Just What is a Feminist?


I chose my subject this evening because I read a social media comment which described a feminist as a woman somewhere between an angry alien and a rabid wild animal. Now, I did not respond to the individual because I continue to work for peace and compassion in the world and in my personal world.

 

In case you are not aware, I am proud to be a feminist. A feminist is a woman. Just like any other woman. There are some differences. Feminists are men and women who believe females are people just like any man is a person.

 

Feminists  also believe in equality. They believe that both sexes are born equal. Not every man can drive a race car at 100 mph, and not every woman can turn out a perfect Beef Wellington. Feminists do look at the world and see what is wrong and unjust. Some people look and turn away because what they see is horrific. For all of the wonderful people in this world of ours, there are many who are evil.

 

A feminist looks at what is wrong in the world and sees it and then begins to look at how it can be changed. Whether a feminist man or woman, they will not turn away from the ugliness but will work, speak out, write, protest to change the wrong.

 

We, as women, have the vote because of women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton and hundreds of Suffragettes (feminists) worked to make Congress to give us the vote. They even went to the dire length of handcuffing themselves to the White House fence. They were arrested, and once in jail they went on a hunger strike and the media told the world and we got the vote. This is of course, a simplified version of the tale.

 

 

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I became a feminist in the seventies. Abuse was the issue that ignited my heart and passion. I do not believe that one person has the right to hit another. Women and children have the right to live without violence and fear. If a woman is the abuser, she needs to face the same consequences as any man who batters.

 

Women have the right to make their own decisions. To marry or not to. To pick her friends. Men have control over their bodies and the government would never think to tell them what to do with them. Even the man who hires the prostitute is usually protected from prosecution, while the woman is charged and will be in jail at least overnight. The government has repeatedly tried to control women’s bodies and how we choose to use them.

 

A feminist is a person who feels that women should receive equal pay for equal work. We have never had this in the USA. My sister found out she was making less than the men in her department. She was, justifiably, upset.  She was doing more work than literally anyone in the company (when she left, her duties had to be spread over 5 people), yet she still made less than men with less education. Was that right? No.

 

Some feminists are wonderful wives and mothers, both stay-at-home mothers and working mothers. It is what they choose to be and that is great. I, myself, have nine grandchildren. I have also marched for Hard Hatted Women. Women who wanted the right to work in construction. It is their right to choose how to support themselves and /or their families.

 

So, like black lives matter, so do women’s lives. And for those who disagree, perhaps a long look in a mirror would be a good thing to try. Hugs, Barbara

 

everynineseconds

Women


Women                                                                               Ok they

should be                                                                             should be

pedestals                                                                                little horses

moving                                                                                     those wooden

pedestals                                                                                 sweet

moving                                                                                 oldfashioned

to the                                                                                      painted

motions                                                                                 rocking

of men                                                                                   horses

the gladdest things in the toyroom

The                                                                                 feelingly

pegs                                                                              and then

of their                                                                          unfeelingly

ears                                                                                To be

so familiar                                                                     joyfully

and  dear                                                                     ridden

to the trusting                                                            rockingly

fists                                                                            ridden until

To be chafed                                                                the restored

egos dismount and the legs stride away

Immobile                                                                     willing

sweetlipped                                                                  to be set

sturdy                                                                             into motion

and smiling                                                                   Women

women                                                                            should be

should always                                                                  pedestals

be waiting                                                                          to men

 

This poem was written by May Swenson. She has written prose and poetry. In 1970 Ms. Swenson was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters. She has won many other awards for her moving and praiseworthy work.

Guest Blog: STEAM Heat


Hi, All!  It’s IdealisticRebel’s sister, and I’m hijacking her blog for the day (with permission, of course).

Tomorrow, I will be participating in a panel hosted by the American Association of University Woman (AAUW) in what is being called a STEAM Conference which encourages young women, still in Middle School and High School, to enter traditionally male fields.

You may have heard of STEM – Science Technology Engineering and Math.  AAUW recognizes that there is a growing need for women to enter the realms of digital Art as well, so STEM becomes STEAM, and I will be doing my part to encourage the young attendees to break out of traditionally female roles and join the ranks of the STEAM Women.

What’re my credentials?  I’ve worked in male-dominated fields for 22 years — first in Architecture, as a Computer-Aided Drafter/Designer, and now as a Technical Support Analyst for a major software company in North East Ohio.  More than that, my first attempt at a college degree was in Engineering.  Currently, I hold 3 degrees — Associates’ in both Architectural CADD and Computer Networking, and a Bachelor’s in Network Security Systems.

What’s my message?  It’s not the traditional one that so many women have heard all their lives:”math is hard” and “technology is for boys”.

Math can be hard, but it can also be fun — and you really do use it everyday (try balancing your checkbook without it)!  Technology wasn’t made for boys, it was made for people and the last time I looked, Women And Girls Are People, Too (I know, this comes a shock to some people, but it’s a fact of life, nonetheless).

Is it easy being “the only chick in class”, as I was for most of my last two degrees?  Not always, but that shouldn’t stop the next generation.  Because if enough girls and young women enter STEAM fields, they won’t be the only female in class; they’ll be part of the norm, no longer a sidebar, but the main article, as it were.

That’s not enough reason to do it, of course; just to increase the numbers isn’t a reason why anyone should go into any field.  The reason should come from you:

Because Science means that when you look up at night, you don’t just see “diamonds in the sky”, you see balls of hot gas, billions upon billions of light years away, with worlds swirling around them, and the fact that the light of those little diamonds left their home stars before the Earth was born blows your mind, and you want to know more.

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Because Technology means that you know the difference between a bit and a byte and you want to make Apps that make people’s lives easier.

Because Engineering means that when you see an electric car go by on the road and your first thought isn’t that it looks cool, or even how much money it costs to run, your first thought is what makes it go?

Because Art means that you play video games, alone or online, and you find yourself sketching the characters and want to make those characters you sketch come alive.

Because Math  makes sense to you, because numbers never lie and they make the world a more orderly place.

But mostly, just because you are YOU and you deserve to do what you love, no matter what that is, and no matter what other people think is ‘gender appropriate’.

Because you’re a person, too, and people get to make their own choices.

Make your choice, whatever it is, traditional or not.  Just be sure the choice you make is yours.

Breaking Down Barriers


This Is What A Little Over A Year Of Religious Women Breaking Down Barriers Looks Like

Posted: 03/10/2015 9:48 am EDT Updated: 03/10/2015 9:59 am EDT
APTOPIX Norway Nobel Peace Prize

Joint-Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan waves as she arrives to speak on stage during the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India received the Nobel Peace Prize on Wednesday for risking their lives to help protect children from slavery, extremism and forced labor at great risk to their own lives. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

March marks Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate and critically assess the ways in which women’s rights have and have not progressed around the world.

In the realm of religion, there is still much work to be done, as many faith traditions continue to bar women from seeking ordination and fail to recognize the important role women play in the spiritual lives of their communities. In other ways, though, women have made serious strides in the last year, taking on new leadership roles in their denominations and houses of worship, expressing their faith through art and spearheading activist movements.

As we continue envisioning a future that upholds full gender equality, these women are taking the lead and providing an example for others to follow:

 

Reverend Libby Lane was consecrated as the Bishop of Stockport, and the Church of England's first female bishop, in January 2015. "I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment," Lane said at a December press conference. "But most of all I am thankful to God."

Reverend Libby Lane was consecrated as the Bishop of Stockport, and the Church of England’s first female bishop, in January 2015. “I am very conscious of all those who have gone before me, women and men, who for decades have looked forward to this moment,” Lane said at a December press conference. “But most of all I am thankful to God.”

 

Despite being excommunicated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Mormon activist Kate Kelly tirelessly continues working on the movement to ordain women in the Mormon church. Speaking after she lost her final appeal to rejoin the church in February, Kelly said: "I am proud of what I have done. I am proud of the women and men who have taken a stand with me in this struggle for gender justice. We will continue to act with integrity and courage. Mormon women and their legitimate concerns cannot be swept under the rug or summarily dismissed by one 'Court of Love.'"

Despite being excommunicated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Mormon activist Kate Kelly tirelessly continues working on the movement to ordain women in the Mormon church. Speaking after she lost her final appeal to rejoin the church in February, Kelly said: “I am proud of what I have done. I am proud of the women and men who have taken a stand with me in this struggle for gender justice. We will continue to act with integrity and courage. Mormon women and their legitimate concerns cannot be swept under the rug or summarily dismissed by one ‘Court of Love.'”

 

L.A.-based professionals M. Hasna Maznavi and Sana Muttalib founded what may be the first Women's Mosque in the United States in January, providing a space where women can come together to pray, learn and deepen their faith.

Alexa Pilato — L.A.-based professionals M. Hasna Maznavi and Sana Muttalib founded what may be the first Women’s Mosque in the United States in January, providing a space where women can come together to pray, learn and deepen their faith.

 

Pastor Renita Lamkin, Rabbi Susan Talve, Rev. Jennifer Bailey and many other women of faith offered countless hours and resources to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, working to promote equality, justice and an end to police brutality. These religious women continue to stand in solidarity with the powerful, self-identified queer black women who founded the #blacklivesmatter movement.

St.Louis Post-Dispatch via Getty Images — Pastor Renita Lamkin, Rabbi Susan Talve, Rev. Jennifer Bailey and many other women of faith offered countless hours and resources to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, working to promote equality, justice and an end to police brutality. These religious women continue to stand in solidarity with the powerful, self-identified queer black women who founded the #blacklivesmatter movement.

 

Jewish Women's Archive/Flickr In January 2014, Angela Warnick Buchdahl was elected head rabbi of New York's historic Central Synagogue, becoming one of only a few women -- and likely the only Asian-American -- to lead a major U.S. synagogue. Many describe Buchdahl as a "pioneer."

Jewish Women’s Archive/Flickr
In January 2014, Angela Warnick Buchdahl was elected head rabbi of New York’s historic Central Synagogue, becoming one of only a few women — and likely the only Asian-American — to lead a major U.S. synagogue. Many describe Buchdahl as a “pioneer.”

 

Seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai won a Nobel Peace Prize in December, alongside children's rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Since being shot by the Taliban in 2012, Yousafzai has become a world-renowned peace activist and champion of children's rights.

Associated Press — Seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai won a Nobel Peace Prize in December, alongside children’s rights activist Kailash Satyarthi. Since being shot by the Taliban in 2012, Yousafzai has become a world-renowned peace activist and champion of children’s rights.

 

ARCO BERTORELLO via Getty Images Sister Cristina Scuccia won "The Voice of Italy" on June 6, 2014 with breathtaking renditions of popular songs like Alicia Keys' "No One" and Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Scuccia subsequently released her first album in November and performed at a Vatican holiday concert. It turns out that even nuns want to have a little fun now and then!

ARCO BERTORELLO via Getty Images
Sister Cristina Scuccia won “The Voice of Italy” on June 6, 2014 with breathtaking renditions of popular songs like Alicia Keys’ “No One” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Scuccia subsequently released her first album in November and performed at a Vatican holiday concert. It turns out that even nuns want to have a little fun now and then!

 

The Washington Post via Getty Images In June 2014, Rev. Amy Butler became the senior minister and first woman to hold the job at the historic Riverside Church in New York City. Butler formerly served as senior minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. for 11 years.

The Washington Post via Getty Images
In June 2014, Rev. Amy Butler became the senior minister and first woman to hold the job at the historic Riverside Church in New York City. Butler formerly served as senior minister of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. for 11 years.

New Facts of FGM


As Risk Of Female Genital Mutilation More Than Doubles In U.S, Lawmakers Take Action

By Lisa Anderson
NEW YORK, Feb 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The number of women and girls in the United States at risk of female genital mutilation has more than doubled since 2000 to half a million, say demographic researchers who expect that figure to rise even further.

The report, released on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on Friday, said the main cause of the rapid growth was a doubling of immigration to the United States between 2000 and 2013 from African countries where the brutal tradition is prevalent.

“We put out these numbers so decisions can be made by policy makers in this country,” said Charlotte Feldman-Jacobs, an author of the report and director of the gender program at the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau (PRB).

“In order to know where these girls and women are and how many, this data is critical.”

FGM, which involves the partial or complete removal of the external genitalia, is considered a necessary pre-marriage ritual for girls in many countries, but it can cause lasting physical and psychological damage and even death.

The practice is most common in Africa and the Middle East, though most African countries where FGM is found have banned the practice.

PRB’s findings come at a time of heightened awareness and concern about FGM in the United States, which banned the practice in 1996 and passed a law in 2012 making it illegal to transport a girl out of the United States for the purpose of FGM.

On Thursday, U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley of New York and U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, both Democrats, introduced the Zero Tolerance for FGM Act of 2015, which would charge the federal government with drafting and implementing a national strategy to protect girls in the United States from FGM.

About 55 percent of the 506,795 women and girls in the United States at risk of FGM in 2013 were either born in Egypt, Ethiopia or Somalia, or born to parents from those countries, the researchers found.

In those countries, the vast majority of women and girls between the ages of 15 and 49 undergo FGM: 91 percent in Egypt, 74 percent in Ethiopia, and 98 percent in Somalia.

Other women and girls in the United States at risk of FGM were from or had familial ties to Nigeria, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Kenya, Eritrea and Guinea.

“We applied country prevalence rates to the number of U.S. women and girls with ties to those countries to estimate risk,” said Mark Mather, a demographer at PRB who co-authored the report.

Overall, about 97 percent of U.S. women and girls at risk of FGM were from or had ties to African countries, while 3 percent were from Asia.

The state with the most women and girls at risk was California, followed by New York, Minnesota, Texas, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington. Those eight states are home to about 60 percent of the total number of women and girls at risk in the country.

The women and girls at risk typically live in or around large cities, with about 40 percent of them living in the New York, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis-St. Paul, Los Angeles and Seattle metropolitan areas.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plan to issue a report on FGM in the United States in coming weeks with conclusions similar to those from PRB.

“Having a better idea of the magnitude of FGM here will mean that we have a much stronger argument in terms of changing policy and allocating resources,” said Shelby Quast, policy director at Equality Now, an NGO dedicated to the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls globally.

More than 130 million girls and women in Africa and the Middle East have experienced some form of FGM, according to 2014 data from UNICEF.

(Reporting by Lisa Anderson, Editing by Alisa Tang.)

 

 

 

Some days, we all need some humor. I have over a foot of snow here. So you get humor!!!

 

 

 

 

This is so painful and create the possibility of infection. It is immoral to allow this to happen to women and children.

This is so painful and create the possibility of infection. It is immoral to allow this to happen to women and children.

The Spoils of War


We are ending ten long years of war. Wars not won but thousands of people dead. Now we are putting ourselves into Syria to protect the citizens and the Western world. Peace isn’t being spoken about at all. Yet, there are many of us who know that peace is the only way for us to go.

 

As sides line up and stories begin to flow out of the war torn countries, we will find that not only will there be deaths and emotional scarring but there will be a huge amount of using women to shame their families and themselves. The countries in Africa and the Middle East are finding that their women and children are in particular danger due to all the wars around the world.

 

Raping women and girls has become an important aspect to war. It is part of the plans for winning wars. The Democratic Republic of Congo is known as the “rape capital of the world.”  Women and children are enslaved and gang raped. If they conceive, they are killed.  Why rape women and children?  If women can escape, their husbands and families don’t want them. They are dirty and full of shame.

 

Women and girls raped in war are far more likely to die due to pregnancy and childbirth complications. Young women who are impregnated during war do not receive prenatal care. They are owned, after all. The death rate increases by five times for these young women. It would have been kinder if we could have provided abortions for those that wish them. These babies represent the horrors of their rapes and /or gang rape. All monies going to war-torn countries from America cannot be used to provide a compassionate abortion for these women who have suffered the worst thing that can happen to a women.

 

So, US aid is prohibited from being used for abortions and they can’t even be discussed. Today’s wars continue to use sexual violence as a tool to win battles and even wars. It is part of genocide. To contaminate the gene pool of a country has a devastating effect on its citizens.

 

Currently in Syria, reports have found that armed men, often many at a time, kidnap, rape, torture and kill women and girls. One of the primary reasons for human displacement during this conflict has been fear of rape. The Global Summit held in London this past summer, rape as a tactic of war was discussed.

 

Because we do not provide abortions for rape victims, we are re-victimizing these poor women and children. The United Nations and the Security Council have urged countries to take steps to help these women. Because the US forbids any of its monies from being used for abortions in these cases, America is in violation of the Geneva Conventions policy to comply with the human rights of women and children.

 

President Bush’s administration specifically forbade funding for rape survivors and child slaves. The Obama administration can take steps to address this injustice but hasn’t so far. The administration has yet to abolish Bush’s unfair restriction.

 

When applied to women and girls raped in war, the abortion ban not only denies them their rights to all necessary care under the Geneva Convention, it also interferes with the way the aid is distributed by countries that do allow abortion.

 

For young girls, their bodies are not developed enough to give birth. Young girls who do manage to give birth and live, face long-term economic and psychological trauma. Again, we are re-victimizing these human beings.

 

Save the Children’s “Unspeakable Crimes Against Children: Sexual Violence in Conflict” report says that these children are being condemned to a lifetime of extreme poverty, illiteracy, increased vulnerability to risky or exploitative economic practices as children and then as adults. Poverty will spread across generations.

 

Female bodies must not be used as a background in war.

 

 

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WeR1

            We are all one family and we are all the same species

 

Guatemalan-rape-victims-006                   Victims of rape during war.

5 Things You Need to Know About Women and the Economy


In this world there is much going on. A great deal of what is happening is terrifying and horrific. But there are good events happening too. The following report is evidence of positive changes. Employment for women is up as the report shows. This is good. Employment is up for everyone. There still needs to be more economic growth but we are gaining because of President Obama’s initiatives.

 

While more women are working, we still do not earn equal wages for equal work. It is important that gender not control the wages we earn. We must continue to push for equitable earning for all Americans, non-gender based wages.

 

I don’t want to take attention away from ISIL, and the beheadings and western people who feel marginalized enough to turn to barbaric acts to gain attention and money. But as we look at the big picture, we need also to keep our eyes on what is happening here in the United States. We need to pull Americans out of the status of being working poor. We need to prevent women and children from ending up as working poor due to the death of the primary male provider or to divorce or to there being only minimum  wage jobs available  to women.

 

We need equitable wages for the same work and it is important with the mid-term elections coming up, that while we continue to look at the big picture, we need to make life better for the citizens of America. Women are not second class citizens, just as African Americans are not second class citizens. Equality is for everyone. We can’t lose faith and give up, we must continue to work for equality for every American. We need to be the world leaders we say we are. I guess, you can say we need to walk our talk. I am good with that, are you?  Then go out and vote in November. Make it a priority in November. Vote early by mail if you maybe too busy in November. Vote. Have a say in what is happening in our country.

 bjwordpressdivider

Originally posted at whitehouse.gov/blog

Today’s employment report underscores the fact that the economy is continuing to recover, and employment is continuing to increase. Women have shared in these gains, with female employment increasing by 4.1 million jobs in the last 54 months, and the fraction of discouraged workers and workers experiencing long-term unemployment continues to fall. Across industries, women’s employment gains look relatively similar to previous periods of strong employment growth. To further support the economy, and to ensure the workplace works for the 21st century economy, the President is encouraging Congress to act and using his own executive action to support policies that support a fair workplace for all workers — including women.

KEY POINTS ABOUT WOMEN AND THE ECONOMY

1. Women’s nonfarm employment has increased by 3.8 million jobs over the last 54 months, and 1.2 million in the last 12 months alone. Women’s employment tends to be less cyclical than men’s, largely because women are less likely to work in industries where employment greatly fluctuates with the business cycle. The recent recession followed that pattern, and women lost far fewer jobs than men. Between December 2007 and February 2010 women lost 2.7 million jobs, while men lost 6.1 million. However, the unusual declines in state and local government during the recovery — a loss of 744,000 jobs between August 2008 and January 2013 were particularly tough for women who lost 65 percent of those jobs. Over the past year state and local government employment has stabilized and begun to recover adding back 123,000 jobs since January 2013. Since February 2010, women and men have recouped 4.1 and 5.9 million private sector jobs, respectively. This has raised the share of private sector workers who are women from 46.9 percent prior to the recession to 47.9 percent this past August.

2. Across multiple measures, women’s unemployment has declined. As employment has increased since 2010, the unemployment rate has also fallen. The female unemployment rate currently stands at 6.1 percent, the same as for the population as a whole, down from its peak of 9.0 percent in November 2010. The short-term unemployment rate (the fraction of the labor force unemployed for 26 weeks or less) has fallen to its pre-recession average, and while the long-term unemployment rate remains elevated, it has fallen considerably in the past year after more than quadrupling during the recession and its aftermath. Broader measures of labor force attachment also show a marked improvement. For example, averaging across the past 12 months, 0.4 percent of the female labor force is discouraged from seeking work, down from a high of 0.6 percent in early 2011. The share of people marginally attached to the labor force, or discouraged from working, or unemployed has averaged 8.3 percent this past year on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, down from 10.5 percent in early 2011.

3. In the recovery, women’s job gains have been concentrated in education and health services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality.During this recovery, many of the job gains have been similar between men and women, although men have gained more construction and manufacturing jobs, and women have gained more education and health services jobs. However, these patterns are not completely unexpected: women have traditionally held more than three-quarters of education and health services jobs, and about one-eighth of construction and less than one-third of manufacturing jobs. The last time the economy added jobs for 54 consecutive months was from November 1996 to April 2001. In general, women’s employment over the most recent period is similar to the previous period across most industries, although there are some notable differences. For example, compared to the previous period, employment growth has been slightly weaker in financial activities, construction, and information services. In contrast, women have gained some manufacturing jobs, while between 1996 and 2001, female employment in manufacturing fell by approximately 200,000 workers.

4. This month, women’s employment growth in manufacturing was particularly strong compared to performance since 2010. In other industries, women’s employment was within the range of the previous 54 months. This month’s employment growth was relatively weak in transportation and other services, and mirroring overall trends, women lost about 1,000 jobs in retail trade. Employment growth for women was particularly above average in construction and information services, and on a seasonally-adjusted basis, women gained more manufacturing jobs this month than at time since July 2000. Like the overall labor market, the pattern of female job growth across industries in August was slightly more divergent from recent trends than earlier this year.

5. Young women are increasingly staying in school, more than off-setting the decline in labor force participation among young women. Fewer young women are neither working nor studying compared to previous generations. Since students, even if they are working part-time, are not considered part of the labor force, only looking at participation rates misses the fact that more and more women are obtaining an undergraduate or graduate education.  Since the mid-1990s, women have accounted for the majority of postsecondary students, meaning that they will account for the majority of our skilled labor force in the future. At the same time that young women are staying in school, however, both men and women are working longer: more than one-third of women 55 and older are working today, compared to less than one-quarter 20 years ago.

Betsey Stevenson is a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.
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                                                      Equal pay for equal work for all American citizens.
                                                   Equal pay for equal work for all American women.
                                                      Ladies, get out and vote in November!
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