Feminism | Posted by Eliza V on 12/21/2015
The Horrifying Treatment of Refugees in Australia Needs To End
Australia is often celebrated for its beautiful beaches and fun, laid back people, but this reputation overlooks a co-existing darker reality. The nation is actually one of the worst human rights violators in terms of its treatment of refugees and asylum seekers. While Australia received just 1% of all applications made for asylum globally in 2014, according to the BBC, the country has still come under fire for the way it has chosen to handle these requests. In fact, this year the UN found that parts of Australia’s asylum seeker policies violate the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Perhaps the act most obvious and well-known to Australians is Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s campaign to sway public opinion about refugees. Abbott spent…
Feminism | Posted by Claire B on 06/16/2015
Are Nigeria’s Steps Towards Eliminating FGM Enough?
In her 2014 TED Talk, Khadija Gbla expresses the cultural friction she felt between two very different definitions of what it means to be “empowered.” Gbla recounts her experience growing up in Sierra Leone, a country where, like in Nigeria, female genital mutilation is a deeply valued cultural practice. Her mother, she recalls, insisted that she undergo the procedure in order to curb promiscuity, increase her marriageability, and more fully realize her womanhood.
Female Genital Mutilation is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia. The data on physical and psychological consequences is horrifying. An inter-agency statement issued by the WHO and UNICEF, among others, states that when “seen from a human rights perspective, …
Feminism | Posted by Eliza V on 11/5/2014
HeForShe or SheForHe?
On September 20th, 2014, Emma Watson made a now viral speech at the UN HeForShe event. The HeForShe campaign was set up by UN Women to activate and emphasize the importance of male involvement in the fight for gender equality. Watson’s speech was undoubtedly the most noted part of the event. She stated:
“In 1995, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly many of the things she wanted to change are still a reality today. But what stood out for me the most was that only 30 per cent of her audience were male. How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation? Men—I would like to take this opportunity …
Awareness | Posted by Julie Z on 02/8/2014
Saturday Vids: Income Inequality and HOPE Credit Union
I’m currently taking a sociology class called “Perspectives on Inequality” and the first major issue we’ve addressed is the current state of income inequality in the United States. The U.S. is the most wealth-unequal country in the world and it’s an issue that’s getting worse over time. For instance, incomes of the bottom 90% of Americans grew only $59 (adjusted for inflation) from 1966 to 2011, while incomes for the top 10% rose by $116,071 (more stats can be found here). It’s also no secret that income inequality — while a serious issue for American society at large — is also undeniably gendered.
Luckily, there are some people out there trying to address this problem: like William Bynum and the HOPE Credit Union, which “empowers communities with member-owned …
Feminism | Posted by Rachel B on 06/26/2013
Will Girls Really Rise?
I recently watched the documentary film “Girl Rising” with my high school (of about 80 students) and subsequently helped to lead a forum to discuss it. The movie artistically illustrates the stories of nine girls in the developing world who overcame seemingly insurmountable barriers to get an education that culturally only their male counterparts are entitled to. Their struggles included extreme poverty, bonded servitude, sexual harassment, rape, physical abuse and gender discrimination just for starters. Most of the stories ended positively with the girls overcoming their oppressive situations and making better lives for themselves, but others, such as the girl from Afghanistan, did not fare as well. The bravery these girls exhibited by speaking out (they could be killed for this effrontery) should be lauded.
Once the movie …
Feminism | Posted by Julie Z on 01/26/2013
Saturday Vids: Trade of Innocents
I recently came across a movie that takes on the issue of human trafficking called Trade of Innocents starring Mira Sorvino and Dermot Mulroney. Although it doesn’t look like the film is getting wide distribution, it is available for individual screenings and seems like a perfect film to create an event for a human rights-based or anti-human trafficking club. The film also has other resources available. Check it out:
In the back streets of a tourist town in present-day Southeast Asia, we find a filthy cinder block room; a bed with soiled sheets; a little girl waits for the next man. Alex (Dermot Mulroney), a human trafficking investigator, plays the role of her next customer as he negotiates with the pimp for the use …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 12/31/2012
The Opportunities and Perils of Being A North Korean Woman
While in the car I recently listened to an NPR story by Louisa Lim called Out of Desperation, North Korean Women become Breadwinners. Although considering North Korea’s traditionally patriarchal society this rise in female power and responsibility may seem like a positive step, a disturbing rise in domestic abuse has occurred alongside it.
As the lives of all North Koreans have become more difficult, it has been up to women to keep their families alive. Men in North Korea are trapped in state-mandated jobs that often pay nothing or, incredibly, force them to pay the government. As one North Korean woman told NPR, her husband “had to pay not to work for about six months of last year. You have to pay, even if you can’t afford to eat. …
Feminism | Posted by Fiona L on 04/4/2012
To Educate A Girl
I’ve often wondered if those who are provided with less, make more with what they are given. A few weeks ago, I went to a screening of a documentary called To Educate A Girl, and was convinced once again of the life-changing importance of education for girls and women. More importantly, I also realized the incredible drive to learn that permeates communities where girls are not given such opportunities.
Filmmakers Frederick Rendina and Oren Rudavsky focused on the factors that inhibit girls around the world from getting an adequate education, through chronicling the stories of several girls in Uganda and Nepal, two countries emerging from violent civil wars.
To Educate a Girl begins with Manisha, a daughter of a brick-carrier in Nepal, who has been unable to attend school …