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home : features : features May 29, 2016

ThinkAboutIt August 2013
Wendy Davis
Compiled by Nancy B. Olsen


"My nearly 13-hour stand against the effort to deny women access to basic health care evolved into a people's filibuster opposing a selfish and out-of-touch leadership that refuses to listen to real families with real hopes."
-Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis
Source: Washington Post

If the shoe fits ...
Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster against restrictive abortion legislation certainly drew headlines - as well as "reviews" on Amazon.com for the sensible Mizuno Wave Rider 16 running shoes she wore while standing for nearly 13 hours.

Here are a few choice comments:
• "Only a 24 hour waiting period for the shoes to arrive (in Pennsylvania). Pretty fast! But you will need spousal consent before wearing the shoes. Parental consent if you are under 18."
• "It turns out that if you want to purchase these shoes, you will be forced to watch a video featuring the manufacture of the shoes from start to finish, and then only in a medical facility supervised by white male lawyers. No returns after 20 weeks."
• "These are fantastic shoes, but I've noticed a problem with them. When I put them on, no one listens to me. I'm a white male, age 41 - I thought everyone was supposed to listen to me? Also, other white men are now trying to tell me what to do with my prostate. What gives?"
• "I'm not sure I could ever bring myself to buy or wear shoes like this. But you know, I'm so glad I have the option."
Sources: Care2.com, Amazon.com

To protest is to read
In contrast to images of water cannons and tear gas, protesters in Turkey have been standing silently or standing and reading. When Turkish performance artist Erdem Gunduz stood with his hands in his pockets for eight hours, he became a symbol of the resistance movement. Meanwhile, public reading that was already happening merged with the standing movement to form the "Taksim Square Book Club." According to Al Jazeera, "The chosen reading material ... is reflective, in part, of the thoughtfulness of those who have chosen this motionless protest to express their discontent."
Source: Al Jazeera

"Let us pick up our books and our pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution.
-Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student shot in the head by the Taliban after speaking out for girls' education rights, at the U.N. Youth Assembly on her 16th birthday. Source: New Year Times

MWP update: Yep, too attractive
Following up on an item in our February 2013 issue, the all-male Iowa Supreme Court upheld an earlier decision that it was not discrimination when a male dentist fired his longtime assistant for being too attractive allegedly after his wife called her "a big threat to our marriage." Melissa Nelson's attorney told ABC News: "[I]t is very common for women to be targeted for discrimination because of their sexual attractiveness or supposed lack of sexual attractiveness. That is discrimination based on sex. Nearly every woman in Iowa understands this because we have experienced it for ourselves."
Source: Think Progress

A world of violence
The United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) now considers physical or sexual violence toward women a global public health problem because it is so widespread. In a recent report, WHO offered these statistics:
• 35% of women globally experience some form of violence.
• 30% of women suffer at the hands of intimate partners, the most common form of violence.
• 38% of all women murdered globally are killed by their intimate partner.
Source: Alternet

Also noteworthy:
On Aug. 26, pause to observe Women's Equality Day, enacted in 1971 "to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote" and "continuing efforts toward full equality."
• NASA's new class of eight astronaut trainees achieves gender parity for the first time by including four women -Christina Hammock, Nicole Aunapu Mann, Anne McClain and Jessica Meir. In all, 55 women have flown in space (43 of them Americans) or a little more than 10 percent of all astronauts.
• Melissa Wardy of Wisconsin, mother of a 7-year-old girl, launched a petition on Change.org urging LEGO to create a non-"pinkwashed" female Minifigure set. Says Wardy: "We want our girls to believe they can be engineers and scientists, and to have goals beyond looking pretty in pink. We want our boys to think of girls and see girls as capable of many things, including STEM careers and adventurous pursuits."
• As gender equality gains momentum across Europe, a sweeping "men-women equality" proposal in France would mandate that men take parental leave, that 40 percent of company board positions go to women and that an equal number of male and female candidates run for public offices.
Sources: National Women's History Project, Ms. Magazine, Change.org, The Telegraph

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