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WMC News: 9/11, UN General Assembly, Stanford, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, & more!

September 14, 2016

Is the US Doing Enough to Push for a Female Leader of the UN?

By Shazia Z. Rafi | September 12, 2016

Susana Malcorra, Argentina's foreign minister, is one of several female candidates for UN secretary-general. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas. As the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) opens this week, the world has a chance to truly accelerate the Women, Peace and Security agenda by urging the heads of government of countries on the UN Security Council to elect a woman as the ninth UN secretary-general. President Obama, who will be addressing the UNGA, is in a position to take the lead.

Gender bias in the UN system runs deep, in both its affiliated bodies and its principal organs, including the UN Security Council (UNSC) itself. This fact was on full display in the four UNSC straw polls of secretary-general candidates this summer. Despite an array of equally qualified women, the straw polls tapped mostly men; women were unable to get beyond third place.

The average net score for men in four rounds of straw polls was 19.5; the average net score for women was -7.8. The top three positions among men have been held by Antonio Guterres, former head of the UN High Commission for Refugees and former prime minister of Portugal; Vuk Jeremic of Serbia and Miroslav Lajcak of Slovakia; and Danilo Turk of Slovenia. The Security Council will continue the balloting every few weeks until consensus emerges on a candidate.

The top three women—polling far behind the men—are Irina Bokova of Bulgaria; Susana Malcorra, foreign minister of Argentina; and Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand. Given the equivalence in numbers, qualifications, and experience, the only explanation for this voting pattern is open discrimination by members of the UNSC.More>>

Image description: Susana Malcorra, Argentina's foreign minister, is one of several female candidates for UN secretary-general. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas.


Fifteen Years After 9/11, US Muslims Still Living With Aftereffects

By Dilshad D. Ali | September 10, 2016


My kids came home from school yesterday, two on the bus and one I picked up—grades third, eighth, and tenth. As we went through our usual rundown of “how was school?” my daughter (she’s in eighth) announced excitedly to me that in her International Studies and World History classes, there will be a unit on Islam.

“How do you feel about that?” I asked her.

“I think it’ll be cool. At least we’ll have an entire unit devoted to it where we can discuss things instead of everyone in the class looking at me anytime CNN Student News shows something bad about Muslims.”

“Do your classmates ever bully you or pick on you because you’re Muslim?” (This is not the first time, nor will it be the last time I’ve asked her this question. Last year, when her social studies teacher had the students watch the presidential debates, I worried what the impact of now-Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric would have on her in classroom discussions.)

“Noooo … not really. Sometimes kids say things in the hall or behind my back, but nothing I can’t handle,” she says.

I’m wary of her answer. Part of me wants to believe, and part of me is cognizant of the fact that she is 13 and not likely to tell me much. I’ve heard, read, and reported on too many stories of American Muslim kids being targeted or bullied for their faith to not be vigilant. More>>

Image description: Hands holding up sign that reads "Hope".


Anita Sarkeesian On Why She’s Spotlighting “Ordinary Women”

Credit: Anita Sarkeesian.By Julie Z | September 14, 2016

From her popular video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games to her work regarding online harassment, Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian has unfailingly committed to critiquing and analyzing sexism in popular culture. Now she’s continuing this impressive legacy with a new series: Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History — the first episode of which is now live.

Each video in the five-episode series will feature original animation and focus on the life and work of a different woman in history who challenged the status quo and did incredible things, even if history wasn’t ready to acknowledge it: Murasaki Shikibu, the author of the first modern novel; Emma Goldman, a political revolutionary; Ching Shih, a pirate captain; Ada Lovelace, the creator of the first computer program; and Ida B. Wells, a journalist and civil rights activist. The uncompromising lives and accomplishments of the five women in this series are a reminder that the stories we tell about women—in TV shows, comic books, video games and in real life—too often reflect the stereotypes and limitations that have been placed upon them, rather than the world-changing feats they have already achieved, often against incredible odds.

Sarkeesian recently spoke to the FBomb about her new series and the importance of her continued work to fight sexism and increase female representation. More>>

Image description: Title card for Ordinary Women: Daring to Defy History (Credit: Anita Sarkeesian.)


The Problem With Stanford’s New Drinking Policy

Stanford UniversityBy Kami Baker | September 12, 2016

Stanford University is home to a long list of notable alumni: John F. Kennedy, Elon Musk, Chelsea Clinton, John Steinbeck, Rachel Maddow, and more. While these individuals are change-makers worthy of celebration in our history books, a new name will forever be remembered in the school’s history for a far less celebratory reason: Brock Turner.

Turner isn’t a president, a journalist, or thought leader. He is a rapist.

His story, told from the perspectives of both his father and his victim, spread rampantly through our newsfeeds earlier this summer. Turner, a freshman, raped a woman who was inebriated and could not consent. He served three months of jail time as consequence.

Simply put, this is outrageous and this case is a clear tragedy. Turner’s decision to rape this woman is an unforgivably evil act itself, but the fact that he has further been defended and relatively protected from the full effects of the law seems unfathomable. Even more offensive is how Turner himself has chosen to handle the aftermath of his violent act — namely, launching a battle cry in the form of a campaign against college party culture, which sends a message to the world that the negative effects of alcohol apparently outweigh (and cause) the negative effects of sexual abuse. More>>

Image description: Stanford University


The Power Of Intergenerational Activism

Julia Bluhm and Izzy LabbeBy Izzy Labbe | September 9, 2016

We are former SPARK Movement activists and Hardy Girls Healthy Women Girls Advisory Board members. In 2012 we served key roles in SPARK’s Seventeen Magazine action that garnered over 86,000 petition signatures and pushed the magazine to revise its policies on digitally altering the appearances of its models. We’re writing this blog in celebration of Powered By Girl, an ~awesome~ new book by our good friend Lyn Mikel Brown. Lyn was the guiding force for our introduction to intergenerational feminist activism at the age of thirteen. More>>

Image description: Julia Bluhm and Izzy Labbe

WMC Live #178: Diana Nyad, Mona Hanna-Attisha. (Original Airdate 9/11/2016)

Season Premiere! Guests: Diana Nyad, record-setting long-distance swimmer (at 64); Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, whistleblower pediatrician of Flint, MI. To listen >>


This week WMC SheSource features experts on the 2016 Presidential Election, Eid al-Adha, the violence in Syria amidst the Russian and U.S. ceasefire, the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the upcoming UN General Assembly.

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