South Korean “comfort women” being abused again. Time for honesty not revisionist history.

“Japan has leveled insults at them rather than offering an apology,” South Korean President Park Gyeun-hye told visiting US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last month.

This sounds all too familiar. Revisionist history. Blame the victims. If they wait long enough, they’ll all die and this will be over. Not.

Let’s be vocal about our support of these women.  If the situation was reversed, what would Japan expect from South Korea? How about standing in the “other’s” shoes for a while. Respect and honor for all people.

Comfort women

Peter Ford/The Christian Science Monitor

The abuse of “comfort women” has proved a particularly painful memory, not least because for nearly half a century it was repressed. Only in 1990 did the first South Korean women lift the veil of shame they had drawn over Japan’s forcible recruitment of an estimated 200,000 young women and girls to serve in military brothels.

Just 56 of the 239 women who publicly acknowledged their experiences are still alive.

The controversy has grown since Shinzo Abe became Japanese prime minister last February. Six years ago, during his first term as prime minister, he argued that there was no evidence that any of the “comfort women” had been coerced into prostitution. That contradicted the earlier finding of an official Japanese commission, and caused an outcry around Asia.

Read the article at: Korea to Japan: Time running out for ‘comfort women’ resolution

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Robson on “Dressing Constitutionally”

Robson on “Dressing Constitutionally”.

dressing_constitutionally

Coming to your library soon!

At this time, this book is not published. Coming soon!

Brooklyn Museum: Writing Women Back Into History

Wikipedia has a gender problem. Alexandra Thom is heading up a project to add entries and substance to Wikipedia on all the women included in Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” which is permanently installed in the Sackler Gallery at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. Not only are entries on the women of history lacking but female editors to Wikipedia are also much fewer than non-female. What’s up? It’s no surprise that men write mostly about men. Well, ladies, start your engines.

Thom writes, “The Dinner Party is an icon of feminist art, which features the names of 1,038 women in history…”

She found many of the names had only “stub” entries and almost 100 others had no mention at all. You can follow Alexandra’s project through the Brooklyn Museum blog starting with the two links below.

Brooklyn Museum: Community: bloggers@brooklynmuseum » Writing Women Back Into History.

Ending the ongoing cycle of omission

Bravo, Ms. Thom! Wikipedia is so heavily used by folks around the world. How many more women will your work inspire to become editors of Wikipedia to fill out this gross omission. I know I’m on board.

FORUM: 40 years later, classics of women’s movement endure- The New Haven Register – Serving New Haven, Connecticut

By Rhea Hirshman

IT’S the end of the semester, and I’m emerging from under piles of exams and papers. That bedraggled middle-aged woman who sneaked into in my bathroom mirror is looking considerably more chipper now that I’ve been getting a full night’s sleep and, after a few deep breaths, I’ll be thinking about next semester, when I’ll be teaching my upper-level course on the U.S. women’s movement.

Teaching about something you have lived is like looking through that mirror, seeing your younger self waving at you. That self grew up and into political awareness with Ms. magazine, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this month. With the conviction that American women had concerns beyond cooking and cosmetics, its founders developed ideas for a publication that would reflect the growing feminist movement.

On Dec. 20, 1971, the first Ms. appeared, as an insert in New York magazine. While detractors found the idea of a wide-circulation feminist magazine laughable — TV newsman Harry Reasoner scoffed, “I’ll give it six months before they run out of things to say” — the 300,000 copies sold out in eight days, and the publication received 26,000 subscription orders and more than 20,000 reader letters within a few weeks. The first stand-alone issue appeared the following July.

Feminist activists had long been critical of the traditional women’s magazines. In March of 1970, about 100 had targeted Ladies’ Home Journal, storming into the male editor’s office, presenting demands and sitting-in for 11 hours. While only a few demands were met, writer Vivian Gornick noted: “It was a watershed moment. It showed us … that we did, indeed, have a (women’s) movement.” That movement needed a new kind of magazine.

In 1971, you may remember, married women could not obtain credit in their own names; job listings were segregated by sex; “marital rape” was considered an oxymoron; employers could freely discriminate against pregnant women; and equal pay for equal work was a new concept. There were no shelters for battered women or rape crisis hot lines, the term “sexual harassment” was not in the lexicon, and there was no Title IX banning sex discrimination in educational institutions.

Ms. tackled these topics and more. True to its activist origins, it went beyond reporting: explaining and advocating for the Equal Rights Amendment; rating presidential candidates on women’s issues ranging from child care to Social Security policy to women in prison; commissioning and presenting a national study on date rape.

Today’s Ms. covers international women’s issues, reviews books and music and deals with such subjects as the environment and the gender politics of emerging technologies. For most of its history, Ms. has supported itself with subscriptions and donations, eschewing the advertising that is the lifeblood of most mainstream magazines.

Along with Ms., another ground-breaking publication celebrates its 40th anniversary this year: the book “Our Bodies, Ourselves.” It filled an enormous need for accurate, nonjudgmental information about all aspects of women’s health and sexuality; in a parallel to the response to Ms. magazine, the first edition sold 250,000 copies.

A nonprofit organization, also called Our Bodies Ourselves, grew out of the book’s publication. It went on to advocate for women’s health issues worldwide, with a mission of “advancing health and human rights within a framework of values shaped by women’s voices and a commitment to self-determination and equality.”

The book, now in its ninth edition, is published in 26 overseas editions that are attuned to local cultures. It has sold 4.5 million copies and was recently named by Time magazine one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923.

Through technology that we couldn’t have imagined four decades ago, I use the electronic version of Ms. in classes, and refer students to the Our Bodies Ourselves website.

As I will tell my students again next semester, another measure of the success of both Ms. and “Our Bodies Ourselves” is how often attempts have been made to ban them. But, they have endured and flourished and, along with them, the core feminist messages of equality, dignity and transformation.

Rhea Hirshman of New Haven is a freelance writer and adjunct professor at the Stamford branch of the University of Connecticut. Write to her in care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511. Email: rheahirshman@gmail.com.

via FORUM: 40 years later, classics of women’s movement endure- The New Haven Register – Serving New Haven, Connecticut.

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

Alfre Woodard reads Sojourner Truth

National Women’s History Month.

This speech was given by Sojourner Truth at the Women’s Convention, Akron, Ohio, in 1851. Woodard brings the words to life — poignant, meaningful, strong. We owe a lot to all the brave women that have come before us. And we’re still struggling for our rights, education, control of our own bodies, a living wage.

Put the Blame on Eve: What Women Must Overcome to Feel Worthy

Meet the Author : Melinda Rising
Put the Blame on Eve: What Women Must Overcome to Feel Worthy
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
6 PM UConn Co-op

Book cover from Put the blame on EveIn her groundbreaking book, Put the Blame on Eve, Dr. Rising investigates the “curse of Eve.” She follows the roots of women’s struggle for equal pay, equal status, and equal respect back to the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the serpent and the apple. Rising has served as Women’s Issues Chair for the AAUW’s Connecticut chapter, as Commissioner for the New England Association for Schools and Colleges, and as an academic Dean and Dean of continuing education for a variety of public and private institutions in Connecticut, including UConn.

Thanks to the UConn/Storrs Women’s Center Newsletter for this alert.

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