Wednesday, 9 December 2009

30 years of feminism in Spain

Thirty years since the first Feminist Congress was held in Spain. Celebrated by a meeting in Granada.

From Canal Sur (6.12.2009):
Las cifras se han desbordado. Cuatro mil participantes de todas las comunidades autónomas y ciento cincuenta ponencias ponen de manifiesto que el feminismo sigue muy vivo. Aseguran que la lucha por la igualdad debe continuar y extenderse a otros países.
‘Granada, treinta años después’ es el título que enmarca estas Jornadas Feministas Estatales que concluirán mañana lunes. A Granada han llegado cuatro mil quinientas mujeres de todo el país y representantes internacionales para tratar una batería de temas en torno a ciento cincuenta mesas.Mañana lunes concluye este congreso que ha puesto de manifiesto la importancia y la vigencia del feminismo español.Este domingo se concentran en apoyo de la activista saharaui Aminetu Haidar y posteriormente recorrerán en manifestación el centro de Granada.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Feminist books for under-fives

Good discussion and some interesting books mentioned on a Guardian CIF article. Comments range from brilliant to the usual anti-feminist 'keep us all stereotyped or the world will grind to a halt' nonsense. Click on title of this post for the article.

I will collect a list of the books at some point. I hope.

Here is a site with recommendations - an anti-princess reading list from

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Girls prefer pink - biologically - really???

While ferreting around on the pinkstinks website and zapping off my own version of the email to the head office, I discovered this article by Ben Goldacre debunking the idea that colour preference is genetically determined by males' and females' biological make-up. Another way of putting us all into little boxes.

Pink stinks takes on ELC

Check out the campaign against sex-stereotyped children's toys.

Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation

...celebrates its 25th anniversary today - such women as Kelly Holmes, Rebecca Adlington, Paula Radcliffe, Rebecca Romero, Nicole Cooke among others.

But it still doesn't get the publicity that men's sport gets. Grr.

Go girls and women, go.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

More headline idiocy

As I understand it the TUC has passed/ is discussing a resolution to stop employers forcing women to wear high heels at work, on health grounds.
They are not forcing women to stop wearing high heels. They are not asking women to stop wearing high heels.
Yet it has been misreported in this way, under the headline:
Daggers drawn over stilettos
A TUC vote to ban high heels in the workplace has won support from doctors – but derision from women.

Where? In the Independent today. And all the usual suspects are up in arms.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Women's rights way to fight poverty

The Slate short in the title link refers to a New York Times magazine article by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, who argue that women are more likely to spend money they earn on food and education, than on alcohol, and so empowering women is more likely to tackle poverty and even extremism.

Pink Stinks Campaign

Revving up...

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Feminism is not dead

A Times article discusses how lap-dancing clubs, and lads' mags have come to increase under a Labour government whose only criterion seems to be that if people will pay for it, it must be desirable. Anyone who opposes these is easily dismissed as an outdated feminist puritanical party-pooper.

Of course, as well as the article itself, the comments, on both sides of the argument are enlightening. Mainly they enlighten me about just how far feminism has yet to go.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Solo crossing of Indian Ocean by Sarah Outen

Sarah Outen , aged 24, from Oakham, Rutland, arrived in Mauritius on 3rd August, after spending 124 days rowing, on her own across the Indian Ocean. She is not only the first woman, but also the youngest person to complete the crossing, and the fastest.

She has already raised £13,000 for the charity Arthritis Care, in memory of her father who died from the disease in 2006.

Sponsorship details in the comment below.

Lubna Hussein trial

Lubna Hussein is on trial in Sudan for wearing trousers, considered to be 'indecent clothing'. She has actively sought publicity for the trial, to highlight what she considers an injustice which affects many women in that country. If convicted she could face a punshiment of 40 lashes and an unlimited fine. The trial has now been delayed for a month.

From a BBC article:

"Before police caught me, there are maybe 20,000 girls and women getting flogged for dress reasons," she said.

If this could happen in a restaurant in Khartoum, imagine what the situation must be for women in Darfur, Ms Hussein said.

"This is my message."

Ms Hussein and two other women asked for a lawyer, delaying their trials.

Under a 2005 peace deal between the mainly Muslim north and the largely Christian and animist south, Sharia law is not supposed to be applied to non-Muslims living in the capital.

Ms Hussein says she has done nothing wrong under Sharia law, but could fall foul of a paragraph in Sudanese criminal law which forbids indecent clothing.

Aung San Suu Kyi

The trial of Aung San Suu Kyi continues in Burma. Not just a feminist issue here, but one of democracy and repressive military government.

The election is coming?

A few stirrings in the politisphere made me think it worth noting, as and when they arise, any news items which reveal the attitude of politicians and parties towards women, or , dare I say it, feminism.

Something from a Lib Dem, Jo Swinton is campaigning about the pernicious effects of airbrushed ads on how teenagers and others see themselves. Important stuff, since we as a society seem obsessed with perfect bodies, and intolerant of anyone who falls short. This causes real misery, and makes vast amounts of money for the unscrupulous who market products, including drastic plastic surgery.

Harriet Harman has taken advantage of her two weeks in nominal charge of the Labour party to talk some sense, which has been picked up as feminist nonsense by certain newspapers.
For a couple of articles giving her a positive welcome see here and here.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Fawcett Society and Katherine Rake

Katherine Rake finishes her seven-year spell as director of the Fawcett Society today. She moves on to the research organisation Family and Parenting Institute.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

How headlines change the story

Thanks to Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column for this one:

I quote the intro verbatim:

There’s nothing like science for giving that objective, white-coat flavoured legitimacy to your prejudices, so it must have been a great day for Telegraph readers when they came across the headline “Women who dress provocatively more likely to be raped, claim scientists”. Ah, scientists. “Women who drink alcohol, wear short skirts and are outgoing are more likely to be raped, claim scientists at the University of Leicester.” Well there you go. Oddly, though, the title of the press release for the same research was “Promiscuous men more likely to rape”.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Women not at the top in Fashion

Independent article about women's inequalities in industry in general and fashion in particular.

Reasons - inbuilt prejudice, old-fashioned attitudes (lol) and of course that old childcare problem.

Fashion designers and equalities campaigners complain that, while women account for 52 per cent of the workforce in the fashion and textiles sector, they occupy just 37 per cent of the top jobs, and are paid 15 per cent less than their male colleagues.

"Discrimination is everywhere, not just in male-dominated industries," said Katherine Rake, director of the Fawcett Society which campaigns for equality between men and women in the UK in areas such as pay and pensions. "Some employers do it unwittingly, so we are encouraging them to do mandatory pay audits to make sure they are not discriminating."

Although fashion is in the spotlight, some argue that the same obstacles block women's progress in all industries: in particular, that women continue to bear the brunt of childcare. The idea that a high-flying career is incompatible with motherhood is borne out by the statistics, which show that the average hourly wage for female workers prior to having children is 91 per cent of the male average, declining to 67 per cent for working mothers.

British women, on average, are paid 17.1 per cent less than their male colleagues, although this varies significantly from industry to industry. Recent research from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission last month revealed that women working in the financial sector earn, on average, a massive 55 per cent less then their male colleagues.

Many fashion insiders deny there is a problem with inequality; while others reject the idea that women are disadvantaged within their particular company, but confirm that it is a problem within the industry as a whole.

"The fashion industry is one of the largest employers for women, has many strong role models and provides a broad variety of career opportunities," said Caroline Rush, joint chair of the British Fashion Council.

"It is the whole thing of careers and children; they are very hard to juggle," said British designer Katherine Hamnett. "It tends to be gay men who are at the top in design – Yves St Laurent, etc," she added. "That's because they don't usually have any children at all, it is easy for them."

Click on title for full article

Sunday, 17 May 2009

More feminist than thou or damaging the 'cause'

A furore between more traditional feminists and those who proclaim the freedom to be bad.
Click on the title to read the article. I have skip-read - my quick precis may not be entirely accurate.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Pro Mujer

Click on the title to read about how small loans are helping women in Latin America. Another BBC article.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The psychology of unequal pay?

Click on the title for a link to a BBC magazine article.

Whether anyone should aim for vast pay packets is another question entirely of course.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Women in Spain

A revealing article about Spain, and the role of women during the Franco years. No wonder, it concludes, that Spain is in the forefront of women's progress now.

Monday, 27 April 2009

New Equality Bill

Harriet Harman is introducing a bill to increase awareness of inequalities, including the gender gap in pay.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Greater equality - greater happiness

Not just about sexual equality, this time.

In a splendidly clear and partisan article in today's Independent, Johann Hari picks up on the book by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, The Spirit Level. Not only are more equal societies happier, they are more likely to survive crises such as the current financial one, and the challenge of climate change.

See also Will Hutton's article in the Guardian, 15th March.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Large Gender Pay Gap in Financial services

9 April 2009

Report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission

A new Commission report reveals significant gender pay gaps in the finance sector of up to 60 percent.
The findings also show that amongst the highest earners, the gender pay gap for full time hourly gross earnings is 45 percent, while women working full-time in the lowest paid roles in the sector receive on average 16 percent less in hourly gross pay than their male colleagues.

Picked up from Fabian Society blog

Thursday, 26 March 2009

GB women win cycling team sprint

In the Cycling World Championships, Great Britain secured their first gold by winning the women's team sprint title.
Wendy Houvenaghel, Joanna Rowsell and Lizzie Armitstead beat New Zealand by 1.273 seconds in a time of 3 minutes 22.720 sec in the final.

And we shouldn't forget the women's cricket team who won the world chamionship last weekend!

Bike Belles

Sustrans has part of its website devoted to encouraging women to cycle safely and in style!

My personal mixed feelings about some women being too wimpy, and too concerned about appearances may be totally unjustified. (100 times, I will not be negative. Grr.)

It includes sections on:

Why cycle

Looking good

Staying Safe

Cycle basics.

Ada Lovelace Day

March 24th was Ada Lovelace Day - to celebrate women in technology. It is named after Byron's daughter, Ada, the woman who is considered to be the first ever programmer.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Reading habits male and female

According to a survey reported in the Daily Telegraph, women read more, and are more likely to finish books than men.

More details later (I hope)

Women and mental health

Information from this article in the Independent

According to a report from the NHS Information Centre, 56% of the 1.2 million referrals for treatment (inpatient and outpatient) last year were women. The total was up 3.4% from the previous year, and women accounted for 70% of the increase.

There has also been a rise of more than 12% in proportion of women suffereing depression and anxiety since the mid-1990s. Men have shown no increase in mental health problems.

The increase has been blamed on the increasing need to care for elderly parents in their 80s and 90s, and the fact that women still bear the major responsibility for caring. This has to be seen in the context of a policy to keep elderly people at home as much as possible, with the financial pressures of paying for domestic care.

A 2003 report by the charity Women at the Crossroads pointed out that women in mid-life are likely to find themselves in financial difficulties as a result of lower pay, part-time working, and divorce. They were less likely than men to own their own home, and carried a greater share of household duties.

My solution would be to encourage a more equal distribution of tasks between men and women, along with equal pay (of course). And our priorities should be towards money for public services at basic levels, such as home care, and other social services, rather than high salaries for top civil servants. Or of course bankers.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Young women and self-harm in Britain

From the Independent on Sunday, an article linking these statistics to the growing inequalities in wealth. Direct quote:

The number of people harming themselves deliberately has leapt by a third in the past five years, according to new figures seen by The Independent on Sunday. The biggest rise in self-harm and attempted suicide has been among young women between the ages of 16 and 24 as they struggle to cope with the pressures of modern living in Britain.

There were 97,871 hospital admissions for deliberate self-harm in England in 2007-08 – 4,337 of them for children under the age of 14. Meanwhile, one in eight young women admitted to self-harm in 2007 – an 80 per cent increase since 2000.

According to new research published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the growing gap between rich and poor has led to an increase in mental health problems such as depression and self-harm in countries including the UK and US. People are surrounded by stories about the rich and famous – lifestyles that are unattainable for the majority. These inequalities cause psychological and physical stress which leads to mental and physical health problems, the report concludes.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Dora going 'tween'

A Pink Stinks blog entry about how young girls are manipulated for marketing purposes, in particular objecting to the way Dora is being made to grow up into a 'tween'. Dora is a cartoon character who so far has presented some kind of active role model for little girls.

Comments are interesting too.

There is a petition you can sign here

Geek Moms

An article on the BBC website on how mothers at home with young children are finding online social networking a real lifeline, not a substitute for real friendships, but a way of maintaining them, and a creative outlet.

I think this is also true about many retired people, and indeed those who are unemployed.

Reminder to self - catch the 'feminist' programme before Tuesday morning.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Call yourself a Feminist - programme 2

9 am Tuesday 17th March

Call Yourself a Feminist Radio 4
17 March 2009
Bettany Hughes presents a series of discussions tracing the development of feminism. 2/3: Linda Bellos, Roz Morris, Lynne Segal and Beatrix Campbell discuss feminism in the 1980s.

repeated at 21.30

Women's Health

A survey covering a million women aged 50 and over is providing masses of information about lifestyle and health. From links between alcohol and breast cancer to HRT. Read about in this Guardian article.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Inequality is the root of all evil?

Will Hutton discusses a recent book (The Spirit Level, by Wilkinson and Pickett) in this Guardian article. Social inequality, not sexual, but very interesting for its take on co-operation versus individual greed, and how the UK fits in. (Not very well, and little change in the New Labour years - there's no surprise!)

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Lesbians "corrective rape" in South Africa

Lesbians living in South Africa are being subjected to "corrective rape" and severe violence by men trying to "cure" them of their sexual orientation, human rights groups have said.

Reported in Guardian, Telegraph and others

Friday, 13 March 2009

Men, women, unemployment and housework

An article in Slate magazine asks if men could be doing more round the home if they are unemployed. Memo to self, read it soon.

Had a quick glance, it seems many men are adapting to this with ease, and doing a bigger chunk at home. A few, as ever, sit on their arses and play computer games..

Interesting article, investigating the intricacies of male/female roles.

Ten liberating washing machines

More discussion about the item that has been most liberating for women, in Times online blog. The usual crass comments, and of course some decent ones as well.

Is it the machine? Is it chemicals and preservatives in food? Could it be a more equal sharing of work inside and outside the home? Legal rights? The vote? Contraception?

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Progress in Africa

Johann Hari's article in the Independent is worth reading.

In villages across Africa, old women suspected of witchcraft are hacked to death, while young girls are mutilated to preserve their virginity. But attitudes are changing – and thousands of lives are being saved. Johann Hari reports from Kenya and Tanzania

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Action Aid and IWD

International Women's Day (IWD) connects women around the world and aims to inspire them to achieve their full potential. It is an opportunity to highlight the abuse of women’s rights across the world, while celebrating the central role that women play in creating a fairer and more just world.
ActionAid celebrated International Women's Day on 8 March with comedy, campaigns and film.

Older women rock?

See this article in the Daily Telegraph, in praise of older women and their efficiency and work rate - yes, and wisdom. It's written by Emma Soames, the editor-at-large for Saga magazine. But as a counterbalance, read the comments too - some women, older or otherwise have made as many mistakes as testosterone-driven men. Be careful which examples you choose if you wish to claim that women have innate superiority.

Binge-drinking and role models

Clare Clinton on AOl front page pontificates about the terrible role models presented to young women - Amy Winehouse and others. But isn't her article doing exactly what she claims to deplore - giving this behaviour publicity? I suppose it would be too much in our celeb obsessed age to ask the media to ignore drunken celebs. And now I've clicked on the article twice, so I suppose I'm helping to push it up their 'most read' list.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Call Yourself a feminist? worth a listen?

I caught this on Listen Again. It is here . To those of us who were around in the late sixties and early seventies, it didn't say anything new or startling, but was an interesting trip down memory lane. Will try to summarize later.

(I know - the road to hell...)

It contains some interesting observations about clothes and feminist humourlessness, as well as taking stock of the very real progress made in Europe and the US in particular. Though one of the contributors thought the programme concentrated too much on trivia.

Interesting timeline of women's achievements - feminist or otherwise.

Monday, 9 March 2009


Ulrika Jonnson gives lots of information here about causes of urinary incontinence in women, after childbirth or menopause. There are also simple exercises which can improve the condition.

From the article:
New research by the Wellbeing of Women charity shows that one third of British women over the age of 30 have experience of this condition. However, women often suffer in silence falsely assuming they are alone and too embarrassed to seek help.

The condition is linked not only to childbirth, but also to the menopause, which results in a loss of hormones that play an essential role in keeping the muscles strong and elastic.

Equality in European Union

Another BBC article caught my eye, balm to the soul, after I've been indulging in online arguing the case for equality with a man who claims to have biology, and all logic on his side, and that women should 'pull the strings behind the scenes'

At least this can be a reference site

So, even though we don't seem to be very active, at least we're gathering some useful website addresses for reference.

Call yourself a feminist?

A three week series on Radio 4 - Tuesdays at 9 am.

Call Yourself a Feminist
10 March 2009

1/3: Bettany Hughes presents a series of discussions tracing the development of feminist ideas. With Ann Leslie, Elaine Showalter, Sally Alexander and Sonia Fuentes.

Inspiring Women of Africa

A selection of inspiring women, produced by VSO, reported in the Independent.

Washing machine more liberating than the pill?

According to the Vatican, as it celebrates women's 'liberation' on IWD.

Sunday, 8 March 2009

International Women's Day 2009

Well, this year there are lots of initiatives and articles etc. I've posted up just a few.

Women, economics, leadership etc.

Vital Voices celebrates International Women's Day and Month. A US non-governmental organisation to empower women around the world.

Young women don't do politics?

An article in the Independent on Sunday claims that a whole generation of women is 'lost to politics'.

Pink continues to stink

Some good articles and links on the Pink Stinks blog. Certainly empowering girls!

Empowered or exploited?

In another article on the BBC website, Katherine Whitehorn asks whether women who wear skimpy outifts are exploiting or empowering themselves.

It's an odd article, actually. There is a short discussion of the issue mentioned in the headlines.

The rest of it concerns whether women collude in their own exploitation, and emphasises the fact that women have made huge strides in journalism in the last fifty years - it is no longer exceptional to find women writing serious article on war, politics, economics.

Yet the top jobs are occupied mainly by men, and the underpaid ones at the bottom of the heap are occupied mainly by women. Simplified of course.

Women in Iraq

Two articles from the BBC highlight the plight of many women in Iraq.

The first is about widows.
Accurate figures are hard to obtain, but even before the invasion in 2003, there were hundreds of thousands of widows in Iraq.
Many lost husbands in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. At the height of the violence of recent years, up to 100 women a day were becoming widows.
Almost everywhere you go in Baghdad, you can see them begging at traffic lights and outside mosques - dressed from head to toe in black.
The women are supposed to be given just over $1 (£0.70) a day from the government.
But a survey by the charity Oxfam has discovered that less than a quarter actually get the money.

The second , more general reports the results of a survey of 1700 women, who lack security and basic services.

Reporting on a survey of about 1,700 women in five provinces taken last year, Oxfam described their plight as a "silent emergency".

It suggested more than half the women had suffered from violence.

A quarter did not have daily access to water supplies, and more than three-quarters were not getting pensions.

One in Ten Women suffers Domestic violence each year in UK

I reproduce the comment made below the previous post

Amnesty UK is focusing on violence against women for this year's International Women’s Day. We’re asking people to change their Facebook status, Myspace headline and tweet to raise awareness of the fact that each year, around 1 in 10 women in Britain experience rape or other violence. Details on the Amnesty International website.
I couldn't access this via the link in the comment. Here are a few things we can do.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Pink stinks

I picked this web address up in the NUT magazine. Add to the links.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Iceland's women take charge?

Is this the way forward, out of recession? Guardian article about Icelandic women and their business values.

"We have five core feminine values. First, risk awareness: we will not invest in things we don't understand. Second, profit with principles - we like a wider definition so it is not just economic profit, but a positive social and environmental impact. Third, emotional capital. When we invest, we do an emotional due diligence - or check on the company - we look at the people, at whether the corporate culture is an asset or a liability. Fourth, straight talking. We believe the language of finance should be accessible, and not part of the alienating nature of banking culture. Fifth, independence. We would like to see women increasingly financially independent, because with that comes the greatest freedom to be who you want to be, but also unbiased advice."

Friday, 13 February 2009

Biology is Destiny

Is it just me, or is all scientific research which backs up this thesis receiving more publicity than any other? It so often boils down to 'You are what you are and how others see you, so don't even think about changing society'. Or just do your best to conform to the physical ideal!

One example:
How Your Looks Betray Your Personality in this week's New Scientist.

The BBC website has picked up on this under the headline Women's traits 'written on face'.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Blame the mothers again?

A report, called The Good Childhood Inquiry and commissioned by the Children's Society, is quoted on the BBC website today.

It suggests, among other reasons, that having many more working mothers has contributed to the damage done to children.

"Most women now work and their new economic independence contributes to levels of family break-up which are higher in the UK than in any other Western European country."

At least the Beeb hasn't used this as its headline, unlike AOL news - headline Working women 'damaging children'.

In different circumstances, could this headline be 'Workshy mums damage children ?'

Sunday, 1 February 2009

men's studies

Just found an interesting blog with an article about the story of Rumpelstiltskin. A little off-topic for this blog perhaps, but I like the idea of R as our darker self.

I quote one paragraph:

"one of the older members of the group began a very productive line of thought along Jungian lines. He suggested that, perhaps, the bizarre character of Rumpelstilzkin could be interpreted as one’s “shadow,” that part of us which we suppress but comes out anyway as a kind of dangerous but creative alter-ego. That shadow must be honored in order to deal with crises in life. One must deal with the devil, so to speak, in order to meet the demands of the “king” (or father), that archetype which would direct us in life directions. The king’s men who go out through the kingdom to figure out Rumpelstilskin’s name are expressions of the “warrior,” the get-it-done part of the soul .... And, lest the shadow dominate our lives too much, at some point the shadow must be “named,” exposed for what it is in the limits of its power. "

Wednesday, 28 January 2009


Just flagging this one up for me to read, when in calm and controlled mood. Sure, I guess it's just opinion.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

More men should work in nurseries

An article about the male manager of a nursery - ok his staff are female, but it's a small step in the right direction, imo.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Feminism in 2009

Food for thought in two articles one from the Observer about a new sort of feminist film-maker , and the other from the Independent on Sunday, about women bringing femiinism to a new generation .

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Sparkly pink isn't the end of the world

Let's not take everything too seriously - there is a lot to be said for this article by Deborah Orr - fits in with my idea that you don't censor, but you do present as much info as you can. If I have time, I'll leave a few comments