Celebrate International Women’s Day differently

Today is International Women’s Day, marked around the world in many different ways.

It’s also the 100th anniversary of the start of the Russian Revolution – on 8 March 1917, female textile workers protested in Petrograd, forcing the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, and Russian women won the right to vote.

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Cast a look on social media today and you’ll be inundated with photos, videos, memes, statistics, quotes and a host of other visuals commemorating women’s achievements through the ages, the further struggles that lie ahead, the reality of women’s oppression around the world today, or – sometimes – funny jokes. Many of these are informative, heart-breaking, inspiring and/or important to share.

But so many are mere platitudes, which illicit a response for all of five seconds before they’re gone from your mind. Like these ones, from Instagram and the official IWD page:

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This will form the bulk of most people’s contributions today; a simple message (sometimes with grammatical errors) saying ‘Happy Women’s Day’, and a few cheerleader-esque platitudes, and fin.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with that, simply because that’s the way most of us mark a special day/holiday on social media. I wanted to take the chance today to write about what it means for me, and why some of the ways in which IWD is ‘celebrated’ make me uncomfortable.

First of all, a cursory glance at social media or at the many protests taking place globally today (check out #DayWithoutWomen on Twitter and Instagram for some truly powerful photos and symbols of resistance) will show you that most of those partaking are women. That’s antithetical to a movement as powerful as feminism.

Feminism is about equality, opportunity, choice and freedom.

That’s universal, so I don’t like to see that mostly women are sharing these posts, or wishing each other, or being the most visible participants.

However, that’s an issue of the feminist movement as a whole, not necessarily with today – but it’s one of the many glaring examples of where we need to ensure we’re a more inclusive movement. During the Budapest Women’s March in January for example, about 95% of those attending were women, despite the organisers being men from Greenpeace. What’s wrong with today, and with the movement, that it’s seen to involve or target women, rather than address fundamental issues about opportunity, freedom and justice?

Secondly, these platitudes. What do they say of our struggle to date, of the millions of women around the world who have given their lives, freedoms and rights so we’re allowed the rights we have today (and so I can blog about it right now?)

It feels cheap, somehow, to quote a Beyoncé song or post a tokenistic picture of super-heroines. If we’re going down the diversity route, where is the Maori Wonder Woman? Where’s the tall, fat woman? Where’s the Native American, the south Asian, the hijab-clad Muslim Wonder Woman?

Attempts to get shares on social media, or reblogs of zippy soundbites, are not what we need. We need today to be about more than that, and for an actual commitment from more than just women to the longer term causes.

Feminism:

My dad, one of the first real feminists in my life and a constant source of strength and inspiration (fine, I may be a little biased) shared a series of Tweets which perfectly encapsulates the day and how we ought to think more about our movement.

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Third, I notice that people speak about women’s rights, opportunities and achievements only on this day. The struggle for equality and freedom is ongoing, and we can’t reserve all our activism, passion or anger for just one day. We should champion achievements, highlight the road ahead and speak about these issues constantly if we’re to make any impact.

We’ll post a picture, maybe share an article or two, and for the most part, I see so many people leave their activism there – it’s called clicktivism for a reason, and it’s not enough.

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So to that end, I’ve thought about ways we can make our dedication to the issues underlying today’s celebration more relevant and lasting – the easiest way is to donate to an organisation near you, volunteer time, arrange campaigns and join coalitions in your area. I’ve trawled the internet and my own database of resources, and here are some ideas for ways in which we can be of service to our global sisterhood beyond today.

 

CAF America shares this inspiring set of ways to educate yourself on the issues facing women, and the work done to combat it, here.

UN Women’s focus this year is ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 505-50 by 2030.’ Read more about their campaign here, the events they’re hosting and the wealth of resources to support representation in the work place.

Women in the global workforce

Courtesy UN Women

Womankind UK shares this page of resources, with links to their global partners.

You can filter by geography, and learn more about the work of each of these incredible groups. Here are some examples:

Afghan Women Resource Centre (AWRC)

AWRC strives to help women improve their economic and social well-being and enables them to become active in decision-making processes. They encourage them to stand up for their rights and be active and confident members within their families and communities.

The Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (Gender Centre)

The Gender Centre is committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of women. It works with both women’s groups and other organisations providing support and training in areas such as implementing women’s rights, project planning and campaigning. The Gender Centre was established in 1995 to make sure women’s rights were included in development programmes in Ghana.

WHR Nepal campaigners

Courtesy Womankind UK

Here are some excellent globally-focussed groups working on women’s empowerment, access rights, championing leadership and representation, or working towards equality and justice:

 

Women for Women International

A nonprofit that works with women who have experienced war, civil strife and other conflicts, providing them with the tools and resources to become financially independent and self-sufficient, WfWI was founded in 1993 and has helped more than 351,000 women through direct aid, rights education, job skills training and small business development. They currently operate in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Kosovo, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan. Women for Women International offers a one year program that teaches job skills and business training to women in conflict, in addition to facilitating group therapy sessions for war survivors.

 

Every Mother Counts

An advocacy and mobilization campaign to reduce maternal mortality, which seeks to improve the health and well-being of women and girls worldwide by educating and supporting maternal mortality reduction. Hundreds of thousands of women die each year from pregnancy complications or childbirth difficulties, 90% of these deaths are preventable. No Woman, No Cry is a documentary by Christy Turlington that shares the stories of at-risk pregnant women from around the globe. The film spreads the message of the need for  resources and education to reduce maternal mortality. The nonprofit also collects old mobile phones to be donated to health care providers in rural areas to provide better communication and medical services.

 

The Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

The Association of Women’s Rights in Development is an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights. AWID provides comprehensive information and analysis on women’s human rights and global issues.

 

Samahope

Millions of people worldwide lack access to basic surgical care. Local doctors and resources are stretched thin to provide medical care on a large scale. To address this issue, Samahope enables supporters worldwide to fund these doctors through crowdfunding. Donations underwrite treatments for birth injuries, burns, birth defects, blindness and trauma-based injuries. The platform has activated more than 3,000 donors to impact the lives of over 6,000 patients.

 

Dressember

In 2013, Dressember’s fifth year, the organization aligned with International Justice Mission, a human rights organization that works to rescue victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and modern-day slavery. That year, 1,233 registered participants around the world rallied to collectively raise over $165,000. Participation doubled the next year, and the campaign raised more than $465,000. Starting in 2015, the campaign will increase its partnerships with other anti-trafficking organizations.

 

Girls Who Code

Seventy-four percent of middle schools girls express interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), but only 0.4 percent of high school girls choose computer science as their major. Girls Who Code aims to empower girls with the computer science education and skill sets needed to pursue 21st century opportunities. The deputy public advocate of New York City, Reshma Saujani, the organization’s founder and CEO, started Girls Who Code to close the gender gap in technology. In 2014, its programs served 375 girls in multiple cities. Some 90 percent continued to pursue computer science or a closely related field as their major or minor, and 77 percent changed paths because of their time with Girls Who Code. By moving toward gender parity in computing fields, more girls will be equipped with the tools they need to innovate and incite social change.

 

Ultraviolet Edge Initiative

The Ultraviolet Edge is a global initiative of Urban Decay Cosmetics to empower women. By helping to fund organizations that fight for the rights of women everywhere, Urban Decay encourages all women to embrace their individuality in everything they do.

 

Women’s Partnership Market

Women’s Partnership Market supports grassroots organizations like Women’s Global to empower female entrepreneurs through access to business training and microfinance to address the root causes of poverty.

 

 

Bustle’s list of groups also includes some international organisations, such as:

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Courtesy Camfed

Camfed

International nonprofit Camfed has been pioneering girls’ education programs in sub-Saharan Africa since 1993. According to its website, the organization’s programs have directly supported more than a million students through primary and secondary school. To donate, head over to the Camfed website.

Engeder Health

Family planning is a pressing issue for women, and that’s the focus of global nonprofit EngenderHealth, along with STI prevention and maternal health. Check out the organization for yourself and donate here.

Pro Mujer:

Founded in Bolivia in 1990, Pro Mujer is a women’s development organization distributing small loans to women in Latin America. Since its creation, Pro Mujer has loaned out more than $2.8 billion, $340 million of which was distributed last year. Donate here.

Pathfinder: 

According to its website, global nonprofit Pathfinder “envisions a world where everyone has access to contraception, where there are zero new HIV infections, where no woman dies from preventable pregnancy-related complications, and where everyone leads a healthy sexual and reproductive life.” The organization is dedicated to worldwide sexual health using a groundbreaking community-based model. Donate here.

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#Freedom2Me

In celebration of the end of World War Two 70 years ago, the Anne Frank House have launched a fascinating social media campaign called ‘Freedom 2 Me’. Since then, governments, policy-makers, international institutions and civil society around the world has struggled with some horrific examples of human freedoms being curtailed, and basic human rights ignored.

Can we truly say we have let go of the barbaric methods of the past, when modern day slavery, gender discrimination, sexual crimes, war crimes, torture and a multitude of other horrors are still very much a reality in our world?

This campaign is asking us to share what the idea of freedom means to us – as individuals or as a collective of humans.

What does freedom even mean? Is freedom defined the same way in every country? Do some people have more freedoms than others? It seems like a lot of people take freedom for granted. Not everybody in the world is free. In what way are you limited in your freedom and what kind of freedom would you wish for the future?

Share these ideas via social media – through their Facebook page, and on your own social media with the hashtag ‘#Freedom2Me’. Here’s mine!

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8 Women who made the World a better place in 2014 (Reblog)

Happy International Women’s Day! It’s a day we celebrate the women and girls in our lives and also look to others around the world. Today in Budapest, I was out with my boyfriend and was amazed by the sheer number of flower vendors and florists which had just popped up over-night!

As Andrew quipped, the difference between love and lust can really be seen in places like this. We stopped at a florist where I was treated to a beautiful bunch of tulips and he saw a man staggering under the weight of what must have been 30 or 40 long-stemmed red roses. Whereas I was told “not to go too mad and buy the whole shop”!

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But I digress – I want to talk about International Women’s Day, not just my Saturday!

Quite often, news outlets and NGOs are quick to share links about the tragedies faced by girls around the world. Malala Yousafzai’s face and story is all over the internet today, alongside stories about the ongoing global struggle against child marriage, rape, torture and abuse.

But this year, I wanted to look at some positive examples of female empowerment and some cheerier stories.

I found this on the Huffington Post and have shamelessly stolen it. I find this is a much more life-affirming way to celebrate women. Let’s look at what has been achieved and what we have to proud of as a global society, because if we keep looking at all the terrible atrocities faced by women every day, we’ll never want to try fighting the fight. These are the sort of stories which keep me motivated to keep writing about women’s rights so I hope you get something out of it too!

1. Afghanistan’s first female police chief showed the world what courage looks like.

Col. Jamila Bayaz was appointed to run security in the Kabul’s District 1 in January, becoming the first woman in such a senior frontline role. The mother-of-5 is responsible for policing an area of the Afghan capital that includes the presidential palace, government ministries and the central bank. “This is a chance not just for me, but for the women of Afghanistan,” she told NBC. “I will not waste it. I will prove that we can handle this burden.”

Women in Afghanistan have faced a steep battle to reenter the workforce and public life after the end of the Taliban’s restrictive rule. They still face considerable obstacles including discrimination from an ultraconservative society and the threat of militant attacks. Afghan policewomen have been targeted by insurgents and several women in public office were assassinated in 2013, according to the Associated Press. Bayaz is undaunted: “I am ready to serve, I am not scared nor am I afraid,” she told AP.

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Col. Jamila Bayaz talks on the phone at her office in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini)

2. Xiao Meili put a taboo subject back on the map.

Xiao Meili set off the remarkable journey in late 2013 to walk more than 1,200 miles between her home in China’s capital Beijing and the southern city Guangzhou to raise awareness of sexual abuse in the country. The 24-year-old woman told Time Magazine she hopes the unusual sight of a female backpacker on China’s roads will draw attention to how authorities handle abuse and will break the social stigma victims often face. At each town along the way, Meili and her supporters post letters to local officials urging them to investigate abuse allegations, screen teachers and improve sex education.

Meili’s journey has developed a popular following on social media and she asks women in each town to walk with her or offer her a couch for the night, according to Global Voices. “China’s traditional idea is that it is dangerous for females to travel alone outside. But conversely, so many sexual abuse cases take place in places we thought were safe like schools and buses,” she told China’s Global Times. “This is not an arduous walk. Each step represents a female protest at society.”

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Xiao Meili explains her “feminist walk” in a social media post. (Youku.com/screenshot)

3. Azizah Al-Yousef began a campaign to end Saudi Arabia’s oppressive male guardianship system.

Azizah al-Yousif has been a thorn in the side of Saudi Arabia’s conservative establishment since she launched the October 26 Women’s Driving Campaign last year. In a bid to end the Kingdom’s ban on female drivers, women posted YouTube clips of themselves driving online. “We are sick and tired of waiting to be given our rights,” al-Yousif told CNN at the time. “It’s about time to take our rights.”

Now al-Yousif is pressuring authorities to end the country’s male guardianship system, which forces women to ask the permission of male relatives to travel, work, complete education, get medical treatment or a passport. The Saudi Gazette reports that together with a group of activists, al-Yousif sent a petition to the Kingdom’s Shura council to demand reform. “This petition renews our demands as women. We want our issues to be put on the top of the Council’s priority list,” she said.

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Screenshot of a video posted by the Saudi women driving campaign shows Azizah al-Yousif at the wheel. (YouTube/screenshot)

4. The Central African Republic’s interim president Catherine Samba-Panza gave a violence-stricken nation new hope.

Catherine Samba-Panza, a women’s rights activist and reconciliation advocate who is known in the Central African Republic as “mother courage,” was selected to lead the country in January amid devastating ethnic clashes that forced more than 1 million people to flee their homes. As CAR’s first female president, she pledged to lead the country away from the circle of bloodshed. “At the very heart of the people, I felt this desire to elect a woman who could bring peace and reconciliation,” Samba-Panza said of her presidency, according to The Guardian. She has a formidable task ahead of her. This week the UN warned of “religious cleansing” and immanent danger to civilians trapped amid the fighting, Reuters reported.

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President Catherine Samba-Panza sits in the parliament building before taking the oath of office in Bangui, Central African Republic, Jan. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

5. Ukrainian pop icon Ruslana became a champion of the country’s protest movement.

Ruslana is one of Ukraine’s most famous pop singers and brought the country to victory at the EuroVision song contest in 2004. She is also a passionate social activist, so when protests against President Viktor Yanukovych erupted last November, Ruslana became a nightly fixture on stage at the protest camp in Kiev, according to Newsweek. “A public person, musician or artist should exercise their civic activism to be the voice of the people,” she told the magazine. The Washington Post reported that some of her performances at the EuroMaidan protest hub lasted up to 10 hours.

When the protest movement was met with brutal repression, eventually leading to Yanukovych’s downfall, Ruslana was devastated but defiant. “We no longer sing or dance, despite the severe cold. We understand that today the fate of the country [that has taken] several decades to come hangs in the balance. Instead of singing, we pray,” she wrote in an email to Newsweek in February. With Yankovych now in exile and tensions high as Russian troops flood Crimea, Ruslana called for the country to join together peacefully. “Ukrainians are strong enough to unite, we understand that propaganda is designed to divide us,” she told the BBC.

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Ruslana performs on an anti-government barricade in central Kiev on Feb. 10, 2014. (SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)

6. Mehrezia Labidi helped enshrine gender equality in Tunisia’s post-Arab Spring constitution.

As vice-president of Tunisia’s constituent assembly, Mehrezia Labidi led the tumultuous debates over the country’s post-Arab Spring constitution. Labidi is the most senior female politician of the ruling Islamist part, Ennahda, and took a firm line for women’s rights throughout the debates, often to the disappointment of her own party. “It’s like giving birth: painful, but in the end everyone is happy when the child arrives,” she told Deutsche Welle.

The constitution that passed in January was celebrated as a breakthrough for women’s rights. Labidi helped push through key gender quality provisions by allying with secular politicians, the BBC explains. “I have always achieved everything I wanted myself. Sometimes I wonder whether men could compete with me,” she told the network.

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Mehrzia Laabidi speaks during a Tunisian National Constituent Assembly session in Tunis on Jan. 17, 2014. (FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)

7. Lena Klimova gave Russian gay teens a voice online.

Just days before the Sochi Winter Olympics opened in February, young journalist Lena Klimova was charged under Russia’s controversial ban on “gay propaganda.” Authorities targeted Klimova because of her incredibly popular “Youth-404” website (404 designating “page not found”) where gay teens write about their struggles with homophobia in the country.

Faced with a stringent fine, Klimova was most concerned about Russian youth losing access to the forum, according to The Guardian. “If it will be closed, LGBT teenagers will lose the only place where they can openly speak about themselves and receive advice they need to live. It will be a catastrophe,” she wrote on Facebook. But with the world’s attention on Russia during the Olympics in Sochi the case was haltedand Klimova’s website was able to give a voice to outcast teenagers for at least a while longer.

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Lena Klimova pictured in a handout photo. (Elena Klimova)

8. Zainab Bangura pushed countries to recognize that sexual violence in conflict has to stop.

As the U.N. special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Bangura has seen first-hand the devastating effect of rape used as a weapon of war. Bangura, who lived through the 1991-2002 civil war in her native Sierra Leone, told Reuters: “For me, one rape is too many.”

Since she took up the role in 2012, Bangura says she has seen “a political momentum that is unprecedented” to combat sexual violence in conflict, including a U.N. declaration in which 140 member states have committed to ending rape in conflict, Buzzfeed reported. In February, Bangura’s office struck another victory when the U.N. and African Union signed an agreement to prevent and respond to conflict-related violence in Africa.

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Zainab Bangura gives a press conference at the United Nations office in Nairobi on April 4, 2013. (TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

No Comment – Canary Wharf Protest

There was a protest today, outside my office in Canary Wharf. We were told it would be an anti-capitalism and anti-government protest, and would be peaceful and harmless.

I decided to join in during my lunch break, since I agree with what they had to say (despite working in Canary Wharf). I spent about an hour with them, and thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Considering the hype about this event, I was surprised to see how calm and normal it all was – very similar to most protests. There were groups of anti-capitalists, but there were also groups lobbying on behalf of other issues. I helped pamphlet for a group petitioning for asylum seekers’ rights. As an immigrant in the UK, it’s a topic close to my heart.

Another surprising observation was the number of policemen and security guards.

Check out these photos, let me know what you think. Did you participate in any of these protests across London? How did you find the atmosphere?

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Peaceful Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Government protests in Canary Wharf

Peaceful Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Government protests in Canary Wharf

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Peaceful Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Government protests in Canary Wharf

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Peaceful Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Government protests in Canary Wharf

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Peaceful Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Government protests in Canary Wharf

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Peaceful Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Government protests in Canary Wharf

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Peaceful Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Government protests in Canary Wharf

No Comment: The Turkish Spring?

I found this interesting Op/Ed piece in Hurriyet Daily, one of the most well-read English-language papers in the Turkish press.

It addresses the issue of whether the latest rounds of protests, demonstrations and, yes, violence, in Taksim Square in Istanbul has anything to do with the Arab Spring which swept through the Middle East two years ago.

Let me know what you think, I found his perspective interesting. The English may not be that great, but it’s certainly worth thinking about.

Why is it not a ‘Turkish spring’?

MURAT YETKİN

murat.yetkin@hurriyet.com.tr

The five day wave of protests which started to claim for the last green spot in the Taksim square of Istanbul and spread across Turkey marked a few points:

– For the first time in 11 years of Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) rule in Turkey, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan had to retire a project that he was very keen on due to a national scale wave of protests resulted on June 1. Erdoğan is no more keen on building a big shopping mall as a part of the historical artillery barracks (which he did not paddled back), but raised the bar on another sensitive issue as to build a mosque there. That could be an indication that he will never forget Taksim example and will ‘not remain silent’ as he said on a TV show on June 2.

– The Taksim move by government has been perceived by the public opinion as Erdoğan’s personal will, perhaps as a matter of accumulated reaction, despite the fact that it was a collective decision by Istanbul’s municipal assembly. Erdoğan doesn’t hide his anger that he was called to resign by demonstrators for days and denounced as a ‘dictator’ by both protestors and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. He made this a point three times on June 2 on three different occasions of addressing people.

– The fears that the protestations could escalate and blood could be shed because of though police stance and growing reaction of the crowds on June 1, faded out in a few hours whan police withdrew from the Taksim square with its pepper gas and water cannon squads, following President Abdullah Gül’s telephone call to Erdoğan and then his official statement mainly calling the police to tone down and to protestors to hear what the government was saying. In the same framework, Kılıçdaroğlu who had cancelled a CHP demonstration planned for the same day and asked his supporters to join Taksim protestors, did not show up in Taksim, as a gesture of not trying to hijack it.

– That will have consequences in politics as Turkey is getting prepared for the Presidential elections in 2014 and Erdoğan has been eyeing to get elected, but with more powers and less checks and balances over the executive powers of presidency. Gül and Constitutional Court (which composed of judges appointed by Gül) as being the two bodies who have the capacity to turn down legislations made clear that they were against weakening of checks-and-balances to give superior powers to president.

– That is why the ‘Turkish Spring’ analogy of the Taksim protests in reference to the Arab Spring was too quick and over-stretching of reality in Turkey; democratic actors have still power in power here to intervene in and contribute for a settlement which can be effective in a short period of time. It is true that the Taksim protests demonstrated the ‘other 50 percent’s’ worriers regarding not only about a secular way of life but also about a less pluralistic society and politics.

Those points will definitely have an effect the local and presidential elections in 2014 and perhaps on the Parliamentary elections in 2015.

International Women’s Day: Global Political Rights

Check out this fantastic interactive map from The Guardian, which shows the status of global political rights for women:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/datablog/interactive/2013/mar/08/international-womens-day-political-rights

Kony 2012

We built a community around the idea that where you live shouldn’t determine how you live.

The unseen became visible.

Another video sensation has been doing the rounds on social media since Monday. Invisible Children’s feature ‘Kony 2012’ has, at last count, 446,139 YouTube hits.

Invisible Children was set up in 2004 by Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole. The trio went to Africa in 2003 hoping to make a documentary on the Darfur (Jason is a film-maker by trade).

Instead, they were drawn into the conflict sweeping Central Africa, Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army and came back with a different idea.

A few years later, they released a powerful documentary titled ‘Invisible Children’, about the child soldiers kidnapped and mutilated by the LRA in the name of Joseph Kony.

In their own words, the company uses “the power of media to inspire young people to help end the longest-running armed conflict in Africa.”

These activities include a biannual film tour, social media campaigns and awareness-building events.

Invisible Children has also branched out to educational and microfinance initiatives.

Luis Moreno Ocampo, head prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, says that Kony is guilty of “war crimes against the civilian population, including murder, sexual slavery, rapes, abductions…we need to plan how to arrest him and it has to be serious. In fact, the only way to stop Kony is to show him, ‘Hey, we’re going to arrest you.’ “

Sento Okot Lapolo, a politician in Uganda, reiterates the country’s commitment to throwing Kony out of power.

We have to let the world know, we have to let the international community know, and to take justice to him, there. Follow him wherever he is, first to recover our children and then to deliver justice.

Norbert Mao, president of the Democratic Party, says they are determined to cooperate with an friend of Uganda to “ensure that this mindless killing and slaughter is ended.”

There’s also a more than a note of disappointment with the White House, when both Jason and John Pendergast of ‘Enough’ talk about Washington’s unwillingness to get involved if national security or financial stability isn’t at stake. “It’s not an important enough issue on the radar of American foreign policy”, Pendergast adds.

So Jason decided to help in his own way. They rebuilt schools, created jobs and put in place an early warning radio network on the frontline of the war, with real-time updates on the civil war.

One of their members explained that the strength of ‘Invisible Children’ comes from the sum of its parts:

I’ve talked to people from Mexico, Canada, every state I can think of…We’re all doing this for the same reason. And we all come from completely different places. This is what the world should be like.

Jim Inhofe, a Republican Senator from Oklahoma, was one of the first to voice his support for Invisible Children’s campaign of awareness and activism. “Of all the problems that are out there, none is more severe than one which mutilates and takes the lives of little kids.”

Congressman Jim McGovern, the Democratic representative from Massachusetts, added his voice: “So they [Invisible Children’s members] were determined to become their voice. They realised that these African children and families were invisible to Washington policymakers so they decided to make them visible.”

So visible that in October 2011, after eight years of campaigning, President Obama authorised 100 US Army advisors to go to Uganda and help train the nation’s army, so they may be able to find Joseph Kony and bring him to the ICC to stand trial for war crimes.

However in December, Kony changed his tactics and vanished even deeper into hiding. Little or no progress has been made since then to find him.

One of Invisible Children’s goals is to mobilise the local population through education, microfinance and other socioeconomic development tools, so they can take control of their country and help Kony’s regime fall.

Watch this video in full-screen.