Women's Rights

Women’s Rights: a round up for the week

The F Word features the work of Plan UK’s ‘Because I am a girl campaign’ against early and forced marriage, emphasising instead the need to protect girls’ health and educational opportunities – and the benefits these may bring to entire communities.

Over on Left Foot Forward there’s a very good piece about the work of a group called Maiti Nepal which rescues girls from sexual exploitation, many of them trapped in brothels in India.

Their stories are horrific. Lured by the promise of jobs or in search of family members, they become trapped by criminals and smuggled across the border. Incarcerated inside brothels they can be tortured and beaten.

Some of the girls, as young as 11, are force-fed growth hormones to develop their young bodies. Any children produced as a consequence are taken and used as leverage to prevent them trying to escape. Condoms are a rarity and HIV-AIDs is rife.

Jill, on Feministe, grapples with the complex case of Domique Strauss-Kahn and the supposed unreliability of the witness.  This is a tricky one, to say the least, but I think this is an interesting observation.

But I have a hard time believing that a woman with the exact same past would be considered too lacking in credibility had she accused someone of robbing her apartment or mugging her or beating her up.

Marina S offers a model letter for those who are worried about proposed changes in abortion counselling to send to their MPs. It seems that organisations which provide abortions are not to be allowed to offer counselling because of a possible conflict of interest, whereas organisations such as LIFE will be able to do so.  Yet organisations which offer abortions are not (I assume) actively anxious to push women to choose abortion – whereas anti-choice organisations do of course have a clear agenda.   This issue has been covered extensively by Sunny Hundal on Liberal Conspiracy.

Baroness Rendell of Babergh reminds peers that FGM remains a problem in the UK even though it is of course illegal.

Baroness Rendell concluded: “Does the minister agree that encouraging teachers to be aware of what is a very real danger to young girls can be of help to police in bringing perhaps the single prosecution, which would be such a major deterrent and factor in putting an end to this practice in the United Kingdom.”

It is sometimes noted that big problems such as FGM seem to be neglected by feminists on the blogosphere in favour of less vital issues.  I don’t  think this is (generally) because feminists think such issues aren’t the most important – rather because they are so obviously awful, so clear cut.   Rather more borderline debates, such as this discussion of propositioning etiquette on a recent Butterflies and Wheels post, are more interesting to argue about because they are more marginal.