Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Stop taxing periods. Period. May 21, 2014

Filed under: body,gender inequality,gendered products,health — Lady Day @ 1:27 pm

A new petition demands that the United Kingdom stop taxing women’s sanitary napkins and tampons as luxuries. According to the petition, men’s razors are not taxable whilst women’s sanitary products are because it is a woman’s choice whether or not to use the latter. Hmm… Perhaps it’s time that British women gather en masse whilst choosing not to use such products and descend on Parliament to protest the tax, perhaps sitting on some posh parliamentary cushions while they’re at it.

…or maybe just sign the petition. Here it is.

(H/t to CA for sharing the petition and to MS for the unorthodox protest suggestion.)

 

A reply to Robert George: Why sexual assault can’t be blamed on the sexual revolution May 18, 2014

Recently, philosopher of law Robert George wrote a piece in which he links the culture of sexual assault on college campuses to the sexual revolution. A philosophy graduate student has written a beautiful and moving reply. I quote from it below, and the full response is here.

Yet, the fact is, sexual assault is deeply wrong and harmful regardless of the victim’s sexual history or values. The Philadelphia Magazine article provides ample evidence that students who have casual sex, seemingly without sharing metaphysical or ethical commitments about what it means for “two to become one,” still experience assault as a serious trauma. Moreover, sex workers can be sexually violated and process it as such, irrespective of their views on sex. Some people might counter that victims can be mistaken about the source of their trauma, and that if they think it has nothing to do with the meaning of sex, they are lying to themselves. This reasoning, much like sexual violence itself, denies people agency. It’s hard to capture the sheer horror of having one’s will subjugated by another person, the utter powerlessness of being at someone else’s mercy. As long as we see sexual assault as an offense against purity or chastity rather than primarily against autonomy, we cannot do justice to that experience.

. . . Professor George, I share your sadness and yearning for truth, in my various roles as young Catholic philosopher, Swarthmore alum, sexual assault survivor, and human being. I am just worried that when culture wars overshadow the discussion of sexual violence, it leaves all parties hurt and none transformed. By all means, let’s create spaces for college students to discuss campus sexual culture, the meaning of sex, and healthy relationships. All I ask is that we not let questions over which many reasonable people disagree turn our attention away from the distinct and severe wrong of sexual assault. Otherwise, I fear you will be right: We will live in a “hell on earth—complete with ideologies hardened into orthodoxies to immunize it from truth-telling and to stigmatize and marginalize truth-tellers.”

 

What is it like to do a PhD with disability & chronic illness? March 24, 2014

Filed under: academia,disability,health,mental health — hippocampa @ 12:41 pm

bw2fa7xcqaad-qe[1]@zaranosaur‘s own experiences with having to juggle her chronic illness while trying to do a PhD led her to start a blog on just that: what it’s like to do a PhD with a disability & chronic illness with the accompanying twitter ID @PhDisabled. From the website:

The experiences of disabled PhD students are seldom heard in the world at large.  This is despite the fact that there are many out there whose doctoral efforts are inextricably shaped by their experience as PhD students with disability or chronic illness.

Our goal is to create a space for PhD students with disability or chronic illness to share their experiences.  It is only by sharing these experiences that we realise that we who walk this path are not alone.  It is only by sharing these experiences, by beginning to talk openly about them, that we can hope that things will one day improve.

We welcome submissions from all PhD students, past, present or otherwise, on all aspects of the experience at the intersection of academia, disability and chronic illness.

People are invited to share their stories and the response is overwhelming. Also check out the hashtag #AcademicAbleism.

 

Notre Dame refiles its HHS lawsuit December 4, 2013

Filed under: discrimination,gender inequality,health,law,religion — philodaria @ 3:57 pm

The University of Notre Dame announced yesterday that it would be refiling its lawsuit against the HHS mandate (dismissed last spring) regarding contraceptive health care coverage. University president, Rev. John Jenkins wrote:

The government’s accommodations would require us to forfeit our rights, to facilitate and become entangled in a program inconsistent with Catholic teaching and to create the impression that the university cooperates with and condones activities incompatible with its mission. . . The U.S. government mandate, therefore, requires Notre Dame to do precisely what its sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit — pay for, facilitate access to, and/or become entangled in the provision of objectionable products and services or else incur crippling sanctions.

How sincere those religious beliefs are remains to be seen.

 

 

Hypnosis, not epidurals, for a generation of brave children. July 22, 2013

Filed under: health,reproductive rights,Turkey,Uncategorized — axiothea @ 11:35 pm

Turkish politicians keep on coming up with the good stuff. The latest, perhaps in honour of Kate giving birth, is from health minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu, who said today that women should avoid having epidurals if they don’t want to raise cowardly babies. Not sure how the mother’s pain will help the baby be more courageous: perhaps he meant these children would be less afraid of hurting women? Hypnosis is preferable, he says, just about, as it makes for a more ‘natural’ birth. The news item is here, in Turkish. If you click on the little british flag, you’ll get this computer generated translation – terrible, but you’ll get the gist.

 

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.

 

Sylvia Earle: Oceanographer, Conservationist, and Scientist Extraordinaire June 19, 2013

Filed under: awards,bias,environmental issues,health,science — David Slutsky @ 3:12 pm

On June 13, the National Geographic Society awarded Sylvia Earle the Hubbard Medal, their highest honor, “for distinction in exploration, discovery and research”.

On June 14, National Geographic “asked Sylvia to discuss her experiences as a woman in a field previously considered a man’s world”.

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We can also find this three minute discussion embedded in a National Geographic News Watch piece (by Jane J. Lee) titled:
In Her Words: Sylvia Earle on Women in Science (click here for the news piece)
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Earle’s 2009 Ted Prize talk (reminding us about little things like action necessary to avoid extinction)

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Mission Blue (Sylvia Earle alliance)-click here!
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Plenty of excellent video clips available on the interwebs. This one seems very good:
Sylvia Earle: Legendary Explorer Fights to Save Underwater Paradise

 

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.)

 

2012 Gender Inequality Index March 17, 2013

The U.N. (Development Program) released the 2013 Human Development Report (and the 2012 Human Development Index within it) a few days ago. It incorporates data from 2012 for the latest Gender Inequality Index (on pages 156-159). This index reflects gender inequality along three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market – as rated by five indicators: maternal mortality and adolescent fertility for reproductive health, parliamentary representation and educational attainment for empowerment, and labor force participation for the labor market.

Of the 186 countries ranked in the 2012 Human Development Index, 148 of those countries are ranked in the 2012 Gender Inequality Index. The U.S. ranks #42, the U.K. ranks #34, Canada ranks #18, Australia ranks #17, New Zealand ranks #31, and South Africa ranks #90.[The UN Development Programme has several times now updated/changed some of their data/info. Please share relevant updates/changes in the comments.]

Also out of those 186 countries (for the 2012 Gender Inequality Index…), Netherlands ranks #1, Sweden ranks #2, Denmark and Switzerland rank #3, Norway ranks #5 (though as you might expect, Norway ranks #1 overall in Human Development), Finland and Germany rank #6, Slovenia ranks #8, France ranks #9, Iceland ranks #10, Italy ranks #11 and Belgium ranks #12.

In addition, out of those 186 countries (for the 2012 Gender Inequality Index…), India ranks #132, Saudi Arabia ranks #145, Afghanistan ranks #147, and Yemen ranks #148.
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Click here for a PDF of the full 2013 Human Development Report. The 2012 Gender Inequality Index is on pp. 156-159.
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Click here for a more detailed account of the Gender Inequality Index that includes indicator data from 2012 as well as previous (grouped) years. This is a new webpage containing more index statistics than previous webpages and PDF files.
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Click here and scroll down to “technical note 3” on pages 5-6 for a PDF file that provides details on how the Gender Inequality Index is calculated.
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Unfortunately, the webpage with frequently asked questions (and answers) about the Gender Inequality Index seems no longer to exist among the United Nations Human Development Programme webpages. If anyone finds or has a link to it, please share it in the comments!
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What do readers think? All sorts of data here for all sorts of comments…

 

More forced ultrasound measures February 26, 2013

Filed under: abortion,autonomy,health,law,politics — philodaria @ 3:47 am

This time in Indiana, with double the ultrasounds. 

“The bill, approved by the state Senate Health and Provider Services Committee on Wednesday, would require clinics to conduct trans-vaginal ultrasounds on women both before and after dispensing the abortion-inducing drug known as RU-486.”

Oh, and the “argument” against medically unnecessary trans-vaginal ultrasounds being too invasive? Sue Swayze, the legislative director of Indiana Right to Life, had this to say:

“I got pregnant vaginally.  Something else could come in my vagina for a medical test that wouldn’t be that intrusive to me.  So I find that argument a little ridiculous.”

I take it the natural reductio to this argument is obvious.

 

 
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