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Women's Lives & Education

Why study women, minorities, or other controversial subjects at all? The answer is: a good liberal education (liberal as in “freedom”) teaches people to think both “inside the box” and “outside the box”.  Gender studies programs can encourage students to creatively examine their surroundings and learn to identify both the empowering and dis-empowering properties of words and deeds and to consider the relationship of race, gender, class and ethnicity as well as the manifestation and effects of gender bias in society.   Your suggestions and submissions are welcomed.
Research on Women and Education     Women’s Media Center     OnTrack Women’s Financial Empowerment Center     The Community Foundation of WNC – Women for Women grants     Western Women’s Business Center     Womansong of Asheville Women’s Chorus & New Start Program

Saudi Women’s Right to Drive

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2011

Saudi Women Call on Sec. Hillary Clinton to Publicly Support Their Right to Drive
Saudi women’s rights activists inspired by the Arab Spring call on Secretary of State Clinton to make a public statement supporting Saudi women’s right to drive
 
WASHINGTON, DC – More than 10,000 people from all 50 US states have endorsed a an open letter by a coalition of leading Saudi Arabian women’s rights activists calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to issue a public statement supporting their right to drive.

The initiative follows the success of a series of campaigns by the women’s coalition to free and acquit Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi mother dubbed the ‘Saudi Rosa Parks’ after she was arrested for driving her car. Campaigns led by Saudi women on Manal’s behalf were joined by more than 60,000 people in 156 countries through Change.org, the world’s fastest growing advocacy platform.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world in which women are not allowed to drive a car or even ride a bicycle. With no public transportation system, getting to work, school and medical appointments is complicated, expensive and dangerous for Saudi women. The dependence of Saudi women on men for transportation is repeatedly exploited by abusive fathers, brothers, husbands and hired drivers, and earlier this week a Saudi woman reported she had been raped at gunpoint by her hired driver.

“We were encouraged to see media reports that US diplomats have quietly pressured the Saudi government to give women the right to drive,” reads the open letter from leading Saudi women’s rights activists to Secretary Clinton. “But given the recent arrests of women trying to drive, now is the time for the US to show its muscle and make that pressure public… We believe that you making a public statement of support for Saudi Arabia opening the country’s roads to women would be a game changing moment.”

“Secretary Clinton, you are a friend. Indeed, some of us have met you personally during your decades-long journey as a champion of women’s rights all over the world,” the letter continues. “Now, as we build the largest Saudi women’s protest movement in decades, we need your help.”

Saudi women plan to take the streets en masse on June 17.

Change.org said that Saudi Women for Driving, the consortium of Saudi women’s rights activists, has seen unprecedented success in their online campaigns.  www.Change.org

 


The GIRL EFFECT Data – Why Pay Attention to Girls?

When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. (United Nations Population Fund, State of World Population 1990.)

An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.(George Psacharopoulos and Harry Anthony Patrinos, “Returns to Investment in Education: A Further Update,” Policy Research Working Paper 2881[Washington, D.C.: World Bank, 2002].)

The Nike and NoVo foundations have announced a combined $100 million investment in the Girl Effect initiative, which works to help adolescent girls in developing countries bring social and economic change to their families, communities, and countries.

More about Jennifer Buffett, President and Co-Chair of Novo


Women and Work—A Tapestry of Our Lives

 Women’s History Month is over for this year. But I confess I haven’t been in much of a celebratory mood. March 8th (2011)was the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day.  The UN theme for the celebration was “Equal Access to Education, Training and Technology: Pathway to Decent Work for Women.”  Ironically, this March was also the 100th year commemoration of the tragedy of the Shirtwaist Triangle Factory Fire in New York City.  On March 25, 1911, 146 people died from a fire caused by unsafe workplace conditions.  

 

 


Womansong’s Regional Scholarships and Special Funds

 

Womansong is Asheville’s oldest and largest women’s chorus which started almost 25 years ago.  Over time more than $45,000 from proceeds from concerts and donations have helped women in transition make new beginnings. 
 
At a recent concert, Womansong performed the song “Help Somebody.”  A line in that song captures the philosophy of the New Start Program (NSP), Womansong’s charitable arm:  “Got plenty and then some, what do I do…I go out and help somebody get plenty and then some, too, that’s what I do.”
 
For more than twenty years the New Start Program (NSP) has provided grants to fill the gap for women in need when other funds are not available.  More recently, the Womansong NSP has begun funding scholarships to help women improve their lives and better their prospects for meaningful employment.
 
In 2009, the NSP set up the first annual New Start Scholarship at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College to assist a woman entering a degree program.  The recipient of that scholarship in 2010 was Katonya Owens (pictured at Scholarship Luncheon at A-B Tech with co-chair of the New Start Fund, Nita Walker.) Katonya is working on two Associate Degree programs in Automotive Systems Technology and Heavy Equipment Technology.
 
In December 2010, the NSP established eight more scholarships, four at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and four at Haywood Community College to be awarded to women entering non-degree diploma or certificate programs.  Generally, these programs can be completed in a shorter time period so that recipients can more quickly find employment.  Additionally, Womansong has set up a special fund at both A-B Tech and Haywood Community College to help students who are in need of assistance pay for the initial immunizations required for their programs.
 
Womansong is committed to the New Start Program and believes that by giving these women a hand, the women, their families, and their communities are all uplifted.
 
For more information about Womansong, upcoming concerts, and the New Start Program, please visit www.womansong.org.  Press Release from Marilyn Hubbard, Womansong Publicity, 828-686-9010  hubbardcea@ioa.com  Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or need more information.  Thank you.


A Conversation With Carol W. Greider On Winning a Nobel Prize in Science by Claudia Dreifus

Out of more than 500 Nobels ever awarded in the sciences, less than 40 have been awarded to women. That 3 Nobels were awarded to women this year represents a sea change in the Nobel Committee’s decision-making as the successful result of a behind-the-scenes campaign to represent women more equally.

Rebekah Spicuglia, Media Manager for The Women’s Media Center


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