Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

What’s in second place? December 11, 2013

Filed under: bias,gender,human rights,race — annejjacobson @ 11:28 pm

Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and disease, everyone seems to say.  How about two and three?  How far can we go in banning?

The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) will stop hiring people who use nicotine at its Pennsylvania locations beginning July 1 [2014].

The ban will not apply to the crop of residents who begin this summer, but will be in force for applicants for 2014 residency slots. Last year, there were 1,975 full-time faculty, 769 medical students, 775 PhD students, 1,135 residents and fellows, and 789 post-doctoral candidates working in the nearly 18,000-employee health system.


Ifa Muaza deported by private jet November 30, 2013

Filed under: human rights,immigration — Monkey @ 10:01 am

I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am that Team GB has managed to get another of those pesky brown people off our shores and back to where they came from! Thank goodness for that! And thank goodness for Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who made this happen! I’m so pleased that someone in government is brave enough to stand up for their principles, no matter what the cost.* Mr. Muaza is from Nigeria (which is part of the British Empire anyway, so I can’t really see what the man is complaining about) who claims he was being bothered by a terrorist group called Boko Haram, who have already killed two members of his family. Luckily for all of us in good ol’ Blighty, our asylum procedures include the wonderful ‘fast-track system’ which means we can get more of these people out of our country quickly! (Although the bleeding heart liberal do-gooding Guardian-reading types are always complaining that a couple of days isn’t sufficient to gather all the necessary evidence to put forward a proper asylum case. But this is tosh, because asylum-seekers are all benefit cheats who are only here to get free dental treatment on the NHS and steal our jobs.) Mr. Muaza claims he was treated unfairly, and has been starving himself for 100 days and can no longer see or stand up. He had to be carried out to the private jet that deported him on a stretcher. Thankfully, Theresa May saw through this cynical ploy to exploit the system, and had no truck with his complaining. I’m going to write to her now to ask if she could pay for my neighbours to be removed because they look a bit too brown to be here and I certainly don’t want my taxes being spent on their teeth. Go Team GB!

* An estimated £50,000 for the private jet that was used, plus whatever money is paid to hold someone in detention for over three months, and the legal fees required to carry out the legal processes that have made Mr. Muaza’s removal possible.


United Families and Friends Campaign 2013 Procession October 25, 2013

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


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.


The APA Committee on the Status of Women responds to Penn State September 17, 2013

Filed under: academia,gender,human rights,politics — annejjacobson @ 6:59 pm

16 September 2013

David Gray, Senior Vice President for Finance and Business

Susan Basso, Vice President for Human Resources

Penn State University

University Park, Pennsylvania

Dear Mr. Gray and Ms. Basso:

According to an article in the 10 September Centre Daily Times and the 15 September New York Times, a health risk assessment questionnaire that is part of Penn State’s new employee wellness program asks women employees whether they plan to get pregnant in the next year. If the employee refuses to disclose this she is penalized $100 for every month she fails to yield up the information.

By requiring women employees to disclose information about their sex lives, Penn State violates their privacy rights and likely violates their rights under federal law (Title VII and The Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Title IX, privacy law, and equal protection). Highmark, Penn State’s health care provider, targets women employees by imposing on them a special burden of disclosure about their sexual intent. Are male employees required to disclose their intended sexual activity over the year? To avoid paying a fine, is a woman employee forced to lie? And if she has no plans but becomes pregnant accidentally, does that increase her insurance premiums?

In a culture where women’s bodies are socially policed from early childhood until well past menopause, it is particularly unethical to force a female employee to reveal her reproductive intentions to a corporation whose interest is in making profits—an interest that directly conflicts with the woman’s interest in retaining sovereignty over her body. We members of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on the Status of Women urge you in the strongest possible terms to direct Highmark to cease this practice immediately.


Hilde Lindeman (signed)

Chair,  the American Philosophical Association Committee on the Status of Women

for CSW.


The murder of Pinky Mosiane, and, how not to pursue gender equality at work August 5, 2013

Filed under: gender inequality,human rights,sexual harassment,work — stoat @ 1:29 pm

Pinky Mosiane was murdered at her place of work, the Anglo Platinum owned mine in South Africa. This article brings to light the context of that murder: one in which formal moves towards gender equality (the Mining Charter prescribing that 13% of employees should be women) have not been accompanied by changes in material conditions that ensure the safety of women (and indeed men) working in those environments. Sisonke Msimang writes:

although women are now being sent underground in greater numbers, nothing has been done to make mines safe spaces in which they can work free from sexual harassment and violence.

Women’s increased participation has been accompanied by informal practices (within problematic bonus structures which incentivise risk taking) in which women are treated as inferior workers and sexually exploited in exchange for their ‘share’ of the team bonuses:

In mines where women are part of underground teams, their male colleagues often resent their presence, suggesting that they are unable to mine as quickly. To meet team targets for production bonuses, a practice of bartering sex for bonuses and substitute labour has evolved. Essentially, female miners are coerced into stepping aside to enable their teams to meet the bonus targets. They receive a reduced share of the financial reward that goes to the team. Often, they are also forced to have sex with their colleagues in order to qualify to receive the bonus payments.

The judiciary have suggested that the rape and murder of women in mines is a ‘gender specific issue’, rather than a safety issue, and as such not a matter for investigation by the Chamber of Mines.

More here.


G4S: guard kills child? No problem, promote him? July 23, 2013

Filed under: human rights — Monkey @ 12:22 pm

G4S is a huge security company, to whom the UK authorities have outsourced all sorts of work, including work for prisons, immigration services, and children’s homes. There have been many stories about their thuggish behaviour (this is the company who killed Jimmy Mubenga) although not much is ever confirmed or results in action, as guards who kill people through restraint holds can always claim that they didn’t receive proper training.

Nine years ago, David Beadnall was working as a guard at a children’s home. He and three other guards restrained a fifteen year old boy who had refused to clean a sandwich toaster, thereby killing him.

A third officer then came into the room and Gareth was placed in a hold called the Seated Double Embrace. Two staff members held his upper body and pushed his torso forward towards his knees while one officer held his head.

Gareth complained: ‘I can’t breathe’.

Beadnall responded: ‘if you can talk then you can breathe’.

Gareth said he was going to defecate.

He was told: ‘you are going to have to shit yourself’ and the restraint continued.

Gareth did defecate. The restraint continued. Gareth vomited. The restraint continued. Gareth slumped forward. The restraint carried on for several minutes. When the restraint stopped it was too late.

Attempts to resuscitate him failed. The cause of death was recorded as asphyxia resulting from inhalation of gastric content and his body position during the period of physical restraint.

Now, Beadnall appears to have been promoted to Health and Safety Manager of G4S Children’s Homes. You can read more from Our Kingdom here. There are links to further articles about G4S by the same journalist on the page.


Lessons from Juror B37 July 17, 2013

Filed under: bias,human rights,politics,race — annejjacobson @ 9:00 pm

There are all sorts of lessons we can learn from the interview B37 had with Anderson Cooper. I’ll mention two. Add in others if you want.

1. Implicit biases can operate as described in most papers on it.. E.g., you can firmly believe no one in your group is a bigot while demonstrating your own bigotry. Thus your group may decide that Zimmerman is a fundamentally good person, while Trayon contributed a lot to his own death.

2. One can activate implicit biases in others in much the same way that one can activate stereotype threat. That is, one just needs to get people using concepts closely associated with, e.g., a frightening situation with Africam American men in order to activate the belief that black men are dangerous. Just having someone testify about a house-breaking by Black Men to get a jury ready to see a black kid as dangerous. Points to the clever defense.

See part of the interview here:


Comments? July 15, 2013

Filed under: bias,human rights,race — annejjacobson @ 9:04 pm

Dear feminist philosophers. I have just lost a post. The point of it was really to ask if you had comments on a Guardian column by Gary Younge. So let me just ask what you think

Appeals for calm in the wake of such a verdict raise the question of what calm there can possibly be in a place where such a verdict is possible. Parents of black boys are not likely to feel calm. Partners of black men are not likely to feel calm. Children with black fathers are not likely to feel calm. Those who now fear violent social disorder must ask themselves whose interests are served by a violent social order in which young black men can be thus slain and discarded.

But while the acquittal was shameful it was not a shock. It took more than six weeks after Martin's death for Zimmerman to be arrested and only then after massive pressure both nationally and locally. Those who dismissed this as a political trial (a peculiar accusation in the summer of Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden) should bear in mind that it was politics that made this case controversial.

"Fucking punks," Zimmerman told the police dispatcher that night. "These assholes. They always get away."

So true it's painful. And so predictable it hurts.


Save Greek “undesirables” from internment camps July 11, 2013

Filed under: human rights — jennysaul @ 1:33 pm

First migrants and recent immigrants were rounded up from Greece’s streets and forced into internment camps.Then they threw the drug users in. Next came the sex workers, forcibly HIV tested, publicly humiliated, and imprisoned.

Now they’re coming for transgender men and women — and the list of “undesirables” just keeps longer.

Operation Zeus is a cleansing campaign targeting and imprisoning the most vulnerable members of Greek society, accompanied by spikes in racism, gender hate and homophobia.

Sign a petition to the EU here.

(Thanks, S!)


California prison hunger strikes

Filed under: human rights,law,social justice — philodaria @ 12:13 am

Lisa Guenther has a really moving and informative post up on the California prison hunger strikes over at NewAPPS. Well worth a full read, but here’s just a snippet:

The issues raised by the strike action of the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective and the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition are more than “just” prison issues.  They are more than “just” human rights issues.  They are issues in which the very possibility of a meaningful life – both behind bars and beyond them – is at stake.  To live in a world where anyone is treated this way is to be implicated in the practice of torture.  Torture is about power, but it’s also about meaning.  In her classic book, The Body in Pain, Elaine Scarry describes the logic of torture in terms of an “unmaking of the world.”  I cannot think of a better description for the SHU.  You don’t need electrical cords or dental drills to torture a person; you just need to stuff them in a concrete box and force them to bear the whole weight of their being in isolation from others.



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