Thursday, December 18, 2008

Iraq, women and shoes!

Brilliant protest here

With one hurl of his shoes, Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zaidi brought the plight of the Iraqi people to the world's attention. "This is for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq!," he shouted to Bush. We, too, feel anguish for the widows and orphans and all those killed in Iraq and we were moved by al-Zaidi's passionate outcry.

That's why we moved into action to defend him. On Tuesday we confronted the Iraqi Ambassador to the U.S. when he was at a public event. We also took a letter to the Iraqi Embassy, signed by groups around the country, calling for Al-Zaidi's release.

And yesterday, CODEPINK gathered outside the White House and around the country to display shoes representing innocent Iraqis who have died since Bush's illegal occupation of Iraq. In Washington DC we also had a shoe-throwing contest at a paper maché George Bush.(See FLICKR photos).

It's outrageous that Al-Zaidi could get several years in prison for insulting George Bush, who is directly responsible for the deaths of 1.5 million Iraqis and 4,200 U.S. troops, and for the displacement of 5 million Iraqis. The one who should be in jail is Bush, not Muntadar al-Zaidi. Please join us in calling on the Iraqi government to release al-Zaidi without charges. We're bringing the petition with your signature directly to the Iraqi Embassy. Please click here to sign it today

Saturday, December 13, 2008

In the Office, Nice Girls Finish Last

great article and so true

In the Office, Nice Girls Finish Last
By Tana Ganeva, AlterNet
Posted on December 13, 2008, Printed on December 13, 2008

Picture this: You're a young woman at your first job. You worked hard to get a decent education, believing it was the path to success. You also have a vague sense that the feminist battles of past years have left few political or legal barriers to workplace equality -- if pop culture is to be believed, the only thing left for feminism to do is finally determine whether "do-me" heels are concessions to the patriarchy or an expression of liberated female sexuality.

So, bright-eyed and optimistic, you embark on what you imagine will be a smooth rise to the top of your chosen profession, limited only by your own skills and dedication to hard work.

Instead, you find yourself lingering in entry- or midlevel positions, despite all your work and devotion to the organization. You figure everyone has to pay their dues -- until you begin to notice that male counterparts are speeding past you with better work assignments, more opportunities for advancement and faster promotions.

If this sounds familiar, that's because it's quite common. Despite significant advances in recent decades, women continue to lag behind men in income and career advancement. Regardless of class, race, educational level and profession, women make less money than their male counterparts -- an average of 77 cents on the dollar. Women make up 2.4 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies (and get paid less than those peers), less than one-fifth of partners in law firms (minority women fare significantly worse, accounting for 2 percent of law partners), and continue to be significantly underrepresented in politics.

Confronted with a complex problem that defies easy, sound-bite explanations, the media -- and many experts -- have taken the time-tested approach of pinning the blame on women themselves. An array of myths, like "opt-out revolution," have sprung up to explain why women have yet to achieve true equality in the workplace. The general assumption behind these shortsighted ideas is that women can't "cut it" in today's competitive work environment.

However, a growing number of studies show that women are more likely than men to be devoted to their employers and to see hard work as the best way to get ahead. But women, conditioned from an early age to be communal and "nice," are generally hesitant to boast about their efforts and are less likely than men to push for raises and promotions. In a workplace that rewards aggressiveness and self-promotion, women often go unrecognized for their contributions.

A 2004 study conducted by International Survey Research measured the attitudes and behaviors men and women displayed at the workplace and found a noteworthy discrepancy between the priorities of male and female employees. Female executives were primarily concerned with the well-being of the company, smooth employee relations and a well-run workplace. Men cared much more about getting ahead.

The study found that career development was the top priority for men, with "personal reward" as their second most-important goal. Women put "working relationships" first, "customer quality focus" second, and "communications" third.

According to Kim Morris, the study's project director, "[Women] tend to focus less than men on their advancement. They assume that focusing primarily on the health of the organization will result in recognition and promotions."

Women are also less likely than men to grease their career paths by touting their skills and bragging about their accomplishments.

A 2008 study by psychologist Shannon L. Goodson compared the office behaviors of professional men and women, drawing from an industry questionnaire about workplace attitudes. Goodson found that women were far less likely to draw attention to their achievements and promote their skills and abilities to co-workers and supervisors, whereas men had relatively little trouble bringing attention to their work. At times, men even lied about their accomplishments, taking credit for contributions that were not entirely theirs.

"We found that women typically are concerned about being seen as pushy and intrusive, and they may hesitate to ask for the raise, ask for a promotion or do anything that makes them stand out and appear to be boastful," says Goodson.

In a culture that offers up sweet-voiced Disney princesses as role models for young girls, it's hardly surprising that many women have trouble being aggressive in the pursuit of advancement or blustering about their achievements. According to career counselor Karyl Innis, who has seen this dynamic play out in her work, "you have to roll it all the way back to how little girls are brought up and often they're told to work hard; they're told nice girls don't do this, little girls don't do that. And largely they're being told, 'don't put yourself out there, don't brag.' "

Meanwhile, men have been primed to pursue their self-interest from childhood. Economist Linda Babcock found that men are far more aggressive when they negotiate raises and promotions. According to Babcock, men "are encouraged to go for it growing up. The world is their oyster, they're in charge, they're encouraged to take risks, and they just have so much more practice initiating negotiations growing up and with so much more encouragement from our society that this is an acceptable thing for them to do. So they get more practice. It's not as if women are missing a negotiation gene or something!"

In fact, Babcock's research reveals that women are great negotiators -- just not for themselves. "[Women] negotiate for their family members, they negotiate for the causes they believe in. So it's not that we don't have these skills. It's that society has told us that it’s not appropriate for us to use them for ourselves -- because that would be selfish or greedy."

Furthermore, women who buck gender expectations by engaging in what's considered "masculine" behavior face a whole other set of problems in the workplace: when they shed the buffers of femininity, they risk being vilified as bitches. (See: the Hillary Clinton nutcracker, and all the other creative ways some male commentators vented their anxieties about what Clinton would do to their genitals.)

While aggressive self-promotion might make women appear more competent, it poses its own hazard. According to social psychologist Peter Glick, who has done extensive research on the subtle ways gender expectations affect workplace relations, "There's a very strong prescriptive stereotype that women should be nice. The problem is that some of these self-promoting behaviors that are about "me, me, me" can be seen as not being nice … this can effect decisions, like who you want to promote, who you want to work with, who gets resources."

This double-standard is not lost on women who perceive, in the behavior of co-workers and supervisors, that being aggressive does not pan out for them in the same way that it does for men.

In a series of experiments, Harvard psychologist Hannah Bowles (with Linda Babcock and Lei Lai) asked participants to evaluate potential job candidates based on a script that had them either aggressively push for more money or accept the initial salary offer. Not surprisingly, Bowles found that evaluators were more likely to want to hire aggressive men than aggressive women. But her results also showed that women who had previously been evaluators in the experiment were far less likely than men to negotiate when they switched roles, suggesting that their experience in the experiment affected their future behavior.

"I was frustrated with the implications of, ‘Wow, women need more confidence, women need to negotiate more like men,' " says Bowles. "I think it's pretty clear that part of women's hesitance is reasonable in that they're correctly reading society's perceptions of women who try to negotiate."

And it’s not only women who suffer in a corporate culture that privileges aggressive self-promotion over talent and hard work. Firms also lose out in myriad ways when skilled, hard-working women don't get ahead. Mary Boughton, senior director of Catalyst Western Region (a nonprofit devoted to expanding opportunities for women in business), points out: "The ability to recruit/advance a diverse workforce is crucial because diversity leads to agility, open-mindedness and a willingness to change and overcome bias."

One possible advantage of diversity in the workplace, of course, is that if more women held leadership positions, corporate work culture could become more sensitive to the particular problems women face as they attempt to scale the career ladder.

And that's not only good for women, but for companies, too, since organizations that lack the mechanisms to notice and reward hard work may end up filling their leadership ranks with underqualified individuals (Michael "heck of a job" Brown, anyone?) After all, is rewarding self-promotion over quality work really the best way to discover and cultivate talent -- male or female? If an employee spends more time bragging about his or her accomplishments than actually accomplishing things, it's easy to see how the company suffers.

"Is pushiness your criteria for excellent worker? Well, maybe in some organizational contexts it is, but for most there's a broader array of talents that you want to be promoting," says Bowles. "You can have someone who really serves the organization and the people that work for them. So, does your system advance people who are 'other-oriented' as well as people who are 'self-oriented?' "

Babcock concludes that the modern workplace is hardly a magical meritocracy where the best workers soar to the highest positions.

"We really think and want to believe that the workplace is fair, and if you just work hard and do a good job that it will be rewarded. And I wish that were true -- that the world we lived in were like that."

Tana Ganeva is an editorial assistant at AlterNet.
© 2008 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at:

Friday, December 5, 2008

bit about women who have been abused but have no recourse to public funds because of their immigration status,

Yesterday the Communities & Cultures Committee at the Welsh Assembly published a report on domestic violence in Wales and it includes quite a bit about women who have been abused but have no recourse to public funds because of their immigration status, basically it's saying sort the f.....'No Recourse' rule out, which is good, all the domestic abuse agencies have been saying this for ages but at least now the Assembly seems to be getting the message slowly... anyway, it's here, if anyone's interested, it's got loads of the latest stats in it too which are useful for campaigning and just for info:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Women in the military are twice as likely to be raped

Raped in the Military? You'll Have to Pay for Your Own Forensic Exam Kit

By Penny Coleman, AlterNet. Posted November 11, 2008.

Women in the military are twice as likely to be raped as their civilian counterparts. In fact, "women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq," Congresswoman Jane Harman, D-Calif., told the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs in May.

Harman said, "The scope of the problem was brought into acute focus for me during a visit to the West Los Angeles VA Health Center where I met female veterans and their doctors. My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military, and 29 percent said they were raped during their military service."

What are the figures for the UK military? anyone know?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Come on Brown crack down on tax havens

Brown wants a fairer society with Obama! Now then here is you chance...clamp down on tax havens

President-elect Barack Obama plans to crack down on international tax havens, including Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, within weeks of taking power in January, putting him on a collision course with Gordon Brown.

There is growing international pressure to outlaw the secretive practices of tax havens as a key part of reforms to the world's battered financial system, as the leaders of the world's 20 most powerful economies gather for a major conference in Washington next weekend.

Britain has been notably lukewarm, but Obama, whose approval will be key to any reform package over the next 12 months, was one of the signatories of the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, legislation put to Congress last year that blacklisted Jersey, Guernsey and 32 other jurisdictions. Key aides to Obama said he will introduce a similar law as part of a wide-ranging revenue-raising and tax-reform package, within weeks of taking power.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ten things I absolutely hate about heteronormative dating.

Ten things I absolutely hate about heteronormative dating.

In no particular order.

1. You are expected to dress nice and act a certain way "waiting" to get asked out.

2. You have to play by the rules which generally give men most of the power. (wait till he calls you, don't be too forward, be mysterious-you don't want to scare him off, etc)

3. If you show emotion too early on or too much of it, you are needy.

4. If you don't show enough emotion, you are making the other party insecure forcing them to wield social privilege to silence your daring attempt at independence from self obliteration via coupling.

5. It fetishizes unequal power relations between women. He'll get the tab, he'll get the door as long as he gets the vagina, and that is considered "romance."

6. It makes same sex couples feel "less than."

7. It dictates your interaction in most social settings and social circles, whether you are single or coupled. It is either/or, there is no 3rd identity or in-between.

8. If you have sex too early you ruined it.

9. If you don't have sex early on you are a prude.

10. It is expected to lead to marriage (and if you don't have a ring on your finger you are "on the market.")

So while some of this is tongue and cheek and most of it is obvious, I do think this is feminism's dark corner. There is no guide to dating outside of patriarchy, there is no narrative for if you want to do it on your own or if you don't want to get married, but you don't want to be single either. Many women are caught in the middle, trapped between the discourse of what is expected and what they want.

I write this from my perspective as a woman, but I am sure feminist men also have major problems with heteronormative dating, so please give your feedback in comments.

Friday, October 31, 2008

New blog for domestic violence victims

Nerys Evans, the Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, has set up an
internet blog for women to talk about their experiences of domestic abuse and show the
human stories behind the domestic abuse statistics. Anyone can contribute anonymously by
e-mailing Nerys at

Nerys Evans states: ‘This blog's aim is to give an opportunity for women to talk about their
experiences of domestic abuse and show the human stories behind the domestic abuse
statistics. I’m calling on the One Wales Assembly Government to fund an awareness raising
campaign to challenge attitudes towards violence against women, both domestic abuse and
The blog can be found here

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ask Estee Lauder to Live Up to Pink Ribbon Ideals

Take Action Ask Estee Lauder to Live Up to Pink Ribbon Ideals

This October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ask Estée "Pink Ribbon" Lauder to extend safety pledges to all of its brands, including MAC, Clinique and Bumble and Bumble. It's already done so with Aveda and Origins.
Send a letter to Estée Lauder
Latest Updates
New EWG report: Hormone-altering cosmetics chemicals found in teenage girls
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics wins award for corporate accountability work

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Harmans dirty deal for DUP votes!

Northern Irelands working class women suffer, whilst the north's political parties conspire with British government to deny them the 'right to choose.'
For those who are unaware of it, Harriet Harman is planning to block a series of Parliamentary votes tomorrow that could have liberalize Britain's abortion laws and would have overturned a ban in Northern Ireland. To the dismay of pro-choice campaigners and their supporters
in the British parliament and beyond, Ms Harman is planning to argue that Britain's liberal abortion laws could be threatened in the House of Lords if MPs tamper with any aspect of the law. Never mind that the House of Lords has in the past repeatedly voted in favour of
supporting the pro abortion laws.

Her political opponents regard this excuse as absolute nonsense; and point out that a rotten deal was recently done between the government and the Democratic Unionist Party, (DUP) in which in exchange for the DUP's nine MPs supporting the governments bill to detain terror
suspects for 42 days, the British government would ensure that the abortion ban would remain in the north of Ireland.
read more--
Organized Rage

Take it out on the women!

Mandys first move is to stop progress for women! The TUC speak out. I haven't heard
any Welsh MPs say anything in protest.
Suspending the extension of family friendly rights would not save a single job
Responding to reports today (Monday) that the Government plans to suspend the
extension of the right to request flexible working to parents of older children
and paid maternity leave, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Shriti the shriek

I want to get things done'

  • The Guardian, Saturday July 26 2008 David Teather
A somewhat fearsome reputation precedes Shriti Vadera, one of Gordon Brown's most trusted policy advisers and arguably the most powerful woman in government. The former investment banker has been described variously as a menace of the first order, as 'Shriti the shriek', or simply as domineering and downright rude, usually by unnamed sources cowering behind anonymity. As one (...)
(...) A somewhat fearsome reputation precedes Shriti Vadera, one of Gordon Brown's most trusted policy advisers and (...)
High-flying business minister Shriti Vadera has been called Gordon's representative on Earth. Is that (...)

why is it that so many women in the top jobs are bullies? Do they actually stop other women fronm getting on?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Financial crunch to derail DTA

The phrase ...we must not allow Wales to become a major cog in the military machine" a dangerous statement, according to Vale MP John Smith (The Gem Sept 18)
The contrary view is that we should not care if Wales is a major cog in UK military operations.
If subject to democratic decision making, the case would be arguable.
But after Tony Blair took us into Bush's war for regime change in Iraq, on a dodgy dossier falsely claiming Iraq had nuclear weapons, it's surely most dangerous to serve as a cog?
The shadow boxing by Chris Franks, in refusing to back up Dafydd Iwan, the president of Plaid, is little better.
The politicians should all now that the Metrix project is both in financial trouble and being criticised as undermining the operational capacity of the UK forces.
That the project has been hit by inflation and the credit crunch has made national news (eg Daily Mail of Sept 12)
According to defence-management .com the Metrix project is undergoing a full blown financial review, because the financing was part of the dodgy deals that lead to the credit crunch
For Johnn Smith and Chris Franks to blindly argue for the £12bn Metrix deal is only excused as they spoke before last week's HBOS meltdown.
Time they realised Labour's financial policies have got the economy into serious trouble.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Monday, July 7, 2008

Morgan Mafia

So Rhodri, where are real people? Wales Online

Four of the members are political appointees, nominated by the major parties. Eight represent groups, including the Wales Women’s National Coalition, ...See all stories on this topic

Morgan mafia?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Human rights challenges?

Ironic then that they had a "ground-breaking" summit event to discuss the key challenges in putting human rights at the heart of Welsh public services in partnership with Public Service Management Wales.

Neil Wooding is is the Director of Public Service Management Wales, an organisation set up by the Welsh Assembly Government and public service organisations for the purpose of building 'leadership' and managerial capacity.

Neil Wooding, also Wales Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission before that was EOC Commissioner for Wales working with kate. They launched their new human rights inquiry in Wales!!! Any chance of an honest inquiry? Who dares speak? Hierarchy = human rights and equality.....don't think so. Don't need a enquiry to find that out. Give staff a voice.

Monday, June 30, 2008

end degrading treatment at work

Kate Bennett should ask herself if protection from degrading treatment applies to the work place and in particular her own office.

Kate Bennett, the EHRC office’s Welsh director, said: “We are saying that public authorities should give the highest priority to the protection of human rights, whether that is the right to life or protection from degrading treatment.”
Family of dead man in human rights fight with police - WalesOnline Kate Bennett, the EHRC’s Welsh director, said: “We are saying that public authorities should give the highest priority to the protection of human rights, ...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Nestle Spin

Nestling into the British Government Source: The Independent (UK), May 11, 2008
As CMD has reported previously, the infant formula industry in the U.S. is committed to making sure that women aren't, as they put it, made to feel guilty about not breast feeding. But it seems that formula producers are also looking to make inroads in Europe, where rates of breast feeding are far higher than in the U.S.

The Independent "has uncovered strong ties between Nestle, the world's largest baby milk manufacturer, and the Department of Health. Rosie Cooper, a parliamentary private secretary to the Health minister Ben Bradshaw, is undergoing a year-long Industry and Parliament Trust fellowship with Nestle, and in February went for a week to South Africa as a guest of the group to oversee its corporate social responsibility activities."

Three other Labour Party members of Parliament accompanied her at Nestle's expense. Critics are alarmed that the corporation has made such inroads into the government. A spokesperson for Baby Milk Action, which together with UNICEF, Save the Children and the National Childhood Trust, has organized a boycott of Nestle, said "Time and again we see Nestle trying to ingratiate itself with health workers and policymakers through gifts, free trips, sponsorship and so-called partnerships. Surely the Government should not look to companies to fund and organise trips such as this."

Monday, May 12, 2008

Rich adv9ise Brown on poverty?

I was reading the article Networked from birth and was reasured that gordon brown was on the right track when I saw that Jennifer Moses, is advising on SOCIAL mobility!! Miss Moses, 45, joined Number 10 as head of special projects in March developing policies designed to alleviate poverty by improving social mobility.
and i read that she spent £500,000 on her 40th birthday party! She also has an offshore mortgage on her £10m London home that could save her thousands of pounds in UK tax.
Remember, Jennifer is the employer who didn’t notice when her secretary stole £1.2 million from her personal account. Her husband spent £17,000 on wine in a single year. Her advice to the Prime Minister must be priceless.
She spent 11 years in banking, with stints in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and New York. She is married to Ron Beller, an investment banker and founder of the hedge fund Peloton Partners, which was once worth $2 billion. It in effect went bust last month after investments in US mortgages plummeted in value. The couple bought their house in 1999 and took out a loan on it in the Isle of Man in 2004.
Apparently in addition to her previous role on the board of Britain's most fashionable raunchy lingerie firm, Agent Provocateur – slogan “less M&S, more S&M” American-born Ms Moses, 46, is also a former Goldmans executive and the possessor of a multi-million-pound fortune. She has been described by Michael Gove, the Tory education spokesman and a close friend, as a cross between "Eleanor Roosevelt, a character from Sex And the City and a Woody Allen heroine”.
The daily Mail reports that her Downing Street appointment came despite a series of reports she has written as chief executive of the liberal think tank CentreForum which have been openly critical of Mr Brown and the Labour Government. For the past two years Moses has been chief executive of CentreForum, the think tank that specialises in attacking the sacred cows of Labour’s social policy. Doesn't say a lot for them either.
Ms Moses, a libertarian with a social conscience, supports city academies and private money in the state education system - an anathema to many Labour MPs and me too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Iraqis allege sex abuse at the British Embassy

Appalling...just gets worse....

'Some KBR managers groped Iraqi staff regularly, paid or otherwise rewarded them for sex and dismissed t

hose who refused or spoke out.' Iraqis allege sex abuse at the British Embassy 08 May 2008 An Iraqi cleaner and two cooks claim that a culture of sexual harassment, abuse and bullying exists at the British Embassy in Baghdad. The middle-aged cleaner told The Times that a British contractor with KBR, the company hired to maintain the embassy’s premises, offered to double her daily pay if she would stay the night with him. When she refused, she said, her pay was cut and she was later dismissed.

The Iraqis accuse the embassy of leaving the abuse unchallenged and failing adequately to respond to complaints against several British managers for KBR. The company was allowed to conduct its own inquiry, an arrangement criticised as a very serious conflict of interest. [See: KBR's Rape Problem By Karen Houppert 17 Apr 2008;
KBR's Flawed Wiring Still Kills G.I.'s, Despite Alert 04 May 2008 Memo: Halliburton failed to purify GIs' water 16 Mar 2006; KBR awarded $385M Homeland Security contract for U.S. detention centers 24 Jan 2006; Contractor served troops dirty food in dirty kitchens 14 Dec 2003. Gee, it all kinda makes you want to stand up and cheer for Muqtada al-Sadr, doesn't it?]

Friday, February 15, 2008

Impact of armed conflict on human rights violations

Gender dimensions of wars and conflicts

Time to recognize that the impact of armed conflicts such as forced

displacement, impoverishment and gender

biased violence as human rights violations

Amnesty International in Cardiff will not recognise this and maintain they have to support militarism and arms dealers so we can have well armed peacekeepers! But is the Welsh branch run by the morgan Mafia??? So there might just be other reasons.

Gender and Armed Conflict
A newsletter on the gender dimensions of wars and conflicts, prepared by the Centre for Women of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. In 2008-2009, the Centre for Women will publish two new publications related to women, peace and security. UN-ESCWA, 2007

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Sweden's tough laws banning men from paying for sex are grabbing international attention, with Britain considering similar measures. But is there really less prostitution in Sweden now?

I am sure there is less prostitution and trafficking and it is time we moved forward on this asHarriet Harmen suggested. Amazingly there has been very little noise made by our female MPs in support. What are they waiting for?

Sweden's Prostitution Solution: Why Hasn't Anyone Tried

"In Sweden prostitution is regarded as an aspect of male violence against women and children. It is officially acknowledged as a form of exploitation of ... - 32k - Cached -