2011 Prochoice Gathering

From the facebook event page:

Action for Abortion Rights Wellington warmly invites all those interested in fighting for reproductive rights to a national gathering of pro-choice organisers and activists to change. It will take place in Wellington, weekend of March 12-13, 9 a.m – 5 p.m. This is an opportunity for individuals and groups to share resources and ideas and to plan for future.

This gathering is for those who want to be part of planning and organising a campaign to change New Zealand abortion laws and improve women in New Zealand’s access to abortion and reproductive health in other ways.

The weekend will involve a series of facilitated workshops/discussions and some guest speakers. We are still setting the programme and you’re welcome to contribute. We recognise that pro-choice groups and individuals differ in priorities and strategy. Our hope is that a rich variety of perspectives will be presented and respected at this event.

The event is open to pro-choice people of all ages and political standpoints. We regret the need to ask all registrants to respect that this is a pro-choice event and is only open to those who believe that pregnant individuals are the right people to make decisions about their pregnancies.

About us: Action for Abortion Rights is a group at Victoria University of Wellington. We think that the outcome of a pregnancy should be determined by the person who carries it. Our goals include legalised abortion, vastly improved abortion access including access to/ awareness of medical abortion, and the destigmatisation of abortion.

Hoping to see you there. Please contact us at actionforabortionrights@gmail.com if you have any questions.

La Socialista

Miss Representation

This is the trailer for a movie which is part of the Sundance 2011 selection, Miss Representation:


This is a really important film and it looks like it’s going to be brilliant (though I fear some people may be put off by Margaret Cho – she’s not everyone’s cup of tea).

This is an issue which needs as much exposure as possible, unless we want an entire generation of young women growing up thinking that their only worth is in their appearance. Watch the trailer, see the movie (unsure as to dates on this) and tell everyone you know about it

La Socialista

This is amazing and everyone should read it

It’s from my friend Coley’s blog Tangerina and it is amazing. Go and read the whole thing here and I’ve given you a wee preview below. I’ve also been bangning on about it on Bookshop Babylon and La Socialista, because it is really quite inspirational.

From Tangerina:

The other day my boss said I was “an interesting set of contradictions”. I had brought over 100 immaculately decorated cupcakes with me in order to raise money for homeless animals (honestly), and as I arrived in the office he jokingly asked if I was wearing a pinny. In response I took off my jacket, proudly revealing the vintage gingham apron I had worn to get into the spirit of a bakesale.

I suppose my boss identified this as a ‘contradiction’ because of a previous conversation where I voiced my disappointment that a recent management reshuffle had resulted in a lack of women in and above middle management, or maybe it was because I told him about my involvement in a group trying to remove abortion from the Crimes Act, or that I used to be the straight Queer Rep at my university, or that I don’t dress to hide my DDs, or that I take long lunch breaks to go to church once a week. Either way, it’s apparent that I confuse people. This wasn’t the first time it’s been mentioned, but it was the most nicely put.

I like kittens, baking, and spending the occasional $200 on eyelash extensions. I dig God, am utterly aware that I am cisgendered and I strive to reject heteronormativity and cisnormativity within my heterosexual monogamous relationship. I never bought the belief that women who want freedom from oppression hate cupcakes. I am also fucking sick of not being comfortable getting off the bus and walking 500 metres home in the dark because I am supposedly ‘the weaker’ sex and therefore fair game…

Posted by La Socialista

Originally posted on Sociological Images

What Does a ‘Prehomosexual’ Look Like? (posted by gwen)

You know how sometimes you see something, and the only thought you can put together about it is, basically, WTF?!? I had one of those when I opened a link sent to us by Sam M., who found a post on a Scientific American blog about “prehomosexuality” and the possibility that you can predict adult sexual orientation from an early age based on gender performance.

I’m not going to bother with the content of the article itself. If you want to read about the “long, now scientifically canonical, list of innate sex differences in the behaviors of young males versus young females. In innumerable studies, scientists have documented that these sex differences are largely impervious to learning and found in every culture examined,” particularly that boys and girls play differently, go ahead. Then check out our recent guest post by Philip Cohen.

No, what made me just stare at my computer screen, thinking, “Are you kidding me?”, is the sole image used to illustrate the post:

Seriously: Are you kidding me?

I shouldn’t be surprised. I’ve written about the “girls who like sports must be lesbians” trope before. In fact, they probably aren’t even girls. Unlike boys, whose lives are ruined if they aren’t good at sports. But still. The idea that an image of a girl in jeans, holding sports equipment, is considered an obviously relevant photo to use in a story suggesting that in fact the old stereotypes are true and gender non-conformity can tell us if a kid is going to be gay, thus reinforcing the stereotype that playing sports is an accurate sign of future sexual orientation, just depresses me beyond reason.

The author of the post provides a bunch of caveats about how of course not everyone who is gender non-conforming will be gay, and that we shouldn’t care anyway. But I suspect what most people will take away is not that most girls who play sports, or act like “tomboys,” aren’t gay, but that those things are signs a girl might be gay. And that means all girls who play sports continue to face the stigma attached to female athletes, driving away many girls and women who worry that liking, or being good at, athletics (or at least, ones other than gymnastics and other female-approved options) is unfeminine and will get them labeled as gay, a label that is still, sadly, viewed by many as inherently undesirable.

Blog post here.

La Socialista

The Gender Pay Gap Grossly Underestimates Women's Economic Inequality

The gender pay gap is standard measure of women’s economic inequality. At the dawn of second-wave feminism, it was 59 cents: women earned 59 cents for every dollar men earned. Today it’s up to 77 cents, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity. That’s progress, right? Here’s even more rosy news: women without children now earn over 90% of men’s wages. So maybe it is time to stop worrying about women and economics.

Not so fast. Let’s start with the 90% statistic, which describes childless women at age thirty. Conservatives like to point to that one, concluding that what ails mothers is not discrimination but their own choices.

In fact, I have argued, what the 90% statistic really means is that women, if they want equality, should plan to die childless at thirty. Such women have earnings nearly as high as men’s because most have not hit either of the two major forms of workplace gender bias.

The single strongest bias is the maternal wall. Motherhood triggers powerful assumptions that mothers are less competent and committed to their jobs. “I had a baby, not a lobotomy,” protested a Boston lawyer, voicing the experience of many who find that, upon their return from maternity leave, they are given less work, no work or dead-end assignments. The resulting bias is a powerful drag on women’s prospects: mothers are 79% CHECK less likely to be hired, 100% less likely to be promoted, offered an average of a whopping $11,000 less in salary, and held to higher performance and punctuality standards than men, according to a study by Shelley Correll and co-authors.

Most women at age thirty haven’t hit the other major form of gender bias either: the glass ceiling. Glass ceiling bias reflects, first, that qualities associated with leadership–assertiveness, self-confidence, directive behavior — are linked with masculinity. So women who exhibit them often are seen as socially clueless. To compound the problem, glass ceiling bias also means that women often have to prove themselves over and over again before they are even considered for leadership positions. Contemporary studies by social psychologists show that the glass ceiling is alive and well.

So the claim that fact that childless women at age thirty make nearly as much as men does not prove that women have gained equality. Neither does the gender pay gap. Although it is standard measure of women’s economic equality, that statistic grossly overestimates women’s economic equality. Why? Because it compares men who work full time with women who work full time. This is an accurate picture of men, but it is an extremely partial description of women. Fully one-quarter of employed women work part time.

The penalties associated with part-time work are an important contributor to women’s economic inequality. The penalty for working part time in the U.S. is enormous: seven times as high as in Sweden, and twice as high as in the U.K., according to Janet Gornick and Marcia Meyers. A recent report by the Joint Economic Committee documented that two-thirds of part-timers are women, and that part-timers in sales earn only 58 cents on the dollar, as compared with full timers.

The last time I looked, when one compared all employed women with all employed men, including part-timers as well as full-timers, women only earned 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Now that’s a sobering statistic.

The old-fashioned gender pay gap statistic embeds the assumption that it is somehow “natural” and uncontroversial to impose sharp penalties on those who don’t work “full” time. But what, after all, is “full” time? As Alice Kessler-Harris pointed out long ago, its definition has changed a lot. The one thing that has remained constant is that “full time” has always been defined as the amount of time a man typically works.

From the start of the Industrial Revolution until today, men have been able to work more hours than women outside the home because they work fewer hours inside it. And women still do twice as much housework, and four times as much routine housework, as men, according to Suzanne Bianchi and her co-authors. They also do three hours of child care for each hour men do.

Of course, women could just stop changing the diapers, doing the laundry, cooking the meals. But no one wants them to, because that kind of unpaid work is every bit as crucial for sustaining a productive economy as paid work is. So it’s time to document, and to challenge, the highly artificial penalty imposed on anyone who does not work a full time schedule. The recent report by the Joint Economic Committee is a good first step. The second crucial step is to change the way we measure the gender pay gap, and to compare employed men and women, rather than restricting the analysis to full-timers. Only then can we get an accurate picture of the yawning gap between the earnings of men and those women.

This piece originally was published in On The Issues


La Socialista

Equal pay for women not likely till 2067, says research

Katie Allen
The Guardian, Thursday 19 August 2010
Article history

An equal part of the job but not an equal pay packet. Photograph: Ryanstock/Taxi/Getty
Working women who thought they might live to see Britain’s pay gap finally close will have to hold out another 57 years, according to research published today.

Forty years after the Equal Pay Act was passed, the study shows that the gender pay gap remains stubborn and that male and female managers will not be paid the same until 2067.

Women have also been harder hit by the recession, with more female workers than men being made redundant in the past 12 months, the research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) shows.

The findings will intensify calls from campaigners for the new government to do more to ensure equal pay in the UK, which has one of the biggest gender salary gaps in Europe.

“Girls born this year will face the probability of working for around 40 years in the shadow of unequal pay,” said CMI’s head of policy, Petra Wilton.

“The prospect of continued decades of pay inequality cannot be allowed to become reality. We want to see the government take greater steps to enforce pay equality by monitoring organisations more closely and naming and shaming those who fail to pay male and female staff fairly.”

The group’s survey shows that women’s salaries increased by 2.8% over the past 12 months, compared with 2.3% for men. But with the average UK salary for a male manager currently £10,031 more than that of a female manager, women face a 57-year wait before their take-home pay is equal to that of their male colleagues, says the report, compiled with researchers XpertHR. Its findings, from more than 43,000 employees in 197 organisations, showed male pay still outstrips female pay by as much as 24% at senior level.

At junior level the gap also persists, with male junior executives receiving £1,065 more than female executives.

Despite four decades of equal pay legislation, Britain has one of the worst gender gaps in Europe. Women in the UK are paid 79% of male rates, while across the 27 countries of the European Union the figure is 82%, according to a report earlier this year from Eurobarometer.

Gender equality groups such as the Fawcett Society blame the UK’s poor record on a culture of secrecy around pay. They point to examples such as Sweden, where more transparency has resulted in falling pay gaps. They want the coalition government to set a deadline for closing the gap, make laws more transparent, and force companies to audit their workforces for unfair gaps more regularly.

For women unhappy to sit out the 57-year wait, the CMI report highlighted some of the better-performing sectors and regions of the UK, as well as the worst.

Women in the Midlands fare the worst, taking home £10,434 less than men, while those in the north-east fare the best, where the gap is smallest at £8,955.

Different sectors also varied greatly and women hoping for equal pay were advised to think twice about jobs in IT or the pharmaceutical industry, where the gaps were the largest, at £17,736 and £14,018 respectively.

The report suggests that stark differences in pay are seeing some women leave the workplace. It notes a dramatic increase in resignations, particularly at director level, where 7.7% of female directors voluntarily left their posts in the last year, compared with just 3.6% of men.

Women were also more likely to be made redundant. Over the year, 4.5% of the female workforce lost their jobs compared with 3% of men.

CMI has launched an “ambitious women toolkit” with practical advice on asking for pay rises, how to challenge unequal pay, and tips on returning to work from maternity leave.

• This article was amended on 19 August 2010. The original headline said, “Equal pay for women not likely till 2057, says research”, which has been corrected.



Rihanna and Eminem on domestic violence

Rihanna’s newest song out (that I know of, being a bit of a musical snob. I’m more Patti Smith than Rihanna really) Love the Way you Lie (here for those who are blessed enough not to have heard it yet)


is accompanied by the above music video and deals with an issue which pretty much everyone who has seen a gossip mag in the last year or so knows is pretty relevant to Rihanna’s life. Which is why I find it interesting that it completely glamourises (in my opinion) something which is far from glamorous: domestic violence. The chorus runs “Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, that’s alright because I like the way it hurts”

Really Rihanna? Is that the message you want to be sending women about domestic violence? Eminem loves to take the issues no one else sings about and turn them into his own tortured bonanza – as he did with the obsessive ‘Stan’ in the song of the same name – but what he’s doing is not necessarily giving us an insight into the issue but making it cool.

As Randy Susan Meyers pointed out in this article in the Huffington Post, the music video shows Eminem spewing out the usual justifications which abusive men use to excuse their behaviour, while Rihanna erotically sings straight into the camera.

Overall I find this song/video to be a really quite despicable use of a real, horrific issue to sell music (and sex) to a huge number of young men and women.

Also, as an aside it’s really annoying. Not as annoying as Umbrella though.


La Socialista