Feminist Weekly Update: September 20, 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.
Last week, the Women and Girls Foundation unveiled our new strategic plan for the next three years. With renewed focus, we will continue breaking down barriers to ensure every girl can rise and every woman can soar. Check out the video below and join us!
In the News:
Saturday Night Live introduces its first Latina cast member: Comedian and actress Melissa Villaseñor made history last week when NBC announced her as one of three new “Saturday Night Live” cast members, making her the late night sketch staple’s first ever female actor who is publically billed as Latinx. The Mexican-American actress’ arrival comes as the show still publicly struggles with issues of diversity and representation. She is only the third Latinx featured player, following Horatio Sanz and Fred Armisen. Villaseñor will make her debut on October 1st for the show’s season premiere. For more: Color Lines
Recent report highlights realities of women’s incarceration: A recent report by the Vera Institute of Justice and the Safety and Justice Challenge confirms startling facts about jailed women and their treatment. A shocking 86 percent have suffered sexual violence. Nearly 80 percent have young children. Unlike their male counterparts, most are single parents struggling to make ends meet. They are often arrested, in words of the Vera Institute, “as a result of efforts to cope with life challenges such as poverty, unemployment, and significant physical or behavioral health struggles, including those related to past histories of trauma, mental illness, or substance use.” As the Guardian has recently reported, “in addition to often entering jail in more perilous situations than men, women also tend to leave more damaged as well… even though women are much less likely than men to be in jail for the commission of a violent or otherwise serious crime.” For more: Ms. Magazine
Obama’s women staffers share ways they made themselves heard: At the beginning of President Obama’s first term in 2009, about two-thirds of his top staffers were men, and women staffers often felt their voices were being ignored or excluded. “It’s not pleasant to have to appeal to a man to say, ‘Include me in that meeting,’” said national security adviser Susan Rice. Eventually, to make sure their voices were being heard, female staffers came up with a strategy called “amplification.” The method worked like this: Once a woman in the room made a key point other women would repeat it, giving credit to its author. This forced the men in the room to recognize the contribution — and denied them the chance to claim the idea as their own. Amplification eventually became a common practice, a former Obama aide said, and the president took note and started including more female and younger aides. Things have improved vastly for women in Obama’s second term: there is now an equal split of men and women among his top aides, and half of all White House departments are headed by women. For more: Washington Post
Ships with all-women crews attempt to break Gaza blockade: Two boats packed with female activists, politicians, and artists from around the world have set sail for the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to break a nearly decade-long Israeli blockade. The Gaza strip has been blockaded by Israel since Hamas took over the territory in 2007 — the area has a population of 1.76 million, 1.24 million of them Palestinian refugees. “For us, as the women of the world, this fight is also important,” said Jaldia Abubakra, an Israeli-born activist who is helping crew the vessels. “It is important to show our rights … to prove that we are able to send ships to the Gaza Strip, to show that we stand in solidarity with women and people in the area.” For more: RT
Third-party candidates fall short of presidential debate threshold: Libertarian Gary Johnson and Jill Stein of the Green Party did not make the cut to participate in presidential debates, according to an announcement by the Commission on Presidential Debates. To qualify for the stage, a candidate needs to be polling at 15 percent or higher in an average of five major national polls and qualify for the ballot in enough states to have a mathematical chance to win the presidency. The first of three presidential debates is Sept. 26 at Hofstra University in New York. For more: NPR
Feminists of the Week: Self-taught artist Naomi Moyer, herself a black woman living in Canada, was disturbed by the lack of awareness surrounding feminist figures that Moyer could identify with and look up to. The print series “Black Women in Canada” integrates Moyer’s research with graphic visuals that bring the under-acknowledged heroines to life. “I wanted folks to know that these women were brave and defiant,” Moyer said. “These women were feminists who did lots of radical acts to serve black communities in Canada when the government failed to do so. I wanted to turn the few sentences that were written about these women from history books and online into a huge, colorful punch in the face.” For more: Huffington Post