International Women’s Day: Investing in Women and Girls

Last Friday one of my students presented me with a potted mini rose bush.  I assumed it was a gesture related to my recent miscarriage, but actually it was a gift in celebration of International Women’s Day (3/8/08).  International Women’s Day?  I had never heard of such a thing, but in my student’s home country, it is customary to present women with flowers on IWD.  I was glad she chose a potted flower!

My last post listed the top 10 countries for being a woman according to the UN Development Programme.  The US (12) did not make the list, but neither did the UK (16), Mexico (52), my student’s Ukraine (76), or Germany (22). [1]  In the course of looking up the data I found Kemal Dervis’s statement for International Women’s Day.  The theme is “Investing in Women and Girls.”  Dervis states that this theme “is about changing the systems and attitudes that discriminate against women and prevent them from fully participating in and benefiting from the economies and societies in which they live.”  How do we plan to honor this goal in the US?  How can we tackle important women’s issues in our communities?  How will we positively influence local, statewide, and national political trends to discuss and improve the lives of women and girls in the US?

Are you “unseen” in your community or recognize women at risk in your community?  Do something proactive!  Whether it’s starting a support group, mentoring teen moms, taking a meal to a family or friend in need, picketing City Hall, raising legislative awareness, or even simply smiling at a woman or girl who looks like she needs it, you can make a difference. 

[1] UN Development Programme, Human Development Report 2007/2008, GDI Rank

Where it’s good to be a WOMAN

BEST COUNTRIES TO BE A WOMAN

Measures of well-being include life expectancy, education, purchasing power and standard of living. Not surprisingly, the top 10 countries are among the world’s wealthiest.

1. Iceland
2. Norway
3. Australia
4. Canada
5. Ireland
6. Sweden
7. Switzerland
8. Japan
9. Netherlands
10. France

SOURCE: UNDP Gender-related development index

Hmm . . . it seems like there’s a country missing off of that list.  Wait . . . oh yeah, it’s the good old U.S. of A.  Ask your congressional leaders what they are doing to improve well-being for women in the US.

I digress but

It looks like Clinton did NOT . . . I repeat . . . did NOT win Texas.  However, now she’s threatening legal action?  Really?  I’m not sure why . . . the process is going how it has always gone in Texas as far as I can tell.  Don’t miss the comments – some of them are quite funny and others are spot on (at least from my Obama-lovin’ perspective).

GenXforObama

So now that she didn’t win Texas isn’t she supposed to drop out of the race?

I don’t understand

I don’t understand why people who would kill or abuse children are able to get pregnant and maintain their pregnancies and so many wonderful people are infertile.  You hear stories of babies found dead in dumpsters or sexually abused or beaten or abandoned, and these stories hit me so hard these days.  It’s so unfair!!!

I saw something horrible on CNN this evening and found it again through digg.com.  A woman was caught on tape POWER WASHING HER 2 YEAR OLD CHILD at a car wash.  Thankfully the baby wasn’t physically damaged, but I can only imagine what this toddler has endured at home and how emotionally damaged the child is.  It just breaks my heart.

ORLive Sensationalizes and Marginalizes Childbirth

This really creeps me out!  I’ve known for a while that OR Live will feature a planned cesarean birth at the Shawnee Medical Center.  Is this an attempt to further normalize cesarean birth?  Is it a response to America’s voyeuristic preoccupation with “reality” shows?  Is this yet another way to marginalize and trivialize natural childbirth?

The press release points out that “[a]ccording to the Centers for Disease Control, every year more than 1 million women in the United States deliver by Cesarean Section, commonly known as a C- section.”  (See it’s ok.  It’s normal.  It’s safe because mom and baby are in a hospital.)  It’s like watching Little Red Riding Hood.  You don’t know if it’s the version where little red gets away or the one where the wolf eats her.  This is an apt means for normalizing technologically-manipulated childbirth.

Notice the technorati tags at the bottom of the page: OR-Live   surgical video   medical video   C-Section   Cesarean Section   fetal distress   breech position   
There is nothing here that indicates a medical need for a cesarean.  Fetal distress (a subjective and often misleading diagnosis) cannot be predicted far in advance.  Breech position would not have been determined at the time I first heard about this event.  So how did this mother and baby get selected for major abdominal surgery, I wonder?  The press release states that cesareans are reserved for babies that cannot be born vaginally.  The title claims that cesareans are performed during “complicated” or “high-risk” deliveries.  How has that been determined in this case?

Or is it that some lucky gal and her innocent child will be selected sometime during this week preceding or on the day of the big show for a 7:00 pm cesarean?

Ugh, if this don’t make yer skin crawl . . .

Avoiding Tomorrow

It’s 11:10pm and I’m still awake.  Ludicrous – I suffered a miscarriage and endured surgery a mere day-and-a-half ago, and I know my body and mind need rest.  After hours of surfing the internet and spending time on fringe subjects, it dawned on me – I’m avoiding tomorrow.

I am avoiding tomorrow because I need to get back to work.  Life needs to go on.  I can’t stay in bed forever.  I can’t continue doping up on hydrocodone, anti-anxiety meds, and wine.  I can’t keep avoiding family responsibilities.  I can’t refuse phone calls forever.  So, I’m still awake spending time on insignificant things (like this post) because as soon as I shut my eyes, I’ll have to face tomorrow.

My “work” today has been interesting.  I watched a Bill Moyer lecture captured on video a few weeks before his death.  I learned about “cultural creatives” and decided that Obama must be one.  (What really helped me put this together was a recent Hillary Clinton rant which I can no longer find but had something to do with his supposed pie-in-the-sky rhetoric.)  I tried – and failed – to find a good diagram of Toffler’s * wave theory to share on an on-line forum and came across a thought-provoking futurist post about something called “future shock.”  I surfed digg.com, compared it to reddit.com, and decided that I prefer digg.  I thought about how I can incorporate social activism discourse into the philosophy of music education course I’ll teach on-line next spring.  I started watching an interview with Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth (which I haven’t read) and The End of America (which I am now interested in reading).

And now it is 11:40pm and I must face going to sleep.  My DH is still upstairs playing World of Warcraft.  That’s how he escapes the horrid reality of our current situation.  And I go to bed again alone . . .

* Evidently the neutrality of this wikipedia entry is disputed to which I respond, “when is communication ever truly ‘neutral’?”