These articles have appeared in various publications around the world
Women work for a chance for peace in wartorn middle east
Sat, 06 Sep 2003 23:15:17 +0200 By Gila Svirsky
Off with their heads!
While a bunch of Israeli and Palestinian women were hugging and kissing outside Tulkarm today, the Israeli government dropped three 250 kg (550 lb) bombs on an apartment building in Gaza, trying (unsuccessfully) to kill the ten Hamas leaders meeting inside. 'We were only trying to send them a message,' said the news commentator on Israeli TV tonight. 'We were trying to kill them,' corrected the anchor, 'but screwed up.'
Meanwhile, Abu Mazen resigned and Israelis have begun 'the countdown' to quote more TV talk, on the life of Arafat. Will Israel finally make the kill or not- All agree that it's only a matter of time.
This kind of chatter about extra-judicial killing - this year alone, Israel has assassinated 110 Palestinians, during the course of which it killed another 73 unlucky bystanders - goes on in a country which does not have capital punishment. But that's a technicality.
A better tale from Tulkarm
Tulkarm is a Palestinian town in the West Bank on just the other side of the Green Line (1967 border) and one of the victims of the infamous Separation Wall now being constructed. This terrible wall has already trapped 12,000 people between it and the Green Line, cutting them off from their communities, and has stolen the land, olive trees, and water sources from tens of thousands of others. We went there today to call for an end to its construction, and for Israel to leave the territories altogether.
We were 500 women - half gathered on the Palestinian side of the Tulkarm checkpoint, and the other half on the other side (I almost wrote 'the Israeli side', but the checkpoint is actually inside the Occupied Territories). On both sides were a large but uncounted number of 'international' women - those who come from other countries to help us get to peace in the Mideast.
The demonstration had been organized by the Coalition of Women for Peace, on the Israeli side, and the women of the Tulkarm branch of the People's Party, on the Palestinian side. We were also joined by multi-national contingents from CPT and the Ecumenical Accompaniers - Christians doing peace work in Palestine; Code Pink - the US-based women's protest organization; and individual women (and a few men). Buses came from throughout Israel.
At the checkpoint, we could see the group on the Palestinian side, roughly 50 meters (about 150 feet) away. Both sides held signs calling for an end to the Wall and the root cause of the conflict - the occupation. As we approached the checkpoint, we were rebuffed by a group of soldiers, clearly angry at our presence and signs. Within seconds of our reaching them, they pushed and then struck several of our group - aiming for the men, but also catching some of the women who sought to get between them. Their officers arrived quickly and managed to stop their blows, but a moment later we saw a teargas canister explode near the Palestinian side. We were relieved that the Palestinians did not scatter, and no further shots rang out. The women remained firmly in sight across the military domain.
A pre-arranged group of women approached the officers on our side to negotiate our passage across. Matters had flared much too quickly, and our negotiators spoke calmly, explaining our peaceful intentions in meeting with Palestinian women. Our case seems to have been buttressed by 10 very large cartons that we had brought for the women - school supplies for Palestinian children. After talking and talking and making us wait in the hot sun, satisfying themselves that they had displayed their control over our movements, the officers gave permission for 30 of us to cross the checkpoint and meet the Palestinians.
I was one of the lucky ones to go across, and when we reached the other side, there was hugging and kissing, although most of us did not know each other. Battery- powered megaphones allowed both sides short speeches: 'We share your hatred for the wall, your desire to end the occupation and launch an era of peace,' and 'We welcome you to our town, we thank you for the gifts for our children, we view ourselves as sisters in the struggle for peace', followed by brief flute playing and a few rounds of songs that never quite got going. We were all a little shy after the first outburst of emotion.
I watched the cartons get piled inside and out of one small, dilapidated car that drove off toward town, where I imagined eager little hands would rip off the plastic and find a colorful schoolbag inside, filled with notebooks, pencils, colored pencils, an eraser, sharpener, and ruler. And perhaps their parents would read them the letter inserted into each bag: 'We, Israeli women, send this to you with good wishes for a successful school year, and the sincere hope that your studies will not be interrupted by bullets or tanks."
Then we all went home and listened to the news, made by people who spend their time planning encounters of another kind.
At the Italian Riviera
It was good to get recharged last week at the International Women in Black Congress held in Marina di Massa, Italy, where 400 women from dozens of countries shared their pain and their strategies. Despite the heat and intense humidity, there was nothing limp about 4 days of sessions among women peace activists. In addition to contingents from all the European countries (including a busload of 50 women from the Balkans), women actually managed to arrive from Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, Palestine, and other war-torn regions. Two demonstrations capped the events - one outside a US army base in Italy, where the soldiers fervently concentrated on their softball to avoid looking at our anti-war signs outside the gate. And the other at the resort town of Viareggio, to remind vacationers that sunblock prevents only some problems from getting through. They didn't look interested.
Check out this website for international news on women
World Birth Magazine: Listening to leading women and children on global issues.
World Birth Magazine is a new bi-monthly magazine that will feature cutting-edge news and analysis from women writers, visionaries, journalists, community leaders, and children around the world. Unlike most international media sources, World Birth chooses to use a language of possibility and partnership when talking about major world issues. Additionally, The health and well being of children is always at the center of conversations and proposals in World Birth. www.worldbirth.org
World Birth Magazine is currently soliciting current international analysis pieces, feature articles, literary essays, photography, and commentary for our premiere issue: "Finding True Global Security"
Copy should be thoughtful and provocative, provide thorough coverage of the topic, and inspire readers by highlighting forces that are working for solutions. We will favor stories that emphasize creativity, courage, innovation, restoration, efficiency, transition, transformation, and collaboration. We will also favor queries from journalists and writers who are from the regions they are reporting on.
Interested contributors should visit our website at www.worldbirth.org to learn more about our unique style of global reporting and for detailed contibutor guidelines.
The United Nations NGO conference "Human Security & Dignity: Fulfilling the Promise of the United Nations" New York September 8-10, 2003
In an effort to make the proceedings of the 56th Annual Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) "Human Security & Dignity: Fulfilling the Promise of the United Nations" available to a broader public, the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) will web cast the Conference plenary sessions through the United Nations homepage for the first time. The Conference, the premier NGO event at United Nations headquarters, takes place from 8 to 10 September 2003. About 2,000 NGO representatives that work with the United Nations are expected to attend.
The interactive web site will enable NGOs and the general public to live access of audio and video web casts through their personal computers. A dynamic feature of the web cast is an open discussion forum designed for each plenary session where NGOs will connect globally and will share comments on issues related to human security and dignity.
As the United Nations gears up for the World Summit on the Information Society (in Geneva from 10 to 12 December 2003), and seeks to close the technological gap between nations, this groundbreaking initiative will bring NGO's worldwide together to share their valuable insights live.
Remember the enemy body counts during the Vietnam War? Some of those U.S. tabulations were highly exaggerated in an effort to show gains on the battlefield.
Well, we don't do that anymore.
The Pentagon has meticulously reported the American fatality toll in Iraq, now up to 286. That number includes 183 deaths from hostile fire since the start of the war. It also includes 148 dead since May 1 when President Bush declared the end of major combat operations. A Pentagon spokesman said that 1,105 U.S. service personnel have been wounded since the war began.
That kind of numerical precision doesn't apply throughout Iraq. Trying to find the death count among Iraqis has proved to be mission impossible.
I asked Pentagon officials: ''How many Iraqis have been killed in this war?'' The answers were given ''on background'' -- meaning that the Pentagon spokesmen requested anonymity. The spokesmen were honest. They clearly were following orders from the policymakers when they replied that the Iraqi fatality toll was simply not our concern.
The reply to my first Pentagon call was: ``We don't track them (Iraqi dead).''
Weeks later I pursued the question and was told by a Defense Department official: ''They don't count. They are not important,'' meaning the casualty figures.
I later asked for an explanation of why there has been no attempt to find out the number of Iraqi war dead. A Pentagon officer patiently responded: ``In combat operations, we have objectives. We don't have an objective to kill people. Our objective was to remove Saddam Hussein from Iraq.''
''If the Iraqis laid down their arms,'' he added, ''there was no problem. But if we have to go in by force to kill them, the numbers don't make a difference. It's not something we are concerned with.'' He said that U.S. forces used precision weapons to minimize the casualties.
''We achieved our military objective. We did not count'' the enemy dead, he said. ``It would be difficult at best to determine who was killed when dealing with soldiers on the ground.''
Various news organizations have come up with estimates of Iraqi dead that range from 1,700 to 3,000 persons. The heavy tonnage of bombs dropped on Iraq probably raised the civilian death toll higher.
An official at the U.S. Army Center of Military History acknowledged that the question of enemy fatalities ``is a bit sensitive to our people. We just don't face up to how many people were lost.''
Books at the history center refer to 50,000 Americans killed in World War I and some 250,000 Americans in World War II. Germany lost 1.8 million soldiers in World War I, and, as our archenemy in World War II, lost about 3.25 million people.
We do know, however, that in the Vietnam War 58,198 Americans died -- and many thousands more Vietnamese.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan was asked this week whether President Bush knows how many people were killed and wounded in Iraq -- ''not just Americans but the total people killed and wounded in Iraq since the beginning of the war.'' He dodged the question, simply saying that Bush is ``well aware of the sacrifices that our troops have made and the sacrifices that their families are making with our troops over there in Iraq.''
On March 18, two days before the U.S. invasion, Barbara Bush had an interview with ABC- TV's Diane Sawyer.
''Why should we hear about body bags and deaths and how many, what day it's gonna happen?'' Mrs. Bush declared. ''It's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?'' Maybe she is right, but I don't think so.
If we do not know or care about the human cost of war for the winners and losers, America will be forever diminished in the eyes of the world.
Copyright 1996-2003 Knight Ridder.
Take the Survey
Let your voice be heard on women's issues
The Center for Women's Global Leadership is involved in a process of strategic consultations, marking the 10th anniversary of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights (1993), where women's rights were recognized as human rights and violence against women as a human rights abuse. We want to examine both progress and obstacles faced in advancing women's human rights over the past ten years, look at the current world situation, and brainstorm about new possibilities in terms of strategies and venues for our future work. We will be looking broadly at women's human rights, but also focus more particularly on how to advance the work on violence against women in terms of its linkages to human rights, militarism, globalization, development, and security.
We are initiating our consultation process by inviting you to share your reflections, in order to spark thinking and include as many women's voices as possible. We are asking you to register your opinions and help shape the future of women's human rights by completing our survey (see link below) by September 15, 2003. Your input will help us mark our progress and identify challenges and next steps for advancing women's human rights. It will also contribute to making a more visible acknowledgement that the women's human rights movement is at a critical junction of celebrating victories, facing challenges and assessing next moves.
After September 15, all responses will be tabulated and analyzed, and a report will be available on our website. Please be assured that your reflections will be confidential. Your personal information will be used solely for identification purposes and permission will be requested for any quotations.
It should take you only 10-15 minutes to answer these questions. Please provide specific and brief answers, focused on women's human rights. We are looking forward to your personal reflections based on your work and area of expertise.
Please access the survey by clicking on the following link:
We encourage you to fill out the questionnaire on the web, by clicking on the above link. The survey is also attached in a word document format, should you wish to send us your reflections via fax or email. You can fax the completed questionnaire to (732) 932-1180, or email it to email@example.com
Thank you for your contribution to this important historical moment for the future of women's human rights.
INSTRAW News / Noticias del INSTRAW / Nouvelles de INSTRAW E-Newsletter September 2003
Table of Contents
1. UPDATES ON INSTRAW/GAINS ACTIVITIES
2. RESEARCH AND TRAINING PROGRAMMES
3. CONFERENCES, SEMINARS AND OTHER EVENTS
4. CALL FOR PAPERS/PROPOSALS
5. NEW PUBLICATIONS/PAPERS/ARTICLES
6. GRANT AND FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
7. JOB OPENINGS
8. LINKS TO USEFUL INFORMATION SOURCES
1. UPDATES ON INSTRAW/GAINS ACTIVITIES
**ECOSOC resolution on INSTRAW** The 2003 substantive session of ECOSOC adopted a resolution [E/2003/L.44] on INSTRAW entitled "Revitalization and strengthening of the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women". This resolution amends the statute of the Institute in order to replace the Board of Trustees with an Executive Board. Two governmental representatives from each of the five regional groups of the United Nations will serve in their national capacities as members of the Executive Board.
**Professional Management Training Programme** Each month a new four-week programme is offered by the International Training Centre for Women (ITW) in The Netherlands. Tailor-made programmes can also be arranged to meet the specific training needs of middle-management groups from one organization.
**Gender MBA** The International Training Centre for Women (ITW) in the Netherlands offers its Gender MBA programme for all women interested in upgrading their management skills. An international staff of professors from France, Germany, Indonesia and London (U.K.) offer a special programme for women seeking an international career.
**Women Included!** The first International Women Without Borders Conference will take place 13-15 November 2003 in Vienna under the theme "Women Included! Men can change the world, but can they rebuild it? Advancing the female skill set in the interest of development". The substantive work of the conference will take place in working groups that will explore the situations in Africa, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, and Israel and Palestine.
**Gender and Organizational Change in the Middle East/Maghreb Context** The Centre for Research and Training On Development (CRTD) established in Beirut, Lebanon offers this regional training workshop from 18 to 22 October 2003. As part of the Machreq/Maghreb Gender Linking & Information Project, the workshop aims to provide: in-depth knowledge of the concepts of gender and development and how these permeate organizational growth and dynamics; analysis of organizations from a gender perspective; skills in using organizational change frameworks
(ACCEPT) to assess, plan and evaluate organizational change processes and manage resistance to gender and to change; and opportunities for sharing relevant experiences and materials among participants from different countries in the Middle East region. Ms Georgina Ashworth (founder and president of CHANGE UK) will be the course facilitator.
**The Role of Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality** This Expert Group Meeting will be held in Brasilia, Brazil from 21 to 24 October 2003 and is sponsored by the Government of Brazil and DAW in collaboration with ILO and UNAIDS. The Meeting will form part of the DAW's preparation for the forty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women which will address this topic as one of its thematic issues. The specific focus of the meeting will be on the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality in the world of work and in the context of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
**Gender Training Course - Women, Men and Development** This course will be held 20-27 March 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand. The course focuses on increased understanding of gender equality concepts and gaining practical skills in gender analysis, gender planning, gender mainstreaming and gender auditing/budgeting. The course is conducted in English and teaches gender concepts and skills as applied in the context of Southeast Asia. Participants from Indochina (Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam) and Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia and
Philippines) are encouraged to participate. Deadline for application is 30 November 2003.
**Women's Studies in the New Millennium: Does the future belong to us?** The Center for Women's Studies of the Eastern Mediterranean University in Turkey will host this first international conference to be held 29-30 April 2004.
**Conference: Gender, Development and Public Policy in an Era of
Globalization** The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Institute of Social Studies (The Netherlands) and the Centers of Development and Inter-Disciplinary Gender Studies of the University of Leeds (UK) sponsor this Conference to be held 11-12 May 2004 in Bangkok, Thailand. Among the themes to be examined are: Gender, conflict, migration and human security; Gender, human rights and social policy; Gender, economic development, technology and enterprise; and Gender, environmental resource management.
**Cities for Women** Women & Environments International Magazine has issued a call for submissions from North, South, aboriginal and minority communities from around the world. They seek analyses, theories, cross cultural comparisons, creative initiatives, projects, processes, poetry and art that address women's concerns/needs in creating communities which better serve women and their multiple roles and responsibilities. Among the suggested topics are: housing, community planning, services, transportation, sustainability, governance and urban design. Deadline for indication of interest/abstract by 1 October 2003. Manuscripts due by 15 January 2004.
**Gendered Impact of the Current Wave of Globalization on Health** The Centre for Research in Women's Health (CRWH) in partnership with the Canadian Institute of Health Research, Institute of Gender and Health, Fogarty International Centre and the Office of Research on Women's Health at the National Institutes of Health announces this call for case studies. The Globalization Gender & Health partners are currently drafting a discussion paper which will discuss the findings from a critical synthesis of a broad range of literature on globalization, gender and health and also will incorporate insights from diverse groups. The purpose of this initiative is to formulate a global research and training agenda for the impact of globalization on gender and health. At this time they invite submissions of relevant case studies from different countries and regions (particularly developing or low income countries) that highlight the positive and/or negative differential impact the current wave of globalization has had on the health of women/girls and men/boys as outlined in the report. Deadline for submissions is 1 October 2003.
**Society of information and gender: a space of equity** New Millennium Women's Network, in preparation for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), has issued a call for papers on gender and new technologies to be presented at "ExpoSolidaria Patagonia 2003" which will be held from 29 October to 2 November 2003 in Comodoro Rivadavia, Chubut Province in Argentina. Possible themes include: Gender, speech and image in ICTs; Cyberfeminism and Cyberculture; Information Society and women's organizations a means for making gender visible; Gender, development and ICTs; Groups, networks, forums and websites - women's relations in the virtual community; and Internet - a means of democratizing gender relations. Papers should not exceed 10 pages (double-spaced). They should be able to be read within 20 minutes or less. Abstracts should be submitted before 12 September 2003.
**Gender, Development and Public Policy in an Era of Globalization** This conference will be held in Bangkok, Thailand on 11-12 May 2004. The conference organizers invites papers for four panels that will deal with the following themes: Gender, conflict, migration and human security; Gender, human rights and social policy; Gender, economic development, technology and enterprise; and Gender, environmental resource management. Deadline for abstracts is 7 October 2003. Final papers due by March 2004.are
**Draft guidelines on ethical participatory research with HIV positive
women** The International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW) believes that HIV positive women are uniquely placed to contribute their knowledge, skills and experience to all research conducted on this issue as well as to research exploring more effective ways of preventing further transmission of the HIV virus. Because much current research ignores gender-related differences with regard to transmission as well as the effects of the research process itself on the psychological and economic well-being of the individual women concerned, ICW has recently developed draft ethical guidelines. and categories for classifying participatory research protocols for consideration in developing socioeconomic research programmes. Any comments to the draft should be submitted before 1 October 2003.
**Women 2000 and Beyond: Women, nationality and citizenship** This publication from the UN Division for the Advancement of Women discusses discrimination against women in nationality laws by examining laws that differentiate between women and men in the acquisition and retention of nationality, as well as in relation to the nationality of their children. The text is available online in English and Spanish. Printed copies may be ordered via e-mail.
**APC WNSP and GKP Gender and ICT Awards** The APC Women's Networking Support Programme (WNSP) and the Global Knowledge Partnership (GKP) have made available Gender and ICT Awards which aim to honor and bring international recognition to the innovative and effective projects by women to use ICTs for the promotion of gender equality and/or women's empowerment. They are accepting applications until 10 September 2003 and applications may now be submitted online. The project website will become a knowledge base of outstanding gender and ICT initiatives that can be shared between and among communities and regions.
**Legislative and Policy Associate - Center for Health and Gender
Equity** The Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) is a U.S.-based independent non-profit reproductive health and rights organization. They currently seek candidates for the position of Legislative and Policy Associate. Among the responsibilities of the position are: assisting in the development and implementation of CHANGE advocacy strategy; building; maintaining a presence in the Executive and Legislative Branches; and developing advocacy materials. Deadline for submitting resumes is 8 September 2003.
**Call for Consultants - Kvinnoforum** Kvinnoforum based in Sweden is currently searching for consultants for a major EU project related to gender training. The positions available include: Team Leader/Project Manager (long-term, 30 months); Long-term consultants (10-30 months); and Education and Development experts with focus on training (long-term and short-term). Languages: fluency in English or French or Spanish. Knowledge of Spanish and Portuguese for education and gender training experts is highly desirable. Other additional languages are an asset. Deadline for submission of CV is 4 September 2003.
**Gender Sourcebook: Economic Reform and Development of Market System** Developed by GTZ, this website provides much information on Economic Reform and Development of Market System, such as gender tools and guidelines, gender statistics and gender-related country information, gender glossaries and annotated bibliographies.
This site provides you with information on women working in sweat shops in Latin America
The equal rites awardsBy Ellen Goodman, 8/24/2003
WE GATHER HERE once more to celebrate Aug. 26, the anniversary of the passage of women's suffrage, with a time-honored tradition. Our one-woman jury dispenses the annual Equal Rites Awards to those very special folks who worked hard over the past 12 months to set back the cause of equality. The awards are always the subject of intense competition. But never more so than this year when the world seemed to divide between international fundamentalists who want to keep women veiled and Internet spammers who want to unveil them on your computer screen.
But enough of that. It's time for the envelopes, please.
We must begin with the Boys Will Be Playboys Award, which goes to the patriarch of soft porn, Hugh Hefner, on the 50th anniversary of his magazine. In celebrating a half-century of centerfolds without ever getting out of his bathrobe, Hef said, "I was trying to give sex a good name." Like, say, sexism? As a reward, we ship a new pair of pants and a jacket to the mansion so Hef can dress up and grow up.
While we are talking about an appetite for nudeness, let us dispense the Our Bodies, Our Buffets Award. This goes to Manhattan's Raw Catering, a company that uses naked women as serving platters for sushi and other uncooked delicacies. For this eating disorder we give them three stars for bad taste.
Taste? Did we say taste? Rap artists have a lock on the hotly contested Misogyny in Music Award. This year it goes to Ludacris, whose tamer lyrics warn a girl: "I've been drankin' and bustin' two/ and I been thankin' of bustin' you/Upside ya . . . forehead." Well, you get the drift and he gets the prize for making abuse into an art form.
At least they didn't make it into a marching song.
The real Battle of the Sexes Prize is flying to the Air Force Academy. While women were fighting in Iraq against the enemy, cadets were fighting the hostile environment in which sexual assault was a form of hazing and women who reported rape were penalized for having sex. We send the academy an old and tattered peace symbol and best wishes for reform.
Anyone want a Battle of the Species Prize? The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals win for an ad campaign that compared the serial killing of 15 women to the "serial killings going on every day in slaughter houses and on pig farms." We would send PETA the missing link, except it may be the missing link.
While we are on the links, let's award the Superstar of Sexism Award to two in the most gentlemanly -- and we used that word literally -- of sports: golf. Hootie Johnson fought to keep Augusta National Golf Club free from the polluting influence of women members while Vijay Singh hoped Annika Sorenstam would miss the cut for a PGA event "because she doesn't belong out here." We award them both a bad case of the yips.
On to the Dubious Equality Award, bestowed annually on a woman who has labored for the most unworthy bit of progress. No one deserves this honor more than Huda Salih Mahdi Ammash, aka Mrs. Anthrax, who is cited as the head of Iraq's biological weapons program. She won a place for herself as the Five of Hearts in the most wanted pack of cards. We can't trump that.
As for that other card, the Knight in Shining Armor Prize goes to George Bush for many reasons, but especially for that moment when he referred to Laura as "the lump in the bed." Be still my heart. We send him a suggestion . . . to send her roses.
Each year we hand out the Blind Justice Award to the most deserving judge. Today, however, we give it to a judicial nominee, the most sexist in a highly competitive field. James Leon Holmes, the former head of Arkansas Right to Life, opined that the duty of a wife is "to subordinate herself to her husband." Holmes's nomination has stalled and we bless him with a lifetime tenure in legal limbo.
Meanwhile, the Raging Hormonal Imbalance Award goes overseas for the first time to Seiichi Ota, a Japanese lawmaker. Speaking at a conference on his country's declining population, he defended a gang rape because "the people who do it are still virile and that is OK. I think that might make them close to normal." We send foreign aid to help our Japanese sisters reduce the population of politicians by one.
And while we are in a rage, let's give the Post-Feminist Booby Prize to radio shock-jock Tom Leykis, best known for his advice on how to get "more tail for less money." Leykis justified broadcasting the name of Kobe Bryant's accuser as a feminist strike against a "paternalistic policy." We offer him our petit-point pillow inscribed: With Friends Like These . . .
While we are broadcasting, the Media Ms-Adventure Award goes to the folks at Spike TV, the new all-Mars, no- Venus cable station, for their first female star. Who is this cableman's dream gal? Truly a cartoon figure. Erotica Jones is an exotic dancer by night, a sexy superhero by later night, and we send Spike some anti- Viagra.
Another prescription? Let's not forget the Male-Practice Award. At a hearing, Dr. Harry J. Metropol dismissed as frivolous the complaints of a woman whose breasts were removed by mistake. Why, said Metropol, with breast surgery she'd be better than new: "It won't be National Geographic, hanging to her knees. It'll be nice, firm breasts." Some nice fresh replacements for the doc's private parts will be wending their way. Happy landing.
And while we are male-practicing, what can we give Louisville surgeon Michael Guiler, who branded his patient's uterus with the initials of his alma mater? A post-doc in sensitivity training? How about the Dissed Alumni Prize?
This ERA committee usually gives out a Patriarch of the Year Award. Due to special circumstances, however, we have replaced it with a Daddy's Little Girl Award to two daughters of Saddam Hussein. Their murderous father even had their husbands killed, but these girlchilds still describe him "a very good father. Loving. Has a big heart." For that ms-guided loyalty we send them videotapes of Daddy Dearest's victims.
We still have room on our dance card for the International Ayatollah Award. It goes to the Islamic court in Nigeria that sentenced Amina Lawal to death by stoning for adultery. As this young mother appeals her fate -- due Aug. 27 -- the alleged man goes scot-free because Koranic law requires four witnesses to prove a man guilty. We send a DNA testing kit and cast the first stone at the court.
Finally, the Ms-Ad-Ventures Award. The prize for the worst ad, always competitive, goes to the folks selling Barely There underwear. These ads feature a young, buff model in her skivvies calling herself Susan B. Anthony. What would the redoubtable Ms. Anthony say about her historic role? Dear Susan, when we put you on a pedestal, we didn't know you'd be barely there.
A third collection of reports, Violence Against Women: 10 Reports/Year 2002 has been published by the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) within the framework of its Violence against Women Programme.
Over the past year, OMCT submitted ten alternative country reports to the five "mainstream" human rights treaty bodies on: Croatia, CzechRepublic, Moldova, Poland, Spain, Sudan, Togo, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, and Yemen. Besides being the victims of violence perpetrated by state agents and armed groups, women are frequently victims of physical and psychological violence within the domestic sphere and within the community. This violence by the hands of private individuals may include; domestic violence, crimes committed in the name of honour, female genital mutilation, rape and sexual assault, and trafficking into forced prostitution or forced labour.
The reports show that while there are some encouraging signs of progress in the development and implementation of new legislation and procedures with respect to violence against women, States are overwhelmingly failing to uphold their international and national obligations to women.
Across the board, these OMCT reports found that the vast majority of violence against women takes place within the family. For example, information from the Croatia report reveals that as much as 98% of all violence against women is family violence. The report on the CzechRepublic notes that spouses or partners are responsible for 51% of all rapes in that country. In Moldova, one study asserts that 22% of all the women interviewed reported having been a victim of abuse by their husband or partner, while in Poland, researchers have concluded that as many as 1 in 6 women are victims of domestic violence.
In the two years from 2000-2001, 82 women were killed as a result of violence in the domestic sphere in Spain. OMCT's report on Sudan notes with concern that marital rape is not criminalized there and that although statistics concerning domestic violence are not available, such violence is suspected to be widespread. Domestic violence is also a serious problem in Togo where 85% of women interviewed reported that they knew at least one woman victim of such violence and 52% reported having been victims themselves. In Uzbekistan, an inspector estimated that 80% of the calls he receives concern family quarrels and 50 to 60% of them involve injuries.
The OMCT report on Venezuela highlights that in Caracas, a woman is killed every 12 days by a man for reasons related to their relationship. In Yemen, only 26% of women who participated in a survey reported never having been subjected to violence in the home.
While OMCT recognizes that more States are beginning to develop laws against domestic violence, the problem remains grave in most countries. Lack of awareness raising, which results in police and judicial personnel who are ill equipped to handle domestic violence complaints and a continued culture of silence surrounding the crime, perpetuates this form of violence against women and hinders its eradication.
In the 10 reports, OMCT also expresses considerable concern about the prevalence of trafficking in women and the failure of many States to enact specific legislation to address this form of violence against women. For example, there is no comprehensive legislation to prosecute traffickers in Croatia, Uzbekistan, Sudan, or Venezuela.
In Poland, it is estimated that as many as 10,000 women and girls are trafficked out to foreign countries every year and 60% of the prostitutes in Poland are suspected of being trafficking victims and the OMCT report on Togo notes that trafficking in children for domestic servitude is a growing problem.
The CzechRepublic has made trafficking a distinct crime, it focuses on the border crossing element of trafficking and thus does not cover trafficking within Czech borders. Further, Czech legislation does not provide financial and other social assistance to trafficking victims who are returned to the Czech Republic Violence in the family and trafficking are only two examples of the many forms of violence against women which persist in today's world.
Recognizing the important of raising awareness about violence against women in all of its forms, the OMCT country reports compiled in this publication serve as important documentation of the widespread and pervasive nature of violence against women in the family, in the community and at the hands of State agents.
Source: Carin Benninger-Bude and Joanna Bourke-Martignoni, Violence Against Women: 10 Reports/ Year 2002, OMCT, 8.7.03. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.omct.org
African woman's report on Bush visit Here's a Senegalese woman's perspective on Bush's visit to Dakar. (A letter from the coordinator of the French edition of Our Bodies, Our- selves for West Africa)
As you probably know, this week George Bush is visiting Africa. Starting with Senegal, he arrived this morning at and left at . This visit has been such an ordeal that a petition is being circulated for this Tuesday, July 8th be named Dependency Day.
Let me share with you what we have been through since last week.
1- Arrestations: more than 1,500 persons have been arrested and put in jail between Thursday and Monday. Hopefully they will be released now that the Big Man is gone
2- The US Army's planes flying day and nigh over Dakar. The noise they make is so loud that one hardly sleeps at night
3- About 700 security people from the US for Bush's security in Senegal, with their dogs, and their cars. Senegalese security forces were not allowed to come near the US president
4- All trees in places where Bush will pass have been cut. Some of them have more than 100 years
5- All roads going down town (were hospitals, businesses, schools are located) were closed from Monday night to Tuesday at . This means that we could not go to our offices or schools. Sick people were also obliged to stay at home.
6- National exams for high schools that started on Monday are postponed until Wednesday.
Bush's visit to the GoreeIsland is another story. As you may know Goree is a small Island facing Dakar where from the 15th to the 19th century, the African slaves to be shipped to America were parked in special houses called slave houses. One of these houses has become a Museum to remind humanity about this dark period and has been visited by kings, queens, presidents. Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, and before them, Nelson Mandela, the Pope, and many other distinguished guests or ordinary tourists visited it without bothering the islanders. But for "security reasons"this time, the local population was chased out of their houses from to . They were forced by the American security to leave their houses and leave everything open, including their wardrobes to be searched by special dogs brought from the US.
The ferry that links the island to Dakar was stopped and offices and businesses closed for the day.
According to an economist who was interviewed by a private radio, Senegal that is a very poor country has lost huge amount of money in this visit, because workers have been prevented from walking out of their homes.
In addition to us being prevented to go out, other humiliating things happened also. Not only Bush brought did not want to be with Senegalese but he did not want to use our things. He brought his own armchairs, and of course his own cars, and meals and drinks. He came with his own journalists and ours were forbidden inside the airport and in place he was visiting.
Our president was not allowed to make a speech. Only Bush spoke when he was in Goree. He spoke about slavery. It seems that he needs the vote of the African American to be elected in the next elections, and wanted to please them. That's why he visited Goree.
Several protest marches against American politics have been organized yesterday and even when Bush was here, but we think he does not care.
We have the feeling that everything has been done to convince us that we are nothing, and that America can behave the way it wants, everywhere, even in our country.
By Beth SHULMAN Alameda Times-Star August 24, 2003
As the Presidential campaigns seek definition, one pivotal issue remains hidden from view. It is potentially huge, especially for Democrats, because it involves their natural constituents, and it addresses core issues of the economy, social justice and fairness. The issue is low-wage work. Fully 30 million Americans -- one in four U.S. workers -- earn $8.70 an hour or less, a rate that works out to $18,100 a year, which is the current official poverty level in the United States for a family of four. These low-wage jobs usually lack health care, child care, pensions and vacation benefits. Their working conditions are often grueling, dangerous, even humiliating.
At the same time, more and more middle-class jobs are taking on many of these same characteristics, losing the security and benefits once taken for granted.
The shameful reality of low-wage work in America should be on every Democrat's cue card as a potential weapon to be used against the Republicans' rosy economic scenario. But so far it isn't. Why not? One reason may be four long-standing myths that have for years drowned out a rational discussion of what should be a national call to conscience:
Myth 1: Low-wage work is merely a temporary step on the ladder to a better job. According to the American dream, if you work hard, apply yourself and play by the rules, you will be able to earn a decent living for yourself and your family. If you fail to move up, you must be lazy or incompetent.
The truth: Low-wage job mobility is minimal. Low-wage workers have few career ladders. Those of us lucky enough to have better-paying employment depend on them every day. They are nursing home and home health care workers who care for our parents; they are poultry processors who bone and package our chicken; they are retail clerks in department stores, grocery stores and convenience stores; they are housekeepers and janitors who keep our hotel rooms and offices clean; they are billing and telephone call center workers who take our complaints and answer our questions; and they are teaching assistants in our schools and child care workers who free us so that we can work ourselves.
In a recent study following U.S. adults through their working careers, economics professors Peter Gottschalk of BostonCollege and Sheldon Danziger of the University of Michigan found that about half of those whose earnings ranked in the bottom 20 percent in 1968 were still in the same group in 1991. Of those who had moved up, nearly two-thirds remained below the median income. The U.S. economy provides less mobility for low-wage earners, according to an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development study, than the economies of France, Italy, the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, Finland or Sweden.
Today's economy is even more rigid. In many industries, such as insurance, retail and financial services, wealthier clients are served by different employees than lower-status customers. This makes it harder for the lowest wage earners to move up. Some do, but this happens primarily in the manufacturing sector, where the number of jobs continues to decline.
Myth 2: Training and new skills solve the problem. Low- wage workers are said to lack the necessary skills for better-paying work in our changing economy. What's needed is retraining and better education for everyone.
The truth: The problem is that there are fewer better jobs to move into. The percentage of low-wage jobs is growing, not shrinking. The growing sectors of our economy are the labor-intensive industries. The two lowest-paid work categories, retail and service, increased their share of the job market from 30 percent to 48 percent between 1965 and 1998. By the end of the decade, the low end of the job market will account for more than 30 percent of the American work force. There will be about 1.8 million software engineers and computer support specialists, but more than 3.8 million cashiers.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all new jobs by 2010 will require relatively brief on-the-job training. Only three of every 10 positions currently require more than a high school diploma. Certainly, raising skills and education levels will lead some workers to higher wages and better jobs. But that approach will do little to improve the lives of most of the hardworking women and men in the jobs that will continue to grow as a proportion of our economy.
Just as important, those who denigrate low-wage work as "low-skilled" ignore the reality of these jobs. A nursing-home worker must be compassionate, must pay attention to detail and must possess psychological and emotional strength; a call-center worker must have patience and must be able to command enough information to handle questions and complaints; a security guard must be dedicated, alert and conscientious. To say these workers need retraining to earn more lets their employers off the hook for failing to compensate them appropriately for their existing skills and duties.
Myth 3: Globalization stops us from doing anything about this problem. Between 1979 and 1999, 3 million manufacturing jobs vanished as global trade brought in textiles, shoes, cars and steel produced by overseas labor. In June 2003 alone, 56,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. American employers must keep wages and benefits low if they are to compete in the global marketplace.
The truth: Very few low-wage jobs are now in globally competitive industries. It is true that global trade has had a profound impact on our economy and on American workers. But companies in Beijing are not competing with child care providers, nursing homes, restaurants, security guard firms and janitorial services in the United States. Checking out groceries, waiting on tables, servicing office equipment and tending the sick cannot be done from overseas.
Employers and politicians use globalization as an excuse to do nothing for low-wage workers, scaring them into accepting lower pay, fewer benefits and less job security. It is invoked to justify reduced social spending and less workplace regulation, and workers believe they are powerless to object. Yet not only does globalization fail to apply to most of America's low- wage jobs, other industrialized countries facing the same global competition have chosen differently: They provide social safety nets, notably including guaranteed health care. As a result, according to a 1997 study by Timothy Smeeding of SyracuseUniversity, Americans in the lowest income brackets have living standards that are 13 percent below those of low-income Germans and 24 percent below the bottom 20 percent of Swedes.
Myth 4: Low-wage jobs are merely the result of an efficient market. The economy is a force of nature, and we as a society have little control over whatever difficulties it creates.
The truth: The economic world we live in is the result of our creation, not natural law. America's low-wage workers have little power to change their conditions because of a series of political, economic and corporate decisions over the past quarter-century that undercut the bargaining power of workers, especially those in lower pay grades.
Those decisions included the push to increase global trade and open global markets, changes in immigration law, the deregulation of industries that had been highly unionized, Federal Reserve policies focused on reducing inflation threats, and a corporate ideological shift that eliminated America's postwar social contract with workers and emphasized maximizing shareholder value. Those decisions worsened conditions in low-wage jobs and exaggerated disparities in income and wealth.
AMERICA'S most vulnerable workers have also lost many institutions, laws and political allies that could have helped counterbalance these forces. In the 1950s, the number of American workers who were fired, harassed or threatened for trying to organize a union was in the hundreds a year. According to Human Rights Watch, by 1990 that number exceeded 20,000. In 1979, one-fourth of private-sector workers were unionized; only 11 percent are today.
At the same time, the purchasing power of the federal minimum wage fell 30 percent during the 1980s. Despite minimal increases in the 1990s, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the value of the current minimum wage of $5.15 per hour is still 21 percent less than it was in 1979.
The richest country in the world should not tolerate such treatment of more than a fourth of its workers. The myths of upward mobility and inevitable market forces blind too many people to the grim reality of low-wage work. A presidential campaign is the right time to begin a conversation on how to change it.
Beth Shulman is a lawyer and author of "The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans," to be published next month by the New Press
US Ranks 11th on treatment of mothers
At the URL below, you will find a Mother's Day report from Save the Children which shows, among other things, that the US ranks 11th among nations in how well it treats mothers. [The top 10, in order, are: Sweden, Denmark and Norway, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Austria and the UK.]