All entries by this author

It’s empowering to brush your teeth

Apr 3rd, 2016 5:57 pm | By

No, it’s not “empowering” in the 21st century US for women to post selfies of themselves. The default situation isn’t that women aren’t allowed to post selfies of themselves. The default situation isn’t that they’re locked up in harems with no phones to take selfies with and no internet to share the selfies with. Women aren’t lying on their backs thrashing their arms and legs helplessly like June bugs.

The “power” to post selfies on the internet isn’t in and of itself a power that will get women anywhere. Women in the US aren’t in such a helpless, restricted, spied on, imprisoned state that the ability to post a selfie is a triumphant access to power and freedom. It’s ludicrous … Read the rest

The Panama Papers

Apr 3rd, 2016 5:10 pm | By

We’ll be learning some details of how rich people avoid taxes by using offshore tax havens, via the Panama Papers. The Guardian is one of a group of news outlets that have access to the papers.

The hidden wealth of some of the world’s most prominent leaders, politicians and celebrities has been revealed by an unprecedented leak of millions of documents that show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes.

The Guardian, working with global partners, will set out details from the first tranche of what are being called “the Panama Papers”. Journalists from more than 80 countries have been reviewing 11.5m files leaked from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the world’s

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Can Atheism Reduce Maternal Mortality in Nigeria?

Apr 3rd, 2016 | By Leo Igwe
If you are one of those who think that atheism is of no benefit to Africa and Africans, that disbelieving in god has no social value or significance for this people then you may rethink your position after reading this. You may be aware that the government of Cross River State in Southern Nigeria is waging a fierce campaign against the practice of ‘church birth’ and this practice highlights the dangers of theism particularly when it is applied to maternal health issues. You may ask : What is church birth? Church birth is a practice where pregnant women go to  churches or faith clinics, instead of hospitals, to deliver their babies. A BBC report on one such church, The Land Read the rest

You can hear people screaming

Apr 3rd, 2016 4:08 pm | By

A horror in Molenbeek yesterday:

Shocking footage has emerged of a woman being mown down by a car in the Brussels district of Molenbeek during a far-right rally. Police later arrested the driver, who is said to be a local man.

In the footage, a white Audi A1 that had broken through a police roadblock hits the woman, who appears to be wearing a black Muslim headscarf, while she is crossing the road. She rolls across the bonnet of the vehicle and falls onto the floor, while the vehicle speeds down the street.

The woman suffered multiple fractures and head injuries.

Police arrested two suspected far-right activists carrying Molotov cocktails and weapons in the district of Saturday, as they

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Threats from fanatics

Apr 3rd, 2016 3:34 pm | By

In the no good deed goes unpunished department

A prominent human rights lawyer has said he received death threats after calling for unity within Scotland’s Muslim community. Aamer Anwar said he was taking the threats from “fanatics” extremely seriously and that police were investigating.

Anwar chaired an event at Glasgow central mosque last week calling for unity and condemning violence and extremism after the killing of the shopkeeper Asad Shah and the terrorist attacks in Brussels and Lahore.

So naturally he got death threats, because what could be more horrifying and terrible than condemning violence and saying let’s not kill each other?

Anwar said: “Having been a campaigner for human rights for over 25 years, I have grown used

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They are not about female inclusion. They are about female exclusion.

Apr 3rd, 2016 12:15 pm | By

A friend brought my attention to an article at Mamamia about Kim Kardashian and “empowerment.”

Kim Kardashian and Emily Ratajkowski posted a joint topless nude selfie on Instagram this morning and we’re all meant to sit back, have a look at the black stripe over their boobs, their middle fingers in the air and that omnipresent bathroom mirror and say, “Oh, Thank God for female empowerment. How empowering. Just look at those two women empower. I need to get me some of these empowerment black strip things. Thank you Kimmy, you have made me see the empowerment light.”

Last time Kim K did this she tweeted that, “It’s so important that we let women express their sexuality and share their

Read the rest


Apr 2nd, 2016 6:25 pm | By

Protests against the plan to ban all abortion in Poland:

Numerous cities in Poland will be protesting tomorrow against a legislative project completely banning abortions.

Right now, abortion in Poland is illegal except in the following three cases: when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest; when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger; or when the fetus is severely damaged. This is already one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe.

There is a new legislative project that aims to restrict this law even further, making abortion completely illegal. This means that:

– Rape survivors and children will be forced to give birth.

– Women that might die due to their pregnancy

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Priests have been asked to read out a letter from the bishops’ conference

Apr 2nd, 2016 5:55 pm | By

Poland is looking to impose a complete ban on abortions.

The Polish prime minister, Beata Szydło, said she backs moves towards a total ban on abortion, in a sign the nationalist government may be set to turn its attention to the nuclear family.

A campaign against abortion is due to be launched this Sunday in the country’s Roman Catholic churches. Priests have been asked to read out a letter from the bishops’ conference calling for Poland’s existing, limited abortion rights to be scrapped.

After mass on church steps, anti-abortion group Fundacja Pro will gather petition signatures for a citizen’s parliamentary bill calling for a total ban.

That’s right, women – no escape for you. Not if you’re raped, not … Read the rest

How dare anyone appear to question

Apr 2nd, 2016 5:01 pm | By

And more of the same ridiculous idea that saying X is not Y is denying X’s right to define her own Xality. The Guardian purses its lips and frowns and says Ian McEwan has been a naughty naughty boy.


Booker-winning author appears to question people’s right to decide their own gender

No he doesn’t. He questions his (McEwan’s) obligation to believe whatever people tell him. People have every right to decide all sorts of things, an infinite number of things; it doesn’t follow that we all have a corresponding duty to believe or endorse or repeat or praise whatever they’ve decided.

Campaigners have criticised author Ian McEwan for comments that appeared to question the right of transgender people

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Misogyny illustrated

Apr 2nd, 2016 3:51 pm | By

Warning – this is very bad.

Gulalai Ismail shared a post on Facebook.

Because we as a society are so much obsessed with commoditisation of women’s bodies that killing a girl is “normal” using myth of “virginity”.

Oh and yes, now let’s deny early age marriages in Pakistan.

17 Years Old Girl Killed On Her Wedding Night In Jacobabad Sindh For Not Proven Virgin

The Express Tribune in Pakistan reports the story, though it says the claim about virginity is not confirmed.

A bride was allegedly strangled to the death by her husband on the night of their wedding in a suspected case of ‘honour killing’, Jacobabad police said on Saturday.

During the day, an alleged picture of

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“Something I never thought about until I was on the receiving end of it”

Apr 2nd, 2016 12:20 pm | By

In October 2014 Meghan Stabler wrote in the Huffington Post about being named Working Mother of the Year.

What is remarkable is the staggering inequality we working mothers face. The reality of the workplace for women in 2014 is stark; I know because I’ve seen both sides. I started my career as a male, and as long as I presented as such, I found that my views and opinions were widely respected. But since transitioning to my true, authentic self, I’ve come to recognize the gender-stereotypical male dominance in meetings and work in general, something I never thought about until I was on the receiving end of it.

Ah – isn’t that interesting. It’s helpful of her to admit … Read the rest

He struck his wife and threw tins of cat food at her

Apr 2nd, 2016 11:17 am | By

The Guardian reports on an arranged marriage that turned out to be enslavement.

A man who treated his wife as a slave and subjected her to an existence of “violence, intimidation, aggression and misery” has been jailed following a pioneering trial which saw him become the first Briton convicted of forcing their spouse into domestic servitude.

Prosecutors and police said they hoped the case of Safraz Ahmed, a 34-year-old mechanic from south London who abused, demeaned and taunted Sumara Iram over a two-year period, could see more potential victims come forward.

Ahmed subjected Iram to “physical and mental torture” after she came to the UK from Pakistan in late 2012 for an arranged marriage into which she entered willingly

Read the rest

Facts are not rights, rights are not facts

Apr 2nd, 2016 10:34 am | By

Now it’s Ian McEwan’s turn. Pink News reports that he has Said Things.

Award-winning author Ian McEwan has waded into a debate on trans rights, claiming that he can’t seen anyone with a penis as other than a man.

McEwan, 67, is the latest to offer his opinion on the rights of trans people, mentioning an ongoing controversy surrounding people like Germaine Greer, who denies that trans women can truly be women.


Rights are one thing, and perceived facts are another. There can be spillage along the border, but all the same – there is a difference.

McEwan’s saying he can’t seen anyone with a penis as other than a man isn’t part of a “debate on trans … Read the rest


Apr 1st, 2016 5:41 pm | By

The Huffington Post published a string of photos of the aftermath of the Lahore bombing. There are no gory ones, but there are many anguished faces.


A woman weeps for her injured family members as she tries to speak to security at a local hospital in Lahore.

Arif Ali/Getty Images

A Pakistani family brings an injured child to the hospital in Lahore on March 27, 2016.… Read the rest

The flight attendant pressed her further

Apr 1st, 2016 3:20 pm | By

Yet another man on yet another flight to Israel makes a woman change her seat because he doesn’t want a filthy whorey woman sitting next to him.

A retired lawyer who fled the Nazis as a child is suing the Israeli national airline El Al for alleged discrimination after being asked to move on a plane when an ultra-Orthodox Jew objected to sitting next to a woman.

Renee Rabinowitz, 81, is being supported by the Israel Religious Action Center, which has campaigned against ultra-Orthodox efforts to enforce the segregation of men and women and to have images of women removed from public hoardings.

You don’t get to “object to” sitting next to people in public accommodations unless they’re something … Read the rest

Salma’s every movement is policed

Apr 1st, 2016 2:44 pm | By

Shaheen Hashmat reviews a BBC 3 drama that was broadcast the other night (and alas as usual is not available outside the UK), Murdered by my Father.

The recently aired BBC 3 drama Murdered by my Father is an incredibly powerful depiction of the circumstances in which ‘honour’-based violence takes place. Screenwriter Vinay Patel developed the story following detailed consultation with specialist support charity IKWRO (the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation), among others. We learn that London teenager Salma (Kiran Sonia Sawar) is betrothed from an early age to the son of her father’s business associate Haroon (Salman Akhtar), and despite trying hard to honour her father’s wishes, her love for Imi (Mawaan Rizwan) makes it impossible for

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Babies for sale cheap

Apr 1st, 2016 12:18 pm | By

Now for Julie Bindel’s article on Gujarat surrogacy clinics.

Having heard many stories about how commonplace outsourcing pregnancy and reproduction is, I am in India to investigate the country’s “rent-a-womb” industry.

As a feminist campaigner against sexual abuse of women, and in particular the sex trade, I feel sick at the idea of wombs for rent. Sitting in the clinic, seeing smartly dressed women come in to access fertility services, all I could think about was how desperate a woman must be to carry a child for money. I know from other campaigners against womb trafficking that many surrogates are coerced by abusive husbands and pimps.

In fact how could that not be the case? We know abusive … Read the rest

Trousers in flames

Apr 1st, 2016 7:24 am | By

Sometimes the dishonesty is hard to believe.

The tweet:

Alison Phipps @alisonphipps
Seeing Indian surrogates described as ‘wombs for rent’ by British feminists seems deeply objectifying and disrespectful to me.

What Julie Bindel actually wrote:

Having heard many stories about how commonplace outsourcing pregnancy and reproduction is, I am in India to investigate the country’s “rent-a-womb” industry.

As a feminist campaigner against sexual abuse of women, and in particular the sex trade, I feel sick at the idea of wombs for rent. Sitting in the clinic, seeing smartly dressed women come in to access fertility services, all I could think about was how desperate a woman must be to carry a child for money. I know from

Read the rest

A proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim

Apr 1st, 2016 6:25 am | By

The Tories have imposed a new contract on junior doctors in the NHS, much to their fury. Now there’s been a government “equality analysis” that says the new contract is bad for women but that’s ok because don’t be silly who even needs a because.

The Independent has the details:

Junior doctors are outraged over an equality analysis which appears to condone the new contract having an “indirect adverse impact on women”.

The analysis, published by the Department of Health, reads: “We consider that the payments proposed are fair and that any indirect adverse effect on women is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.”

It also says: “Whilst this may disadvantage lone parents (who are disproportionately female)

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Sex & Obscenity in the Bible

Mar 31st, 2016 5:36 pm | By

From the Freedom From Religion Foundation: Colorado school district censors FFRF pamphlets

On Friday, April 1, Delta County School District employees are scheduled to place Freedom From Religion Foundation literature, along with material from the Western Colorado Atheists and Freethinkers and The Satanic Temple, in schools for students to take. The School District has complained about two FFRF pamphlets: “An X-Rated Book: Sex and Obscenity in the Bible” and “What Does the Bible Say About Abortion?” Both of them are being limited to just the local high schools.

The School District objects to the cartoon cover of “An X-Rated Book,” which shows a bible groping a young woman.

“It is inappropriate in a school setting; we would not allow

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