Author Archives: jtrue

Boobs on Bikes TODAY!: Steve Crowe vs Lisa Lewis

Steve Crowe vs Lisa LewisStripper Lisa Lewis and Boobs on Bikes founder Steve Crowe
 Tue, 22 Sep 2009 7:31p.m.
Boobs on Bikes will take place on the streets of Auckland tomorrow. So what do the women who participate in this hugely popular parade earn for their efforts?

For appearing in the Boobs on Bikes parade, plus working two twelve hour days and one eight hour day at the Erotica Expo, Lisa Lewis – arguably New Zealand’s most famous stripper – would be paid a total of $1500 cash. Plus $8.50 for every photo she poses for, topless, with members of the public.

Ms Lewis asked for more. Steve Crowe, the porn purveyor behind all this said no. Ms Lewis wrote about it in the Waikato Times, and Mr Crow replied: “consider yourself blacklisted from future Erotica events”.

Lisa Lewis and Steve Crow join John Campbell to discuss the issue further

McCully NZAID policy does little for women dying in PNG

Troubling news – as a good international citizen and friend to the Pacific what can and should New Zealand do to encourage the PNG government to address maternal deaths in childbirth and make good on their commitments to their citizens and their international human rights obligations? 
Posted by Phil Twyford on September 21st, 2009

Women in Papua New Guinea  are dying in childbirth at 23 times the New Zealand rate. That is 1500 women dying preventable deaths every year, and 30% of them are teenagers.

It is one of the most shocking indicators of a country in crisis.  The maternal death rate  in PNG, one of our closest neighbours, is on a par with Afghanistan. And there is no sign of improvement.

PNG has its share of problems: poverty, HIV/AIDS epidemic, corruption, and appalling governance. It’s the last on that list that is the big driver. The failure of the state to provide basic health services to its citizens is what has caused the skyrocketing rates of women dying in childbirth.

PNG health workers at a parliamentary hearing today on maternal health in the Pacific testified the key factors behind the figures are the collapse of rural health services, and now a dire shortage of trained midwives. Continue reading

UN Secretary-General Urges Action to End Violence and Abuses Endured by Women

06-07-2009trafficking15 September 2009 –

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today spotlighted the “shocking” abuse, violence and discrimination suffered by women, in a call for action to empower the gender that make up over half the world’s population.In describing the diverse world population, “I would have to explain that fully half of those people face shocking abuses and discrimination,” Mr. Ban told the launch at United Nations Headquarters in New York of Half the Sky, a book depicting the violence and other abuses suffered by women worldwide and proposing action to combat the scourge.

“They are forced into slavery and prostitution,” said Mr. Ban at the launch, organized by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Only by standing up for fundamental rights everywhere can we expect to achieve lasting change

Women are denied the right to “speak their views, wear what they want, or pursue an education or a career,” said Mr. Ban, adding that they “are burned to death or scarred with acid with little or no punishment for the perpetrators.”

Mr. Ban noted that even with the technological advances in today’s modern world, women all too often die from easily preventable diseases as well as during childbirth. “The casualties dwarf those of most wars, [and] the costs are too high to put a figure on.”

The Secretary-General told how he was moved and angered when he met a girl in a hospital where he heard of how the 18 year-old was brutally raped at gunpoint by four soldiers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Half the Sky, which was written by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and fellow Pulitzer Prize winner Sheryl WuDunn, details stories of sex trafficking and forced prostitution; honour killings and mass rape; and maternal mortality in the developing world, and proposes action to combat the scourge.

“Only by standing up for fundamental rights everywhere can we expect to achieve lasting change,” Mr. Ban said as he welcomed yesterday’s General Assembly decision to streamline all four UN women’s entities.


UN News Centre

More on the daughter deficit – how it fuels the "sex trade"

Vietnam – Birth Trend May Fuel Sex Work, Trafficking – UN  
09 Sep 2009
HANOI, Sept 9 (Reuters) – The ratio of boys born in Vietnam compared with girls has grown at an unusually rapid pace in recent years and could lead to a rise in sex work and trafficking, the United Nations said.
The sex ratio at birth was 112.1 male births per 100 female births in 2008, up from an estimated 106.2 in 2000, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) said in a report.
With growth since 2006 of one percentage point per year, the ratio might cross the 115 mark within three years, it said.
By 2035, the surplus of adult men would be 10 percent or more of the female population if the sex ratio did not return to 105 male births per 100 females, it said.
“Scarcity of women would increase pressure for them to marry at a younger age, there may be a rising demand for sex work and the trafficking networks may also expand in response to this imbalance,” UNFPA said.
“Examples of gender-based violence and human trafficking have already been observed in Vietnam and point to some of the risks faced by vulnerable girls and women.”
A key factor behind the rise in the number of male births to female births is increasing access to sex-determination and sex-selection technology, “which has allowed couples to pursue their desire for one or more sons”, the UNFPA said.
Vietnam, which has had an agriculture-based economy for centuries, has a population of nearly 86 million with a strong preference for sons.

Motherhood 'devastates' women's pay, research finds

Amelia Gentleman, The Guardian, Friday mother10 July 2009

Mothers earn around 22% less than their male colleagues. Photograph: Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Corbis

Women with children earn about 22% less than their male colleagues, according to a new report that explores the “devastating” impact of motherhood on earnings.

“Before becoming parents, men and women are equally likely to be employed, but childbirth marks the start of a great divide, which continues even after children have left home and does lasting damage to women’s careers,” the report finds.

Around 57% of mothers with children under five are in paid work, compared with 90% of men, according to the research published by the Fawcett Society. Partnered women without dependent children earn 9% less than men on average, but for mothers working full-time who have two children, the pay gap with men in the same situation is 21.6%.

“For each year she is absent from the workplace, a mother’s future wages will reduce by 5%,” says the study, entitled Not Having it All: How Motherhood Reduces Women’s Pay and Employment Prospects. Mothers are also much more likely than fathers to adjust their work to fit in with their children’s schedules. Continue reading

The Daughter Deficit !

The New York Times
August 23, 2009

In the late 1970s, a Ph.D. student named Monica Das Gupta was conducting anthropological fieldwork in Haryana, a state in the north of India. She observed something striking about families there: parents had a fervent preference for male offspring. Women who had given birth to only daughters were desperate for sons and would keep having children until they had one or two. Midwives were even paid less when a girl was born. “It’s something you notice coming from outside,” says Das Gupta, who today studies population and public health in the World Bank’s development research group. “It just leaps out at you.”

Das Gupta saw that educated, independent-minded women shared this prejudice in Haryana, a state that was one of India’s richest and most developed. In fact, the bias against girls was far more pronounced there than in the poorer region in the east of India where Das Gupta was from. She decided to study the issue in Punjab, then India’s richest state, which had a high rate of female literacy and a high average age of marriage. There too the prejudice for sons flourished. Along with Haryana, Punjab had the country’s highest percentage of so-called missing girls — those aborted, killed as newborns or dead in their first few years from neglect. Continue reading

Think before you say 'she's a man'

Thursday 20 August 2009 14.30 BST

caster_semenyaSemenya has had to undergo gender verification tests. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

Everyone, it seems, is talking about Caster Semenya, the 18-year-old South African who has had to submit to gender verification tests after posting some excellent 800m times this summer, among them last night’s gold medal-winning 1 minute 55 seconds in Berlin. Unfortunately not everyone has mustered the sensitivity such topics demand: the Sun’s “800m and two veg” headline is crass; the announcement by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) a matter of hours before yesterday’s final was rather more surprisingly tactless. Continue reading


Norway Tops Gender Equality List

Norway's women handball team
Norway has done the most to close the gender gap, says the WEF

Norway has topped a league of countries in closing the gender gap, followed by three other Nordic nations, a survey by the World Economic Forum says.

Progress in political, education and economic spheres has occurred globally but the gap in health has widened.

The UK fell in the ranking while France rose helped by women’s political role.

The forum said more women at the top of financial institutions and government and was “vital” to finding solutions to the economic turmoil.

“Greater representation of women in senior leadership positions within governments and financial institutions is vital not only to find solutions to the current economic turmoil but to stave off such crises in future,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the forum.


1, Norway
2, Finland
3, Sweden
4, Iceland
5, New Zealand
Source: World Economic Forum

Norway rose from third to first place and scored 82.45% in the table of 130 countries, denoting the percentage of the gap between women and men that has been closed to date.

Finland, Sweden and Iceland came second, third and fourth respectively.

Last year, Sweden came top of the index.

The UK came 13th and slipped from 11th place last year while France was among those countries whose ranking rose sharply, from 51st to 15th place helped by gains in economic participation and political empowerment.

Syria, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia all fell in the ranking and showed a drop in overall scores.

Progress in closing the gap is not only “possible” but can be achieved in a relatively short space of time said the forum.

The index surveyed economic participation, educational attainment, political empowerment and health and survival.

126, Benin
127, Pakistan
128, Saudi Arabia
129, Chad
130, Yemen
Source: World Economic Forum

The report provides some evidence on the link between the gender gap and the economic performance of countries.

“Our work shows a strong correlation between competitiveness and the gender gap scores”.

“While this does not imply causality, the possible theoretical underpinnings of this link are clear: countries that do not fully capitalize effectively on one-half of their human resources run the risk of undermining their competitive potential”.

The survey stems from a collaboration of individuals of Harvard University, the University of California, Berkeley and the World Economic Forum.

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

Sarah Palin – the woman from nowhere (or so says the Economist)

Sarah Palin - the Woman from Nowhere?Lexington

The woman from nowhere
Sep 4th 2008
From The Economist print edition

John McCain’s choice of running-mate raises serious questions about his judgment

Illustration by KAL
THE most audacious move of the race so far is also, potentially, the most self-destructive. John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running-mate has set the political atmosphere alight with both enthusiasm and dismay.

Mr McCain has based his campaign on the idea that this is a dangerous world—and that Barack Obama is too inexperienced to deal with it. He has also acknowledged that his advanced age—he celebrated his 72nd birthday on August 29th—makes his choice of vice-president unusually important. Now he has chosen as his running mate, on the basis of the most cursory vetting, a first-term governor of Alaska.

The reaction from inside the conservative cocoon was at first ecstatic. Conservatives argued that Mrs Palin embodies the “real America”—a moose-hunting hockey mum, married to an oil-worker, who has risen from the local parent-teacher association to governing the geographically largest state in the Union. They praise her as a McCain-style reformer who has taken on her state’s Republican establishment and has a staunch pro-life record (her fifth child has Down’s syndrome). Who better to harpoon the baby-murdering elitists who run the Democratic Party?

Mrs Palin was greeted like the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan by the delegates, furious at her mauling at the hands of the “liberal media”. And she delivered a tub-thumping speech, underlining her record as a reforming governor and advocate of more oil-drilling, and warning her enemies not to underestimate her (“the difference between a hockey mum and a pitbull—lipstick”). But once the cheering and the chanting had died down, serious questions remained.

The political calculations behind Mr McCain’s choice hardly look robust. Mrs Palin is not quite the pork-busting reformer that her supporters claim. She may have become famous as the governor who finally killed the infamous “bridge to nowhere”—the $220m bridge to the sparsely inhabited island of Gravina, Alaska. But she was in favour of the bridge before she was against it (and told local residents that they weren’t “nowhere to her”). As mayor of Wasilla, a metropolis of 9,000 people, she initiated annual trips to Washington, DC, to ask for more earmarks from the state’s congressional delegation, and employed Washington lobbyists to press for more funds for her town.

Nor is Mrs Palin well placed to win over the moderate and independent voters who hold the keys to the White House. Mr McCain’s main political problem is not energising his base; he enjoys more support among Republicans than Mr Obama does among Democrats. His problem is reaching out to swing voters at a time when the number of self-identified Republicans is up to ten points lower than the number of self-identified Democrats. Mr McCain needs to attract roughly 55% of independents and 15% of Democrats to win the election. But it is hard to see how a woman who supports the teaching of creationism rather than contraception, and who is soon to become a 44-year-old grandmother, helps him with soccer moms in the Philadelphia suburbs. A Rasmussen poll found that the Palin pick made 31% of undecided voters less likely to plump for Mr McCain and only 6% more likely.

The moose in the room, of course, is her lack of experience. When Geraldine Ferraro was picked as Walter Mondale’s running-mate, she had served in the House for three terms. Even the hapless Dan Quayle, George Bush senior’s sidekick, had served in the House and Senate for 12 years. Mrs Palin, who has been the governor of a state with a population of 670,000 for less than two years, is the most inexperienced candidate for a mainstream party in modern history.

Inexperienced and Bush-level incurious. She has no record of interest in foreign policy, let alone expertise. She once told an Alaskan magazine: “I’ve been so focused on state government; I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq.” She obtained an American passport only last summer to visit Alaskan troops in Germany and Kuwait. This not only blunts Mr McCain’s most powerful criticism of Mr Obama. It also raises serious questions about the way he makes decisions.

Vetted for 15 minutes
Mr McCain had met Mrs Palin only once, for a 15-minute chat at the National Governors’ Association meeting, before summoning her to his ranch for her final interview. The New York Times claims that his team arrived in Alaska only on August 28th, a day before the announcement. As a result, his advisers seem to have been gobsmacked by the Palin show that is now playing on the national stage. She has links to the wacky Alaska Independence Party, which wants to secede from the Union. She is on record disagreeing with Mr McCain on global warming, among other issues. The contrast with Mr Obama’s choice of the highly experienced and much-vetted Joe Biden is striking.

Mr McCain’s appointment also raises more general worries about the Republican Party’s fitness for government. Up until the middle of last week Mr McCain was still considering two other candidates whom he has known for decades: Joe Lieberman, a veteran senator, independent Democrat and Iraq war hawk, and Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania (a swing state with 21 Electoral College votes) and the first secretary of homeland security. Mr McCain reluctantly rejected both men because their pro-choice views are anathema to the Christian right.

The Palin appointment is yet more proof of the way that abortion still distorts American politics. This is as true on the left as on the right. But the Republicans seem to have gone furthest in subordinating considerations of competence and merit to pro-life purity. One of the biggest problems with the Bush administration is that it appointed so many incompetents because they were sound on Roe v Wade. Mrs Palin’s elevation suggests that, far from breaking with Mr Bush, Mr McCain is repeating his mistakes.