Girl Power in Afghanistan

I just wanted to share this amazing documentary from AlJazeera on Girl Power in Afghanistan. It’s only 25 minutes long, so please watch it!

It’s inspirational to see a new generation of women emerging from the long oppression of the Taliban and fighting against many a man’s disrespect of women.

It tells the story of a 15-year old girl who married off so that the family could pay off some debts. She then was basically tortured by her husband’s family. Nails were torn off. Bits of her flesh cut off with knives. Hair pulled out. And and and. Police found her barely alive and her case, unfortunately not exceptional, spread all around the world. Another key woman in this documentary is 19-year-old Afghani Noorjahan Akbar – a brave and smart girl who has set up a group called Young Women for Change. At one point she says: ” Why should I try to be a man? Why should I try to cover up everything that makes me a woman? Cover up my hair, cover up my sense of style, cover up the way I talk, cover up my voice? Shut up and not talk in front of men, just because I’m a woman?”

Well, without further ado, click on the link and watch it!

Afghanistan: Girl Power – People & Power – Al Jazeera English.

Queen’s Speech for flexible parental leave

Today’s Queen’s Speech promises more flexible moves for parental leave in the UK. In Sweden it’s already standard procedure that both parents take paid leave. The child gets to spend equal time with both parents. Finally, UK daddy’s don’t have to feel left outside diaper change, the first smile and other important steps of children growing up. If men will actually take the opportunity is still written in the stars. Even if it will be easier and more flexible from now on to take parental leave, there will be no more money involved.

The Speech also addresses speedier adoptions and improved access arrangements for divorced fathers. The old fashioned image of an English gentleman in a stiff hat might now change to a loving father with a child in his arms (but probably not giving up their gentleman behaviour).

Read more here.

State rape in the States

Breathe. Just breathe.
So…let’s just say I’m SO happy I’m not living in Virgina, USA, and need to go through an abortion. There is right now a HUGE debate in the States over the fact that Virginia’s governor wanted to FORCE WOMEN to go through a transvaginal ultrasound in connection with an abortion. Yeah. FORCE it on them so that they would HAVE TO LOOK at the fetus they were about to KILL. Say whaaaaaaaaaaaaat? Yes. Seriously.

Soon, this was referred to (by normal human beings who all realized this was sick) as “State rape”. Because get this you governor-rat:  Any object that is inserted into a woman’s vagina without her informed consent is rape. And I doubt that women who want an abortion will be all cheery and like:

“Yey! Put that gigantic wand deep inside my vagina and let me look at the tiny thing growing inside me to make me feel bad about killing it! That way I’m SURE I will regret my choice, even if I don’t have a single penny to raise a child. Even if my health is at stake by having a baby. Even if I got raped and this is the result. JUST FUCKING PUT IT IN ME!” Sorry. As you can see, this makes me VERY angry.

Luckily, the governor decided to skip the whole transvaginal thing, and just go with a “normal” abdominal ultrasound. Required by law that is. It still hasn’t been decided yet, but I just can’t believe this is happening! Even UN official’s say that abortion is a Human Right. And obviously, discriminating against women because of their gender is also against UN Human Rights. And yes, if you are a woman, chances are, you might get pregnant (FIRST GRADE BIOLOGY!!) and make a choice over your own body.

But to then force women by law to have an ultrasound and look at the fetus, is to punish them for getting pregnant (which is due to their biological gender) and not wanting the child (of course politicians would never use the word punish, they say they simply want to inform us “stupid women”. Yeah. As if some male politicians know anything about that). So if you ask me, yes, this whole abortion law thing going on in Virginia, is violating the Human Right not be discriminated because of your gender.

Read this fantastic manifesto written by a physician, on the whole matter. Click here.

Too many men

There are too many men represented in the media.

According to a research conducted at City University London, there were four times as many men as women being interviewed on TV and radio. Of course you could probably say the same thing about ethnicity, by now it shouldn’t come as a shock that the standard in the West is the white, middle-aged male. But this is a blog about gender. So let’s continue.

When will there be a fair representation of both sexes, if even the media sees the man as a standard? When I’m interviewing for TV or radio, I always try to get equally as many women as men.

Have a look at a voxpop my fellow colleague Will Kennedy and I did for TV a couple of weeks ago. It was about elective C-section and if women should be allowed to freely choose or not. One could think that interviewing only women would make sense. But men should also be able to voice their opinion!