AKIMBO — After Rio+20, Women’s Voices Loud and Clear

I recently encountered an organization new to me — the International Women’s Health Coalition whose offices are on 7th Ave in New York City. They seem well positioned, well thought out, and very engaged in their work. In the section on who we are, it says:

We are passionate and tenacious professionals who, together with our international Board of visionaries and leaders, work with hundreds of partners worldwide to secure every woman’s right to a just and healthy life. We are funded by private foundations, UN agencies, European governments, individuals and corporations. We do not accept funding from the U.S. government. (emphasis mine)

As you can see from my little “shout out” of the last line, I was very surprised at that statement and had never seen it stated so bluntly before. If any of my readers know of other organizations that refuse money from the US gov’t, please let me know. Of course, I can understand this. The strings attached and the control over actions that come with “Bush” money were outrageous and lacking in a sense of the world and human rights. But is that still in effect now? This puzzles me.

The IWHC has a blog — AKIMBO. Most recently, Alex Garita covered the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (“Rio+20″) held in June of 2012 and I offer you a short excerpt which shows the quality of the blog and its clarity of thought:

Since the inter-governmental negotiations began in December 2011, feminist organizations were told by key countries, including Brazil and South Africa, that the Group of 77 (a group that represents “developing countries” in United Nations negotiations) would not break over differences of position on “controversial issues” such as gender equality and sexual and reproductive health and rights because “more important issues were at stake”.

Disappointingly, this was Brazil’s consistent position throughout the process as it sought to affirm its leadership within the Economic South and obtain gains on other issues such as the green economy and trade. Our allies remained vocal throughout the process and helped secure the language that we will use for enshrining reproductive health and human rights in future development agreements. These critical positions came from: Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, the United States, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, Israel and Mexico.

If you would like to read the final document, see “The Future We Want”.

via Akimbo — Standing Strong for a Woman’s Right to a Just and Healthy Life.

Half the World: Perspectives on the Power of Women

More from the Guttmacher Institute

States Enact Record Number of Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2011


July 13, 2011

In the first six months of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict access to abortion services, a sharp increase from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted this year are more than double the previous record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in 2005—and more than triple the 23 enacted in 2010. All of these new provisions were enacted in just 19 states.

 

In the US, women are being regulated -- to death.  Are we going back to hangers and back streets?

Read the article at the Guttmacher Institute media center: States Enact Record Number of Abortion Restrictions in First Half of 2011.

100 years of activism and change – International Women’s Day

First celebrated in 1911, International Women’s day gives us all a time to think about the women of the world who have been working locally, nationally, and globally to create better, fairer, healthier, more educated lives for all people on the planet.

UN Women was formed in July, 2010. The video below, created by UN Women, celebrates women’s activism, accomplishments, and continuing efforts spanning these 100 years.

Women’s Rights are inextricably linked to Human Rights.  The 1979 UN Treaty “Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women” (CEDAW, or the Treaty for the Rights of Women)  defines discrimination against women as any “distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of marital status, on the basis of equality between men and women, of human rights or fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil, or any other field.”  One-hundred and eighty five countries worldwide so far have ratified this treaty — but not the United States. Amnesty International states:

The United States is among a small minority of countries that have not yet ratified CEDAW, including Iran and Sudan. The United States has the dubious distinction of being the only country in the Western Hemisphere and the only industrialized democracy that has not ratified this treaty.

Women’s organizations are taking this year’s International Women’s Day to call for action from our President and Senate. The National Organization of Women (NOW) is calling on Congress and President Obama to vigorously defend the health and dignity of women everywhere. Along with many other organizations, they are calling for the long-overdue U.S. ratification of CEDAW — the most complete international agreement on basic human rights for women.

The right to equal education is one of the fundamental principles of CEDAW. Research has shown that as the lives of women improve, countries become more prosperous. Keeping 50% of the population uneducated or unable to work and improve themselves keeps areas of the world in poverty.

More access to education of women has resulted in decreasing infant mortality rates across many countries. Yes, slight in some cases, but the two are inextricably linked. This chart linked below (created at Gapminder World) shows, in the two axes : Mean years in school (women of reproductive age 15 to 44) by Infant mortality (per 1,000 births). Be sure to click the “Play” button at the bottom to see the effect over time. You’ll see a lot of movement in most countries. War-ravaged Afghanistan on the far left has seen little improvement. Not surprising.

Increases in Women’s Education affect Infant Mortality rates

Every day is International Women’s Day. As women’s lives improve, the lives of men and children will improve as well. Yes, progress is being made — sometimes two steps forward and one back, sometimes the opposite — but it takes efforts all year long all over the world. We can all make a difference.

Reposted from my original post on http://uconnlibrary.wordpress.com

House Votes to Strip Planned Parenthood of Federal Funding – ABC News

Thank you, Rep. Jackie Speier, for speaking up and clarifying the gross waste of time going on in our House of Representatives. Wake up and stop these “personal vendettas” and help the people of our country to get jobs, healthcare, care for their children, get an education, be able to pay for their food to feed their families. What a travesty is our current House.

The House of Representatives Friday passed a measure to end federal funding for abortion provider Planned Parenthood a day after Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., brought the chamber to stunned silence after describing her own personal experience with abortion.

via House Votes to Strip Planned Parenthood of Federal Funding – ABC News.

Protecting Life? New Bill Says Its OK to Let Women Die | RHRealityCheck.org

Protecting Life? New Bill Says Its OK to Let Women Die | RHRealityCheck.org.

One hundred members of Congress (so far) have cosponsored a bill introduced by far right Congressman Joe Pitts (R-PA) called the “Protect Life Act.”

They want to “protect life” so much that they have written into the bill a new amendment that would override the requirement that emergency room doctors save every patient, regardless of status or ability to pay.  The law would carve out an exception for pregnant women; doctors and hospitalswill be allowed to let pregnant women die if interventions to save them will kill the fetus.

Yesterday, according to a report by NARAL Pro-Choice America, lawmakers inserted the  new provision onto page six of H.R.358, a bill that is already jam-packed with misogynistic anti-choice and anti-woman provisions.

According to the Congressional Research Service, HR 358:

  1. Amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to prohibit federal funds from being to used to cover any part of the costs of any health plan that includes coverage of abortion services. (Currently, federal funds cannot be used for abortion services and plans receiving federal funds must keep federal funds segregated from any funds for abortion services.)

I’m so disheartened by this and the previous post. Can we ride out this wave of insanity? You can read much more detail at RHRealityCheck.org: Protecting Life? New Bill Says Its OK to Let Women Die.

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