Category Archives: Women

Are corporations people?

Corporations Are Not PeopleThe legal definition of a corporation in the UK is:

a body of persons authorised by law to act as one person, and having rights and liabilities distinct from the individuals who are forming the corporation.

A corporation can own property, do business, pays taxes – well, sometimes – be sued, sue individuals and other corporations, and though it can’t be born or die, a corporation usually has a definite beginning and can come to a definite end. A corporation doesn’t have a passport: it may be registered in just one country, but it can exist in many.

But no matter how many legal rights and powers a corporation may acquire, there are things it cannot do: it cannot vote in most democratic electionsthough the richer the corporation is, the more it is likely to get its way regardless of democracy; it cannot have sex or experience orgasm or know love or laughter or tears; and it has neither soul nor conscience – from a religious viewpoint, a corporation is not a person at all.

Or so I always thought.

But apparently, in the US at least, the Catholic Church has ruled that corporations have souls and consciences, and therefore rights of freedom of religion that ought not to be violated.

The American legal definition of a corporation is similar to the UK’s definition. A corporation in the US is an independent legal person, created, organised, and – should that time come – dissolved according to the laws of the state in which it is registered. Each state requires articles of incorporation that document the corporation’s creation and the corporation’s management of internal affairs. Nowhere in the legal definition of a corporation does it explain where in this process the corporation becomes ensouled.
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Safe sex and Julian Assange

They fell asleep and she woke up by his penetrating her. She immediately asked if he was wearing anything. He answered: “You.” She said: “You better not have HIV.” He said: “Of course not.” 12th July 2011

The longer Julian Assange delays his return to Sweden to be questioned by the police, charged with rape and sexual assault, and for the Swedish justice system to decide what to do with him, the less likely it is that he will ever be tried at all. It is already three and a half years since two women went to the police to discover if they could force Julian Assange to have an HIV test and, in the process of describing what had happened, gave evidence that Assange had attempted sexual assault on one woman and raped the other woman.

Since 19th June 2012, Assange has lived in a room in Knightsbridge, a guest of the embassy of Ecuador, his request for asylum accepted by the President of a nation who has little concern for free speech. Assange has, in effect, sent himself to jail without trial under much more unpleasant conditions than he would have been subject to in Sweden: where he would have been unlikely – even if found guilty – to have been sentenced to more than three years. If he intends to imprison himself in Knightsbridge until the statute of limitations expires in Sweden, he will stay there til August 2020.
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Because it’s my choice

Over two years ago, I wrote a blogpost outlining why I thought those who were opposed to same-sex marriage were also opposed to safe legal abortion. (Human Rights: Abortion and gay marriage).

In 2004, the Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) won the general election and had as a manifesto commitment, lifting the ban on same-sex marriage in Spain. In 2005, Spain became the third country in the world in which same-sex couples can marry. In 2011, the right-wing Partido Popular (PP) won a majority, and had in their manifesto commitments to roll back access to safe legal abortion, and to have the Constitutional Court consider re-imposing a ban on same-sex marriage.

Courts and judges, upholders of law and order, have in general proved to be supporters of keeping marriage legal, because unmaking lawful marriages is disorderly, and to the judicial mind, disorderliness in marriage law is anathema. In 2012, so it proved in Spain: rather than fall into the unutterable confusion of declaring that seven years of marriages would no longer be recognised, the 2005 law was upheld.
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Bears and woods

There in a scene described in the New Testament where Jesus, having been asked who will be greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, calls a small child to him, and tells his disciples “This kid is, and you guys need to become more like little kids, and furthermore, anyone who hurts little kids should have a big stone hung round his neck and dropped into the deepest part of the sea, am I clear?”

(I’m paraphrasing.)

Pope FrancisNo one knows how many priests in the Roman Catholic Church have abused children and are still active as priests in their communities. In each diocese, there are files on the priests who worked there which would make that clear if all of them were opened up, but the Catholic Church has steadily refused to do that.

Four hundred priests who have been accused of child molestation by the secular law authorities have been defrocked. I know of no instance where the Church has defrocked a priest and turned him and the evidence they had uncovered of his abuse of children over to the secular law authorities so that the legal authorities could act.
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Rennard and 50/50 hindsight

Chris RennardWhen the question about sexual harassment was asked of the Question Time panel in Dundee last week, all three men on the panel – including David Dimbleby – went awfully quiet. The two women, Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson, roundly condemned sexual harassment and the behaviour of party leadership that ignores complaints; especially telling coming from Davidson, as the leader of the Scottish Conservatives.

It gets written off as “not a big deal” or “he probably didn’t mean it” or “he’s not a bad guy, really.” Any discussion of the bad behavior must immediately be followed by a complete audit of his better qualities or the sad things he’s suffered in the name of “fairness.” Once the camera has moved in and seen him in closeup as a real, human, suffering person, how can you (the object, always an object, as in “objectified,” as in a disembodied set of tits or orifices, or a Trapper Keeper, or a favorite coffee mug or a pet cat) be so cruel as to want to hold him accountable for his actions? Bitches, man. “My friend group has a case of the Creepy Dude. How do we clear that up?” Captain Awkward, August 2012

For twenty years, Lord Rennard was the man in charge of Liberal Democrat campaigns and elections. He was appointed Director of Campaigns and Elections for the newly-forged Liberal Democrat party in 1989. In 1992, the LibDems lost two seats – by the 1997 election, they had 18. But in 1997, 2001, and 2005, targeting winnable seats, Rennard increased Liberal Democrat representation from 18 to 46, to 52, to a high of 62.
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The racism of the respectable

Daughters of EvePlease sign this petition, on the Downing Street site from Leyla Hussein, Daughters of Eve, and Efua Dorkenoo OBE, Equality Now:

Over 66,000 women in the UK have already undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) and more than 24,000 girls are at risk. FGM is a very British problem. Despite increased activities around FGM recently, it is not enough – we are still failing to stop the abuse.

[The petition has reached 100,000 signatures - 100,412 as of Sunday 26th January - and is therefore eligible for debate by the House of Commons. Important that if FGM is debated in the Commons it does not descend into a farago of Islamophobia: real solutions needed.]

The Guardian is running a consultation on how to eradicate FGM forever: closes 8th January.

In 2011, the Tory/LibDem government cut the funding for the only Whitehall post devoted to work preventing women and girls from the UK being subjected to FGM.

“This is a real step backwards,” said Diana Nammi, director of the Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation. “We feel it speaks about a real lack of commitment from the government and a marginalisation of this hugely important issue The new guidelines were an important step forward but efforts are now needed to ensure that they are actually read and acted on, and the government should also be working to change attitudes towards FGM within communities.

“Without a dedicated person in government to drive efforts forward, it’s hard to see how this will happen. The coordinator was a link between all the organisations working in this area and now that’s been lost.”
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Spain: human rights tragedy

We will care for your women until your government doesSpain has joined Ireland in exporting part of its healthcare system abroad: from now on, a woman who needs an abortion – unless she can “prove” to the healthcare system in time that she was raped or that being pregnant will cause her serious mental or physical damage – will have to go to another country.

Unfortunately, of the main countries closest to Spain: Portugal only allows elective abortion up to 10 weeks and has a 3-day waiting period: and France allows elective abortion up to 12 weeks but usually with a 1-week waiting period. (Italy is about the same: first 90 days with 1-week wait except in cases of emergency.) It seems likely, therefore, that Spanish women who need abortions (if they can afford it) will have to take a cheap flight to the UK and will have to make use of the abortion services here. Those that can’t, will have to find some way of illegally aborting in Spain.
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Neither cure nor endure

Back when we first evolved into naked apes, skin tone for human beings was normally high in melanin. Low-melanin skin (“white”) is a genetic freak that may have provided some advantage for living in latitudes where there’s little sunshine for a large part of the year – or it may have happened by accident, a group of freaks moving northward.

VV Brown wrote in September:

In 2010 I was selected to be one of the first black faces for a Marks & Spencer campaign. Many people in the industry questioned my motives. Being a musician and never having previously modelled, I was constantly asked “Why Marks & Spencer?” Only now can I fully understand the driving force that led me into the modelling world.

I began modelling because I was that young girl looking into the magazines and wondering why I didn’t see more faces like mine looking back at me. Whatever tiny impact it made, I wanted to empower the young black women around me, to feel liberated at the inclusion of a black female in a high-profile British campaign.
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Burqa ban wrong

What is a burqa?

Burqa NiqabThe 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.)

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Prolife is about forcing 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.
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