Feminist Weekly Update: January 26, 2016

Feminist Update
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.
WGF Updates:

In service of the Women and Girls Foundation’s (WGF) mission to develop women leaders, and timed to coincide with Women’s History Month in March, the Crossroads Conference focuses on connecting women to one another and to the community resources which can help further their professional careers and strengthen their personal lives. For more information and registration, visit cvent.com

In the News:
Texas grand jury indicts abortion foes behind Planned Parenthood videos: A grand jury in Houston that was investigating accusations of misconduct against Planned Parenthood has instead indicted two abortion opponents who made undercover videos of the organization. Abortion opponents claimed that the videos, which were released starting in July, revealed that Planned Parenthood was engaged in the illegal sale of body parts — a charge that the organization has denied and that has not been supported in numerous congressional and state investigations triggered by the release of the videos. The Harris County District Attorney, Devon Anderson, said: “…we must go where the evidence leads us. All the evidence uncovered in the course of this investigation was presented to the grand jury. I respect their decision on this difficult case.” For more: New York Times
Two former South Korean “comfort women” reject apology from Japan: Lee Ok-sun, 88, and Kang Il-chul, 87, two women who were forced to work as sex slaves for the Japanese military during World War II, have rejected the recent agreement between Japan and South Korea on the “comfort women” issue. Lee and Kang said during a visit to Tokyo this week that they had not been consulted, and called on the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to offer a face-to-face apology and provide official compensation. “This deal has made us look like fools,” Kang told reporters. For more: The Guardian
(Coulees Crew/Facebook)First all-female rowing crew crosses South Pacific Ocean:
A British six-person team of rowers made history by becoming the first all-female rowing crew (and the first to row four at a time) to cross the Pacific Ocean. The “Coxless Crew” made up of six women between the ages of 25 and 40 left San Francisco in April 2015 and arrived in Cairns, Australia after 257 grueling days and 9,600 miles of rowing. The six women rowed 24 hours straight in two-hour shifts, only stopping on land to restock twice for up to a week, in Hawaii and Samoa. For more: New York Times
Dallas literacy campaign aims to get mothers to read to newborns: A new initiative underway at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital is giving away free bilingual books to moms who’ve just given birth. The books are filled with rhymes in English and Spanish and English and Vietnamese, as well as colorful illustrations of parents with their children. Trish Holland, a Dallas children’s author, got the idea after hearing a news report about a study on the literacy gap between Latino and white children. She reached out to organizations to collect $35,000 for the initiative. The plan is to give away as many as 14,000 books this year. For more: Kera News
10 male CEOs promise to publish data on gender ratios for hiring: The chief executives of 10 major global companies – all of them men – have joined together with the United Nations Women’s movement HeForShe to become more transparent about the numbers of women in executive positions, they announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos. These CEOs promised to make public the number of female employees, the gender ratio of new hires, the number of women in senior management, and the number of women on their boards. For more: New York Times
Afghan women fight for greater participation in peace process: Afghan women march during a protest in Kabul in 2013. SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)Many women in Afghanistan are clamoring for more rights and greater voice in peace talks as the country emerges from 15 years of brutal war and continuing Taliban repression. Though women took part in some unofficial peace talks last May with Taliban representatives, they remain largely excluded from the peace process. Suhaila Sahar, the director for a national network of vocational training centers for women, told The Associated Press, “Afghan women do not want a peace that again restricts women’s access to school or work outside the home,” as was the case throughout the nation under years of Taliban rule prior to September 11, 2001. “Women are half the population of the country and must not be ignored.” For more: New York Times
Election Updates: 
Controversial political figures endorse Trump: Politicians, academics, economists, and others in the public spotlight have begun to cast their endorsements for 2016 presidential candidates, and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump is receiving his fair share of support. This week, prominent unauthorized-immigration foe Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin officially endorsed Trump. The announcement was one of Palin’s first major public appearances since the McCain-Palin ticket fell short of securing the White House in 2008. For more: Politico, Washington Post
Clinton, Sanders delve deeper into the issues at Iowa town hall: At last week’s town hall in Iowa, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders defended his belief in democratic socialism and admitted his health plan would involve raising taxes. Hillary Clinton touted her experience and rebutted allegations of dishonesty. Martin O’Malley expressed optimism in his chances despite his poor poll numbers. Recent polls show Clinton in the lead with 52% support from likely voters, Sanders with 36%, and O’Malley with 3%. Clinton’s lead is narrower in Iowa, and trails significantly behind Sanders in New Hampshire. For more: NPR, Politico
Feminist of the Week: 
Canadian poet Jillian Christmas recently performed a stirring slam at the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWPS), calling out white feminists on issues of cultural appropriation and exclusivity in the feminist movement. The transcript of the poem includes: “They said I could be a feminist as long as I don’t talk about this black girl body. About that cold red body of water. About an inheritance so great that no one body could apologize it away. As long as I don’t remind anyone where so many of the ideas for this movement came from anyway.” To watch the full performance: Huffington Post