Posts tagged ‘report’

New women’s support centre opens in Burnley on International Women’s Day

A new specialist centre providing free support for some of Burnley’s most vulnerable women has opened.

The centre, in Nicholas Street, appropriately opened on International Women’s Day, is being run by staff and volunteers from East Lancashire Women’s Centres, which already has facilities in Accrington and Blackburn.

Help includes mental health support, well-being, individual casework, finance and debt management, employment support and legal advice as well as a staffed crèche.

Women will be given the chance to learn and develop personal effectiveness, self-help skills and techniques through attending a programme of structured training, with progression routes onto accredited training in literacy and numeracy and IT support training.

They will also have access to counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, and clinical interventions, and the centre will develop provision for street sex workers.

Chief officer Sarah Swindley said: “The team are very excited about this opportunity to build on our experience in other areas to develop our work in Burnley.

“We have already been warmly received by the Burnley community and partner agencies, and know that our service can make a real difference for local women and their families.

“We have been impressed by the number of women who have already expressed a desire to volunteer for us and wanted to visit us at our launch event.”

Lancashire Probation Trust will locate offender managers at the centre to provide a women-only environment for female offenders to report for their appointments.

Kevin Robinson, chief executive of Lancashire Probation Trust, added: “Being involved in this new centre gives us a real opportunity to build on our success in working in the Accrington and Blackburn centres, as well as those situated elsewhere in the county.

“I am proud that we can help make a difference in addressing the unique and often complex needs that working with vulnerable women and women offenders can provide.”

The centre will be open three days a week, extending to five days from September, and is funded by a number of agencies, including NHS East Lancashire, Ministry of Justice, and the Community Safety Partnership.


16 March 2012 at 3:48 pm

A thousand reasons – why feminism still matters

On International Women’s Day Linda Grant tweeted her thoughts about why feminism still matters. Thousands of shocking responses – from women and men – proved her point

@jobellerina: Whilst delivering a strategic planning event, a male attendee comes in, walks past the young male intern, and hands me his coat

On BBC Radio 3 presenter Sara Mohr-Pietsch’s playlist of women composers and performers to celebrate International Women’s Day led me to tweet that literature was a more hospitable place for female artists than music or theatre because all you needed was an hour or so alone. A few minutes later, I added another tweet, a summary of an argument I have been posing to young women who say they are not feminists and owe nothing to feminism: for you I’m-not-a-feminists, in 1979 aged 28, when I applied for a store credit card the form had to be signed by my husband or father.

This incident took place in a now-defunct department store in Canada where I was a graduate student, and the male clerk on the other side of the desk witnessed me blow up like a nuclear bomb in his face. When, years later, observing the beginnings of a backlash against feminism, I asked I’m-not-a-feminist women if they were happy to bring back the times when their finances were controlled by male family members they were obviously shocked. Of course not. So who got rid of these requirements? Feminists did, by kicking up a fuss. And so my little contribution to International Women’s Day was to remind younger women that the rights they take for granted were achieved by those feminists with whom they feel they have nothing in common, rights which did not always exist, even in their own lifetimes.

My feed was filling up with observations from other women about their own experiences of sexism past, the casual, low-level, everyday sexism of women treated as second-class citizens by men. The first I noticed was from
@Rosebudlia, who wrote: Earlier than that I wanted a washing machine and I had to sign that my husband or male figure would guarantee my payments.
@Carissa_Mason noted: I know a woman who, just 40-45 years ago, was required to have a man provide consent for her emergency caesarean!
@harrietvde said: My mum was a 39-year-old well respected journalist on a national newspaper when she married my father and was forced to quit.
From @JuliaHines: A consultant who was teaching a seminar of me & 5 other med students apologised that he had not realised he was teaching nurses. …
@beckyfincham: In 2002,after uni I worked for a recruiter in Folkestone where I “had to wear a skirt” as boss didn’t “like women in trousers”.
@surreyspinster: Assistant at a major electrical shop asked if I wanted to consult my husband before making such a big purchase.
@actual_vortex: I teach exercise science and male students will often check with my male colleagues that I’m right. I’m the senior tutor!

I decided to stop work and focus on retweeting the floods of responses. Some of my mentions were alerting others to look at my timeline; many expressed shock and rage at what they were reading. I realised I was curating, in real time, the on-going collective experience of the ways in which some men have tried to diminish women’s importance or deny us control over our own lives. One theme came up over and over again, that financial institutions have still not caught up. Numerous tweets referred to female joint mortgage or bank account holders being told that the institution would only speak to the man on the account, and of letters sent to the male signatory only.

In the evening … when I got home, someone pointed out that there were up to 2,000 contributions to my timeline (and I’d gained 800 followers). Now, many of the tweets coming to me were responses to the timeline: @cairnage: The stuff @lindasgrant is RTing now is making me shake with fury. Some began to suggest that there should be a permanent record of the tweets, before Twitter sent them into timeline oblivion. … Selecting the most relevant ones, he suggested calling it A Thousand Reasons. A thousand reasons why feminism is still relevant and necessary.

Feminism has been the greatest and most successful revolution of my lifetime, the single most significant achievement of my generation of babyboomers. It has altered women’s lives beyond all recognition. Young women today have little or no idea of what it was like to have to seek permission from a father or husband to sign papers, get a loan or a mortgage, to be forced out of your job when you married or had children, to be denied contraception because you were single, to be thwarted in ambition. A story I wrote for the Guardian in the mid-90s revealed that girls routinely scored higher grades than boys in the 11-plus, but as there were an equal number of places for boys and girls, boys were passing with lower marks than girls consigned to the secondary moderns. Until 1974, there were only five colleges offering places to women compared with 27 for men, and some employers only recruited from Oxbridge wanting “the best and the brightest”. I remember being told that the best way for a woman to become a producer at the BBC was to enter as a secretary and get promoted. What, I wondered, were men advised?

Much of the struggle for women’s rights today is taking place in countries where girls are denied the right to go to school at all, where their bodies are being mutilated by clitoridectomy and their lives stunted by forced marriage. Worse things happen to women every day including rape and domestic violence, than being snubbed or ignored. These horrors indicate the continuing vast inequality between the sexes. No, it’s not the worst thing in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can pretend it’s not happening. I hope that will serve as a free resource for students, academics, teenagers, mothers and fathers, to examine everyday experience, not rhetoric or theory, but the very air we breathe, the way we live, yesterday and today: the small indignities, the opportunities denied, the insults, the patronage, the dismissal, the ignoring, the diminishing, the low expectations, the whole indignity of sexism, including the relentless jokes about it, jokes that are rarely made in relation to racism.

And waking up to it all, and thinking, as you look down at the application form where your husband or father is supposed to give you permission to spend the money you have earned, “I’m not putting up with this.” And I don’t care if some people think feminism is a dirty word, because without it, we’d still be back where we were, stuck forever, too scared to open our mouths in case men think we’re not feminine enough. Enough of cupcakes and high heels, they have their place, but they didn’t win me the right to buy them.

Edited version of original article at

Archive of tweets – A Thousand Reasons
“… to remind younger women that the rights they take for granted were achieved by those feminists with whom they feel they have nothing in common, rights which did not always exist, even in their own lifetimes. …”

16 March 2012 at 3:39 pm

International Women’s Day sees protests in the Philippines

A September report in Newsweek brought the headline “In Asia, the Philippines is the best place to be a woman” to numerous publications in the country as well as to online news and social media sites.

And yet on Thursday, International Women’s Day, Manila’s streets filled up with thousands of women marching and rallying in protest alongside members of partner activist groups.

International Women’s Day is a global day dedicated to celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women. It honors women in the United States and Europe who fought for their right to vote in the early 1900s, celebrates women’s success and shines the spotlight on problems still to be addressed.

Gabriela, the largest organization of women in the country, led a march on Mendiola Bridge and Plaza Miranda against “unabated price hikes” in petroleum and other staple products as well as a rally to protest increasing U.S. military presence in the country. (About 6,800 Filipino and U.S. troops will hold annual combat exercises in April near disputed territories in the South China Sea.)

At Saint Joseph’s College, owned by Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, more than 200 women gathered for the Ecumenical Women’s Forum for liturgy, a forum and fellowship. The forum, made up of 15 groups that work with Christians, Muslims and indigenous people, took the theme “Women Celebrating, Affirming the Continuing Struggle for Life and Human Dignity Amidst Crisis and Poverty.”

Goods and crafts produced by various groups and sectors were sold during the gathering, including the book That She May Dance Again, which presents the research of Maryknoll Sr. Nila Bermisa and teams of Catholic women religious and laypeople working on violence against women in the Catholic church.

Ibon Foundation’s research found that there were 975,000 female overseas Filipino workers as of 2010. More than half of the women worked as laborers or unskilled workers. Still, with the highest unemployment rate in Southeast Asia at 7.4 percent in the Philippines, the women are left with little choice but to look outside the country for livelihood, Bisenio said.

The Philippines government poverty-reducing cash conditional transfer program (CCT) gives cash grants to the poorest families in identified municipalities with children or to pregnant women who meet certain health and education requirements.

Its name, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, reflects its aim to help the “Filipino family to crossover” from a state of survival to subsistence.

But Bisenio called CCT “anti-poor and anti-women,” criticizing its budget increase from 10 billion pesos ($234.7 million) in 2010 to 39.5 billion ($927 million) in 2011, even though the program has not been evaluated.

At the end of CCT, “Will there be ample jobs services for all?” Bisenio asked. “Will [CCT] provide agricultural support, which majority of the population of poor Filipinos will need? Will it have industries?”

Meanwhile, she cited the 2006 National Statistics Office Family Planning Survey that revealed that for every 100,000 live births in the Philippines, 162 women die during pregnancy and childbirth or shortly after childbirth.

Women who are pregnant (26.6 percent) and lactating (11.7 percent) were found to be underweight by the 2003 National Nutritional Survey. Almost half of each group was anemic, Bisenio said.

Extracts from a longer news story at

16 March 2012 at 3:34 pm

Women’s Day March in Chile Turns Violent

Over 10,000 Chilean activists marked International Women’s Day with a massive march in downtown Santiago that ended with clashes with the police.

Participants from a number of feminist, social, and union groups demonstrated together.

They were calling on more women to take political action and occupy positions of power in Chilean politics.

At one point a small group of protesters tried to move barriers set up by the police and the authorities detained at least one woman.

The authorities also fired tear gas and a water cannon at the crowd.

Protesters set fire to furniture they raided from a bank.

The demonstrators claim the country’s institutions uphold a male driven society and widespread gender inequality. – includes link to video footage

16 March 2012 at 3:12 pm

Sisters unite: Hyatt workers picket on International Women’s Day in San Francisco

About 80 protesters from a coalition of women workers staged a peaceful protest demanding that Hyatt reinstate two workers, Martha and Lorena Reyes, who were fired in October.

The Reyes sisters claim they were fired after Martha tore down photoshopped images of the sisters’ heads tacked onto the cartoon images of women’s bodies in bikinis. These images were displayed in their workplace, the Hyatt Santa Clara along with similar images of 70 fellow housekeepers. Hyatt has denied that tearing down the picture was the cause for the Reyes’ sisters’ termination.

The protest, planned for International Women’s Day, was also meant to draw attention to what the demonstrators see as widespread disregard for the health and safety of women workers at Hyatt, as well as an ongoing contract dispute between UNITE HERE and Hyatt hotels.

Demonstrators formed a picket line outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel at Union Square, chanting “women united will never be defeated.” The protest was accompanied by a creative project; a “clothesline” displaying more than 50 garments on which workers and allies had painted solidarity slogans.

“Women: 51 percent of world’s population, 70 percent of world’s poor, 66 percent of world’s workers, produce 50 percent of food, earn 10 percent of the income. Underpaid, underrated” ready one puff-painted t-shirt.

Groups such as Mujeres Unidas y Activas, the Day Labor Program, the Chinese Progressive Association, and Gabriela USA (an coalition advocating for the rights of Filipino women workers), and the Progressive Jewish Alliance represented at the rally.

Inspired by the large turn-out, which Labor Council representative Conny Ford called “a multi-generational, multi-ethnic group of community and labor,” UNITE HERE Local 2 decided to enter the Grand Hyatt in an attempt to meet with General Manager David Nadelman. He conceded, and spoke with a delegation of about 30 women.

In a polite and non-confrontational meeting, Nadelman listened as each woman in the delegation took a minute to tell her story.

In a debrief about the meeting that closed the rally, the group expressed uncertainty that Nadelman’s promise to help would be fruitful. Some suggested ramping up tactics in the future, and potentially demanding that Nadelman call the Hyatt Santa Clara and ask them to reinstate the Reyes’s.

The rally closed with chants of “we’ll be back.”

In an ongoing contract negotiation, the Hyatt wants to remove a part of the hotel workers’ contract that allows workers to vote on whether or not new hotels built in San Francisco or San Mateo will be unionized, on their terms.

Read the full story here

16 March 2012 at 3:04 pm

IWD Conference in Cairo says UN convention against gender discrimination “incompatible with values of sharia law”

A women’s conference organised by the dominant traditionalist bloc in the Egyptian parliament has called for a council for families to replace the existing National Council for Women, a state-owned daily reported yesterday.

The conference, held on International Women’s Day, also condemned the 1978 UN convention against gender discrimination saying it was “incompatible with the values of sharia” law, the Al Ahram newspaper reported.

The Freedom and Justice Party conference called for the formation of a national council for the family to “truly express the complementary roles of men and women,” the newspaper said. The current National Council for Women has been heavily criticised for its association with former first lady Suzanne Mubarak. The Freedom and Justice Party, political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, says it does not endorse gender discrimination, although the Brotherhood argues women should not be allowed to rule the country.

The party is the dominant bloc in both houses of parliament after a sweeping victory in a multi-phase general election that began in November. Women hold just two per cent of the seats in parliament.

Part of a longer report at

16 March 2012 at 2:55 pm

After 28 years and 10,000 breasts, ‘Bild’ discovers International Women’s Day

Bild , Germany’s best-selling daily newspaper, has decided to remove its trademark pictures of topless women from the front page in an International Women’s Day gesture towards complaining readers, it announced yesterday.

The tabloid paper, which sells about four million copies a day, will now carry the images on page three instead, a format favoured by British tabloids.

“It is perhaps a small step from a female perspective, but for Bild and all men in Germany it is a big step,” the paper said in an article.

Topless women on the cover have been part of Bild ’s identity for 28 years. More than 5,000 have bared their breasts there since 1984.

“Of course Bild wants to remain sexy. But in a more modern way,” it said. – (Reuters)

16 March 2012 at 2:50 pm

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International Women's Day!March 8th, 2012
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