Sunday, April 14, 2013

This is a tragedy

Audrie Pott suicide: Grim picture of Saratoga teen's final online cries of despair

This is a tragedy. When will young men be held accountable?? What questions should we be asking about our culture to understand why events like this are becoming more prevalent?

A promising life taken well before her life began...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Beauty in Asia

But at what cost, and who decides that beauty is only skin deep!

Climate Change in Kenya is Changing Women's Lives

Climate Change in Kenya is changing women’s lives

Ann Kobia Makena - WNN Features
Mother and son in Kenya desert
On July 16, 2011 a boy and his mother struggle with the dusty wind looking for water in Wajir, Kenya. This is the impact of climate change in Kenya. Experts say that through long range efforts with environmental conservation this scene could be improved. Image: Jervis Sundays/Kenya Red Cross Society/USAid
(WNN) Nairobi, KENYA, AFRICA: Under a swiftly shifting landscape in rural Kenya, climate change and its impacts have drastically changed numerous lives in the African nation of Kenya, especially for rural Kenyan pastoralists who depend almost exclusively on rainfall and adequate water supplies. Water in local ecosystems has been shifting as changes in local rivers, lakes and waterholes have been the deciding factor for numerous families who have moved away from home areas due to extreme drought.

With multi-dimensional roles as mothers, providers and often heads-of-households, women in rural areas of Kenya are also most often the managers of local on-the-ground natural resources. This is especially true for Kenya’s women farmers because of their reliance on nature and nature-based income sources. Women farmers in rural Kenya often hold the key to food security in the region.

The majority of the world’s small-scale farmers are women. In fact women produce most of the world’s food. But climate change has made the risky business of farming all the more difficult. More frequent crop failures mean women work harder and families eat less. “Climate change threatens to lock poor people and women in particular in a vicious cycle of poverty,” said Founder and Director of Kenya Climate Justice Women Champions Cecilia Kibe in a one-on-one interview with WNN – Women News Network.
As rural family incomes reach some of the lowest levels ever in Kenya, husbands have been leaving their homes to seek work in urban areas. Those left behind are women and children.

Often left alone to deal with climate based conditions, women and children are also the first in line to become the victims of climate unpredictability and wrath. Drought and flash floods have become part of the national landscape that have caused critical changes in the lives of those most vulnerable. “Droughts cause more death and displacement than cyclones, floods and earthquakes combined, making them the world’s most destructive natural hazard. They are expected to increase in frequency, area and intensity due to climate change. There is therefore an urgent need for coordinated drought and proactive policies,” said Michel Jarraud of the World Meteorological Organization during the recent March 2013 High-Level Meeting on National Drought Policy organized by the United Nations in Geneva.

Instability in rainfall has been causing regional concern as prolonged and increasing expansion of deserts throughout the African continent continue. This issue is at the heart of the March 2013 UN High Level Meeting. But how are the women farmers and pastoralists of Kenya dealing directly with climate changes inside their region? “Women are at the centre of [the] climate change challenge; they have been disproportionately affected as victims,” outlines Director Kibe of Kenya. “It is more difficult for grassroots women who find themselves managing families in very strenuous circumstances where traditional livelihoods are under threat and where men are often absent,” Kibe adds.

Agriculture is the main economic stimulus for Kitui County in the eastern region of Kenya. With its arid and semi-arid ecological zones impacts on the environment under climate are glaring and threatening the survival of small-scale farmers and agri-pastoralists, a majority who are women.
A diverse array of impacts has been hitting the Kenyan region including increasing water scarcity, erratic and unreliable rainfall, more frequent and severe droughts and disappearance of animal and plant species, among others.

As women farmers throughout Kenya try to survive their small-scale agribusinesses growing maize, peas, beans, and cow pea crops are being greatly impacted. According to the USDA- U.S. Department of Agriculture corn production for Kenya is down 100,000 metric tons this year over the previous year’s production, although it is showing above the five year average for production.“The estimated decrease in production is based on several factors including delayed planting due to the late onset of Kenya’s 2012 rainy season and poor availability of fertilizer and seed, higher than average precipitation in April and May, and an outbreak of Maize Lethal Necrosis (MLN) disease,” says the USDA as indications that rainfall changes are causing alterations in food production become apparent.

Other women farmers who are involved in raising chicken and zebu cattle. Some women in Kitui County are closely involved with livelihoods that work directly to serve the community. This service includes fiber-sisal farming, gathering and selling of water and/or selling of wood and charcoal. Because of their reliance on nature–based income sources, rural women in Kenya are often the ones who know first, before anyone else, how climate change impacts are affecting their communities. Uniting , amplifying and strengthening grassroots women to get involved in the climate change response is a core focus of Cecilia Kibe and the Kenya climate Justice Women Champions.

Too often Kenyan women, and women throughout the continent of Africa, who have closely witnessed climate patterns for decades are ‘stepped over’ as global scientific experts are given new and increasing resources to study and discuss climate change impacts worldwide. There is no doubt today that data and assessment are important factors in an ever changing field of climate-watch technologies but “Where are the women?” say advocates.

Sex For Diesel

Sex for Diesel

For many impoverished young women who live in the remote villages of Brazil's Amazon River, passing cargo ships are their only link to the outside world — and sex with the men who work on them, their only source of livelihood.

woman and baby
Photo Credit: Nadia Shira Cohen and Paul Siqueira
They're called ribeirinhas, or river people, those who live along the straits of the Amazon River in northern Brazil. For them, life has always been about survival. In the village of São Francisco da Jararaca, the only viable work disappeared with the closing of a wood-cutting factory years ago. Now many young women turn to cruising cargo ships to make a living.

Every day, women and girls row up and down the river in canoes, chasing the ships. Once they catch one, they climb aboard, offering the sailors items for sale: Some are peddling shrimp and fruit, but increasingly, many are selling themselves. But the women aren't having sex for money — they're out to earn diesel, the most coveted commodity in this area where electricity is scarce and those who can afford it use diesel-operated personal generators.

Few ribeirinhas see the work as prostitution, in part because many women frequent one sailor, creating a dynamic that resembles a committed relationship. Some families even have dreams that the sailors will become more than customers. "I hope my daughter will get together with a ship captain so she can get out of here," said villager Dona Raimunda, who has worked the straits for years. Otherwise, "she is going to end up living the same life as me, on these rivers, from one cargo ship to the next." Married women work the ships, too, while their husbands wait at home eagerly for their earnings. It's survival.

Read more: Amazon Ribeirinhas - Women in Brazil Having Sex for Diesel - Marie Claire

Marketing Matters

Unintentional, or a mistake in judgment call?  Consumers are paying attention to how items are marketed and when something seems off, they are calling businesses out on it.  Recently, Target released the same dress in average and plus size ranges (the regular or average vs. plus naming protocol is a whole other issue).  While the color was called "dark heather" on the average/regular/ladies sizing, the plus sizes were called "manatee gray" for the same fabric and dye.  The information was shared via twitter and consumers who felt this was offensive to plus size customers contacted Target Stores to lodge their complaints.  The company has since apologized and corrected the "oversight" on their website.  Social media used effectively has an impact.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Equal Pay Day 2013

Did you wear red?  The red is to symbolize how far "in the red" women and minorities are compared to men.  The National Committee on Pay Equity site ( features a "what you can do" link and directs workers to the Wage Project site (

There workers can evaluate their "wage worth" and have a starting point for negotiations.  Yes, negotiations; we can and should speak up regarding our right to earn an equal wage.  We have the technological tools available to determine if our earnings are in line with comparable positions in our areas.

Girl Rising, April 19-25

The documentary film, Girl Rising, was so well received that select mainstream theaters will be featuring it for the week of April 19-April 25, 2013.  Featuring the stories of nine girls, from nine countries, their tales written by nine authors and read by nine actresses.  The production is by 10x10, whose motto tells us to Educate a Girl, Change the World.  Do not miss the opportunity to participate in this viewing.   More information is available at including content and rating information as well as access to show sites and times.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Birth Culture-NYTimes Slideshow

The pictures in this slideshow are moving and I warn you, if you are sensitive, it may bring tears to your eyes (like it did mine)!

This is a slide show of mothers and women within birthing centers and hospitals globally.  Labor and delivery is a cultural thing, just as is many other aspects of maternity.

Click here for SlideShow

Click here for Article

Little Mosque

I wanted to share this here.  I also shared this on the discussion board, but wanted to be sure everyone got a chance to at least watch a couple episodes.

This show address many misconceptions westerners may have about Muslim women.  Well, at least it addressed many things I had questions about.

One of the main characters is a Muslim women who is also a feminist.  She offers us an glimpse at what it is like to deal with things like Hijabs, Birkas, prayer barriers, and other Islamic ideas that are sometimes viewed as oppressive to women.  She offers us a cross-cultural example of both a western Canadian born Muslim women.  the show centers around her family and their experiences within the small mosque.  But it's very cute and family friendly, as well as comical.  Babar also gives us the extremist satire most of us use to define Islam.  You can very clearly see the Islam and Islamist individuals.

Enjoy :)

Click HERE to watch Little Mosque on HULU

Miss O and Friends

It's Your Business—Run It! Juliette Brindak, 23-year-old founder of, created a safe online space giving girls ages 8-14 the chance to express themselves and connect with other girls their age. This age group, also known as "tweens," endures countless physical and emotional changes, and Juliette became financially literate and used her growing business savvy to create a monumental support system for girls. Check out her video introducing her business, and share your thoughts with us!

Monday, April 1, 2013

GSUSA Young Woman of Distinction Jamila

I am passionate about Girl Scouts and love to read and hear about young women taking the initiative to make changes in our world.  Listen to this short video clip about Jamila and learn more about the Invisible Children and what you can do to help.

Brave Girls Club

Check out the Brave Girls Club.  "We are on a wild and crazy mission to find all of the brave women of the help them find each other...then to change the world with good news, good ideas, good people, and good times. "