January 22, 2009 posted by Delores M. WaltersFirst impressions 1. Seeing the panoramic aerial view via TV satellite of the crowd of millions taken from a vantage I wouldn’t have seen if I were there. 2. Watching the man who would be our next president walk through the corridor to the ceremonial. As he walked, a self-contained smile on his face, his composure maintained as always – his stillness was almost Buddha-like. 3. After such absorption on my part, the man emerged from the shadows to an uproar in the room. What impressed me though was that when the room erupted, I realized that the women responsible for the uproar did not look at all like Barack … or me for that matter. The space at Caroline’s was not really very diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, class or even age. Despite that fact, this audience of mostly White and younger, middle aged women represented for me the millions of voters who were the reason for Barack’s victory – and ours! 4. Art, Music & Solemnity: Aretha’s soul-stirring singing of America touched me because it represented countless Blacks who now felt that this was their song too – as Americans for the first time. Another miracle.
January 6, 2009 posted by admin Next up in our New Year's Resolutions for the Nation--here’s a link to this post by NCRW alums Gwendolyn Beetham and Tonni Brodber. Write Gwen and Tonni, Since the U.S. has proved that anything in politics is possible, it’s time for the rest of the world to showcase its political potential and prowess! It’s more than just quantity its quality. There is a long list of women in politics who we could really do without. Some of us are still waiting for Condi to emerge from the Dark Side…What we need are men and women in politics who will deliver on the promise of gender equality. Read the rest over at Girl with Pen. This post is part of a forum
January 6, 2009 posted by Linda Basch As we start off with our New Year’s Resolutions for the nation, I begin with an inspiring conversation I recently had with Kavita Ramdas, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women. We were musing about the future, particularly with regard to women’s human rights at this optimistic moment for the country, with a new administration about to take charge in Washington. But as Kavita pointed out, as we begin to look forward, we also need to be self reflective as a nation. We need to develop a sense of collective responsibility. A number of problems have grown up over the past several years that we can’t sweep away, that we must address as a country and hold ourselves accountable for. I couldn’t agree more. I love conversations that are as wide-ranging as this one was. We covered a lot of ground. Some highlights: As someone who works on global women's rights, Kavita hopes that the new administration will place a high priority on advancing women's rights worldwide. This can only be achieved by the US decreasing its emphasis on militarism and violence as the primary means to resolve conflict and re-focusing its efforts away from the so called "war on terror" towards efforts to eradicate global poverty, inequality, and injustice. Yet, she insisted, that much of the US's ability to achieve such results globally will depend on the choices it makes inside its own borders. So, I asked Kavita what she would like to see in terms of change right here at home….
December 19, 2008 posted by Linda BaschGloria Feldt recently reviewed the book Our Bodies, Our Crimes for the journal Democracy. Her article, however, is much more than a book review. It is an historical overview of the reproductive rights movement, an analysis of current political trends, and, most of all, a call to action. Needless to say, we had to share! Criticizing current pop culture depictions of unplanned pregnancies, Feldt writes, “if the realities of abortion are often overlooked, its potency as a political weapon for the Right remains strong.” This election season, two states voted on ballot initiatives that would have limited women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care. In Colorado, Amendment 48 would have granted full legal rights to fetuses and South Dakota once again faced an outright ban on abortion services. Even though both initiatives were soundly defeated, Feldt states, “Like water on porous stone, the Right has slowly eroded the vulnerable legal protections of Griswold and Roe.” Feldt continues,
An op-ed just came across our desk that we wanted to share, as part of this week's Violence Forum here at TRD. In a Boston Globe op-ed this week, Liv Ullmann, reminds us of the violence suffered by refugees in Darfur, Nepal, and Kenya. Writes Ullmann:
For thousands of these impoverished women and girls, gathering firewood is more than a vital chore - it is often a matter of life and death. By doing what many of us achieve by simply turning on a stove, refugee women and girls regularly fall victim to rape, assault, theft, exploitation, and even murder... It's high time we get "beyond firewood" and explore alternative fuels and cutting-edge energy technologies, such as clean-burning fuels, fuel-efficient stoves, and solar cookers, Ullmann says. We need to reduce women’s vulnerability to violence by investing in alternative sources of fuel that do not require women to travel long distances to collect firewood.
December 16, 2008 posted by admin If Vice-President-elect Joe Biden called me up seeking my input on how to build support for initiatives to end violence against women, I’d first thank him for wanting to hear from a young American woman, and a survivor of abuse, because it’s often women’s lack of political voice that enables violence to continue. Acknowledging Biden’s longtime advocacy on this issue, most notably, his drafting of the Violence Against Women Act (1994), I’d say, Joe, if you want to build support for this important law, and make sure it truly is the “greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades” (NOW), it’s time to break through the military code of silence surrounding servicewomen survivors of sexual assault, and realize that to really end violence towards women, we must end war. As we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this week, People magazine released the story of three enlisted women who were brutally murdered at Ft. Bragg, NC. One in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped by men in the military. And in Iraq the Army may be covering up the rape and murder of dozens of women soldiers.
December 16, 2008 posted by admin What does a skills training center for women in Sierra Leone, a village in Rwanda and an entire district in the Democratic Republic of Congo have in common? At each location, you are likely to find that the majority -- in some cases nearly all -- of the women and girls have been raped. What do women in these African countries have in common with women in the United States military? Silence and Inaction. A recent article reported that more than 37 women GIs in Iraq have experienced sexual violence at the hands of their own comrades: “The women…have reported poor medical treatment, lack of counseling and incomplete criminal investigations by military officials. Some say they were threatened with punishment after reporting assaults.”
December 16, 2008 posted by Linda Basch Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As we continue to celebrate this important milestone this month, we pause to reflect on the violence that women and girls continue to endure inside our nation and around the world. Sadly, its prevalence continues unabated and cuts across race, class, geography, education and income levels. Women's rights are human rights, but the full import of this is yet to be fully realized.