Here is some important research on women in peace negotiations. Do these numbers surprise you? This is the first I have read a news report of women’s leadership in peace in Syria. The unanswered question is how can that be scaled up to the level of international peace negotiations.

And why has this war become a footnote in our daily or weekly news? This is still the exponentially tragic event that it was in the beginning. Yesterday the U.S. State Department was very evasive in response to questions about what they are doing.


A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words…

When I saw this article, I thought it was so appropriate for a gender and cultures blog. In this picture, Jennifer Lawrence is clearly underdressed. Apparently it was 49 degrees when this photo was taken for a photo-call in London. The image went viral and started a conversation on social media with some criticizing the fact that she was not wearing a coat like the men, others defending her choice to wear what she wants, and others blaming her stylist.

This is how Lawrence responded to the criticism on Facebook:

While I don’t think that even she believes that wearing the dress was a simple choice because she “loves fashion,” I also don’t think she realizes the depths of sociological issues discernible from this one photo. What are your opinions?


Women shouldering ‘cost and burden’ in China

As we all know, in recent decades China has established itself as a world economic power after it began its transition from a communist model to a capitalist system. These reforms have brought benefits for their population because it has allowed them access to opportunities and freedoms that were restricted in the previous system. However, there has been an important social cost for women who are the ones who have had to assume the burden of moving from a planned economy to a market economy.

In this article, the author Zhang Lijia analyzes how the participation of women in the labor market of the new China has deteriorated. While in the 70s 90% of women of working age were employed, in this decade only 45% of Chinese women have a job. In addition, currently the average salary of women corresponds to only 67% of that of men.

And why does this situation arise? Because with the opening of markets came many private companies which use unscrupulous practices towards female workers in China. So for example many companies refuse to hire women of child bearing age and sometimes if a woman gets pregnant, they fire her. Even in some cases, they force women to write that “in the next ten years I promise I will not have children”. In this way, China went from a state that defended gender equality to a system of open sexism.

I find this analysis interesting because generally when we talk about economic systems and the advantages of capitalism over communist systems we do not think about gender issues and the case of China is a clear example that despite having a successful economic growth this it has not translated into better social conditions for their women.

Substantive Blog Post 2: Gender and Addiction

In this article by the American Addiction Center ( Researchers study some of the the biological differences between men and women and how they can affect susceptibly to substance abuse. For example, hormonal differences and differing levels of certain drug-metabolizing enzymes in females may make them more likely to become addicted to substances such as alcohol and opiates. These hormone differences can make women more “cognizant of the the effects of substances”, meaning they tend to feel the “rewarding” effects of drugs more even when taking a smaller amount than a male. Generally, females have less body weight and increased levels of Estrogen compared to males which also plays a factor in their risk of addiction. The female menstrual cycle and its effects on their bodies (hormonal imbalances and increased incidences of depression for example) are also discussed as factors that increase the susceptibility of females to drug abuse.

Jaylen Rodgers

“How to be a Science girl in a Barbie World”

So, although this article is fairly old, I have been discussing our class with my advisor and the topics we cover. Last week she had sent me an email about an article she came across and thought it might be useful for our course-

I thought it was perfect for what we’ve discussed in class, as well as ties to my field and final paper, and I wanted to share it with you all.

“The problems we face in the world are very complicated. Any one of us can get stuck. If we’re in an organization where everyone thinks in the same way, everyone will get stuck in the same place.” – Quoted in article

Eve Andrews, the author of this article titled How to be a science girl in a barbie world, discusses how women are fairly underrepresented in science fields. That under-representation is a problem in the face of climate change, which affects women in indigenous communities particularly. Andrews says:

“So the real question is: Why? In the age of affirmative action and more and more women in higher education, why are women going so underrepresented in scientific fields?” (Andrews, 2014).

She ties the answer into the production of toys. Yepp, that’s right. Toys. If anyone has seen a barbie doll, they could probably sense where this is going. She argues that gender roles could begin in childhood because of the sexism that toys generate. It was interesting to me that when she had interviewed women in the science field, they all said relatively the same thing. Sexist “attitudes” start “instantly.” One woman noted that she heard “don’t play with dinosaurs, play with princesses” often (Andrews, 2014).

A couple of people Andrews interviewed said they tried discussing those issues with their children, asking them:

“Rather than Barbie asking the boys for help with her program, what could she have done? What could she have tried to do, could she have tried to figure it out on her own?” (Andrews, 2014).

She also pointed out that teaching girls to be girly and boys to be masculine does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. However, she discusses how we should not have to teach our children to be only one thing, but maybe start helping them “recognize” various types of “thinking and problem-solving” (Andrews, 2014).


I’m With Them

The teens who survived the florida school shooting are organizing a national march to demand gun control. These students are so inspiring to me because most of them aren’t even old enough to vote yet. It doesn’t matter what your gender, age, or race is…anybody can make a change. We’ve averaged a school shooting every 60 hours in 2018. Something needs to be done.

One child in America was killed by lawn darts and they were banned man tried to blow up his shoe on a plane and now we all have to take our shoes off at the airport.

These teens said “we are the last time”..i’m with them.


-Kristen Flowers

The Husband Stitch

In our class we constantly talk about intersections of life. One that is important to me is the sexualization of women in the medical world, and in this case, birth. When I was reading the news one morning I came across something called the “husband stitch.” During labor, a woman can receive an episiotomy, which is a cut made between the vagina and anus, in order to help with delivery. This procedure is obviously done during a vaginal birth. After the mother has given birth the doctor will sew the area back together. This was a common practice until around the 1980’s since it was believed that this procedure would give a clean cut rather than natural tearing.

In the 1980’s research was conducted which concluded that episiotomies caused more harm than good to the mother and here is where the husband stitch comes into play. After an episiotomy is preformed and labor is concluded the doctor will sew the cut back together, however the husband stitch is an extra stitch thought to make the vaginal opening smaller, giving the man more pleasure during sex. While the stitch may cause the opening of the vagina to be smaller, this does nothing for tightness of the vaginal muscles and causes women enormous amounts of pain during intercourse in the future. Studies have shown that this occurs more frequently to white women than women of color. An informant from the article said that she did not ask for the stitch, but it was given to her anyway and she felt her doctor took advantage of her by preforming an unnecessary medical procedure which would cause her pain later in life. One informant’s boyfriend heard the midwife say that she would “throw an extra stitch in for him” and winked.

Reading this article made me so enraged that I had a hard time finishing. This shows how patriarchal our society is and our disregard for women’s choices or bodies. The fact that these doctors were preforming the husband stitch without even telling the woman could be argued that these doctors were in a way sexually assaulting these women. The women who have just given birth reported that they were out of it and exhausted from labor (as one can imagine) and having them be mutilated for their partner’s sexual pleasure is absolutely sickening. These doctors are breaking the hypocratic oath and should lose their licenses.

The silver lining is that this practice is decreasing but in my opinion, this just proves that we are still far from egalitarianism in our country.


-Chelsea Cullen

The Loving Generation

This youtube video The Loving Generation, touches on the hardships mixed raced people face in this country. About 50 years ago, it was illegal for interracial couples to be married. A black women, Mildred Jeter and white man, Richard Loving challenged the US Supreme Court and after a tough battle, won their case. From that point on, interracial couples were allowed to marry. When you think about it, this was not too long ago. In a sense, children born before the court case would be considered illegal. Since interracial marriage became legal, there was an increase in biracial children being born soon after. This is what they call “The Loving Generation”. This video focuses on the main topic of checking boxes. A lot of mixed people have trouble selecting their race on forms. In the United States, if you are black and white, you are automatically considered black. Some are ok with this but others feel as if they are dismissing their white side. There are some mixed people that can pass as white but are often told they are not black. Even light skinned African Americans sometimes have their blackness questioned. The video does a great job of telling their stories. Being a dark skinned African American, my blackness has never been questioned. This video gave me some more insight into the other perspective. There was a movie that came out about two years ago that covers this historic court case, I definitely recommend it!

Substantive Post 2: Marginalization of Women in Andean Farming Communities

“We women must learn to go out into and feel
comfortable in local and global spaces equally, in order to represent our
peoples” – Quote from Pachamama, 2000

This week I wanted to incorporate marginalization of women in Andean communities outside of Bolivia. I came across an article by Sarah Radcliffe, Nina Laurie, and Robert Andolina, titled The Transnationalization of Gender and Reimagining Andean Indigenous Development (2004), which incorporated marginalization of women in both Bolivia and Ecuador.

What I liked most about this article was how the authors related the issues back to the economy and local/national governments. They discuss capital and the roles of both men and women in indigenous and peasant households.

Specifically, they discuss stressors particular to women and use quotes from women that talk about some of them. For example, one quotes states:

““Women’s most specific problem is poverty. They [development
experts] talk about our right to health, to mental well-being. But how
are we to have this if we’re worried about sending our kids to school
without lunch? What will I cook? The lack of understanding in the home
[between spouses] is our problem too, because there is no shared work
and . . . there is violence”

The authors also discuss the types of divisions of labor between men and women in the Andes. Women are usually tasked with agricultural aspects that are “undervalued or unacknowledged” (p. 392). Although majority of women work, only few actually get paid. It is typical for “village leaders, policy makers, and governments” to not “acknowledge” the work of those women (p. 392). Other issues include education, language, and domestic violence.

Women can attend school. However, very few actually do and the quality of the schools available for them to attend is poor. Poverty and cultural norms usually keep most women from attending.

“Indigenous women in the Ecuadorian highlands receive just 1.4 years of
schooling on average, compared with 2.4 years for indigenous men and
seven years for Ecuadorian women on average” – Radcliffe, Laurie, & Andolina, 2004, p. 392.

Another interesting aspect of this article was that more men than women are fluent in Spanish, which presents problems because its the language most widely used throughout the area and present in educational facilities. Women’s roles are said to be in “maintaining values, language, and cultural identities” (p. 393). There is tension between progressive indigenous women who want to move toward European/feminist approaches regarding roles (mainly to deal with marginalization issues) and those who resist that movement, often caused by issues of domestic violence.

“Domestic violence remains one of the most contentious issues for indigenous gender politics and is also coincidentally one of the
themes where indigenous women draw on international initiatives to clarify
their own perspective” – Radcliffe, Laurie, & Andolina, 2004, p. 393-394.

Though the most interesting part of this article, in my opinion, was the article about indigenous women and social movements. According to the authors, the women in these communities are those who “most have their identity, most have their vision” (p. 395). Therefore, they believe those women are crucial when it comes to social movements because they can “recuperate cultural identity” (p. 395).

Source: Radcliffe, S.A., Laurie, N., & Andolina, R. 2004. The Transnationalization of Gender and Reimagining Andean Indigenous Development. Signs Journal of Women in Culture and Society 29(2):387-416.

Donald Trump, a Gift That Keeps Giving?

New records are being set in 2018 in terms of women running for Congress. Although it is heavily skewed towards the Democrats, both parties are experiencing significant increases in women running. EMILY’s List, an organization that recruits based on the candidates pro-choice platform, reports that 30,000 women were interested in running for the upcoming election or future elections, a significant increase since 2016, when only 920 women reached out. Although not everyone has been able to officially file for office yet, so far, in total, there are 431 women nationwide running for the House. This includes 339 Democrats and 92 Republicans. In the last election, only 212 women in total ran. Similarly, there are 50 women that are running or likely running for the Senate, in comparison to only 25 in the 2016 election.


This article in particular looks towards the current male-dominated political atmosphere as the main cause for this surge in women candidates. President Trump in particular, is attributed as one of the largest driving factors because of many of his views towards a variety of issues including health care and immigration. Equally, the increase in female candidates is due to the domestic abuse scandals within the White House and the President’s sexual misconduct allegations by over a dozen women. It is both a blessing and a curse to have our current president as his continuous misconduct serves as fuel to the ever-growing fire. Although the surge in Republican women running also attributes the increase to similar reasons, according to this article, they feel that there is a blatant exclusion from the Democratic women. With the strong divide between parties still evident even between women fighting to establish gender equality, I hope that they will find a way to work together, if elected, at a time when collaboration seems impossible in our Congress.

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