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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

Ellen Craft, the Slave Who Posed as a Master and Made Herself Free

Ellen Craft, the Slave Who Posed as a Master and Made Herself Free

A few days before Christmas, 1848, a man named William Craft gave his wife Ellen a haircut—in fact, he cut it to the nape of her neck, far shorter than any other woman in Macon, Georgia, where the Crafts lived. They picked out her clothes—a cravat, a top hat, a fine coat—and went over the plan for what felt like the hundredth time.

Ellen was scared. “I think it is almost too much for us to undertake; however, I feel that God is on our side,” she would later write, “and with his assistance, notwithstanding all the difficulties, we shall be able to succeed.” Illustration by Jim Cooke, source image via Getty  Continue reading


AB TECHNICAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE Women’s Studies

Introduction to Women’s Studies, American Women’s Studies, and Women and History survey the experience of women in historical perspective; include the experiences and contributions of women in culture, politics, economics, science, and religion; and provide an inter-disciplinary study of the history, literature, and social roles of American women from Colonial times to the present.


UNC ASHEVILLE Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies

UNC Asheville Women’s Studies seeks to understand the diversity of women’s experiences through an interdisciplinary program of teaching, service and research.

UNC Asheville Women’s Studies seeks to understand the diversity of women’s experiences through an interdisciplinary program of teaching, service and research.  Women’s Studies courses and electives explore the experiences of women and investigate the complex phenomenon of gender.  Courses promote student investigation of women’s diverse experiences from the perspective of the various social sciences, sciences and humanities.  Emerging from an activist tradition, Women’s Studies seeks to provide resources to the university and the broader community by providing an on-going array of co-curricular activities for students and community members.  We act as a resource and guide on issues relating to women through community activism and service by encouraging interdisciplinary techniques and by being wholly cognizant of the interaction of gender and diversity. 828.251.6419 Visit our Website


Real Tips About Sexual Assault Everyone Can Use

The new academic year has started, and once again students are attending seminars on staying safe on campus. These orientation workshops typically focus on tips for how young women can protect themselves — such as be aware and stay alert, don’t get drunk, and stick together in groups.

I’m sure all of this is good advice, but it misses what I have come to see as the crux of the matter: Teaching girls and women that they can avoid sexual assault if they just try hard enough places responsibility for rape on the shoulders of targets rather than on the shoulders of perpetrators and of political and cultural power-brokers. Continue reading

 


Sexy Bratz Dolls Get Gentle Make-Unders Courtesy of Tasmanian Artist

Sexy Bratz Dolls Get Gentle Make-Unders Courtesy of Tasmanian Artist

The hyper-sexualization of children’s toys (especially Bratz Dolls) make many of us very uncomfortable. In fact, when a new Bratz movie came into the video store I worked in once, a custome legitimately asked if it was a new animated porno he could rent. So these make-unders done by a Tasmanian artist who “rescues and rehabs” these dolls and then poses them doing things that actual young girls might do, like hiding in trees and chilling on swings. Continue reading  This article was sent in by Shiner Antiorio


WNC HISTORY: The Establishment of Rosenwald Schools

 

In the 1920s, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Co, Julius Rosenwald, created a fund to build schools in the rural areas of 15 southern states to enable black children to get an education during segregation. The schools were financed with matching grants from the Rosenwald fund, local governments and the local black communities. The Rosenwald School building program is recognized as one of the most important partnerships to advance African-American education in the early 20thcentury.


WESTERN CAROINA UNIVERSITY Intercultural Affairs Department

Western Carolina University’s Department of Intercultural Affairs is located in the A.K. Hinds University Center. The mission of Intercultural Affairs is to provide an inclusive environment that examines, recognizes, accepts, and affirms human differences and similarities related to national origin, religion, gender, disability, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, and socioeconomic status. The Department of Intercultural Affairs contributes to a culturally rich campus through advocacy, diversity and social justice education, leadership and the development of global citizens. Intercultural Affairs provides lectures, cultural awareness programs, films, and workshops to promote social justice and cultural competency as well as to respond to acts of discrimination and bias.

 Click here for the department’s website

Department of Intercultural Affairs | Western Carolina University | A.K. Hinds University Center | Cullowhee, NC 28723

 


Emma Watson? Jennifer Lawrence? These aren’t the feminists you’re looking for

Recently, a young woman asked me how we can make feminism more accessible to men. I told her that I don’t care about making feminism more accessible to men. In truth, I don’t care about making feminism more accessible to anyone. I care about making the liberties that men enjoy so freely fully accessible to women, and if men or celebrities claiming feminism for themselves has become the spoon full of sugar to make that medicine go down, so be it. ( this Blog was suggested by Dorothy Rogers )  Continue reading


The Most Undervalued Leadership Traits Of Women

It’s impossible to respect, value and admire great leadership if you can’t identify what makes a leader great.  Because of this, the identity crisis I have written about that exists in today’s workplace is something that women leaders in particular have been facing  for much too long. While the tide is changing and more women are being elevated into leadership roles, there is still much work to do. As of July 2013, there were only 19 female elected presidents and prime ministers in power around the globe.  In the business world, women currently hold only 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and the same percentage of Fortune 1000 CEO positions.   As women continue their upward trajectory in the business world, they have yet to be fully appreciated for the unique qualities and abilities they bring to the workplace. Continue reading


Why Contraception is a Health Issue for Everyone

Some of the media coverage of Tuesday’s arguments before the Supreme Court on the contraception mandate tended to pit women’s rights activists against social conservatives, making contraception seem like a lifestyle choice that only benefits some women — you know, the ones who have sex.

What often gets lost in the debate is why contraception is considered a preventive health issue — and why treating it as such is beneficial for everyone.

During the healthcare debate, the Department of Health and Human Services charged the Institute of Medicine (IOM) with reviewing preventive services that are important to public health and well-being, and recommending which ones should be considered in the development of comprehensive guidelines.

IOM came up with this evidence-based list of preventive services for adults and children, all of which are now covered by insurers with no required co-payment. Take a look at the IOM report, which explains the selection process.

For women, this includes annual well-woman visits, testing for STIs and HIV, support for breastfeeding, and screening and counseling for domestic violence.

It also includes FDA-approved contraception methods, as well as patient education and counseling on contraception. What makes contraception a health issue? Well, with all due respect to Mike Huckabee, it’s not about women’s libidos.

Here’s the deal: When women use contraception, they can avoid unwanted pregnancies and space planned pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes.

When a pregnancy is planned, women can start prenatal care, including increasing their intake of folic acid; work with their healthcare providers to address relevant medical conditions, as well as substance abuse; and take other steps that lead to healthier outcomes for both the mother and the infant.

Pregnancies that are unplanned are more likely to be affected by delayed prenatal care, maternal depression, low birth weight, poorer childhood physical and mental health, and other complications. Breastfeeding rates are also lower after unintended pregnancies.

Social conservatives should also take note that 40 percent of unintended pregnancies end in abortion. And there is an economic cost: Two-thirds of unintended pregnancies are paid for by publicly funded insurance programs, usually Medicaid. For more information, Guttmacher Institute has a terrific fact sheet on unintended pregnancies that explains the incidence rate, demographics, outcomes and costs.

When you look at the facts, contraception is smart public health policy.

Of course, for some women, birth control is essential for other health reasons, including acne, fibroids, endometriosis and to reduce problems associated with irregular or very heavy periods.

Despite the proven health benefits — and the benefits to society as a whole — Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood claim that the requirement to provide health insurance that includes no-cost contraception violates their religious freedom.

Not surprisingly, the Court’s three female justices were most skeptical of their position. As Jeffrey Toobin writes in The New Yorker:

After Paul Clement, the lawyer for Hobby Lobby, began his argument, twenty-eight of the first thirty-two questions to him came from Ruth Bader Ginsburg (four questions), Sonia Sotomayor (eleven), and Elena Kagan (thirteen). The queries varied, of course, but they were all variations on a theme. The trio saw the case from the perspective of the women employees. They regarded the employer as the party in the case with the money and the power. Sotomayor asked, “Is your claim limited to sensitive materials like contraceptives, or does it include items like blood transfusion, vaccines? For some religions, products made of pork? Is any claim under your theory that has a religious basis, could an employer preclude the use of those items as well?” Clement hedged in response. When Clement asserted that Hobby Lobby’s owners, because of their Christian values, did care about making sure that their employees had health insurance, Kagan shot back:

“I’m sure they want to be good employers. But again, that’s a different thing than saying that their religious beliefs mandate them to provide health insurance, because here Congress has said that the health insurance that they’re providing is not adequate, it’s not the full package.”

At Talking Points Memo, Sahil Kapur wrote:

The most forceful was Justice Elena Kagan, who repeatedly asked aggressive questions throughout the 90-minute argument about the legal dangers of exempting certain entities from laws on the basis of religion.

“There are quite a number of medical treatments that religious groups object to,” she said, positing that a ruling against the Obama administration could empower business owners to seek exemptions from laws about sex discrimination, family leave and the minimum wage. “You’d see religious objectors come out of the woodwork,” Kagan warned, arguing that it’s problematic for judges to test the centrality of a belief to a religion or the sincerity of beliefs that are invoked in court.

Much of the argument also centers around whether companies really have religious freedom, or if that really only applies to people — whether corporations count as “people” has been a major issue before the Court in the recent past. In “The Hobby Lobby Case Represents The Worst Kind Of Anti-Choice Arrogance,” Sarah Erdreich writes:

But even if the owners do have a religious commitment, Hobby Lobby is not pretending that it is a religion. It is a business. That any business should have power over what can literally be the life-and-death health decisions of its employees, well, that’s another issue for another day. But as long as Hobby Lobby sells its supplies to saints and sinners alike, it has no business questioning what its employees do when they go to see the doctor.

Access to birth control is important for everyone — for preventing pregnancies, and to allow women and families to best time and plan healthy pregnancies. Hopefully the male members of the Supreme Court will see it that way, too.

To catch up on the issue, check out this coverage:


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