Two women made history at the 2012 Olympics for being the first-ever female Saudi Arabians to compete in the Games.
But one of those young women, Wojdan Shakerkai, who competed in judo (and lost), has paid dearly for being a trailblazer: the 16-year-old girl has been lambasted as a “prostitute” by misogynists back home. Keep reading »
Back in February, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Ekaterina Samutsevich — three members of the controversial Russian feminist band Pussy Riot — walked into Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Savior and engaged in a raucous performance at the church’s altar. Shedding their winter clothes, the girls, clad in colorful dresses and balaclavas, danced and jumped around. The women then turned the 30-second clip into a music video for their song “Punk Prayer: Holy Mother, Chase Putin Away,” a raucous, punk-tinged rant against Russian president Vladmir Putin. Within days, the video had gone viral — and the women of Pussy Riot had been arrested.
Keep reading »
Good news! The Presidential Debate Commission announced today that Candy Crowley of CNN will be the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in 20 years. Crowley is CNN’s chief political correspondent and anchors the hour-long show “State Of The Union.” She’ll moderate the second town hall meeting-style debate on October 16 at Hofstra Univeristy in NJ. Crowley will join Jim Lehrer of PBS and Bob Schieffer of CBS in moderating one of three presidential debates; she’ll be the first woman to do so since Carole Simpson of ABC moderated a presidential debate in 1992. Another woman, Martha Raddatz of ABC, will moderate the vice presidential debate; Gwen Ifill of PBS moderated the VP debates in both 2004 and 2008.
I hope the Presidential Debate Commission was influenced by the three New Jersey 16-year-olds who started a Change.org petition – which collected 130,000 signatures — to hire a female moderate. Congratulations, ladies! [Washington Post; Poynter.org]
In light of this weekend’s tragic shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we thought our readers would be interested to learn more about this religion. We reached out to the Sikh Feminist Research Institute for some thoughts on Sikhism.
Often I am asked of when I first became aware of being a feminist. This question takes me back to the deepest recesses of my memories of early childhood, since it was my mother who was my first feminist role model. She would frequently give me feminist pep talks: “You want to be a pilot? Yes, of course you can become a pilot!” or “Your favourite color is blue? Sure, blue is a great color.” Often defiant of male authority, a natural and equal partner in running the household, she was both bread-winner and the CEO of our home.
As I grew older I would often wonder about the origins of my mother’s feminist ideas. Not having had the opportunity of a formal education due to the poverty following forced migration at the time of Partition, it was apparent she had no access to the feminist theorists I would come to prize in later life. Instead her ideas emerged from the Sikh historical narratives she was raised on and the strong women in her own life. The re-telling of the lives of Sikh women would provide fodder for bed-time stories, both awe-inspiring but also re-assuring of a universe that made sense where women and men are equals. Keep reading »