Feminist Weekly Update: September 13, 2016
Your weekly update on all things feminism. Keep up to date on the election, the news, and what is going on in the world of women.
Ten new social justice films, most screening for the first time in Pittsburgh, will be presented as part of the new Just Films series which debuts this month. The Just Films series is the brainchild of four organizations committed to women, girls, gender equity, and social justice: the Chatham University Women’s Institute, New Voices Pittsburgh, the Women and Girls Foundation, and the Women’s Law Project.
As part of the series, one film a month will be shown on Chatham’s campus from September 2016 through June 2017. Films will be free and open to the public. The first film, “Don’t Tell Anyone,” will be shown Thursday, September 15th at 6:30PM at the Eddy Theatre on Chatham University’s Shadyside campus.
In the News:
Senate votes against funding package to combat Zika: The Senate recently voted against legislation this week that would provide a $1.1 billion federal aid package to fight the Zika virus, including provisions that stripped funding from Planned Parenthood and blocked contraceptive access. While individuals are primarily infected with Zika virus through mosquito bites, the illness can be sexually transmitted. Several female lawmakers and a public health experts came together at a press conference to demand Speaker Ryan bring a clean Zika funding bill up for a vote. For more: Ms. Magazine
Massachusetts fire department welcomes all-female firefighter class: The Groveland Fire Department is adding five firefighters to its 32-member staff — and they’re all women! The new additions mean that about 20 percent of the department will be female – which is quite exceptional in a field as male-dominated as firefighting. According to the latest statistics, only 3.4 percent of career firefighters in the U.S. are women. “The decision to hire these five women is consistent with our mission, our strategic plan and our organizational transformation,” Chief Robert Lay said. “Whether departments are career or call, doesn’t change the importance of creating a diverse work environment. We’re excited to add these women to our roster of talented firefighters,” the department wrote in a statement on its website. For more: WCVB
Internally displaced women in the Congo live life in limbo: No longer considered as an “emergency,” internally displaced women in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo spend decades in camps, living with high risks of maternal mortality, sexual assault, and no prospects. Since 2009, 3 million people in the DRC have been displaced with at least 40 armed groups active in the eastern provinces of the country. Up to 80 percent of the population in IDP camps tend to be women and their children. As the fighting continues, they cannot go back to their places of origin, but they don’t have the means to move forward with their lives either. Some humanitarian specialists believe basic services like maternal health, education, some occupational training and introduction of organic material to burn instead of charcoal could be “easy wins” and jump-start the process for the women and the younger generation to reconstruct their lives. For more: New York Times
Paralyzed pregnant woman completes half-marathon: Claire Lomas began the Great North Run in northeast England on Wednesday and finished Sunday afternoon — an otherwise unimpressive feat made remarkable by the fact that she is 16 weeks pregnant and paralyzed from the chest down. The 36-year-old Lomas averaged 3 miles a day using a “bionic suit” that helped her move and lift her legs during the marathon. “It’s good for your health, anyway, whether you are [an active person] or not,” she told the Guardian, adding that there are also mental health benefits. For more: Huffington Post
New app helps women select correct bra size: Breast Research Australia has developed a new app called Sports Bra to help women find bras that better fit and support their breasts. According to Dr. Deidre McGhee, who runs Breast Research Australia out of the University of Wollongong, 85 percent of women wear the wrong sized bra — with fashion posing more of a concern than function. Breast Research Australia hopes their approach will help women avoid neck and upper limb pain that can be caused by ill-fitting bras. For more: Circa
Clinton cancels campaign events following pneumonia diagnosis: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was diagnosed with pneumonia on Friday and cancelled some campaign events this week after abruptly leaving a September 11th commemoration ceremony. Many have criticized mainstream media outlets for reporting inaccurate information before the Clinton Campaign released an official statement, and for heaping sexist cynicism on Ms. Clinton over the incident. For more: NPR
Hillary Clinton shares formative memory about sexism: Hillary Clinton shared several comments about the obstacles of sexism she has faced in her career with the photography page Humans of New York. In particular, she noted that she had to learn as a young woman how to “control [her] emotions.” Read her full comments here: Humans of New York
Feminists of the Week: Over 4,000 indigenous protesters and allies have set up camps over the past few weeks to protest construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe opposes the pipeline because the route crosses sacred sites and burial places. They’re also concerned that if the pipeline ruptures it could pollute local drinking water. Indigenous women have always been on the front lines of major issues, from Idle No More’s environmental justice movement in Canada, to ending the use of Native mascots and imagery in sports. Many more examples exist, including language revitalization; health care and education reform; food sovereignty; violence against Indigenous women; climate change; and more.
At the camps in Standing Rock, women-identifying folks are using their bodies and risking arrest to prevent pipeline crews from accessing the construction site, they’re cooking and feeding for thousands, and they’re leading security teams 24/7 to ensure campers safety and adherence to camp guidelines. They’ve also developed their own school and curriculum for youth staying long-term at the camps. The women of this movement have been humble about their roles, but the impact is clear.
To take part in the #NoDAPL day of action, click here.