Showing posts with label Women’s Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Women’s Rights. Show all posts

August 1, 2017

Saudi Women Say They Won't Be Controlled by Men Much More



Women in Saudi Arabia are still controlled by men – but not for much longer.
From the moment a woman is born until the day that she dies, she is under the so-called ‘guardianship’ of a male relative. And that man – usually her father to start off with and then later, her husband – has the final say in some of the biggest decisions of her life. Her marriage, her work, her medical procedures – these all need to be signed off by her guardian.

A lot of women – and a lot of men – in the Kingdom aren’t happy about the state of affairs.
Sahar Nassif, a prominent women’s rights activist from Jeddah, told Metro.co.uk that her son is her guardian, and – being from an open-minded family – it’s treated as a formality.
But even then, she is one of the system’s most vocal opponents.

‘I come from an open-minded family, as do most of the people in Jeddah – so we don’t face any problems with our guardians,’ she said. ‘My son is my guardian, but on paper only. He has nothing to do with any of my decisions.

‘Yet, it’s humiliating to be 63 years old and have a guardian.’
Last September, tens of thousands of people signed a petition calling on King Salman to completely dismantle the country’s controversial guardianship system. The groundbreaking campaign was led by noted Saudi women’s rights activist Aziza Al-Youssef, and had an unprecedented level of support from women and men across the country. An artwork by Ms Saffaa, a well-known Saudi street artist now based in Sydney, went viral – and soon women around the world were sporting canvas bags and t-shirts emblazoned with ‘#IAMMYOWNGUARDIAN’. 

When we spoke, Al-Youssef was keen to stress that it wasn’t just women supporting the campaign.
‘A lot of people were supportive of the issues, it’s very rare to be against it,’ she said. ‘From the very rich to the very poor, even the ones who are in a high position in government – they are all touched by these laws.
‘It was not only women who signed the petition, it was women and men putting their name to petition and calling for the administration them to change the law.
‘This is because by fighting for our rights, we’re fighting for all human rights.’
When Al-Youssef and another prominent campaigner Eman Al-Nefjan went to the Royal Court to deliver the petition to officials in person, they were told – very nicely, apparently – to turn around, go home, and submit it in the post.
Which they did. And then they waited.


The badass women fighting for basic rights in Saudi Arabia
Aziza Al-Youssef led the anti-guardianship campaign last year, and tried to hand-deliver the petition to the Royal Court (Picture: Getty Images)


‘In three days we collected 17,000 signatures – then the site was blocked,’ Nassif, who was also directly involved with the anti-guardianship campaign, explained.
‘We had it reopened three more times, and it got blocked again. We sent telegrams to the King, and then printed out the petition and gave it to the Royal Court, but had no response whatsoever.’

But while the women were given the silent treatment by the King, they were heaped with praise from people all over the world. At the same time, Ms Saffaa’s illustrations were admired, shared and worn by women in the UK, the US, and beyond.
In the most recognisable of her drawings, a Saudi woman stares defiantly at the viewer, with the campaign’s slogan written underneath in both Arabic and English.
‘I Am My Own Guardian reflects on ideas of resistance,’ the 39-year-old artist wrote in an article for Muftah.

‘The resistance of Saudi women to patriarchy is often a silent one that goes undetected. This silent resistance helps Saudi women manoeuvre through socially complex structures that favour men over women.’


The badass women fighting for basic rights in Saudi Arabia
Ms Saffaa’s campaign artwork, emblazoned with ‘I AM MY OWN GUARDIAN’ in Arabic, came to represent the groundbreaking campaign (Picture: Ms Saffaa/Twitter/Metro.co.uk)

The recent uprising against guardianship has echoes of an earlier campaign by women in the Kingdom – the October 26th driving protest four years ago, which highlighted women’s inability to drive in the country as an example of their lack of freedom.

Women cannot drive in Saudi Arabia. They can legally – but not in reality.
What many don’t know is that women aren’t technically banned from driving in the KSA; so, technically, it’s legal. But women aren’t granted driving licences. And in Saudi, like most places, driving without a licence is illegal.
So on October 26th, 2013, dozens of women flouted the (technically unofficial) rule and went out in their cars.

Mostly they ran errands – they dropped the kids off at school, picked up the shopping, filled their cars up with petrol. Normal everyday stuff, except they were in direct contradiction of an archaic, misogynistic de-facto ban.
In one of the many videos posted to YouTube from that day, Sahar flashes a V-sign at the camera before taking her place in the driving seat.
She told me that most people were surprisingly happy to see them behind the wheel – with the exception of the police, of course.
‘Believe it or not, people were ever so nice and encouraging,’ she said. ‘Clapping, honking and giving me thumbs up!


 
‘That is, until a police car turned up and signalled at me to pull over to the side of the road. Then suddenly six more police cars came. I was made to feel like a drug dealer.’ 
Sahar was forced to sign an official document stating that she would never drive again, which then had to be co-signed by her guardian, her son.
But as soon as she got her car back a week later, she was driving again.
‘I drove four more times to the pharmacy and supermarket [a week after getting stopped by the police],’ she said. ‘It felt really accepted by all the people who saw me get in and out of my car.’

It is fortunate that Sahar wasn’t arrested, however, and she has a supportive family who treat the guardianship requirements as a formality.
Rothna Begum, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who specialises in Saudi Arabia, explained that many women aren’t so lucky.

Because female inmates are reliant on their male guardian to sign them out at the end of their sentence, they are at the complete mercy of their husband, father or son.
‘There are women languishing in prisons because their families refuse to come and get them,’ Rothna told me. ‘Women have been kept in prison for years, having served their time, who can’t get out because their families won’t collect them.’
This is a particularly big problem when their ‘guardian’ is the one who put them in prison in the first place.

Many other women have been arrested and detained for ‘driving while female’, as one activist’s charge sheet called it.
Loujain Al-Hathloul, a 27-year-old activist, was arrested on June 4 this year – for the second time.
Loujain Alhathloul attempts to cross Saudi borders


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She was picked up by police at King Fahd International Airport in Dammam on June 4, according to Amnesty International, and was denied access to her family and lawyers.
Three years had passed since her first arrest, in 2014, when she tried to drive into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates in protest against the ban.
Samah Hadid from Amnesty described the ‘continued harassment’ of Hathloul as ‘absurd and unjustifiable’. ‘It appears she is being targeted once again because of her peaceful work as a human rights defender speaking out for women’s rights, which are consistently trammeled in the Kingdom,’ Hadid said.

An Amnesty spokesperson told Metro.co.uk that Hathloul was, fortunately, released just a few days later on June 7.
Another activist Manal Al-Sharif, who was arrested for first flouting the driving ban back in 2011, has just released a new book about her experiences called Daring to Drive. She has also attracted the police’s attention for being against the veil.
‘I’m proud of my face,’ she writes in the book. ‘I will not cover it. If it bothers you, don’t look. If you are seduced by merely looking at it, that is your problem. You cannot punish me because you cannot control yourself.’

A photo of Manal, now 38, giving the V sign to the camera as she sits behind the wheel has since become an iconic symbol of women’s fight for basic freedoms in the Kingdom.
After that she lost her job, her home, and even custody of her son – whom she is now only able to see once or twice a year.


The badass women fighting for basic rights in Saudi Arabia
Manal al-Sharif was arrested for driving in 2011 – and has since lost her home, her job, and custody of her child (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Manal’s case seems severe, but activists in Saudi are often relentlessly targeted by the authorities. Many have chosen to leave the country because of it, while others face government-imposed travel bans.

‘The risks to activists really vary,’ Rothna explained. ‘Initially in the 1990s, when women first started driving as a protest against the ban, they were arrested and then suspended or even fired from their jobs.
‘More recently, activists face a range of things, like being arrested on trumped-up charges. They will then only be released when a male guardian comes to sign for them, which itself is a form of humiliation for them. ‘Otherwise, others can face being formally charged, and even jailed.’

These campaigns, built on the basic human need for freedom, sent shockwaves around the world – and the tremors were too big to simply be ignored by the King.

In April this year, King Salman announced that women would no longer need a male guardian’s signature to access new government services, and asked the Shura (advisory council) to provide a full list of all of the functions that still require a guardian’s approval.
Guardianship is complex. While there are few things that actually require a guardian’s signature by law, many providers of services will enforce unofficial guardianship requirements anyway. What King Salman’s decree does is, essentially, clamp down on these unofficial guardianship rules.

It has been hailed as a major breakthrough for women’s rights in the country – although there are some setbacks.


The badass women fighting for basic rights in Saudi Arabia
Women in the Kingdom hope that the royal decree, announced in April, signals the beginning of the end of guardianship in Saudi (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Although women won’t need a guardian’s approval for some government services, they may still be required to provide one when dealing with the private sector. For example, if a woman needs to get a medical procedure in the country, or if she’s applying for a job, she will still need to provide a male guardian’s signature. Women will also still be forbidden from travelling abroad or applying for passports without male approval.

Hala Al-Dosari is one of the activists who wrote the anti-guardianship petition last year, and a scholar who specialises in women’s rights and domestic abuse. After winning awards for her work, including the 2016 Freedom Award from international advocacy group Freedom House, she now uses her position on the world stage to speak out on behalf of the Kingdom’s women. 

She told me that the decree didn’t go far enough in protecting women from the violence they face from their own families.
‘Women are forced to try and leave their homes because they’re stuck in violent situations, because their families are violent,’ she said. ‘But their families can then report them to the authorities as a runaway. She can then be tracked down and arrested. But there’s no mention of this in the decree.’

Many activists, however, are optimistic that guardianship will soon crumble to dust.
‘It’s a great sign,’ Sahar enthused. ‘At last he [King Salman] addressed our issues and mentioned women’s rights several times. Now we’re just waiting for the annulment of this act, and women will be free human beings at the age of 18.
‘The campaign is going to keep going on until we’re emancipated. But things are changing a lot – we’re getting there.’
Male Guardianship in Saudi Arabia


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When I asked Al-Youssef if she also thought this was the beginning of the end for the oppressive system, she replied: ‘We hope. We’re hoping it will happen. Things have to change, because we can’t have this in 2017.’
Al-Dosari agreed, adding that while she acknowledges she has lived a ‘privileged’ life with a family who are supportive, many others aren’t so lucky.
‘Most activist women are from very supportive families, because you simply cannot go out there in public and say these things, and speak out against the government in this way, if you don’t have support. It’s just impossible,’ she said.

‘People sometimes try to silence me by saying “oh, well, you’re from a privileged background”. But I will not be silent. We have to speak out for those women who can’t.
‘It’s not about individual men or the few women who can work and travel because they have supportive “guardians”. It’s about the state, and the state’s responsibility towards its women citizens.
‘So I will not stop my fight against guardianship.’


METRO







October 27, 2016

Some GOP Women are Having a Problem with Gingrich and Trump


“These fat old men should soon decide they are no longer on the last century”





 
 A growing number of prominent Republican women are worried that as members of their male-dominated party step up to defend Donald Trump against accusations of sexual assault, they are causing irreparable damage to the GOP’s deteriorating relationship with female voters.

Trump has faced questions throughout his campaign about his crass comments about women, but concern escalated this month following the release of a 2005 video in which Trump boasted that he had sexually assaulted women and subsequent allegations by 11 women that Trump had inappropriately touched or kissed them. A series of mostly male Republicans have come to Trump’s defense — dismissing the accusers as liars and, some worry, further alienating the female voters that the party desperately needs to survive.

“For next-generation professional women, the party is going to have to do something very, very drastic to change the course of where this candidate has taken us,” said Katie Packer, a deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012. “I think the leaders in our party are going to have to aggressively reject this. Come November 9, they better be prepared to make very strong statements condemning all of Trump’s behavior.”

This division within the Republican Party comes as polls suggest the nation is on the verge of electing its first female president even as misogyny remains a part of American life and culture. Ironically, it is Trump’s candidacy rather than Hillary Clinton’s that has brought sexism to the forefront of political debate. 

Conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter’s vocal criticism of Donald Trump has made her a target online. She talks about her experience, and her anger at Trump's supporters within the Republican party. (Deirdra O'Regan/The Washington Post)
The controversy also comes as the Republican Party continues to struggle to attract women, who make up a majority of the electorate and who have supported the Democratic presidential candidate in every election going back to 1992. President Obama won women by 11 points in 2012, and several polls show Clinton leading among women by an even bigger margin this year.

A growing number of well-known female Republican strategists and politicians have had it with Trump. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said earlier this month she “cannot and will not support a candidate for president who brags about degrading and assaulting women.” Former presidential candidate Carly Fiorina, whose looks Trump once mocked, said “Donald Trump does not represent me or my party.” And former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice wrote on Facebook earlier this month: “Enough! Donald Trump should not be President.”


The latest flare-up came Tuesday night, when former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R) exploded at Fox News’ Megyn Kelly during an interview, repeatedly shaking his finger at her and accusing her of being “fascinated with sex” because she brought up allegations of sexual assault against Trump. In a scolding tone, Gingrich tried to tell Kelly which words she could or could not use.

Gingrich once had a fascination of his own with Bill Clinton’s sex life, as he was a driving force behind the movement to impeach Clinton following a consensual sexual relationship he had with a young former intern. Clinton became the second president in American history to be impeached by the House, but he was acquitted by the Senate. Voters, meanwhile, punished the Republicans for what they saw as an overreach: The GOP lost five House seats in the 1998 midterm elections, which led to Gingrich’s resignation as speaker.

Trump and his supporters deemed Gingrich’s interview a victory, with the campaign’s director of social media tweeting that Kelly is “not very smart” and telling his followers: “Watch what happens to her after this election is over.”

“Congratulations, Newt, on last night. That was an amazing interview,” Trump said at a ribbon-cutting at his new hotel in Washington on Wednesday. “We don’t play games, Newt, right?”

Trump lauds Gingrich for Megyn Kelly interview: ‘We don’t play games, Newt, right?’

 Kellyanne Conway, campaign manager for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaks to reporters in "spin alley" following the final presidential debate in Las Vegas on Oct. 19. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)
Two of the women who have accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct piled on. Juanita Broaddrick tweeted: “Beauty is only skin deep. Megyn Kelly is ugly as hell on the inside.” Paula Jones wrote in a tweet that has since been deleted: “Woohoo, he slammed this nasty heifer!”

But many other Republican women have concluded in recent weeks that this is not the party they know.

“Looks like Newt Gingrich just proved my point again,” tweeted Amanda Carpenter, a conservative commentator and former communications director for Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. Carpenter wrote this week in The Washington Post about how her party has left women like her behind by ignoring Trump’s chauvinism that was “well-documented in decades’ worth of publicly available smutty television, radio and print interviews long before he became the nominee.”


“If the GOP has truly convinced itself that openly engaging in sexual assault fantasies is something normal that men do among one another, I have a suggestion. Relocate the Republican National Committee headquarters into a men’s-only locker room,” Carpenter wrote. “Eliminate all pretenses of wanting to let women in.”

Christine Anderson, a Republican pollster, said in an interview that Democrats no longer have to push a “war on women” narrative because it’s playing out on its own thanks to Trump — and comments like those that Gingrich made on Tuesday.

“It’s just one more clueless middle-age-to-older white guy taking to task a woman,” Anderson said. “It’s so unhelpful on every level.”

One GOP woman wonders why the men in her party won’t defend her

Nicolle Wallace, former communications chief for George W. Bush who is now a political commentator, tweeted that Republicans are now “engaged in a hot war against women that will end badly” for the party.
  
Earlier this week, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager and the first woman to lead a GOP presidential nominee’s campaign, seemed to struggle when asked by CNN’s Dana Bash if she believes the women who have accused Trump of sexual assault.

“I believe — Donald Trump has told me and his family, and the rest of America now, that none of this is true,” Conway said. “These are lies and fabrications. They’re all made up. And I think that it’s not for me to judge what those women believe. I’ve not talked to them, I’ve talked to him.”

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations of abuse or sexism and has bragged about empowering female employees in his businesses.

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do,” Trump said during the last presidential debate when asked about his accusers, prompting laughter from the crowd in Las Vegas.

Carrie Almond, president of the National Federation of Republican Women, has traveled to 39 states in an RV this year, talking with thousands of women who enthusiastically support Trump and believe the party speaks for them.


“It’s very important to not put all women into the same basket because not everyone sees everything the same way,” said Almond, who is from Missouri.

When confronted with criticism, Trump tends to go after women in much more personal and demeaning ways than men, even though he insists he is an equal-opportunity counterpuncher. Trump’s attacks on female journalists, accusers and rivals over the past year have been heavy with criticism of their looks, their intelligence and their mental health.

After the first debate during the Republican primary — which featured three moderators, two men and one woman, who all peppered him with uncomfortable questions — Trump zeroed in on the woman, Kelly, for asking him about comments he makes about women. After the debate, Trump said that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

Donald Trump calls her ‘Crooked Hillary,’ but his fans just say ‘b----’

When the Muslim American parents of a soldier killed in Iraq in 2004 appeared at the Democratic National Convention in July in opposition to Trump’s candidacy, Trump zeroed in on the mother, Ghazala Khan, saying in an ABC News interview: “She had nothing to say. She probably — maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.” Khan later said it is still too difficult for her to talk about her son’s death.

In early September, when the hosts of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” were critical of Trump, he zeroed in on the female host, Mika Brzezinski, tweeting: “Just heard that crazy and very dumb @morningmika had a mental breakdown while talking about me on the low ratings @Morning_Joe. Joe a mess!”

Trump has told NBC’s Katy Tur to “be quiet” when she pressed him during a news conference, and snapped at CNN’s Dana Bash on Wednesday that she was “rude” to ask about the propriety of holding an event boosting his new Washington hotel. He urged his millions of Twitter followers to search for a seemingly nonexistent “sex tape” of a former Miss Universe whom he had criticized as fat. And he has accused Hillary Clinton of lacking “a presidential look.”

When Trump made a similar critique of Fiorina during the primaries, she responded: “I think women all over this country heard very clearly what Mr. Trump said.”
 
Trump’s rallies have also been hotbeds of incendiary rhetoric around gender, including popular anti-Clinton T-shirts in many locales proclaiming, “Trump that ­b----!”

John Weaver, a GOP consultant who worked on the presidential campaigns of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, said he is stunned by “the misogyny, the lack of understanding of where this country is now” coming from Trump’s campaign.

“If you have a gender gap the size of the Snake River Canyon, why do you trot out Newt Gingrich, and [former New York mayor] Rudy Giuliani and your nominee to talk about it and further make it worse?” said Weaver, noting that all three men have been married three times. “The only ones I can see who seem to be obsessed about sex in this campaign are those three people.”

Weaver continued: “He’s going to lose the general election, and the credit goes to the women of America who are saving us from this guy.”


October 15, 2014

17 Yr old Boy is Killed in Egypt While defending woman of Sexual Harassment




Ahmed Fayed, 17, stabbed to death while helping women escape sexual harassment
Ahmed Fayed, 17, stabbed to death while helping women escape sexual harassment
Ahmed Fayed, 17, was stabbed to death on Sunday while attempting to rescue women from sexual harassment, reported activist group Shoft Ta7arosh (‘I Saw Harassment’).
According to local media reports, the young man was stabbed in the heart after intervening to stop the sexual harassment of a group of women in the town of Ra’as Al-Bar, located in the governorate of Damietta.
The body of Ahmed has been transported to a local hospital where an autopsy will be performed.
Local police have meanwhile announced that two 17-year-olds and one 18-year-old have been arrested in connection with the stabbing. Police announced that the three teenagers had confessed to the crime shortly after their arrest.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT PLAGUES EID HOLIDAY

While campaigners have noted that there has been a reduction in the number of sexual harassment during this year’s Eid Al-Adha holiday, dozens of cases have nevertheless been reported.
According to “I Saw Harassment,” the second day of Eid saw them witnessing and intervening in 25 cases of harassment in Cairo, while the first day saw 21 incidents in downtown Cairo. However, the group warned that a lower number of cases does not mean that the problem is decreasing, but that heightened security may have had an impact. Moreover, the group’s activities do not cover countless other parks and cities in Egypt.
Holiday seasons in Egypt are normally associated with a peak in sexual harassment. In 2012, security forces reported 727 cases of sexual harassment over Eid Al-Adha.
Sexual harassment continues to be an epidemic in Egypt with almost 99 percent of women surveyed in a report released April 2013 by the United Nations in collaboration with Egypt’s Demographic Centre and the National Planning Institute, have reported being sexually harassed.
A law introduced by former interim President Adli Mansour in May stated that sexual harassers shall face imprisonment for at least one year and a fine of at least 3,000 Egyptian pounds (419 US Dollar).
Previously, Egypt had no specific law forbidding sexual harassment. However, some articles in the penal code were sometimes enforced in the occurrence of harassment cases.
Egypt sees women as very low in the human evolution:
Amr Adib, an Egyptian television host with one of the highest number of viewers in the Middle East, has equated women to servants in his latest episode.
Adib, who is also one of the most influential television hosts in the region, started his segment with a story about a woman in New York telling her new husband that he should wash his dirty dishes, pick up his used towel and clothes.
Adib, looking straight at the camera in an agitated fashion then asks, “is it not in the services of a wife, for when I leave my pants [on the floor], to pick it up? When I leave my dirty plate, to pick it up? We are starting to ask the important historical questions. Why else am I married?”
The co-host, visibly surprised, asks Adib “is that the only reason you are married?”
“No that is not the only reason, but it is not my role to pick up the pants,” replied Adib sternly.
“What do you mean pick up your pants? I came [home] tired. Pick up my pants as well?! After a while she will tell me take a day in the week and wash your clothes with your hands!”
“Something happened to women…what do you mean pick up my plate? I will drop it, you will take off my shirt and tell me ‘don’t worry, drop it again my love,’ and dress me before I sleep and cover me [with blankets] when I am cold, and turn on the air conditioner when I am hot, and not sleep until I sleep!”
The co-host, angered by Adib’s comments, sarcastically remarks “get a nanny then,” further agitating Adib, who has by now lost all his female viewers, to shout “then why is she here!”
Attempting to reason with him, the co-host says that the wife is not a servant, but Adib insists that a wife’s role is to ‘pick up my pants, and my dishes.’
“If you work and she doesn’t work, sure she might have some duties at home, but this doesn’t mean you should be disgusting, throwing your stuff all over the place,” said the co-host.
To this, Adeeb responds “it is not disgusting…it’s being a husband! Just as I saw my dad. He would enter, throw his stuff and my mother would pick it up.”
When the co-host says that this still does not entitle a man to act irresponsibly, Adib exclaims “what, so do you take off your shirt and hang it up yourself?!”

December 10, 2013

The GOP Men Being Sent Back to School



Although the final results of the Virginia governor’s race ended up being much closer than originally expected, the spread between candidates when it came to female voters — and especially those of color — showed that the GOP still hasn’t managed to make much progress in appealing to women. It’s an ongoing problem for the party, which saw easy wins slip from its fingers in a number of senate races in 2012, primarily due to candidates that saw no problem telling women “facts” like being forced to carry a pregnancy from rape against your will is actually a gift from God.
The Republican party is determined to make things different in 2014. To help them achieve this, they have proposed tutoring their male candidates, teaching them how to, among other things, talk to their female challengers.
Yes, the men of the GOP are being sent to school to learn how to not offend women.
“Let me put it this way, some of these guys have a lot to learn,” a Republican staffer who attended the session in Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office told Politico.
That’s quite an understatement indeed. In fact, despite the fact that the 2014 campaign season hasn’t really gotten into swing yet, there’s already been copious signs that major Republicans need some serious one-on-one tutoring. The Kentucky senate race, which is a neck and neck battle between sitting senator Mitch McConell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes has already been fraught with sexist missteps on the part of the GOP, from the National Republican Senatorial Committee promoting blog posts with a sexualized, photoshopped Grimes as an “Obama Girl” to referring to her as an “empty dress.”
“The NRSC should stand for Notoriously Repeating Sexist Comments,” quipped Grimes. ”They cannot relate or connect with the women of Kentucky or our country.”
According to Politico, there will be at a minimum 10 federal races in 2014 that will pit female Democratic challengers against male GOP incumbents. The races are likely to have the fight over Obamacare in the foreground, with many of the Republican males having staked their careers on wanting to eliminate health care reform and affordable, effective insurance.
That’s before we even start on the no copay birth control issue. The GOP continues to see itself slide among women and allies of women who believe that birth control is not a divisive issue, should be easily available, should be a decision made by those who are sexually active or their families, and shouldn’t have coverage denied because some bosses wrongfully believe that it causes abortions or simply think family planning should be up to God.
The “train the candidates to be more sensitive to women” push in reality continues the agenda set right after the 2012 losses, when Susan B. Anthony List and other far right groups announced they would help their endorsees better talk about things like why abortion when the pregnant person is a victim of rape still shouldn’t be allowed. The question is, will it be at all successful?
No, writes Laura Colarusso at The Week. “Whether Republicans can win over female voters just by refining the way they talk about women remains to be seen. Indeed, where they stand on issues like access to contraception and fair pay are probably more important to female voters than whether they are on message at a debate.” She then notes a number of their problematic platform planks, including opposing equal pay, blocking expansion of Medicaid and Medicare, recklessly standing in the way of renewing the Violence Against Women Act and others that are far more hurtful to female voters than their sexist comments.
If the GOP needs help training GOP men to be “a little more sensitive” as Speaker Boehner suggests, they can find plenty of assistance on Twitter via the #howtotalktowomen hashtag. “Have a female opponent? She’ll love it when you refuse to use her title. Refer to her by first name as often as possible,” jokes activist Shelby Knox.
One piece of advice should be taken literally: ”The first step is that you stop talking TO women, and start talking WITH women.”
Although the final results of the Virginia governor’s race ended up being much closer than originally expected, the spread between candidates when it came to female voters — and especially those of color — showed that the GOP still hasn’t managed to make much progress in appealing to women. It’s an ongoing problem for the party, which saw easy wins slip from its fingers in a number of senate races in 2012, primarily due to candidates that saw no problem telling women “facts” like being forced to carry a pregnancy from rape against your will is actually a gift from God.
The Republican party is determined to make things different in 2014. To help them achieve this, they have proposed tutoring their male candidates, teaching them how to, among other things, talk to their female challengers.
Yes, the men of the GOP are being sent to school to learn how to not offend women.
“Let me put it this way, some of these guys have a lot to learn,” a Republican staffer who attended the session in Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office told Politico.
That’s quite an understatement indeed. In fact, despite the fact that the 2014 campaign season hasn’t really gotten into swing yet, there’s already been copious signs that major Republicans need some serious one-on-one tutoring. The Kentucky senate race, which is a neck and neck battle between sitting senator Mitch McConell and Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes has already been fraught with sexist missteps on the part of the GOP, from the National Republican Senatorial Committee promoting blog posts with a sexualized, photoshopped Grimes as an “Obama Girl” to referring to her as an “empty dress.”
“The NRSC should stand for Notoriously Repeating Sexist Comments,” quipped Grimes. ”They cannot relate or connect with the women of Kentucky or our country.”
According to Politico, there will be at a minimum 10 federal races in 2014 that will pit female Democratic challengers against male GOP incumbents. The races are likely to have the fight over Obamacare in the foreground, with many of the Republican males having staked their careers on wanting to eliminate health care reform and affordable, effective insurance.
That’s before we even start on the no copay birth control issue. The GOP continues to see itself slide among women and allies of women who believe that birth control is not a divisive issue, should be easily available, should be a decision made by those who are sexually active or their families, and shouldn’t have coverage denied because some bosses wrongfully believe that it causes abortions or simply think family planning should be up to God.
The “train the candidates to be more sensitive to women” push in reality continues the agenda set right after the 2012 losses, when Susan B. Anthony List and other far right groups announced they would help their endorsees better talk about things like why abortion when the pregnant person is a victim of rape still shouldn’t be allowed. The question is, will it be at all successful?
No, writes Laura Colarusso at The Week. “Whether Republicans can win over female voters just by refining the way they talk about women remains to be seen. Indeed, where they stand on issues like access to contraception and fair pay are probably more important to female voters than whether they are on message at a debate.” She then notes a number of their problematic platform planks, including opposing equal pay, blocking expansion of Medicaid and Medicare, recklessly standing in the way of renewing the Violence Against Women Act and others that are far more hurtful to female voters than their sexist comments.
If the GOP needs help training GOP men to be “a little more sensitive” as Speaker Boehner suggests, they can find plenty of assistance on Twitter via the #howtotalktowomen hashtag. “Have a female opponent? She’ll love it when you refuse to use her title. Refer to her by first name as often as possible,” jokes activist Shelby Knox.
One piece of advice should be taken literally: ”The first step is that you stop talking TO women, and start talking WITH women.”
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