A Day Without A Woman! March 8

On International Women’s Day, March 8th, women and our allies will act together for equity, justice and the human rights of women, through a one-day demonstration of economic solidarity. 

womens-march-logo

The Women’s March supports the feminists of color and grassroots groups organizing the International Women’s Strike on International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2017. In the same spirit of love and liberation that inspired the Women’s March, together we will mark the day by recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system–while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.

Anyone, anywhere, can join by making March 8th A Day Without a Woman, in one or all of the following ways:

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

The Women’s March celebrates the labor the International Women’s Strike organizers and others in planning global actions. We are also inspired by recent courageous actions like the “Bodega strike” lead by Yemeni immigrant store owners in New York City and the Day Without Immigrants across the U.S. We applaud the efforts of #GrabYourWallet and others to bring public accountability to unethical corporate practices. As we mark A Day Without a Woman, we do so in support and solidarity of these and all efforts for equity, justice and human rights.

https://www.womensmarch.com/womensday

International Women’s Day, Rape Test Kits, the Equal Rights Amendment, and Hollywood!

TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2016

By Leanne Littrell DiLorenzo
President and Founder of VoteERA.org (USA)

TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2016

TOPIC: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – MARCH 8, 2016

MY PLEDGE – Will you help me by simply reading my letter?
The opportunity will inevitably present itself for you to speak up about bringing equality to women too.
It is always difficult for me to figure out what to do for Women’s International Day.
My inclination is to explain the need to change every state constitution in America (as we amended our Oregon Constitution with the ERA in November 2014) with the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).  The federal ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and we are now in our 93rd year still fighting for the day when America’s majority (women) have constitutional equality in the U.S. Constitution which means ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.  This has been my lifeline for over a good decade.

 

This year I really have some news.  I was a guest at Patricia Arquette’s dinner with a group of like-minded individuals who work on equality issues.    Among those at dinner were
Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Marisa Tomei, Lily Tomlin, Stevie Wonder, India Arie, the CEO of Intel, Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce who Obama referred to in his speech about the need for equal pay, the CEO of Kaiser and of course about 12 of my friends from around the country who work on the ERA while managing their firms and organizations.
Patricia Arquette made this happen along with Kamala Lopez (of the film Equal Means Equal) and it was the most real, authentic, inspiring dinner – it was THE DINNER and Stevie sang.  We are developing a national ERA campaign.

In the last two years I’ve met with almost 60 individuals from 60 different countries to talk about women’s rights, constitutional equality, American politics and the initiative system through the World Affairs Council and their International Visitors Program via the US State Department.  These individuals are members of Parliament and directors of human rights non-profit organizations.   I have met with them in private rooms with interpreters on some occasions and for 2 hours without press to discuss our challenges.  The first group included three women from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal.   The woman from Pakistan argued that women had equal rights in her constitution and then the woman from Afghanistan said, “America put women’s equality in our constitution.”  One group included eighteen people from many different countries in Africa and there were seventeen men and one woman.  For three hours we sat in a hotel room with the doors shut and shared our challenges working in grassroots politics, high level politics and how to engage citizens. We laughed, some stories left us on the brink of tears, and we gave each other tips and inspiration in how to reach our goals.

The last time I spoke to one of these groups was last Friday, March 4, 2016.  Some of them were from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Palestine and Iraq.  For an hour and a half with the translation ear -piece in my ear I listened and watched them as they tried to explain their difficulties and successes to me.  Like all the groups I met before they asked me throughout our time together, “How can the United States not have women equal in the constitution?”  By the time our visit ended they had learned that the movement for the ERA is in it’s 93rd year, women are still not paid equally, there is still a lack of protection for domestic violence victims, women’s reproductive rights are still an ongoing war against women extending to basic health care, and all the usual stuff.

I’ve never made the subject of rape a part of my lecture.  I have never discussed rape with any of these groups.  Why does this matter?  I’ve missed the greatest opportunity to discuss with them a problem that we share that happens in every town across the globe on a daily basis.

Women are being raped in every country on earth and in fact it is often the weapon of choice in many countries.  War and Rape; Rape and War they go together.

In reality, Forensic Rape Kits going untested is full fledge discrimination against women.  There is always an excuse to discriminate, or a reason.  Rape kits going untested is no different.  There are over 400,000 untested forensic rape kits in this country.   In the state of Oregon alone there are 5,642, in the state of Florida there are over 130,000 and so on.

How do you authorize funding for some evidence from crimes and not others?

The problem is that over 95% of rapes are against women.  This is sex discrimination.

If the Equal Rights Amendment were in the United States Constitution (introduced since 1923 and every year since) every state in the nation that has not funded and processed rape kit evidence is committing sex discrimination.  I could have been discussing this with my friends from around the world and together we could have commiserated about the War on Women and made a pledge to never give up working for women, equality and peace.

Consider this my pledge.  My pledge is to fight for the ERA and take it to the people with your help.  Women being discriminated against and treated like second-class citizens and worse IS the obstacle to world peace.  To Women’s International Day!

***********************

RESEARCH ON RAPE IN OREGON, THE USA, AND AROUND THE WORLD AND UNTESTED RAPE KITS

 “The World’s Biggest Risks: One of the most dangerous places for women in America
New statistics show nearly 1 in 4 women on campuses are sexually assaulted before graduation.
Now 139 US colleges are being investigated. Story by Barbara Booth September 15, 2015
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/22/college-rape-crisis-in-america-under-fire.html

“What’s Being Done To Address The Country’s Backlog Of Untested Rape Kits?” January 17, 2016
http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463358406/whats-being-done-to-address-the-countrys-backlog-of-untested-rape-kits

“The Oregon State Police’s ongoing statewide audit has revealed a total of 5,642 untested kits so far
SPECIAL NOTE: Most of these kits are actually within the last 5 or so years!!!
http://endthebacklog.org/oregon

STORIES ABOUT COLLEGES NOT DOING THEIR JOB

“Why Victims of Rape in Colleges Don’t Report to the Police”
http://time.com/2905637/campus-rape-assault-prosecution/

“Colleges Silence and Fire Faculty Who Speak Out About Rape”
http://jezebel.com/colleges-silence-and-fire-faculty-who-speak-out-about-r-1586169489

“The Tiny Police Department in Southern Oregon That Plans to End Campus Rape” – in ASHLAND, OREGON
http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/11/can-this-police-department-help-end-campus-rape.html

ONE PROBLEM IS: RAPE KITS NOT BEING TESTED

Rape kits untested in Kentucky, destroyed in North Carolina
http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/21/us/kentucky-rape-kits-untested/

“Tens of thousands of rape kits go untested across USA.”
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/16/untested-rape-kits-evidence-across-usa/29902199/

“Florida reports over 13,000 untested rape kits.”
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/4/florida-reports-backlog-of-13000-rape-kits.html

MORE STORIES ABOUT COLLEGES FAILING TO NOT ONLY PROTECT WOMEN BUT FOLLOW THE RULES…

Independent investigators concluded that high-ranking Missouri officials failed on multiple occasions to report to police or campus Title IX compliance their knowledge of rape allegations involving football players. The president of the University of Missouri’s system contacted the parents of the victim, who had previously committed suicide. Missouri utterly failed this woman. Written by Sports Writer Jon Solomon, National College Football
http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25473202/open-letter-to-ken-starr-stop-stonewalling-about-baylor-rapes

“Another Major College Rape Case Has Collapsed”
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/another-major-college-rape-case-has-collapsed/, by Blake Neff, Reporter
“College Case Highlights Emotional Toll For Victims who Sue -A former Virginia Wesleyan College student may have to face her alleges rapist and already had to reveal her entire sexual history.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/virginia-wesleyan-rape-lawsuit_us_55ddf19be4b08cd3359e36c7

CNN: “Can we end rape as tool of war?”
http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/rwanda/about/bgsexualviolence.shtml

The Economist: “War’s Overlooked Victims.  Rape is horrifyingly widespread in conflicts all around the world.”
http://www.economist.com/node/17900482

BBC: “How did rape become a weapon of war?”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/4078677.stm

@VoteERA
(503) 701-7122

TOPIC: INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY – MARCH 8, 2016

MY PLEDGE – Will you help me by simply reading my letter?
The opportunity will inevitably present itself for you to speak up about bringing equality to women too.

 

It is always difficult for me to figure out what to do for Women’s International Day.

My inclination is to explain the need to change every state constitution in America (as we amended our Oregon Constitution with the ERA in November 2014) with the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA).  The federal ERA was first introduced in Congress in 1923 and we are now in our 93rd year still fighting for the day when America’s majority (women) have constitutional equality in the U.S. Constitution which means ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.  This has been my lifeline for over a good decade.

 

This year I really have some news.  I was a guest at Patricia Arquette’s dinner with a group of like-minded individuals who work on equality issues.    Among those at dinner were
Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Marisa Tomei, Lily Tomlin, Stevie Wonder, India Arie, the CEO of Intel, Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce who Obama referred to in his speech about the need for equal pay, the CEO of Kaiser and of course about 12 of my friends from around the country who work on the ERA while managing their firms and organizations.
Patricia Arquette made this happen along with Kamala Lopez (of the film Equal Means Equal) and it was the most real, authentic, inspiring dinner – it was THE DINNER and Stevie sang.  We are developing a national ERA campaign.

In the last two years I’ve met with almost 60 individuals from 60 different countries to talk about women’s rights, constitutional equality, American politics and the initiative system through the World Affairs Council and their International Visitors Program via the US State Department.  These individuals are members of Parliament and directors of human rights non-profit organizations.   I have met with them in private rooms with interpreters on some occasions and for 2 hours without press to discuss our challenges.  The first group included three women from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal.   The woman from Pakistan

argued that women had equal rights in her constitution and then the woman from Afghanistan said, “America put women’s equality in our constitution.”  One group included eighteen people from many different countries in Africa and there were seventeen men and one woman.  For three hours we sat in a hotel room with the doors shut and shared our challenges working in grassroots politics, high level politics and how to engage citizens. We laughed, some stories left us on the brink of tears, and we gave each other tips and inspiration in how to reach our goals.

The last time I spoke to one of these groups was last Friday, March 4, 2016. group I spoke to was last Friday, March 4, 2016.  Some of them were from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Algeria, Palestine and Iraq.  For an hour and a half with the translation ear -piece in my ear I listened and watched them as they tried to explain their difficulties and successes to me.  Like all the groups I met before they asked me throughout our time together, “How can the United

States not have women equal in the constitution?”  By the time our visit ended they had learned that the movement for the ERA is in it’s 93rd year, women are still not paid equally, there is still a lack of protection for domestic violence victims, women’s reproductive rights are still an ongoing war against women extending to basic health care, and all the usual stuff.

I’ve never made the subject of rape a part of my lecture.  I have never discussed rape with any of these groups.  Why does this matter?  I’ve missed the greatest opportunity to discuss with them a problem that we share that happens in every town across the globe on a daily basis.

Women are being raped in every country on earth and in fact it is often the weapon of choice in many countries.  War and Rape; Rape and War they go together.

In reality, Forensic Rape Kits going untested is full fledge discrimination against women.  There is always an excuse to discriminate, or a reason.  Rape kits going untested is no different.  There are over 400,000 untested forensic rape kits in this country.   In the state of Oregon alone there are 5,642, in the state of Florida there are over 130,000 and so on.

How do you authorize funding for some evidence from crimes and not others?

The problem is that over 95% of rapes are against women.  This is sex discrimination.

If the Equal Rights Amendment were in the United States Constitution (introduced since 1923 and every year since) every state in the nation that has not funded and processed rape kit evidence is committing sex discrimination.  I could have been discussing this with my friends from around the world and together we could have commiserated about the War on Women and made a pledge to never give up working for women, equality and peace.

Consider this my pledge.  My pledge is to fight for the ERA and take it to the people with your help.  Women being discriminated against and treated like second-class citizens and worse IS the obstacle to world peace.  To Women’s International Day!

***********************

RESEARCH ON RAPE IN OREGON, THE USA, AND AROUND THE WORLD AND UNTESTED RAPE KITS

 “The World’s Biggest Risks: One of the most dangerous places for women in America
New statistics show nearly 1 in 4 women on campuses are sexually assaulted before graduation.
Now 139 US colleges are being investigated. Story by Barbara Booth September 15, 2015
http://www.cnbc.com/2015/09/22/college-rape-crisis-in-america-under-fire.html

“What’s Being Done To Address The Country’s Backlog Of Untested Rape Kits?” January 17, 2016
http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463358406/whats-being-done-to-address-the-countrys-backlog-of-untested-rape-kits

“The Oregon State Police’s ongoing statewide audit has revealed a total of 5,642 untested kits so far
SPECIAL NOTE: Most of these kits are actually within the last 5 or so years!!!
http://endthebacklog.org/oregon

STORIES ABOUT COLLEGES NOT DOING THEIR JOB

“Why Victims of Rape in Colleges Don’t Report to the Police”
http://time.com/2905637/campus-rape-assault-prosecution/

“Colleges Silence and Fire Faculty Who Speak Out About Rape”
http://jezebel.com/colleges-silence-and-fire-faculty-who-speak-out-about-r-1586169489

“The Tiny Police Department in Southern Oregon That Plans to End Campus Rape” – in ASHLAND, OREGON
http://nymag.com/thecut/2014/11/can-this-police-department-help-end-campus-rape.html

ONE PROBLEM IS: RAPE KITS NOT BEING TESTED

Rape kits untested in Kentucky, destroyed in North Carolina
http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/21/us/kentucky-rape-kits-untested/

“Tens of thousands of rape kits go untested across USA.”
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/07/16/untested-rape-kits-evidence-across-usa/29902199/

“Florida reports over 13,000 untested rape kits.”
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2016/1/4/florida-reports-backlog-of-13000-rape-kits.html

MORE STORIES ABOUT COLLEGES FAILING TO NOT ONLY PROTECT WOMEN BUT FOLLOW THE RULES…

Independent investigators concluded that high-ranking Missouri officials failed on multiple occasions to report to police or campus Title IX compliance their knowledge of rape allegations involving football players. The president of the University of Missouri’s system contacted the parents of the victim, who had previously committed suicide. Missouri utterly failed this woman. Written by Sports Writer Jon Solomon, National College Football
http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/writer/jon-solomon/25473202/open-letter-to-ken-starr-stop-stonewalling-about-baylor-rapes

“Another Major College Rape Case Has Collapsed”
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/another-major-college-rape-case-has-collapsed/, by Blake Neff, Reporter

 

“College Case Highlights Emotional Toll For Victims who Sue -A former Virginia Wesleyan College student may have to face her alleges rapist and already had to reveal her entire sexual history.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/virginia-wesleyan-rape-lawsuit_us_55ddf19be4b08cd3359e36c7

CNN: “Can we end rape as tool of war?”
http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/rwanda/about/bgsexualviolence.shtml

The Economist: “War’s Overlooked Victims.  Rape is horrifyingly widespread in conflicts all around the world.”
http://www.economist.com/node/17900482

BBC: “How did rape become a weapon of war?”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/4078677.stm

Yet more research proves it: Companies with women in senior roles are more profitable

OBSESSION The Office
March 08, 2016

“The results are clear,” writes Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, in a blog this week: “increasing female participation improves the bottom line.”

The new IMF study, released in time for today’s International Women’s Day, isn’t particularly groundbreaking. Others have already found that an increased number of women at the top of firms is correlated with an improvement in the bottom line. But the new study is large (pdf), drawing on data from 2 million firms across 34 European countries.

The study confirms that firms with a larger share of women in senior positions made more money. One additional women in senior management or on a corporate board (where the size of the board remained unchanged) was associated with a 3-8% higher return on assets.

Lagarde and the study authors were keen to point out that policy matters when it comes to getting more women into those positions. Removing tax disincentives that might stop women returning to work, and making it easier to work full-time through increased childcare services, put more women in positions where reaching the top ranks is possible.

And most countries are still very far from parity. Legal requirements in some countries, such as Norway, have boosted the share of women in the boardroom to about 18%, the authors said. But only 12% of executive positions in Europe’s 620 largest listed companies were held by women in 2015.

Globally, over half of the 20,000 firms studied in a recent piece of research from the Peterson Institute for International Economics and EY had no female executives at all.

Staff picks: Feminist books for International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day on 8th March, the women workers of Verso and New Left Review share some of our favourite feminist books in tribute to the radical roots of the observance.

– Jo  Spence/Rosy Martin, Mother as Factory Worker, 1984-88

Essays, Criticism, Theory

Gender Trouble by Judith Butler (Routledge Critical Thinkers, 2006; 1990)

A classic work of gender and queer theory. Butler recently said in interview:

Gender Trouble was written about 24 years ago, and at that time I did not think well enough about trans issues. Some trans people thought that in claiming that gender is performative that I was saying that it is all a fiction, and that a person’s felt sense of gender was therefore “unreal.” That was never my intention. I sought to expand our sense of what gender realities could be. But I think I needed to pay more attention to what people feel, how the primary experience of the body is registered, and the quite urgent and legitimate demand to have those aspects of sex recognized and supported. I did not mean to argue that gender is fluid and changeable (mine certainly is not). I only meant to say that we should all have greater freedoms to define and pursue our lives without pathologization, de-realization, harassment, threats of violence, violence, and criminalization. I join in the struggle to realize such a world.


Love for Sale: Courting, Treating and Prostitution in New York City, 1900-1945
 by Elizabeth Alice Clement (University of North Carolina Press, 2006)

A fascinating materialist history of dating, and the economics of dining out, evening entertainment, dresses, stockings, and more. Clement explores the history of “treating” in industrializing New York City in which working-class women now employed at shops and factories during the day informally paired off with men to afford nightlife fun in (implicit or explicit) exchange for sexual relationships. 

Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis (Haymarket Books, 2016)

In this collection of essays, interviews, and speeches, Angela Davis reflects on the importance of Black feminism, intersectionality, and prison abolitionism for today’s struggles, and analyzes struggles against state terror, from Ferguson to Palestine.

Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle by Silvia Federici (PM Press, 2012)

Written between 1974 and 2012, the essays collected in this volume represent forty years of research and theorizing on questions of social reproduction and the transformations which the globalization process has produced. Starting from Federici’s incendiary writing around the Wages For Housework movement, the range broadens out to the international restructuring of reproductive labour, the globalization of care work and sex work.

Leftover Women by Leta Hong Fincher (Zed Books, 2014)

Leftover Women: The Resurgence of Gender Inequality in China is a a compelling and innovative sociological enquiry into the political economy of gender in contemporary China.

Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work
 by Melissa Gira Grant(Verso, 2014)

“To insist that sex workers only deserve rights at work if they have fun, if they love it, if they feel empowered by it is exactly backward. It’s a demand that ensures they never will.” Melissa Gira Grant

A political critique that takes sex work out from under its usual autobiographical (and voyeuristic) lens, Playing the Whore situates it firmly as a form of labour that demands political attention. Holding the media to account for perpetuating some of the most harmful myths about sex work and sex workers rights, Gira Grant argues that separating sex work from the “legitimate” economy only harms those who perform sexual labour.

The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling by Arlie Hoschchild (University of California Press, 2012)

A landmark examination of gendered emotional labour of pink-collar service workers and the instrumentalization of our emotions in the world of work. Emotional labour, Hoshchild argues, alienates us from our feelings and estranges us from our expressions of feeling, like a manual worker who becomes estranged from what he or she makes.

Read more about emotional labour: Love’s Labour’s Cost: The Political Economy of Intimacy By Emma Dowling

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde (Ten Speed Press, 2014)

Sister Outsider is an absolutely essential collection of fifteen essays and speeches from 1976 to 1984 including and the origin of the “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” Audre Lorde, both the ‘sister’ and ‘outsider’ of the title, explores the complexities of identity, drawing from her personal experiences with oppression, including sexism, heterosexism, racism, homophobia, classism, and ageism. In response to the tendency of mainstream feminism to deny difference between women, thus replicating hierarchies where the most privileged dominate, Lorde argues that difference—and the anger of the oppressed—can be productive for liberation. Sister Outsider presents groundbreaking work that is strikingly relevant today, and is all the more valuable for challenging its readers to question and scrutinize their own complicity in structures of oppression and the privilege that blinds them.

Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis, ed. by Katherine McKittrick (Duke University Press, 2014)

Katherine McKittrick spills open Jamaican writer and cultural theorist Sylvia Wynter’s inquiring body of work. Wynter’s decolonial, radically futuristic writing interrogates the exclusive category of “human” and provides blueprints for how to dismantle white supremacy

This Bridge Called My Back, ed. by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa (SUNY Press, 2015)

Arguably one of the most influential feminist anthologies ever published, and deservedly. Originally released in 1981, This Bridge Called My Back is a testimony to women of colour feminism as it emerged in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Through personal essays, criticism, interviews, testimonials, poetry, and visual art, the collection explores, as coeditor Cherríe Moraga writes, “the complex confluence of identities—race, class, gender, and sexuality—systemic to women of color oppression and liberation.”

As Angela Y. Davis writes: “This Bridge Called My Back … dispels all doubt about the power of a single text to radically transform the terrain of our theory and practice. Twenty years after its publication, we can now see how it helped to untether the production of knowledge from its disciplinary anchors—and not only in the field of women’s studies. This Bridge has allowed us to define the promise of research on race, gender, class and sexuality as profoundly linked to collaboration and coalition-building. And perhaps most important, it has offered us strategies for transformative political practice that are as valid today as they were two decades ago.”

Woman’s Estate by Juliet Mitchell (Verso, 2014; 1971)

Combining the energy of the early seventies feminist movement with the perceptive analyses of the trained theorist, Woman’s Estate is one of the most influential socialist feminist statements of its time. Scrutinizing the political background of the movement, its sources and its common ground with other radical manifestations of the sixties, Woman’s Estate describes the organization of women’s liberation in Western Europe and America. In this foundational text, Mitchell locates the areas of women’s oppression in four key areas: work, reproduction, sexuality and the socialization of children. Through a close study of the modern family and a re-evaluation of Freud’s work in this field, Mitchell paints a detailed picture of patriarchy in action.

Read more: Looking back at Woman’s Estate
Juliet Mitchell reflects on how the joy and practical experience afforded by Women’s Liberation—and its tensions with other protest movements of the time—inflected the writing of her book in 1969-1970.

Angry Women (RE/Search publications, 1991)

In this illustrated, interview-format volume, 16 women performance artists animatedly address the volatile issues of male domination, feminism, race and denial. Among the modern warriors here are Diamanda Galás, a composer of ritualistic “plague masses” about AIDS who refuses to tolerate pity or weakness; Lydia Lunch, a self-described “instigator” who explains that her graphic portrayals of exploitation stem from her victimization as a child; and Wanda Coleman, a poet who rages against racism and ignorance. Goddess worshipper and former porn star Annie Sprinkle enthusiastically promotes positive sexual attitudes; bell hooks eloquently discusses societal power structures in terms of race and gender; Holly Hughes, Sapphire and Susie Bright expound on lesbianism and oppression; pro-choice advocates Suzy Kerr and Dianne Malley describe their struggles for reproductive rights.

Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty by Dorothy Roberts (Vintage, 2000; 1997)

A necessary biopolitical history of systematic reproductive violence against Black women in the US, both legal and social — the reproductive “property” of women in slavery, the ties between the early birth control and the eugenics movements, welfare, and the race and class implications of reproductive technology new and old. 

Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality by Anne Fausto Sterling (Basic Books, 2000)
Fausto-Sterling is a biologist who explores the social construction of gender to show not simply the truism that gender is a separate category from biological sex, but more importantly that the science behind what is known as “biological sex” is already constructed in a historically politicized context so that there is much more physiological fluidity and variety and source of definition than typically acknowledged. An important history of intersexuality as well as technology and medical intervention.

Memoir

A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000; 1988)

In this short memoir Kincaid welcomes you to Antigua, her home. You, the well-meaning but ignorant tourist arrive on her island and are shown the sights of an island that is “too beautiful” in a way that seems “unreal”, particularly when seen in contrast to its current state of poverty and dilapidation, and history of slavery. First published in 1988, A Small Place is an angry autobiography that challenges its reader to reconsider the behaviour of the tourist as well as more broadly considering the role of the coloniser in a stark and often unusual way.

Disavowals by Claude Cahun (Tate Publishing, 2008)

A brilliant book of ‘cancelled confessions’ based on Cahun’s 1930 bookAveux non avenues, Disavowals is the first English translation of her writings. Throughout the book she explores ideas around gender-bending, humour, narcissism the self and sexuality; using photomontage and statement Cahun presents herself as resistant to identification itself, instead maintaining “the mania of the exception.”

King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes (Serpent’s Tail, 2009)

Charting Despentes’ journey through poverty, rape, sex work, pornography and then fame as the director of Baise-Moi, it’s a furious, polemic-come-memoir as provocative and contentious as it is illuminating. Feminist fire for the soul. 

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More by Janet Mock (Atria Books, 2014)

Janet Mock’s memoir, Redefining Realness defines her womanhood as a journey too vast and expansive to be limited by biological essentialism. Mock’s womanhood is self-determined and powerful; cultivated through community, third gender traditions such as Hawaii’s Māhū, blackness, and the cultural impressions of Destiny’s Child and Janet Jackson.  

Love’s Work by Gillian Rose (NYRB Classics, 2011)

Written in the months preceding her untimely death at the age of 48, Love’s Work offers up the richest autobiographical details of Rose’s life, focusing on several friendships and love affairs, as well as her fiercely intelligent relationship with the study of philosophy. Love, for Rose, is merciful and important but never eternal, requiring the hard work of the mind and body for sustenance. This is a book for anyone with an interest in the qualities and connections between love, death and learning.

Promise of a Dream: Remembering the Sixties by Sheila Rowbotham(Verso, 2001)

A moving and funny account of a blossoming feminist consciousness during the 1960s by the pioneering feminist historian and activist. Sheila Rowbotham’s memoir is a feminist bildungsroman threading together the films, books and memories created by women that influenced her. Set in the exhilarating sixties, Promise of a Dream portrays the idealism and the ambiguity of the era, including the deep-rooted sexism of the New Left and the hippies.

Read more: 
– Looking back at Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s WorldRowbotham looks back at the world of Woman’s Consciousness, Man’s World‘s birth in the Women’s Liberation movement, as she sought to situate her feminist politics in relation to the changing shape of capitalism to forge a new way to describe the interaction between inner perceptions and external material life.
– Looking back at Women, Resistance and Revolution
Women, Resistance and Revolution was Rowbotham’s first book written in the summer of 1969 when she was 26.

Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur (Zed Books, 2014)

A leading figure in the 70s Black Liberation Army, Assata Shakur was placed on the FBI Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2013, 40 years after she received a life sentence for killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, and nearly three decades after she escaped prison and was offered political asylum in Cuba.

This courageous autobiography explores her childhood and political activism, as well as the endemic racism and abuse she experienced in the American prison system, her many legal battles, and American civil rights.

Fiction

Sitt Marie Rose by Etel Adnan (Post Apollo Press, 1973)

Etel Adnan’s poetic novel takes place in Beirut during the outbreak of the Lebanese Civil War in 1975. Sitt Marie Rose, a Christian fighting for Palestinian liberation, embodies Adnan’s dream of a feminist anti-war movement.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler (Headline, 2014; 1979)

Black feminist science fiction writer Octavia Butler’s Kindred is simply devastating. In this genre-bending novel of speculative fiction, time travel transports a self-possessed and strong woman protagonist between 1976 and an early 19th century Maryland plantation for a nuanced, gripping and complex portrayal of the effects of chattel slavery on generations.

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington (Penguin, 2005)

The Hearing Trumpet is British-born Surrealist Leonora Carrington’s best-known work written in the 1960s and first published in 1974. This riotous novel is full of rebellious joy in the trailblazing feminist magical realist vein of Carrington’s artistic practice. Deaf, bearded Marian Leatherby, 92 years old, has been committed to an institution for the elderly where another resident gives her a forbidden book recounting the secret life of a great woman. The surreal adventures that unfold with a delightful coterie of witchy women have rightfully earned this book a place in the subversive, anti-institutional feminist pantheon.

Read more: “I have no delusions. I am playing”—Leonora Carrington’s Madness and Art
Joanna Walsh examines the intertwining of madness and art in surrealism and how Carrington refused the surrealist romanticisation of female madness, describing her time in the Spanish asylum in terms of a forced incarceration. Through her life and work, Walsh traces Carrington’s rejection of patriarchal authority through her political activism and through the creation of dreams, myths and symbols centred around the feminine in her art.

The Lover by Marguerite Duras (Pantheon, 1985)

The Lover draws on a love affair between the 15 year-old Duras and a wealthy older Chinese man. Set in Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh, Duras’s luminous novella is a deceptively simple exploration of the complexities of race, gender and class told through the eyes of a nameless ‘I’ from an impoverished colonial family with a widowed and mentally unwell mother and a bullying brother. Enchanting and heartbreaking, this representation of an illicit affair is also a provocation to the constructed palace of memory: Duras would write the story over and over again in her lifetime, completing The Lover aged 70. Born in Indochina, Duras left for France at the age of 17 where she was to become involved in the Resistance (while working for the Vichy government) and the PCF, from which she was expelled. Awarded the Prix Goncourt in 1984.

The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante, translated by Ann Goldstein (Europa, 2005)

As in all of Ferrante’s brilliant books, Days of Abandonment strikes right at the heart of the quotidian misery of domestic life. Intensely claustrophobic, and claustrophobically intense, it follows the near-breakdown of a woman whose husband leaves without warning. Set almost entirely within the walls of her apartment, it is an almost unbearable confrontation with the pressures and resentments of motherhood, grief and sexuality. Visceral, dizzying, terrifying—this slim book does more in 192 pages than most in double that.

Airless Spaces by Shulamith Firestone (MIT Press, 1998)

Airless Spaces comprises Firestone’s first collection of fiction—stark, sad and sometimes sly short stories about “airless spaces”: mental illness and the institutions that seek to contain and cure it. The author of the feminist classic The Dialectic of Sex (Verso, 2015) paints compelling portraits of those in mental hospital, precarious lives after hospital, “losers”, suicides and obituaries of people she knew, including Valerie Solanas.

The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek (Serpents Tail, 1983)Michael Haneke made a beautiful and stark film from this novel, homing in on the mother-daughter power dynamics at the heart of the story, but in the adaptation he necessarily lost much of what makes this novel so brutally intense – its setting in the haute-bourgeois Viennese music conservatory, the linguistic experimentation that boils over with a feminist rage. Preoccupied in everything she does with the social division of power, Jelinek writes unflinchingly about sex, a perfect antidote to all those Bellow and Roth sex scenes you’ve had to endure.

The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle) by Ursula K. Le Guin (Atheneum, 2012; 1971)

Set in the Place of Tombs, a society of women and eunuchs, The Tombs of Atuan follows the life of Tenar, renamed Arha (the eaten one) after she is made high priestess to the Nameless One. She is confined to the underground labyrinth temple, where light is forbidden and no one but her is permitted to enter. However, when she captures and holds prisoner the wizard Sparrowhawk (of the previous Earthsea book) who is trespassing in the labyrinth she begins to question the fierce structures of her dark world.

A Girl is a Half-formed Thing by Eimear McBride (Faber & Faber, 2014)

“The answer to every single question is Fuck.”

The uncompromising, fragmented prose in this outstanding novel unravels a relentless story of Irish girlhood; full of emotional betrayals, physical abuse, and staggering twists that will have you gasping for air.

That man was sterner stuff than us. A right hook of a look in his eye all the time. Thin tight gelled hair. Moustache brown eyes. Clark Gable-alike when he was young, she said. But every man was I think then, when she was growing up. Under the thumb of him. Under his hand. Movie star father with his fifteen young. His poor Carole Lombard fucked into the ground. Though we don’t say those words. To each other. Yet. They were true God fearing in for a penny in for a pound. Saturday til afternoon dedicated for praying with his wife – when none of the little could enter without a big knock. Such worshipping worshipping behind the bedroom door. With their babies and babies lining up the stairs. For mother of perpetual suffering prolapsed to hysterectomied. A life spent pushing insides out for it displeased Jesus to give that up. Twenty years in bed and a few after this before she conked.

The Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys (Penguin, 2000; 1934)

In depicting the disturbing journey from the Dominican periphery to the heart of empire, The Voyage Out turns Conrad’s Heart of Darkness on its head. Rhys depicts London in all its brutality – its deep class-structures, casual cruelty and grey banality. As with all her novels, this takes the vantage point of the dispossessed, women locked-out, caught somewhere in an ambiguous zone verging on prostitution. Deceptively unremarkable sentences capture the captivity of women, and the longing, rage and desperation to be free.

Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi, translated by Sherif Hetata, and foreword by Miriam Cooke (Zed Books, 2015; 1975)

Reissued by Zed Books this year as part of a gorgeous set of three new editions, this classic feminist work is still as powerful, relevant, and compelling as ever. Described as a “blood-curdling indictment of patriarchal society” by the Guardian, is it easy to see within just a couple of pages why Nawal El Saadawi is one of the most influential feminist thinkers in the Arab world. What’s harder to understand is why she has been left out of the western feminist literary canon for so long.

The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead (Capuchin, 2010; Simon and Schuster, 2010; 1940)

The eponymous man of this novel is NOT a paedophile, he’s an arch-idealist bureaucrat in Washington who subjects his family and his writer-to-be daughter to the same chipper narcissism as he does his all-American fellow-patriots. It’s a reign of terror. This book operates at such a pitch of psychological violence to have you gasping for air, and rooting for Louie’s escape.

Read more:

– A reading list of Verso titles for International Women’s Day
– Staff Picks: Books of the Year 2015—Chosen by Verso
– Download our free Feminist Radical Thinkers sampler ebook!

More in #Feminism #StaffPicks

Celebrate International Women’s Day 2015!

2015 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

Celebrate International Women’s Day with The Storydancer Project

Honor Women and Girls Wherever You Are!

2015 International Women's Day Celebration
 Click on picture to watch video!
Watch the The Storydancer Project’s Video Tribute to Women and Girls Worldwide.

Celebrate International Women’s Day, Support Constitutional Equality for Oregon Women

Celebrate International Women’s Day, Support Constitutional Equality for Oregon Women.

Nancy Campbell Mead, President, Central Oregon Coast NOW

March 8 is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate all that women have accomplished politically, socially and economically, and a day to reflect on the challenges we continue to face. Women have made many positive gains, but the world and even Oregon are still not equal, which is why VoteERA.org is spearheading an effort to get a state Equal Rights Amendment into the Oregon Constitution (www.VoteERA.org).   

“Women’s voices and experiences need to shape every aspect of policy-making, including democracy, rule of law, good governance, and social sectors including education and health, and the economy” (UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at Stakeholder’s Forum, Dec. 5, 2013). The World Affairs Council recognizes this and is including Oregon’s VoteERA.org as part of its 2014 International Speaker Series – “Women Changing the World,” with the comment:  “Could an Equal Rights Amendment be the next feather in the cap of Oregon’s tradition of bold global leadership?”  The Nation also recognized this by profiling Oregon’s efforts in its January 1, 2014 edition (John Nichols, The Democratic Vistas of 2014:  Five Reforms to Make Our Politics Matter).

In the United States, women earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, have only a fraction of wealth that men have (Mariko Lin Chang,  Shortchanged:  Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It), are poorly represented in governing bodies such as Congress and state legislatures, and have never held the presidency.  Women have a 20 to 48 percent chance of being sexually assaulted if serving in the military (United States Department of Labor, Trauma-Informed Care for Women Veterans Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide for Service Providers). In The World Economic Forum’s 2013 Global Gender Gap report ranking 134 countries for gender parity, the United States came in at number 23, a point lower than the previous year. The United States is the only industrialized nation that refuses to ratify the UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which puts us in the company of Sudan, Somalia, and Iran. Equality between men and women is guaranteed in the Constitutions of more than 139 countries and territories (UN Women, Pursuit of Justice, 2011-2012 Progress of the World’s Women); there is nothing in the United States Constitution that guarantees women the same rights as men. The federal Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which was first introduced in Congress in December, 1923, is still three states short of passage.

Twenty-two states explicitly guarantee equal rights for women in their constitutions; Oregon does not.  Article I, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution states that “[n]o law shall be passed granting to any citizen or class of citizens privileges, or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens”.  On the surface this appears to apply equally to men and women, but that was not its intent when ratified in 1859. It was many years before women had the rights to vote, own property, and many other rights enjoyed by men. Over the last 150 years Oregon women have made tremendous strides legally via statutes and case law, but we are still not expressly granted equality in the state constitution.

VoteERA.org is leading a petition signature drive to place a state equal rights amendment to Oregon’s Constitution on the November 2014 ballot.  The language of the proposed amendment is straight forward:  “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the State of Oregon or by any political subdivision in this state on account of sex.”  The amendment has bi-partisan support and has been endorsed by both former Republican Governor Vic Atiyeh and former Democratic Congresswoman Darlene Hooley.  VoteERA.org needs 116,284 signatures to place it on the November ballot.  Celebrate International Women’s Day by SIGNING and mailing in the e-petition today at www.VoteERA.org. VOLUNTEER to help gather signatures, and, if you can, DONATE.  In the words of Alice Paul, “We shall not be safe until the principle of equal rights is written into the framework of our government.”

Nancy Campbell Mead

President, Central Oregon Coast Chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW)

centraloregoncoastnow@gmail.com

8 Actions for March 8: Celebrate International Women’s Day With Us! | FMF Blog

8 Actions for March 8: Celebrate International Women’s Day With Us! | FMF Blog.

Women all over the world will celebrate International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8, by taking action for their social, political, and economic equality. The United Nations’ official IWD theme for this year is “equality for women is progress for all,” and we couldn’t agree more! This International Women’s Day, celebrate with us by speaking out for women’s rights – eight times.

1. Tell your Senator: Support CEDAW!

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CEDAW has been ratified by 187 of the 193 member states of the UN, the United States is one of only seven nations that has not yet approved it, putting us in the company of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran and two small Pacific islands. As a leading advocate for human rights, the US has a compelling interest to improve conditions for women. Yet, the United Sates has compromised its credibility as a world leader in both human rights and women’s rights in its failure to ratify CEDAW.

Email Your Senator Now.

2. Tell President Obama: #LiftTheBan!

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For many victims of war, resources provided by US humanitarian aid eases their suffering; but for victims of war rape care is limited. Survivors of war rape are denied access to comprehensive medical care that includes the option of abortion, largely because of US policy that is wrongly interpreted to place anti-abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid in conflict zones – in direct violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions. Girls and women systematically raped during conflict face increased rates of maternal mortality, permanent reproductive damage, and obstetric fistula, in addition to isolation and trauma. Without access to the option of abortion care, victims are forced to risk their health – either by carrying unwanted pregnancies to term, seeking dangerous methods of abortion or, in many tragic cases, taking their own lives.

Take action with Feminist Majority and the Global Justice Center to urge President Obama to issue an executive order lifting the ban on abortion restrictions in conflict zones, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Send A Message to President Obama Today.

3. Tell the Supreme Court: #MyBodyMyBC!

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The Affordable Care Act guarantees that all new health insurance plans cover FDA approved contraceptives, including the pill and IUDs, without co-pays or deductibles.  But over 40 profit-making companies have filed lawsuits against this ACA requirement saying that they have a right to deny this coverage to their employees because of the companies’ so-called religious beliefs.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments March 25 regarding whether companies can take away this important birth control benefit from women. Send a clear message to the Supreme Court that companies should not be able to use religion as cover to discriminate against women. 

Sign The Open Letter Today.

4. And Show Up to Tell the SCOTUS: Let Women, Not Bosses, Decide!

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Folks will be meeting on Tuesday, March 25 outside of the Supreme Court building to make their voices heard in this important debate – and you should be there! Come around 8:30 AM and bring your own signs!

RSVP Today.

5. Stand Shoulder-to-Shoulder With Afghan Women

Take a pledge with us to support Afghan women and Afghan women’s organizations. Let them know that we are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in the fight for women’s and girls’ equality. We will do all we can to ensure that the US continue to support Afghan women’s organizations and empowerment. In this crucial transition period, you can count on our strong support.

Take The Pledge.

6. Tell Afghan Leaders: Sign the Bilateral Security Agreement!

The BSA provides that the U.S. will continue to offer assistance to strengthen security, provide humanitarian aid, and support economic and civic development. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai has indicated that he will not sign the BSA until after the April 2014 elections – a decision that could potentially disrupt the relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan and place Afghan women at grave risk.

Urge President Karzai to sign this agreement. Without this agreement, the tremendous gains made by Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban will be in jeopardy.

Send A Message to Afghan President Karzai Today.

7. Tell US Leaders: Integrate Reproductive Healthcare with HIV/AIDS Treatment!

Every minute, a young woman becomes newly infected with HIV, and the vast majority of HIV infections are sexually transmitted. Women need reproductive health programs to be integrated with HIV/AIDS services, and vice-versa, for improved efficiency and effectiveness in preventing AIDS infection and unplanned pregnancy and improving maternal and child health.

You can make a difference. Take action to urge decision makers to integrate comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services with HIV/AIDS treatment for women globally.

Contact PEPFAR Leaders Now.

8. Help End Military Sexual Assault!

The Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) S.1752, introduced by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), will take the decision of whether to prosecute sexual assault cases out of the chain of command and give it to independent, objective, trained military prosecutors.  Reports of sexual assault in the military increased by a whopping 36% in fiscal year 2012. The vast majority of victims – 89 percent according to the Pentagon itself – do not report sex crimes at all. And one-half of female victims indicate not reporting sexual assault because they do not believe anything will be done by their commanders.

We must act now. Email your Senators to tell them that we must change the current system of handling sexual assault cases. It is simply not working.

Email Your Senator Today.