This article deals with female genital mutilation in the West African Country of the Gambia. I know it is an issue we have frequently discussed in class so I thought I would post it. The president, Yahya Jammeh, recently announced the practice would be banned effective immediately. Supporters of the movement to end female genital cutting in the Gambia praised the president for making a controversial decision during election season. One such supporter remarked, “He put women and girls first, this could negatively affect him, but this shows he cares more about women than losing people’s votes.” The practice was estimated to affect approximately 75% of women in the country, over half of which were 14 years old or younger. The link above includes the article as well as a brief video from what has turned into a global media campaign to raise awareness about the issue and advocate for bringing an end to the practice.
Though it is an opinion article, writer Jeff Rouner brings up a hot topic and long standing issue in video games; naked or near naked women. The sexualized female figure obviously plays on the fantasies of male consumers which is the target market, but the reasons for their inclusion is far less developed than the games themselves. Games such as Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain and Halo 5: Guardian both came under criticism this year for the developers’ weak explanations for why main characters in the games are basically naked. Rouner emphasizes the fact these characters were specifically designed to be arousing, the developers insist upon other excuses that don’t justify the wardrobe; just skimpy dressed women in the middle of a wars. I agree with Rouner, that nudity is not entirely unacceptable in video games, though more effort in creating believable context for the sexual imagery should be made. Restating Rouner’s closing argument, female characters, like male characters should be dressed to fit the scenario, if you want a sexy scene write in some romance.
The World Economic Forum on their report of the gender pay gap, says that “based on current trends women will not receive equal pay until 2133. The addition of women to the workforce hasn’t really helped our cause for equal, they say women are making what men made in 2006. According to their report the United States is not even in the top 10 countries with the smallest pay gap. They say even though women are attending college more than men this isn’t translating into women going into high skilled and leadership positions. Only countries that have more women in leadership positions than men is Columbia, Fiji and the Philippines. They say that unless we change “the culture around the division of labor at home women will always have an extra burden” (BBC) and progress made by women have stalled in the passed few years.
In Niger, more than one woman dies every two hours in childbirth, and many more become disabled. With high levels of gender inequality and maternal deaths, the United Nations Population Fund began offering “Husbands’ School” to educate married men about maternal health and related matters. This program brings together cultural and religious leaders, NGO’s and married men to not only discuss these issues, but to make decisions and put action plans into place. The idea has quickly spread to other African countries and has spurred interest in hygiene as well as working towards healthier pregnancy and childbirth.
I think this is a good example of educating people and saving lives while maintaining cultural relativism. Involving cultural and religious leaders has allowed this program to flourish and create maternal and other public health awareness across 5 countries, with several more countries also showing interest in this program.
In 2013, Natasha Velez was assaulted by her boyfriend, requiring a trip to the emergency room and doctor ordered time off from work. Having met with management and presenting the appropriate documents, Natasha was surprised to be fired on her first day back due to having “too many issues outside of work.” Luckily for Natasha, New York state, where she lives, has a law banning discrimination against victims of domestic violence. Not all states have this law, and FMLA doesn’t address the specific needs of this vulnerable population.
In class, we’ve discussed the need for family leave, but I believe this situation adds another element to the argument. Doctor’s appointments, court dates, therapy sessions and a host of other appointments can make it difficult for victims to maintain employment while completing the process. We seem to agree (as a class) that paid family leave is needed, but what are your thoughts on allowing a family leave program allowing the time to be used for other personal matters?
Personally, I think it is important to consider this as part of family leave to make sure that victims have access to paid time off when dealing with an already stressful situation. I don’t believe that we can count on all states implementing laws like New York has done. I also don’t believe we can leave it up to employers to look after their employees in situations like this. And I don’t see a need for a separate leave program since it can be included in a family leave program (which we will hopefully have sooner or later.) I’d love to hear your opinions as well!
In a small village in India, the community celebrates the birth of girls by planting trees and collecting money to help support the girls until age 20. In return, the girls’ parents must promise that she will be educated and not be married until age 18.
The tradition was started by the former leader of the village in honor of his daughter who died in 2006. The tradition continues as the village plants 111 trees and collects about $480 each time a girl is born. This tradition is not only helping to improve life for girls and women in this village, but building resources for their future.
Posted by: Andrea Fulle
22 November 2015
Mark Zurkerberg took to his timeline to announce that he will take two months of paternity leave following the birth of his daughter. His announcement included the statement “Studies show that when working parents take time to be with their newborns, outcomes are better for the children and families.”
Zuckerberg is among the few higher-ups in tech to take paternity/ maternity leave. I feel that this constitutes a major step toward normalizing parental leave.
Posted by: Andrea Fulle
22 November 2015
This article caught my attention because most of the news regarding maternity leave is about either other countries or about specific companies in the U.S., not about government policy in the United States. The bill states that “any pregnant employee in government service, regardless of employment status, shall be granted a maternity leave of 100 days, with full pay based on her average weekly or regular wages, regardless if the delivery was normal or caesarian.”
Yet, it is important to note who the new provisions do not apply to, as it is often those who need it most that are unable to use it. The exceptions are: “those operating distressed establishments; those retail/service establishments employing not more than 10 workers; those who pay their workers on a purely commission, boundary, or task basis, and those who are paid a fixed amount for performing a specific work; those considered as micro business enterprises and engaged in the production, processing, or manufacturing or products or commodities including agro-processing, trading, and services whose total assets are not more than P3 million; and those who are already providing similar or more than the benefits herein provided.”
This article demonstrates how complicated legislation for maternity leave really is. Also, paid leave is extremely complicated because the various forms of wage (salary, commission, a combination of the two, etc) make it difficult to form “one-size-fits-all” policies.
Also, this article also left me with the impression that I am a bit rusty when it comes to how exactly a bill is passed.
“The Hunting Ground” is a documentary addressing the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. The documentary has caused 19 Harvard law professors to criticize the accuracy of certain cases in the movie. Other professors have rebutted that the 19 professors myopically paid attention to the legal aspects rather than sexual assault. The 19 professors focus on one case specifically of a Harvard student that in the film was portrayed as guilty as well as an offender when he was not indicted by Harvard Law of serious charges and was later reinstated by the school. As the argument goes back and forth, it’s perplexing to understand the point of view of the 19 professors as it would seem they are more interested in preserving Harvard’s image as a prestigious school rather than consider the serious nature of sexual assault on college campuses.
A recent campaign called “My Stealthy Freedom” founded by Iranian journalist, Masih Alinejad, is a meeting place for Iranians to take pictures of themselves without their veils in public. The Iranian revolution in 1979 instituted laws against not wearing the veil in public which could result in fines or arrests. When Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was shown a picture of a woman not wearing the veil in public, he reacted by noting it’s one of the many problems that exist in Iran. Alinejad has stated that she would like to live in Iran but not under the present conditions of forcing women to wear the veil in public as she promotes the message of “freedom of choice.” After the nuclear deal with Iran, Alinejad says there is more that should be done to address women’s concerns. Alinejad said, “So this is a time that we have to talk about women deal, about women’s right. And this is a time that women of Iran know that they put themselves in danger, but they want to talk about their own rights as well.”