Saturday, March 31, 2012
My best friend and I wrote a response to the hate speak that was published in the comment section of an anonymous blog at Columbia University upon hearing the news that President Obama is coming to speak at Barnard College's commencement this year.
Check it out!
Friday, March 30, 2012
From Kathy Sloan, NOW Native American Women's Task Force and National NOW Board member:
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Some of my favorite statements:
"WLUML knows from its own research* that laws said to be Islamic, which laws are said to derive from Islamic jurisprudence or 'fiqh' (often wrongly referred to as 'sharia'), or considered in conformity with Islam vary enormously from country to country - hence proving laws and the jurisprudence (fiqh) they are said to have been derived from are man-made rather than God-given. Furthermore they include elements from culture and traditions that have nothing to do with religion, as well as colonial laws when these best suit the interests of local patriarchy. This is how local traditions such as muta'a marriage or FGM (female genital mutilation) are adopted as part and parcel of 'religion.' This is also how the newly independent Algeria in the 1960s deprived its women citizens of any access to contraception and abortion, using a long abandoned French law dating from 1922."
"From the religious point of view alone, the Qur'an itself can be read and interpreted in different ways. Diversity (iktilaf) is an accepted tradition in Islam. Tunisia took the historic decision in 1956 to forbid polygyny (aka polygamy), as legislators pointed out that the Qur'an clearly indicated both that equal treatment between wives is required and that it was not possible for a man to treat several women perfectly equally; conversely Algeria in 1962 used the same verse to allow a man to have 4 wives and legitimize polygamy. Which of these contradictory interpretations conforms with 'sharia'?"
Call to Action: Click here to add your name to the endorsements
Deadline: 5 April 2012
This month the UN Commission on the Status of Women failed to adopt agreed conclusions at its 56th session on the basis of safeguarding "traditional values" at the expense of human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.
Together with our partner feminist and women's rights organisations, we say NO to any re-opening of negotiations on the already established international agreements on women's human rights and call on all governments to demonstrate their commitments to promote, protect and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.
We have outlined our concerns in the statement below, which will be submitted to UN Member States, CSW and other relevant UN human rights and development entities.
Thank you for your support.
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)
International Women's Heath Coalition (IWHC)
International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW ASIA PACIFIC)
Women Living under Muslim Laws/ Violence is not our Culture Campaign
STATEMENT OF FEMINIST AND WOMEN'S ORGANISATIONS ON THE VERY LIMITED AND CONCERNING RESULTS
OF THE 56TH SESSION OF THE UN COMMISSION ON THE STATUS OF WOMEN
We, the undersigned organisations and individuals across the globe, are alarmed and disappointed that the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) failed to adopt agreed conclusions at its 56th session. This failure has diminished the considerable work, energy, time and costs that women all over the world invested on the 56th session of the CSW. The advancement of women's human rights should not be put on hold because of political battles between states. We say NO to any re-opening of negotiations on the already established international agreements on women's human rights and call on all governments to demonstrate their commitments to promote, protect and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.
We are particularly concerned to learn that our governments failed to reach a consensus on the basis of safeguarding "traditional values" at the expense of human rights and fundamental freedoms of women. We remind governments that all Member States of the United Nations (UN) have accepted that "the human rights of women and of the girl-child are an inalienable, integral and individual part of universal human rights" as adopted by the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna. Governments must not condone any tradition, cultural or religious arguments which deny human rights and fundamental freedoms of any person. After more than 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was embraced and adopted by the UN, the relationship between traditional values and human rights remains highly contested. We affirm the UDHR as not only 'a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations' but a common standard of assessment for all traditional values. The UDHR is an embodiment of positive traditional values that are universally held by this community of nations and are consistent with the inherent dignity of all human beings. We remind governments that under the Charter of the United Nations, gender equality has been proclaimed as a fundamental human right. States cannot contravene the UN Charter by enacting or enforcing discriminatory laws directly or through religious courts nor can allow any other private actors or groups imposing their religious fundamentalist agenda in violation of the UN Charter.
"No one may invoke cultural diversity to infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law, nor limit their scope. Not all cultural practices accord with international human rights law and, although it is not always easy to identify exactly which cultural practices may be contrary to human rights, the endeavour always must be to modify and/or discard all practices pursued in the name of culture that impede the enjoyment of human rights by any individual." (Statement by Ms. Farida Shaheed, the Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights, to the Human Rights Council at its 14th session 31 May 2010)
Amongst other things, it is alarming that some governments have evoked so-called "moral" values to deny women's sexual and reproductive health and rights. Sexual and reproductive rights are a crucial and fundamental part of women's full enjoyment of all rights as well as integral to gender equality, development and social justice. Social and religious morals and patriarchal values have been employed to justify violations against women. Violence against women, coercion and deprivation of legal and other protections of women, marital rape, honour crimes, son preference, female genital mutilation, 'dowry' or 'bride price', forced and early marriages and 'corrective rapes' of lesbians, bisexuals, transgender and inter-sexed persons have all been justified by reference to 'traditional values'.
We remind governments that the CSW is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women with the sole aim of promoting women's rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. Its mandate is to ensure the full implementation of existing international agreements on women's human rights and gender equality as enshrined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action as well as other international humanitarian and human rights law.
We strongly demand all governments and the international community to reject any attempt to invoke traditional values or morals to infringe upon human rights guaranteed by international law, nor to limit their scope. Customs, tradition or religious considerations must not be tolerated to justify discrimination and violence against women and girls whether committed by State authorities or by non-state actors. In particular, we urge governments to ensure that the health and human rights of girls and women are secured and reaffirmed at the coming Commission on Population and Development and the International Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). Any future international negotiations must move forward implementation of policies and programmes that secure the human rights of girls and women.
We call upon the member states of the UN and the various UN human rights and development entities to recognise and support the important role of women's groups and organisations working at the forefront of challenging traditional values and practices that are intolerant to fundamental human rights norms, standards and principles.
ASIA PACIFIC FORUM ON WOMEN, LAW AND DEVELOPMENT (APWLD)
ASSOCIATION FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT (AWID)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S HEALTH COALITION (IWHC)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S RIGHTS ACTION WATCH ASIA PACIFIC (IWRAW ASIA PACIFIC)
WOMEN LIVING UNDER MUSLIM LAWS (WLUML) / VIOLENCE IS NOT OUR CULTURE CAMPAIGN
Download the full statement here
If you have any questions, or would like further information, please contact Misun Woo: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, March 26, 2012
The chief of police said: "A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that..we don't want to focus on only one issue and miss something else."
A commenter wrote: "this police chief must be drinking his looony pops! Of course it is a HATE crime! "
We all know what makes crimes like these (including the death of Trayvor Martin) possible. It's the same mentality used to victimize women - by making us less than human. Here is a thoughtful explanation of how racism is like rape:
N. Jerin Arifa
Is the NYPD watching you?
In recent weeks, we've read about NYPD surveillance of Muslim student groups, community-based organizations and even small businesses. Press accounts show that the Police Department has spied on people up and down the Eastern Seaboard, not because they're engaged in wrongdoing, but because of their religion, national origin and their political activism.
Just today, the Associated Press reported that undercover NYPD officers have infiltrated progressive political groups nationwide and compiled files on people engaged in political advocacy. The NYPD conducted similar spying in the run-up to the 2004 Republican National Convention in Manhattan. We challenged that spying in federal court. The lawsuit has helped uncover the scope of the NYPD's intelligence program, but the Department has continued spying on political activists.
Find out if the NYPD is watching you. File a Freedom of Information request today.
New York has a long, proud history of robust political dissent. The NYCLU has often used Freedom of Information requests to shed light on government abuse of surveillance. Since the days of the Red Squads, when police intelligence units infiltrated political groups solely for being critical of the government, the NYCLU has defended the right to dissent by exposing police surveillance practices and police dossiers on political activists. Today, these requests should once again force the NYPD and other law-enforcement agencies to turn over their records on New Yorkers.The NYPD has been watching countless New Yorkers for far too long. Now it's our turn to watch them. Find out if you are under government surveillance for your religious and political activities. Visit www.nyclu.org/SpyFiles and learn how to file a Freedom of Information request today.
www.nyclu.org | email@example.com | P: 212-607-3300
125 Broad Street, New York, NY 10004
Contact: Lauren Hallahan, 727 643-9063
NATIONAL EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT ALLIANCE Announces
SURPRISE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT (ERA) BILL BEFORE U. S. SENATE JOINS HOUSE TO LAUNCH PASSAGE
St. Petersburg FL- Equal Rights Amendment proponents in the Russell U. S. Senate building cheered the filing of the unique new U.S. Senate ERA bill on March 22, 2012 by Maryland Senator Ben Cardin. Introduced in conjunction with the first anniversary of its companion U.S. House bill, HJRes 47 by Wisconsin Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, both are predicted to speed ERA passage.
The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that barely missed passing by three states' ratification vote is declared "still viable and contemporaneous" by several constitutional lawyer sources.
The seven states now routinely filing ERA bills are said to welcome these bills as they propose removal of any time limit from the original ERA Proposing Clause so that when three states ratify ERA, it would pass directly into the United States Constitution.
Sandy Oestreich, President of the National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance and Chair, Congresswoman Pat Schroeder, who have spearheaded ratification legislation in Florida for the past twelve years propose that "ERA passage would derail the current national legislative 'War Against Women'."
While it supports all ERA bills, the National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance claims that these identical bills could be an effective, quicker-paced alternative to the Maloney-Menendez "start-all-over" Congressional ERA bills.
Oestreich says her organization is single-issue, nonpartisan, non-sexist, and non-profit. "Though the Equal Rights Amendment itself does not regulate same-sex or abortion, we are making a strong stand against the legislative 'War Against Women' now raging across the nation as a clear an example of hate speech and sex discrimination. Nothing but an ERA makes that a violation of the U.S. Constitution":
'Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.'/gender."
Sandy Oestreich is Founder-President of National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance; former elected official; Professor Emerita, Adelphi Univ., NY; Co-author, internationally distributed pharmacology reference tests; Profiled in Feminists Who Changed America; Recipient, Martin County FL LWVoters Susan B. Anthony award, "Failure is Impossible". SandyO@PassERA.org www.2PassERA.org
Women Were First Computer Programmers
By Nathan Ensmenger
WeNews guest author
Sunday, March 25, 2012
In this excerpt from "The Computer Boys Take Over," historian Nathan Ensmenger explains that the first computer programmers were women because managers expected programming to be low-skill clerical work. They were wrong: The job required skill and ingenuity and these women persevered.
(WOMENSENEWS)--The low priority given to programming was reflected in who was assigned to the task. Although the ENIAC (the first general-purpose electronic computer) was developed by academic researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering, it was commissioned and funded by the Ballistics Research Laboratory of the U.S. Army.
Located at the nearby Aberdeen Proving Grounds, the laboratory was responsible for the development of the complex firing tables required to accurately target long-range ballistic weaponry. Hundreds of these tables were required to account for the influence of highly variable atmospheric conditions (air density, temperature, etc.) on the trajectory of shells and bombs. Prior to the arrival of electronic computers, these tables were calculated and compiled by teams of human "computers" working eight-hour shifts, six days a week.
From 1943 onward, essentially all of these computers were women, as were their immediate supervisors. The more senior women (those with college-level mathematical training) were responsible for developing the elaborate "plans of computation" that were carried out by their fellow computers.
In June 1945, six of the best human computers at Aberdeen were hired by the leaders of the top secret "Project X " -- the U.S. Army's code name for the ENIAC project -- to set up the ENIAC machine to produce ballistics tables. Their names were Kathleen McNulty, Frances Bilas, Betty Jean Jennings, Elizabeth Snyder Holberton, Ruth Lichterman and Marlyn Wescoff. Collectively they were known as "the ENIAC girls." Today the "ENIAC girls" are often considered the first computer programmers. In the 1940s, they were simply called coders.
The use of the word coder in this context is significant. At this point in time the concept of a program, or of a programmer, had not yet been introduced into computing. Since electronic computing was then envisioned by the ENIAC developers as "nothing more than an automated form of hand computation," it seemed natural to assume that the primary role of the women of the ENIAC would be to develop the plans of computation that the electronic version of the human computer would follow. In other words, they would code into machine language the higher-level mathematics developed by male scientists and engineers.
Coding implied manual labor, and mechanical translation or rote transcription; coders were obviously low on the intellectual and professional status hierarchy. It was not until later that the now-commonplace title of programmer was widely adopted.
The verb "to program," with its military connotations of "to assemble" or "to organize," suggested a more thoughtful and system-oriented activity. Although by the mid-1950s the word programmer had become the preferred designation, for the next several decades programmers would struggle to distance themselves from the status (and gender) connotations suggested by coder.
The first clear articulation of what a programmer was and should be was provided in the late 1940s by Goldstine and von Neumann in a series of volumes titled "Planning and Coding of Problems for an Electronic Computing Instrument." These volumes, which served as the principal (and perhaps only) textbooks available on the programming process at least until the early 1950s, outlined a clear division of labor in the programming process that seems to have been based on the practices used in programming the ENIAC.
The first five of these tasks were to be done by the "planner," who was typically the scientific user and overwhelmingly was frequently male; the sixth task was to be carried out by coders.
Coding was regarded as a "static" process by Goldstine and von Neumann -- one that involved writing out the steps of a computation in a form that could be read by the machine, such as punching cards, or in the case of the ENIAC, plugging in cables and setting up switches. Thus, there was a division of labor envisioned that gave the highest-skilled work to the high-status male scientists and the lowest-skilled work to the low-status female coders.
As the ENIAC managers and coders soon realized, however, controlling the operation of an automatic computer was nothing like the process of hand computation, and the Moore School women were therefore responsible for defining the first state-of-the-art methods of programming practice.
Programming was an imperfectly understood activity in these early days, and much more of the work devolved on the coders than anticipated. To complete their coding, the coders would often have to revisit the underlying numerical analysis, and with their growing skills, some scientific users left many or all six of the programming stages to the coders. In order to debug their programs and distinguish hardware glitches from software errors, they developed an intimate knowledge of the ENIAC machinery.
"Since we knew both the application and the machine," claimed ENIAC programmer Betty Jean Jennings, "as a result we could diagnose troubles almost down to the individual vacuum tube. Since we knew both the application and the machine, we learned to diagnose troubles as well as, if not better than, the engineers." In a few cases, the local craft knowledge that these female programmers accumulated significantly affected the design of the ENIAC and subsequent computers.
Friday, March 23, 2012
NOW Calls for Justice in Trayvon Martin Case: Fire the Chief, Arrest the Shooter, and Repeal 'Stand Your Ground' Laws
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012