Archive for the ‘Around the World’ Category

Protest in Morocco

In Around the World on March 18, 2012 at 9:32 pm



Rape and Murder

In Around the World on July 19, 2011 at 4:42 am

This is a truly horrific situation reported on by the BBC.  In the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India, severely brutal rapes have recently been discovered.  Most of the victims are underage girls, once part of the Dalit or ‘untouchables’ caste.  Though the caste system is supposed to be officially gone, a hierarchical system is still largely in place and not much is done to protect  these poorer people, especially not women. 

Even though Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister, Kumari Mayawati, is a Dalit woman and caste discrimination has long been outlawed, campaigners say the state’s largely patriarchal society still uses feudal structures to ensure that women remain marginalised and oppressed.

Due to this discovery, and because election time is looming near, politicians are promising to make women’s rights one of their main platforms, however the rapists are often men with money and political influence.  Not to mention rape is taboo and looked down upon in India (and in many other parts of the world as well).  According to a retired police officer, for every case reported 9 go unreported, and the police often omit reports to keep crime ‘down’. 

To read the entire story go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-14058814

Luck for Yingluck, first female PM in Thailand

In Around the World on July 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm


Yingluck Shinawatra was elected as Prime Minister in the recent Thailand elections, which brings the hope of stability and democracy to the south east Asian country. 

If her and her political party, Pheu Thai, play it right over the next couple weeks, said the CNN article, it could lead to decisive political change, with the people in support and the military’s promise to refrain from a coup.

I am a woman, therefore I am…?

In Around the World on May 31, 2011 at 7:06 am

The media has let up some on the situation in the Middle East, concerning protestors and the revolutions, except for Syria perhaps…however, the human rights violations have not disappeared just because most of western media has its attention elsewhere.  I read the two articles below today, and it reminded me again, of what is going on in these countries, as well as the necessity to continually educate myself in these matters: issues, political state, human rights groups, campaigns, petitions, etc.

In Egypt, it has come out that female protesters, who had joined the men in fighting for their rights of ALL Egyptians against President Mubarak, were subjected to ‘virginity tests’ by police men.  These women were not considered worthy of being treated with respect  – they are not like one’s mother or sister one policeman said.  Perhaps they are not his mother or sister, but they are someone’s, and regardless, they are human beings who (from the  context of the article), did nothing more than stay in Tahrir Square with other protesters; sharing tents and camaraderie.

The other article was of a Saudi women, detained since May 21 for driving a car, who had finally been released.  This woman, Manal al-Sherif, was part of a movement to protest against the ban of female drivers in Saudi Arabia, where religious leaders have deemed it inappropriate.  Due to this unofficial law, women are forced to depend on the men in their families to drive them around, completely helpless and dependent.

The leader of the movement, Waleed Aboul Khair, is still planning to petition the government.

(Link to ‘virginity tests’ article)

(Link to ‘Saudi woman driver freed’)


Parle à haute voix

In Around the World on May 30, 2011 at 5:01 am


So apparently in France feminist movements have been speaking out against the recent scandal involving former IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn.  It’s about time.

Despite a leading democratic country, France is still extremely sexist, which is evident in a number of ways, but publicly so after the reactions by leading male figures in French society.  They came forth to protect Strauss-Kahn and belittle the victim, a hotel maid from Guinea.   However, after the quick and heated responses by feminists (both men and women), the media and politicians changed their tone.

Perhaps a change is coming to French society.   The young generation needs to continue to make their voices heard in this matter, and hopefully it will continue into the future, as well as other human rights issues that need to be addressed.

Cat-calls and groping

In Anecdotes, Around the World on May 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm


Here is an article about the ‘attention’ women get in public; cat-calling, groping, whistling, shouts, etc., and how it’s a serious problem. 

It varies from country to country, as the article addresses, depending on the culture, and is therefore more problematic in some places than others.  What I find to be annoying is that this behavior is always ignored or shrugged off as being natural for men – ‘boys being boys’; showing off their ‘masculinity’ to other dudes – so we females either let it roll off our backs or take it as a compliment (I will go more into this point).  Yet, what happens when it makes us feel threatened or uncomfortable,  or even worse, when it DOES become threatening?

Living in the Middle East and Eurasia (Caucasus) region as a middle schooler and high schooler, I became an expert at ignoring men and trying to make myself invisible.  I dressed modestly, I never made eye contact, I learned to walk with my head slightly down and my chest in…and it helped that I didn’t have blond hair, but of course it didn’t deter everyone. 

When I returned to the US for university, I carried this mentality back with me, even though the situation and the culture is different.  Here, for the most part, the attention given is not as aggressive, and it only happens late at night when I’m with a group of female friends and were on the ‘club/bar strip’ of town. I don’t think alcohol should really be used as an excuse for this behavior, but it is, and for the most part, women are taught to accept this and ignore it as best they can. Or, that in some cases it’s a compliment.  I for one, don’t like to view it as such.  Sure, perhaps getting yelled at means that guy thinks you’re attractive, but when girls are made to feel they’re unattractive when they don’t get this attention (which is uncomfortable in the first place), it can be dangerous because it often leads to poor decisions. 

I like to go out dancing with my friends, which means I have to deal with unwanted attention at times – I started purposely trying to make myself less attractive: no makeup, long-sleeved button up shirts, looser fitting jeans, hair up, etc., which worked for the most part, but I shouldn’t have to purposely dress down in order to avoid inappropriate touching.  I like to look good for myself and my friends, and that doesn’t mean I’m going to sport mini dresses that barely cover my butt and 4 inch stilettos, but what I’m wearing should not determine the level of a man’s propriety or civility in the first place!

I have a couple of friends who enjoy this attention, and almost crave it for some reason.  Perhaps it makes them feel special and pretty, but it’s not always safe.  Ladies, you should not feel as though it’s necessary to be whistled at or stared hungrily at in order to feel attractive.  That behavior is not appropriate and you shouldn’t encourage it.  In many cases, there is no need to be rude to the men in question, when you’re alone late at night it is probably better not to, but you send a clear message to guys when you don’t respond to them. 

Respect yourselves, tell the men you care about to respect other women, and perhaps this mentality will change. 

*And I know not all men are like this, I have plenty of wonderful male friends who are horrified when they witness or hear about such behavior.


In Around the World on May 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Interesting article about the recession.  Men were faring worse than women – having more of their jobs/positions cut, but as the recession begins to improve, men are now the one’s on top again. 


Be Heard

In Around the World on April 26, 2011 at 12:09 am

I mentioned in an earlier post about the plight facing women in Egypt and how they’re trying to achieve greater rights. Here’s just another story that NPR covered .



In Around the World on April 18, 2011 at 8:54 pm

Check out this video, it’s about women in less developed countries who have survived difficult child births.


Slut Walk

In Around the World, Videos on April 7, 2011 at 4:39 am

In Toronto, Canada a few days ago, men and women put on a ‘Slut Walk’, wearing whatever they thought represented a slut: fish nets, tank tops, slilettos…They did this in protest of a policeman’s speech to a personal security class at York University on sexual assault and rape.  According to Police Const. Michael Sanguinetti, “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”

He later apologized for his statement, but that doesn’t nullify his personal stance on the matter.  It’s frightening to think that the very person who is meant to protect women from such situations actually considers it their fault.  Of course there are precautions people can take (in any situation) but to take the blame from the perpetrator to the victim is NEVER the answer.  Do offenders suddenly not have control over themselves?

There are other walks planned – one in Boston as well.  I think this is an awesome idea and hope it spreads to more cities in the U.S. This mentality is still very much grounded in people’s minds and it needs to be quelled.