The bumper sticker on my wife’s car reads, “Well-behaved women seldom make history!” I believe proponents of CEDAW, the Women’s Treaty, have been minding their manners a bit too much. CEDAW is the most important international mechanism for women’s equality, and provides a universal standard for women’s human rights. The treaty is a basic framework for ending violence against women, ensuring girls access to education, and promoting economic opportunity and political participation for women.
Originally posted by Rylee Sommers-Flagan June 24, 2010 on EmoryWheel,com (Emory University's student newspaper)
I’ve long been suspicious that editorialists and editorial boards, despite purporting to speak on behalf of their audiences, are not demographically representative of the larger population. These suspicions were confirmed for me last week in a workshop with a group called the OpEd Project.
According to several studies, men dominate something called “thought leadership” in the United States. Specifically, male voices make up about 85 percent of those present in the national editorial conversation. They supply the perspective in opinion media, vastly outnumbering female representation in talk shows, expert interviews, and op-ed pieces across our country.
U.S. Department of State: Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Melanne Verveer gives testimony before the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and addresses the challenges and barriers that women around the world face to productive participation in political engagement and government.
"The State Department and USAID are deeply committed to advancing women’s opportunities for meaningful participation in politics and civil society. We embrace the opportunity to continue to promote women’s empowerment and participation at all levels of society. Moving forward, we will build on the strengths of our accomplishments, including those in Afghanistan and Iraq; continue to fund projects to enhance women’s political and democratic participation; leverage public private partnerships to broaden opportunities for women; and increase our work with the international community to ensure that women are included in peace and security negotiations. We will work in partnership with our Embassies overseas to identify and support emerging women leaders and democracy defenders. This task requires collaboration and leadership at all levels of the U.S. government and with the international community. In this way, more women will be able to take part in the democratic process and serve as examples for future generations. With the support of Congress, we look forward to continuing this collective endeavor. "
Earlier this month, the Women's Media Center featured an excellent "exclusive" written by Kenyan feminist and scholar Achola O. Pala. Presenting a perspective too often unheard within women's activist communities, Pala argues that feminists from formerly colonized countries should look to their own cultural heritage for guideposts in creating greater justice in their communities. Here are two gems to whet your appetite:
LA Times: Caffie Greene, an African American activist who played a key role in the effort to bring a major hospital to South Los Angeles after the 1965 Watts riots, died Tuesday. Supporters say that she was active when "there wasn't a lot of recognition or acknowledgement of women, period, and particularly not black women. She was an extraordinary woman … someone the community could always count on to represent its interests."
I have to admit, when I was a kid, I was convinced that I would be the first woman President of the United States. Eventually, I abandoned that career goal but to this day am still a bit of a politics nerd. Well, it's nice to see that the next generation of girl leaders are getting a jumpstart on civic engagement thanks to Girls Inc. Earlier this month, four Girls Inc National Scholars met with the First Lady's staff to discuss barriers to physical activities for girls across the U.S. Click here to view videos of the girls talking about this amazing experience.
On paper, began Linda Basch, President of the National Council for Research on Women, the numbers look good. Yet, said Basch, “The glass ceiling remains virtually shatterproof. We’ve reached stasis in too many areas.” The National Council for Research on Women, along with the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Catalyst, Demos, Women’s Forum, Inc., and Women 4 Citi hosted “The Power of Women’s Leadership” to explore the lack of women in leadership positions, why we need them there, and how to fix it.
A Mother’s Day Delegation of feminists and labor activists from around the country convened in Arizona a few weeks ago to document the impact of the recently-passed SB 1070 legislation and existing policies, such as 287(g) on women and children. In a climate already steeped with anti-immigrant sentiment, these pieces of legislation authorize violence against women and children, ruthlessly separating family members and criminalizing mothers who came to the United States simply to support their children.