5 women won Nobel Prizes this year

13 10 2009

This year there are five female recipients of a Nobel Prize, which sets a record for female winners throughout the Prize’s 114 year long history.  Who are the winners?

1. Elinor Ostrom, 76, an American political scientist from Indiana University who made history by being the first woman to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for her research that examines how common resources–such as forests, fisheries, oil fields, and grazing lands–are more efficiently managed by local communities than by private corporations or the government.  She was awarded it alongside fellow American Oliver Williamson for their work in economic governance.

Ostrom was constantly discouraged from being an economist because she was a woman, but her accomplishment in being the first woman to win the Nobel Prize for Economics shows that she broke through a glass ceiling.  It serves as an inspiring reminder that girls and women can succeed in historically male dominated fields.

2. Elizabeth H. Blackburn, 60, and Carol W. Greider, 48, who were both awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine with Jack W. Szostak for their work in figuring out how chromosomes protect themselves from degrading during cell division.  Blackburn is American and Greider has dual US-Australian citizenship.

3. Ada Yonath, 70, an Israeli, who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Americans Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz for their work on atom-by-atom description of ribosomes.

4. Herta Mueller, 56, a Romanian-born German writer who won the Nobel Prize in literature for her writings on life behind the Iron Curtain.

Ever since the conception of the Nobel Prizes, only 40 women around the world have been awarded them.  It’s excellent that women are finally getting more recognition for the significant work that they’ve done.  Congratulations to all of them!





Tomorrow marks the 8th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan

6 10 2009

Tomorrow, Wednesday October 7th, marks the 8th Anniversary of the War in Afghanistan.  Earlier this year, President Obama announced his 10 year plan for Afghanistan which entailed of adding 21,000 more U.S. military forces deployed in Iraq and diplomatic engagement of Pakistan.  This is misguided – the way to Peace in Afghanistan will not come through more military force.  That will only lead to more civilian casualties and inner turmoil.  The war in Afghanistan will only end if the public keeps demanding it.  It is time to tap into the political momentum for peace.

If you are in the Boston area, the United for Justice with Peace (UJP) Coalition will be having Stand Outs against the War at T stations:

Wednesday, October 7th is the 8th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan, a war which UJP was formed to oppose.

To mark this date, the Cambridge and Somerville/Medford UJP community groups will be standing out at T- stops from 5:30 to 6:30 PM. We will be distributing information about the costs of the war, for Afghans, for  US troops and for our communities, and alerting people to the Oct. 17th anti-war rally at Copley Square.    We will gather at the Central Sq., Harvard Sq., and Porter Sq. T-stops in Cambridge and at Davis Sq. in Somerville.

At Harvard Square, the Raging Grannies will sing at 5:30pm, and there will be a creative action in addition to vigiling and leafleting.    We invite all to join us there, or at one of the other T-stops, if that is more convenient.
Dorchester People for Peace will also leaflet at the Ashmont T-Stop on Wednesday morning from 7:30-9am.
Milton for Peace will stand out on Blue Hill Ave. near Mattapan Square from 7-8am.
The tide is turning away from further escalation of the war on Afghanistan.  It’s time to bring the troops home now and end this war which is bad for Afghans and bad for Americans.  It’s a time when we can make a difference.  Come stand with us on Oct. 7th.




Monday Blogaround

5 10 2009

Here are some things that popped up on my feminist radar:

What Counts as Real Rape? – More from Gwen on the Roman Polanski case

Concerns About Racism Are “Weird” – The trivialization and dismissal of racism by saying “it’s weird”

US Fence Causes Increase in Border Deaths – Today marks the 15th anniversary of the poorly misguided border strategy known as Operation Gatekeeper

Childbirth at the Global Crossroads – The implications of surrogacy and assisted reproductive technology on women in the “developing” world

End the War in Afghanistan – Peter Rothberg’s lists ways you can help end the war in Afghanistan

Fiona Pilkington inquest: how ableism can lead to suicide – ableism has been instituted and normalized in our society, thus marginalizing and erasing certain existences

Woody’s To Face Boycott – The Fairness Campaign is calling for a boycott of Woody’s Tavern at 4 PM Tuesday

My Weight – Stomp out weight bigotry and fatism. As Joy Nash says, “Tell people how much you weigh. It’s just a stinking number.”

Reclaim the Night (For Cis Women Only) and the London Cis Feminism Network – Feminism is not fully functional if it excludes trans people

Activist Modus Operandi: Methods of Communication – a great post from Genderbitch on activism for marginalized groups and tips on how to be an effective activist





Department of Justice releases first ever “study on crimes against persons with disabilities”

5 10 2009

The Department of Justice just released the first ever study on crimes against persons with disabilities.  (Why “persons with disabilities” and not “differently abled people”?)  The results of the study are not that surprising and statistically illustrate/prove what many anti-ableist activists have known for a while now – that differently abled people are disproportionately targeted for various crimes, and many of these crimes go undocumented and unnoticed by the public.

Here are some highlights of the study’s findings:

  • In 2007 differently abled people were victims of approximately 716,000 nonfatal violent crimes, including rape or sexual assault (47,000), robbery (79,000), aggravated assaults (114,000) and simple assaults (476,000).
  • They also experienced around 2.3 million property crimes during the year, including 527,000 household burglaries, 107,000 motor vehicle thefts and 1.7 million thefts.
  • Differently abled people between the ages of 12 to 19 and those between the ages of 35 to 49 were victims of violence at nearly twice the rate as able bodied people in the same age group.
  • 16% of violent crimes against differently abled females were committed by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. Among women without disabilities, it was 27%.

While these statistics may not be news for all of us, they still are startling.  It is high time that the Department of Justice and the general public acknowledge the disproportionate amount of violence against differently abled people.  It is important to recognize that society is structured in a way that benefits abled bodied folks while making things unfairly difficult for differently abled ones.  Differently abled people are more vulnerable because we live in an ableist society where those who are differently abled are marginalized and treated as second-class citizens.

In order to prevent or better address violence against differently abled people it’s important to think of all the socially constructed barriers that differently abled people must wrestle with everyday.  What if the world was made more accessible?  What if the language we used was more inclusionary?  What if there was more coverage of violence against differently abled people so that there is less erasure of an already marginalized community?





October is a big month

5 10 2009

October is:

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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LGBTQ History Month

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month (at Tufts)

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Bravo, Chris Rock!

5 10 2009

Chris Rock has taken a stance against Roman Polanski and has made it clear that he is not going to join the long list of Hollywood celebrities defending Polanski.  On the Jay Leno show, he said:

He made good movies, THIRTY YEARS AGO. Even Johnnie Cochran don’t have the nerve to go, ‘Well, did you see O.J. play against New England?’

Click here to watch the video.





Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Right to Decide

5 10 2009

Today was a lovely day for Mass NOW’s Counter-Protest to Mass Citizens for Life – the rain held off, it was fairly warm out, and an enthusiastic, energetic crowd showed up in solidarity to participate in the counter-protest.  Here are some images from the Boston Commons:

 

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