All posts tagged: women’s rights

Why Transgender Rights are Women’s Rights

Feminism is inherently controversial, even within itself. There is a political spectrum of feminism, from radical feminists on one end to what Roxane Gay describes, tongue-in-cheek, as ‘bad feminist‘ on the other. Where this political spectrum becomes hurtful is when it excludes or devalues certain women’s experiences over others, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the case of the denial of transwomen’s rights as women’s rights. Radical empathy may render the thinking behind trans-exclusionary feminism understandable on a knee-jerk emotional level, if not still impolitic. It is easy to be a little bitter as a woman. Many of us have at least the occasional moment where we have a twinge of intense impatience or frustration when our male family members or friends or colleagues are surprised at the minute discrimination we experience daily. This resentment can spill over into a resentment of transwomen, for what some think of as their former privileged position as a man. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, for example, came under fire for her comments that “I think if you’ve lived in the world as …

Through Needlecraft Towards Revolution in Sweden

Right now, making a pair of relatively simple mittens, knitting feels methodical. Melodic even. Other times, knitting causes every muscle to strain and my temples to pound with frustration. Sometimes I would rather just burn the sweater I’m knitting since it’s turning out all wrong, but I don’t. Instead I keep knitting, because I know I’m backed by a needlecraft community that is spread out all around the globe. Nea Glad is one of the co-founders of ‘Unifying Progressive Handicraft’ – a needlecraft association based in Malmö, Sweden. She and her friends started the association in the summer of 2012. Since then it has grown and today they get together once a week to hang out and do needlework. Now and then they also participate in political projects or conduct workshops. Nea says: “Through our association we wish to create spaces that enable people of different ages, colors, nationalities and abilities to meet through their mutual interest. It doesn’t matter where you come from or how old you are, as long as you like to needlecraft. In …

Does International Women’s Day Deserve to be an Official Ukrainian Holiday?

8th March, for most in the world, marks an average day.  International Women’s Day (IWD) is often acknowledged but not truly celebrated. It’s mentioned on the news or acknowledged by a local women’s non-governmental organizations, but it could easily be missed if you’re not looking for it. In Ukraine, as well as many other countries of the former USSR, International Women’s Day is widely celebrated. From little girls to older ladies, each and every woman is given flowers and cards to celebrate. But in the months leading up to the 2017 celebration of IWD, public opinion and debate have shifted. The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory published a bill which proposed the removal of International Workers’ Day (May 1-2) as well as International Women’s Day (March 8) from the list of official state holidays. To understand why anyone would propose the removal of IDW, you must first understand the history. The holiday first appeared in the United States and was organized by the Socialist Party of America to commemorate the strike of the International Ladies Garment Workers. On 22 November …

Surround Yourself With Feminists

In places where access to information isn’t reliable, support groups and networks can play a hugely important role. In Mexico, as has been highlighted in previous posts, there is a gender-based problem that needs to be addressed. Among many things, such as security, access to education, sexual rights and health, access to information is one of the biggest problems for Mexico’s female population. It is inevitable to address religion when talking about women’s access to information here in Mexico – it’s the second largest Catholic population in the world, and although religion has proven to aid many people through personal or community issues, it definitely has an impact on the county’s public policy. Although Mexico claims to be a Lay State, it has been proven in the past that the reality is quite different. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, often when more  progressive policies have been pursued the conservative population has demonstrated their rejection. So, it is normal to expect that conservative opinions have influenced a lot of the institutions that should be safe spaces for women, men, the LGBTTI community and non-binaries. In no way …

Raising Awareness of Menstruation and Sustainability in India

During a visit to Auroville, India a couple of days ago I was happy to have the opportunity to chat briefly with Eco Femme co-founder Kathy Walkling in between customers at their busy stall at the market. I had already heard about Eco Femme before I came to India and I was exited to meet the people behind it in real life. I wanted to get to know more about their important work on raising awareness of menstrual hygiene and sustainability among rural women in the state of Tamil Nadu. Eco Femme was founded in 2010 and in collaboration with the Auroville Village Action Group – an NGO working for womens’ empowerment in rural Tamil Nadu – they started to design and produce eco-friendly, washable cloth pads for sale worldwide. The cloth pads are stitched by women in self-help groups who have been trained in advanced tailoring. The women run their own collective tailoring unit and Eco Femme, whose monthly production order alone provides a full time livelihood to 7 women, is just one of their customers. The cloth pads …

What is the “Global Gag Rule” and what does it mean for Women and Girls?

Two days after the Women’s March, the new president of the Unites States signed an executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy, popularly known as the “Global Gag Rule”. The moment was captured in an emblematic photo: Donald Trump – surrounded by men – signing an order that so significantly affects the lives of women around the world, in what many described on social media as a picture of patriarchy. If you’re wondering what patriarchy looks like: A group of white men watch as Trump reinstates the #GlobalGagRule pic.twitter.com/ZV1OX41ziF — Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) January 23, 2017 This group just made it more difficult for women to get access to health care worldwide. You tell me what’s wrong with this picture. pic.twitter.com/8UQFWg8qO3 — Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) January 23, 2017 But what exactly is this controversial policy, and what are its implications for women, girls and beyond around the world? 1) The policy’s origins This policy is a U.S. government foreign policy. It was not originally created by Trump, simply reinstated by him. It was created by the …

Female Networks: Creating Magic by Getting Women Together

2017 might turn out to be the year of female networks. Are you part of any organised network, virtual or physical? I wasn’t, at least not actively, until last year when I joined a Swedish Facebook group for women only, Heja Livet. Nowadays, I seem to start every other sentence with “I saw this thing in that female network…”. When I joined, Heja Livet consisted of 1,500 young women. Today, not even a year later, we are over 24,000 women (you heard me!) sharing our lives with each other. According to Swedish TV channel SVT, Heja Livet is the third biggest Swedish all-female Facebook group. Why should you be part of a female network? The idea of Heja Livet is to prove wrong that outdated idea of women not supporting each other. The two founders of the group, Emely Crona Stenberg and Caroline Levy, have a basic requirement for all posts and comments: no hateful or mean content allowed. As Emely an Caroline put it: “Constructive criticism? Sure. Hate? No”. Recently, something called The Wing …

Encouraging Girls to Take on the World through Education Centres in India

Offering girls basic education is one sure way of giving them much greater power – of enabling them to make genuine choices over the kinds of lives they wish to lead. This is not a luxury. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women establish it as a basic human right. So why is it that despite proving to be a blessing to society the girl child is – in the worst case scenario – killed in the womb, or otherwise allowed to breathe but only the air of negligence, discrimination and deprivation? Today, we’re not only proud of great women of science like Sunita Williams, or women who’ve acted as agents of change like Sarojini Naidu, or  women who’ve taught us what it means to be human like Mother Teresa, but we also encourage such people to come forward and reform our world. Why is it that even though we claim to be the biggest democracy in the world we simply cannot destroy the …

UN Experts Call for Action on Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes

Breastfeeding is recognized as a human rights issue for both mothers and babies, and those who wish to breastfeed their children have the right to unbiased and accurate information to be able to make informed choices. There are numerous barriers facing women worldwide in regards of optimal breastfeeding. Inappropriate and varying knowledge and skills among healthcare workers, non-existent maternity leave and non-supportive cultural practices are only a few that affect and hinder women who wish to breastfeed. On November 22nd, a joint statement by a group of UN experts was released to urge action on one major obstacle: the marketing of breastmilk substitutes, also known as formula. Together, they call upon Member States to implement legal measures to protect babies and mothers from misleading, and often aggressive marketing. Let’s have a look at some facts: Global sales of breast-milk substitutes total US$ 44.8 billion In 2019, the number is expected to rise to US$ 70.6 billion Of 194 countries analyzed, 135 have some form of legal measure in place related to the International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes (also …