-nkler-eva-nisa/fatwa-sexual-violence-women-Islamic-scholars">issued authoritative fatwas against domestic violence, child marriage and environmental destruction</a>. As they change the landscape of social and religious discourse, Muslim women everywhere are seeing not only that change is possible – but that it is coming from their own work on the ground.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Muslim women are reclaiming an Islam that has long espoused equality, justice and freedom for all.”</p><p>In India, women qadis have set up independent dispute resolution centres to resolve marital disputes, provide counselling and even conduct marriages. They offer an <a href="https://bmmaindia.com/2016/02/10/women-qazi-training-institute-darul-uloom-niswaan/">alternative to the traditional, informal qadi system</a> that is often biased against women. Building on the Qur’an, Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), the national constitution and women’s rights, their approach is spreading across continents through a borderless, informal network of Muslim women activists.</p><p dir="ltr">This same approach, for example, was adopted by women’s rights activists in The Gambia in their <a href="https://www.28toomany.org/blog/dropping-the-knife-in-the-gambia-guest-blog-by-jacqueline-hoover/">‘Drop the Knife’ campaign against female genital mutilation</a>, which eventually led to the harmful practice being outlawed.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Closer to Saudi Arabia, in Morocco, a national alliance of women’s rights activists, academics and theologians successfully pushed the government to end legal discrimination against women in the family by reforming the country’s <a href="http://www.musawah.org/spotlight-morocco-muslim-womens-rights">family status code</a>, in 2004. Now, it’s arguably the most progressive family law in the Muslim world; marriage is defined in this law as a partnership of equals, with this equality justified in the name of Islam.</p><p dir="ltr">Morocco’s reform emboldened women’s rights activists in diverse Muslim contexts to escalate advocacy for equality and justice. Yes, opposition to these movements for change is rampant and fierce. But this has only strengthened their resolve to march forward.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Yes, opposition to these movements is rampant and fierce. But this has only strengthened their resolve.”</p><p dir="ltr">In Malaysia, Muslim women’s rights activists have for decades <a href="http://sistersinislam.org.my/page.php?35">challenged the state’s use of Islam to justify discrimination against women</a>. In 2009, amid rising conservatism and extremism, we and other women <a href="http://www.musawah.org/about-musawah/our-journey">launched a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family</a>, called Musawah (meaning ‘equality’ in Arabic).</p><p dir="ltr">This <a href="http://www.musawah.org/about-musawah/framework-action">movement’s arguments for reform</a> are grounded in Islamic principles, human rights standards, constitutional guarantees of equality and women’s lived realities. It is bringing together Muslim women from diverse national contexts and creating new connections beyond borders.</p><p dir="ltr">These movements are unstoppable. Muslim women’s rights activists have created new international networks of solidarity and collaboration over language barriers and across continents. Struggles are being waged across all aspects of life. There is energy for genuine dialogue and partnerships with all who seek reform – as long as women’s autonomy is respected. </p><p>Victories, however small, build confidence, while losses or setbacks enhance rigour. As the Indonesian grassroots women ulama declared earlier in 2018, <a href="https://rising.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/RISING-Women-Ulama-FULL-SPEAKER-ADDRESSES.pdf">women's leadership in the Muslim world is a historical inevitability</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>More and more women are <a href="http://www.musawah.org/knowledge-building-video-2-muslim-family-laws-what-makes-reform-possible">claiming their rights grounded in the belief in an Islam that upholds equality and justice for all</a>. They actively engage in the rich Muslim legal tradition with sophisticated tools and concepts that open the possibility of reform. They are shaping and influencing how Islam is understood and used in ways that make sense to today’s realities.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“Women's leadership in the Muslim world is a historical inevitability.”</p><p dir="ltr">Over the past three months, the Saudi government has arrested at least 14 (and continues to detain at least six) women’s rights activists – including long-term advocates for ending the ban on women driving and the country’s male guardianship system, which requires women to get permission from male relatives for activities including travelling abroad or getting a job.</p><p dir="ltr">These Saudi women who were arrested are part of the growing international community of Muslim women advocating for equality and justice. Their gains are the collective gain of this broader community of activists, and likewise are their losses. <a href="http://whrdmena.org/2018/07/11/smear-campaign-against-woman-human-rights-defenders-in-saudi-arabia/">Their silencing is felt as an attack on us collectively</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Individual women may be silenced, but rest assured that our collective voice continues to speak truth to power.</p><p dir="ltr">The arrests of our Saudi sisters have come despite promises of reform from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He would do better to engage in an open dialogue and exchange of ideas with them. <a href="http://www.musawah.org/professor-hatoon-al-fassi-what-elections-mean-women-saudi-arabia">These women understand change and what it takes to transform attitudes, behaviours, relations, institutions and worldviews.</a> They could be his allies for genuine reform.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Pathways for social, economic and political reform are diverse and contextual. But, as activists ourselves, we know that genuine reform cannot be achieved nor sustained without women's full and meaningful participation as equals. Until our Saudi sisters are sitting at the table as equals, Saudi Arabia is on the wrong side of history.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Saudi Arabia </div> <div class="field-item even"> Indonesia </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Malaysia </div> <div class="field-item even"> Morocco </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Morocco Malaysia Indonesia Saudi Arabia Equality International politics 50.50 Frontline voices against fundamentalism women's movements women's human rights gender Kamala Chandrakirana Zainah Anwar Fri, 03 Aug 2018 16:21:35 +0000 Zainah Anwar and Kamala Chandrakirana 119126 at https://www.opendemocracy.net US evangelicals targeted LGBT young people with ‘dehumanising’ Facebook and YouTube ads https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sophie-hemery/us-evangelicals-target-lgbt-young-people-facebook-youtube-ads <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Social media giants acknowledge that Anchored North video ads violated their rules to protect users – but not before millions of people see them.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_5.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_5.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of Anchored North video. Credit: Anchored North.</span></span></span>A US evangelical Christian group has used Facebook and YouTube to target LGBT young people with ‘dehumanising’ video ads.</p><p dir="ltr">The social media giants’ sophisticated advertising capabilities have allowed the tax-exempt charity <a href="https://anchorednorth.org/who-we-are/">Anchored North</a>, based in California, to “pay to reach secular world views”, said founder Greg Sukert in a recent <a href="https://evangelism.anchorednorth.org/free-training/">webinar</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The group says it uses <a href="https://anchorednorth.org/church-partnership/">“media and evangelism to reach the lost”</a>. One lesbian woman who saw its ads told 50.50 they were “heartbreaking” and that she’s had friends who “died by suicide as a result of videos like this”.</p><p dir="ltr">The group’s most-viewed video, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&amp;v=I7lxdWxTFyw">Love is Love</a>, features a young woman who purportedly shares her experience of ‘redemption’ from same-sex attraction. It has reached almost 6 million people <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pg/AnchoredNorth/videos/?ref=page_internal">on Facebook</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Another of their videos, billed as a “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8a5I0yv0Dw">Gay to Christian Testimony</a>”, is entitled <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8a5I0yv0Dw">Homosexuality Was My Identity</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">After 50.50 contacted Facebook and YouTube, they reviewed some of Anchored North’s ads and said they contravened their rules against ad content that disparages or discriminates against users.</p><p dir="ltr">Currently the group, which has also targeted anti-abortion video ads at young women, is not running Facebook ads anywhere in the world. YouTube said it has removed Anchored North ads that violate its policies.</p><p dir="ltr">However, millions of people have already seen these ads, and there will likely be more targeted campaigns that slip through the platforms’ policies in the future as groups find new ways of getting around the rules.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">“To specifically target queer and trans individuals and women seeking abortions is the lowest blow imaginable,” said Rashima Kwatra from the rights group OutRight Action International.</p><p dir="ltr">“It’s truly appalling for an organisation to purposefully send dehumanising messages to individuals who are already targets of so much abuse,” she said, calling it “intolerable” that this group has a platform on social media.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“It’s truly appalling for an organisation to purposefully send dehumanising messages to individuals who are already targets of so much abuse.”</p><p dir="ltr">Founded by three conservative Christian executives in digital media and marketing, Anchored North produces slick, millennial-friendly videos featuring personal testimonies of redemption from ‘sinful’ lives.</p><p dir="ltr">This content is then placed “relentlessly” in front of "people who are not in accordance with the word of God", Sukert said in an interview with 50.50.</p><p dir="ltr">“Like when you go to Amazon and you see a spatula and then that spatula starts following you across Facebook ads, across Google display ads, and everywhere you go, you’re seeing that spatula,” said Sukert.</p><p dir="ltr">“That’s what we’re doing – we really relentlessly follow people with the Gospel, with stories of hope and redemption,” he said</p><p dir="ltr">Sukert said the group has focused heavily on paid-for online advertising, heralding the “amazing” targeting options on social media.</p><p dir="ltr">“It really allows us to be missionaries – not just in the United States but all over the world – so that’s what we do, we hone into people’s interests.”</p><p dir="ltr">It's unclear how much money Anchored North has spent on Facebook and YouTube ads, but in targeted social media advertising, a little can do a lot.</p><p dir="ltr">Another of its videos, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMQoHEtBjRI">I Forgave My Rapist</a>, is about a woman’s decision to have her attacker’s baby instead of an abortion.</p><p dir="ltr">“Raw, genuine and transparent stories,” said Sukert, are particularly attractive to younger viewers. They are also less likely to be taken down for violating social media companies’ policies, he added.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_10.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_10.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of Anchored North video. Credit: Anchored North.</span></span></span>Anchored North says its target audience is 18-to-35-year-olds “<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr8xdksk7ak">being torn apart by darkness, by sin, by evil”</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr8xdksk7ak">“leaving the church at an alarming rate</a>”.</p><p dir="ltr">Its ambition is to “redeem a platform that is being used for evil” and harness “His [God’s] technology” as “an evangelical tool,” said Sukert in <a href="https://evangelism.anchorednorth.org/free-training/">a webinar on Facebook evangelism strategies</a> that 50.50 observed.</p><p dir="ltr">“Look for people that are posting that they’re hurting,” he said, adding that &nbsp;transgender people and drug users were among Anchored North’s next high-priority audiences for targeted ads.</p><p dir="ltr">Since then, a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/AnchoredNorth/videos/1816341065080884/">teaser</a> for a new video testimony of a former drug user has appeared on the group’s Facebook page.</p><p dir="ltr">Leslie Cox, a lesbian woman in the US who is pursuing ordination as a priest within the Presbyterian Church, is one of the millions of Facebook users who have seen Anchored North’s targeted video ad Love is Love.</p><p dir="ltr">She warned that such videos can contribute to mental health problems among those who view them. “I’ve had friends who have attempted and died by suicide as a result of videos like this,” she told 50.50.</p><p dir="ltr">Cox said it was “heartbreaking” to watch Love is Love, in which it seemed that “the only narrative that [the woman speaking] had been told about Christianity and homosexuality was one of condemnation.”</p><p dir="ltr">She says that she and her partner were also “infuriated by Anchored North’s entire campaign” of using “clickbait posts that seem affirming” but actually mislead viewers about what they are about to see and hear.</p><p dir="ltr">This affirming tone is something that Sukert seemed particularly proud of. Social media users, he explained, will often watch just the first 30 seconds of a video and share it before they realise what its messages are.</p><p dir="ltr">“I’ll tell you a really fun story,” he told 50.50, about how LGBT people shared the Love is Love film like this.</p><p dir="ltr">“Seeing this video autoplay in their feed, with the language ‘love is love’, celebrating love and acceptance, [they were] sharing it before they saw the end,” Sukert said, “actually serving as our advocates to get the gospel out.”</p><p dir="ltr">“Subterfuge! :-D” a webinar attendee exclaimed in the comment thread, after Sukert told this story to the group as well.</p><p dir="ltr">Another Facebook user, who requested anonymity, told 50.50 that they were “hurt and angry” after seeing a targeted Anchored North ad on their timeline.</p><p dir="ltr">These videos “have been put out there to push a false narrative and to harm LGBTQ+ people”, they said. “I know that I can't change who I am, and so for this video to say I can really made me feel hurt and manipulated.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“I’ve had friends who have attempted and died by suicide as a result of videos like this.”</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://m.facebook.com/policies/ads/">Facebook’s advertising policy</a> says: “Adverts must not engage in predatory advertising practices or contain content that discriminates against, harasses, provokes or disparages people.”</p><p dir="ltr">It also prohibits “disrespectful” and “misleading content” and ads that violate recently-updated “<a href="https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards/">Community Standards</a>”, including on hate speech, and no longer approves ads targeted to users based on their self-declared sexual identity.</p><p dir="ltr">Sukert said that targeting options for advertisers on Facebook have been dramatically limited in recent months amid a general tightening of policies around user privacy and how individuals’ data can be used.</p><p dir="ltr">Anchored North used to, but can no longer, target people who ‘like’ gay pride parades or Planned Parenthood, or follow what Sukert calls “pages that really celebrate same-sex attraction like LGBT Nation”.</p><p dir="ltr">But there are ways to get around these rules, 50.50 learned.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4_1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4_1.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot from Anchored North webinar. Credit: Anchored North.</span></span></span>“Facebook is really trying to combat polarising content right now, but it really does cherish stories,” said Sukert, adding that “Zuckerberg admits that hate speech is difficult to define” and the platform “didn’t think it through”.</p><p dir="ltr">Sukert told 50.50 about a feature called <a href="https://en-gb.facebook.com/business/help/164749007013531">Lookalike Audiences</a>, which enables Anchored North and other advertisers to continue targeting ads with similar specificity as they could before Facebook’s privacy changes came in.</p><p dir="ltr">Lookalike Audiences compiles all the users an advertiser has previously targeted and interacted with, said Sukert.</p><p dir="ltr">“They match all the commonalities of those profiles and they create a new audience for you,” he explained, doing “all the hard work for you”.</p><p dir="ltr">Sukert also told his webinar attendees that he “was just on the phone to a Facebook ad rep” who was giving him tips to maximise posts’ reach.</p><p dir="ltr">On YouTube, Sukert said that Anchored North has targeted people who are searching for certain keywords, paying the platform to place their videos as ‘pre-roll’ content on channels that have opted-in for advertisements.</p><p dir="ltr">This capability “presents amazing opportunities”, said Sukert.</p><p dir="ltr">Earlier this year, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CC3OOXD_2MA">celebrity YouTuber Hank Green</a> warned that anti-LGBT groups in the US are “taking their hateful advertisements and putting them up on pro, supportive, prideful, loving content on YouTube… to reach people who are vulnerable and who are looking for support in a time of need”.</p><p dir="ltr">Individual YouTube channels can block specific advertisers by their URLs and content categories. But this isn't difficult to get around, according to Green who says that advertisers can use different URLs or recategorise their content. </p><p dir="ltr">Ultimately, Green concludes, such bans are “mostly not going to work.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“Facebook is really trying to combat polarising content right now, but it really does cherish stories.”</p><p dir="ltr">After 50.50 contacted the social media platform, YouTube said that when it finds an ad that violates its <a href="https://support.google.com/adwordspolicy/answer/6015406?hl=en">content policy</a>, it removes it – and that it’s disapproved Anchored North ads accordingly.</p><p dir="ltr">“We have a clear set of policies which prohibit ads and videos that disparage an individual or group on the basis of their sexual orientation,” said a spokesperson. “We enforce this policy rigorously and when a violation is brought to our attention, we take swift action.”</p><p dir="ltr">YouTube’s policies also <a href="https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/143465?hl=en">prohibit</a> advertisers from targeting individuals based on several “sensitive interest categories” including their sexual preferences.</p><p dir="ltr">The platform denied that advertisers can re-categorise their videos, saying that only their own systems can classify videos.</p><p dir="ltr">A Facebook spokesperson said, in relation to the Love is Love video: “While the videos are allowed to exist on the page, we have re-reviewed the ads that include this particular video and determined they violate by abusing the spirit of our ad targeting policies which don't allow people to discriminate against, harass, provoke, or disparage users or to engage in predatory advertising practices.”</p><p dir="ltr">They declined to comment on Anchored North’s ads and approach more broadly, restricting their comments to Love is Love.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_6.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_6.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Screenshot of Anchored North video on Facebook. Credit: Anchored North.</span></span></span>The advanced advertising capabilities offered up by social media have made it easier than ever before to target members of specific communities online – including ahead of elections and <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/isobel-thompson/irish-anti-abortion-campaigners-brexit-trump-data-companies">referenda</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">“It’s crucial that [social] networks have adequate privacy controls to ensure that user data is never compromised or unintentionally revealed,” said Carlos Gutierrez, at <a href="https://www.lgbttech.org/">LGBT Tech</a>, a coalition group based in Virginia.</p><p dir="ltr">This is particularly important as “the internet has been a lifeline for LGBT people,” he said, enabling people to come together and support each other online despite “long-standing sexual orientation stigmas and isolation.”</p><p dir="ltr">Ruth Tsuria, a digital culture researcher at <a href="https://www.shu.edu/profiles/RuthTsuria.cfm">the University of Seton Hall, New Jersey</a>, said Anchored North is a case of “a very vicious and cynical use” of consumer ‘big data’ that is also “dangerous to people’s mental health.”</p><p dir="ltr">“Facebook was very active taking down photos of people breastfeeding,” and “more successful in that than taking down hate speech,” she added, laying responsibility squarely at the social media giant’s feet.</p><p dir="ltr">It has the “power to decide what happens within its territory”, she said. When it doesn’t “act against these things, [it’s] to some degree allowing them.”</p><p dir="ltr"><em>* This article was amended on 7 August to more precisely describe YouTube’s policies.</em></p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> Internet </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Equality Internet Women's rights and the media Tracking the backlash sexual identities fundamentalisms young feminists Sophie Hemery Wed, 01 Aug 2018 12:08:35 +0000 Sophie Hemery 119081 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Breastfeeding is best for HIV-positive mothers too – but corporate interests and weak health systems hinder progress https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/ameena-goga/breastfeeding-hiv-positive-mothers <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As a paediatrician and health researcher in South Africa, I am acutely aware of the ongoing support that women need to breastfeed.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_5.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_5.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A mother and her child in Peru. Photo: Flickr/ Mariano Mantel. CC BY-NC 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>At the World Health Assembly in July, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/health/world-health-breastfeeding-ecuador-trump.html">an excellent resolution</a> was passed to protect, support and promote breastfeeding – and tighten controls over the unscrupulous marketing of breastmilk substitutes. The controversy it sparked was a stark reminder of the multiple interests that challenge breastfeeding.</p><p dir="ltr">The US tried to <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/health/world-health-breastfeeding-ecuador-trump.html">water down wording</a> to regulate formula milk companies, appearing to support business interests over the health of mothers and children. Among other things, the resolution aims to strengthen the implementation of an international code on the marketing of substitutes.</p><p dir="ltr">As a health systems researcher, epidemiologist and paediatrician in South Africa, I am acutely aware of the difficulties that some women face when breastfeeding, including perceived milk insufficiency, cracked or painful nipples, or blocked milk ducts. But the evidence for breastfeeding is robust.</p><p dir="ltr">Breastfeeding can <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/series/breastfeeding?code=lancet-site">prevent common childhood illnesses</a> such as ear infections and pneumonia, and <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(07)61690-0.pdf">reduce child deaths</a>. It promotes better birth spacing and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673602094540">protects against maternal breast cancer</a>, <a href="http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/79198/9789241505307_eng.pdf;sequence=1">diabetes and obesity</a>. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_2.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_2.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="329" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mothers and children in a health centre in Zimbabwe. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dfid/5181303587/in/photostream/">DFID/Flickr.</a> CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>When <a href="https://www.health-e.org.za/2016/03/10/report-2013-national-antenatal-sentinel-hiv-prevalence-surey/">almost one in three</a> pregnant women is HIV positive, as in South Africa where I work, challenges facing breastfeeding are particularly complex. One recent case, of a four-month-old patient of mine and his mother, shows how.</p><p dir="ltr">Sammy* was admitted to intensive care for pneumonia. To our surprise, he tested positive on an HIV antibody test but was not HIV-infected.</p><p dir="ltr">His mother Barbara* had tested HIV negative during her first antenatal visit and was not re-tested during six follow-up appointments (even though re-testing is national policy in South Africa).</p><p dir="ltr">Everyone mistakenly believed that she was still HIV negative. Consequently, she was not on treatment for the virus and the amount of HIV in her blood (her ‘viral load’) was high. Should she stop breastfeeding?</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“With the right support, breastfeeding is safe even when the mother is HIV positive.”</p><p dir="ltr">There is now <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18525036?dopt=Abstract">much evidence</a> that, with the right support and treatment, breastfeeding is safe when the mother is HIV positive.</p><p dir="ltr">Before 2010, <a href="http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/if_consensus/en/">the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended</a> that HIV positive women avoid or reduce breastfeeding to prevent HIV transmission to babies. Several countries, including South Africa, purchased formula milk from companies and provided this free of charge to HIV positive mothers.</p><p dir="ltr">Subsequent data from countries including <a href="https://sajhivmed.org.za/index.php/hivmed/article/view/258">Botswana, Zambia, South Africa and Zimbabwe</a> showed that never breastfeeding <a href="http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/documents/9789241599535/en/">increased deaths</a> from common childhood illnesses. Providing <a href="https://internationalbreastfeedingjournal.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1746-4358-7-4">HIV positive mothers with formula milk was also misinterpreted as ‘formula milk is good</a>,’ leading to wider use.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2010, the WHO and UNICEF advised countries to choose the feeding option for HIV positive mothers that best suits their circumstances and chances of child survival. They also encouraged countries to prioritise HIV positive women for triple antiretroviral therapy (ART), to safely breastfeed.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2012, the WHO recommended lifelong ART for all HIV positive pregnant and lactating women. This has now been adopted by <a href="http://www.aidsdatahub.org/sites/default/files/publication/UNAIDS_On_the_Fast-Track_to_an%20AIDS-Free_Generation_2016.pdf">almost all</a> of the 22 poorer countries where 90% of the world’s HIV positive women live.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2016, the WHO further recommended breastfeeding for at least 12 months for all HIV positive women on lifelong ART who are ‘<a href="http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/hivaids/guideline_hiv_infantfeeding_2016/en/">virally suppressed</a>’ (with <a href="https://www.verywellhealth.com/viral-suppression-3132658">no measurable HIV virus in their blood</a>).</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_8.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_8.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="321" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Rapid HIV testing. Zimbabwe. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/dfid/5181913492/in/photolist-5FZWpN-7jJXJE-5Gn18h-5FHYhg-7rb5Ke-7JZdxL-85a8bY-8TRx3H-8TRxXr-4JuM13-8TUEm5-8TUDpL-8TUDpm-s6uMmK-8TRxXz-9KRNPM-zGH62f-7qufAV-9KVkFC-9KUEyY-bTeg46-rt1ZgV-4xBBbY-ppvqBq-7kjJkB-7jNfpi-7jNffr-7jS8Eo-FVrmxC-Bz46rP-7jNfxF-7jS8zA-9vRp3P-eDDsoX-eDnCZQ-d1FcDw-Y2xWnU-7FF79f-qqmCnw-Bz46mP-qGRzny">Flickr/DFID.</a> CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>It was a landmark realisation that, with ART, women can breastfeed their babies with <a href="http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/70892/WHO_HIV_2012.6_eng.pdf;jsessionid=7C412F0BF48513181599DA184220C30B?sequence=2">minimal risk of HIV transmission</a>. But strong and sufficiently-resourced health systems are needed to implement this.</p><p dir="ltr">Formula companies continue to aggressively market breastmilk substitutes, undermining breastfeeding. By 2017, the baby formula market was already worth <a href="https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/breastfeeding-baby-formula-report/">$47 billion a year</a>, and was predicted to grow by around 50% by 2020.</p><p dir="ltr">Breastfeeding rates remain low in South Africa; <a href="http://www.governmentpublications.lib.uct.ac.za/news/south-africa-demographic-and-health-survey-2016">only 32%</a> of children under the age of 6 months are exclusively breastfed.</p><p dir="ltr">In the case of Sammy and Barbara, their local clinic was poorly-staffed and she was not re-tested for HIV despite a policy requiring this. They also struggled with complex personal circumstances. Barbara was single, unemployed, in-between homes and reliant on a meagre, irregular income.</p><p dir="ltr">When she learned her HIV status, Barbara had limited options.</p><p dir="ltr">It was physically impossible to pasteurise breastmilk before every feed; she could not afford a regular supply of formula milk and cleaning agents; and if she stopped breastfeeding Sammy’s risk of death from diarrhoea or pneumonia may have increased.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“Sammy and Barbara’s story shows the web of complexity around breastfeeding, in the context of HIV.”</p><p dir="ltr">Ultimately, Barbara was counselled (on HIV transmission and breastmilk, and ART adherence), and supported to breastfeed. Sammy also received two antiretroviral drugs to prevent HIV infection. He remains HIV negative.</p><p dir="ltr">Their story shows how breastfeeding women need ongoing support, particularly where HIV is common.</p><p dir="ltr">And this is not the responsibility of one person or sector. Health workers, policymakers and politicians need to understand why and how to support and promote breastfeeding everywhere – and especially for the most vulnerable women and those least likely to access the services they need.</p><p dir="ltr">We must also – globally, nationally and locally – strengthen our monitoring of the breastmilk substitutes sold by formula companies, and prevent any misinformation or unscrupulous marketing of breastmilk substitutes.</p><p dir="ltr">* <em>Not patients’ real names.</em></p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> South Africa </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Science </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 South Africa Science Women's rights and economic justice women's health Ameena Goga Fri, 27 Jul 2018 08:52:06 +0000 Ameena Goga 118984 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why is the US government meeting LGBT 'hate groups' and dangling money in front of them? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/claire-provost/us-government-anti-lgbt-hate-groups-money <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Anti-abortion and anti-LGBT 'extremists' attended a high-level summit on religious freedom this week, where government officials explained how to access US funding.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_3.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_3.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="252" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The ministerial conference on advancing religious freedom. Photo: Claire Provost.</span></span></span>Prominent Christian conservatives and opponents of abortion and same-sex marriage – including several designated by the Southern Law Poverty Center as <a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/groups">anti-LGBT “hate groups”</a> – were among the participants at a high-level US government meeting on ‘religious freedom’ in Washington DC this week. The three-day <a href="https://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm">event</a>, hosted by secretary of state Mike Pompeo, has the stated aim to identify “concrete ways to combat religious persecution and discrimination.”</p><p dir="ltr">“The ability to live according to the dictates of your own soul, is under attack,” said Sam Brownback, US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom and a conservative Catholic former governor of Kansas who is also known for his <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/trump-lgbt-brownback-religion-644540">opposition to LGBT marriage equality</a>. “We must commit to using all the might, the machinery, and the moral authority we have to stop those nations and actors who trample on free souls,” he declared.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases-statements/uscirf-host-reception-celebrating-20th-anniversary-irfa-and">Hundreds</a> of people are attending the summit and side events, which began on Tuesday, including dozens of foreign ministers and delegates from religious groups of different faiths. They are being encouraged to work together – and learn how “<a href="https://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/religiousfreedom/index.htm">to access US financial support for their efforts</a>” from the state department and the US agency for international development (USAID). Speakers include Vice President <a href="https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/07/284208.htm">Mike Pence</a>, director of the government's budget office Mick Mulvaney,&nbsp;and head of USAID <a href="https://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/religiousfreedom/c79857.htm">Mark Green</a>.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">“We must commit to using all the might, the machinery, and the moral authority we have to stop those who trample on free souls.”</p><p dir="ltr">The summit’s opening day featured testimonies from survivors of religious persecution including the brother of a murdered Pakistani Christian; a Rohingya lawyer, and the wife of a Christian pastor imprisoned in China. But it began with a breakfast side-event with ambassador Brownback, <a href="https://www.lc.org/newsroom/details/072418-religious-freedom-breakfast-with-brownback">co-organised</a> by the Christian conservative anti-LGBT ‘<a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/liberty-counsel">hate group</a>’ Liberty Counsel.</p><p dir="ltr">Liberty Counsel <a href="https://www.lc.org/about">says</a> it “embraces a worldview that is historically Christian and biblical.” It opposes abortion and same-sex marriage and has often used freedom of religion, conscience, and speech arguments in its cases. Its lawyers represented a small town <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34155777">Kentucky clerk</a> who was briefly jailed in 2015 after refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses.</p><p>The group has also supported legal advocacy <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sian-norris/romania-battleground-backlash-lgbt-rights">in Romania</a> to define marriage in the constitution as exclusively between a man and a woman. This month, it celebrated a court’s refusal to grant an injunction against anti-abortion activists it <a href="https://www.lc.org/newsroom/details/072318-victory-for-life-in-new-york">represents,</a> who “persuade women” outside a New York clinic “to change their minds about seeking an abortion by communicating the gospel.”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_4.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_4.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="312" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom Sam Brownback, in 2017. Photo: CQ-Roll Call/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is also at the summit. <a href="https://adflegal.org/risk">Since 1994</a>, it’s “grown from the prayers of… godly leaders to become a major force in the legal battle for religious freedom.” It’s also a ‘<a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/alliance-defending-freedom">hate group</a>’ according to the Southern Poverty Law Center which includes it in its '<a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/">extremist files</a>.' "Since the election of President Donald Trump," it says, "ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration’s attack on LGBT rights."</p><p dir="ltr">Recently, ADF lawyers supported the case of a <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-baker/us-supreme-court-backs-christian-baker-who-rebuffed-gay-couple-idUSKCN1J01WU">Christian baker in Colorado</a> who refused to make a same-sex wedding cake, saying it would go against his beliefs. (The supreme court ruled in his favour earlier this year).</p><p dir="ltr">This week, ADF’s international wing is co-organising a side event with the <a href="http://www.dobsonfamilyinstitute.com/">James Dobson Family Institute</a> – which <a href="https://www.dobsonfamilyinstitute.com/about/">guides</a> families “on how to apply biblical principles to their lives” – on a current cause celebre for religious conservatives: 'parent’s rights.’ “Religious liberty cannot be left at the threshold when one enters the home,” said <a href="https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/on-religious-freedom-trump-keeps-his-word">ADF’s president Michael Farris</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The summit “will send a very strong message that America is once again concerned about religious freedom,” said <a href="https://twitter.com/tperkins/status/1021429833522458624">Tony Perkins</a>, president of the ‘<a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/family-research-council">hate group</a>’ Family Research Council which <a href="https://www.frc.org/mission-statement">says</a> its “mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview.”</p><p>Perkins, who <a href="http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/tony-perkins-arbiter-of-christianity-says-pro-gay-christians-dont-have-same-religious-rights-as-conservatives/">once claimed</a> that “true religious freedom” applies to “orthodox religious viewpoints,” was also <a href="https://www.frc.org/newsroom/family-research-councils-tony-perkins-appointed-as-newest-uscirf-commissioner">appointed</a> earlier this year to the federal government’s <a href="http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/press-releases-statements/uscirf-host-reception-celebrating-20th-anniversary-irfa-and">US Commission on International Religious Freedom</a>.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_5.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_5.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Tony Perkins at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference. Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>On Tuesday, ambassador Brownback said the summit’s attendees came from 80 countries and different faiths. “Religious freedom really, truly is for everyone. It’s a right given by God,” he said. Multi-faith coalitions for religious freedom were encouraged by some speakers. But “few religious groups are as excited about the gathering as evangelical Christians,” <a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/21/religious-freedom-gathering-state-department-narratives-735085">Politico</a> <a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/21/religious-freedom-gathering-state-department-narratives-735085">noted</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Groups like Liberty Counsel, ADF, and FRC have been campaigning on religious freedom platforms for years. Other attendees at the summit included a leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and <a href="https://twitter.com/Paula_White">Paula White-Cain</a>, a Florida megachurch pastor who <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/she-led-trump-to-christ-the-rise-of-the-televangelist-who-advises-the-white-house/2017/11/13/1dc3a830-bb1a-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html">led</a> a prayer at Trump’s inauguration, and TV producer Mark Burnett, creator of Survivor and a series called The Bible.</p><p>In an <a href="https://juicyecumenism.com/2018/07/24/to-secretary-of-state-mike-pompeo-on-the-ministerial-to-advance-religious-freedom/">open letter</a> to Pompeo, Faith McDonnell from the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD) said it was “refreshing” to see “this level of concern for and determination to defend those who suffer for their faith.” Though she also called for greater focus on Christians around the world, who she claimed are “being persecuted for their faith [more] than any other religious believers.”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4_3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4_3.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>US secretary of state Mike Pompeo and UN ambassador Nikki Haley ahead of this week’s event. Photo: Li Muzi/Xinhua News Agency/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>On Twitter, some questioned whose voices and perspectives were being left out. Naomi Washington-Leapheart at the National LGBTQ Task Force <a href="https://twitter.com/oholyshift/status/1021821556207575045">tweeted:</a> “Can we get some testimony from folks in the US who have experienced trauma visited upon them by the exercise of religion? Can I get a queer witness? Hear from survivors of discrimination cloaked as piety on *this* soil?”</p><p dir="ltr">Peter Henne, a University of Vermont political science professor, warned civil society delegates “<a href="https://twitter.com/pehenne/status/1021750312116412421">excitedly participating</a>” in the summit to “<a href="https://twitter.com/pehenne/status/1021750315840888832">be careful</a> they don't buy into a definition of religious freedom that excludes Muslims.” The Trump administration has actually “acted contrary to religious freedom,” he said, including with its travel bans affecting people in Muslim-majority countries.</p><p>Meanwhile, the president of ADF took to social media to criticise the emphasis of some summit delegates on diversity and inclusion. “It is not that traditional religious people do not believe in religious freedom for all. We do,” Farris said in a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/351012244996474/posts/1734029306694754/">Facebook post</a>. “The problem is that the left has defined ‘diversity and inclusion’ to be the enemy of religious freedom.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“The problem is that the left has defined ‘diversity and inclusion’ to be the enemy of religious freedom.”</p><p dir="ltr">The conference comes as sexual and reproductive rights advocates warn that religious freedom arguments are increasingly being used to challenge anti-discrimination policies and access to services. “We’re concerned,” <a href="https://twitter.com/Catholic4Choice/status/1021770216903258120">said</a> Catholics for Choice, that it “is being redefined to mean religious privilege.”</p><p dir="ltr">The NGO noted efforts “to expand religious refusals” to provide reproductive health care. Maya Rupert at the Center for Reproductive Rights <a href="https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/healthcare/hhs-sued-for-details-on-religious-conscience-liberty-division">has also said</a> that Trump’s administration has used such arguments to “deny essential reproductive health services and embolden those who want to discriminate,”</p><p dir="ltr">This year, a new conscience and religious freedom division opened within the US department of health to enable workers to <a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/16/conscience-abortion-transgender-patients-health-care-289542">opt out</a> of procedures (such as abortion or contraception) on religious or moral grounds.</p><p dir="ltr">The Trump administration has also “taken a stand on behalf of religious liberty in the courts,” said <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/president-donald-j-trump-stands-religious-freedom-united-states/">the White House</a> in a statement, by supporting the Christian baker in the recent ADF-backed supreme court case.</p><p dir="ltr">This week’s gathering has included presentations from state department officials on how groups working on religious freedom can access its funding. On the schedule of side events there is also a “<a href="https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/ce85d9_03b38e2c281a4bef9950454dc0012681.pdf">US government grant workshop</a>” with “speakers from the US state department and USAID [who] will provide training on how to apply for US government funding.”</p><p dir="ltr">The summit at the state department “will set the stage for new frontiers and expansion of religious liberty for the family for decades and generations to come,” <a href="https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/on-religious-freedom-trump-keeps-his-word">said</a> Tim Clinton, at the James Dobson Family Institute.</p><p><a href="https://www.christianpost.com/news/first-ever-state-department-ministerial-on-religious-freedom-more-than-talk-pompeo-226273/">Pompeo</a> has also promised follow-up. Internationally, US teams will be “in the field talking about religious freedom on a continued basis,” he said. “This will be a mission of the state department everyday.” Women’s and LGBT rights defenders, in the US and beyond, will be on high alert.</p><div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Democracy and government </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Democracy and government Equality International politics Tracking the backlash women's human rights sexual identities fundamentalisms Claire Provost Thu, 26 Jul 2018 11:00:19 +0000 Claire Provost 119022 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “Young men should be furious”: inside the world’s largest gathering of men’s rights activists https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/lara-whyte/young-men-should-be-furious-inside-worlds-largest-mens-rights-activism <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>50.50 spent a (fairly) fact-free weekend among anti-feminists at the International Conference on Men’s Issues, in London.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_4.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_4.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Mike Buchanan, speaking at the 2018 International Conference on Men's Issues. Copyright: Mike Buchanan, 2018. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Men’s Rights Activists (MRAs) from North America, Europe, Australia and Asia gathered in London last weekend for the fourth <a href="https://icmi18.wordpress.com/">International Conference on Men’s Issues</a>, organised by Mike Buchanan, the founder of a fringe, anti-feminist British political party called ‘<a href="https://j4mb.org.uk/">Justice for Men and Boys</a>’.</p><p dir="ltr">Two hundred delegates attended the three-day event from a record 24 different countries, making it one of the movement’s biggest yet. “It’s the largest gathering of the men’s rights movement in the world, certainly, in terms of a men’s issue conference that is very clearly anti-feminist, there’s nothing like us in the world,” Buchanan told 50.50.</p><p dir="ltr">I spent considerable time trying to convince Buchanan I was not the feminist my previously published work might make me seem, before he’d consent to allow me to attend the gathering – or even tell me its location. Burrowed in the far reaches of London’s Excel centre, security at the meeting was tight; I needed my passport to get past a burly man wearing a Trump 2020 cap.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“It’s the largest gathering of the men’s rights movement… very clearly anti-feminist. There’s nothing like us in the world.”</p><p dir="ltr">Last year, Buchanan tried to organise a similar conference in Birmingham Football Club, but the venue cancelled it after a <a href="https://www.football365.com/news/questions-for-birmingham-city-over-links-to-controversial-political-party">football blogger wrote about its “sinister undertones.”</a> There’s also the risk of women’s rights campaigners protesting outside but, Buchanan says, whenever feminists protest, “it’s a PR disaster for them. It reveals how driven by hatred they are.”</p><p dir="ltr">Several women attended and spoke at the event, but in a smaller breakout room ahead of the keynote speech by<a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcmnLu5cGUGeLy744WS-fsg"> Karen Straughan</a> – a Canadian YouTuber (with almost 200,000 subscribers) and, in Buchanan’s words, “the most important anti-feminist in the world” – I was, briefly, the only woman in a room of entirely white men.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">I was close enough to the front of the main room to clearly see the graphic images of a baby being circumcised and a number of posters disparaging different high profile women and feminists as ‘whiny’, ‘gormless’ or ‘toxic’.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/version2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/version2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Posters disparaging high-profile women inside the conference. Credit: Lara Whyte/Copyright: Justice for Men and Boys.</span></span></span>Male circumcision – or male genital mutilation (MGM) as the MRAs call it – is one of several rallying points within this movement. On Saturday, a video showing circumcisions was screened. A horror story of a procedure gone wrong is also one of the supposed ‘turning points’ in the faux-journalistic journey undertaken by Cassie Jaye for her film, The Red Pill.</p><p>This film has been <a href="https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/3bwvqb/oh-no-the-australian-premiere-of-the-red-pill-was-cancelled">banned from cinemas in Australia</a> for being “misogynistic propaganda” but it remains on Amazon Prime. Jaye attended the conference with her husband and was treated like a celebrity; all of the younger MRAs 50.50 spoke to said it was her film that got them initially involved in the movement, and many of the men self-identify as ‘Red Pillers’.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The Red Pill “misogynistic propaganda” film was banned from cinemas in Australia. It remains on Amazon Prime.</p><p dir="ltr">Straughan’s talk – ‘Why women must consign feminism to the dustpan of history – was a peculiar mix of personal anecdotes, riffs on “female privilege” and “gynocentrism” and the odd scattering of decontextualised fact. She said women need to “give up their privileges” and take up their obligations to men. “Is there only a handful of us women who love their men?” she asked the crowd, which gave her a standing ovation.</p><p dir="ltr">Paul Elam, founder of the website A Voice For Men in the USA, joined via video link. After a speech in which he described women as “<a href="https://www.avoiceformen.com/featured/mens-movement-personal-and-political-icmi18-speech/">opportunistic parasites in the lives of men”,</a> he was greeted to rapturous applause.</p><p dir="ltr">“Society piles complete and total responsibility on men for its existence” he said. “Almost all the sacrifice, of blood and sweat and of life that is required to keep the world turning, to keep us living in relative comfort and safety, is male sacrifice. Women won’t do it. Women can’t do it.”</p><p>The de facto leader of the MRA movement, Elam is listed as a purveyor of “male supremacy” by <a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/male-supremacy">the Southern Poverty Law Centre</a> (SPLC), “a hateful ideology advocating for the subjugation of women.” He is perhaps best known for <a href="https://www.avoiceformen.com/mens-rights/domestic-violence-industry/october-is-the-fifth-annual-bash-a-violent-bitch-month/">declaring October “Bash a Violent Bitch Month”</a>, in a blog post he later claimed was satire to draw attention to violence against men.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_3.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>An anti-circumcision protest in 2015, Texas. Photo: Bloodstained Men & Frends/Flickr. CC BY 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>The list of MRA grievances is long but, like any extremist movement, there are a few uncomfortable truths spurning the fury. These include the low attainment of <a href="http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20090108131527/http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/research/data/uploadfiles/RTP01-07.pdf">some boys in schools</a>; <a href="https://www.thecalmzone.net/2014/02/onssuicidereport/">male suicide as a leading killer of men under 50</a> in the UK; higher levels of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-37107208">women entering higher education</a> in some countries (‘female supremacy,’ as the MRAs call it); male circumcision, or MGM, and the lack of provision for <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/domestic-violence-male-victims-shelters-government-funding-stigma-a7626741.html">male victims of domestic violence</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">No two delegates willing to speak to me gave the same reason for their involvement in this movement. One from Oslo said he felt that he was being “thought controlled” in his native, gender equality-loving Norway. “We are sacrificing the truth,” he said. “Going in the wrong direction.”</p><p dir="ltr">“I’ve got two young boys now and I am quite worried about the future they will have,” one delegate, Luke from the UK (who would not give me his surname), said. He described his children “growing up in an education system, a workplace system that kind of disenfranchises them.”</p><p dir="ltr">That men are disenfranchised by women was accepted as fact by all of the delegates and speakers I listened to. Their fury and frustration was palpable, at times distressing. This anger and what appeared to be their shared mourning of an idealised past could be why the men’s rights movement has been described as a <a href="https://www.vox.com/culture/2016/12/14/13576192/alt-right-sexism-recruitment">“gateway drug”</a> to the alt-right.</p><p>“Male supremacy was fundamental to the foundation of the racist ‘alt-right,’ notes <a href="https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/male-supremacy">a recent SPLC report</a>. “It is characterised by angry rants blaming feminism for the decline of Western civilisation and deriding feminists as “Social Justice Warriors”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“Male supremacy was fundamental to the foundation of the racist ‘alt-right.’”</p><p dir="ltr">One young Scandinavian attendee, who wouldn’t go on the record for an interview, nevertheless stayed to debate with me the “disaster” of London’s Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan, the “courage” of US President Donald Trump, and how his country was being “destroyed” by “dangerous immigration”.</p><p dir="ltr">There was much quoting of research and statistics -- but similar to the propaganda film The Red Pill, sourcing was light, or cherry-picked. It became exasperating: facts on everything from domestic abuse, violence against women, the extent of the gender pay gap were rejected and derided as part of the “feminist tissue of lies”, in Buchanan’s words.</p><p>Truth and lies and, in particular, how lies are used against men, was a running theme of the event. “Every feminist claim has been debunked a thousand times” according to Buchanan. “There is not one feminist narrative that is not one of five things -- a baseless conspiracy theory, like patriarchy, a fantasy, a lie, a delusion or a myth.”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4_2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4_2.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" width="460" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Assembled delegates at the Men’s Rights Conference in the London’s Excel Centre. Picture credit: Justice for Men and Boys.</span></span></span>MRAs get their truths from YouTube, which Australian activist Brian Moloney described as his “gateway drug” to this movement and “a very male environment.” Buchanan added: “The internet has been a energetic enabler of our movement for men’s rights – just like it has with other movements.”</p><p dir="ltr">Oliver Hoffman, founder of an Austrian men’s rights party called <a href="https://www.maennerpartei.at/">Männerpartei</a>, talked openly about how MRAs should work with white nationalists, and two US MRAs told 50.50 that they believed these movements were linked (but were unhappy about this).</p><p dir="ltr">Buchanan flat out denied such links when I presented them to him. “I know your organisation gets money from George Soros; the left utterly dominates the mainstream media, so the narrative is anyone to the right of Jeremy Corbyn is a Nazi and far-right,” he said. “The idea that there’s any connection between the far right and the men’s rights movement is just nonsense.”</p><p>“Young men should be furious,” Buchanan told me. “When you actually understand how the world is stacked against you, anger is a really reasonable response. Frankly there should be a lot more anger. Men should be marching on parliament in their millions.”</p><p><em>Additional reporting by Adam Bychawski and Camille Mijola.</em></p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Tracking the backlash patriarchy feminism Lara Whyte Wed, 25 Jul 2018 08:40:32 +0000 Lara Whyte 118995 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Can a male-dominated legal industry achieve meaningful reforms for women? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/elizabeth-mangenje/can-male-dominated-legal-industry-achieve-meaningful-reforms-for-women <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Despite shocking accounts of harassment and discrimination within their profession, women lawyers in Zimbabwe and beyond are fighting for more gender-sensitive laws.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_7.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_7.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="315" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Chief judges of the Supreme Court, Harare 2017. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>The first woman lawyer in Zimbabwe was admitted to the bar in 1928. But it wasn’t until 1980 that the country had its first woman magistrate – and just this year, the <a href="http://www.chronicle.co.zw/updated-gwaunza-appointed-deputy-chief-justice/">first woman Deputy Chief Justice</a> was sworn in.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Currently, <a href="http://nehandaradio.com/2018/02/05/women-dominate-law-schools/">70%</a> of law students in Zimbabwe are women. Their admissions increased by <a href="http://allafrica.com/stories/201709040101.html">35%</a> from 2013 to 2016. Women’s absence from high-level positions is not, therefore, a question of capability. It’s the direct result of underlying discrimination and harassment in the legal profession.</p><p dir="ltr">Seemingly neutral policies entrench discrimination. Associates receive a low and unregulated ‘base salary’ from their law firms, for example. To make a living and grow professionally, they must surpass a monthly revenue target set by their firm; often referred to as ‘eat what you kill’.</p><p dir="ltr">Starting out, young lawyers rarely have their own clients and must rely on (overwhelmingly male) senior partners for work. Making a sexual harassment complaint can negatively impact chances of finding work.</p><p dir="ltr">Women on maternity leave must rely on their base salary, leaving them far behind in pay and in their careers upon returning to work.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Women’s absence from high-level positions is a direct result of underlying discrimination and harassment in the legal profession.</p><p dir="ltr">These problems are not unique to Zimbabwe. In the UK, a <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/a1688488-211a-11e8-a895-1ba1f72c2c11">survey of 1,000 legal professionals</a> in the top 100 law firms found that 42% of women had experienced workplace sexual harassment or discrimination.</p><p dir="ltr">A similar survey of <a href="https://www.hrmonline.co.nz/news/sexual-harassment-bullying-rife-in-the-law-profession-250570.aspx">3,500 female legal professionals in New Zealand</a> showed that one-third had experienced workplace harassment.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/ending-sexual-harassment-at-work.pdf">Recent research</a> by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission revealed cases of women lawyers locking themselves in toilets while male colleagues joked about rape – and nasty cross-examinations of rape victims. Such incidents were covered-up by non-disclosure agreements.</p><p dir="ltr">In the US, some law firms went as far as <a href="http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/biglaw_mandatory_arbitration_clauses">using mandatory arbitration clauses</a> to prevent victims of sexual harassment from suing in court.</p><p dir="ltr">Widespread harassment of women has contributed to maintaining the gender imbalance in the legal profession worldwide. In 2017, women made up <a href="http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/diversity-toolkit/diverse-law-firms.page">48% of the lawyers</a> in UK law firms, but only 33% of their partners. In large firms, women constituted 29% of partners.</p><p dir="ltr">A <a href="http://www.lssa.org.za/?q=con,115,LEAD%20statistics%20on%20the%20profession">survey of large corporate law firms in South Africa</a> revealed a similar picture, despite women constituting 55% of law students in the country. A lack of research in Zimbabwe means that the precise gap between male and female partners in this country remains unknown.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Attempted rape and dismissal for refusing to ‘play along’ are among the profession’s best-kept secrets. </p><p dir="ltr">Formal complaints of harassment to regulating bodies are rarely made in Zimbabwe. Denialists point to this ‘lack of evidence’ to dismiss conversations about harassment and discrimination in the profession.</p><p dir="ltr">In Zimbabwe, attempted rape, being trapped in senior partners’ offices, groping by male colleagues, casual sex proposals and dismissals for refusing to ‘play along’ are the legal profession’s best-kept secrets.</p><p>Regulations against sexual harassment are, on their own, not enough. While seemingly-neutral policies – like the ‘eat what you kill’ system – go unreformed, silence remains the only option.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_4.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_4.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Scales of Justice, 2012. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikecogh/8035396680/">Flickr/Michael Coghlan.</a> Some rights reserved. CC BY-SA 2.0.</span></span></span>Yet, these challenges have not halted progress on gender-sensitive legal reform, and in <a href="https://scholarship.law.cornell.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.co.zw/&amp;httpsredir=1&amp;article=1011&amp;context=facpub">some contexts, they have even inspired it.</a></p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://time.com/time-person-of-the-year-2017-silence-breakers/">#Metoo</a> movements have sparked important discussions which could lead to <a href="https://www.litigationandtrial.com/2018/01/articles/attorney/sexual-harassment-nda/">policy and legal reforms</a> in sectors including the legal industry in the US and other countries.</p><p dir="ltr">Key milestones have been reached in Zimbabwe including reforms to <a href="https://zimlii.org/zw/journal/2017-msulrj-1/%5Bnode%3Afield_jpubdate%3Acustom%3AY/positive-step-towards-ending-child-marriages">end child marriages</a>, improve access to justice for <a href="https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-105628.html">women in customary unions</a> and <a href="https://www.voazimbabwe.com/a/zimbabwe-women-welcome-court-ruling-96316384/1467360.html">remove barriers for women to be legal guardians of their children.</a></p><p dir="ltr">Women’s rights advocates <a href="https://mg.co.za/article/2018-05-23-social-justice-organisations-are-not-squeaky-clean-and-we-must-do-better">individually</a> and <a href="http://www.actionaid.org/south-africa/2018/05/press-statement-ngo-feminist-caucus-statement-sexual-harassment">collectively</a> fought for these reforms. Since 1992, the <a href="http://zwla.co.zw/">Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association</a> has been instrumental in assisting women to access justice in family and inheritance law.</p><p dir="ltr">The number of women who own their law firm in Zimbabwe is small but growing, and senior women lawyers are increasingly supporting their younger counterparts.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.zlhr.org.zw/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/LM-Special-Edition-IWD-DP.pdf">Women Law Connect</a>, founded in 2015, is a Facebook platform for women lawyers in Zimbabwe to share opportunities and experiences, find mentors and mentees, <a href="https://www.herald.co.zw/female-lawyers-celebrate-womens-day/">celebrate successes</a> and expose abuse in the workplace.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“The assumption is that women lawyers set the example of fighting against discrimination and harassment.”</p><p dir="ltr">Lawyers are often seen as brave, assertive, warrior-like, ‘gladiators in suits’. The assumption is that women lawyers set the example of fighting against discrimination and harassment.</p><p dir="ltr">The idea of women ‘gladiators in suits’ being oppressed on their own ‘turf’ does not inspire confidence in their ability to influence societal change.</p><p dir="ltr">But history shows us that women have fought for equality in the legal profession, and also for gender-sensitive legal reform, with significant success. The legal profession does not have to be perfect before such reforms and access to justice for women can be achieved.</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Zimbabwe </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Zimbabwe Equality Women and the Economy women and power gender women's work Elizabeth Mangenje Thu, 19 Jul 2018 11:49:24 +0000 Elizabeth Mangenje 118932 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How ‘conscientious objectors’ threaten women’s newly-won abortion rights in Latin America https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/diana-cariboni/conscientious-objectors-threaten-abortion-rights-latin-america <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From Uruguay to Chile, medical staff are refusing to provide abortion services even after their legalisation. <em><strong><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/diana-cariboni/c-mo-los-objetores-de-conciencia-amenazan-los-derechos-sobre-el-abo">Español</a></strong></em></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image6.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image6.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A protester at a march for legal abortion in Argentina, 2017. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Women’s rights to legal abortion have increased in Latin America – but so have campaigns and policies for medical staff to be able to ‘conscientiously object’ and refuse to participate in these procedures.</p><p dir="ltr">“We didn’t see it coming,” said feminist activist Lilián Abracinskas in Uruguay, a secular country where abortion, same-sex marriage and the marijuana market were each legalised in the last decade.</p><p dir="ltr">Abracinskas told 50.50 that many people assumed conscientious objection provisions “would have no impact” on services in the country. “We really never discussed it, and then it became a problem,” she said.</p><p dir="ltr">“Conscientious objection is a serious barrier” to women’s access to services in Chile, where a <a href="http://www.minsal.cl/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/LEY_21030.pdf">2017 law</a> relaxed some restrictions on abortion, added sociologist and sexual and reproductive rights advocate Claudia Dides.</p><p dir="ltr">“There is a strong group of anti-abortion doctors; midwives can’t practice abortions by themselves, so this is an obstacle,” she said.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“We really never discussed it, and then it became a problem.”</p><p dir="ltr">The use of ‘conscientious objection’ arguments is common in both Uruguay and Chile. Available estimates suggest that at least one out of three gynecologists in these countries are objectors, and even more in some areas.</p><p dir="ltr">In several cities and clinics, 50.50 has learned, there are no doctors who do not object, forcing women to travel and some to struggle to access their recently-won rights&nbsp;<span>– hitting the poorest women hardest.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr">In Argentina, meanwhile, women’s rights advocates fear new efforts to widen the scope of ‘conscientious objection’ if the country passes historic abortion rights reforms, expected this August.</p><p dir="ltr">Ana Cristina González, a Colombian physician and member of the NGO Global Doctors for Choice told 50.50 that the spread of conscientious objection to abortion services is “an attack on gender equality.”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_2.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_2.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>40 Days for Life campaign, 2014. Photo: Flickr/Catholic Diocese of Saginaw. CC BY-ND 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>Conscientious objection emerged as a significant concept in the twentieth century, as one’s right to refuse to serve in the military. Now, it’s increasingly being used to claim exemptions to laws that go against individuals’ beliefs.</p><p dir="ltr">According to a <a href="https://iwhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/IWHC_CO_Report-Web_single_pg.pdf">study</a> from the International Women’s Health Coalition, there are at least 70 countries or other jurisdictions that recognise conscientious objection in the context of providing abortion care.</p><p dir="ltr">Across Latin America, where several countries are relaxing long-restricted abortion laws, conscientious objection is an increasingly discussed topic in <a href="http://www.senado.gob.mx/sgsp/gaceta/63/3/2018-03-22-1/assets/documentos/Dic_Art.10-Bis_Objecion_Conciencia.pdf">parliaments</a>, <a href="http://derecho.uc.cl/es/noticias/19713-seminario-acompanamiento-y-objecion-de-conciencia%E2%80%A6">colleges</a>, <a href="http://www.filosofia.uchile.cl/u/ImageServlet?idDocumento=133153&amp;indice=0&amp;nocch=20170605093512.0">seminars</a> and <a href="http://www.despenalizaciondelaborto.org.co/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Memorias_Seminario_Objecion_de_Conciencia.pdf">workshops</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Candlelight vigils have been being organised to defend conscientious objectors and protest against abortion clinics including in <a href="http://www.coalicionporlavidacolombia.co/40-dias-por-la-vida-colombia.html">Colombia</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/40diasporlavidamexico/">Mexico</a>, as part of the global anti-choice movement <a href="https://40daysforlife.com/">40 Days for Life</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">Internationally, conscientious objection arguments are also becoming more common in countries where abortion has been legal for generations.</p><p dir="ltr">In Italy, where abortion has been legal for 40 years, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/5050/claudia-torrisi/abortion-italy-conscientious-objection">as many as 70%</a> of doctors are conscientious objectors (and even more in some regions).</p><p>A bill currently in the UK House of Lords <a href="https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2017-2019/0014/18014.pdf">would allow medical staff to refuse to participate in abortion as well as in pre- and post-abortion care</a>.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_5.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_5.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Abortion rights campaign stickers in, Uruguay 2012. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ericosmatos/7254756420/">Flickr/Érico Matos</a>. CC BY-SA 2.0. Some rights reserved.</span></span></span>In Uruguay, a <a href="http://www.mysu.org.uy/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Ley-de-Interrupci%C3%B3n-Voluntaria-del-Embarazo-18.987-promulgada-por-el-Poder-Ejecutivo-2012..pdf">2012</a> law legalised abortion on request within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. But doctors may object to providing these services.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2013, Uruguay’s courts <a href="http://www.mysu.org.uy/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/FALLO-TCA.pdf">ruled</a> that doctors should not be barred from influencing patients’ decisions (though they refused to extend objection rights to staff participating in other pre- and post-abortion care).</p><p dir="ltr">Today, <a href="https://salud.ladiaria.com.uy/articulo/2018/5/a-cinco-anos-de-la-aplicacion-de-la-ley-de-interrupcion-voluntaria-del-embarazo/">local media reports often say that 30%</a> of gynaecologists in the country are conscientious objectors, but the source of this figure is unclear. There are no official registries of objectors.</p><p dir="ltr">In<a href="https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0Ez0uwDTjslb1FwMjlUS0g5aUpTcW9MWVNUbzZZMkFNTHhR"> response to a public information request </a>earlier this year, the NGO that Abracinskas leads, Women and Health in Uruguay (MYSU), obtained an incomplete list of objection rates at 47 public and private medical institutions.</p><p dir="ltr">According to this document, seen by 50.50, eight institutions reported such rates of 80-100%. Another 14 disclosed those of 50-67%.</p><p dir="ltr">Ana Visconti at the health ministry, who estimates that the nationwide rate for objectors is actually 40%, told 50.50 that providing information on specific cities without abortion services could infringe on doctors’ privacy rights.</p><p dir="ltr">“What matters is that every woman seeking an abortion gets it, even if they have to be transferred to a different city. We make sure of that,” she said.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“What matters is that every woman seeking an abortion gets it.”</p><p dir="ltr">Though women may still struggle to access legal abortions in Uruguay amid conscientious objection combined with other complexities in the law.</p><p dir="ltr">Before receiving abortion pills, a woman must also undergo five days of ‘reflection’ and three separate medical consultations (including one with a three-member gynaecologist, psychologist and social worker team).</p><p dir="ltr">In small towns with high rates of conscientious objectors, or without the required professionals for these required consultations, women may need to travel up to three times to go through the necessary steps.</p><p dir="ltr">Francisco Coppola, associate professor of gynaecology at the University of the Republic’s School of Medicine, told 50.50 that some conscientious objectors will refer patients to other doctors who do not object.</p><p dir="ltr">“They are not hindering the law and we protect them,” he said. But, Coppola added, there are others who “misuse” objection provisions and “instead of informing and helping [a patient], they just tell her: ‘what you do is killing.’”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image5_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image5_0.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>March for legal, safe and free abortion in Argentina, 2017. Photo:<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/emergentecomunicacion/37151075870/in/album-72157687382285753/">Flickr/Fotografías Emergentes.</a> CC BY-NC 2.0. Some rights reserved. </span></span></span>In Argentina, abortion is currently restricted to cases such as rape or if the woman’s life or health is at risk – though a historic bill to change this and widen abortion rights is currently before Congress.</p><p>Soledad Deza, a lawyer and member of Catholics for Choice previously represented Belén, a young woman who presented at an emergency room in 2014 with serious vaginal bleeding due to a miscarriage.</p><p>Accused of having had an illegal abortion, charged with aggravated murder and sentenced to eight years in prison, Belén was exonerated and released in 2017 after more than two years behind bars.</p><p>Deza has been a prominent campaigner for the bill to legalise abortion in Argentina which passed the House of Representatives in June and is now pending approval in the Senate, expected to vote on it in August.</p><p>She said conscientious objection also came up in this bill’s debates and that it was included in its text as a “key bargaining chip” for conservatives. </p><p class="mag-quote-center">A “key bargaining chip” for conservatives.</p><p dir="ltr">Already, conscientious objection is recognised in Argentina in sterilisation, contraception and (currently severely-restricted) abortion procedures.</p><p dir="ltr">Due to widespread use of such objections, only two of five public hospitals in Tucumán province can guarantee provision of the few abortions presently permitted by law, according to a public information request Deza submitted.</p><p dir="ltr">Though <a href="http://www.clacaidigital.info:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/1106/CDD%20Formaci%C3%B3n%2011%20-%20Monitorio%20social%20Tucum%C3%A1n.pdf?sequence=2&amp;isAllowed=y">no objectors were reported at private clinics</a> in the province – even if the same doctors may work at both public and private facilities. “That’s a double standard” against poor women, said Deza.</p><p dir="ltr">Catholics for Choice <a href="http://catolicas.org.ar/informe-acceso-interrupciones-legales-embarazos/">found the same thing</a> in Jujuy, Salta, and Entre Ríos provinces and in Buenos Aires: significant numbers of conscientious objectors reported at public hospitals, but none at private clinics.</p><p dir="ltr">Currently, there are <a href="http://www.msal.gob.ar/images/stories/bes/graficos/0000000875cnt-protocolo_ile_octubre%202016.pdf">limits</a> on what doctors can refuse to do. They cannot, for example, refuse to provide information on abortion and objectors are also required to perform abortions when other non-objector staff are not available. </p><p dir="ltr">Such limits, Deza’s concerned, could soon be challenged.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image4.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="305" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Outside the constitutional court awaiting the Abortion Bill ruling, Chile 2017. Photo: PA Images/Luis Vargas via ZUMA Wire. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>In neighbouring Chile, a <a href="http://www.minsal.cl/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/LEY_21030.pdf">2017 law</a> relaxed restrictions on abortions in cases of rape, where a woman’s life is at risk, or the fetus is not viable. Previously abortion had been banned in all circumstances, since 1989.</p><p dir="ltr">Chile’s law also recognises conscientious objection rights of gynaecologists and other health staff. The constitutional court <a href="https://www.tribunalconstitucional.cl/descargar_sentencia.php?id=3515">further ruled</a> that these rights should apply to private health facilities on an institutional level.</p><p dir="ltr">According to <a href="http://www.minsal.cl/funcionarios-objetores-de-conciencia-por-servicio-de-salud/">figures published</a> in June, an average of 47% of public health gynaecologists in 33 Chilean cities are conscientious objectors. In 16 cities, these rates go beyond 50%. In seven, they range from 70% to 100%.</p><p dir="ltr">Other figures don’t add up – and suggest that clandestine abortions are still happening, despite legal reforms.</p><p dir="ltr">According to official statistics, only <a href="http://www.minsal.cl/ive-reporte-mensual-actualizado-al-18-de-junio-de-2018/">309 legal abortions </a>were performed in Chile since the law was approved, whereas <a href="https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&amp;pid=S0717-75262016000600014">previous estimates</a> of clandestine abortions ranged from 19,000 to 160,000 a year.</p><p dir="ltr">The gap is also large in Uruguay with <a href="http://www.msp.gub.uy/sites/default/files/presentaci%C3%B3n%20IVE%202013%202017.pdf">9,830 legal abortions in 2017</a> and previous <a href="https://www.academia.edu/1558987/Condena_tolerancia_y_negaci%C3%B3n._Situaci%C3%B3n_del_aborto_en_Uruguay">estimates</a> of 16,000 to 33,000 clandestine procedures a year.</p><p dir="ltr">Visconti at Uruguay’s health ministry said these estimates were never correct. But Abracinskas, at the NGO MYSU, said current statistics fail to capture the full picture too as they only reflect abortions performed by medical staff.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2016, a 21-year old woman <a href="https://www.elobservador.com.uy/justicia-investiga-muerte-joven-21-anos-aborto-clandestino-n871429">died</a> in Uruguay after an illicit abortion at 19 weeks. In 2015, a woman was sent to prison for <a href="https://www.elpais.com.uy/informacion/maldonado-mujeres-prision-aborto-ilegal.html">having an illegal abortion</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">For women’s rights advocates the threat is clear: conscientious objection, popularised by pacifists as a moral argument against going to war, is putting at risk women’s access to much-needed services.</p><p dir="ltr">Here, Deza says, the potential result “is not a state losing a soldier – it’s a woman losing her right to access safe, legal healthcare.”</p><div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Argentina </div> <div class="field-item even"> Uruguay </div> <div class="field-item odd"> Chile </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item odd"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Chile Uruguay Argentina Civil society Equality International politics Tracking the backlash women's human rights women's health bodily autonomy Diana Cariboni Wed, 18 Jul 2018 08:53:51 +0000 Diana Cariboni 118876 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Video: Trump's anti-immigrant policies aren’t all that different from our own https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/nandini-archer/video-trump-anti-immigrant-policies-arent-that-different-from-our-own <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The state-sanctioned backlash against migrant rights is transatlantic. At a protest against Trump in London, we asked people about the parallels between US and UK policies.</p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fopendemocracy5050%2Fvideos%2F1972910316074431%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=476" width="460" height="460" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe> <p>On Friday 13 July, 250,000 people with vibrant banners and costumes marched through central London to send a message to Donald Trump: that the US President, currently on an official visit to the UK, is not welcome here.</p><p dir="ltr">Among other targets, many marched against racism, xenophobia, and the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies that have marked Trump’s presidency. We asked some about the parallels with anti-immigrant politics in UK.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The worst thing is that every time you look to America smugly and think, shaking your head, that’s just terrible, the same stuff is going on here,” said one of the demonstrators.</p> <p dir="ltr">Trump’s 2016 election campaign included the promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico. His 2017 ‘Muslim ban,’ barring citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US, led to the immediate detention of<a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1536504218766549#_i3"> 700 travellers and the withdrawal of 60,000 visas</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">Recently, it surfaced that more than <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/20/us/politics/trump-immigration-children-executive-order.html">2,300 parents and children</a> have been separated from each other by US authorities at the US-Mexico border. Heartbreaking images of families torn apart and migrant children detained have been seen around the world.</p><p dir="ltr">These measures have sparked global outrage. But the UK government’s own track-record for brutal anti-immigrant policies is not so different – and it predates Trump’s presidency.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">"The UK government’s own track-record for brutal anti-immigrant policies is not so different – and it predates Trump’s presidency."</p><p dir="ltr">In 2010, then Home Secretary (and current Prime Minister) Theresa May said the goal was “to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants.”</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/26/theresa-may-go-home-vans-operation-vaken-ukip">Home Office vans</a> have driven around neighbourhoods carrying the intimidating message: 'Go home or face arrest’. The 2014 Immigration Act required the NHS, charities, banks and landlords to<a href="https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/sites/default/files/files/resources/hostile_environment_briefing_feb_2018.pdf"> carry-out ID checks</a>, turning ordinary people into proxy border patrol.</p><p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/image2_1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/image2_1.png" alt="Protesters outside Yarl’s Wood detention centre, Bedfordshire 2015." title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style=""/></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Protesters outside Yarl’s Wood detention centre, Bedfordshire 2015. Photo: Flickr/iDJ Photography. Some rights reserved. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.</span></span></span>Like the<a href="http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/491/"> US</a>, the<a href="https://fullfact.org/immigration/uk-refugees/"> UK denies around half</a> of all asylum applications. The UK is also the only country in the EU that detains migrants indefinitely. Earlier this year, prison inspectors found that <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/mar/13/home-office-keeping-torture-victims-in-detention-inspectors-report">torture survivors</a> are among those being held in a privately-run detention centre near Heathrow.</p> <p dir="ltr">Around<a href="http://www.thebromleytrust.org.uk/files/wrw_iamhuman.pdf"> 70% of women</a> in the Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre have experienced sexual violence in their home country, while<a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/yarls-wood-banner-alleging-sexual-impropriety-by-guards-hung-from-inside-centre-a6929071.html"> countless cases have emerged of sexual abuse</a> within the detention centre at the hands of private security guards.</p><p dir="ltr">“The UK government also separates parents from their children for the purpose of immigration control by sending the parent into immigration detention,” said Celia Clarke, director of the charity <a href="https://metro.co.uk/2018/06/21/children-separated-parents-uk-just-like-trumps-america-7649416/?ito=cbshare">Bail for Immigration Detainees</a>, which advises parents in around 170 such cases a year.</p><p dir="ltr">This state-sanctioned backlash against migrant rights is transatlantic. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/sian-norris/why-women-march-sees-trump-uk-visit-as-glorious-opportunity">Why the Women’s March sees Trump’s UK visit as ‘a glorious opportunity’</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Equality </div> <div class="field-item even"> International politics </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Can Europe make it? Equality International politics Video gendered migration young feminists Adam Bychawski Rocío Ros Rebollo Nandini Archer Sun, 15 Jul 2018 11:55:17 +0000 Nandini Archer, Rocío Ros Rebollo and Adam Bychawski 118868 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why the Women’s March sees Trump’s UK visit as ‘a glorious opportunity’ https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sian-norris/why-women-march-sees-trump-uk-visit-as-glorious-opportunity <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Thousands plan to march in London on Friday and also raise awareness of impacts of government policies on vulnerable women in the UK.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 11.20.56.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 11.20.56.png" alt="The Women’s March in London in 2017. Photo: Sian Norris." title="" width="460" height="345" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The Women’s March in London in 2017. Photo: Sian Norris.</span></span></span>Thousands of women are expected to march in London this Friday 13 July to protest an official visit by US President <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/donald-trump-uk-visit-melania-queen-theresa-may-nato-windsor-castle-scotland-a8426831.html">Donald Trump</a> who has overseen numerous attacks on women’s rights in America and internationally. </p><p dir="ltr">His visit follows several delays and calls for its cancellation from political figures including <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/05/donald-trump-attack-courts-travel-ban-london">Sadiq Khan</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/22/uk-should-cancel-donald-trump-visit-says-jeremy-corbyn">Jeremy Corbyn</a>. His UK itinerary includes meeting with the Queen and visiting his golf course in Scotland (he’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/06/donald-trump-to-avoid-london-during-uk-visit">conspicuously not visiting London itself</a>, apart from a brief overnight stay).</p><p dir="ltr">Trump’s trip is also ‘a glorious opportunity,’ according to Emma, one of the organisers of this week’s Women’s March London, “for thousands of people to come together in solidarity, across all areas of social struggle.”</p><p dir="ltr">Following the president’s arrival in the UK this Thursday, the Women’s March promises to ‘<a href="https://www.womensmarchlondon.com/bring-the-noise/">bring the noise</a>’ with pots and pans and demands across a range of social justice issues. It isn’t aimed “directly against Trump,” says Emma.</p><p dir="ltr">“The forces of exploitation and domination on race, class, gender… that he represents are international,” she said. “But he obviously has been pursuing policies that are discriminatory across the board.”</p><p dir="ltr">33-year-old Kayleigh Reed is travelling from Bristol to attend the protest. She is marching “to give my voice and support to other women.”</p><p dir="ltr">Having attended the 2017 Women’s March in London, she hopes that it could be “an essential antidote for the outrageous and dangerous sexism experienced in life, and normalised in politics and the media.” </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none 0'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 11.21.27.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/563303/Screen Shot 2018-07-11 at 11.21.27.png" alt="The Women’s March in London in 2017. Photo: Sian Norris." title="" width="460" height="341" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload 0 imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>The Women’s March in London in 2017. Photo: Sian Norris.</span></span></span>On 21 January 2017, after Trump’s inauguration as president, millions of people joined Women’s March protests internationally against him and the perceived impact of his politics to women’s, migrants’ and minorities’ rights.</p><p dir="ltr">The march in Washington DC was meant to “<a href="https://www.npr.org/2016/12/21/506299560/womens-march-on-washington-aims-to-be-more-than-protest-but-will-it?t=1530885832341">send a bold message</a> to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights,” according to its organisers.</p><p dir="ltr">Two days later, Trump signed a ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/23/trump-abortion-gag-rule-international-ngo-funding">global gag rule</a>’ order denying US aid to international NGOs if they provide abortion services or information. Healthcare workers are already saying that this order has had a ‘<a href="http://time.com/5115887/donald-trump-global-gag-rule-women/">disastrous effect</a>,’ with clinics closing down and unsafe abortions predicted to rise.</p><p dir="ltr">More recently, reproductive rights advocates in the US have warned that the landmark Roe vs Wade case which legalised abortion could be <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/07/02/trump-makes-clear-roe-v-wade-is-on-the-chopping-block/?noredirect=on&amp;utm_term=.730a1be77450">overturned</a> by Trump’s next supreme court appointment, expected later this year.</p><p dir="ltr">LGBTQ rights have also come under attack since Trump’s inauguration, with a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/23/donald-trump-transgender-military-ban-white-house-memo">ban on trans people in the military</a>, and the <a href="https://www.politico.com/story/2018/02/19/trump-lgbt-rights-discrimination-353774">rolling back of regulations </a>designed to protect LGBTQ workers.</p><p dir="ltr">Mara Clarke, from the <a href="https://www.asn.org.uk/">Abortion Support Network</a>, will be speaking at the march which she sees as a chance for rights campaigners to show “strength in numbers” and “be surrounded by people who feel the same way we do.”</p><p dir="ltr">“The longer I do this work, supporting women in need of abortions to access reproductive health care, the more I find sustenance from being in crowds of righteous people who are hungry for, and are working towards, change.”</p><p dir="ltr">Like Emma, for Clarke the point of the march goes beyond protesting Trump’s visit to raise the wider issue of “women’s and pregnant people’s reproductive rights in America, Poland, Malta, San Marino, Northern Ireland” and everywhere else where abortion is denied or under threat. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_4.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_4.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Poland women's nationwide strike - abortion law proposal. Krakow, 2016. Photo: PA Images/Artur Widak/SIPA USA/PA Images. All rights reserved. </span></span></span>Alongside Clarke, other speakers at the march include representatives of refugee rights organisations and Muslim women’s rights groups, and campaigners against female genital mutilation and all forms of violence against women and girls.</p><p dir="ltr">The diverse line-up reflects the march’s commitment to intersectional justice, which “is at the heart of everything we do,” Emma says. “We want to create a non-hierarchical, collective space where anyone can step up and be heard.”</p><p dir="ltr">This approach contrasts sharply with Trump’s policies that target the most vulnerable and marginalised in society.</p><p dir="ltr">Recently, Trump’s policies towards migrant families crossing into the US – which include parents being separated from their children who are then kept in <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/17/separation-border-children-cages-south-texas-warehouse-holding-facility">cages</a> – made international news.</p><p dir="ltr">Amid such polarising and exclusionary politics, Samantha Hudson from the organisation <a href="http://www.refugeewomen.co.uk/">Women for Refugee Women</a> says this week’s march is a chance to “build hope, strength and momentum, to enable all women to live safely.”</p><p dir="ltr">“Together we’ll create a mass display of love and human warmth as a powerful protest against dehumanising practices,” she said. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_1.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_1.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Protesters outside Yarl’s Wood detention centre, Bedfordshire 2015. Photo:<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/idarrenj/20442455031/in/photolist-x9qVFe-x8TMyi-x9pBSk-wRf16j-x89iFh-wRfz9b-wRi9Uo-wbRWPf-wbZVGi-wRhk8o-x8UUpa-wRhiGf-x891vq-wRhmo7-wRqc1p-x9qLCV-x88n2N-wRnfGi-x9puAg-x6xDCS-wRnp1H-x8UAHt-x8TkuV-x8SBbX-x9rssK-wbSoEJ-wRfnWo-x9rm5K-x9rvPK-wRnEkR-wbQWmd-wbRp7h-x9so3k-x8SHet-wbT2L7-wRgaNb-wbSf9W-wRoy3Z-wRnRp4-wc3seX-wc2Ztc-wbTHgQ-wRfwdU-UjD5im-ERg2wS-wRhSdh-x89wU1-wRfR8Y-x88NLy-x6xaJW"> Flickr/iDJ Photography.</a> Some rights reserved. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. </span></span></span>Marchers are also hoping to raise awareness of the impacts of government policies on vulnerable women in the UK.</p><p dir="ltr">Women for Refugee Women have long campaigned to close the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-43204473">notorious Yarl’s Wood</a> detention centre, where women asylum seekers and migrants are held while appealing a failed asylum claim, or awaiting deportation.</p><p dir="ltr">“It’s now time,” says Hudson, “to listen to and believe women who are at the sharp end of struggles for justice.” She said: “Refugee women are ready to have their voices heard, and stand up for all women’s rights.”</p><p dir="ltr">One of those women is Sandra, a 36-year-old refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who is marching on Friday.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">She decided that she “must be there because I am a woman.” She told me: “Trump doesn’t respect women at all. But if all women stand together and defend their rights, we will be stronger.”</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5050/moana-genevey/how-womens-march-defied-trump-populism">How the Women’s March defied Trump’s populism </a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-country"> <div class="field-label"> Country or region:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> UK </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-topics"> <div class="field-label">Topics:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Civil society </div> <div class="field-item even"> Equality </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 uk UK Civil society Equality women's movements women's human rights women and power sexual identities gendered migration feminism young feminists Sian Norris Wed, 11 Jul 2018 08:44:03 +0000 Sian Norris 118791 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Will robots take care of grandma? Maybe, if she's rich https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/moriah-mcarthur/will-robots-take-care-of-grandma-maybe-if-shes-rich <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Some are heralding new technologies as the key to managing the so-called ‘silver tsunami.’ But there are significant privacy, labour and equality concerns.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2(1).jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2(1).jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="342" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A robot at the 2018 Elderly Care fair in Germany. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></span></span>Across suburban America, cheerful advertisements and roadside billboards market idyllic retirement communities and state-of-the-art facilities where grandma can live out her last days in comfort and peace. In Japan, adorable <a href="http://www.parorobots.com/">robotic seals</a> are sold as companions for lonely seniors. A recent <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln9dGdIxTCE">Amazon ad</a> shows grandma overcome with emotion, video-chatting with distant relatives.</p><p dir="ltr">With the world’s <a href="http://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/ageing/">population ageing at an unprecedented rate</a>, the message seems clear: the elders are coming, and so are opportunities to profit from them. Though, of course, the realities of ageing and elder care are more complex than such upbeat images would suggest. Many families simply cannot afford the assistance their loved ones need to age with dignity.</p><p dir="ltr">At home, the burden of unpaid care work falls <a href="https://www.caregiver.org/women-and-caregiving-facts-and-figures">disproportionately on women</a>&nbsp;<span>–</span>&nbsp;who are also overrepresented in paid care jobs, which tend to be low-wage and part-time with <a href="https://phinational.org/survey-home-care-worker-turnover-topped-60-percent-in-2014/">high turnover rates</a>. Without sufficient support, elders may struggle even more with physical and cognitive decline and reduced autonomy. </p><p dir="ltr">How to manage the so-called ‘silver tsunami’ is thus a huge contemporary social and economic conundrum. For some, the answer lies in the application of new technologies&nbsp;<span>–</span>&nbsp;from artificial intelligence to <a href="https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2016/12/to-help-residents-with-dementia-one-japanese-city-has-a-high-tech-fix/511343/">GPS trackers</a>. But rosy visions of how new technologies will end isolation in old age, ease burdens on caregivers, and improve quality of life, must be treated with appropriate caution.</p><p dir="ltr">There are significant privacy, labour and equality concerns with this approach that can’t be blindly accepted as the price of modernity.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="329" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A stuffed robot seal on the table at a care home for dementia patients. Photo: David Hecker/DPA/PA Images.</span></span></span><a href="https://iwpr.org/get-involved/events/will-robots-take-care-grandma-technology-elder-care-improving-quality-jobs-elder-care-workforce/">“Will the robots take care of grandma?”</a> was the subject of a recent Washington DC discussion at the AFL-CIO trade union headquarters where speakers discussed how assistive technologies (think smart devices) rather than automation (robots) could improve care for both elders and care workers.</p><p dir="ltr">But, they noted, care workers’ salaries, hours and benefits must also advance in order for the benefits of new technologies to be fully realised.</p><p dir="ltr">This is a crucial point. Care work is often considered ‘low-skilled’ with these jobs paying less and providing fewer hours and benefits than <a href="https://academic.oup.com/ppar/article-abstract/27/3/88/4085586">other low-wage employment</a>&nbsp;<span>–</span>&nbsp;and it’s far from a foregone conclusion that technological advances will mean <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/dec/08/could-automation-make-life-worse-for-women">better wages and working conditions</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">New innovations could make difficult and undervalued care work jobs easier and more desirable&nbsp;<span>–</span>&nbsp;for those who can access them. New tools could ease physical demands on care workers (who may frequently have to lift clients) and greater tech literacy requirements could make these jobs more prestigious.</p><p dir="ltr">Increased automation has been linked to <a href="http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_FOJ_Executive_Summary_GenderGap.pdf">job losses</a> in other sectors like clerical work that are also dominated by women. But it seems unlikely to make home health aides or nursing assistants obsolete in the fast-growing US elder care industry, set to expand further as baby boomers retire.</p><p dir="ltr">More vulnerable workers, in terms of their education and skills, may not be able to keep up with new innovations, however. Increasing emphasis on care workers’ tech competency cannot be allowed to undercut the value of so-called ‘soft skills’ (such as compassion, patience, or communication). </p><p class="mag-quote-center">It’s far from a foregone conclusion that technological advances will mean better wages and working conditions in this field.</p><p dir="ltr">There are other reasons for concern too. New technologies may require or allow care workers’ movements to be easily recorded or tracked, for instance. This could improve efficiency and safety at work, but what about privacy rights?</p><p dir="ltr">Across the US, undocumented immigrants are among those working in the care industry. What if routine tasks, such as reporting client updates remotely, require workers’ fingerprints as logins? Could such innovations produce new potentially <a href="https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/12/protecting-immigrants-high-tech-surveillance-2017-review">mineable datasets</a> for immigration enforcement?</p><p dir="ltr">There are further risks of widening inequalities among elders, and quality of life in old age, depending on different abilities to afford or access new innovations.</p><p dir="ltr">We’ve seen this before. Unequal access to technology has widened gaps between students at <a href="http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/02/28/how-teachers-are-using-technology-at-home-and-in-their-classrooms/">schools</a>, for example. Digital divides between <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/22/digital-divide-persists-even-as-lower-income-americans-make-gains-in-tech-adoption/">high and low income</a>, <a href="https://www.ntia.doc.gov/blog/2016/state-urbanrural-digital-divide">rural and urban communities</a> are already significant and are now widely recognised as significant barriers to equal education and work opportunities. </p><p id="docs-internal-guid-93d8061c-70db-6f53-bd57-34c72de1ed23" dir="ltr"><span class="mag-quote-center">There are further risks of widening inequalities among elders, and quality of life in old age.</span></p><p dir="ltr">A core promise of technology evangelists is that new tools can support elders to have greater independence and longer or happier lives. But we must proceed with caution whenever new technologies are brought into intimate spaces.</p><p dir="ltr">Sure, voice control and hands-free devices can make some daily activities easier. But elders have been targets of <a href="https://cybersecurity.wa.gov/seniors-a-growing-target-for-hackers-44ccb66e47e4">scams and hackers</a>. New technologies may collect huge amounts of detailed, personal data which can enable attacks. Devices have also captured and shared information with others <a href="http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-amazon-echo-alexa-20180524-story.html">by mistake</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">All cultures have traditions that honour and revere their elders and caring for them is our moral imperative. Robots can’t solve innately social problems. We must invest in the women and immigrants already doing this work&nbsp;<span>–</span>&nbsp;and ensure the privacy and protection of vulnerable populations.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 Transformation women's work Moriah McArthur Mon, 09 Jul 2018 07:02:11 +0000 Moriah McArthur 118679 at https://www.opendemocracy.net How Pamplona is fighting sexual violence during the running of the bulls – and beyond https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/roc-o-ros-rebollo/how-pamplona-is-fighting-sexual-violence-during-running-of-bulls <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The San Fermín festival has become known for reports of sexual violence. But local officials say it’s a good thing that more women are disclosing attacks. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/roc-o-ros-rebollo/pamplona-lucha-contra-la-violencia-sexual-en-sanfermines" target="_self">Español</a></em></strong>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/Sanferminak_txupinazoa_0001.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/Sanferminak_txupinazoa_0001.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="307" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A woman holds the traditional red scarf during the chupinazo in Pamplona. Photo:<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sanferminak_txupinazoa_0001.jpg">Viajar24h.com.</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC-BY-2.0</a> </span></span></span>The San Fermín festival – and the city of Pamplona, Spain – is known internationally for the running of the bulls and the festival’s ‘no-rules’ party atmosphere. In recent years, its hedonistic reputation has darkened amid rising reports of sexual abuse.</p><p dir="ltr">In 2013, <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2013/07/12/mujeres/1373620306_137362.html">pictures</a> surfaced and were shared around the world of women surrounded by men touching their breasts at the festival’s opening <a href="http://www.sanferminofficial.com/en/moments/el-chupinazo">chupinazo</a> party. Since 2015, the local government has received dozens of reports of harassment at the annual event.</p><p dir="ltr">Though local officials say that the growing number of such reports is a good thing – and a sign of a ‘paradigm shift’ that has made society less tolerant of sexual violence and has enabled more women to come forward and disclose attacks.</p><p dir="ltr">“Before almost nobody dared to report [incidents],” said Tere Sáez, a key figure in Pamplona’s feminist movement and a parlamentary in the Navarra region. “It was something hidden,” she said, while now “there is no tolerance of sexual violence.”</p><p dir="ltr">Laura Berro, Pamplona’s city councillor for equality, also attributes rising numbers of sexual violence incident reports to years of awareness-raising work and institutional collaboration with feminist groups that has produced a societal “paradigm shift.”</p><p dir="ltr">“This social change is what makes easier for a woman to report,” said Berro, who also stresses that such violence “is not a San Fermín thing.” The difference in Pamplona, she says, is “we are exposing it. And that is what makes our city safer.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center">‘Exposing sexual violence is what makes our city safer.’</p><p dir="ltr">The San Fermin festival is attended by <a href="http://sanferminofficiel.com/es/noticias/balance-sanfermines-2017">1.5 million people</a> each July – including hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists.</p><p dir="ltr">Last year, there were <a href="http://www.sanferminofficial.com/en/news/mas-de-1-45-millones-de-personas-participaron-en-los-425-actos-programados-en-unos-sanfermines-2017-donde-las-denuncias-han-descendido-en-un-15">two reports</a> at the festival of what the Spanish penal code calls “sexual aggression” such as rape or other sexual activity without consent and including violence – fewer than in 2015 (four reports) and 2016 (five).</p><p dir="ltr">Meanwhile there have been significant increases in reports of ‘minor incidents’ of harassment or abuse including touching without consent. There were 39 such reports registered by the city during the festival last year, and 43 in 2016 (versus 25 in 2015).</p><p dir="ltr">San Fermin is not the only global mega-festival to be marred by recent reports of sexual violence. This year’s three-day, 50,000-people Bråvalla music festival in Sweden <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jul/03/swedens-bravalla-music-festival-cancelled-next-year-after-sex-attacks">was canceled</a> after four rapes and 23 sexual assaults were reported in 2017.</p><p dir="ltr">Though the number of reports does not necessarily equal the number of incidents. There may be more reports of violence in places where people are more aware of their rights, for instance, as a EU Agency for Fundamental Rights <a href="http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2014/violence-against-women-eu-wide-survey-main-results-report">report</a> explains.</p><p dir="ltr">Rather than being a particularly dangerous place for women, Sáez says that Pamplona may be “much more active” than other cities in exposing and confronting abuse.</p><p dir="ltr">The <a href="https://elpais.com/diario/2008/07/13/espana/1215900018_850215.html">2008</a> murder of Nagore Laffage – a 20 year old woman who was raped and killed by a fellow student during San Fermin “was a turning point,” she told me. “The whole population joined to reflect on this subject, propose measures, and respond.”</p><p class="mag-quote-center">“The whole population joined to reflect on this subject, propose measures, and respond.”</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2014, local and regional government officials began to work together more closely with feminist groups, producing Spain’s first <a href="http://www.navarra.es/NR/rdonlyres/C4809194-6312-455C-AA07-07F9394B3522/173658/PartesegundaProtocolo1.pdf">protocol of action against gender violence</a>, now used at all mass events in Navarra and as an example for other cities.</p><p dir="ltr">This protocol details how different authorities must act when women report attacks, from security forces to medical and legal professionals, with the aim to provide complete and coordinated assistance to those who come forward.</p><p dir="ltr">Pamplona now has year-round efforts to tackle gender violence along with a special team including members of feminist groups focused on San Fermin specifically.</p><p dir="ltr">Since 2015, Pamplona has reinforced the festival’s security measures, installed 200 surveillance cameras, and distributed guides on how to support victims of violence.</p><p dir="ltr">The city also installed a stand in its main square, where women can report sexual attacks during the festival including abuse, harassment and other incidents like insults.</p><p dir="ltr">Ahead of this year’s events, earlier this week the city launched a <a href="http://www.pamplona.es/verpagina.asp?idpag=NT8001267&amp;Idioma=1">free mobile app</a> that enables women to live-report attacks to the police.</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/41695526512_52917a02d0_o.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/41695526512_52917a02d0_o.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="259" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Women demonstrate in Madrid against the initial sentence of “La Manada” case, April 2018. Photo:<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/pulk_mria/41695526512">María Navarro Sorolla/Flickr.</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">CC-BY-NC-2.0</a></span></span></span>Women must be supported to report attacks as this is the necessary first step to bringing alleged assailants to justice, says Berro.</p><p dir="ltr">Referencing the infamous ‘La Manada’ case in which a then 18-year old girl was attacked by a group of men at the 2016 festival, Berro said: “If she had decided not to report it, the security forces wouldn’t have known what happened.”</p><p dir="ltr">Though securing justice in such cases may be another matter.</p><p dir="ltr">This April, five men in the La Manada case received an initial sentence of <a href="https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/04/26/inenglish/1524730809_875632.html">nine years in prison for sexual abuse</a> – though they have been released from detention as this preliminary judgement is reviewed by the courts.</p><p dir="ltr">Feminists across Spain have protested their release along with the jury’s verdict, which cleared the men of rape charges amid what the jury said was insufficient evidence of violence or intimidation (despite the the girl having been outnumbered five to one).</p><p dir="ltr">For Sáez, there are problems within the Spanish penal code, which she says insufficiently addresses sexual violence and leaves too much to judges’ interpretation. “We also have to give gender equality training to all the judges,” she told me.</p><p dir="ltr">Last week, some Spanish feminists called on women on social media <a href="https://www.elespanol.com/reportajes/20180622/ninguna-deberia-san-fermin-polemica-campana-feminista/316968862_0.html">not to attend this year’s San Fermín festival</a> or <a href="http://www.europapress.es/epsocial/igualdad/noticia-difunden-redes-propuesta-vestir-camiseta-negra-chupinazo-sanfermines-repulsa-manada-20180702141711.html">to wear a black shirt</a> in protest over the La Manada case.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">But <a href="https://politica.elpais.com/politica/2018/07/03/actualidad/1530629951_861108.html">feminists in Pamplona</a> believe the opposite is needed. “Now more than ever we must occupy the streets,” Berro, the Pamplona city councillor, said. “It has cost a lot to get this public space and we can’t renounce it.”</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 violence against women Sexual violence gender justice Rocío Ros Rebollo Fri, 06 Jul 2018 12:19:39 +0000 Rocío Ros Rebollo 118738 at https://www.opendemocracy.net When will a woman lead Zimbabwe? https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/sally-nyakanyanga/when-will-a-woman-reign-over-zimbabwe <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Despite repeated pledges to promote gender parity in politics, women are dramatically underrepresented among candidates for July's elections.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p dir="ltr"><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_0.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image3_0.png" alt="lead lead " title="" width="460" height="326" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>People cheer during a demonstration demanding the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe in November 2017, Harare. Photo: NurPhoto/SIPA USA/PA Images.</span></span></span>Ten years ago, Jennifer Chirenda decided to run against her husband in local council elections in the rural district of Murewa, fewer than 150 km from Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare. </p><p dir="ltr">“l stood against my husband in the council election after realising that women were carrying a heavy load in our community. As such, they needed someone like me,” Chirenda told me, energetically.</p><p dir="ltr">Now 70 years old, she said her husband immediately divorced her for challenging him in the elections – a bold move for Chirenda, who lacked formal qualifications or resources but held firmly to her convictions and won the vote. </p><p dir="ltr">For the last decade, she’s represented and fought to support her community, challenging the still widely-ingrained belief that only men can lead. Today, she is one of several women politicians who didn't make it through parties’ primaries and won’t be standing in this month's elections (30 July). </p><p dir="ltr">“The biggest barrier” to gender parity in the country, Chirenda said at a recent <a href="http://wlsazim.co.zw/">Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) Zimbabwe </a>event, “are people at the top who continue to impose their candidates” and “undermine women’s efforts to take up leadership positions.”</p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_3.png" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image1_3.png" alt="" title="" width="460" height="304" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>Jennifer Chirenda at the WLSA Zimbabwe event in Harare. Photo: Sally Nyakanyanga.</span></span></span>Movements for gender equality internationally gained new visibility in the mid-1990s when close to 200 countries adopted the <a href="http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/beijing/pdf/BDPfA%20E.pdf">Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action</a>, including Zimbabwe. It commits governments to the goal of gender-balanced government bodies, including through new targets and measures to increase women’s participation also in political parties.</p><p dir="ltr">Almost 25 years later, equality remains an uphill struggle around the world. According to Zimbabwe’s electoral commission, <a href="http://www.zec.gov.zw/downloads/file/700-provincial-statistics-by-constituency-as-at-08-05-2">more registered voters are women</a>. This is not the case for elected representatives, however.</p><p dir="ltr">Currently there are <a href="http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN01250/SN01250.pdf">88 women in Zimbabwe’s parliament</a> and 182 men. Women hold a higher share (33%) of seats here than in many other countries, but this is thanks to a provision in Zimbabwe’s 2013 constitution which reserves 60 seats for women – and this quota is temporary, expiring in 2023. In local governments, there are only <a href="http://www.zimstat.co.zw/sites/default/files/img/Women_and_Men_Report_2016%5B1%5D_0.pdf">281 women councillors</a> compared to 1,512 men.</p><p dir="ltr">This month’s elections may produce an even more gender-imbalanced parliament. There are <a href="https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2018/05/14/women-left-cold-party-polls/">only 19 women</a> out of 210 candidates of the ruling party Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). Women are also dramatically underrepresented among opposition candidates.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">"This month’s elections may produce an even more gender-imbalanced parliament."</p><p dir="ltr">Four women have filed papers as presidential candidates, but it’s still a pipe dream that after this election a woman will lead Zimbabwe.</p><p dir="ltr">The ousting of the long-serving former president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, through military intervention in November 2017, rekindled the hopes of many for more equal opportunities and gender parity. Many of the people who marched on 18 November to the state house to oust Mugabe were women.</p><p dir="ltr">Such hopes were quickly dashed by the new administration which has done little to promote parity and appointed only four women to serve in its cabinet. </p><p><span class='wysiwyg_imageupload image imgupl_floating_none caption-xlarge'><a href="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/wysiwyg_imageupload_lightbox_preset/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_1.jpg" rel="lightbox[wysiwyg_imageupload_inline]" title=""><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/imagecache/article_xlarge/wysiwyg_imageupload/565074/image2_1.jpg" alt="" title="" width="460" height="320" class="imagecache wysiwyg_imageupload caption-xlarge imagecache imagecache-article_xlarge" style="" /></a> <span class='image_meta'><span class='image_title'>A young woman addresses the president at a meeting last month. Photo: Sally Nyakanyanga</span></span></span>Section 124 of <a href="http://extwprlegs1.fao.org/docs/pdf/zim127325.pdf">Zimbabwe’s constitution</a> says that 60 reserved seats for women will last “for the life of the first two parliaments.” But section 17, which does not expire, commits the state more broadly to promoting “full gender balance in Zimbabwean society” including in institutions and agencies “at every level.”</p><p dir="ltr">“However, women are still lagging behind,” said Dorcas Makaza-Kanyimo, acting national director for WLSA Zimbabwe. “This is despite women organisations coming up with an election women’s manifesto early this year to ensure political parties adhere to the gender parity agenda.”</p><p dir="ltr">The women’s election manifesto was a brainchild of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus (ZWPC) and women’s organisations across the country. It called for all parties to have 50/50 gender parity in their election candidates, but the small numbers of women running suggest it hasn’t had much impact.</p><p dir="ltr">Sabhina Mangwende, an outgoing Zanu-PF parliamentarian, emphasised the need for women in parliament to “support each other and continue to promote the empowerment of women.” They should also, she added, “dialogue and educate women from the grassroots on human rights and gender equality.”</p><p dir="ltr">Susan Matsunga, the opposition candidate for Mufakose (a high-density area in Harare) said that there is also a “lack of empowerment programs” for women who are entering politics and that this has “a negative impact on women’s representation in decision-making.” Such capacity-building support, she added, is needed across the country on an ongoing basis, not only during election time.</p><p dir="ltr">“Gender parity should begin right from political parties and women leaders on the other side taking the lead to educate and empower their fellow women in their constituencies on the need to demand and claim gender parity in all decision making in the country,” said Makaza-Kanyimo at WLSA Zimbabwe.</p><p dir="ltr">As the election nears, some women (and men) from both ruling and opposition parties, who were not selected as party candidates, will be contesting seats <a href="https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2018/07/01/independent-candidates-expose-fissures-in-parties/">as independents</a>. Chirenda, in Murewa, is not running. Her aspirations to see more women in politics continue, though the road looks long.</p><div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> 50.50 50.50 women and power gender justice gender Sally Nyakanyanga Wed, 04 Jul 2018 06:45:01 +0000 Sally Nyakanyanga 118677 at https://www.opendemocracy.net