International Women's Day 08 March 2013

What do women want!?

Freud couldn't figure it out even though the call was loud and clear

Give us bread; but give us roses!

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

Sigmund Freud went to his grave muttering that he had failed in one of his life-long quests — to understand women.

Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, died in 1939 convinced that infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex were the prime causes of hysteria and other neurotic problems among women. Some say the problem with Freud was that he couldn't see beyond the end of his . . . (That's enough! This is a family publication! — Obscenity Editor).

It's too bad Freud didn't pay more attention to what women had to say beyond his couch. For example, on January 12, 1912, 27 years before his death, thousands of women in Lawrence, Massachusetts, made it very clear to all who would listen, just exactly what women want.

Women and girls — 22,000 strong

Protesting a pay cut, 22,000 textile workers (most of them women and girls from the age of 14) went on strike despite the bayonets of the Massachusetts militia. (More)
They met Hitler's best and they laid them to rest

The teenage girls who hammered the 'Master Race'

all the way from Stalingrad on the Volga to Berlin

By Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

While Hollywood tough-guy actor John Wayne* cowardly and successfully dodged the draft when the United States entered World War II, more than one million Soviet women, most of them teenagers, rose up from the factories, farms, and schools to take on the Germans in direct combat in the air and on the ground.

When it came to their demand for active duty the girls would not take the proverbial no for an answer.

One teenager who had won her wings at a civilian flying club wanted to enlist as a fighter pilot as soon as the war started. At defence headquarters in Moscow, she was given a friendly pat on the head and told to go back to her mother. Her first military command, and she disobeyed. Here is how she describes her life in flying combat. (More.)

From the Desk of Judith Wouk

'International Women's Day should honour Aboriginal Sisters'

Mainstream media missed the symbolism of fish broth sipped during her hunger strike by First Nation Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat

By Hannah Hadikin
Board of Directors
Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Photo courtesy Murray Bush, Flux Photo  
Photo courtesy Murray Bush — Flux Photo.  

Each year on March 8, International Women’s Day (IWD), is celebrated around the world. It’s a day to reaffirm commitment to women’s equal rights as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  It is a day to look back on past struggles and accomplishments of women and to — hopefully — mark progress on equal social, political and economic rights.

In 1910 at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, the idea of an International Women’s Day was first tabled. IWD emerged from the efforts and struggles of labour movements across Europe and North America. It was proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day — a Women’s Day — to press for the rights of women, for decent jobs, living wages and economic opportunities. Thousands of events are held throughout the world commemorating this special day.

In many countries, IWD is an official holiday. Each year the UN declares an International Women’s Day theme. The UN theme for International Women’s Day 2013 is: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.  

From the beginning of the 20th century, millions of women have marched and chanted for their rights to live free from fear, harassment and violence.

A hundred and three years later, women are still struggling for equality, dignity, peace and environmental justice and still continuing to call for an end to wars and armed conflict. Globally women’s inadequate education, healthcare and violence against women, trafficking, and bloodshed are worse than ever. (More)


Freelancers cheer Ann Douglas, call for unity against deals

that rob them of pay for, and authority over, their writing

'Why I am no longer writing the column I loved

for The Toronto Star'

By Ann Douglas

26 February 2013 — Three weeks ago, I was confronted with one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my career as a freelance writer: sign a highly objectionable freelance writing agreement or stop writing a column I loved.

In mid-February, I was presented with a copy of The Toronto Star’s freelance agreement—an agreement that, among other things, asked me to permit The Toronto Star, its affiliates, and unspecified “others” to reuse my work without any additional compensation to me (and without my having any control over who those others might be and how they might choose to use my work): (More)

Shannon Lee Mannion was one of two who said No

five years ago when Ottawa Citizen pulled same stunt

Here is her story:

By Shannon Lee Mannion
True North Perspective

I was one of only two of the roughly 110 freelance writers who refused to sign the freelance contract with The Ottawa Citizen five years ago and I was summarily dismissed after having written a column for at least ten years.

My column was originally once a week, 1,000 words for $100. Then they wanted it twice a week at 750 words for $100.

My take is that because I had been vociferous about the ongoing mistreatment of freelancers the fix was in long before it became necessary to sign the contract. In fact, I had refused to sign the contract several times before and nothing had happened.

My reason for not signing the contract is that not only would it have attached my fiduciary rights, it would have subsumed my moral rights, as well. (More)

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor

The safety of women taxi drivers

Perspectives from behind the wheel

Jacqueline Leavitt
The Global Urbanist
28 February 2013 — "Oh, my gosh, it's a woman driver!" Women who drive hear this a lot. The United States Census Bureau reports that of the 390,000 taxi and limousine drivers in 2010, women numbered only 5,616. New York City, the country's largest concentration with 46,000 taxi drivers, includes about 170 or 0.3% women.

While taxi driving is considered one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, in many cities, the safety of women drivers is overshadowed by concern for the safety of women passengers. Yet women drivers are on the streets 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week, in a work environment where women encounter sexual harassment if not physical assault.  And in many cities, the safety of women drivers is overshadowed by concern for the safety of women passengers. (More)


From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Contributing Editor

Against a background of beatings, rape, and murder

Architect says cities must plan for freedom of women

By Pallavi Shrivastava
An architect in Mumbai, India
26 February 2013 MUMBAI, India — Home to 5.5 million women, Mumbai is considered one of the most modern, cosmopolitan and safe cities for women in India. Yet, not a day goes by without news of a woman of any age or class being molested, attacked, sexually harassed, compromised or violated in some way.
With recent debate spurred by the incident in Delhi of a 23-year-old girl being mob-raped in a moving bus then beaten and left to die, it is important to question the forces that lead to this reprehensible behaviour against women and how much of it is facilitated by planned and unplanned urban spaces. (More)

The courage of the vigilante feminists is contagious

In Ireland and Egypt – and beyond – women are coming together to combat sexual violence

By Laurie Penny
13 February 2013 — 'I'm sick of being ashamed." Three days ago, an anti-harassment activist said those words to me in a flat above Cairo's Tahrir square, as she pulled on her makeshift uniform ready to protect women on the protest lines from being raped in the street. Only days before, I'd heard exactly the same words from pro-choice organisers in Dublin, where I travelled to report on the feminist fight to legalise abortion in Ireland. I had thought that I was covering two separate stories – so why were two women from different countries and backgrounds repeating the same mantra against fear, and against shame?

From India to Ireland to Egypt, women are on the streets, on the airwaves, on the internet, getting organised and getting angry. They're co-ordinating in their communities to combat sexual violence and taking a stand against archaic sexist legislation; they're challenging harassment and rape culture. Across the world, women who are sick and tired of shame and fear are fighting back in unprecedented ways. (More)

20-year-old Second Lieutenant leads her male platoon

in a successful charge to capture a German stronghold

By K. Jean Cottam PhD
Canadian Historian

Emilia Gierczak. Also called Elka. (Born 1925, Poland; died in combat 17 March 1945, Kołobrzeg, Pomerania, Poland.) Second Lieutenant, Polish Army formed in the Soviet Union. Platoon commander, 10th Infantry Regiment, Poland, World War II.

Polish patriotism was an important element in Gierczak's upbringing. It was assumed that Gierczak's parents (Józef and Leontyna) had named her "Emilia" because the name was made famous by the legendary Emilia Plater, a leader in the Polish insurrection against Tsarist Russia of 1830-31.
Her death in combat, was romanticized by the great nineteenth century Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz in his famous poem entitled the Death of a Colonel. (More)
08 February 2013 — It’s always refreshing to see family-friendly films that give positive portrayals of girls and women. Too often, it seems, girl characters are pigeonholed into predictable stereotypes or are virtually absent from a world of proactive, funny males.
The majority of family classics, even some highly enjoyable ones, are pretty boy-heavy (think Home Alone, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, The Little Rascals, Richie Rich, Toy Story) and others tend to show women as some sort of “damsel in distress” needing a prince charming (think Cinderella, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid).
The following five movies are my personal favorites for kids because they feature multi-dimensional, strong, and proactive female characters, and give a much more realistic message to kids about how awesome girls really are: (More)
By Peter Dreier
Historical Analysis
The Feminine Mystique - published on February 19, 1963 -"catalyzed the modern feminist movement, helped forever change Americans' attitudes about women's role in society and catapulted its author into becoming an influential and controversial public figure."
17 February 2013 — Betty Friedan's book, The Feminine Mystique, identified the "problem that has no name" — which feminists later labeled "sexism." Three years after its publication — 50 years ago this month — Friedan was instrumental in organizing the National Organization for Women (NOW) and other key groups that helped build the movement for women's equality.
The Feminine Mystique was not only a best-selling book, but also a manifesto for change. (More)