• Stateside,  Trump,  Women's Rights

    Huge crowd in LA for Women’s March despite “pro-Palestinian” boycott

    You may recall four years ago when the actor Scarlett Johansson ended her relationship with Oxfam after the charity took exception to her involvement with the Israeli company SodaStream, which at the time operated a factory on the West Bank– including a commercial during the American Super Bowl. Even though SodaStream has since closed that plant and relocated inside the Green Line to the Negev, certain “pro-Palestinian” groups are still angry with her. They boycotted the anti-Trump Women’s March in Los Angeles (one of hundreds) marking the first anniversary of the Trump presidency. The Palestinian American Women’s Association cited in a post on Facebook Johansson’s “unapologetic support of illegal settlements…

  • Women's Rights

    Sexual predators on the Left

    Writing at The Daily Beast in the wake of the awful revelations about movie producer Harvey Weinstein, James Kirchick makes the unsurprising point that the political Left, no less than the Right, has its share of sexual predators. Weinstein is just the latest in a long line of men whose left-wing politics coexisted harmoniously with retrograde attitudes about women. In his statement, Weinstein said that he “came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different.” Many people scoffed at this explanation, as this was precisely the time when women’s liberation brought workplace sexism to the societal forefront. But Weinstein was right…

  • Women's Rights

    Linda Sarsour on feminism and Zionism

    The controversy can be traced back to a recent International Women’s Strike: Organizers of the strike wrote in its platform that the decolonization of Palestine is “the beating heart of this new feminist movement.” Emily Shire, a Zionist feminist took issue with this stance in a thoughtful op ed in The New York Times; in an interview for The Nation Linda Sarsour responded to her concerns.  I am not sure why the interviewer found Shire’s question ‘flip’? In her op-ed, Emily Shire asks, “why should criticism of Israel be key to feminism in 2017?” I think she was being a bit flip there, but I’d love if you can answer her question…

  • Russia,  Women's Rights

    International Women’s Day, Putin style

    From an AP roundup of worldwide activities on International Women’s Day: Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (dih-MEE’-tree med-VYEH’-dyev) has approved a five-year national action plan supporting women’s interests. The signing came on International Women’s Day on Wednesday. Valentina Matvienko, who as speaker of the upper house of parliament is one of Russia’s most prominent female politicians, calls the strategy a “gift to all the women of Russia.” The plan sets out broad terms for improving women’s health, their economic opportunities and their involvement in the country’s politics. Meanwhile, Russian news reports say seven women have been arrested after a demonstration on Moscow’s Red Square marking International Women’s Day. The independent…

  • Stateside,  Women's Rights

    Jill Stein SILENT on Trump sexual predation

    This is a cross-post by Paul Canning Blogger Clay Claiborne has written a lot about the bizarre campaign of Dr Jill Stein. How she has switched, with no explanations, her position on Syria. On some of the more outrageous things she has said about Hillary Clinton and about her relationship with Russia. Nothing, in my opinion, should be as disqualifying as the fact that she has said nothing – not one word – about the massive discussion of sexual assault going on because of revelations about Donald Trump. I know I promised you a collection of Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein’s tweets about Donald Trump’s outrageous attacks on women,…

  • Iran,  Women's Rights

    Boycott of women’s world chess championship in Iran, is defending women’s freedom of choice

    This is a cross-post by Potkin Azarmehr When the US female chess champion, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, and some of the world’s other top female chess players announced last week, they will boycott the next world chess championships in Iran, because they have been told they are expected to wear the compulsory headscarves in Iran; it was a truly welcome news for Iran’s women who have been fighting against the compulsory hejab forced upon them since shortly after the victory of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. Iranian women have seen very little international support in their long courageous fight against not having the right to wear what they choose. Western feminist activists…

  • Women's Rights

    Solidarity with women in Poland protesting new abortion law

    Although pro-choice campaigners will of course oppose Poland’s planned further restrictions on its already very narrow criteria for legal abortion, many who identify as pro-life will probably be equally concerned by the proposals. Currently women in Poland can only secure an abortion if their life is in danger, if the foetus is seriously deformed, or in cases involving rape or incest.  But the new law will only allow abortion if the mother’s life is at risk, meaning that young girls, including rape victims, will be forced to carry their pregnancies to term. Those found breaking the law will face jail. 58% of Poles approve of this tighter legislation, even though…

  • Secularism,  Women's Rights

    Boycotting the chess world championship

    Women keen to compete in next year’s world chess championship will be forced to don a hijab.  This announcement immediately prompted calls to boycott the event.  I can understand the misgivings of some Iranian women who welcome the chance to compete in an international event on their home turf. For example Ghoncheh Ghavami, a British-Iranian woman who was jailed for her part in a campaign to allow women spectators at men’s volleyball games, opposes the boycott. Ghavami, whose time in jail drew international attention, said from Tehran: “The world must hear the pro-reform voices of people inside Iran and not ignore these pleas by isolating the country.” But the statement from…

  • Women's Rights

    Another Corbyn cock-up

    Many issues which might broadly be termed ‘feminist’ prompt intense debate – sex work, consent and abortion are some of the most obvious examples.  The gender pay gap is another keenly contested topic.  Some imply that women are routinely being paid about 14% less than men for doing the same job. Others, by contrast, insist that there simply isn’t a problem – that it’s all a matter of personal choice.  The reality is – it’s complicated. It’s not unreasonable to consider whether some kinds of work culture – given that women are (for whatever reason) more likely to have caring responsibilities – put women at a disadvantage. However Jeremy Corbyn’s…

  • Stateside,  Women's Rights

    Supreme Court rules against Texas abortion law

    Remember Texas State Senator Wendy’s Davis’s principled but ultimately futile filibuster against a law designed to severely restrict access to legal abortions? By a 5 to 3 vote, the Supreme Court struck down the law that placed extreme and unnecessary requirements on abortion clinics and was clearly designed to restrict access to abortions rather than protect women’s health. The ruling affects other states with similarly restrictive laws. It’s a big victory for women’s rights, especially for the rights of poor and low-income women. Abortion clinics challenged Texas’ 2013 law known as House Bill 2 that requires abortion centers to meet some of the same standards as hospitals, such as having…