Month: April 2017

North-South Cooperation in Fighting FGM

In recent years, it has become apparent that international cooperation is important in promoting inclusive and sustainable development, especially to achieve global development agendas. African countries recognize the importance of partnerships for enhancing and consolidating the growth of the continent. Many African states have benefitted from the traditional North-South cooperation, through sharing experiences, technical assistance, as well as the cooperation of other  emerging economies. It is along such lines that the Anti-FGM campaign has picked up much-necessary momentum after years of lip service. The campaign against FGM has had a long history, but it has been confined to board rooms and workshops, with few targeted grassroots campaigns. For instance, as recently as 2010, Kenya did not have an official policy addressing FGM and relied upon Presidential decrees. However, with the Anti-FGM policy put in place, in 2011, there has been considerable investment of resources and strategies from the North. The international immigration crisis brought FGM to the doorstep of the developed north. Waves of migrants from nations that practice FGM began arriving and settling, and …

Enjoy Sexual Assault for it to be a Crime

Absurd though it may sound, for a sexual assault to be charged as such the perpetrator of the crime must gain sexual pleasure from the victim by doing so. Or so was the logic behind Judge Anuar Gonzales who, on March 28th, exonerated Diego Cruz for the crime of pederasty and, as understood in the sentence, even sexual assault. Cruz is one of the five men labeled by Mexican society and media as “Los Porkys,” who, on January 2015 in the state of Veracruz, sexually assaulted Daphne Fernández. She was a minor at the time. Seeing that the criminal system was getting nowhere with the case, Javier Fernández, Daphne’s father, approached these men and recorded their confession. In the tape, they acknowledge their crime and asked for  forgiveness, promising they would not do it again. But, to the Mexican judiciary, the confession was not evidence enough. Over a year later, Judge González Hemadi acquitted Cruz in a writ of Amparo. In the latter, he stated that “there was not enough evidence on [Cruz’] participation in the …

Girls’ Globe Book Tour – Next Stop: Scotland

There is, and has always been, a wealth of wonderful and unique writing coming out of Scotland. Here are some of my favourite female Scottish writers, both long-loved and newly-discovered: Ali Smith One of Scotland’s best-loved writers, Ali Smith is an author, playwright, lecturer and journalist whose novels and short stories have gathered multiple prizes and endless admirers. Born and raised in Inverness, a small city in the north of Scotland, Smith started writing poetry at just 8 years old. There’s a long list of Smith novels to choose from, but my favourite is Hotel World, a mesmerising and inventive piece of writing in which Smith is beautifully playful with language – often going pages at a time without punctuating the stream-of-consciousness of her narrators. “Stories can change lives if we’re not careful. They will come in and take the shirts off our backs. Tell the right stories, and we live better lives.” – Ali Smith, during a radio interview in 2016 Jenni Fagan  A poet and novelist, Fagan graduated from Greenwich University with the highest possible grade for a creative writing. She was was included in the most recent Granta list of the 20 Best Young …

When Feminism Became a Marketing Technique

Post written by Halah Flynn, Content and Outreach Manager at 2U for Nursing@USC Marketing to women has been a tried-and-true tactic used by American marketers for centuries. While the benefits of designing and selling products to women, for women, appear to be plentiful, capitalizing on an entire gender of consumers leads young women and girls down a path that is feminist in name only. Brands are often ready to adopt a feminist persona to appeal to women, who make up an powerful sector of the American consumer base. Traditional gender roles have rendered women the primary purchasers of groceries, clothes, and other household products for family needs. Yet, some marketers still treat women as a niche audience, creating gendered versions of everyday products, from writing utensils to disposable razors. A quick look at some major advertising campaigns from the past years show how marketing can push a product masked under a feminist agenda.   Big Tobacco: Perhaps one of the longest-running marketing-to-women campaigns, tobacco companies have been advertising cigarettes to women for over 100 years. …

The FGM Conversation has to Change

It’s been roughly 100 days since 2017 began. Reflecting on the past year’s campaigns against FGM and early marriages, it is true that all who are involved have come a long way. There have been moments where the campaign may have faltered and made missteps – but we’ve also seen some significant progress. However, in the course of writing and campaigning, as well as visiting various communities across the country where FGM is practiced, I can attest that activists are increasingly encountering subtle resistance. A revisionist movement is slowly but surely pushing back, challenging some of reasons advanced in campaigns against FGM as well as approaches that do not seem not to fit with their local context. As such, the conversation at the global and national level is not making much needed impact at the community level. How is this possible, given the resources that are being channeled and renewed vigor among activists? To illustrate this, sometime in 2016 during a Rugby 7s event dubbed #EndFGMmaasai in Kajiado, Kenya, a group of elite young men …

What Would You Say to Your 19-Year-Old Self?

There are moments in life when you simply need to remind yourself that you are enough. In order to do that, you have to have enough self confidence to come up with the words that are both comforting and inspiring. I’ve been told that nothing is impossible, but also that certain things aren’t meant for me. I’ve been told to follow my heart, but also to always be mindful of others. I’ve been told to say what I really want and to move in that direction, but also to move with caution. I’ve been told many conflicting things, but I am finding out that the most important words come from within. What do I tell myself when I am not sure of the next step, or when I am scared to articulate my thoughts and turn them into actions? I tell myself to move. Just move. Take a step, and move. Be bold. Forget your failures and mistakes because they are over. Sometimes we have to fail over and over until our failures are no longer setbacks; they simply push us …

Girls’ Globe Book Tour – Next Stop: Latin America

Join Girls’ Globe on a global book tour of female authors. We’ve visited Sweden already, and we’re ready for our next stop! Latin America has a rich literary history. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, Carlos Fuentes, Roberto Bolaño, Julio Cortazar. However,apart from a few notable exceptions, Latin America’s women authors have gone comparatively without recognition. Those who can quote Neruda’s Veinte Poemas may not have even heard of Ocampo’s Los Nombres. Yet Latin America is full of decorated women writers who capture the culture of their countries, and the nuances of the human condition, as well as any of the male writers in the Latin American canon. A few (available in English) to start: Laura Esquivel “La mera verdad es que la verdad no existe, todo depende del punto de vista.” “The truth is that the truth doesn’t exist, it’s all a matter of perspective.” Laura Esquivel is from Mexico City and spent eight years as a teacher. Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate captured imaginations for its mix of magical realism and genre cross-over and became a bestseller in the United States …

Girls’ Globe Book Tour – First Stop: Sweden

What we read can influence our thoughts, dreams and goals. Stories are powerful and so, too, are storytellers. Grab a book written by a strong woman who speaks her mind and you can be sure of a read free from meek female characters waiting in the background for a prince to save them! Join Girls’ Globe on a global book tour of female authors translated into English. Our first stop is Sweden – here are five writers who are sure to serve you spellbinding stories. All of Karolina Ramqvist’s writing is political. She is one of Sweden’s most well-known contemporary feminist writers, unafraid to spell out uncomfortable truths. Her style is simple and elegant, while the content is raw and fiery. Read the psychological The White City, about former gangster’s girlfriend, Karin, who suddenly finds herself alone with a baby and a pile of bills she can’t pay. The reader follows Karin’s fall from luxury housewife to abandoned single mother as she starts selling of her Louis Vuitton handbags to be able to afford food and heating. When Sara Stridsberg’s Swedish translation of Valeria Solana’s SCUM manifesto …

Hello Spring, Hello Sexual Harassment

London is at it’s most beautiful in the spring. After many dreary months the city fills up with candy-floss blossom and slightest breeze scatters pink and white confetti over the pavements. Parks fill with daffodils. Occasionally the sun shines for two days in a row – although this leaves everyone confused and suspicious. Londoners begin barbecuing everything within arm’s reach (and inexplicably wearing sunglasses on the tube). But one of the very best things about spring is the liberation from the shackles of the Winter Wardrobe it brings. Freed from socks and boots, toes wriggle joyfully in sandals once again. Coats are confidently packed away til next year (or ‘til it randomly snows in June). Legs escape the prison of thick black tights, shoulders are bared, noses are burnt. But flash so much as a bit of ankle in springtime and it won’t be long before you’re reminded of a far less welcome consequence of the warm weather. Not absent in winter by any means, just rarer – and more subdued. Welcome back, spring. Welcome …

My Views on Transgender Feminism

Feminism is alive and constantly redefining itself. It has long been an empowering roar fed by the voices of all kinds of women. Today, something else can be heard too. It’s the sound of thousands of women – transgender, transexual and intersexual women – who have found their own voice, strength and value with the help of feminism. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a renowned feminist, recently stated that the life experiences of transgender women can’t be the same as cisgender women, because, in her opinion, they have experienced male privileges before transitioning. “It’s about the way the world treats us, and I think if you’ve lived in the world as a man with the privileges that the world accords to men and then sort of change gender, it’s difficult for me to accept that then we can equate your experience with the experience of a woman who has lived from the beginning as a woman and who has not been accorded those privileges that men are.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I would like to explain why this is relevant for the trans community. …