Thursday, March 25, 2010

Technology Heroine: Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace has emerged as the most popular role model in a day dedicated to celebrating women working in the fields of science and technology.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Hissa Hilal

Female Saudi Poet, Known for Controversial Verses, Reaches Game Show Final - The Lede Blog -

I have seen evil from the eyes of the subversive fatwas in a time when what is lawful is confused with what is not lawful;
When I unveil the truth, a monster appears from his hiding place; barbaric in thinking and action, angry and blind; wearing death as a dress and covering it with a belt [referring to suicide bombing];
He speaks from an official, powerful platform, terrorizing people and preying on everyone seeking peace; the voice of courage ran away and the truth is cornered and silent, when self-interest prevented one from speaking the truth.
                                                                                             - Hissa Hilal

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist - Driving Miss Saudi -

Op-Ed Columnist - Driving Miss Saudi -

Here's an excerpt from Maureen Dowd's Sunday column:
An American Muslim working here says there are hard adjustments, like hearing men use the occasional epithet “Dog” to address her, and not being able to leave the airport coming home from a business trip because she has no husband or male relative to pick her up.
She had to secure a letter from her employer stating that she could leave the airport on her own. When she wanted to buy a car, she had to use the subterfuge of having a male friend buy it for her, and even then, she can’t drive it except in one of the exclusive compounds with looser rules.
A recent article in The Arab News headlined “Working Mothers in a Double Bind” showed the growing pains of Saudi suffragettes. It told of a woman who secretly hired a cook to deliver meals and assuage her husband’s demand for home-cooked dinners. When her husband caught her, he divorced her — and Saudi divorces are easy as long as you’re male.
“He forgot his promises and left me just because of food,” said the woman, Huda.
...Americans are sometimes shocked to see Saudi women and realize “we’re not cowering, we’re actually quite professional. Are there issues here? Absolutely. There isn’t a place in the world that doesn’t have issues.
“I’d like to live in a Saudi where the woman that chooses to cover from top-to-bottom is equally as respected as the woman who chooses not to cover her face, and people from the West can accept that it is a lifestyle choice, inasmuch as wearing a miniskirt or a long, flowing dress is a choice. I find a lot of people minimize the women’s cause in Saudi by how we dress, and that is actually offensive.”

Friday, March 12, 2010

First Lady marks International Women’s Day with Hillary ‘President’ joke - Yahoo! News

First Lady marks International Women’s Day with Hillary ‘President’ joke - Yahoo! News


In a fitting show of solidarity for International Women's Day, First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made light of the brutal 2008 battle Clinton conducted to defeat Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. As Michelle Obama launched a State Department commemoration of International Women's Day, she briefly stumbled over Clinton's job title. "Let me thank my dear friend, Senator - Secretary Clinton. I almost said, 'President Clinton,' " said the first lady to laughter and applause. "But let me thank you for that kind introduction, and most of all thank you for your friendship, thank you for your support, and thank you for your indispensable advice in getting me through this first year and helping me figure out how to get my family settled in our new life in D.C."

The exchange stood as another rebuke to a favored theme of the Beltway pundit set: that tensions between the Obamas and the Secretary of State still run high. More than that, though, the series of events that the first lady presided over drew wider attention to the stubborn lags in gender equality beyond the developed Western world. Both women stressed this issue in their respective speeches. As Secretary Clinton put it, the world "can't solve problems of financial crisis, climate change, disease and poverty if half of the population is left behind."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Kathryn Bigelow - How Oscar Found Ms. Right -

Kathryn Bigelow - How Oscar Found Ms. Right -

KATHRYN BIGELOW’S two-fisted win at the Academy Awards for best director and best film for “The Hurt Locker” didn’t just punch through the American movie industry’s seemingly shatterproof glass ceiling; it has also helped dismantle stereotypes about what types of films women can and should direct. It was historic, exhilarating, especially for women who make movies and women who watch movies, two groups that have been routinely ignored and underserved by an industry in which most films star men and are made for and by men. It’s too early to know if this moment will be transformative — but damn, it feels so good

Monday, March 08, 2010

Let's hear it for the Land Down Under

The World’s Best Countries for Women - Economix Blog -

The G.D.I. takes both absolute and relative levels of these factors into account, penalizing countries with a high disparity between men’s and women’s achievements. In 2007, the latest year for which data are currently available, the United States ranked 13th on the Human Development Index and 19th on the Gender-Related Development Index. Norway took first place on the H.D.I., but only second on the G.D.I. (Australia took the gold in G.D.I. rankings.)

BBC News - Profile: Kathryn Bigelow

BBC News - Profile: Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow has become the first woman in the history of the Academy Awards to win the best director trophy, as her tension-filled Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker collected six prizes.

Three Proven Steps to Advance the World’s Women, on International Women’s Day - Nicholas D. Kristof Blog -

Three Proven Steps to Advance the World’s Women, on International Women’s Day - Nicholas D. Kristof Blog -

Why I (still) don't celebrate Women's Day

Women are not from Venus, we are from planet Earth. We represent 50% (or more) of the human race and according to the ancient Chinese proverb, we hold up half the sky. So why do we get just one day of the year?

Here's an entry I wrote in another post, on another Women's Day. It's still valid:

As you celebrate (if you do), remember the female foeticide and infanticide that still goes on in India and China, among other places. Remember the sex slaves in streets and brothels around the world. Remember the victims of female circumcision (RIP Katoucha Niane). Remember the victims of honour killings. Remember the girls being forced into marriage and women in traditional communities who are dying of AIDS, infected by their husbands. I could go on, but I'm getting a bit depressed, and more than a bit enraged. So please, don't wish me Happy Women's Day (again) this year.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Letting Women Reach Women in Afghan War -

Letting Women Reach Women in Afghan War -


Whatever the outcome, the teams reflect how much the military has adapted over nine years of war, not only in the way it fights but to the shifting gender roles within its ranks. Women make up only 6 percent of the Marine Corps, which cultivates an image as the most testosterone-fueled service, and they are still officially barred from combat branches like the infantry.

But in a bureaucratic sleight of hand, used by both the Army and Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan when women have been needed for critical jobs like bomb disposal or intelligence, the female engagement teams are to be “attached” to all-male infantry units within the First Marine Expeditionary Force — a source of pride and excitement for them.

“When I heard about this, I said, Oh, that’s it, let’s go,” said Cpl. Vanessa Jones, 25.

The idea for the teams grew out of the “Lioness” program in Iraq, which used female Marines to search Iraqi women at checkpoints. Over the past year in Afghanistan, the Army and Marines have assembled ad hoc female engagement teams, but the women were hastily pulled from work as cooks or engineers.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist - Divorced Before Puberty -

Op-Ed Columnist - Divorced Before Puberty -
Nujood is a Yemeni girl, and it’s no coincidence that Yemen abounds both in child brides and in terrorists (and now, thanks to Nujood, children who have been divorced). Societies that repress women tend to be prone to violence.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Op-Ed Columnist - Loosey-Goosey Saudi -

Op-Ed Columnist - Loosey-Goosey Saudi -
Maureen Dowd

Young Saudi women whom I interviewed said that the popular king has relaxed the grip of the bullying mutawa, the bearded religious police officers who patrol the streets ready to throw you in the clink at the first sign of fun or skin. Their low point came in 2002 when they notoriously stopped teenage girls without head scarves from fleeing a fire at a school in Mecca; 15 girls died. Two years ago, they arrested an American woman living here while she was sitting in a Starbucks with her male business partner, even though she was in a curtained booth in the “family” section designated for men and women.
“It is not allowed for any woman to travel alone and sit with a strange man and talk and laugh and drink coffee together like they are married,” the religious police said.