Archive for the ‘women’s health’ Category

To all the women I know…

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

Happy International Women’s Day!!!


Equal access to education,

training and science and technology:

Pathway to decent work for women

Read more here. Or here. Or here. Or here. Or here.

International Women’s Day 2011 (tomorrow)

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Tomorrow, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. Do you know what the International Women’s Day is and why it is celebrated and recognized? Please read on and find out…

From the International Women’s Day website,

International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies.

1908
Great unrest and critical debate was occurring amongst women. Women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change. Then in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.

1909
In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman’s Day (NWD) was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate NWD on the last Sunday of February until 1913.

1910
In 1910 a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named a Clara Zetkin (Leader of the ‘Women’s Office’ for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands. The conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, representing unions, socialist parties, working women’s clubs, and including the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament, greeted Zetkin’s suggestion with unanimous approval and thus International Women’s Day was the result.

1911
Following the decision agreed at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day (IWD) was honoured the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on 19 March. More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on 25 March, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. 1911 also saw women’s ‘Bread and Roses’ campaign.

1913-1914
On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. In 1913 following discussions, International Women’s Day was transferred to 8 March and this day has remained the global date for International Wommen’s Day ever since. In 1914 further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity.

1917
On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for “bread and peace” in response to the death over 2 million Russian soldiers in war. Opposed by political leaders the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women’s strike commenced was Sunday 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was 8 March.

1918 – 1999
Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes. 1975 was designated as ‘International Women’s Year’ by the United Nations. Women’s organisations and governments around the world have also observed IWD annually on 8 March by holding large-scale events that honour women’s advancement and while diligently reminding of the continued vigilance and action required to ensure that women’s equality is gained and maintained in all aspects of life.

2000 and beyond
IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation feel that ‘all the battles have been won for women’ while many feminists from the 1970’s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.

However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.

GoogleAnnually on 8 March, thousands of events are held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate achievements. A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women’s craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more.

Many global corporations have also started to more actively support IWD by running their own internal events and through supporting external ones. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google some years even changes its logo on its global search pages. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status. The United States even designates the whole month of March as ‘Women’s History Month’.

So make a difference, think globally and act locally !! Make everyday International Women’s Day. Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

The internationalwomensday.com website was created and is managed by Australian entrepreneur and women’s campaigner Glenda Stone as a global hub of IWD events and information.

Ms Stone says “A decade ago International Women’s Day was disappearing. Activity in Europe, where International Women’s Day actually began, was very low. Providing a global online platform helped sustain and accelerate momentum for this important day. Holding only a handful of events ten years ago, the United Kingdom has now become the global leader for International Women’s Day activity, followed sharply by Canada, United States and Australia. 2011 will see thousands of events globally for the first time.”

The theme this year is: “Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women.”

Of the estimated 72 million children who are not in school, girls are the majority.

— Of the 759 million adults who cannot read or write, the vast majority, close to 70 per cent, are
women – a trend that has not improved during the last decade.

— According to the 2010 Millennium Development Goals review there were 96 girls for every 100
boys enrolled in primary school, and 95 girls for every 100 boys enrolled in secondary school in
2008, a sizable increase compared to the 1999 ratios of 91 and 88 per 100 boys.

— Women’s educational attainment does not necessarily translate into improved employment
opportunities. Among the 20-24 year-old population, women continue to lag behind men in
labour force participation in all regions.

— When girls are able to obtain a secondary education, a country’s economy growth improves
through women’s increased labor force participation, productivity and earnings. It has been found
that when an educated girl earns an income, she reinvests 90 per cent of it in her family,
compared to boys who devote 35 per cent of their income to their families.

— Every year, approximately 10 million teenage girls marry – the majority of them without
completing secondary education. Adolescent girls aged 15-19 who give birth (approximately 16
million) to a child account for more than 10 per cent of all births worldwide annually. Adolescent
mothers experience much higher rates of maternal mortality and morbidity that older women.
At least 2.5 million adolescent pregnancies each year lead to unsafe abortions

Learn more at the following websites:

International Women’s Day
http://www.internationalwomensday.com/default.asp

United Nations – International Women’s Day
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/iwd/

Healthcare Reform Passes Congress…at what cost?

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Shame on you President Obama,

I read your excited message about the healthcare reform bill passing Congress tonight and I burst into tears of joy. I felt like the change we have been seeking for so many years, that we have been working so hard to bring about was finally coming to fruition. Only to learn it ‘passed’ in exchange for the tens of millions of women in this country. When should we expect the government to send their lackeys to pick up our shoes so we can stay home proper, barefoot and forced pregnant? When did the promise of change become the promise of positive change for men and a reaffirmation of women as second-class citizens?

I am absolutely appalled that you or any member of our government would allow such draconian measures to be perpetrated against women. You are pushing to get this healthcare reform bill passed but at what cost?

The Stupak-Pitts anti-choice amendment renders health care insurance companies incapable, financially, to support women’s’ reproductive health. In order to survive financially under this amendment, they would be forced to drop current coverage for women’s reproductive healthcare. This is a monumental step backwards. It is not simply a matter of not covering costs for the women who are currently uninsured. It goes a mile further and ensures an economic stranglehold on all insurance companies to drop current benefits provided to women.

Choosing to throw women under the bus to get the new healthcare system passed is a galling cop out. This decision is nothing more than the vehicle the opponents need to undermine Roe v. Wade. The provisions of this ‘amendment’ sets women’s healthcare back a century and delivers a devastating blow to those millions of women who enthusiastically supported Obama and this healthcare reform bill.

Women’s healthcare should not be targeted and denied because of political or moral objections. These are not our views or our opinions. These are OUR bodies, OUR choices and OURinsurance companies should cover it–period, particularly when the majority of insurance companies currently cover comprehensive reproductive health services. It was one thing to leave out coverage under the new healthcare bill. That was already a negative aspect. However, it becomes a completely different story when you add an amendment that takes away current coverage, in addition to limiting the alternative options for the coverage taken away.

How dare all of you yellow-belly Democrats who approved this Stupak-Pitts amendment decide to not only NOTinclude reproductive health services in the new health-care system but to endanger the barely-adequate coverage that exists currently. This decision sends a loud message to women in this country: YOU are not important; your needs, your body, your health and your rights are not important. Are we to understand that ‘the millions of people’ that this new system is supposed to help does not include women? Is this the new, improved, sensible healthcare system for men only?

I must have missed that part of the inspirational speeches.

I no longer support this bill or its blatant disregard for women’s reproductive health. And I am extremely angry that I and millions of other women, are being discarded at the whim of two senators in a futile attempt to appease those inconsiderate, selfish people opposing healthcare for all. Are these people who oppose healthcare for all anything more than medical and/or financial terrorists? I thought we had a policy of no negotiation with terrorists?Why then were tens of millions of women conceded in these terroristic negotations to provide adequate healthcare to our citizens?

When did women become so unimportant in this country and to our President that our reproductive health and control over our own bodies are offered up on a silver platter in exchange for the Congress to approve a watered-down, ineffective version of healthcare reform that will punish and neglect no longer by economic status but rather by gender?

I wonder what will happen to this bill once we take away the flattened, discarded feminine support that has so eagerly backed Obama. You can count me out until the dissolution of this backwards Stupak-Pitts amendment.

I see where I rank in importance in your vision for change. If Congress got tens of millions of uteri, what will the Senate get?

One More Crazy ECT

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Today, as I sat reading literature from women in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries—reading snippets of how our foremothers struggled before us—risking everything to find their voices—to free ours—to demand respect and equal rights—forging their way towards independence with a pen—some religious zealot, undoubtedly an Extreme Christian Terrorist, ECT, (aka conservative, Christian Anti-Choice Fanatic who believes violence is a necessary mean for whatever end their preacher or priest arbitrarily dictates is ordained by God) shot Dr. Tiller, an abortion provider, in his church in front of his family, friends and fellow church members.

I read this news and wept.

I am sad for his family, for his friends, for the poor people who were standing next to him. I am sad for the women who will be forced to continue a pregnancy they do not wish to continue. I am sad for those children who are thrust upon their mothers, shackled to their ankles like dead, unwanted weight. I am sad for the women who are imprisoned by their gender and by the male dominated society in which they are born. I am sad for the men who want to support women in their right to choose—who will now cower in fear of violence at the hands of some other ECT. I am sad for the women who still publish under male pseudonyms to gain equal recognition for their words and thoughts. I am sad for the women so lost in the land of men—they fail to see how their religion has tainted their minds against themselves, their bodies, their minds, their sisters, mothers and daughters.

I am outraged at the idiots who spew forth gleeful ignorant remarks chocked-full of misspellings and grammatical errors—using God as their shield—remarking how Dr. Tiller got what he deserved–filling up comment boards–raising ratings of hate-filled, idiotic talk show hosts like Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly. Are you really that ignorant—that intolerant of women’s rights? Can you not see the paradox of your own hateful thoughts—the same derisive, unhealthy thoughts that drove this lunatic ECT to shoot Dr. Tiller?

I am inundated with thoughts to share, choking in a sea of emotion over the bigger picture here. For now, I will leave you with a quote from LeRoy Carhart, an American physican who worked with and respected Dr. Tiller:

“Men have had unlimited availability to ‘abortion’ since the beginning of time. Men can walk away from unwanted pregnancies with virtually no response from government. I believe that, unless women are given an equal right to determine whether or not they remain pregnant, they will not be considered equal. I think that’s what the anti’s are most afraid of-women becoming equal.”