Blog - Page 2 of 26
8 – 11 June 2015
Women in War’s second Annual Conference is organised in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) at the Lebanese American University Beirut and Beit Al-Hanan (Evelyne Accad).
“Upholding Gendered Peace at a Time of War: Academics and Activists Speak Out on the Shifting Places of Women in the Arab World”
Women in War, is a non-profit organization and think-tank focusing on the role of gender in armed conflict. Since 2008, Women in War has been active in seminars and conferences to innovate and promote the study of Gender and Armed Conflict . This is the academic branch of a French NGO founded in 2000, FemAid which works with women’s grass-roots organizations in war zones.
Exploring the way gender issues intersect with the war (understood in the widest possible sense) has been researched by a number of independent feminist scholars especially in the Anglo-Saxon world, but is, as yet, sadly lacking in Latin countries, especially France and even more so in most conflict zones on the globe.
The first ever seminar on Gender and Armed Conflict in France at the Sorbonne, organised by Carol Mann with Jane Freedman to which researchers, experts and PhD students were invited to present their works based on field study in conflict zones all over the world. This inspired the president of Women in War to institute the teaching of Gender and Armed Conflict at the American Graduate School in Paris and the Institut des Sciences Po from 2013 onwards
Further conferences were organized with Amnesty International at AUP in Paris and with the Women’s rights Association ‘Ni Putes, ni Soumises’
Seminars on Women in War have been organised in Kabul, Kinshasa, Kisangani, talks given in Peshawar, Beersheva, Kragujevac, Sarajevo, Beirut.
Since 2013 Women in War has a second base in Sarajevo and joint projects are organized including a conference on the Place of Women in War 1914-2014, June 7- 8th 2014.
Details of the 2015 Beirut Conference here
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BIODIVERSITY OR GMOS: WILL THE FUTURE OF NUTRITION BE IN WOMEN’S HANDS OR UNDER CORPORATE CONTROL?
Women have been the primary growers of food and nutrition throughout history, but today, food is being taken out of our hands and substituted for toxic commodities controlled by global corporations. Monoculture industrial farming has taken the quality, taste and nutrition out of our food. As a result, India is facing a nutritional crisis: every fourth Indian goes hungry, and in 2011 alone, diabetes took the lives of 1 million Indians. In Bangladesh, the food shortage is faced by 25.6% of population and 76% households sometimes eat less than three times a day. About 53.3% household cannot fulfill per capita energy requirement. Globally, there is a disease epidemic because our food is nutritionally empty but full of toxics.
Now, the same companies who created the crisis are promising a miracle solution: GMOs. Genetically engineered Golden Rice, Bt. Brinjal and GMO Bananas are being proposed as solutions by corporations hiding behind the cloak of philanthropy as a solution to hunger and malnutrition in the Global South. But these are false miracles. Indigenous biodiverse varieties of food grown by women provide far more nutrition than the commodities produced by industrial agriculture. Golden Rice is 350% less efficient in providing Vit A than the biodiversity alternatives that women grow. GMO ‘iron-rich’ Bananas have 3000% less iron than turmeric and 2000% less iron than amchur (mango powder).
Mnsanto, Mahyco and BARI nexus have used nine of the most popular varieties of brinjal of Bangladesh. These are popular national varieties and are widely grown by farmers in different parts of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh Golden Rice was first evolved by incorporating -carotene gene of daffodil flower into BRRI Dhan 29, a very common High Yielding Variety of Rice and was carried out for ten years and ended without any success. Later, the second Golden Rice was evolved by incorporation of bta-carotinoid from maize into BR29 Rice. Bangladesh has been selected as a laboratory for the trial. The innovators of the Golden Rice were not capable enough to give any evidence in favor of any positive gain of gene incorporation from maize to rice.
Apart from being nutritionally empty, GMOs are part of an industrial system of agriculture that is destroying the planet, depleting our water sources, increasing green houses gases, and driving farmers into debt and suicide through a greater dependence on chemical inputs. Moreover, these corporate-led industrial monocultures are destroying biodiversity, and we are losing access to the food systems that have sustained us throughout time. GM crops are aggravating the likelihood of elimination of vital beneficial bugs such as bees and butterflies. Honeybees continue to decline at a rate of 30 percent per year and butterfly populations have reached an all-time low. GM crops are perpetuating the widespread use of chemicals which started with the so-called Green Revolution and contributing to harm beneficial bugs and weeds.
When we consider the number of patents involved in these initiatives, it becomes all too clear that the only beneficiaries of these supposedly ‘people-led’ ventures are large companies operating for profit - not for people. The commercial interest of the multinational companies is very clear in the use of IPR. In Bangladesh, Monsanto did not have any entry into the seed market. Through IPR in nine Bt Brinjals, Monsanto will be able to control a huge market in Bangladesh as well as in India.
This needs to stop now. On this international women’s day, we call on all women – the world’s primary food-growers and food-givers – to stand together and join us in reclaiming our knowledge, our farming, and our food. To expose the lies generated by the GMO industry, to reject the false promises of Golden Rice, Bt Brinjal and GMO Bananas, and to reclaim the planet for all living beings. We have enough nutritional enriched food produced by our own farmers. Women possess the knowledge of nutrition from both cultivated and uncultivated sources of food in our region.
The alternative lies in women’s hands and minds.
On International Women’s Day 8th March 2015, we the women of India, Bangladesh and the world commit ourselves to reclaiming our seed, food, and knowledge sovereignty so that we can all enjoy healthy, safe, nutritious, tasty and diverse food. And through our food, we will reclaim our health and the health of the planet.
We will not allow a further degradation of our food systems and knowledge systems. We do not have to go down the road of replacing our biodiversity with GMO monocultures and our rich knowledge of food and nutrition with scientific and ethical fraud. We will not sacrifice our seed and food sovereignty for corporate control and profits.
We commit ourselves to
1 Promote and evolve the use of our indigenous seeds, crops and foods to address the crisis of malnutrition and health.
2 Spread gardens of hope, diversity and nutrition everywhere: in schools, on rooftops, on balconies.
3. Spread nutritional literacy about our diverse foods, and biosafety literacy about toxics and GMOs.
4. Create safe environment for the uncultivated food sources.
5. Celebrate Mother Earth Day,22nd April 2015 to liberate the Earth, our farms, our kitchens and our bodies from the burden of disease. Celebrate the connection between the health of the soil and the health of all beings on the planet during 2015 the United Nations’ ‘Year of Soil’
As women, in all our vibrant diversity, we will make a paradigm shift from monocultures to diversity, from chemicals to organic, from reductionist and mechanistic science to ecological knowledge, from corporate control and monopolies to seed sovereignty, food sovereignty and knowledge sovereignty in women’s hands and women’s minds. We will grow alternatives to the ecological and health disaster of industrial agriculture and its new false promises of Golden Rice, Bt Brinjal and GMO Bananas.
We will shape the future of food and nutrition through biodiversity in our hands and in our minds. We will take back our seeds, and we will take back our food.
Organisations in India and Bangladesh
Diverse Women for Diversity, India
Mahila Anna Swaraj, India
Initiative for Health , Equity and Society, India
Moms Across the World
Nayakrishi Andolon, Bangladesh
Narigrantha Prabartana, Bangladesh
Dr Mira Shiva
Initiative for Health, Equity and Society(IHES)
Dr Vandana Shiva
Diverse Women For Diversity
Nayakrishi Andolon/Narigrantha Prabartana
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Hailed as one of the world’s most prominent activist scientists, Dr Vandana Shiva is an internationally renowned environmental thinker and campaigner, as well as a physicist, feminist and philosopher and winner of the Sydney Peace Prize 2010.
Vandana Shiva's forthcoming book of essays Seed Sovereignty: Women in the Vanguard will be released in February. Keep a look out for more information about this extensive anthology on facebook and twitter
Don't miss these two Australian events - your chance to hear Vandana Shiva speak!
Dr Shiva, is an inspirational scientist, eco-feminist and author who stands for freedom, democracy and joy. On the 20th February Vandana Shiva will be speaking on why we face a stark choice - seed freedom or seed slavery.
Joel Salatin, celebrated US chemical-free farmer, will introduce Dr Shiva.
Tickets $45 ($35 concession). Venue : NSWTF Conference Centre, 37 Reservoir St, Surry Hills, Sydney, NSW 2010
For more information:
Womadelaide March 7
Vandana Shiva will be appearing on The Planet Talks with other of stimulating and inspiring speakers from Australia, Europe and the USA.
Here is a recent podcast where Vandana Shiva previews the forthcoming event
Vandana Shiva's books are available via the Spinifex Press website:
Soil Not Oil
Making Peace with the Earth
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By: Danielle Binks
Christmas is looming and the year is almost over. Bibliophiles (the easiest people to buy for!) are probably salivating at the prospect of all those paperbacks, hardbacks and eBook readers they put on their wish lists. And in preparation for all those worded treats, quite a few people will start to look at their bulging bookshelves and think it’s time for a bookish spring-clean.
There will be double-up titles. Heavyweight paperbacks that you now have in eBook format (because you don’t want to haul a 900+ page book on the train with you!). Some gifted books from well-meaning friends that you never intend to read. Other books that you did read but never intend to re-read ever, ever again. And so on and so forth …
You might be thinking a few titles can be passed on to friends and family. Or put up in an online book-swap for something worth your while. Or maybe you’re even thinking of gifting them to the Salvo’s (who seem to have an over-abundance of ‘Twilight’ books these days).
Well those are all good ideas and fine homes for your dear old books. But let me offer one more suggestion – The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library.
Founded in 2003, the non-profit charity looks to give reading resources to homeless and marginalised people. It all started when soup kitchen volunteer, Sarah Garnett, saw a man reading a book while he waited for the food van to arrive. She started bringing him a few books every week, and thus the Footpath Library was born. The library is currently based in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and will be opening in Perth early in 2012.
has a few stipulations about what sorts of books they’ll accept, and it goes without saying that they should be in excellent condition.
Book Donation Guidelines
The Footpath Library accepts high-quality books in the following genres:
- Women’s, men’s and children’s fiction
- Non-fiction, including dictionaries, simple cookbooks, parenting, and self help
- National Geographic, Australian Geographic, motorcycle and car magazines.
Please note, out of respect for our customers we do not accept:
- True crime
- Travel/wine/restaurant guides
- Get-rich-quick/investment/ financial guides
- Coffee table books
- Home decorating, gardening, sewing, craft, fashion
- Sport (unless biographies)
- Any books with suicide, depression, or drug themes
- Computer manuals
- Text books of any description
- Magazines, except National Geographic, Australian Geographic, motorbike and car
- Street directories
- Religious material
- Used crossword/puzzle books.
I love this organization – they’re a group of book-loving volunteers who are challenging misconceptions about the city’s homeless population. This is a really wonderful charity for Australian bibliophiles to get behind this Christmas. And it’s not just books they accept – the Library
also appreciates donations of bookcases, knitted goods and monetary offerings.A few books that Spinifex is donating to the Footpath Library
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BY: Danielle Binks, Spinifex intern
What started as ‘Occupy Wall Street’ has grown to global youth in revolt against big business, conglomerates and the elitist 1%. But a disturbing trend of sexism, misogyny, abuse and determined apathy has become apparent within the ‘Occupy’ movement.
On October 10 a man was arrested at Occupy Wall Street for groping a woman. At the Occupy Denver protest, a man was arrested for groping a reporter. October has seen the Occupy movement embroiled in rape and sexual assault claims, as women at the Cleveland, Dallas, Portland and Glasgow protests have all come forward with allegations of tent city rapes.
But what really makes a mockery of the Occupy movement is the response to these claims of sexual abuse amongst the protestors. When news broke of the Cleveland rape claim, one protestor even queried whether the abused woman was a ‘plant’, attempting to discredit the rally.
Occupy Baltimore released a ‘security statement’ pamphlet to their protestors which discouraged police involvement if any such crimes were committed. The Baltimore occupiers were heavily criticized for this ‘speak no evil’ stance, and have since revised their policies.
Julian Assange spoke at the Occupy London rally. The man behind Wikileaks has become the poster-boy for public dissent, but what many forget is the fact that Julian Assange is still under investigation for sexual molestation in Sweden.
The disparity of the Occupy protests is best represented in the YouTube video ‘Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street’ which has claimed millions of hits since it was first uploaded by amateur documentary filmmaker, Steven Greenstreet.
Set to a sedate instrumental tune, the video interviews fervent female protestors. One woman’s insights are particularly interesting for their Arab Spring reach, as she explains; “I’m originally Egyptian, so this is not new to me and I’m loving it. My faith in humanity has been restored.” Another woman is holding a sign that says: ‘I’m not homeless but my children will be.’ She is protesting for future prosperity; “I don’t want the burden to be on my children’s backs.”
These women are impassioned and proud. But you might miss their message as the camera greedily and distractedly pans their bodies. As the Egyptian protestor speaks, the camera zooms in on her long battling lashes and pretty pout. Greenstreet’s creepy camera sneakily zooms in on other female protestors colourful sleeve tattoos, gaping singlets and tracks their fingers as they ruffle long locks.
Greenstreet has said that his original intention for the video was purely ‘sophomoric’: “Pics of hot chicks being all protesty, videos of hot chicks beating drums in slow-mo, etc. But when we arrived at Zuccotti Park in New York City, it evolved into something more.”
Despite his original sleazy intentions, Greenstreet has recently come out swinging and defending his ‘Hot Chicks’ video, claiming a more political purpose for the ‘protesty’ hot chicks;
No, of course not. Because people would much rather listen to ‘Hot Chicks’ than ‘Women Citizens’ or, heck, ‘Women’ in general. Just ask the Occupy Baltimore organizers who would prefer rape victims kept their mouths shut while keeping those ‘We are the 99%’ signs held high. Maybe we should just be grateful that Greenstreet didn’t choose to title his video something truly degrading like ‘Wall Street Girls Gone Wild’. . . although, I now see that YouTube is suggesting I watch a video called ‘Occupy Wall Street Sexy Bitch Fight.’
Is this what a revolution feels like? Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” – but someone obviously hasn’t passed that little idiom onto the Occupy movement: ‘equality for all (especially the Hot Chicks)’.
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