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feminist news round-up 15.01.2012

“Mademoiselle” abolished

Cesson-Sevigne, a town in France, has officially banned the title ‘Mademoiselle’. The reason behind the move is that it is nobody’s business whether or not a woman (or girl) is married. The distinction between the two titles, say officials, can be discriminatory or indiscreet. All women are to be addressed as ‘Madame’, regardless of age or marital status. You can read more here.

Governor Pardons Inmates who Murdered Wives, Girlfriends

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has pardoned several prison inmates, including people found guilty of murdering their wives and girlfriends. Those inmates were serving life terms and, coincidentally we’re sure, happened to be working as a ‘trustee’ at the governor’s mansion. They were pardoned for ‘good behaviour’. Releasing ‘trustees’, claims Barbour, is a state tradition in Mississippi. Meanwhile, family of the victims have spoken out in anger and fear. You can read more here.

Even More Claims of Abuse for the Australian Defence Force

A freedom of information application has led to the release of 350 documents relating to disturbing and abusive reports in the Australian Defence Force. This has included allegations of rape and other sexual harassment (including crimes against civilians and minors), child pornography, filming of sexual encounters, inappropriate relationships, and drug abuse. The Australian Defence Force has claimed that all of these matters were promptly brought to police attention, however they were covered-up from the media. You can read more here.

Family Focus for the Military

Another report recently released regarding the Australian Defence Force attacks the institution for its lack of family friendliness. The report states that the military should adopt flexible workplace practices, such as job sharing, flex-time, and working from home, as an important way to get more women involved and change its problematic culture (see above). While many women report having had positive experiences  working in defence, others report a culture of harassment, bullying, and abuse. Moreover, the defence force lacks women in high positions, which could be part of the reason why so many examples of disrespect towards women have emerged in recent news. You can read more here.

Women to Make Mark in Kenyan Politics

Elections in Kenya, set for August this year, will make powerful changes in the way women are represented in politics. A recent constitutional change in 2010 stipulates that ‘not more than two-thirds of the members of elective public bodies shall be of the same gender’. This means that women will be better represented on a national level. You can read more here.

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