Friday, December 21, 2012

News on Women and Gender

Are these stories:

What would the new constitution in Egypt mean for women's rights?  Supporters of women's rights are worried about two articles, specifically, and also the fact that the constitution only mentions women in their role as mothers and has nothing to say about gender discrimination. 

The uprising in Syria follows the Egyptian pattern (and, indeed, the pattern of all revolutions where women have been active participants) in that as the Syrian opposition gets closer to winning the civil war, women are pushed aside and silenced.  The religious victors in both and Egypt and Syria do not bode well for women's rights. This is, of course, what happened after the French Revolution, too.  Women got the Napoleonic Code as their reward...

A study seems to have addressed the question what makes some men into sexists.  I haven't looked at it but it could be worth analyzing.  The sample size, 400 men, is on the small side, however,  unless all those men declared themselves to be sexist. 

The case of Sara Reedy reminds us all of what far too often happens when a raped woman goes to the police:
Reedy was 19 when the man entered the petrol station near Pittsburgh where she was working to pay her way through college and pulled a gun. He emptied the till of its $606.73 takings, assaulted her and fled into the night. But the detective who interviewed Reedy in hospital didn't believe her, and accused her of stealing the money herself and inventing the story as a cover-up. Although another local woman was attacked not long after in similar fashion, the police didn't join the dots.
Following further inquiries, Reedy was arrested for theft and false reporting and, pregnant with her first child (by her now ex-husband), thrown in jail. She was subsequently released on bail, but lost her job. More than a year after attacking Reedy, the man struck again, but this time he was caught and confessed to the earlier crime.
When the charges against her were dropped, Reedy sued the police and has now won a marathon legal battle and a $1.5m (£1m) settlement against the detective who turned her from victim into accused. The payment was agreed earlier this year, but can be revealed only now because of a non-disclosure clause that was part of the settlement.

Though this story has a just ending,  note that had been up to the police alone, Reedy would have stayed in prison for a crime she did not commit. 

My apologies for most of these stories being sad or negative.  I will work harder in the future to get positive stories, but in the meantime why not look at some of the good causes Katha Pollitt lists for your charity dollars?