Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

United Families and Friends Campaign 2013 Procession October 25, 2013

Filed under: class,grassroots organizations,human rights,immigration,race — Monkey @ 5:06 pm

MEET 12.30PM TRAFALGAR SQUARE – MARCH TO DOWNING STREET

The United Families and Friends Campaign (UFFC) is a coalition of families and friends of those that have died in the custody of police and prison officers as well as those who are killed in immigration detention and secure psychiatric hospitals. It includes the families of Roger Sylvester, Leon Patterson, Rocky Bennett, Alton Manning, Christopher Alder, Brian Douglas, Joy Gardner, Aseta Simms, Ricky Bishop, Paul Jemmott, Harry Stanley, Glenn Howard, Mikey Powell, Jason McPherson, Lloyd Butler, Azelle Rodney, Sean Rigg, Habib Ullah, Olaseni Lewis, David Emmanuel (aka Smiley Culture), Kingsley Burrell, Demetre Fraser, Mark Duggan and Anthony Grainger to name but a few. Together we have built a network for collective action to end deaths in custody.

During the late nineties the families of the most controversial deaths in police custody victims came together to form UFFC. Since then we have campaigned for justice for our loved ones and our efforts have yielded some results. The police self-investigation of deaths in custody, previously overseen by the Police Complaints Authority, was replaced by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The Attorney General was forced to undergo a review of the role of the Crown Prosecution Service. We continue to monitor these developments. Since last year, and in particular through the case of Sean Rigg, the IPCC has been found not fit for purpose.

No reforms or reviews have ever addressed the lack of justice in outstanding cases such as Joy Gardner, Brian Douglas and Shiji Lapite, to name a few. These are human rights abuses and must be dealt with accordingly. Nothing can replace due process of law and with so much overwhelming evidence against police officers accused of murder or manslaughter, the question remains why have they not been convicted? UFFC has supported cases such as Ricky Bishop, Roger Sylvester, Mikey Powell and Harry Stanley. In recent years other high profile cases such as those of Ian Tomlinson, Jean Charles De Menezes and Sean Rigg show how the IPCC and the CPS have continued to fail us. In the last two years alone we have had the deaths of David Emanuel (aka Smiley Culture), Kingsley Burrell, Demetre Fraser, Lloyd Butler, Mark Duggan and Anthony Grainger. The deaths have not stopped and nor shall we. Our Annual Remembrance Procession will take place on 26th October 2013.

UFFC is supported by Migrant Media, Newham Monitoring Project, Pan African Society Community Forum, 4wardEver UK, Garden Court Chambers, Institute of Race Relations, INQUEST and Defend the Right to Protest.

The UUFC facebook page with more information is here.

 

Transforming Gender Relations in Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

The book “Transforming Gender Relations in Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa” is now available. The book is by Cathy Farnworth, Melinda-Fones Sundell, Akinyi Nzioki, Violet Shivutse, and Marion Davis.
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Click here for a low-res PDF of the entire book – the PDF file size is 3 MB.

Click here for a high-res PDF of the entire book – the PDF file size is 43 MB.
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“This book distills lessons learned about integrating gender equality into agricultural development initiatives in Africa, with case studies of efforts at all levels, from households to national government.

“The authors start from the premise that empowered women and men are better, more successful farmers who can make the most of the opportunities around them. They argue that there is a causal relation between more equal gender relations in the household and in the community, and better agricultural outcomes: the one underpins the other.

“This is a radical thing to say, because it means that the standard development interventions – more extension services, better information, more fertilizer, better machinery – will not fully achieve their goals unless women and men are on equal footing, able to make rational economic decisions unhindered by gender norms that limit what is “appropriate” for women or for men to do, or to be.

“Empowering women as decision-makers in all areas of their lives is challenging and exciting. It is a key to poverty reduction. Transforming gender relations will help to make smallholder agriculture and associated development efforts more effective and efficient, with knock-on effects for a variety of development outcomes…”
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See the link below for more on these matters:

Recognizing the African woman farmer

http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/recognizing-the-african-woman-farmer/

 

Bogaletch Gebre: Inspiring Guide, Leader, Teacher June 22, 2013

One month ago on May 22, 2013 Bogaletch Gebre received the 2012-2013 King Baudouin African Development Award “for transforming women’s lives by developing an innovative approach to changing community mindsets on a range of culturally entrenched issues”.

Interested readers might want to begin with, or include in their reading, this “About Us” part of the KMG Ethiopia website.

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Interested readers can find a detailed and elaborate account on pages 8-28 of the 2010 paper “Ethiopia: Social Dynamics of Abandonment of Harmful Practices – Experiences in Four Locations” by Haile Gabriel Dagne, Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices, Working Paper 2009-07, Innocenti Research Centre. [This is perhaps the most informative piece currently available on the amazing work of Bogaletch Gebre and KMG Ethiopia.]

Interested readers can also find a concise summary on pages 29-31 of the 2010 paper “The Dynamics of Social Change: Towards the Abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Five African Countries” produced by the The UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Italy.

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According to a frequently cited 2008 UNICEF study, female genital mutilation in the Kembatta Tembaro Zone decreased from nearly 100% in 1999 to less than 3% in 2008. This study seems hard to track down. Interpretations of it might come from (what is now) pages 8-28 of the 2010 paper “Ethiopia: Social Dynamics…” linked above. Interpretations of that 2008 UNICEF study might also come from a 2008 paper titled “A Study on Social Dynamics Leading to Abandonment of Harmful Traditional Practices with Special Reference to Female Genital Cutting, Kembatta and Tembaro Zone, Kembatti Menti Gezzima – Toppe Project UNICEF Ethiopia” by Haile Gabriel Dagne, study submitted to UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Florence. If anyone can find a link to this paper and/or clarify this citation matter, please do so in the comments! (I think the paper linked above may be a revised version of (a 2009 version of) the 2008 paper and that the 2008 paper itself may not currently be available, or at least possibly not easy to locate – any help?)

Bogaletch Gebre and KMG-Ethiopia’s successes include certain kinds of focus on certain forms of education and community involvement – very much like the autonomy-within-culture account discussed by Diana Tietjens Meyers in her wonderful 2000 paper “Feminism and Women’s Autonomy: the Challenge of Female Genital Cutting”. See also the “community conversations” based approach of the “Community Capacity Enhancement Handbook” of the UN Development Program (compiled in response to HIV/AIDS but applicable to a wide range of issues.)

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Here is a link to an image that represents the KMG Ethiopia “Women’s Perspective – Theory of Change”. It is not as simple as it may first look. After reading about KMG Ethiopia and Bogaletch Gebre’s efforts in the links provided in this post (if not elsewhere too), some of the organizational insights and sophistication should become more clear.
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For an excellent newspaper piece that includes Gebre’s story, click here for “Kidnapped. Raped. Married. The extraordinary rebellion of Ethiopia’s abducted wives“.
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Readers can find one more piece, not very long but more detailed than most in the 2012 Global Change Leaders Case Study: Dr. Bogaletch Gebre, KMG Ethiopia by Rachel Hess. It is part of a series on Women’s Leadership from the Coady International Institute, St. Francis Xavier University.
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Finally, this earlier post by Monkey is excellent and contains relevant links as well:
Afar region, Ethiopia, Abandoning Female Genital Mutilation
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Update: Click here for the UN Population Fund webpage on female genital mutilation/cutting.

Following links on that webpage, you can find this 2012 annual report of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) joint programme on “Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C): Accelerating Change”.
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Click here for a summary of an evaluation of the FGM/C joint programme. This summary covers 2008-2012. Apparently, the second phase of the joint program will cover 2014-2017 and current planning for it is provided here.

In addition to the above material, the UN Population Fund webpage on FGM/C contains many more important and relevant links.

 

Kakenya Ntaiya and the Kakenya Center for Excellence March 19, 2013

Kenya ranks #130 in the 2012 Gender Inequality Index and ranks #145 in the Human Development Index. (Also, click here for a PDF of Kenya’s composite indices for the 2011 Human Development Report.)

Despite serious problems represented by these figures/values, Kakenya Ntaiya and the Kakenya Center for Excellence arguably provide many of the kinds of action, growth, hope, and promise that we need most in this world.

Woman challenges tradition, brings change to her Kenyan village (CNN Heroes story from March 14, 2013)

(Please check this out. Well worth our time. Every single minute – only 15 minutes, 42 seconds. Really gets going, truly inspiring, in the second half.)
- David Slutsky

 

Uganda: The Fight for Women’s Land Rights December 3, 2012

Uganda: The Fight for Women’s Land Rights

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http://thinkafricapress.com/uganda/womens-fight-land-rights

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“In 2001, after the death of her husband, and her son shortly afterwards, Helen Kongai was left with no money and the threat of losing her land – the land on which she had long lived and farmed. But while Ugandan culture dictates that a husband’s family take back any land after he dies, Helen fought successfully to keep it.

“Now, at the age of 50 and a successful farmer, Helen runs a residential training centre from which she has trained thousands in sustainable organic agriculture and offers gender studies lessons in an attempt to bridge the gap between men and women, overcome customary discriminatory practices, and help women gain equal access to land…”

See also:

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Send a Cow: Supporting African families out of poverty

http://www.sendacow.org.uk/our-work

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Helen Kongai – Ugandan Farmer: How small scale agriculture transforms the lives of women in Uganda

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/womanshour/02/2008_28_mon.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/documentaries/2009/04/090407_outlook_sendacow_page.shtml

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Recognizing the African woman farmer

http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/recognizing-the-african-woman-farmer/

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Femen: Ukraine’s Topless Warriors November 28, 2012

Interesting piece on today’s Atlantic front page about these bold feminist activists based in Ukraine:

Founded in Kiev in 2008 to protest the country’s burgeoning sex industry (“Ukraine is not a brothel!” was the slogan of their first — and still clothed — demonstration, which aimed to dissuade foreigners from visiting prostitutes in the capital), Femen has since evolved into a vanguard of militant activists who have dubbed themselves the storozhevyye suki demokratii (the “watch-bitches of democracy”) and “modern-day Amazons,” some of whom demonstrate topless to, says their website “defend with their chests sexual and civic equality throughout the world.”

The article ends with this remark: ‘Just what de Beauvoir would have thought of topless demonstrations is anyone’s guess.’ Perhaps our erudite readership would care to weigh in? This seems unduly dismissive about the possibility of anticipating and reconstructing the views of a very important philosopher.

 

Recognizing the African woman farmer September 1, 2012

Recognizing the African woman farmer (click here for full text)

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“Boys learning new ideas of masculinity around campfires in rural Africa and “sisterhoods” formed to provide a common voice to women are starting to change attitudes about African women farmers, say the authors of a forthcoming book about gender and agriculture. But it will take many more such efforts to support women food producers, who make up 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries. In some countries, that number rises to 70 to 80 percent…”

“…Transforming gender relations will be essential to this process. ‘All too often, men think that work on gender means that they will lose out, and historically it is true that programmes focusing on women only have ignored men’s real needs,’ Farnworth said.

Instead, efforts to effect change must target both women and men within households. ‘These work to transform how decisions taken regarding how to run the farm, and how to allocate money earned, and who benefits. The results have been really very impressive because women and men see the gains to cooperation so quickly – it can take only months to change patterns of behaviour that have existed for generations.’

Change also depends on the involvement of men at all levels, she said. ‘This is true particularly in the case of adapting technologies and integrating into market value chains. Our findings show that promoting methodologies that encourage cooperation between women and men farmers reap productivity dividends as women and men share resources across the farm and maximize the efficiency of their decision-making.’…”

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Recognising the African woman farmer – Interviews with the authors at the bottom of the page

Akinyi Nzioki, Centre for Land, Economy and Rights of Women: What We Do

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Cathy Rozel Farnworth

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Hajia Alima Mahama

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Melinda Fones-Sundell

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Violet ShivutseGroots KenyaUN Women Global Civil Society Advisory Group

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Marion Davis

Huairou Commission: Women, Homes, and Community

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“The Huairou Commission develops strategic partnerships and linkages among grassroots women’s organizations, advancing their capacity to collectively influence political spaces on behalf of their communities and enhance their sustainable, resilient community development practices…”

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http://www.huairou.org/groots-international

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Groots: Grassroots Organizations Operating Together In Sisterhood

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http://www.siani.se/

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WE ADVANCE in Haiti January 23, 2012

Inspiring work by grassroots organizations and the wonderful people (local and otherwise) who do the work, who make it happen, who “advance the health, safety, and well being of women… WE ADVANCE models an inclusive grassroots approach with a movement that collaborates with both other organizations and women from every socio-economic class. WE ADVANCE is a rights- and community-based participatory program. We empower women’s minds, bodies and spirits and enable them to discover their own needs and priorities, benefiting the entire community. WE ADVANCE brings in volunteer experts to train local community leaders in the aspects of health, safety and education. WE ADVANCE’s goal is to, in the near future, leave our programs in the hands of Haitian women, the women who know best what they need and how to make it a reality.”

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WE ADVANCE

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The news piece at the link below by actress and activist Maria Bello (from about one year ago) arguably highlights some of the important differences between certain kinds of institutionalized, elite human rights work/advocacy and organizations, on the one hand, and local, grassroots (oriented) individuals and organizations, on the other hand.

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How to ADVANCE Our Money in Haiti

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And some additional important and relevant words by Bello (from about one year later):

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Two Years Later — Reimagining Haiti

see also Femmes en Democratie

 

Wangari Maathai, 1941-2011 September 26, 2011

The world has lost one of our greatest moral heroes. Wangari Maathai, April 1, 1941 – September 25, 2011.

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We may update this post when grief allows more personal words. For now, readers who do not know about this wonderful and truly extraordinary person can begin here:

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My favored links include these two:

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Can one woman save Africa?

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The Green Belt Movement

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For some recent reports of her passing, see here:

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Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Dies at 71 (NY Times)

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Wangari Maathai: ‘My heart is in the land and women I came from’ (Guardian)

John Vidal, who met the Kenyan activist, recalls the person who turned planting trees into a worldwide symbol of hope

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Wangari Maathai: Death of a visionary (BBC)

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View and Share Condolences primarily here

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For a bit more, see here and here

 

Afar region, Ethiopia, abandoing female genital mutilation December 9, 2010

The Afar region in Ethiopia has long practised female genital mutilation in its most severe form – infibulation, or Pharaonic circumcision – which involves removing the clitoris, the labia minora, and then scraping the labia majora to create raw surfaces, which are then sewn together, leaving just a tiny hole for urination and menstruating. Needless to say, it results in many health complications. But now things are changing. An ongoing campaign in the Afar region has seen many communities abandon the practice. You can read more about the campaign and its results here. There’s some further information about infibulation and other types of female genital mutilation on this site.

 

 
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