Women's News from the Web

Congratulations, Esther Duflo. The world needs more female economists | Jill Priluck

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 00:00

The long history of bias, discrimination and underestimation of women in the field of economics is why Duflo’s prize is a such a great step forward

This week, MIT’s Esther Duflo became the second female economist to win a Nobel prize. She and her husband, Abhijit Banerjee, also of MIT, and Michael Kremer of Harvard University, shared the award “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”.

In Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty, Duflo and Banerjee studied the poor not as “cartoon characters” but as human beings “in all their complexity and richness”. In 2003, they founded the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab at MIT to study poverty.

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Team older feminist: am I allowed nuanced feelings about #MeToo?

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 10/15/2019 - 19:00

After #MeToo, I wondered if my real problem with young feminists was how little they seemed to need us older ones. As far as I could see, they didn’t even want to know us

I remember a woman who screamed like a feral animal. She was leather tan and sinewy. Spiked bleached blonde hair, sculpted biceps, low-slung cargo pants with Doc Martens, veins bursting from her neck, eyes bugging from her drawn face.

She stood on the sidewalks of New York City with a folding table covered with poster-size images from hardcore pornography: women wearing dog collars, women on leashes, women leaned over and viewed from behind, their backs crosshatched with scars. Much of the time she displayed a blowup of the famous Hustler magazine cover showing a naked woman being fed upside down into a meat grinder.

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Testosterone boosts women's athletic performance, study shows

Women's News from the Web - Tue, 10/15/2019 - 12:30

Research confirms increase in endurance as IAAF imposes upper limit on trans female athletes

Boosting testosterone levels significantly improves female athletic performance, according to one of the first randomised controlled trials.

The findings come as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) announced on Monday it would impose an upper limit for testosterone levels on trans female athletes competing in middle-distance events.

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Passing the ERA: Countdown to Virginia

Women's eNews - Mon, 10/14/2019 - 13:06

Today, more than 166 million women live in the United States, and roughly 96 percent of them believe that women– who make up slightly over fifty percent of the nationwide population– are equal to men by law. This is untrue. As far back as the year 1848, when the first Women’s Rights Convention was held, there has been a demand for equality. In 1923, the Equal Rights Amendment– a move that would ensure equality between women and men and prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, was introduced.

The amendment was passed forty-six years ago by Congress in 1972. After its passage, Congress handed it over to the states to be ratified–a process that can only occur if three-quarters of the country, or thirty-eight states approve. To date, fifteen states have yet to ratify the amendment, preventing women and women from legally being considered equal in the US. But, that could change in just a couple of weeks since Americans are now only one state shy from benefitting from the ERA. On November 5, 2019, the state of Virginia will serve as the country’s deciding factor.

“If you consider yourself a feminist, you need to put your skin in the game,” said Kamala Lopez, founder of the movement Equal Means Equal, created to educate Americans about the importance of equal rights under federal law for women and complete the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. “You must care about this, and you must care about this right now,” Lopez said in an exclusive interview with Women’s eNews.

Lopez, originally from New York City, and her co-director, Natalie White, originally from West Virginia, temporarily moved to Virginia’s 76th district which consists of Suffolk, Norfolk and Chesapeake counties, to encourage every person eligible to vote to go to the polls.c“We’re hustling,” Lopez said

Within just one month of their stay, the pair reached thousands of local residents through daily community organization events. Each day, they hand out roughly five-hundred ice cream cones, gather dozens of people for happy hours and host dinners for voters on Sunday nights.

Members from local church communities and black sororities such as Delta Sigma Theta Inc. have sat with Lopez and White at the table to eat fried chicken, scalloped potatoes and pecan pie to discuss the potential and debunk the myths of the ERA. Their hope is that accurate information about the ERA and its national importance are circulated to as many micro-communities as possible before election day. “There were people who were hugging us and just started crying because we cared so much,” White said. “I was born and raised in Fairmount, WV so I know how things work in small towns like this where it feels like no one cares,” she added.

One woman in particular, who provided catering for the Sunday dinners, had shared that she was a victim of domestic violence, and watched as her two children had to remove knives from their father’s clenched hand. “She would be eavesdropping on our discussions,” Lopez recalled. “As [the caterer] learned more about the ERA and the empowerment it would give her and her family, she began feeling better.” For Lopez and White, hosting these discussions are vital because they believe misinformation is being circulated at this critical time.

For example, a debate between Democratic candidate Jess Foster of the 88th district and her opponent, Mark Cole, was held at the University of Mary Washington. Approximately one-hundred-fifty people were in attendance, but before the political battle commenced on stage Cole, who has served in the House of Delegates since 2002, had circulated a flyer titled “The Truth About the Equal Rights Amendment,” which suggested that the ERA was outdated and a new one should take its place–one that is geared towards the pro-life movement. “People are going to think that Cole is a proponent of the ERA,” Lopez said in response. “One of the things being circulated is that the ERA is an abortion bill,” White added. “We’re asking for equality, nothing more.”

When the ERA was passed in 1972, Congress had set a deadline of seven years–and later ten years–for thirty-eight states to approve the bill. By 1982, the US had thirty-five states on board, but as time progressed the bill became inactive and was replaced by a false notion that an amendment was already in place to protect women from gender-biased discrimination. Article II of the Fourteenth Amendment, for example, declares that “no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” However, the amendment was written at a time when women were considered second-class citizens with no legal right to vote. “Essentially, they are trying to rewrite the truth so that people won’t see its important and go out to vote,” White said. Lopez added, “But we are putting lives and jobs on hold just to fight for this.”

It’s a fight the pair decided to take on more than a decade ago. In the past few years, their efforts have gained traction. In 2016, White led a 250-mile march between New York City and Washington DC to raise awareness about the ERA. That same year, Equal Means Equal, released a documentary to inform the country about the impact the ERA would have. The film was awarded Best US Documentary Audience Award, Traverse City Film Festival (2016).

Since then, the momentum has been building. In 2017, Nevada ratified the ERA, followed by Illinois the following year in 2018.

Now, with only a few weeks left until voting day in Virginia, Lopez and White are continuing to spread awareness to ensure that every person who is eligible to vote will go to the polls. “We’re hoping that we can drive people to the polls, we’ve got two big vans and if people can’t get there, we will drive them there ourselves,” Lopez said.

“We’re as close to the finish line as never before,” she added. “We will not quit the game until we win the fight.”

Tatyana Turner is a student at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She is a 2019 fellow in the Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program* at Women’s eNews, funded by the Sy Syms Foundation. The Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program at Women’s eNews fellowship supports editorial and development opportunities for editorial interns in the pursuit of journalistic excellence.

Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program

The Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence program at Women’s eNews was launched in 2014 with support from the Sy Syms Foundation. The fellowship provides support and development opportunities for editorial interns in the pursuit of journalistic excellence.

“For a democracy to flourish all voices must be heard.” said Marcy Syms, a founding Trustee and President of the Sy Syms Foundation. “Through its investigative reporting Women’s eNews gets at the essence of good journalism. The Sy Syms Foundation is proud of this collaboration to support today’s newest women journalists.”

As part of it’s mission to create social change for women and girls through investigative reporting, Women’s eNews helps foster, train, and support the career development of new journalists with a focus on social justice and women’s rights.

Does Labour really want to elect a female leader? | Suzanne Moore

Women's News from the Web - Mon, 10/14/2019 - 07:40

John McDonnell is calling for a woman to succeed Corbyn, but it feels as though the party is being embarrassed into it

Not now, darling. There are really more important things than women. And the Labour party. There is Brexit, the Queen’s speech, voter suppression, almost every other issue – and the unfettered egos of Boris Johnson and the posh bouncer Dominic Cummings. And there is the Brexit party on the sidelines, with its Stepford Wives view of femininity.

This is not the time to think about that “single issue” of female representation, because everything else is more urgent. Except, actually, there is no policy that doesn’t affect the majority of the population – women. And there is no future for Labour unless it attracts women voters. When John McDonnell spoke of shortening the working week, which is great, I wondered how this plays out in the double shift of paid work and domestic work that is most women’s lives. Jeremy Corbyn’s power is leaking away. No simple chant can bring it back – and if you want to call me a Tory for saying so, more fool you. Polls, schmolls.

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Westminster progress on toxic culture ‘still too slow’ two years on

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 10/13/2019 - 19:00

Reports continue about inappropriate behaviour despite helpline and series of changes

Hundreds of callers have contacted a Westminster hotline set up to help advise people who have experienced inappropriate behaviour in parliament in the aftermath of the “Pestminster scandal”.

The specialist helpline was part of a series of changes MPs introduced after widespread claims of bullying, harassment, sexually inappropriate behaviour and abuse on the parliamentary estate.

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'Glacial change': film industry is slow to reform despite #MeToo

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 10/13/2019 - 19:00

Progress towards equality in the entertainment industry has been patchy, say campaigners

Two years ago, the entertainment industry became the primary focus of discussions over abuse, harassment and decades of ingrained sexism after allegations against Harvey Weinstein rocked Hollywood and kickstarted the wider #MeToo movement.

While a raft of initiatives have been introduced, including Time’s Up, a group that provides legal support to victims, and 50/50 x 2020, a gender parity pledge that all major film festivals have signed up to, industry experts said change has been glacial.

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Helping the victims of domestic abuse | Letters

Women's News from the Web - Sun, 10/13/2019 - 07:52
Jan Williams highlights the importance of civil protection, and Simon Davis voices support for the domestic abuse bill

Davina James-Hanman rightly identifies austerity policies, including legal aid cuts, as contributing to an average of three women a week being killed by their partners or former partners (‘There’s no secret abuser’s handbook. It’s called mainstream culture’, 10 October).

However, I wonder if she has considered the devastating impact of the ill-considered Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 which made breach of a family (civil) court non-molestation injunction a criminal offence. Implemented in 2007, this egregious example of a law of unintended consequences actually weakened the protection such orders afforded victims, by prohibiting judges from attaching powers of arrest. Prior to this, when an applicant reported breach, the police had only to arrest the respondent and return him to court the next working day, for immediate contempt proceedings. With up to two years’ custody for breach, 90% of orders were obeyed, providing essential calm while the court resolved the issues keeping victims trapped – long-term living arrangements, finance, divorce, and, crucially, children. Now, on breach, victims lose the court’s protection, and their legal aid, to rely on criminal proceedings – if there is enough evidence and if they can face these.

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The lord provost was only guilty of trying to look good for Glasgow | Kevin McKenna

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/12/2019 - 23:00
A personal allowance comes with the job and Eva Bolander didn’t even spend all of hers. The shame is on her critics

‘Optics”, like its close brethren “toxic” and “woke”, belongs to a dismal suite of words that contribute to the modern idiom of mob outrage on social media. These words are detached from their original environment and made to perform the task of harnessing indignation. Thus, if an action isn’t illegal or even unethical but seems questionable nonetheless, its “optics” are deemed to be bad.

Eva Bolander, the lord provost of Glasgow, now finds herself in the crosshairs of these aggressive optics. Last week, it was revealed that she had run up a bill of £8,000 spread over a period of more than two years on a number of items of clothing and personal grooming including dresses, lipstick, shoes and underwear. This has elicited a vindictive and tawdry response designed to cause maximum humiliation with a careful measure of titillation because, well… she’s a woman and a woman’s choice of foundation garments is so much more tantalising than men’s and thus worthy of exposure.

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Shows with traumatic plotlines are shifting the national debate | Eva Wiseman

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/12/2019 - 22:00

TV shows and books dealing with rape and sexual assault make for upsetting and unsettling viewing and reading, but at least the grim stories are propelling us towards the possibility of social change

We are nearing the finale of season three, when the storyline twists and characters evolve and we are invited to question all we thought we knew. In the same way that it’s harder to care about statistics (like the proportion of rapes being prosecuted in England and Wales dropping to just 1.7%) than stories (like the new book by Chanel Miller, a blistering account of her sexual assault), perhaps it is easier to think of rape in these terms. As a horror show, unfolding.

Yesterday over lunch I read the news that, as Carl Beech was jailed after fabricating claims of historical rape, a former High Court judge concluded that the “instruction to believe a victim’s account should cease.” “Sure,” I said aloud, darkly over tea. This came after the End Violence Against Women coalition (EVAW) pointed out that, judging by the woefully low rate of prosecutions, rape appears to have been decriminalised, an idea that continues to roll around my mind like a marble. Along with the ancient image of a thong.

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'You don't have to settle': the joy of living (and dying) alone | Keli Goff

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/12/2019 - 22:00

Data confirms more women have realized there are far worse things than dying alone, which is bad news for the patriarchy

Not long ago I had a discussion with a friend about why she married, and ultimately divorced, someone she knew wasn’t right for her. She said she bought into society’s deafening message that being with a man – any man – is better than being alone, and certainly better than dying alone, which is allegedly the worst fate anyone, especially any woman, can suffer.

When I told her that I’ve never feared dying alone, and in fact have sometimes feared the opposite, she told me I was incredibly lucky. Because this meant I wouldn’t end up settling for a life that doesn’t actually make me happy, even if society tells me it’s supposed to.

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The uproar over AOC's hair is a reminder that women can't win under the patriarchy

Women's News from the Web - Sat, 10/12/2019 - 03:00

Women simply can’t play by the patriarchy’s rules – which is why we need to stop and lean all the way out

Sign up for The week in patriarchy, a newsletter​ on feminism and sexism sent every Saturday.

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Women hit by pension age changes to appeal against court ruling

Women's News from the Web - Fri, 10/11/2019 - 03:15

Backto60 group ‘incandescent’ at decision not to compensate women born in 1950s

Women born in the 1950s are appealing against the high court’s decision last week to dismiss their claim for compensation over pension changes they say have caused homelessness and destitution.

“We’re rock solid,” said Joanne Welch, a member of the Backto60 campaign group bringing the appeal. “All the 50s women are incandescent at being told that they should not have expected to be notified and that this is not discrimination.

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Thousands of Iranian women watch football match for first time

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 07:37

Tickets for Iran-Cambodia match sell out in minutes after four decades of near-total ban

More than 3,000 Iranian women have crammed into a special section of a Tehran stadium to watch a World Cup qualifier against Cambodia, after they were allowed to buy match tickets for the first time in four decades.

Fifa and human rights campaigners increased the pressure on Iran’s sports authorities to let women into games after the death of a fan last month.

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Supreme court's Lady Hale becomes star of children's book

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 05:00

Equal to Everything celebrates judge’s journey from a girl in Yorkshire to UK’s highest court

Lady Hale, the supreme court’s first female president, has attained greater public prominence than any contemporary judge thanks to Brexit legal battles, the formidable clarity of her rulings and attention-grabbing brooches. Now her profile is set to rise further as she stars in a children’s book.

Equal to Everything – Judge Brenda and the Supreme Court, published on Thursday, celebrates the journey of a young girl from Richmond in North Yorkshire, who travels to the highest court of the UK in Westminster.

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Brave Journeys: Stories from Teens Crossing into America

Women's eNews - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 04:30

As Herstory Writers Workshop inaugurates a new series for Women’s eNews, we are more conscious than ever of the challenges that we are facing at this moment of time when the Statue of Liberty is crying for us all. 

Can our stories help hold up the torch of compassion and welcome, and bring back the light that the oppressors are trying to extinguish? Can they help the most vulnerable among us to hold on through the darkness, uncertainty and danger? 

Can memoir become a tool for action? Can the stories of the disenfranchised, the vulnerable and isolated, be shaped in a way that will startle those in power into rethinking policy and practice? Can the power structure be righted if a literature that forces every reader to walk in the storyteller’s shoes is made part of the culture? 

These are the questions that set an increasing number of women and girls (and more recently men and boys) upon a two-and-a-half-decade journey of grass roots story-shaping and gathering, as together we worked on developing a tool kit to dare even the most hard-hearted reading or listening stranger to care. Over those decades, thousands of stories have been born in Long Island’s jails, its shelters and school rooms, its union halls and workplaces, libraries and art centers. These stories have been used in prison reform, as part of a training program for officers, and in sensitizing teachers, school counselors and administrators to the realities of the lives of young people who crossed the border by themselves and the children of the incarcerated. They have been used by governmental officials and judges to ensure that the voices of those who lack representation or access are heard. They have been used in the healing of communities divided by violence and hatred. 

We are happy to begin this series with stories from Brave Journeys/ Pasos valientes, a book by 15 high school students (ages 14-17) who crossed mountains and deserts and rivers to rejoin their parents – who came to this country to escape danger, with the dream of better life. 

As each student put pen to paper, hesitantly at first, not sure what it would mean to bring back memories that were so difficult, magic began to happen. Although the stories were hard, in each new transcription it was the strength and the spirit that began to shine through. Each student who wrote a new page gave the others in the writing circle more courage as the weeks went by, until finally they were ready to read to their ELL teachers, who never had known them in such a deep caring way. In the months that followed they saw their stories turn into a book, to be shared with other students whose stories echoed their own and with students who had no idea of their heroism, beauty and strength. They watched the book that their stories had created make its way into one Long Island school district after another, and finally through First Book, to reach a national audience of educators working in communities where families were unable to buy books for their children. 

It is with sadness, but also with urgency and pride, that we anonymously share the writing of these young people, alone, because it wouldn’t be safe to share these stories in a traceable way. We think of a time when the students will again be able to claim their own stories, with their names and photographs attached, as we thank each of these young heroes for the part that they are playing in helping the Statue of Liberty to hold up her torch. 

Erika Duncan, Founder of Herstory Writers Workshop

Story #1: I Will Never Forget You 

We reach a stage where we can’t imagine what could happen once we discover the reality of the world. At that moment it doesn’t occur to you that you could know the story of life. First, we remain some time inside the body of another human being. It might not seem like much, but for that human being it might seem a long time they’ll have to wait. 

Just like that, the day comes for you to leave that narrow and uncomfortable place. The day your parents cry of happiness and you cry out of joy for the same reason. Nine months inside is a short time, but it’s many years to live. 

I was born on February 13, 1999. My father, who was killed, decided before his death that my name had to be ——————————————– in honor of my aunt, who was a nun. My grandmother wanted me to be registered as if I had been born on February 14, but the right thing to do was to be registered the day I was truly born. 

Life in our countries is very hard. Because of the economy, many of us run to chase the American dream. Few make it; many die on their way, in the dessert. 

But we come with negative thinking. We arrive with fear of being discriminated because we are Hispanic or because we don’t speak the same language they do. We arrive terrified to live in a totally different world, completely different from our countries. But even though it’s not easy, it’s not impossible either. 

Many times I find myself analyzing how that life might be, living with different people, with thinking different from mine. 

The law of life is to be born, grow up, reproduce and die. And although you don’t know how long you’ll live, life moves step by step, sometimes so fast, it’s impossible to appreciate all the time we lose. 

But we should enjoy our childhood because many are born every day but die instantly and don’t ever have the opportunity to live, the way we do. 

My childhood was a bit disastrous and sad because I didn’t have the chance to have my father by my side. I was eight years old when I found out that my father was killed. After that, I learned that life is difficult but that everything is possible and that you can move on, and ahead, if you really want to. 

I was 16 years old when I asked my mom to bring me to her because I wanted to meet her. 

“Let me see what I can do,” she told me, “because you need a lot of money for something like that.” 

“Okay,” I said, “I’ll wait for your response.” 

As time passed I began to realize that if I came here I would have to leave my grandmother behind. She is like my second mother, someone who gave me so much love. 

Three months had passed since I first spoke with my mom about the trip, when the phone rang while I was sitting beside my grandmother in the living room. When I looked at the phone, I could see it was my mom who was calling. Feeling a little sad, I answered. 

Hija,” she said, “get ready because you leave on Monday.” 

Very surprised, I answered, “Mom, I don’t want to go anymore.” 

“Why?” she asked. 

“Because grandma is really sick and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to see her again, or when I’ll be able to come back.” 

I wasn’t sure I could do it, but if I had God and grandma’s help, I knew I could do it. My grandma told me that she was scared of me leaving because the journey is very dangerous. I was also very scared because I’d heard many rumors from people about women being raped on the way. 

I decided to face my fate, leaving family and loved ones behind to have a new life with very different people. I left on December 18, 2015 at 1:00 a.m. That day I felt a big emptiness in my heart knowing I was leaving my grandmother. She accompanied me to the place where I would meet “the coyote,” how we commonly refer to people who do this type of job in our countries. After approximately four or five hours, the coyote decided it was time to begin the journey. 

We had to take a bus to Mexico. When it was time to leave, my grandma was tightly squeezing my hand. As I was about to get on the bus, she whispered in my ear, “Don’t forget me, remember my words, my advice, and scolding. Call me when you feel lonely, remember that I will always be your grandmother, your mother, your confidante.” 

All I saw were her tearful eyes, and I hugged her tightly while saying, “Of course I will never forget you, you will always be in my thoughts and I will do everything possible to help you, and pull you ahead, because there’s no way I can ever thank you for everything you’ve done for me.”


A medida de que el Taller de Escritores de Herstory inaugura una nueva serie para Women’s eNews, somos más conscientes que nunca de los desafíos que enfrentamos en este momento en que la Estatua de la Libertad está llorando por todos nosotros.

¿Pueden nuestras historias ayudar a sostener la antorcha de la compasión y la bienvenida, y traer de vuelta la luz que los opresores están tratando de extinguir? ¿Pueden ayudar a los más vulnerables entre nosotros a resistir en la oscuridad, la incertidumbre y el peligro?

¿Pueden las memorias convertirse en una herramienta para la acción? ¿Pueden las historias de los marginados, los vulnerables y aislados, tener una forma que asuste a los que están en el poder a repensar la política y la práctica? ¿Se puede enderezar la estructura de poder si una literatura que obliga a cada lector a caminar en la piel del narrador se hace parte de la cultura?

Estas son las preguntas que plantean un número creciente de mujeres y niñas (y más recientemente hombres y niños) en un viaje de dos décadas y media de formación y recopilación de historias de base, ya que juntos, trabajamos en el desarrollo de un equipo de herramientas para que incluso al lector extraño, más severo o inquebrantable, le interesen estas historias. Durante esas décadas, miles de historias han nacido en las cárceles de Long Island, sus refugios y aulas escolares, sus salas sindicales y lugares de trabajo, bibliotecas y centros de arte. Estas historias se han utilizado en la reforma penitenciaria, como parte de un programa de capacitación para oficiales y en la sensibilización de maestros, consejeros escolares y administradores sobre las realidades de la vida de los jóvenes que cruzaron la frontera solos y los niños de los encarcelados. Han sido utilizados por funcionarios gubernamentales y jueces para garantizar que se escuchen las voces de quienes carecen de representación o acceso. Se han utilizado en la curación de comunidades divididas por la violencia y el odio.

Estamos felices de comenzar esta serie con historias de Brave Journeys / Pasos valientes, un libro con historias acerca de 15 estudiantes de secundaria (entre 14 y 17 años) que cruzaron montañas, desiertos y ríos para reunirse con sus padres, que vinieron a este país para escapar del peligro, con el sueño de una vida mejor.

A medida que cada estudiante ponía un bolígrafo en papel, vacilante al principio, sin saber qué significaría traer recuerdos que eran tan difíciles, la magia comenzó a suceder. Aunque las historias fueron difíciles, en cada nueva transcripción, fue la fuerza y ??el espíritu lo que comenzó a brillar. Cada estudiante que escribió una nueva página les dio a los demás, en el círculo de escritura, más valor a medida que pasaban las semanas, hasta que finalmente estuvieron listos para leer sus historias a sus maestros de ELL, quienes nunca los habían conocido de una manera tan profunda y cuidadosa. En los meses que siguieron, vieron que sus historias se convertían en un libro, que se compartiría con otros estudiantes cuyas historias hicieron eco de las suyas y con estudiantes que no tenían idea de su heroísmo, belleza y fuerza. Vieron el libro que sus historias habían creado llegar a diferentes distritos escolares de Long Island, uno tras otro, y finalmente a través de First Book, llegar a una audiencia nacional de educadores que trabajaban en comunidades donde las familias no podían comprar libros para sus hijos.  

Es con tristeza, pero también con urgencia y orgullo, que compartimos anónimamente la escritura de estos jóvenes porque no sería seguro para ellos compartir estas historias de manera rastreable. Esperamos que algún día, estos estudiantes puedan reclamar nuevamente sus propias historias, con sus nombres y fotografías adjuntas, mientras agradecemos a cada uno de estos jóvenes héroes por el papel que están desempeñando para ayudar a la Estatua de la Libertad a sostener su antorcha. 

Erika Duncan, fundadora del taller de escritores de Herstory


Historia uno: Nunca te olvidaré

Llegamos a una etapa en donde no nos imaginamos qué podría pasar al momento de descubrir cuál es la realidad del mundo. En ese momento no se te ocurre si podrías llegar a conocer la historia de la vida. Primero, permanecemos un tiempo dentro del cuerpo de otro ser humano. Puede parecer poco, pero para ese ser humano puede parecer muy largo el tiempo que tiene que esperar.

Así, llega el día en que tienes que salir de ese estrecho e incómodo lugar. El día en que tus padres lloran de felicidad y tú gritas por la misma razón. Nueve meses por dentro es poco, pero son muchos años por vivir.

Nací un 13 de febrero de 1999. Mi padre, quien fue asesinado, decidió antes de morir que mi nombre debía ser ——————————————– en honor a una tía que era monja. Mi abuela quería que me registraran como si yo hubiese nacido un 14 de febrero, pero lo correcto es que te registren el día que en verdad naciste.

La vida en nuestros países es muy difícil. A causa de la mala economía, muchos corremos a alcanzar el sueño americano. Pocos lo logran, muchos mueren en el camino, en el desierto. 

Pero venimos con un pensamiento muy negativo. Llegamos con el miedo de ser discriminados por ser hispanos o por no hablar el mismo lenguaje que ellos. Llegamos aterrorizados de vivir en un mundo totalmente diferente a nuestros países. Pero, aunque no es fácil, tampoco es imposible. 

Muchas veces analizo cómo será esa vida, viviendo con personas distintas, con pensamientos diferentes al mío.

La ley de la vida es que nazcas, crezcas, te reproduzcas y mueras. Y aunque no sabes cuánto tiempo vivirás, la vida transcurre paso a paso y a la vez tan rápido, que es imposible valorar todo el tiempo que perdemos.

Pero deberíamos disfrutar nuestra etapa de la infancia porque muchos nacen día con día, pero mueren al instante y no tienen nunca la oportunidad de vivir, como la tenemos nosotros.

Mi infancia fue un poco desastrosa y triste porque no tuve la oportunidad de tener a mi padre a mi lado. Tenía ocho años cuando me enteré que a mi padre lo habían asesinado. Después de eso aprendí que la vida es difícil pero que todo se puede lograr y que puedes salir adelante si tú te lo propones.

Tenía 16 años cuando le pedí a mi madre que me trajera con ella porque quería conocerla.

—Déjame ver qué puedo hacer —me dijo— porque se necesita mucho dinero para algo así.

—Está bien —le dije— espero su respuesta.

Al pasar el tiempo comencé a analizar que si me venía para acá dejaría a mi abuela sola. Ella es como mi primera madre, alguien que me dio mucho amor. 

A los tres meses de haberle comentado a mi mamá acerca del viaje, sonó el teléfono mientras yo estaba sentada al lado de mi abuela en la sala de mi casa. Al ver el teléfono, vi que era mi madre quien llamaba. Sintiéndome un poco triste, le contesté.

—Hija —me dijo— prepárese porque sale el lunes.

Yo, muy sorprendida le contesté, 

—Mamá, yo ya no me quiero ir.

—¿Por qué? —me preguntó.

—Porque mi abuela está muy enferma y no sé si la voy a volver a ver, ó cuándo pueda regresar.

Yo no estaba segura de poder hacerlo, pero si tenía la ayuda de Dios y de mi abuela, sabía que lo podía lograr. Mi abuela me decía que tenía miedo de que me viniera porque el camino es muy peligroso. Yo tenía mucho miedo también porque escuchaba muchos rumores de la gente acerca de que violaban a las mujeres en el camino.

Tomé la decisión de enfrentar mi destino, dejando a familiares y seres queridos para tener una nueva vida con personas muy diferentes. Salí un 18 de diciembre de 2015, a la 1:00 a.m. Ese día sentí un gran vacío en mi corazón al saber que dejaba a mi abuela. Ella me acompañó hasta el lugar donde me encontraría con “el coyote”, como comúnmente le decimos en nuestros países a quienes hacen este tipo de trabajo. Pasaron aproximadamente cuatro o cinco horas cuando el señor decidió comenzar con el viaje.

Nos teníamos que ir en autobús a México. Al momento de partir, mi abuela tenía mi mano fuertemente apretada. Cuando estaba a punto de subir al autobús me susurro al oído: 

—No me olvides, recuerda mis palabras, mis consejos y regaños. Llámame cuando te sientas sola, recuerda que siempre seré tu abuela, tu madre, tu confidente.

Solo vi sus ojos con lágrimas y la abracé fuertemente diciéndole, 

—Claro que nunca te olvidaré, siempre estarás en mis pensamientos y haré todo lo posible por ayudarte y por poder sacarte adelante porque no tengo cómo agradecerte todo lo que has hecho por mí.

'Domestic murderers are often likable men – that's how they have been able to abuse women'

Women's News from the Web - Thu, 10/10/2019 - 00:18

Davina James-Hanman has spent 30 years fighting to protect survivors of domestic abuse. Now she investigates the deaths of women killed by their partners. What has she learned?

Davina James-Hanman has only met one self-aware murderer. It’s not that they are generally monsters. “They are often personable and likeable, and that is how they have been able to abuse women,” she says. But self-awareness? That’s a rarer commodity among the men – and it is overwhelmingly men – who now kill their partners or ex-partners in the UK at a rate of three every week.

She met the exception to the rule after he had been in prison for 18 months. “By then he was really owning what he’d done.” Generally, she says, men who kill their partners are, “still defensive, still in denial – and they still want you to accept that she was asking for it”.

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Street harassment of young girls should not be ‘normal’. I won’t rest until it is illegal | Maya Tutton

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 23:01
Like so many others, my sister and I have been abused in public. We’re making a stand – and thousands are standing with us

• Maya Tutton is co-founder of the Our Streets Now campaign to make street harassment illegal

My little sister Gemma was 11 years old when she was first subjected to street harassment. Afterwards, she asked me whether it had been her fault. The conversation that followed was not an easy one.

First, she explained what had happened. It was the summer before starting secondary school, and she had been walking down our local high street in broad daylight. A van slowed down beside her and a man leaned out to make crude, sexual remarks about her body. Petrified and confused, she ran crying all the way to her friend’s house.

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Twitter users defend Ocasio-Cortez after hair salon visit upsets rightwing paper

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 20:18

Congresswoman targeted with report she spent nearly $300 at salon, a sum many pointed out as a pretty good deal

There is a lot that offends about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: her Green New Deal, her socialism, her dancing, her previous employment as a bar-tender, and now, apparently, her hair.

The Democrat congresswoman was the subject of an exclusive news story from the Washington Times on Wednesday, in which the newspaper reported she had spent nearly $300 on having her hair cut and coloured.

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Are we finally ready to talk about colourism? | Yomi Adegoke

Women's News from the Web - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 07:30

Thanks to outspoken celebrities like Lupita Nyong’o, the discrimination faced by darker-skinned black people is finally being noticed. But we still have a long way to go

In the past week, two high-profile black women, the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and the Oscar-winning actor Lupita Nyong’o have spoken candidly about not having experienced racism until they arrived in the United States. Like Adichie, Nyong’o didn’t experience discrimination on the basis of her skin colour per se, but on the basis of how dark she was comparatively. She was a victim of one of the last openly accepted “isms”: colourism, the preferential treatment of lighter-skinned individuals compared with their darker-skinned counterparts.

Nyong’o referred to colourism as “the daughter of racism”, explaining that she was once told at an audition that she was “too dark” for television.

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