Monthly Archives: October 2008

Take Back the Night Auckland Saturday November 1

I thought you would be interested in this upcoming event.  I have participated in many Take Back the Nights in Australia and Canada and am looking forward to this one – what a great event!



Tena koutou, 


We’re writing to let you know about Take Back the Night, which will be held this year in Auckland on Saturday, November 1st.  There will be a rally (with food and speakers) at Aotea Square in Auckland City at 7pm, followed by a march to Basque Park. 


Take Back the Night is a long-running international event that asserts women’s right to feel safe at night and to live in a world without rape and violence. It is an event that raises awareness of and bears witness to the violent crimes perpetrated against women, children, transgendered, and intersexed persons everywhere. It is also an empowering opportunity for women to recognise their shared experiences and unite in the struggle for a world without violence.

From the street to the home, in many spaces women, transgendered and intersexed persons are harassed and subject to many different forms of abuse. These include rape and physical violence, the pressure to conform to men’s expectations, and in some cases, murder – on average a woman in Aotearoa is killed by her (ex-)partner every six weeks.  
By marching, we are powerfully standing together to let the world know that abuse against women, children, transgender, and intersex people is unacceptable, and that all should be allowed to live their lives without fear.


All women, children, transgendered, takaatapui, fafafine, and intersexed persons are invited to join us in ‘Taking Back the Night’. We ask men to support Take Back the Night by respecting our need to organise independently against violence and to use this time to ask how they can best fight rape and violence. 
To present a strong message it would be fantastic if we could get a big number of marchers. Please pass this email on to interested persons, tell your friends, whanau, colleagues and neighbours, and print out the attached poster. We look forward to seeing you at Aotea Square on November 1st. 
Please email us if you require any further information. 


Standing united,
Auckland Take Back the Night Working Group.


If Women Were More Like Men: Why Females Earn Less

By John Cloud

Friday, Oct. 03, 2008
Taken from Time Online –,8599,1847194,00.html

One of the oldest debates in contemporary social science is why women earn less than men. Conservatives tend to argue that because women anticipate taking time off to raise children, they have fewer incentives to work hard in school, and they choose careers where on-the-job training and long hours are less important. Liberals tend to focus on sex discrimination as the explanation. Obviously some mixture of those factors is at work, but academics have long been frustrated when they try to estimate which force is greater: women’s choices or men’s discrimination.

A new study looks at this problem in a wonderfully inventive way. In previous studies, academics have looked at variables like years of education and the effects of outside forces such as nondiscrimination policies. But gender was always the constant. What if it didn’t have to be? What if you could construct an experiment in which a random sample of adults unexpectedly changes sexes before work one day? Kristen Schilt, a sociologist at the University of Chicago and Matthew Wiswall, an economist at New York University, couldn’t quite pull off that study. But they have come up with the first systematic analysis of the experiences of transgender people in the labor force. And what they found suggests that raw discrimination remains potent in U.S. companies.

Schilt and Wiswall found that women who become men (known as FTMs) do significantly better than men who become women (MTFs). MTFs in the study earned, on average, 32% less after they transitioned from male to female, even after the authors controlled for factors like education levels. FTMs earned an average of 1.5% more. The study was just published in the Berkeley Electronic Press’ peer-reviewed Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

The men and women in the study had already gone to school and made their career choices. Some of them changed jobs after they transitioned, and some stayed in the same jobs. Some were out to their employers; others started completely new lives as members of the opposite sex. Regardless, the overall pattern was very clear: newly minted women were punished, and newly minted men got a little bump-up in pay.
Still, the paper is complex, so it’s useful to step back first and look at where the larger debate over the gender wage gap stands. After all, isn’t that gap narrowing to the point of obscurity? Actually, no. The Russell Sage Foundation published the most authoritative work on the gender wage gap in 2006, The Declining Significance of Gender?. In the book, Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn, both Cornell economists, show that the average full-time female worker in the U.S. earns about 79% of what the average full-time male worker makes. Women employed full-time actually tend to have slightly more education than men, but women are still more likely to work in clerical and service jobs. Blau and Kahn say women do make different choices when they decide on college majors and jobs — even highly educated women more often choose “female” occupations that pay less — but the authors also note that discrimination persists. As one example, they cite a 2000 study which found that when symphony orchestras switched to blind auditions — those in which the musicians play behind a screen — women had a significantly better chance of being hired.

The good news is that the gender wage gap has narrowed. In 1978, full-time women workers earned just 61% of what full-time men did, compared to 79% now. But what to make of the big difference in the experiences of those transgenders who have become women versus those who have become men? Schilt, one of the authors of the new article, interviewed a female-to-male transgender attorney a few years ago. As a younger attorney, the lawyer had been Susan; now he was Thomas. He told Schilt that after he transitioned from female to male, another lawyer mistakenly believed that Susan had been fired and replaced by Thomas. The other lawyer commended the firm’s boss for the replacement. He said Susan had been incompetent; “the new guy,” he added, was “just delightful.” (Later, Ben Barres, an FTM neurobiology professor at Stanford, told The Wall Street Journal of a similar experience. An attendee at one of his lectures leaned over to a colleague and said, “Ben Barres’ work is much better than his sister’s.”)

Such stories help explain an interesting feature of transgender life: men who want to change outward gender wait an average of 10 years longer to transition than women, according to the new article by Schilt and Wiswall. “MTFs attempt to preserve their male advantage at work for as long as possible,” they write, “whereas FTMs may seek to shed their female gender identity more quickly.” It should be noted that many transgender men do experience discrimination, especially if they are short and if they don’t look convincingly male. Also, it’s harder for MTFs to pass than FTMs: men who become women still have large hands and bigger frames. The less-convincing appearance of MTFs probably explains part of the reason they earn so much less after they transition. Still, the new paper suggests an entirely new vein of research in the field. It also suggests that if you’re thinking about changing sexes, you should carefully consider the economic consequences.

Finally, a Feminist Perspective on the Current Global Financial Crisis

Women must occupy their rightful place
By Aude Zieseniss de Thuin

Published: October 15 2008 18:30 | Last updated: October 15 2008 18:30

Now, in the midst of a global financial crisis, a stock market crisis, looming economic recession and a general crisis of confidence, everyone agrees that we are living a historic moment. Everyone is worried and asking questions. Etymologically, ”Krisis” in Greek designates a key moment that demands a decision – that demands action; the use of the word in ancient medicine meant the critical threshold of an illness that can go either way, better or worse. So today let us use this troubled situation to make changes; let us make the decisions necessary to push things in the right direction. Let us understand this crisis, as in Chinese terminology, in its twin senses of both danger and opportunity.

What are the opportunities available to us? What must be changed in this economic and financial world that has gone awry? People are challenging the very basis of the capitalist system. It is impossible not to reflect on a system that engenders or at least allows such events to happen. The subprime crisis seems to be the exacerbated expression of a market economy gone wild. But without going into a philosophical questioning of our economic system, there is one subject that can be addressed immediately in order to bring about change: the way our companies are run. This crisis is not the result of chance; decisions were taken and acted upon; the governance of companies is seriously at cause. ”We are nearing the state of crisis and the century of revolutions,” wrote Jean-Jacques Rousseau* in 1762. We are there now. Has not the time come for a revolution in governance?

Without a doubt, the time has come for women to occupy their rightful place. Why? Would the crisis have been so serious if there had been more women on the boards and in top management? Do women have a better sense of risk management? While history cannot be rewritten, one must ask the questions. In any case, a higher proportion of women in company management is essential because diversity in points of view and approaches engenders discussion. The advantage a feminisation of governance provides is virtually mechanical: multiplicity of ideas and sensibilities leads to more balanced and reasonable consensus decisions. And this is true not only for governance and crisis situations. Multiple studies attest to the importance of women in top positions. Women Matter 2, just published by McKinsey & Company, shows on a worldwide scale that women more frequently develop the leadership qualities needed to reinforce the competitive edge in companies’ finance and organisation than men do. Closing the gender gap in decision-making thus increases competitiveness. In stock exchanges, banks, financial institutions and, more generally, at every level of the economic, legislative or political chain of our societies, doing without the women’s approach means giving up the balance and moderation that gender equality brings. Today more than ever, all the institutions of the world still showing a strong gender gap need renewal, they need to diversity their profiles and approaches, they need to give themselves – and the world – a new chance.

The crisis provides the opportunity for women to claim their rightful place in corporate decision-making. But let us make no mistake, this is a collective opportunity for everyone and must be understood as such. Allowing women the possibility to express their point of view is not a gender issue but a revindication for a world that cannot change, evolve and progress without women’s vision and contribution.

While these ideas have already been developed and fought for, they have not been implemented; gender equality has even regressed. That is why they must be forcefully supported and rightfully claimed. This is what we are doing at the Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society in Deauville, October 16, 17 and 18, 2008. We are debating and discussing with 1,200 women from 88 countries to make our international contribution on the crisis. With progress as the theme of our meeting, we are looking at the rightful place women must occupy today in the construction of a society that has but to learn from the current crisis. New models will surely be imagined. With one certainty: you cannot do it without us.

*Ipsos survey, October 10 and 11, 2008, on a representative national sample of 1007 people, 15 or older, questioned by telephone at their homes.

*J.J. Rousseau, Emile, III.

The writer is founder and chief executive officer, Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society

NZ destination for sex slaves, US report reveals

Fri, 06 Jun 2008 6:41a.m

The United States has released its yearly global report on human trafficking what it calls modern slavery.

It contains some strong words on New Zealand’s legalised prostitution system. 


But what is more alarming is that we have become a ‘destination country’ for the trafficking of women for sex from Malaysia, Hong Kong and China.

Someone who knows this only too well is Lyn Mayson from ECPAT, a group which tries to eliminate child prostitution, child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes.


click NZ destination for sex slaves, US report reveals for link to video clip