The Boy Scouts Are Dropping the ‘Boy’ From Their Name A move to reflect the new, more inclusive vision of scouting in the United States.

Leave a comment

Getty ImagesAndy Lyons

The Boy Scouts are getting a new name. The Boy Scouts of America organization has announced that the name of its scouting program for older kids will soon be “Scouts BSA,” while the name of the organization will retain its current name.

The new names reflects a series of changes that have already been underway. The Boy Scouts of America announced in October 2017 that girls would be allowed into the Cub Scouts beginning in the fall of 2018, with an “early adopter” program to allow girls into councils that opted into integration to start the process as early as January 2018.

Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, described the change this way in a press release:

“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible. That is why it is important that the name for our Scouting program for older youth remain consistent with the single name approach used for the Cub Scouts. Starting in February 2019, the name of the older youth program will be ‘Scouts BSA,’ and the name of our iconic organization will continue to be Boy Scouts of America.”

According to a BSA FAQ on the Scouting program, the same curriculum will be offered to both boys and girls with no changes based on gender, but there will be separate boy and girl troops that can coordinate to varying degrees based on the decisions of their charter organization. BSA says that these different troops should have different scoutmasters, and that all patrols must be single-gender. Whether to have such troops meet at the same time and do joint ceremonies at the opening and closing of meetings, meanwhile, falls to the charter organization.

As the changes go into effect, charter organizations will have the decision of continuing an existing Boy Scouts program as Scouting for boysessentially business as usual but with a gender-neutral namewith the option but not the requirement to add a program for girls as well.

The changes go into effect officially in February 2019.

By Eric Limer/PopularMechanics


Racial Divide Snapshot: Single Black Women Wealth, $200 – White Women, $15,640

Leave a comment

While women of all races and ethnicities have higher educational levels and suffer lower pay than men overall, their socio-economic status is much closer to men within their racial or ethnic group than with women across racial or ethnic groups.”

As Women’s History Month ends, we at the Racial Wealth Divide Initiative think it is important to reflect upon how racial economic inequality intersects with gender economic inequality. Overall, women earn lower wages and experience higher levels of poverty than men. This holds for Black and Latina women, who also earn lower wages and experience higher poverty rates than White and Asian women. Most women of color face a double disparity: having lower socio-economic outcomes than men, compounded by affiliation with a racial or ethnic group that—whether male or female—has much lower socio-economic indicators than their White counterparts.

Education is one area where women in all major racial and ethnic groups outperform men . Whether Latina, Black, White or Asian American, women’s college graduation rates are between five to 10 percentage points higher than men’s. However, superior education outcomes for women do not lead to superior incomes. Even with a higher likelihood of college education, the median income of all women is only 83% of that earned by men .

This gendered income inequality varies within different racial groups. Asian American and White women, who are more likely to come from higher income backgrounds, earn at about 80% of Asian American and White men’s income. Latina and African American women, who are more likely to come from lower income communities, make about 90% of what Latino and Black men make.

“Superior education outcomes for women do not lead to superior incomes.”

Similarly, a 2015 study from the Assets Funders Network reveals the wealth inequality between single men and women varies between races . While single Black women own only $100 less in wealth than single Black men, disappointingly, the median wealth for single Black women is a mere $200 while the median wealth of single Black men is only $300. Single Latina women hold only $100 in median wealth, $850 lower than single Latino men. Whites have a gender wealth disparity of over $13,000 with a low median wealth of $15,640 for single women and $28,900 for single men. There was no gender wealth data for single Asian Americans in the cited study.

Looking at this income and wealth data together, there are three important takeaways:

* While women of all races and ethnicities have higher educational levels and suffer lower pay than men overall, their socio-economic status is much closer to men within their racial or ethnic group than with women across racial or ethnic groups.

* Ironically, single women from the most economically secure communities face the greatest gender disparities compared to single men in their same demographic group. Not only do they earn a lower share of single men’s income, but the magnitude of wealth inequality is higher as well.

* Although the magnitude of income and wealth inequality between single Black and Latino men and women is relatively small, they sadly earn low income and hold almost zero wealth regardless of gender.

The share of women of color in America’s female population and the workforce is growing. It is increasingly evident that to tackle gender inequality, we also have to tackle the racial economic divide that is so deeply ingrained in this country.

To learn more about this issue, dive into following Racial Wealth Snapshot that focuses on women and the racial wealth divide, part of our series of snapshots highlighting disparities in racial wealth. Our last snapshot looked at racial wealth indicators within the Black community .

Racial Wealth Snapshot: Women and the Racial Wealth Divide

The historical legacy of the racial wealth divide when combined with gender inequality makes women of color uniquely economically insecure. The greatest socio-economic disparities for most women of color are rooted in racial inequality, which is then worsened by smaller but significant gendered disparities. It follows that, within the most economically disenfranchised racial and ethnic groups, such as Blacks and Latinos, gendered disparities are usually much smaller than among Whites. African American women and Latinas experience greater gender economic equality within their racial and ethnic groups. However, this parity is more an equality in economic disenfranchisement than an equality in economic wellbeing.

Workforce and Income

According to the 2013 Current Population Survey , more African American and Latina women work in the service and production industries than White women, who tend to work in management. Service and production jobs generally offer lower wages and lack favorable tax codes or valuable government benefits that make it difficult for working women’s income to turn into wealth.

According to a 2014 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics , the weekly median income of women was $719, while men earned a median income of $871. As such, women’s median income was 83% of what men earned.

An even bigger disparity occurs when both race and gender are considered. Using weekly earnings, White women earned $734, Black women earned $611 and Latina women earned $548, meaning Black and Latina women earned 83% and 75%, respectively, of White women’s weekly earnings. Similarly, White men earned $897, Black men earned $680 and Latino men earned $616 on a weekly basis, showing that Black men made 76% of the weekly median income of White men and Latinos only made 69%. Latina and Black women only made 61% and 68% of White men’s earnings, respectively. Conversely, Asian American women’s median weekly income was $841 a week , 115% of the pay of White women. Asian American men earned $1,080 weekly, 120% of the pay of White men.


According to a 2015 brief from Asset Funders Network Center , the “2013 Survey of Consumer Finances data” showed that the median wealth for single women was $3,210 while the median wealth for single men was $10,150. Single women held only 32 cents of wealth for every dollar of wealth owned by a single man.

There is a greater gender wealth inequality when looking across individual racial lines. Per the 2015 Asset Funders Network report, the median wealth of single White women was $15,640. Yet, the median wealth for single Black women and Latina women was $200 and $100, respectively—about one cent for every dollar of White women’s wealth. On the other hand, while White men’s median wealth was $28,900; Latino men’s wealth was $950 and Black men’s wealth was $300, about three cents and one cent on every dollar of White men’s wealth, respectively.

Poverty Rates

According to the 2015 Current Population Survey , 16.9 million women and 11.7 million men lived in poverty. That is wholly 13.4% of women and 9.9% of men in the US. Disparities grow when race is factored in: 9.6% of White women live in poverty while 20.9% of Latina women, 11.7% of Asian women and 23.1% of Black women do. For comparison, 7.1% of White men, 14.7% of Latino men, 10.6% of Asian men and 18.2% of Black men lived in poverty.


Per the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics , for the last quarter of 2017, the unemployment rate was four percent for men and 3.8% for women. White men’s unemployment rate was 3.5% and White women’s rate an even lower 3.3%. During the last quarter of 2017, Asian American men and women had remarkably low unemployment rates of 2.8% and 2.7%, respectively. African Americans, on the other hand, had the highest unemployment levels: a total of seven percent, with African American men at 7.8% and African American women at 6.3%. Finally, Latinos are the only demographic group in which unemployment for men is lower than women, with the Latino unemployment rate at 4.3% and Latinas at 5.2%.

Educational Achievement

Despite generally having lower socio-economic indicators, women in all our demographic groups had substantially higher college graduation rates than men. According to the Fact Sheet from Center for Global Policy Solutions , in 2013, 62% of Asian American women and 53% of Asian American men had college degrees. Forty-four percent of White women and 37% of White men had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2013. Women’s stronger academic achievement continues within the African American and Latino communities with 23.2% of Black women and 17.4% of Black men having earned degrees, and 19% of Latinas and 13% of Latinos holding college degrees.

By Dedrick Asante-Muhammad/BAR

Posted by The NON-Conformist

In Races for District Attorney, Insurgent Candidates Are Challenging Police-Backed Incumbents

Leave a comment

The blue wave that Democrats hope will help them take back control of Congress from the Republicans is not the only battle that will take place during the midterm elections later this year. There is a progressive movement at the local level to reshape the criminal justice system by winning elections for district attorney. By taking control of local prosecutor positions, lawyers and activists focused on reform across the country hope to cut out the mass incarceration middleman and directly target cash bail, harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, and police accountability. Two women of color in California are hoping to do just that.
Pamela Price of Alameda County and Geneviéve Jones-Wright of San Diego are running for their local district attorney seats in the upcoming primary election in June. They spoke about their fight against police-endorsed incumbents last week in an interview with Jeremy Scahill on the Intercepted podcast.

Price, who has worked for 27 years as a civil rights lawyer, told Intercepted about her run for office. She has a 10-point platform that addresses issues she intends to tackle as DA. It includes ending mass incarceration, eliminating the death penalty, protecting immigrant communities, holding the police accountable, and reducing gun violence. When asked about her motivation to run in Alameda, she said, “We have a criminal justice system that not only over-criminalizes and decimates black and brown communities, and poor communities, but it has been happening for the entire time that the incumbent has been a part of that office.” Price is challenging District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, who has received many endorsements from law enforcement agencies, including from the Alameda Police Officers Association, and the Oakland Police Officers’ Association.

Jones-Wright has been a deputy public defender since 2006 and her campaign promises to break the cycle of crime, provide justice to all victims, and hold the powerful to account. “I will bring a much-needed perspective that the current administration doesn’t have and can’t offer because they are entrenched as prosecutors, and they have a certain mentality that doesn’t take into account the people that they’re actually supposed to represent,” she told Intercepted.

Her opponent, District Attorney Summer Stephan, a registered Republican, has been endorsed by a multitude of local law enforcement associations. “When you talk about her having law enforcement endorsements, that goes to the heart of it,” Jones-Wright said. “We need a district attorney in San Diego County that’s going to represent the people whose names we file complaints in.”

California adopted an open primary measure in 2010. Regardless of political party, only the top two candidates in a primary vote will head to the general election in November. Price and Jones-Wright are each the only challengers to the DA in their respective counties, so come June, if one secures more than 50 percent of the vote, the election will be called.

According to a 2016 report by Fusion, 72 percent of elected prosecutors ran unopposed in their last elections. “The DA makes the decisions on who is charged with what crimes, when, how, and even why … with very, very little oversight,” Jones-Wright explained. A district attorney is the chief prosecutor in a local county, and the position has the power in the community to open or drop a case, decide what level of charges and sentences to demand, and even to decide if a case should be pursued in the first place. Those decisions could range from issues on police accountability in a fatal shooting to how harshly, if at all, to prosecute undocumented immigrants.

Jones-Wright spoke about ICE crackdowns in San Diego, saying, “We are seeing that immigration agents are taking people off the streets in front of their children while they are crying, simply because they left out of their apartment doors and went to the store, or went to pay rent. This cannot happen.” She believes that the roughly 200,000 undocumented immigrants in the city should be protected community members and that ICE does not have a place in the courthouse.

California currently is embroiled with the Department of Justice led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions over its proclaimed status as a “sanctuary state.” President Donald Trump has gone so far as to threaten to cut federal funding, while the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against California last month over immigration enforcement. It is an escalation by the White House to make the most vulnerable in these communities as intimidated as possible, and they’ve gone after the most progressive state first.

Price, too, said she would stand up to Immigration and Customs Enforcement in her county. “California is a ‘sanctuary state’ and we’re going to require our law enforcement agencies in Alameda County to respect and follow that policy,” she said. “Jeff Sessions may be the attorney general, but in communities across this country, district attorneys are subverting his attempts to keep draconian prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.”

A 2015 report by the San Francisco-based Women Donors Network, and published by the New York Times, found that the racial disparity of prosecutors in the United States was exceptionally white: about 95 percent white in total, and 79 percent white men. Only 1 percent of local and federal district attorneys are women of color, and only 4 percent are men of color. Prosecution decisions are overwhelmingly being decided by white people, and the result is a current prison population in the United States that is decidedly racist when looking at the demographic breakdown: Almost 40 percent of the incarcerated population are black Americans, who make up only around 13 percent of the overall U.S. population.

According to data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, low-income black men have a 52 percent chance of having been behind bars. A progressive DA, however, could choose not to harshly prosecute lower-income families. Price notes, “Most of the people who are charged with something are black or brown people. Most of them cannot afford to post bail. Most of them are ultimately compelled to plead guilty to something.”

Price rattled off statistics that offer a glimpse into the injustice that Alameda County, home to the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, faces. “Black people are 20 times more likely to be incarcerated than a white person,” she noted. The latest census shows that 6.5 percent of the state population is black, while according to Price, black people are half of those on parole or probation, and black children are 53 percent of all felony arrests. “The record that we have from the district attorney is that when you are arrested in Alameda County, you have a 93 percent chance of being charged with something.”

The Intercepted podcast has aired episodes related to these issues, including on white supremacy within the National Rifle Association and the racist roots of the Second Amendmentthe sanitizing of Martin Luther King Jr., and the overt racism shown by the Trump administration. Trump’s latest decision that the U.S. military will be deployed to the border with Mexico until he gets his wall comes on the heels of news that a caravan of Central American migrants is headed to the United States. Extensive Fox News coverage resulted in a panicked presidential meltdown on Twitter the morning of Easter Sunday.

Indeed, Sessions pushed for a substantial shift from Obama-era Attorney General Eric Holder’s 2013 memo that encouraged prosecutors to take into consideration the defendant’s criminal history and “the needs of the communities we serve, and federal resources and priorities. … We must ensure our most severe mandatory minimum penalties are reserved for serious high-level or violent drug traffickers.” Holder even wrote, “Long sentences for low-level, non-violent drug offenses do not promote public safety, deterrence, and rehabilitation.”

But the 2017 Sessions memo appears to rescind all previous policy and pushed for harsher sentencing: “It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.”

Sessions doubled down on his May 2017 memo with a speech to the Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York City, where he said of prosecutors, “They deserve to be unhandcuffed and not micromanaged from Washington.”

Even after Black Lives Matter protests demanding police accountability swept the country for years following the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the Los Angeles Times reported that even as 2015 saw an increase in nationwide charges of officers for murder and manslaughter, “such prosecutions remain almost unheard of in six Southern California counties — Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Imperial — where there has been a police shooting roughly every other day since 2004, records show.”

Jones-Wright talked about the lack of accountability that has become evident in San Diego: “We have not had a district attorney here who was willing to take the first step in asking the necessary questions in investigations, and to stand and say, ‘I will hold everyone accountable under the law, even when you wear a badge.’ So, unfortunately, even after 2015, we’ve seen more officer-involved shootings here in San Diego. They haven’t stopped.”

Jones-Wright sounded incensed when she spoke about the failure to prosecute in a fatal shooting case last year. Jonathan Coronel, a 24-year-old, was shot 22 times in San Diego. “Mr. Coronel was lying prone on his stomach when he was shot. He was unarmed,” she said. The officer, who had been involved in a prior fatal shooting, was found justified in his actions last month. “So, the very first step is we need someone in the DA’s office who’s willing to hold officers accountable. We have to have that desire.”

Price said that O’Malley accepted a campaign donation of $10,000 from the Fremont police union while the office was investigating two different fatal shooting cases last year, the East Bay Times reported. “I will hold bad cops accountable for bad acts,” Price said. The current DA’s office cleared all three officers involved. One officer under investigation, Sgt. Jeremy Miskella, is the president of the police union. Price has condemned this donation as a conflict of interest in previous interviews. She told Scahill, “We have a tremendous disconnect between what justice should look like and what ethical conduct should look like in our relationship with local law enforcement.” O’Malley was first appointed in 2009 and was re-elected unopposed in 2010 and again in 2014. “We have found that this is a community that is desperate for police accountability,” Price concluded.

To date, more than 300 people have been killed by police this year, according to the Washington Post’s “Fatal Force” — a scandal that has receded from national media attention. By contrast, a Mother Jones data set reveals that this year, 24 people have been killed in mass shootings — as defined as three or more dead in one incident. Price’s words could apply on a larger scale: We are a country desperate for police accountability.

These two women, if successful, may follow the example of recently elected Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who has implemented what Shaun King called a “revolutionary memo” that is actually being enforced. Prosecutors have real power in the community and the ability to reform — if they can achieve in office what they campaigned on.

When asked what she would do if officers did not abide her decisions as district attorney, Price responded with gusto. “Bring it on. I’m ready,” she said. “This county has voted overwhelmingly for criminal justice reform … so I am prepared to, if necessary, do battle with officers who do not respect the law.”

By Elise Swain/TheIntercept

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Women’s Empowerment Was a Big Deal In African Societies, Before Christianity and Islam

Leave a comment

ancient egyptian women gender parity

Oftentimes when people learn of the status of women in ancient Egyptian society they are perplexed by the amount of human rights women enjoyed in a civilization that existed so far back in history.

On a reported visit to Egypt, fifth century BCE Greek historian Herodotus, surprised by the women’s position in the society, recorded. “Women attend market and are employed in trade, while men stay at home and do the weaving.” The Egyptians, he concluded, “in their manners and customs seem to have reversed the ordinary practices of mankind.”

In a recent CNN article, Egyptologist Valentina Santini said, “The women of ancient Egypt — the mighty and the modest — were considered equal to men” Santini added, “They could divorce. They could own property. They had many rights that women in subsequent civilizations didn’t have.”

The subsequent civilizations Santini is likely referring to are ancient Western civilizations such as Greece and Rome, where women were relegated to second-class status. Greek and Roman women were prohibited from owning or inheriting property. European women in the Middle Ages lived under similar restrictions. Although Santini did not address other ancient African civilizations, there’s a plethora of scholarly work that has tied ancient Egypt culturally to sub-Saharan Africa. Numerous historians have highlighted some of the ancient Egyptian customs that are seen in other pre-colonial/pre-Islamic cultures throughout the African continent.  The empowerment of women in domestic and in public domains is one such tradition.

In his book “The Cultural Unity of Black Africa” Senegalese scholar Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop argued that there exists a cultural continuity throughout sub-Saharan African cultures. He specifically points out the status of women, stating, “The African woman, even after marriage, retains all her individuality and her legal rights; she continues to bear the name of her family, in contrast to the Indo-European woman who loses hers to take on that of her husband.”

Aside from being empowered in marriage, precolonial African society had several avenues for women to exercise power. Throughout African history we have numerous examples of woman as queens who ruled, warriors who shed blood, and traders and merchants who built immense fortunes.

Vanderbilt professor Dr. Sandra Barnes, posits that “women in Africa were “one of history’s most politically viable female populations.” Queens such as Egypt’s Hatshepsut and Ethiopia’s Makeda (thought to be the biblical queen of Sheba) were known for using their leadership and wisdom to protect, expand, and enhance their nations.

ghanian queen mothers Queen mothers were once very important political figures who commanded respect prior to the colonial era. In some instances, they were even considered to be autonomous rulers. In the Akan tradition, according to an article out of the journal Institute of African Studies: Research Review, queen mothers ruled alongside the chief or the king. They held veto power of the king or chief, appointed their own ministers, and presided over courts that dealt with cases brought by women. The authors of the book “The Swazi, a South African Kingdom,” describes the queen mother’s position in the kingdom of Swaziland as “essentially a diarchy.” In the book “Women in African Colonial Histories,” Holly Hanson writes, In precolonial Buganda, “the queen mother participated in a system of gendered political power in which the mother of the king had autonomous authority, which she used to check his excesses and protect the nation.”

Some African women were soldiers or held leadership roles in the military. Warrior queens such as Queen Yaa Asantewa of the Ashanti people, Queen Nzinga of the Matamba, and Queen Amina of the Hausa demonstrated military skills that rivaled their male contemporaries. These women led military campaigns that embarrassed empires.  Interestingly, the fictional Dora Milaje warriors who protect King T’Challa — The Black Panther — in comic books and on screen are based on the so-called

Dahomey Amazons,” properly known as the Ahosi (king’s wives) or Mino (our mothers) in the Fon language. The Fon were the people of the Kingdom of Dahomy (1600 until 1894), which was located in what is now the present-day Republic of Benin.

Certainly, not all African women were queens, chiefs, or warriors. Dr. Tarikhu Farrar, anthropology professor at Holy Names University in Oakland, California, says in his article The Queenmother, Matriarchy, and the Question of Female Political Authority in Precolonial West African Monarchy that “using the status of royal and aristocratic women as an indicator of the status of women in general could result in a relatively inaccurate portrayal of the overall status of women and of prevailing gender relations.” However, there is evidence that even common women had rights above any known in the Western world at the time.

In the book “African Women: A Modern History,” French author Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch explains that in West Africa, women were artisans who travelled far and wide to sell their goods. She notes that though East African women were not thought to be as active in trade, they were also involved in the trade of livestock and foodstuffs. In some parts of the region, the food could not be touched nor the livestock sold without a woman’s permission.

All this does not mean that Africa was an utopia of gender equality. Dr. Farrar noted that men and women did have different spheres of influence in African societies and that most leadership positions were held by older men, But it does suggest that African women were valued in ways not seen in most places outside of Africa.

Many modern-day African women are not enjoying the same level of freedom as their ancestors. This begs the question if ancient African societies valued women so much, what happened? Why did some communities in the diaspora reverse course and decided to subjugate women in a way that seems foreign to African traditions?

Many aspects of colonialism resulted in reduced public roles for African women. Dr. Ambe Njoh, professor of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of South Florida, wrote in his book “Tradition, Culture, and Development in Africa,” “Most of the socio-economic and political problems which African women face have their roots in European colonial development policies, which were designed to discriminate against women.” He notes that beginning in the colonial era, women were barred from trading, attending school, holding jobs, or participating in the economy in any way.

“Colonial rulers erased the balance that women provided in the political structures of African Societies by systematically preventing them from any participation in the new political order,” wrote Dr. Toyin Falola in the book “Women’s Roles in Sub-Sharan Africa.” European colonizers would avoid discussions of political matters with African women, even the queen mothers, who they often referred to in historical documents as “sisters” of the men in power. Post-colonial governments continued with policies that suppressed women’s traditional authority.

Furthermore, as Europeans took control of African land and agriculture, the perceived value of women’s contribution society was greatly reduced. In an article titled Women and Development in Africa: From Marginalization to Gender Inequality, the authors argue that the “establishment of commercialized agriculture also contributed to the loss of women’s economic power. In Africa, commercialization begun under colonialism, often led to the granting of government titles to the land. Consequently the effect was to transfer farmland that had been controlled by women to [white] male ownership.”

Adoption of foreign cultural and religious values may have also helped changed the way African women were valued. In a paper about the impact of religion on women in African society, Wenpanga Eric Segueda, a writer from Burkina Faso, wrote that in contrast to traditional African religions, Christianity and Islam demanded a lower status for women. He notes that “Islamic and Christian teachings led Africans to deny their own perceptions of things, viewing them as primitive, backwards, and worthless,” a perception that was encouraged by those touting the new religions.

“Arabs, hence Islam, found a lot wrong with indigenous African norms, traditional practices and beliefs,” write the authors of a 2001 paper “The Impact of Religion on Women Empowerment as a Millennium Development Goal in Africa,” published by Springer Science+Media B.V. The researchers specified that “this was especially true with respect to gender relations in both the domestic and public spheres. Consequently, disciples of Islam wasted no time in altering these relations in the areas of the continent they successfully penetrated.”

Christianity had a similar impact on the status of women in African cultures. University of South Africa theology professor Matsobane J Manala says in his paper “The Impact of Christianity on sub-Saharan Africa,” that the religion “led to the demise of African customs, which it viewed as pagan and evil; the religion also led to the implementation of apartheid (to which it gave its theological support), and undermined the leadership role of women.”

As stated before, Africa was not free from gender tensions, and gender equity had not been totally achieved. But as the world moves towards the direction of  gender equity, it’s important to know that the Western world was never a better example — despite how much it avows women’s equality and attempt to impose its conceptualization of it onto others. Though there may be specific Western concepts Africans can use to improve the status of women in relationship to men, traditional African cultures provide some great solutions for the world as well.

By Nareissa Smith/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist


Judge blocks Mississippi law banning abortions after 15 weeks

Leave a comment

A law in Mississippi that bans women from receiving abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy was temporarily blocked Tuesday by a federal judge.

The Associated Press reported that U.S District Judge Carlton Reeves granted a temporary restraining order on Tuesday. It was sought by the state’s only clinic that offers abortions.

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed the bill — the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban — into law earlier this week.

The law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, down from a 20-week restriction already on Mississippi’s books.


More from The Hill

Posted by Libergirl

4 of the Biggest Myths About the Gender Pay Gap At this rate, the pay gap will not close for 200 years.

Leave a comment

The existence of the gender pay gap is a well-documented fact. Respected institutions from the Pew Research Center to the Senate Joint Economic Committee confirm that American women make about 77 cents to the average man’s dollar. For women of color, the disparity is even steeper. Yet conservatives and anti-feminists insist the research is flawed or that it ignores social factors separating men and women. At the current rate at which women’s pay is improving, the World Economic Forum says it will take 200 years to close the gender pay gap worldwide.
This makes it more urgent than ever that we debunk myths about the falsity of the gender pay gap. Here are four of the most common.

1. Myth: Women choose lower-paying work.

Anti-feminists and academic contrarians like to make the case that women are to blame for receiving lower pay because they freely choose lower-paying work. Breitbart likes to push this idea to appease its feminist-hating audience, with headlines like “Data Reveals Women Overwhelmingly Choose Lower-Paying College Majors.” In fact, studies have shown that many women avoid careers in finance and technology that typically pay more because they’ve been socialized to believe that women can’t excel in the sciences or because they lack female role models in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Some women even choose majority-female fields to avoid discrimination and sexual harassment in male-dominated workplaces, which the #MeToo movement has shown us still runs rampant.

Christina Hoff Sommers, a controversial scholar and critic of feminism (whom the Southern Poverty Law Center called out earlier this month for emboldening and legitimizing men’s rights groups) advocated this very argument in 2016 for Time. Feminists, in her view, falsely claim that:

“women’s tendency to retreat from the workplace to raise children or to enter fields like early childhood education and psychology, rather than better paying professions like petroleum engineering, is evidence of continued social coercion. Here is the problem: American women are among the best informed and most self-determining human beings in the world. To say that they are manipulated into their life choices by forces beyond their control is divorced from reality and demeaning, to boot.”

Sommers refers to the well-established fact that even today, women still enter lower-paying fields, as a recent Glassdoor study shows that college majors that lead to lower-paying careers are female-dominated, while those that have more male students, like engineering, lead to high-paying jobs. According to Sommers’ line of thought, a woman should choose engineering over nursing, since she could make more money in that career path. She worries about “self-determination,” but doesn’t it limit a woman’s autonomy to suggest she choose a job path just because it is higher-paying, rather than one she is more passionate about? A better solution, many feminists have argued in response, would be to pay nurses, teachers and other largely female workers more money, rather than pressure more women to opt into certain careers just because they pay more.

Women don’t choose certain jobs because they pay less. On the contrary, historical trends show that as more women entered previously male-dominated fields, average salaries dropped in those jobs. As the Harvard Business Review explains, that’s because the jobs became less prestigious as they became female-d


“Researchers have found that the pay gap is not as simple as women being pushed into lower-paying jobs. In effect, it is the other way around: Certain jobs pay less because women take them. Wages in biology and design were higher when the fields were predominantly male; as more women became biologists and designers, pay dropped. The opposite happened in computing, where early programmers were female. Today, that field is one of the most predominantly male — and one of the highest paying.”

Sommers’ argument is also white-centric, ignoring the fact that poor women of color often do not have the same information or access to options that white women do. It is not “demeaning,” as she says, to assert that such women’s career choices are limited by their circumstances. It’s just the reality of American poverty.

2. Myth: Women choose to work fewer hours and select more part-time work than men do.

This argument has appeared in mainstream outlets such as Forbes, but it only tells part of the story of women’s employment in the U.S.

While it’s true that 31 percent of women work part-time compared to 18 percent of men, this can be largely attributed to the fact that the U.S. still lacks federally mandated family leave, unlike countries like Canada, Germany and the U.K. Without this job protection or flexibility, many women must choose part-time work over full-time. In many households, men are able to earn higher salaries than women, so lots of couples still choose to have the woman remain at home with the children while men go to work. According to a 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center, “more than half of the respondents thought children were better off if the mother stayed home” while “34 percent believed they’d be as well off if she worked. Only 8 percent said they’d be better off if the father stayed home.” This commonly held belief isn’t based in fact—stay-at-home-dads can raise kids just as successfully as stay-at-home-moms. In many families, these parenting gender biases and financial factors mean that women still sacrifice their careers to raise children.

3. Myth: Women choose jobs with flexibility over high pay so they can care for families.

Heejung Chung, a sociologist at the University of Kent who studies gender pay gap myths, investigated this subject last year. She found that, despite the popularity of telecommuting and remote work, this myth does not reflect the reality of most workplaces in 2018. The jobs women generally choose often do not provide the flexibility some economists think they prioritize over higher pay. Chung writes in Slate: “working in female-dominated workplaces such as care work, primary education, or places where the work tends to be largely clerical meant you were only half as likely to have access to flexitime compared to other workplaces.”

4. Myth: More women are getting college degrees than men, so the gap will close on its own.

Not true. As explained above, existing sexist social pressures will mean that women will continue to choose college majors that lead to lower-paying jobs. As the Washington Post explains, though the pay gap between younger and more educated men and women is narrower than for older Americans, male college graduates in their 20s still earn more than women the same age.

Credit: The Washington Post

Just because women today have more autonomy in decision-making when it comes to their careers than previous generations doesn’t mean we’ve finished our work in evening out the playing field. As long as male-dominated careers are seen as more prestigious; as long as girls are not encouraged to pursue higher-paying fields early on in life; and as long as working full-time as a mom continues to be a taboo, women will continue to wind up in jobs that pay less.

By Liz Posner/AlterNet

Posted by the NON-Conformist

Is the Women’s March more inclusive this year?

Leave a comment

This weekend is an important horizon on the U.S. landscape of women’s history: People across the nation will mark the anniversary of the historic Women’s March on Washington. But for some women, the anniversary is another reminder of the shortcomings of the 2017 Women’s March.

Critics said the march centered on cis white women at the expense of women of color and trans women, both groups who many felt had more to lose under a new administration many saw as hostile to human rights. At the start, organizers of the women’s march were almost all white, though they quickly course-corrected by bringing on Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.

But some underrepresented women felt their issues — such as racism, discrimination, police brutality, LGBTQ inclusivity, and immigration — were relegated in favor of issues that matter most to straight, white, middle-class women.

“We have to decide: Do we want equality and justice for a select group, or do we want it for everyone, and we know all these issues are tied together,” said Ruth Hopkins, a Native American writer and activist. “Gender justice is related to economic justice and racial justice and we have to think about all these things.”

As the 2018 Women’s March and sister marches converge on Saturday and Sunday across the country, many women are asking: Has anything changed?

Women of color have a complicated history with feminism

Feminism’s long history of perceived racism, combined with what some women saw as a lack of intersectionality at last year’s march, resulted in many black women and women of color refusing to attend.

Intersectionality, coined by law professor Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989, is the recognition of how different backgrounds and the racism, sexism and classism that come with those identities overlap and impact the ways people experience oppression and discrimination.

More from USA Today

Posted by Libergirl

Older Entries Newer Entries

%d bloggers like this: