Sunday, August 23, 2009

Suggested Sunday reading (8/23)

If you haven't seen the New York Times' Sunday magazine yet, I will suggest you start there. The cover story is "Why women's rights is the cause of our time." It's an excerpt from the book "Half the Sky" (pictured) by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (check out the book's site too, and the Kristof's blog entry on the contest they're running, which has some really great comments).

The rest of the Sunday magazine is full of stories about women and women's rights around the world; it's all a must-read, in my opinion.

One of the articles is an interview with Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, in which she says:
I happen to believe that the transformation of women’s roles is the last great impediment to universal progress — that we have made progress on many other aspects of human nature that used to be discriminatory bars to people’s full participation. But in too many places and too many ways, the oppression of women stands as a stark reminder of how difficult it is to realize people’s full human potential.
  • The Nation has an article titled "Why women need health care reform." This is a subject I so wish the mainstream media would pick up on, as I don't think many people realize the inequality that exists in health care. (Did you know insurance companies can deny individual policies to pregnant women, because pregnancy is a "pre-existing" condition?)
  • On a related note, NARAL dispels the myth about abortion mandates in the health care reform bill.
  • By now you've probably heard about Caster Semenya, the woman from South Africa whose gender is being questioned after she won a race at the track world championships. This CBS story talks about how her gender may never be known (scientifically speaking, at least), but it also talks about the reaction to the story in South Africa, and how many people think racism and sexism are at the core of this story: "The head of the South African track federation, Leonard Chuene, was among those raising race in the Semenya case. 'It would not be like that if it were some young girl from Europe. If it was a white child, she would be sitting somewhere with a psychologist, but this is an African child." Also check out Feministe's post on Germaine Greer's column about Semenya.
  • The AP writes about the women's vote in the Afghanistan elections, which was pretty much zero, thanks to violence and intimidation. (NYT story here.) The Los Angeles Times has an op-ed on the subject, "The war for Afghanistan's women: It's not worth risking U.S. lives unless we raise the status of Afghan women."
  • The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted this week to allow gay men and women in "committed relationships" to serve as clergy members. Celibate gay men and women can already serve. This is a good step. It was a contentious debate and has led to some members of the religion saying they'll be leaving it (and possibly forming their own branch, because you can just do that -- look, a new religion!). Now to get rid of the "in committed relationships" part. (Is that a qualifier for straight people too who want to be in the clergy of this religion? Not so far as I can tell.)
  • A story out of Toronto says that girls are accepting sexual assault at school as a part of life. As in, that's just what happens.
  • A Muslim model in Malaysia will be caned because she was caught drinking beer.
  • In a bit of good news, an Oklahoma judge has ruled that requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds before a woman has an abortion and describe the results to her in great detail is unconstitutional. The law was one of the more strict laws in the country.
  • Forbes has named its top 100 most powerful women. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is No. 1. The entire list is here; it's very interesting to see the CEOs on the list, some for companies that I didn't realize were lead by women.

As always, if you have any suggestions for this column, send them along! E-mail me at

1 comment:

Razor said...

I had no idea pregnancy could be considered a "pre-existing condition." That's absolutely absurd.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin