feminist news round-up 31.10.11
Each week, lip will offer you a round-up of news and events relating to women, feminism, and sexuality and link you to related articles. It will also offer a brief analysis on some stories. We welcome your feedback and encourage discussion.
the british monarchy changes inheritance laws
In a major step for the British royals, the laws for inheriting the throne has changed. Previously, the oldest son of the reigning monarch is first in line to inherit the throne. If the monarch has no sons (or if all the sons have died), inheritance then goes to the daughter. Now, with these new laws, it is the eldest child, regardless of gender, who inherits the throne. See the story here.
Obviously this is a great change for what is a very old institution. However, as there are no potential daughters in line for the throne within the next 50+ years, it is difficult to see how the new laws will be relevant to anyone. Or indeed, how the monarchy in general is relevant in Britain and throughout the British colonies, or how letting women become Queens more easily solves the systematic injustice of leadership being a birth right.
IBM names their first female CEO
Another story about breaking tradition – Virginia “Ginny” Rommerty has been named the first female IBM CEO in the company’s hundred year history. Now, 16 Fortune 500 companies (these are the US companies which have the highest revenue) have women as CEOs. See the story here.
This is a tremendous achievement for Rommerty but clearly there is still a long way to go for women to be equally represented in business and in top positions such as CEO level. Some analysts are predicting that as the baby boomers begin to retire, that will free up more space for women to hold crucial positions. However, issues surrounding women’s participation in the workforce, such as maternity leave and adequate pay and conditions in female-dominated industries (such as nursing) are still present, and need addressing if the career landscape is to be fairly navigated by everyone – not just those at the top.
women occupy wall street
This is a story skipped over by the mainstream media which warrants a mention as it is exemplary of the fight many feminists are taking on in increasing equality. Feminists, under the banner of a few different organisations, have been harnessing the recent Occupy Wall Street protests to bring about better social conditions for women and minorities. In addition, women have ‘”nearly equal representation on all the committees” at Occupy Wall Street’. You can see the story here.
anti-abortion campaigns sweep through US state of north carolina
In the US state of North Carolina car number plates adorned with the words “Choose Life” have been approved to go on sale later this year. The money used for the sale of these plates will go directly to anti-abortion crisis counselling centres. This is despite that a 2006 investigation showed that such organisations deliberately gave incorrect and inflammatory information to women, and that the names of these centres (such as “Carolina Pregnancy Center”, “A Woman’s Choices”, “the Center for Women”) are vague and do not make the political views of the operators clear to women who are in crisis and require non-biased advice. Read more here.
On top of this, North Carolina attempted to pass a new law to add restrictions on abortion. The state wanted women seeking an abortion to first have a mandatory ultrasound in which they would be shown a picture of the foetus and would hear the foetus’ heartbeat. This new law has since been blocked by the court, under the argument that it is unconstitutional. Read more here.
US chain walmart is in a discrimination suit
WalMart has been sued for discriminating against women in giving them less pay and promotion opportunities than men. You can read more here.
australian chain sells playboy bunny jewellery to young girls
Diva, an Australian chain store which sells jewellery predominantly to teenage girls has come under fire for their new Playboy range. Much criticism has appeared on facebook and the issue has cumulated in an online petition with over 5000 signatures. You can read more about it here.
While the pornography industry is debated at length by feminists (basically surrounding the question of whether it is possible to have female-friendly porn), there is little doubt that the Playboy industry is manufactured for the appeasement of the male gaze. To say the least, this is an inappropriate brand for anyone to idealise, let alone young girls.
women MPs are likely to play a large role in tunisia’s new government
49 women have been elected to Tunisia’s national unity government. The party, An-Nahda, who opted to make 50 per cent of their candidates women, will supply 42 of the women MPs. The Guardian features profiles on a few of the MPs here.
(Image credit: 1.)