Such a fun week of seeing family, traveling, working, celebrating, eating, relaxing, and catching up on life. This week will mark a new year, and I’m not sure I’m totally ready for that. Nor am I entirely ready for resolution-making. I tend to make some that are really difficult to keep and then guilt-inducing, like sitting up straight always or less TV generally. Resolutions have never been my strong suit, but I’m thinking about them. Now, tax season I am completely ready for, because it is one of my personal hobbies and one of my favorite things to check off the list each year. For others who just graduated and started working, there should be a reasonable refund coming our way, given that we have been taxed as though we were working all year. Resolutions or not, tax refund or not, 2013 is sure to hold surprises at every turn after all that happened in 2012. Best of luck to us all as we spend the next month changing all of your accidental “2”s to 201
Lastly, my heart and thoughts go out to the woman in India for whom the communities continue to protest. A horrific event that has already ignited others to speak about their assaults and force the hand of the political culture that historically sidelines the issue. Her story needs to be known, and allow others to speak as well, to create a movement of speakers and stories that will show its presence, importance, and need for change. Her tragedy, and the obstetric violence against Savita Halappanavar, unfortunately become beacons for ways forward, such extreme ends of the spectrum forcing the world to pay attention. Let us stop such beacons being necessary for the future.
Leave no woman behind: Why we fought for Reproductive Health Bill – Miriam Defensor Santiago at CNN
A fourteen-year fight finally won in the Philippines. Way to go, women!
“…Not having a reproductive health law is cruelty to the poor. The poor are miserable because, among other reasons, they have so many children. Providing reproductive knowledge and information through government intervention is the humane thing to do. It can help the poor escape the vicious cycle of poverty by giving them options on how to manage their sexual lives, plan their families and control their procreative activities. The phrase “reproductive rights” includes the idea of being able to make reproductive decisions free from discrimination, coercion or violence.
Many poor women do not receive information on how to receive reproductive health care. Our underprivileged women have to accept standards lower than what they need, want, or deserve. According to the Department of Health, the mortality rate for Filipino mothers increased to 221 per 100,000 live births in 2011 from 162 per 100,000 live births in 2009. But not only do the women suffer, the children do, too. The children remain undernourished and undereducated because their parents are ignorant about reproductive health care and choices.
In short, the bill merely wants to empower a Filipino woman from the poorest economic class to march to the nearest facility operated by the Department of Health or the local government unit, to demand information on a family planning product or supply of her choice. The bill, at the simplest level, wants to give an indigent married woman the freedom of informed choice concerning her reproductive rights…”
Baltimore Feminists Prank Victorias Secret – And Spark an Internet Revolution – Rachel Monroe at Baltimore Fishbowl
Well, I was absolutely fooled, and it really breaks my heart to know it was a prank. We need real work like this to move forward and make change.
“…Fighting rape would be a major shift for Victoria’s Secret. Though they are a woman-focused company, VS has never taken a stand on any women’s issue.
In fact, their current designs seem to lean more toward rape culture than consent. Their PINK brand, marketed at high school and college-aged women, sports thongs with the slogan “SURE THING” printed right over the crotch. Young women across the country are wearing underwear with “SURE THING” literally printed over their vaginas. We can think of one circumstance where a vagina is treated like a “SURE THING”: rape.
PINK is specifically marketed towards younger and younger girls, and like the rest of Victoria’s Secret, PINK is selling a specific brand of sexuality. VS PINK has co-opted the idea of sexual freedom and twisted it into an image of sexuality in which the woman (or girl) is not really in control. The “Sure Thing” and “Yes No Maybe” and “NO peeking” underwear promote the idea of limitless availability, or on the other hand, leaving the choice up to the (presumably male) partner. The brand teaches girls to be coy instead of vocal and makes it seem uncool and unsexy to say no and mean it. By re-enforcing that sex is about an image, that looking good is more important than feeling good, PINK promotes rape culture…”
The Taboo of Menstruation – Rose George at The New York Times
Multiple mothers have asked me if their young daughters may make appointments with me to discuss their monthly cycles. Young women need more support regarding the normalcy of this process, sanitation, fertility and, as is quoted below, empowerment, to manage this process.” The collection and disposal of the blood should be an easy part of the process, and somehow it becomes a point of contention in areas where sanitation itself is a delicacy.
…”This is the Menstrual Hygiene Management Lab, where girls and women can come to learn how to safely make and maintain cloth sanitary napkins (use clean cloth; dry it in the sun; iron it to remove moisture) as well as for something even more revolutionary: to talk frankly about periods.
The taboo of menstruation in India causes real harm. Women in some tribes are forced to live in a cowshed throughout their periods. There are health issues, like infections caused by using dirty rags, and horror stories, like that of one girl who was too embarrassed to ask her mother for a clean cloth, and used one she found without knowing it had lizard eggs in it. According to one of the Yatra outreach workers, the subsequent infection meant her uterus had to be removed when she was 13. She would be forever tainted as a barren woman, so that whoever saw her first in the morning had to take a bath to wash her stain away…
“Girls suffer if they aren’t empowered to manage their menstrual cycle without pain and shame each month,” said Chris Williams, the executive director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, which runs the Menstrual Hygiene Management Lab. “Their health, schooling and dignity are in the balance.” And the world suffers, too: educated women are healthier, have smaller families, often earn more and have a positive impact on development…”
This Week in Poverty: US Single Mothers ‘The Worst Off’ – Greg Kaufmann at The Nation
“…And yet employment isn’t keeping US single parents—more than 80 percent of whom are single mothers—out of poverty. Using 50 percent of median income as the standard for measuring poverty, US children in single mother families have a poverty rate of 63 percent when only parental earnings are considered, comparable to the 61 percent average for children in single mother families in other high-income countries. But when transfer payments are included—such as a government child allowance, unemployment insurance and other assistance programs—the US rate only declines to 51 percent, while the peer countries average poverty rate falls all the way down to 27 percent.
“The reason we have these high poverty rates for single mother families—despite their comparatively high employment rates and high share of full-time workers—is because our income support system is terribly inadequate and there’s a very high rate of low-wage work,” says Casey.
Indeed, the United States lags far behind other high-income countries in supporting the combination of “jobholding and caregiving.” In all of the comparison countries, new parents are entitled to paid leave; in the United States, just 11 percent of employees enjoyed it in 2011. The United States is the only one of the seventeen comparable countries without an entitlement to paid annual leave, which averages four weeks in peer countries. With the exception of the United States and Canada, all of the comparable nations also provide paid sick days, averaging over three days per year; and ten of the countries provide up to five days of paid leave annually to care for a sick child…”
Out of Desperation, North Korean Women Become Breadwinners – Louisa Lim at NPR
A fascinating look at women dominating the workforce and the “male” cultural response, including “emasculation” as women become stronger.
…”Women, because of their prominence in the market, are at the forefront of acts of civil disobedience,” Noland says, emphasizing that civil disobedience is still extremely unusual in North Korea. “The protests are generally reactive and defensive in nature, but women are very prominent in them.”
The extra burden women carry is beginning to have social consequences, with young women hoping to delay marriage to avoid taking on a husband. For men, their emasculation within their own households is now a fact of life.
“Whatever your wife tells you to do, you do,” says Mr. Kim, despairing. “If women say it’s a cow, it’s a cow. If they say it’s a giraffe, it’s a giraffe. We are slaves, slaves of the women. Women’s voices have become louder. Men have become mute.”…
NASA Moon Phase and Libration
For anyone into the phases of the moon, fertility, and birth cycles, this for your 2013 planning. Also, it’s quite calming to watch on mute and thinking about how all those nights glancing at the moon are connected to a bigger process, for all of us.
As seen on Facebook.