What is a burqa?
The name varies according to country, custom, and time: burqa, niqab, veil, chadari, abaya: effectively it is a one-person mobile tent with either an opening for the eyes or a lighter fabric to let the woman inside see through.
In countries where the burqa is required by law or imposed by male violence and female policing of the woman’s “honour”, adult women sometimes suffer from Vitamin D deficiencies because their skin may never get direct sunlight.
There is no requirement in the Qu’ran for Islamic women to cover their faces or to tent themselves with fabric in a burqa or chadoor.
The Islamic requirement that does exist, that believing men and women should dress and behave modestly, is culturally applied to women, and this double standard has been discussed at length by Muslims and non-Muslims. (I’d note that neither Islam nor any other religion nor the secularist community is unique in having double standards of behaviour and requiring women to behave to standard or face cultural punishment.)
Filed under Racism, Women
Quotes from a man who teaches prolifers to argue with prochoicers using the language of human rights.
Josh Brahm: We’re asking pro-choice people if they agree that all human adults have an equal right to life.
A publicly claimed motivation for shutting down the US government for over a fortnight was to “stop Obamacare”. And a very public reason why many conservatives say they oppose the Affordable Care Act is that ACA / Obamacare requires that all health insurance policies must now cover all female contraception with no co-pay.
This is objectionable to religious conservatives who think it’s wrong women should be able to decide for themselves whether or not to use contraception: because to a conservative Christian, sex exists in two boxes, Good Sex, which is heterosexual intercourse in marriage, couple open to having children. Anything else is Bad Sex. Although nothing prevents abortions better than women having free access to contraception, to the religious conservative abortion and contraception are linked because both mean that a woman – even a married woman – is having Bad Sex according to their definition: she is a slut.
On 8th August, PZ Myers published an email from a woman he knows and trusts (but who had asked Myers not to name her) at his blog. The email said that a well-known figure in the American skeptics community had
“coerced me into a position where I could not consent, and then had sex with me”.
Several other named and unnamed sources, known and considered credible by PZ Myers, have confirmed the incident and have described what may be other similar incidents:
…he deliberately got her very drunk while flirting with her — a story that corroborates a particular pattern of sexual assault. All of these are people PZ knows, and whose reliability he is vouching for.
It’s been noted that there will be no legal repercussions for this man, though there may be social repercussions:
So the best we can hope for as far as repercussions are that because his name is so popular, the accusations against him will give his potential future victims pause against trusting him enough to drink with or spend time alone with him. This might hurt his feelings, but it will not ruin his career or his life.
Filed under Drinking, Women
Diane Abbott is MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.
She’s currently getting slammed around on Twitter for accepting a speaker’s fee from the University of Birmingham in 2011 (£1750) to be the keynote speaker at their first ‘Global Societies’ student conference: and this year, she was paid a fee (£1,000) to be the keynote speaker at the Manchester Metropolitan University conference on ‘Making Education a Priority’ in May 2013.
When asked to a speaking engagement in her constituency, it would be boorish and absurd for her to demand a speaking fee: her constituents are entitled to her time. She may not be able to fit the engagement in on the specific date, but they do have a right to expect she’ll show up and talk, unpaid, if they invite her and she can make it.
Manchester and Birmingham are neither of them in Hackney North and Stoke Newington. Continue reading
Everyone dies. Nothing’s sure but death and taxes.
In general, over decades of the NHS and welfare support and help for disabled people, people have been living longer. Since the first Coalition government spending review, cuts on spending have targeted the poor and disabled.
The DWP’s own figures say:
The prevalence of disability rises with age. Around 6 per cent of children are disabled, compared to 16 per cent of working age adults* and 45 per cent of adults over State Pension age in Great Britain.
In 2008/09, 16% of pensioner households were living in poverty.
Esther McVey, the minister for disabled people, told the Mail on Sunday in March this year that in her view many of the people receiving disability didn’t really need it:
“Only three per cent of people are born with a disability, the rest acquire it through accident or illness, but people come out of it. Thanks to medical advances, bodies heal.”
Mortality rates have been falling steadily for years. There was a blip upwards in 2003, but it was followed by a blip downwards in 2004 – no overall change in the general trend downwards. Since the beginning of 2012, mortality among older people has been rising steadily, and has continued to rise in 2013.
[Note: The government have since decided to ensure no further evidence is published that could evidence a general trend upward by abolishing the Public Health England reports.]
Cambridge Union Society debater Rebecca Meredith had this to say about the sexist heckling she and her debating partner were subjected to at the Glasgow University Union three months ago:
During the debate, a select number of male students, including former committee members and even an ex-president, made sexual comments about our appearance, shouted “shame woman”, booed loudly and questioned “what does a woman know anyway?”. This was not mere heckling, and not related to the content of our speeches. None of the male speakers faced the same treatment. After the debate, a member of this group shouted “get that woman out of my chamber” as my partner Marlena passed.
When female students heard these comments, one confronted the male members and was told to stop being a “frigid bitch”. After the debate, a female Cambridge student rose to confront the perpetrators. The organisers of the tournament, and GUU committee members, begged her to sit down and not “cause trouble”. I myself confronted one of the male members concerned, and the GUU committee, only to be told that it was “to be expected” and “par for the course” that women would be booed in the GUU chamber. When I asked whether they would accept the treatment of racial minority speakers in the same way, I was told “they would be booed too, but we don’t have them here.” The committee accepted we were booed because we were women, not for any other reason, but refused to take action against their members.
Filed under Education, Women
Who is that Ed Miliband chap again?
This is the MP I want to lead the Opposition. Because today, she did.
‘When I made my maiden speech a little over two decades ago, Margaret Thatcher had been elevated to the other place but Thatcherism was still wreaking, as it had wreaked for the previous decade, the most heinous, social, economic and spiritual damage upon this country, upon my constituency and my constituents.
Filed under Politics, Women
Today is International Women’s Day, and there are many nice liberal articles about the reasons for the gender pay gap. Women get paid less than men. Jobs that are traditionally regarded as “for women” are also routinely paid less than jobs traditionally regarded “for men”.
Ever since I started working in IT I’ve been told that I make less than a man with the same skills. I chose to ignore that and focus on doing an awesome job, figuring I’d be paid what I was worth. I chose to believe that employers wouldn’t take me for granted and would reward my skills and abilities. In fact, I once had a boss who coached me to always ask for a pay rise and log my successes to ensure I always kept pace with the men in the company. I thought he was the norm – I thought all bosses wanted everyone to be equal and succeed.
Boy was I ever wrong.
While sexist conditions on work affect the average woman’s pay compared to the average man’s pay – when women take a couple of years off to have children, the work world is arranged so that this affects her promotion and pay prospects: the structure of work and career is fundamentally arranged to suit a man with a wife: a woman with childcare responsibilities may have to take part-time work or look for a job dependent on location and childcare affordability – the overriding factor is just as clear: women get paid less for being female. A women entering full-time work as a graduate will get paid less than a man who has also just graduated.
Filed under Economics, Women
The company that produces “Keep Calm And Hit Her” t-shirts that were available on Amazon til this morning claims they were computer-generated, are not actually for sale, and have now been removed.
The vendor who sells these has been on Ebay since 2003, runs an online shop, and has 100% positive feedback.
“You say I never lift a finger to help around the house. Well, here it is, baby.”
For sale here.
Filed under Justice, Women
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am normally a huge fan of the BBC Question Time watchalong on Twitter: even when I detest one, some, or all of the panel. (Given the panel still unfortunately includes David Dimbleby, one man is invariably detestable.)
Tweeting / reading Twitter #BBCqt while watching BBC Question Time turns it from a solitary anger to a group sport.
Last Thursday I switched on the tv a few moments late, and George Galloway was speaking. He came to the end of whatever he had to say, and the audience cheered him.