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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:47 am 
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Australian women fight back against sexist 'trolling'
4 December 2015

Sydney (dpa) - Women in Australia are fighting back against online male abusers by joining together and naming and shaming so-called "trolls" in a Twitter campaign launched Friday.

Around 1,100 women joined the secret Facebook group in just a few hours of it launching, publishing on Twitter the names of more than 150 men who used social media to abuse Australian feminist columnist Clementine Ford.

Ford has long received aggressive threatening sexist abuse for the columns she writes, but the abuse reached a crescendo after Ford struck back earlier this week and named an abuser who called her a "slut" online. Ford found the abuser's Facebook site and sent a message to his employer telling them of his abuse. Several racist and sexist comments were also on his Facebook site. He was sacked the next day, the company saying it did not condone that type of behavior.

Social media attacks intensified after the incident, condemning Ford for causing a man to lose his job. Comments included "go into the bathroom and kill yourself" and "bitches like you are the reason why some men are prone to violence." Ford responded that the man was "responsible for his own actions."

Other women who have been similarly abused and threatened online have joined the initiative. Columnist Kerri Sackville was one of the people behind the Facebook site on Wednesday gathering names of abusers under the Twitter hashtag #EndViolenceAgainstWomen, first established as part of a UN campaign. Within 20 minutes it was trending as the number one in Australia.

"When you abuse one woman you abuse all of us," Sackville told the broadcaster ABC. Many men also joined the campaign to name and shame online abusers. The names of online abusers, so-called "trolls", are being collected by the group and the worst and most consistent offenders outed on the Twitter campaign site. "They feel they can be in the public arena without any fear or consequence or retribution and I want men to know we are watching," Sackville said.

Source: dpa

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:01 am 
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:41 pm 
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This woman is using her vagina to knit all the misogynistic abuse she gets online because she doesn't care what you think

by Bethan McKernan
1 March 2016

image
Photo: Screenshot via YouTube

Casey Jenkins is knitting a permanent record of all the misogynistic abuse she gets online with her bloody human vagina, and there's nothing meninists can do about it.

The Australian artist's 2013 performance piece 'Casting Off My Womb' featured her knitting a long passage from yarn she inserted into her vagina every day for 28 days. The white wool turned red and then back to white again with her menstrual cycle.

Image

Jenkins said it was: ...a long, slow meditation on the intimate understanding we have of our own bodies and creative potential and how it's impacted by societal stereotypes and expectations.

But of course, because it's the 21st century and the internet is a thing we all have, she got thousands upon thousands of abusive messages from online trolls who just couldn't let her do her thing without threatening rape or telling Jenkins she's ugly. But the artist's follow up act is probably the most flipping the bird response she could have had: for her second vaginal knitting performance, Jenkins is making a record of all the abuse that's thrown at her online.

Image

Some say the perceived anonymity of the internet creates and fosters sexist attitudes. I'd be more inclined to say it exposes them, like lifting a rock to reveal a bed of slugs. One of the saddest and most interesting things about the gendered abuse she has received, Jenkins says, is that so much of it comes from people who present as women.

...the very people who would themselves be the target of abuse if they ever stepped into the spotlight in a way not deemed to support dominant culture.

It made me reflect on the immense power our society has over us... the power of social shaming in directing behaviour and shaping culture should not be underestimated. While the project has been emotionally and physically difficult, Casey says it's better to deal with online abuse in the open rather than go with the prevailing advice of 'just don't read the comments'.

I don't want to be crushed by reality, but I don't want to blinker myself to it, either.

If you're in Melbourne, 'Programmed to Reproduce' will be at North Melborne Town Hall until 13th March as part of the 2016 Festival of Live Art.

Source: Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 1:41 pm 
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FIAT Argentina removes handbook seen as misogynistic
9 June 2016

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- FIAT Argentina said on Thursday that it is removing from circulation one of the handbooks it distributed with its cars following criticism by women's groups that it is misogynistic.

The local representative of the Italian automaker said on its Twitter account that it regrets the handbook had that effect and that it never meant to be disrespectful. The booklet was handed out along with an automobile guide to every new car owner. Under the "co-pilot" section, the booklet advised: "If a lady's skirt is too short, we recommend that she travel in the backseat to keep our concentration." It also said "if the skirt is not that short but you tend to have a wandering hand, she should also travel behind." Another section said that any woman who aspires to become a co-pilot "must at least have nice legs."

Under the title, "driver with love," it said that in order to "behave like a gentleman, you should know that if your partner, girlfriend or squeeze (circumstantial relationship) travels with friends, you should become the chauffeur for each and every one of them, taking the spot of the alpha male and dropping each one of them safe and sound at their resting place."

The handbook was strongly criticized by Argentine women's groups, including the organizers of a protest held last week in Buenos Aires to condemn violence against women under the slogan #NiUnaMenos, meaning "Not one less." The group published photos of FIAT Argentina's handbook on its Facebook page, calling it "a summary of stereotypical and misogynistic messages."

Many people took to Twitter to express their outrage. "The user's manual is unbelievable. It's full of old, misogynistic jokes," Silvina Quintans wrote to FIAT Argentina on her account. "Remember that women also drive."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 4:47 pm 
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German lawmaker temporarily detained at Istanbul gay parade
26 June 2016

BERLIN (AP) -- A prominent German lawmaker was temporarily detained at a gay street parade in Istanbul.

The German news agency dpa reported the Green Party lawmaker Volker Beck, an outspoken activist for gay rights, was detained Sunday when he wanted to speak publicly at the end of the gay, lesbian and transgender "Pride Week." The news agency quoted Beck as saying, "The police tore away my passport and pushed me around." Beck was later released. Dpa gave no further details about the incident.

Turkish police have repeatedly in recent days prevented activists from participated in LGBT rallies. The Istanbul governor earlier had banned people from holding two annual gay parades this year, including Sunday's parade.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 7:46 pm 
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Inflatable love doll gift to minister sparks furor in Chile
14 December 2016

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ProChile Director Roberto Paiva, from left to right, Chilean Sen. and ruling party presidential hopeful Alejandro Guillier, former OAS General Secretary Jose Miguel Insulza, Chile’s Economy Minister Luis Cespedes, Ministry of Planning Executive Secretary Eduardo Bitran, Energy Minister Andres Rebolledo and Asimet President Juan Carlos Martinez, pose for a photo with a gift of an inflated sex toy, a placard taped over its mouth that reads in Spanish: "To stimulate the economy", during the Asexma exporters' association annual dinner, in Santiago, Chile, Monday, Dec. 13, 2016. Politicians and businessmen laughed and posed for the cameras, but later social networks exploded in criticism that pointed to the sexist nature of the gift. (AP Photo/Jorge Cadenas)

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) -- Chileans are in an uproar over a Cabinet minister being given an inflatable sex doll with a note saying "to stimulate the economy" taped over its mouth.

The furor erupted after photos of Economy Minister Luis Cespedes posing with the blow-up doll circulated on social media. President Michelle Bachelet herself weighed in on Twitter, calling the joke gift misogynist and an affront to her government's goal of promoting respect for women.

Cespedes was given the doll by Roberto Fantuzzi, head of the Chilean exporters association Asexma, at its year-end dinner. The largely male politicians and business leaders present, including former Organization of American States leader Jose Miguel Insulza, laughed as a smiling Cespedes posed with the naked female doll on his arm.

In Chile, it is a tradition for the leader of Asexma to give creative gifts to guests at its annual dinner, but some attendees scrambled to distance themselves from the gift after social media exploded with charges of sexism. They said Fantuzzi went too far. "One laughs because one is in awkward situation, but we are all aware that it was a blunder that we are sorry for," said Alejandro Guiller, a dinner attendee who may run for president in 2017 for the governing party.

Cespedes said he was sorry Wednesday, and Insulza "lamented and rejected" what had happened at the dinner. "I think that beyond asking for forgiveness, this demonstrates that in Chile there is still machismo, sexism and in some cases even misogyny," Bachelet tweeted.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:08 pm 
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Polish EU lawmaker says women intellectually inferior to men
3 March 2017

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- A Polish member of the European Parliament has launched another sexist tirade, calling it a "20th century stereotype that women have the same intellectual potential as men," and that the stereotype "must be destroyed because it is not true."

Janusz Korwin-Mikke's insults on Friday in Warsaw came two days after he told the European Parliament that "women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent."

The president of the Parliament opened an investigation Thursday into the comments, for which Korwin-Mikke could face sanctions such as a reprimand, a fine or a temporary suspension. His latest blast came after he was challenged by female lawmakers during a visit to the Polish parliament in Warsaw.

Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, from the Modern party, accused him of offending women and said she would not allow him to do it again. "There are more women than men in Poland, we're better educated, and I will not let you offend Polish women, European women and women all over the world. It's a disgrace," she told him.

Korwin-Mikke has a history of getting attention for outrageous comments, including comparing the European Union to the Third Reich. In 2015, he raised his arm in a Nazi salute to make a political point in the European Parliament, the EU's elected legislative arm, forcing the centrist government in Warsaw at the time to apologize and express shame for his behavior. Korwin-Mikke heads a small party which won just under 5 percent of the vote in Poland's last parliamentary election in 2015, failing to clear the 5 percent threshold to get any seats.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:05 pm 
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UK lawmakers to companies: End sexist high-heel dress codes
By JILL LAWLESS
6 March 2017

LONDON (AP) -- In a debate that has gone from office corridors to Britain's Parliament, lawmakers put their foot down Monday and told employers to stop making women wear high heels as part of corporate dress codes.

Members of Parliament debated a ban on mandatory workplace high heels, in response to a petition started by a receptionist who was sent home without pay for wearing flat shoes. The debate was non-binding, but the government promised to act against heel-height rules, makeup guidelines and other corporate codes that apply to women but not to men.

Labour lawmaker Helen Jones, who helped lead a parliamentary investigation into dress codes, said she and her colleagues were shocked by what they found. "We found attitudes that belonged more - I was going to say in the 1950s, but probably the 1850s would be more accurate, than in the 21st century," she told lawmakers at Parliament's Westminster Hall.

Monday's debate was triggered by the experience of Nicola Thorp, who was told in December 2015 that her smart flat shoes were unacceptable for a temporary assignment in London with finance firm PwC. Her employment agency, Portico, had a dress code specifying that female workers must wear non-opaque tights, have hair with "no visible roots," wear "regularly re-applied" makeup - and appear in shoes with a heel between 2 and 4 inches (5 and 10 centimeters) high.

For Thorp, that was a step too far. She started an online petition, calling formal workplace dress codes "outdated and sexist." It has gathered more than 150,000 signatures, making it eligible for a debate in Parliament. Thorp told the BBC after she launched the petition that "dress codes should reflect society." "Twenty years ago, women weren't allowed to wear trousers in the same role that I'm doing now," she said. "And it's only because some women spoke up about that and said, 'We feel like we have a right to wear trousers,' that that's changed."

The British government says the law already forbids companies from discriminating against women, but a report from Parliament's Women and Equalities Committee found that "discriminatory dress codes" remain commonplace in sectors including the retail and tourism industries. The committee said it had heard from hundreds of women "who told us about the pain and long-term damage caused by wearing high heels for long periods in the workplace, as well as from women who had been required to dye their hair blonde, to wear revealing outfits and to constantly reapply makeup."

The College of Podiatry told the committee that women who wear high heels for long periods have "reduced balance, reduced ankle flexion and weaker muscle power in the calf" and are prone to disabling pain. Jones said that "women told us that when they raised these concerns they were belittled." One was told "she'd have plenty of time to rest her feet when she was unemployed."

In London's financial district on Monday, many workers felt that companies were entitled to impose dress codes - but that mandatory high heels went too far. "A lot of things are enforced, but high heels in particular - because that can also be a health issue for people - I think that's unnecessary," said company director Penelope Mantzaris.

Banker Dan Matthews said his company expected men to wear suits and ties "and I think that's a fair request." "So I suppose it's fairly contradictory in a way, because in one respect I'm saying that we men should be required to wear a suit and tie but women shouldn't wear high heels," he said. "But I think that's just where the line happens to be at the moment."

Thorp's petition has already caused one change. Portico announced last year it was amending its policy to adopt a gender-neutral dress code and to allow workers to wear flat shoes if they prefer. Britain's Conservative government said it was listening. Women and equalities minister Caroline Dinenage told lawmakers that the U.K. had "strong laws to tackle sex discrimination at work, and this includes dress codes." But she said they needed to be more widely understood and better enforced. Dinenage said she had written to key trade bodies about "outdated and sexist employment practices." "Shod in heels or flats, we are collectively putting our foot down," she promised.

Jonathan Shenfield contributed to this story.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:38 am 
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Polish EU lawmaker says women intellectually inferior to men
3 March 2017

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- A Polish member of the European Parliament has launched another sexist tirade, calling it a "20th century stereotype that women have the same intellectual potential as men," and that the stereotype "must be destroyed because it is not true."

Janusz Korwin-Mikke's insults on Friday in Warsaw came two days after he told the European Parliament that "women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent."

The president of the Parliament opened an investigation Thursday into the comments, for which Korwin-Mikke could face sanctions such as a reprimand, a fine or a temporary suspension. His latest blast came after he was challenged by female lawmakers during a visit to the Polish parliament in Warsaw.

Joanna Scheuring-Wielgus, from the Modern party, accused him of offending women and said she would not allow him to do it again. "There are more women than men in Poland, we're better educated, and I will not let you offend Polish women, European women and women all over the world. It's a disgrace," she told him.

Korwin-Mikke has a history of getting attention for outrageous comments, including comparing the European Union to the Third Reich. In 2015, he raised his arm in a Nazi salute to make a political point in the European Parliament, the EU's elected legislative arm, forcing the centrist government in Warsaw at the time to apologize and express shame for his behavior. Korwin-Mikke heads a small party which won just under 5 percent of the vote in Poland's last parliamentary election in 2015, failing to clear the 5 percent threshold to get any seats.

Source: AP

Polish European lawmaker suspended over sexist remarks
14 March 2017

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Parliament suspended a Polish lawmaker for 10 days on Tuesday after he said during a debate that women should earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent.

As well as the suspension, Janusz Korwin-Mikke faces other punishments, Parliament President Antonio Tajani told lawmakers in Strasbourg, France. He will lose his lawmakers' daily subsistence allowance for 30 days, which means he stands to lose out on 9,180 euros ($9,800) in total. In addition, he is being banned from representing the legislature for a year, meaning he won't be able to participate in parliamentary delegations, for example.

Tajani's announcement was greeted by applause. Korwin-Mikke appeared to laugh and clap himself as his punishment was read out. The European Parliament characterized the sanctions as being "unprecedented in severity."

During a March 1 debate on the gender pay gap Korwin-Mikke, a radical right-winger who leads a marginal party, said: "Of course women must earn less than men because they are weaker, they are smaller, they are less intelligent. They must earn less, that's all."

Parliamentary authorities opened an investigation under rules specifying that members must show mutual respect and refrain from "defamatory, racist or xenophobic language or behavior." "I will not tolerate such behaviour, in particular when it comes from someone who is expected to discharge his duties as a representative of the peoples of Europe with due dignity," Tajani said. "By offending all women, (Korwin-Mikke) displayed contempt for our most fundamental values."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:29 am 
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Iceland closes gender gap but violence against women remains
By EGILL BJARNASON
12 December 2017

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) -- For nine years in a row, the World Economic Forum has ranked Iceland as having the world's smallest gender-equality gap, and for about as long gender studies professor Gyda Margret Petursdottir has been asked how the Nordic island nation became such a paradise for women.

Her reply: "It isn't." Iceland has a female prime minister and some of the world's strongest laws on workplace equality and equal pay. It also has one of Europe's highest per-capita levels of reported rapes, according to statistics agency Eurostat, although legal definitions differ from country to country, complicating comparisons.

A 2010 University of Iceland study found that 30 percent of Icelandic women aged 18 to 80 reported having been physically attacked by a man at least once, including 13 percent who reported suffering rape or attempted rape. Icelanders are experiencing a stark realization: Equal representation does not, by default, eliminate gender-based violence. Petursdottir said the "myth" that Iceland's record on gender equality makes it a safe haven for women is a distraction from the steps needed to fight systematic abuse. "Men need to find ways to change their ideas about masculinity," Petursdottir said. "That's the biggest challenge now."

The sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men in Hollywood, politics and beyond, and the "Me Too" campaign launched by women speaking out against abuse, have reached this volcanic island below the Arctic Circle. Hundreds of women in Icelandic politics, entertainment and academia recently signed a pledge against sexual harassment and urged male colleagues to change their behavior.

More than 40 percent of lawmakers in Iceland's parliament, the Althingi, are women. Last month left-wing leader Katrin Jakobsdottir became prime minister in a coalition government - Iceland's second female leader in the last decade. Her appointment is another point on the Global Gender Gap index for a country regarded as a champion of gender equality. The index measures life expectancy, educational opportunities, political representation, equal pay and other factors - but not gender-based violence.

Feminists argue that Iceland's star ranking masks continuing violence, harassment and everyday sexism - and that fixing the problem will need a transformation in the way men - and women - think and behave. In a series of 137 anonymous accounts from women in politics recently published in local media, one female legislator illustrated everyday sexism with a story of a male opponent who complimented her looks right before she took the podium in an attempt to throw her off-topic.

Andres Ingi Jonsson, a lawmaker for the Left Green Movement, said the example shows how parliament, even more than other workplaces, risks becoming a harmful environment for women, since disarming opponents is a key part of politics. "The basic tools we use can be influenced by sexually degrading language, and we need to remove that from the toolbox," said Jonsson, who is among a group of male parliamentarians seeking to get men to become actively engaged in promoting gender equality.

The group successfully petitioned the speaker of parliament to host a workshop in February during which Iceland's 63 legislators have been invited to openly discuss sexual harassment in the workplace. "It won't be an easy day," Jonsson said. He is optimistic that everyone will attend, even though some will approach the workshop with a more open mind than others. "We have to be ready to open our hearts a bit," Jonsson said.

Iceland may be far from perfect, but its politicians have taken gender equality seriously. Icelandic law requires private companies to have at least 40 percent women on their boards and offers men parental leave equal to women. Starting next year, the Equal Pay Law will audit companies to prove that they are paying men and women the same for comparable work.

There are indications of a change in social attitudes and an unwillingness to turn a blind eye toward sexual harassment. Iceland's capital, Reykjavik, has a vibrant nightlife scene, and dozens of bars and clubs have tried to create a safer atmosphere by putting up posters urging guests to notify staff if they feel harassed. Activist Helga Lind Mar said the scene has changed noticeably from a few years ago. "We still have creeps," she said, sitting by Reykjavik's bar- and-restaurant-lined Laugavegur Street, famous for its long party nights. "But they are more afraid to be called out on their behavior."

And educators have started to think about how to raise a generation of non-sexist adults. At Reykjavik's Borgarholtsskoli high school, teacher Hanna Bjorg Vilhjalmsdottir oversees lively discussions in her Introduction to Gender Studies class. The aim of the class is to get young adults to notice everyday discrimination, stereotyping and harmful messages, she said. When Vilhjalmsdottir, a pioneer of the concept, pitched the idea to school administrators 10 years ago "they were extremely skeptical," she said. Now versions of the course are taught in 27 of Iceland's 33 high schools.

Student Tinna Karen Victorsdottir said the course has changed her perception of life more than any other class. She said she often brings class discussions to her family's dinner table and shares course readings and videos with her parents. Over time, her parents have changed their behavior, too. "My dad has taken on totally new house chores," she said. "I guess it inspired him to see me this eager."

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:46 am 
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Miss America pageant dropping the swimsuits and evening gowns
June 5, 2018

NEW YORK (AFP) - The Miss America pageant is dropping the swimsuit and evening gown competition and will no longer judge contestants on their physical appearance, organizers announced on Tuesday.

"We're changing out of our swimsuits and into a whole new era #byebyebikini," @MissAmericaOrg said in a tweet which featured a bikini vanishing in a puff of smoke. Gretchen Carlson, chairwoman of Miss America's board of trustees, outlined the changes to the 2019 contest on ABC's "Good Morning America." "We are no longer a pageant," said Carlson, who won the 1989 Miss America contest and went on to become an anchor at Fox News. "We are a competition. We will no longer judge our candidates on their outward physical appearance," she said. "That's huge."

Carlson said that both the swimsuit and evening gown portions of the nearly century-old competition would be scrapped. "It's going to be what comes out of their mouth that we're interested in, when they talk about their social impact initiatives," she said of the contestants from all 50 US states. "We want to celebrate your accomplishments and your talents and then we want to hand you scholarships," she said.

Carlson said organizers had "heard from a lot of young women who say, 'We'd love to be a part of your program but we don't want to be out there in high heels and a swimsuit.' "So guess what, you don't have to do that anymore," she said.

Carlson has been a champion of the #MeToo movement combating sexual abuse and harassment by powerful men in business, entertainment and media. Carlson sued the former chief executive at Fox News for sexual harassment two years ago and is the first former Miss America to chair the board of the organization. "This is a new beginning and change can sometimes be difficult but I know a lot about change," she said. "My life has worked in mysterious ways," Carlson said. "I never thought I'd be the chairwoman of the Miss America Organization, but here I am and we're moving it forward and we're evolving in this cultural revolution."

Carlson was named in January following the removal of the organization's chief executive for making sexist and derogatory comments. The 2019 Miss American competition will take place in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on September 9 and air on ABC.

Source: AFP

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