Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Transforming Gender Relations in Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa October 25, 2013

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

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

 

Demonising the poor March 22, 2013

Filed under: poverty — Monkey @ 1:59 pm

The current UK government has done much to demonise the poor. As it continues to make changes to the welfare state, which leave many of the poorest in society worse off, it behoves us to question what we are told. A report issued by the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of Scotland, and the United Reformed Church does just that. There is more information and suggestions about how to challenge ideas about poverty availale from their website.

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Infographic from the Joint Public Issues website.

 

Living on the margins in modern Britain January 7, 2013

Filed under: class,colonialism,mental health,politics,poverty,prostitution,work — Monkey @ 5:04 pm

What makes a life in modern Britain go well? Doing ok involves keeping oneself (and maybe dependent loved ones) fed, warm, and sheltered; being part of human networks that provide emotional and practical support; possessing the emotional and cognitive tools to function day-to-day, and navigate life’s obstacles; being born in a geographical location that means one finds oneself on the right side of borders legislation; existing in a cultural niche where one is presented with opportunities, other than robbing, drugs, and violence. Doing ok in modern Britain depends to a large extent on luck – accidents of birth and upbringing, together with other factors that are mostly beyond one’s control. For those who are unlucky, life is tough. Journalist, Laura Page, interviews five people living on the margins in modern Britain.

 

One in six live in poverty in USA November 19, 2012

Filed under: poverty — KateNorlock @ 4:00 am

The number of people living in poverty in the US is higher than previously thought, and close to 50 million, according to the U.S. Census, using the second annual Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM).  As reported on the CNNMoney page, “The alternative measure showed the importance of Social Security and the weight of medical care on the elderly. Without Social Security, some 54.1% of Americans age 65-plus would be in poverty, as opposed to 15.1%. But if they didn’t have to pay out-of-pocket health care costs, their poverty rate would have fallen nearly in half to 8%.”

An Idaho paper lifts out two more findings: “Without refundable tax credits such as the earned income tax credit, child poverty would rise from 18.1 percent to 24.4 percent. Without food stamps, the overall poverty rate would increase from 16.1 percent to 17.6 percent.”

 

Pills to help poor children in poor schools October 9, 2012

Filed under: bioethics,hostile workplace,poverty — annejjacobson @ 8:06 pm

Suppose the problem really is in the environment, but you can medicate your child to help them cope. A lot of people may medicate themselves to help them through a bad situation. Facing an MRI in a closed machine (i.e., you’re in the clanging tunnel for possibly an hour)? Xanax can seem reasonable if you are claustrophobic. A wedding with your most difficult relatives? Maybe xanax there too, or a martini or whatever. How about a bad work situation? A pill a day to keep anger away?

For myself I’d say absolutely not in the last case (clarification added in light of comment one). For a healthy child with a poor school environment that makes concentration and learning really too hard? C/D unmedicated, A/B on pills. I feel fortunate not to have to decide this one. Some people do have tO choose between these alternatives:

CANTON, Ga. — When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall.

The pills boost focus and impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.

“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money — not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance.

It is not yet clear whether Dr. Anderson is representative of a widening trend. But some experts note that as wealthy students abuse stimulants to raise already-good grades in colleges and high schools, the medications are being used on low-income elementary school children with faltering grades and parents eager to see them succeed.

“We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,” said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, a child mental-health services researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.”

Dr. Nancy Rappaport, a child psychiatrist in Cambridge, Mass., who works primarily with lower-income children and their schools, added: “We are seeing this more and more. We are using a chemical straitjacket instead of doing things that are just as important to also do, sometimes more.”

 

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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Given God speaks through weather events, what’s the message look to be? August 26, 2012

Filed under: politics,poverty,religion,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 4:03 pm

We noted earlier that many well-know Republicans interprete major natural events as messages from the deity. What could the current predicted trajectory of Hurricane Isaac mean?

Notice that It seems to be going west of Tampa, but not so west as to avoid a strong storm surge in Tampa Bay. After that, New Orleans may be a big event. And the convention is being delayed for a day.

So what is God saying? Helpful sggestions in the comments gratefully received. Here are some to start us off:

1. To Repubs: BOO!
2. Let’s stir up whatever is left of a sense of community responsibility by reminding the country that Republicans don’t give a rat’s ass about New Orleans.
3. As a favor to the US, let’s save TV from boring convention speeches and put on some broadcasters in life-threatening situations.

Your take below, please!

 

Homeless people as wireless transmitters March 13, 2012

Filed under: autonomy,poverty,Uncategorized — annejjacobson @ 4:53 pm

A company at the big technology conference, SXSW in Austin, TX, hired 13 homeless people to carry around wireless transmitters at the conference.  Those who participated were paid $20 a day plus donations/tips.  The suggested donation was $2 for 15 minutes. 

So what’s wrong with this?  Plenty, some people felt. 

Branding agency BBH was forced to defend its ‘Homeless Hotspots’ initiative after it was described as ‘dystopian’ – and lambasted as a ‘shameful, hideous, patronising, dehumanising idea’ by British brand strategist Luke Scheybeler

Read more here.

And here are some pro’s and con’s from Wireless:

This is my worry: the homeless turned not just into walking, talking hotspots, but walking, talking billboards for a program that doesn’t care anything at all about them or their future, so long as it can score a point or two about digital disruption of old media paradigms. So long as it can prove that the real problem with homelessness is that it doesn’t provide a service.

Where the men involved aren’t even able to tell their own stories to the world, before they’re doubly used: first by the SXSWi attendees with their smartphones, and then by the marketing firm who will sell their story as a case study or TV show pitch, or to a company looking for a new advertising opportunity at next year’s SXSWi. Where people really are turned into platforms to be “optimized” and “validated.”

I don’t believe BBH Labs’ history with the homeless provides any reason to expect anything better.

Update: AlterNet’s Sarah Jaffe interviewed Mark West, one of Homeless Hotspots’ MiFi managers. Here’s a telling exchange (hat-tip to Melissa Gira Grant):

“It’s your company,” he stressed, “What you bring in is what you bring in. They bought the devices, they’re allowing us to use the devices to bring in our own revenue.” But as my colleague Matt Bors noted, when you actually own your own business, no one takes away your supplies after four days. You don’t work for a suggested donation.

Update 2: At Hardly Normal, Mark Horvath writes about Homeless Hotspots from SXSW, criticizing Wired, ReadWriteWeb and the New York Times for their coverage of the program:

We need fresh and creative ideas to help save lives and save money. Any brand, marketing agency, or Girl Scout Troupe that takes real tangible action to help solve a social crisis should be rewarded not slammed. What BBH Labs did with Homeless Hotspots is a harmless and fun idea that provides a positive interaction between homeless people and the rest of you. Plus, our homeless friends made a few bucks. And even more important – they were given self-worth. Unless you were on the streets you have no idea how low ones self-esteem gets. The number one thing you can give another person is your attention and the Homeless Hotspot vendors at SXSW got lots of that. Every one I met was smiling ear to ear.

This video features one of the homeless people (it may take a long time to load):

 

What do you think?

 

So much for the American Dream: another take on a very recent post February 12, 2012

Filed under: academia,poverty — annejjacobson @ 11:45 pm

There have been a number of important studies documenting the increasing lack of mobility in American Society.  I just put up a post about one.  I wrote about race, but one should also notice its serious implications for education in the US.  Have a look, if you are interested.

Here is a list of recent NY Times articles on declining mobility in the US.

 

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

 

 
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