Sara Ahmed resigns from Goldsmiths, University of London in protest of the institution’s failure to address sexual harassment of students

The feminist academic Sara Ahmed has resigned from her post as a Professor of Race and Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, in protest of the institution’s failure to address the sexual harassment of students. She has written an open letter about her resignation that deserves to be read widely: Sara Ahmed Speaking Out

In case you somehow missed it, please read:
Sara Ahmed Speaking Out

2013 Gender Inequality Index

The U.N. (Development Program) released the 2014 Human Development Report (and the 2013 Human Development Index within it) a few weeks ago on or around July 24, 2014. It incorporates data from 2013 for the latest Gender Inequality Index on pages 172-175 in Table 4. This index reflects gender inequality along three dimensions – reproductive health, empowerment, and the labor market – as rated by five indicators: both maternal mortality ratio and adolescent fertility rate for reproductive health, both shares of parliamentary seats and population with at least secondary education for empowerment, and labor force participation rates for the labor market.

This year, all 187 countries ranked in the 2013 Human Development Index are also ranked in the 2013 Gender Inequality Index. The U.S. ranks #47 (down from 42 last year), the U.K. ranks #35 (down from 34 last year), Canada ranks #23 (down from 18 from last year), Australia ranks #19 (down from 17 from last year), New Zealand ranks #34 (down from 31 from last year), and South Africa ranks #94 (down from 90 from last year).

Also out of those 187 countries (for the 2013 Gender Inequality Index…), Slovenia ranks #1 (up from 8), Switzerland ranks #2 (up from 3), Germany ranks #3 (up from 6), Sweden ranks #4 (down from 2), Denmark ranks #5 (down from 3 formerly with Switzerland), Austria also ranks #5 (up from 14), Netherlands ranks #7 (down from #1), Italy ranks #8 (up from 11), Belgium ranks #9 (up from 12), Norway also ranks #9 (down from 5), Finland ranks #11 (down from #6), and France ranks #12 (down from 9).

In addition, out of those 187 countries (for the 2013 Gender Inequality Index…), India ranks #127 (up from 132), Saudi Arabia ranks #56 (seemingly up from 145 – is that right?), Afghanistan ranks #169 (down from 147), and Yemen ranks #152 (down from 148).

Click here for a PDF of the full 2014 Human Development Report (with the Gender Inequality Index on pp. 172-175).

Click here for a more detailed account of the Gender Inequality Index that includes indicator data (for 2013 and also for some earlier grouped years).

Click here for a webpage that contains some frequently asked questions and answers about the UNDP Gender Inequality Index.

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.

Unfortunately, the UNDP seems frequently to delete and/or change the URLs/web-addresses for the aforementioned links. Please report any changes (or updates!) in the comments and I will try to update accordingly.

Click here for links on/for the 2012 Gender Inequality Index

What do readers think? All sorts of data here for all sorts of comments…

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.

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.

“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…”

See the link below for more on these matters:

Recognizing the African woman farmer

Bogaletch Gebre: Inspiring Guide, Leader, Teacher

[Update: Unfortunately, all of the links for the main KMG Ethiopia website do not work now. Usually when this happens, the site goes back up/working within hours, days, or weeks. For now, the following website works: KMG-Ethiopia. All of the links at the top and the top right of that landing page contain important and inspiring material. We will have to see whether they import more material from the older site, restore the older site, or some such combination/variation. So the next three links below do not now work. However, most of the rest do. Please check them out!]

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

For an excellent newspaper piece that includes Gebre’s story, click here forKidnapped. Raped. Married. The extraordinary rebellion of Ethiopia’s abducted wives“.

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.

Finally, this earlier post by Monkey is excellent and contains relevant links as well:
Afar region, Ethiopia, Abandoning Female Genital Mutilation

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”.

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

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”.

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)

***HERE IS THE BEST ONE: Earle’s 2009 Ted Prize talk (reminding us about little things like action necessary to avoid extinction)***:

Mission Blue (Sylvia Earle alliance)-click here!

Plenty of excellent video clips available on the interwebs. This one seems very good:
Sylvia Earle: Legendary Explorer Fights to Save Underwater Paradise

6 Women Scientists Who Were Snubbed Due to Sexism

6 Women Scientists Who Were Snubbed Due to Sexism (by Jane J. Lee, 5/19/13, for National Geographic Daily News)

“Despite enormous progress in recent decades, women still have to deal with biases against them in the sciences.”

“…Today’s women scientists believe that attitudes have changed, said Laura Hoopes at Pomona College in California, who has written extensively on women in the sciences—’until it hits them in the face’.” Bias against female scientists is less overt, but it has not gone away.

Here are six female researchers who did groundbreaking work—and whose names are likely unfamiliar for one reason: because they are women…”

Just some of (unfortunately many,) many relevant FP posts:

Minimal Posters – Six Women Who Changed Science. And The World.

Lost Women of Science

Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Berlin Leftists’ New Target: Barbie Dreamhouse

Berlin Leftists’ New Target: Barbie Dreamhouse (WSJ article by Mary M. Lane, 5/17/13)

“Workers of the World Unite to Fight ‘Pinkified’ Resident, Stiletto Chairs”

…”It would be a huge danger for capitalism if working men and women were united, so one of the best ways to divide and conquer the workers is by enabling men to over-sexualize women and by preoccupying women with sexualizing themselves,” said group leader Michael Koschitzki, 27 years old. “This is why we need to oppose Barbie.”…

“Barbie has been around for over 50 years. Can you show me that’s really held back society with all the positive changes for women?” asked Jörg Niepraschk, a father of two girls he brought to the Dreamhouse for a preview on Tuesday.

“The Junge Linke adamantly say “yes,” arguing that Barbie is a symbol of proletariat repression and a consumerist society set in place by power-hungry capitalists…

“The Junge Linke argue that Barbie’s “pinkified” personality cultivates a desire in girls to focus on looks instead of careers and spend their cash on expensive beauty products…

One of many wonderful papers that quickly come to mind is Sandra Bartky’s “Foucault, Femininity, and the Modernization of Patriarchal Power”. (Click here for a PDF copy posted on the web for now.)

From The Dark Side – Black Feminisms CFP

Black Feminisms cfp image 3
From The Dark Side – Black Feminisms
Inaugural issue of Comment S’en Sortir ?

Click here for full length CFP (PDF file)

In France,”féminisme noir” refers first of all to the importation and translation of the Black feminist tradition, with its politics and theoretical toolbox. However, the transatlantic circulation and reception of these tools deploy different Black feminist issues here.
Translations have affected and overwhelmed the economy of Black feminism. They have reinvented this tradition and de-centered our own long-established theoretical frameworks. Black feminism is a legacy that questions and sets us in motion; however, this legacy meets our own legacies transmitted by our social movements, our thoughts, and our mothers’/sisters’/partners’ struggles in the territories that have been literally erased by mainland France. What about this overseas feminism? Between legacy and fantasy, oblivion and reconstruction, return of the repressed or restoration of a “truth”: Black feminism must be approached from the perspective of a political temporality that is non-linear, split-up, and constellar.

We inherit an approach: our task is to investigate and question our societies as they are held and divided by racist, sexist, and capitalist power relations. The reception of Black feminism has led to a reflection about our social location and our positioning, about our individual and collective imperial history, about the sexual and gendered dimensions of racist and migration policies. In the French political context of a racist offensive led in the name of so-called feminism, those questionings have reconfigured the cartography of feminist research and feminist movements. While actuating a return of the colonial repressed, they divided feminists along new splits such as “queer” and “indigenous”, “secular” and “submissive”, “black” and “white”, but also “deep black” and “high yellow”. Because of these polemics, our bodies, our complexions, our clothes, our places of birth and residence, our sexualities, our religions and our languages have acquired new empowering or disempowering qualities, thus legitimizing or delegitimizing our discourses. We have sometimes put on our “objectionable skins” (Roberte Horth) as a way of becoming audible, with the danger of racializing both our adversaries and our traditional allies by rendering them “white”. Thus, we were trapped in the “master’s house” (Audre Lorde), within its racist delimitations.
We have sometimes masked our complexions in order to widen our coalitions, exposing ourselves to the risk of becoming invisible.

Given these aporias, we are committed to carrying on the deconstruction of the dichotomies imposed by the “white solipsism”
(Adrienne Rich) in feminist thought. We are committed to exhuming repressed, buried and ignored feminisms that contest this white solipsism.

Authors are invited to submit articles exploring the feminist movements committed against slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and racism, providing evidence of the multiple historical, geographical, and political origins of Black feminisms. We are looking for articles that index and study the tactics and strategies actuated by feminists under the pressure of racism: how do they shift, foil, invert, split, or stave in the color lines? How do they smash racialized relationships and categories such as “Muslim”, “Asian”, “oriental”, “veiled”, “Roma”, “Arab”, “African”, “immigrant”, etc., as well as and their corollaries, “European”, “occidental”, “secular”, “French”, and what does such a smashing imply? It is a matter of multiplying the legacies of obscure, masked, veiled, and darkened feminisms, such as those of Solitude, Fathma N’Soumer, Awa Thiam, Julia Cooper, Emma Goldman, and the Nardal sisters. It is a matter of analyzing the processes of dominations, resistances, and migrations that color or discolor, retract or magnify the location of possible solidarities.

This inaugural issue of Comment S’en Sortir ? entitled “FromThe Dark Side” aims to build walkways and bridges (Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldùa), alliances and coalitions; it aims to draw upon Black feminisms’ theoretical and political tools that allow us to thwart the oppositions, hierarchies, splits, and aporias that impoverish our experience and condemn our struggles.

– Deadline for submitting proposals: April 15, 2013
Acceptance decisions will be communicated by April 30, 2013
– Deadline for sending complete articles: July 30, 2013
Definitive acceptance: September 15, 2013
– Publication: October 2013
– Contact:
Authors’ guidelines

Kakenya Ntaiya and the Kakenya Center for Excellence

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

2012 Gender Inequality Index

Click here for links on/for the 2013 Gender Inequality Index

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.

More UNDP links are down/changed again. Click here for links on/for the 2013 Gender Inequality Index

Click here for a PDF of the full 2013 Human Development Report. The 2012 Gender Inequality Index is on pp. 156-159.

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. [Update, the UNDP deleted this webpage again, but did replace it with one that contains relevant data.]

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.

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!

What do readers think? All sorts of data here for all sorts of comments…