feminism

feminism

Half the Sky- Premiere tonight on PBS

2012’s most inspirational film airs on PBS: Mon. & Tues. 9/8pm C. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression to Opportunity for Women Worldwide.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide premieres tonight at 9/8pm CT. on Independent Lens | PBS!

Please share, and invite your friends to join you tonight!

Real men

 

Elie Wiesel

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation.” — Elie Wiesel

Samsung using Child labor in China

My name is Li Qiang and I lead a group called China Labor Watch that investigates and exposes worker exploitation. As a rights lawyer committed to knowing every detail of China’s labor laws — and how they’re ignored and broken — I was shocked when I learned what’s happening in the Chinese factories supplying electronic giant Samsung.

Children as young as 14 years old work 11 hour night shifts, 28 days a month and are denied medical care and even pay.

The exploitation of workers at Samsung’s supplier factories must stop now — and I’m confident that if enough people speak out, the tech giant will be forced to respond just like Apple had to earlier this year.

I started a petition on Change.org calling on Samsung to end worker abuse in the factories making its products. Click here to sign my petition now.

When 14-year-old Xiaofang (an alias, for her protection) got hurt after she fell down a flight of stairs at the factory, the owners and managers wouldn’t even let her see a doctor. They wouldn’t give her sick leave to recover and docked 6 days of her pay. Then, she was fired without any compensation.

Our investigators heard dozens of similar accounts from employees at the factory — even workers being hit by managers or forced to stand all day as punishment for a mistake. In addition to laboring in dangerous conditions every day, we discovered that children like Xiaofang working in this Chinese factory are paid only 70% of what adults are paid.The factory owners know it, but create fake IDs for the children and exploit them with lower pay and part-time hours so the authorities won’t find out.

A few months ago, I saw the tremendous impact that a petition on Change.org had when it called for Apple to improve conditions in a supplier’s factory. More than 250,000 people signed that petition, started by an Apple customer in Washington, DC. It was also covered by worldwide news media extensively. And in the end, Apple listened. When we found out about the horrific working conditions at Samsung’s supplier factory, I knew we had to start a petition on Change.org right away.

I’m confident we can make a difference in the lives of these workers and in the way Samsung’s products are made. Please click here and sign my petition calling on Samsung to stop labor abuse in factories making its products now.

Thank you.

- Li Qiang
Executive Director, China Labor Watch

your voice

 

For Afghan Girl, Going To School Is Act Of Bravery

Afghan girls walk home from school in Kunduz province earlier this year. Despite progress in recent years, girls who want an education face threats from the Taliban and other extremists, and sometimes even their own families.

Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty ImagesAfghan girls walk home from school in Kunduz province earlier this year. Despite progress in recent years, girls who want an education face threats from the Taliban and other extremists, and sometimes even their own families.

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September 3, 2012

In Afghanistan, girls are required by law to go to school. However, many of them never do.

Death threats, acid attacks and bombings by Taliban militants and other extremists lead many parents who support female education to keep their daughters at home.

Sometimes, it’s the families themselves who stand in the way. School officials in conservative communities say relatives are often more interested in marrying off their daughters or sisters than in helping them get an education.

If it wasn’t a sin to commit suicide, I would. Life has become very bitter.

- Rahmaniya, an 18-year-old Afghan girl whose brother says he will kill her for attending school

But some girls, like 18-year-old Rahmaniya, are fighting back.

The 10th-grader in the southern city of Kandahar province says the moments she savors most in her life are those she spends learning.

Rahmaniya, whose last name is being withheld to protect her, says she didn’t dare go to school until her father passed away five years ago. He had vowed to disown her if she tried to get an education.

These days, the slight girl with big brown eyes dreams of going to college to study journalism.

But she adds that it’s hard to think about the future when her older brother keeps threatening to stab her to death with a knife he carries in his pocket.

“Several times he has beaten me up,” she says. “He tells me, ‘You go ahead and go to school, and I’ll throw acid on you like the Taliban. I’ll go to the Taliban, and they’ll protect me if I do this in this land of infidels where girls go to school.’ “

Driven Into Hiding

Rahmaniya believes her brother’s anger is rooted in jealousy, since he quit school a long time ago.

Her family, like many in Kandahar, is also struggling to make ends meet, and the teen says her brother wants her to marry. In Afghanistan, dowries bring in a lot of cash for the bride’s family.

“But I don’t want to get married, at least not before I finish my studies,” Rahmaniya says.

Her brother’s insistence that she wed is something Rahmaniya says she uses against him.

She explains that when he threatens to blind or maim her, she reminds him that disfiguring her will make it impossible to find a husband.

Still, the threats and beatings have driven Rahmaniya into hiding. She moves every few days from one sympathetic relative’s house to another to avoid being found by her brother.

Societal Taboos, Taliban

Last week, her mother agreed to help plan her daughter’s escape to a women’s shelter in Kabul so she could continue her studies in safety.

The plan fell apart when Rahmaniya’s mother caved in to family pressure that her daughter marry a relative.

The mother says the man will allow Rahmaniya to attend school after they wed. But her daughter believes that’s a lie and refuses to marry the relative.

Saying she feels trapped, Rahmaniya begins to cry.

“If it wasn’t a sin to commit suicide, I would,” she says. “Life has become very bitter.”

Ehsanullah Ehsan, who is director of the Kandahar Institute of Modern Studies, where some 800 girls go to school, says Rahmaniya’s case is not unique. He adds that societal taboos are oftentimes as problematic for his students as the Taliban.

“There are many other threats … extremist threats, warlord threats, tribal lord threats, family honor threats, because still there are families in which education is an honor problem. So these women who are coming here, they are brave to come here for an education,” he says.

Ehsan says that bravery has translated into a brighter future for many young women; 300 of his graduates have gotten jobs in Kandahar.

But Rahmaniya says she doesn’t want to stay in Afghanistan.

She says she yearns to go abroad, but that she’s found no one who can help her.

This Impossibly Badass Prosecutor and ‘Rape Kit’ Advocate Is Our New Hero

AUG 28, 2012 11:00 AM28,186 81

This Impossibly Badass Prosecutor and ‘Rape Kit’ Advocate Is Our New Hero

Plagued by rape fatigue? Meet Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy, the woman who’s been leading the charge to sort through more than 11,000 untested police “rape kits” since 2009. Worthy is hellbent on getting the kits, which contain evidence of rape such as semen and saliva, logged, tested, and entered into the national DNA database — and, if it wasn’t for her dedication, the women whose kits have been ignored for years would have no support at all.

You’d think that everyone could agree that prosecuting serial rapists should be a priority, but Worthy’s had to fight hard over the past few years, not only to get funding to test the kits but to get the police department to care about them in the first place. She was instantly outraged when she heard that there were thousands of untouched kits languishing in a dusty police warehouse, but the police chief didn’t take action until someone in his department leaked the news to the press. “No one really paid attention to what I was saying and yelling about ’til about four months in,” she told The Daily Beast‘s Abigail Pesta. Finally, the public took notice, and Worthy’s team received a $1 million federal grant to start testing the kits.

Worthy’s colleagues “literally had to dust [the kits] off” and “physically go through and open them to get the name of the victim, the date that it happened,” she said. But, as expected, it was more than worth the hard work: the team identified twenty serial rapists — meaning they had been involved in at least one other rape case — from the first 153 kits tested this summer, and found DNA matches for another 38 suspects. Unfortunately, the DNA matching is only the beginning; all the cases still need to be re-investigated (or, too often, investigated for the first time), old-school detective style. But hopefully the work they’ve accomplished will lead to more money — Worthy says she only has funds for about 1,600 of the 11,303 rape kits — and more attention from police. Here’s just one example that proves the testing of kits is crucial:

In one especially horrific case, Worthy says, a convicted rapist named Shelly Andre Brooks had raped and murdered five women after raping a woman whose kit was just recently entered into the database through Worthy’s initiative. If that rape kit had been tested and entered into the database sooner, the man could have been caught sooner-and five women’s lives could have been saved. “That’s why it’s so horrible, this whole thing,” she says.

Here are some other fun facts about the anti-rape superhero, who deserves a zillion awards and a major motion picture based on her life: she’s a single mother of three, the first African-American and first woman to be Wayne County prosecutor, and famous for indicting former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in 2008.

A not-as-fun fact: Worthy was raped thirty years ago, while jogging around her law-school apartment complex. She didn’t report the rape. Now, she wants to help those who do, and develop a blueprint for cities across the country to follow in her footsteps.

Rapists, Beware: Detroit Prosecutor IDs 21 Attackers in ‘Rape Kit’ Probe [The Daily Beast]

Amazing young Girl!

California Lemonade Stand Earns More Than $30,000

August 22, 2012 at 9:00AM by Kiri Tannenbaum | 36 Comment

Vivienne Harr Lemonade StandOne little girl in California has figured out the key to success when it comes to lemonade stands. She recently raised $30,000. For nearly 60 days, 8-year-old Vivienne Harr hawked glasses of the sweet and tart beverage. But she isn’t hoping for a big shopping spree. Harr wants to help stop human trafficking and slavery.

According to SF Weekly, Harr named her store, “Make a Stand! Lemonade: The Sweet Taste of Freedom.” She uses the hashtag #MAKEASTAND! to tweet about her stand and she created a website for her cause, makeastandlemonade.com, which leads to a Fundly donation page. Harr is donating funds received on the page and through her lemonade stand toNot for Sale, a non-profit dedicated to ending human slavery and trafficking. While not all of Harr’s $30,000 have been raised at her stand (most has been donated on the website fundraising page), Harr has committed to sitting at her lemonade stand until $150,000 has been raised. At first she charged $2 per cup, but soon left the price up to her customers. When she decided the lemonade should be free, strangers really began donating. Her father told the Marin Independent Journal, “We’re betting on the goodness of people, and we found that the average price went up $18 when we made it free. We said, ‘Pay what’s in your heart.'”

More From Delish: 9 Homemade Lemonade Recipes

Harr got the idea when she and her family were on vacation in Sonoma and stumbled upon a book,Slavery, by journalist Lisa Kristine, who photographed enslaved workers around the globe. The family decided they needed to do something. Vivienne suggested putting up a lemonade stand in her neighborhood park. But her parents doubted the likelihood of raising their goal of $150,000. Through social media they have been able to promote her stand and in the process earn tens of thousands of dollars.

More From Delish: Refreshing Drink Recipes from O, the Oprah Magazine

The lemonade isn’t too bad either. It’s made from fair trade lemons, agave nectar, fresh mint, and optional raspberries.

How much would you pay for a glass of Vivienne Harr’s lemonade?

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