Muslim Women Gain Higher Profile in U.S. – NYTimes.com

Muslim Women Gain Higher Profile in U.S. – NYTimes.com.

Good to read a relatively positive portrayal of Muslim women in the US.  They don’t deny that they still experience discrimination and worse at times. But their successes, while staying within the framework of Islam, female, and America, make progress for all women.

These women have achieved a level of success and visibility unmatched elsewhere. They say they are molded by the freedoms of the United States — indeed, many unabashedly sing its praises — and by the intellectual ferment stirred when American-born and immigrant Muslims mix.

“What we’re seeing now in America is what has been sort of a quiet or informal empowerment of women,” said Shireen Zaman, executive director of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, a nonprofit research institute founded after the 2001 attacks to provide research on American Muslims. “In many of our home countries, socially or politically it would’ve been harder for Muslim women to take a leadership role. It’s actually quite empowering to be Muslim in America.”

A bit later in the article, Knowlton states:

Yet in their quest to break stereotypes, America’s Muslim women have advantages. They are better educated than counterparts in Western Europe, and also than the average American, according to a Gallup survey in March 2009. In contrast to their sisters in countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, they are just as likely as their menfolk to attend religious services, which equates to greater influence. And Gallup found that Muslim American women, often entrepreneurial, come closer than women of any other faith to earning what their menfolk do.

Leadership in their religion is the most obvious missing piece in their move toward equality. It will be interesting to check in with these women in a few years.

“A Dangerous Journey Through Mexico”

Dominican Republic guarantees women’s equality in technology initiatives and policies across the country | Association for Progressive Communications

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, 17 December 2009 (El Nuevo Diario)

Dafne Plou Photo: APC

The Dominican Republic is the first Latin American country to act on their commitments to involve women in the information society nationwide. This Caribbean island nation of ten million has promised to include a “gender perspective” in every information and communications technology initiative and policy developed by the government from now on. The tool the Dominicans have chosen to design and evaluate all the public policies is the APC gender evaluation methodology (GEM). Training was carried out onsite by APC’s Dafne Plou (pictured here). Following is a translation of a news article which appeared in a national newspaper.

More at : Dominican Republic guarantees women’s equality in technology initiatives and policies across the country | Association for Progressive Communications.

Enough! The project to end genocide and crimes against humanity

Cell phone statistics reported by Jason Griffey, July 12, 2009, and posted on The Shifted Librarian

  • numbers (because this arena is very important for us)
    4,100,000,000 number of mobile phone subscriptions in the world
  • over 60% of the people on earth have a mobile phone subscription service
  • in 50 different countries around the world, the number of cellphones per person exceeds 100%  (means more than one cellphone each)  not just places like Korea, but places like Gambia, where 1,000,000 people have access to a telephone, and only 50,000 of those are fixed landlines
  • 90% of the world’s population will have access to a cell phone signal by the end of 2010
  • 2,400,000,000 people using SMS (active users)
    75% of the people who have data access on their phones
  • we’re not good at handling numbers, but 1,200,000 people use email, so twice as many using text messages
  • 2.3 trillion text messages sent in 2008
    20% growth curve over 2007

These numbers are astounding — AND they have more implications than most of us would ever imagine. But what do cell phones and SMS have to do with genocide and human rights? Please read on.

Valerie Love, UConn Libraries Human Rights specialist, pointed me to a site of great worth: enough! The project to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

From their About page, they say:

Genocide and war crimes are not inevitable, and we at Enough want to create noise and action both to stop ongoing atrocities and to prevent their recurrence. Our mission is to help people from every walk of life understand the practical actions they can take to make a difference. Our strategy is to energize diverse communities – including students, religious groups, activists, business leaders, celebrities, and Diaspora networks – to ensure that their voices are heard on some of the most pressing foreign policy and moral challenges facing the world today.

Enough! gathers media together on human rights violations and the effects. Here is a report from CNN on the “Conflict Minerals” found in Congo which empower the militia and military groups, the source of violence against women and girls and much suffering in the region:

Besides informing us of human rights violations which we may be encouraging unknowingly, they give direct instruction to actions which we can take.

CAN YOU HEAR CONGO NOW? CELL PHONES, CONFLICT MINERALS, AND THE WORST SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN THE WORLD (which I have also added to the Readings page on this blog), provides background and current understanding.  Our choices for cell phones and companies have far reaching implications and we need to be aware! Below, find their guide to action from their report on “Conflict Minerals” in the Congo:

How to Make an Impact

The crisis in eastern Congo is fueled by conflict minerals, but we can stop the deadly cycle by using our power as activists and consumers.

1. Join the Movement at www.raisehopeforcongo.org
2. Text “CONGOPLEDGE” (one word, no spaces) to ACTION (228466) or visit www.raisehopeforcongo.org/special-page/conflict-minerals to endorse the Conflict Minerals Pledge.
3. Send emails to the industry leaders and ask them to be a leader on this issue by signing the pledge. Visit www.raisehopeforcongo.org/special-page/conflict-minerals to send your emails now.
4. Call the White House switchboard at 202.456.1414 or write to President Obama at www.whitehouse.gov and ask him to appoint a special envoy for the Great Lakes region.

More reports, audio, and contacts are at this relatively new site — started only in 2006. Thank you to Valerie Love, once again, for giving me this link. It’s a small world and if there is anything we can do to stop these horrific actions by changing our purchasing behavior and being knowledgeable of our sources, we have the power.

Valerie has her own blog: Human Rights Research Blog

Vital Voices Blog » Study Reveals 10,000 Women Sex-Trafficked Every Year in Mexico

Vital Voices Blog » Study Reveals 10,000 Women Sex-Trafficked Every Year in Mexico.

In a study presented on July 20 in Monterrey, Mexico, data revealed that approximately 10,000 women are trafficked for sexual exploitation annually from southern and central Mexico into northern Mexico. The Latin American Herald Tribune reports that the study found that women were most commonly trafficked under the guise of lucrative employment, often shown photographs that misrepresented the cities into which they would be trafficked.

Study coordinator Arum Kumar expanded on the regularity of domestic trafficking: “It is estimated that out of every 10 women trafficked [from southern and central Mexican states]…three are taken to the United States and seven are exploited within the country.” Kumar went on to say, “Mexico is the leading destination for sexual tourism in all Latin America and has become known as the Bangkok of Latin America.”

The expert noted that trafficking of women is a form of violence against women “that Mexican authorities and society in general have to face and fight,” as the Tribune describes.

Mexican Sex Traffickers Victimize 10,000 Women Every Year- Latin American Herald Tribune

Hymen replacement in France on the rise

Judith Warner wonders about the patriarchal control of women’s sexuality in the excellent opinion piece from the NYT on June 12, 2008.

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

Another great video for discussions in class. Created by Eco-activist Annie Leonard. 20 minutes, online.

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

Thanks to Mary Rogers Beckert, retired ECSU professor and woman extraordinaire, for alerting me to this.

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