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Yelenia

Red Ajah IWW - Facts!

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The goal of this thread is to inform and start a dialogue about the happy and not so happy facts surrounding gender equality. Where applicable, I'll let you know the sources for facts, and I appreciate you do the same as you comment, leave commentary, or supply additional/refuting facts. let's try to keep it civil and respectful. Each topic will run for about 2-3 days, depending on how the discussion is going. If it's not, I'll move on, if it's hot n'heavy, I'll get it go for a bit longer!

 

 

_______

 

First up, a fun fact! Did you know the United Nations has gender equality training online? Topics include a flash video on gender equality training, quizzes about gender and bringing awareness about violence against women, even articles on best practices for businesses on gender equality.

 

What do you think about this sort of resource? Do you find that it's helpful, would be helpful if used, or only helpful to those who can access it or those who already understand the issues?

Edited by Yelenia

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That's a good question. I didn't know there was such a thing, so that's good to know. It's certainly a helpful tool, to be sure and so long as it's not the only one being done to educate people it's a very good one. You brought up an interesting and quite valid point though, not all women will have access to a computer and depending what languages the site is offered in, some that do have access to a computer and internet may not be able to if they don't know the language used.

 

But it's definately a very good idea in the package of tools to help educate the general population.

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Actually, i would word it that more women than not do not have access to computers, and have even less opportunity to use it. I am using my experience from the time that I lived in Chile. The women there mostly do not know how to use a computer, if anything, they can us a computer, usually it is to e-mail with loved ones that have gone to the US to work, or another country, but that is it. Of the raising generation, the young women have about a 30-45% chance of knowing how to use a computer, but if they will take the time to pay almost a meal for two hours to use a computer at a cyber cafe or not is another matter. When I was there, I had to be particularly careful to select only the best of the best cafes, because most of the others had computers that were very antiquated, and so loaded from spam and crap from people viewing unsavory content from shady websites.

 

I imagine that if you go to the middle east (Egypt, Syria, etc) the opportunities for women decrease dramatically, although I do not have any way to make an estimation.

 

I was not aware that that resource was there, but it seems like a very nice supplemental resource.

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Yea, it very much struck me as a nice resource that...likely might not get to those who need it most. But, with the UN, they're likely thinking top-down, so they'd focus on the people in government positions, and then try to trickle down from there. I do wonder how you could supplement a program like this to reach those who don't have computers and internet readily accessible. By their own reports, much of the problem lies in areas where technology isn't as advanced.

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In order for women to be able to make use of that video, or anything else on the internet, for that matter, first they have to become literate. You will be horrified if you see how many women in Africa can't even read or write. Reki, wasn't it you who posted that thread about educating women?

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Yes, yes it was! :) I believe i posted it in the Red Ajah some time ago... or perhaps on the main WT hall, didn't get as many views as I thought it would though... oh well, on to bigger and better!

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I'd love to find that thread and link it here!

 

A not-so happy fact: Here's a table.of world literacy rates taken from the CIA world fact book, and this link gives a bit more detail on the definitions used.

 

World

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 83.7%

male: 88.3%

female: 79.2%

note: over two-thirds of the world's 793 million illiterate adults are found in only eight countries (Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Pakistan); of all the illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds are women; extremely low literacy rates are concentrated in three regions, the Arab states, South and West Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa, where around one-third of the men and half of all women are illiterate (2005-09 est.)

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Yeah it really is unbelievable how many kids can't read. What really galls me in regard to that even where there are schools, the teachers assume that their students are worth nothing and they don't give a damn about teaching. And our education system, the general one that all kids write to graduate keeps being dumbed down, so we can have an okay pass rate, since the kids from the previously mentioned schools have no hope in hell of managing with the work. You need 30% to pass a subject. ONLY 30. So many kids, apply for UNIVERSITY, get in and then when they arrive, they are barely literate. I dunno :sad: It's something close to my heart, cause they should all have the chances that I had. They should be allowed to feel the independence of being able to read and explore everything you can find out there.

 

So many problems could be solved if people had the knowledge :sad:

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Sadly, the education system in the States is only getting worse. A local secondary school no longer can give students deadlines for their work...they are to receive full credit when they turn it in regardless of if it was "due" that day or a month prior. I'd like to go to a university with those kind of standards. :sarcasm:

 

My sister teaches reading to 11-year-olds... it's amazing how many don't know how to read or comprehend what they are reading. From what I've heard from her, a huge problem is that parents no longer bother taking the time to read or teach their kids how to read before they get to school. Then those people grow up and become parents themselves (scary, I know) and then the cycle repeats, only worse.

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We all keep "dumbing down". Why is the whole world lowering itself to the lowest standard, instead of trying to raise standards?

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Because they have begun to equate a single failed grade as an indication of what the student will do for the rest of his life... terrible thought process, but there you have it!

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Yes, but WHY? Who came up with this crap, and what idiots put them in charge?

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We all keep "dumbing down". Why is the whole world lowering itself to the lowest standard, instead of trying to raise standards?

 

My teori is.. the amount of "well educated" people needed are reduced because of technology. Only need a relativly small amount of well educated people to "make" things that removes the knowledge requirement for other "lesser" jobs. Before, education was more "well-rounded", now it's more specific.

 

I'm to tired to explain my teori anymore.. Probably shouldn't have posted at all -.- but I wanted to *sigh*

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Arez, we welcome any and all posts and theories - don't feel like you shouldn't have posted!

 

I certainly feel the crunch of education - on one hand, you don't qualify for even basic entry jobs these days without a degree. But I know those with degrees who are stuck with traditionally non-educated jobs because of the market. (I have a friend with a law degree who worked at an electronics retail store and as a pizza delivery guy).

 

 

The conspiracy theorist in me wonders if the standards keep getting lower sow that governments (nationally, internationally) can boast about improvements in struggling areas.

 

--

 

I hate to depart from this discussion, so please feel free to continue it! But I wanted to introduce another not-so happy fact.

 

Last month I was in a production of the Vagina Monologues, and it was actually the inspiration for this thread. In the performance there are two short pieces "Happy Fact" and "Not-so Happy Fact". Both were about the clitoris. below is the text from the Not-so Happy Fact.

 

 

This is a not-so-happy fact found in UNICEF’s 2005 Report, “Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting. A Statistical Exploration.

Female genital mutilation has been inflicted on approximately 130 million girls and young women. In the 28 countries where it is practiced, mostly in Africa, about three million young girls a year can expect the knife — or the razor or a glass shard — to cut their clitoris or remove it altogether.

 

In a man it would range from amputation of most of the penis, to removal of all of the penis. Short-term results include: tetanus, hemorrhages, cuts in the urethra, bladder and vaginal walls. Long term: chronic uterine infection, increased agony and danger during child births, and early deaths.

 

While this source is dated, UNICEF has several articles regarding the status of female genital mutilation, including the status in Sudan, Senegal, and other countries. As mentioned in the Senegal article, 10 United Nations agencies have set a goal to end the practice by 2015.

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that is just sick... any person caught inflicting that on ANYONE should be dragged into the parking lot, and shot... starting with the fingers and the toes... Sorry, they are not even human if they feel that that is an ok practice.

 

What is it supposed to achieve or do?? :horrifiedExpression:

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Re: female genital mutilation. Source: World Health Organization

 

Cultural, religious and social causes

 

The causes of female genital mutilation include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities.

 

  • Where FGM is a social convention, the social pressure to conform to what others do and have been doing is a strong motivation to perpetuate the practice.
  • FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
  • FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is in many communities believed to reduce a woman's libido and therefore believed to help her resist "illicit" sexual acts. When a vaginal opening is covered or narrowed (type 3 above), the fear of the pain of opening it, and the fear that this will be found out, is expected to further discourage "illicit" sexual intercourse among women with this type of FGM.
  • FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are “clean” and "beautiful" after removal of body parts that are considered "male" or "unclean".
  • Though no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
  • Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM: some promote it, some consider it irrelevant to religion, and others contribute to its elimination.
  • Local structures of power and authority, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcisers, and even some medical personnel can contribute to upholding the practice.
  • In most societies, FGM is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation.
  • In some societies, recent adoption of the practice is linked to copying the traditions of neighbouring groups. Sometimes it has started as part of a wider religious or traditional revival movement.
  • In some societies, FGM is practised by new groups when they move into areas where the local population practice FGM.

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Finally able to pitch in here.

 

On the dumbing down of education what strikes me is that it seems to be a global tendency. Working at a university and being involved of the insider process of the system, I am regularly appalled at the lack of common sense being used to make policies. More and more over the last years, the focus has shifted from quality to quantity. And that is being forced down from the government on to the teachers. Teachers are being 'graded' not on the quality of their lessons but on the 'amount' of passing grades they deliver. Whether that is in highschool, university, PhD level or anything else. The number of passing students is being used as an indicator to assess a teacher's success. Nevermind the quality of that teacher's course. And it's seeping in through all kinds of directions. Students today are free to make up their own curriculum. Much like going shopping in a shopping mall. A little of this and a little of that and oh, that looks cool let's take that too, but nah, don't want that. I'm not saying we should stick to the rigid system of the past, but for the Light's sake..... does it have to go from one extreme to the other? Ever heard of the middle ground, folks?

 

Arez, as Yele said and quite rightfully so, you never need to think you shouldn't post in one of our threads. You're very welcome to voice your opinion on any matter you feel like sharing with us. We may not always agree, but we will respect your opinion. And what you said made sense to me.

 

 

The topic of genital mutilations is one that simply pisses me off. How anyone could even think that that is ok in any shape or form is beyond me. And I've seen programs on nature channels (like National Geographic) about this where the women themselves are the ones forcing their daughters and nieces through this process because they've been brainwashed by their mothers, who were brainwashed by theirs and so on. Somehow these women have come to actually believe that if their daughter doesn't do it she'll be less worthy. Much like the extremist Muslim women put their daughters through hell and much like Catholic women did to their daughters during the Dark Ages. That's what pisses me off the most. That the women themselves keep these systems alive, while they KNOW how unbelievably horrible it is. I know I should be more understanding and forgiving and I try to be. But by the Light, it is hard.

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Re: female genital mutilation. Source: World Health Organization

 

Cultural, religious and social causes

 

The causes of female genital mutilation include a mix of cultural, religious and social factors within families and communities.

 

  • Where FGM is a social convention, the social pressure to conform to what others do and have been doing is a strong motivation to perpetuate the practice.
  • FGM is often considered a necessary part of raising a girl properly, and a way to prepare her for adulthood and marriage.
  • FGM is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, linking procedures to premarital virginity and marital fidelity. FGM is in many communities believed to reduce a woman's libido and therefore believed to help her resist "illicit" sexual acts. When a vaginal opening is covered or narrowed (type 3 above), the fear of the pain of opening it, and the fear that this will be found out, is expected to further discourage "illicit" sexual intercourse among women with this type of FGM.
  • FGM is associated with cultural ideals of femininity and modesty, which include the notion that girls are “clean” and "beautiful" after removal of body parts that are considered "male" or "unclean".
  • Though no religious scripts prescribe the practice, practitioners often believe the practice has religious support.
  • Religious leaders take varying positions with regard to FGM: some promote it, some consider it irrelevant to religion, and others contribute to its elimination.
  • Local structures of power and authority, such as community leaders, religious leaders, circumcisers, and even some medical personnel can contribute to upholding the practice.
  • In most societies, FGM is considered a cultural tradition, which is often used as an argument for its continuation.
  • In some societies, recent adoption of the practice is linked to copying the traditions of neighbouring groups. Sometimes it has started as part of a wider religious or traditional revival movement.
  • In some societies, FGM is practised by new groups when they move into areas where the local population practice FGM.

 

 

The topic of genital mutilations is one that simply pisses me off. How anyone could even think that that is ok in any shape or form is beyond me. And I've seen programs on nature channels (like National Geographic) about this where the women themselves are the ones forcing their daughters and nieces through this process because they've been brainwashed by their mothers, who were brainwashed by theirs and so on. Somehow these women have come to actually believe that if their daughter doesn't do it she'll be less worthy. Much like the extremist Muslim women put their daughters through hell and much like Catholic women did to their daughters during the Dark Ages. That's what pisses me off the most. That the women themselves keep these systems alive, while they KNOW how unbelievably horrible it is. I know I should be more understanding and forgiving and I try to be. But by the Light, it is hard.

 

I actually pity these women. Why? Because they are ignorant and uneducated. And, because, like many women around the world, they are dependent on the men in their lives to make significant decisions in their lives.

 

Let's remember as well, that it was only a small number of women who challenged the status quo in Europe and North America until 100 or so years ago when the women's movement gained significant momentum. These women are probably afraid of the consequences of standing up for their beliefs and brainwashed into believing that what they do is in the best interests of their daughters and family members. Look at Chinese Foot Binding- it was only abolished as a practice about 100 years ago and it left women crippled for life. But the cosmetic result was highly prized.

 

I think Female Genital Mutilation is a barbaric and cruel practice. But the only way of improving this situation is not through condemnation, but through education. Educating people about the number of medical risks associated with this practice and teaching them that it is something that is not necessary.

 

I wouldn't be surprised to find that among educated African women, the practice is significantly reduced (though I can state no figurs on that). It just makes me sad that one thing- education- would improve the quality of life for women around the world in so many ways. Not just in reducing FGM, but in reducing pregnancies, diseases, STIs, giving them some indepence and a chance for employment, ending their dependency on their husbands and fathers... I think education is where the real battle lies for women in the third world.

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You're right, you're right, you're absolutely right. I know it and I try to keep my anger focussed where it needs to go. But by god, when I see those images on tv my blood boils.

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I agree with Myst on this. Genital mutilation isn't something that happens this far south in Africa, but women are still treated as inferior and abused here. What angers me is that it's just so casual, and accepted by the general populace.

 

As others have said, the key is education. First, teach these women to read and write.

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As others have said, the key is education. First, teach these women to read and write.

 

Trying to educate women when their culture and society discourages them from doing so is a battle that can't be won.

 

I think the key, as important if not more so than education is combating poverty and improving quality of life. A starving person can't see beyond their next meal. It's pretty tough to tell a mother to leave her job to come attend classes when she can't feed her children or can't afford medical care for an easily treatable condition.

 

 

"There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance."

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I think that is a bit of a catch 22 though... I think to improve quality of live more people need to be educated so they can get better jobs, earn more money but like you said Reyoru they can't leave any job they do have to get educated because then they wouldn't be able to feed their family. It's a vicious circle.

 

I can't really understand FGM and the reasons they say they do it... I just think that women were made in a certain way and so were men, I know that propably seems like quite a naive thing to say but I just think it's ridiculous!

 

This isn't really related to either subject but Myst mentioned Catholics and I thought I would add this. There is a film called the Magdelene Sisters which is based on a true story and is something that happened a lot in Ireland, basically girls and women were sent to these Magdalene Laundries because they had 'sinned' this could mean anything from being raped to giving birth out of wedlock but anyway, here is a link because it explains better than I can http://www.netreach.net/~steed/magdalen.html

 

Hope you don't mind, it seemed relevant.

Edited by Crystal Tipps

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