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TV Documentary Series Elevates Women's Work to Stop Warring

by Ariel Dougherty

September 22, 2011

"The finest minds have always underscored the peacemaking role of women," Nobel Peace Prize winner and Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said decades ago.

Now a new five-part TV documentary series, Women, War & Peace, illustrates this sentiment. The series airs on public television in the U.S. in October and November. The five segments, created by Abigail Disney, Pamela Hogan and Gini Reticker, tell the vital stories of women's rights activists, who often risked their lives to demand peace in their communities.

The series is remarkable, and tragic. The tragedy emerges in two ways. On one level, the peace-seeking …


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TV Documentary Series Elevates Women's Work to Stop Warring

Pushing Back Attacks on Artistic Freedom

by Linda Stein

September 15, 2011

Conservative Republicans flexed considerable muscle earlier this year and threw a knockout punch against freedom in the arts.

Led by House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the Catholic League and other groups, conservatives succeeded in getting the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery to remove a four-minute 1987 video, “A Fire in My Belly.”

Edited from a longer unfinished surrealist collage by late gay activist David Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS, the video includes an 11-second scene of ants crawling over a crucifix. The National Portrait Gallery included this video in its exhibition, Hide/Seek: …


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Pushing Back Attacks on Artistic Freedom
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Challenging Militarism and Ending Violence Against Women

by Keely Swan

September 8, 2011

The Center for Women's Global Leadership's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign that began in 1991. Participants of the Center's first Women's Global Leadership Institute chose the dates November 25, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and December 10, International Human Rights Day, to symbolically link violence against women and human rights, and emphasize that violence against women is a human rights issue.

The 16-day period also highlights other significant dates, including November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day; December 1, World AIDS Day; and …


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Challenging Militarism and Ending Violence Against Women

Most Wanted: Meaningful Enforcement in the War Against Domestic Abuse

by Madeline Lee Bryer

September 1, 2011

The war against domestic violence is heating up. In a decision released publicly on August 17, 2011, an international human rights tribunal has determined that the U.S. authorities paid insufficient attention to domestic violence and violence against women in violation of the nation's human rights obligations. This ruling, the first ruling from an international tribunal on a U.S. domestic violence case, comes only days before an important domestic violence case is heard by New York State's highest court.

The decision from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) reviewed the 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Castle Rock v. …


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Most Wanted: Meaningful Enforcement in the War Against Domestic Abuse

No Women, No Peace: Time to Change Peace Building

by Shelagh Daley

August 24, 2011

You can't build peace leaving half of the people out.

Women are a prime target in conflict, yet when it comes to building peace, they are being left out. The discourse around peace building often emphasizes the importance of inclusive and sustainable peace; however, many negotiations proceed amid blatant discrimination against half of the population.

Agreements made in peace negotiations set out the groundwork for post-agreement political, economic and social development, yet only a shocking one in 40 peace signatories in the past 25 years has been a woman. In addition to making claims of inclusivity highly questionable, this …


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No Women, No Peace: Time to Change Peace Building

Ending Wartime Rape Means Ending War and Patriarchy

by Judith Avory Faucette

August 17, 2011

The international legal system treats rape in wartime as a serious crime, especially when it is used in a systematic way as a weapon of war. But what the law says about rape is only a tiny, tiny part of the picture, and that picture is a bleak one, indeed. In my view, activists who want to fight wartime rape must recognize that war, as a whole, is untenable. In turn, the best way to fight both war itself and the rape that inevitably occurs in a world with war is to directly challenge patriarchy.

I don't believe that it's possible to eradicate wartime rape without massive action on all levels -- legal, cultural, political and social. …


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Ending Wartime Rape Means Ending War and Patriarchy
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Fighting to Fight: Questioning the Battle of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

by Gabrielle Korn

August 11, 2011

On September 20, 2011, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- the law barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military -- will officially be repealed. Created by President Clinton in 1993 as a compromise between the existing ban on homosexuals in the military and his campaign promises to allow anyone to serve, regardless of sexual identity, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," or simply DADT, had been seen by gay rights activists and allies as forcing gays and lesbians in the military back into the closet. Its repeal has been on the forefront of LGBT activism in the past few years, and DADT made major news headlines, so much so that it became one of the defining …


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Fighting to Fight: Questioning the Battle of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Why I Wrote A War Novel

by Helen Benedict

August 3, 2011

In 2006, when I discovered that more women were serving and fighting in the Iraq War than in all past American wars put together, I wanted to know why: why they had joined, why they went to war, and what was it like to be a woman in combat.

To find out, I traveled the United States for roughly three years interviewing women veterans. Some I spoke to for an hour or two by phone, others I talked with for many months, visiting their homes, touring their towns, seeing their high schools, and meeting their families. In the end, I interviewed some 40 women from the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force, most of whom had served in Iraq, although a few had …


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Why I Wrote A War Novel
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Good News for Trans Veterans: New VA Health Care Guidelines

by Autumn Sandeen

July 28, 2011

The Veterans Administration released a new directive on transgender veterans in June 2011, "Providing Health Care For Transgender And Intersex Veterans." This directive recognizes the reality of many service members' lives: the intersection of trans women's and women veterans' experience, and the specific needs that they encounter.

It's no surprise that women's experiences intersect with multiple personal identities and that they are not confined to the traditional sex and gender binary of western society. Earlier in 2011, the National Center for Transgender Equality, a national social justice organization in Washington, D.C., released a 221-page …


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Good News for Trans Veterans: New VA Health Care Guidelines
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Afghan and Rwandan Women Entrepreneurs Seek Peace through Business

by Dr. Terry Neese

July 21, 2011

Rwandan women now boast the highest percentage of women in government of any country in the world. In fact, since the 1994 genocide of nearly 800,000 Rwandans, the majority of the country's population is composed of women. These women are the breadwinners, the business owners and the government officials responsible for rebuilding the nation.

"PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS" was formed in 2007 to promote international peace and facilitate local economic stability for women who have suffered oppression and marginalization, and whose homelands have been devastated by war, genocide and poverty. "PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS" grew out of the Institute for …


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Afghan and Rwandan Women Entrepreneurs Seek Peace through Business
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Understanding the Myth: Why Cassandra Must Not be Silenced

by Laura A. Shamas

July 13, 2011

The archetype of Cassandra may be seen as a key symbol for women who warn of the dire and immutable consequences of war. The myth of Cassandra – her predictions and the costs of ignoring her -- carries an important message for those in anti-war movements even today.

Cassandra was the female figure in Greek mythology who predicted the Trojan War and its devastation. Cassandra warned of violence connected to the Trojan Horse, and of the ultimate destiny of Paris, who she said would bring about the downfall of Troy. She predicted her father King Priam's negative spiral, foreseeing that he would return with his son Hector's body. Cassandra's …


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Understanding the Myth: Why Cassandra Must Not be Silenced
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Trapped In The Story: Local Journalists Face Sexual Violence

by Lauren Wolfe

July 6, 2011

"I've never told anyone this before," the email said. It was one of several that landed on my desk at the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) after the news broke that CBS correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted in Egypt in February.

The letters were from foreign correspondents -- women who travel to conflict areas to report the news. They wanted to tell me about their own rapes and sexual assaults. As I gathered their stories, I started wondering about the local journalists who actually live in these regions. After all, these journalists experience the brunt of violence globally: 93 …


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Trapped In The Story: Local Journalists Face Sexual Violence
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Jeannette Rankin, Suffragist and Pacifist: She Speaks For Me

by Jeanmarie Simpson

June 29, 2011

In October 2002, I was scrolling around on the Internet, when an image caught my eye of a woman wearing a fur and a hat that seemed to be a yard in diameter. At that time, my mind was nearly paralyzed with worry. My son had joined the Navy in 2000 when he was 19 to try to get help paying for college. The help never came, but he had recently told me that he would probably be deployed to the Middle East in the first wave if the U.S. went to war in Iraq. The Afghan war had already been underway a year, and I was sick about it, too.

The woman in the hat on my computer screen was Jeannette Rankin, the first woman member of Congress. The site …


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Jeannette Rankin, Suffragist and Pacifist: She Speaks For Me
3 comment(s)

Military Women: Unfair Denial of Abortion Access Needs to End

by Marjorie Signer

June 23, 2011

Jessica Kenyon was one of more than 400,000 women who serve in the Armed Forces at any given time. It can be a brutal life. Women in the military are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted as women in civilian life, according to a pending ACLU lawsuit. Yet, though rape is a problem of deep concern to the U.S. military, its health plan doesn't cover abortions for rape victims who become pregnant. It's a callous, unjust policy – especially at a time when rape in the military is at crisis levels. Abortion restrictions are a moral issue; they deny women the ability to act according to the dictates of their conscience.

Senate Democrats are trying to …


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Military Women: Unfair Denial of Abortion Access Needs to End

A Lesson From History: WWII and Fighting to Keep Women From Slavery

by The Editors

The war in Afghanistan is not the first U.S. war in which the ill-treatment of women was used to stoke the fire for war support at home. The New York Times on April 18, 1943, reported on President Franklin Roosevelt’s speech to the Daughters of the American Revolution in Cincinnati just the day before.

The headline was straightforward: “PRESIDENT ASKS AID OF WOMEN IN WAR.” And the message was underscored by a sub-head that hit squarely on the themes of President Roosevelt’s speech: “Message to D.A.R. in Cincinnati Stressed Policy of Axis in Degrading, Enslaving Them.” The Times then reported:

CINCINNATI, April 17 (U.P.) – American women must …


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A Lesson From History: WWII and Fighting to Keep Women From Slavery


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