Archive | November, 2012
28 Nov

So awesome! I love this – what are “girl toys” and “boy toys” anyways?

Women and Leadership

Image

The latest holiday catalogue released by Sweden’s toy retail chain Top Toy is making some buzz for breaking the gender-role stereotypes in its product pages, which features girls with Nerf guns and boys with doll houses and Hello Kitty. According to Jezebel, Top Toy’s gender-swapped catalogue may have been inspired in part by the widespread debate over the issue of gender equality that has been ongoing for the past few years in the Scandinavian nation.

here is a link to the entire article: [x]

I think it’s a great way to change social ideologies: start teaching the kiddies that it’s okay for a girl to use the nerf gun and the boy to use the vacuum!

What do you guys think?

*note* — I know that this doesn’t show women in leadership but it’s a start to changing what we see as typical gender roles, reminded me of…

View original post 17 more words

Maun, Kasane and Victoria Falls

20 Nov

Last week I took some leave days, and finally did some tourism! After my meeting with my school coordinator, supervisor and WUSC Botswana’s coordinator, we headed up to Shakawe then to Maun.

While in Maun, I stayed at a nice little lodge on the river that is a hotspot for tourists and locals wanting a drink. While Heather, Kelsey and I were lounging by the pool we heard a hippo grunt – it sounded suuuuuper close! We went to go look for it, and it was within 20 meters of us. Hippos like to spend most of their time underwater, so we lucked out when it came really far out to eat some dinner. Image

I also went on a horseback safari, which was really cool! All of the animals were in an enclosure, and there were no animals that would hurt or spook the horses, but I saw plenty of giraffes, impala, kudu and some zebras. We were able to get ready close to the animals, and it was great to be on a horse for the first time in a looong time! Below is one of the pictures I got of a giraffe in the park. Image

My friend Julia met me on Thursday in Maun, and Friday we traveled to Kasane. We met some fellow travelers and had an amazing dinner at an Indian restaurant. Saturday we woke up early for a game drive at Chobe National Park where we saw lots of elephants, buffalo, baboons, impala, some giraffes, a leopard (barely since he was hiding in a tree) and 2 lionesses. The lions were wonderful because they were hunting and we saw them stalking a herd of buffalo. I was hoping we would get to see a kill, but no such luck! We spent the day lounging poolside at a resort, then went on a sunset boat cruise. The boat cruise (through Chobe National Park) was truly amazing, and we were able to get really close to hippos and elephants. Here are a couple of pictures from Chobe. Image

Image

Image

Image

Sunday we went on a day trip to Victoria Falls. And (big surprise) they really are beautiful. Since the rains haven’t really come yet this year, the falls were fairly dry and we were able to get a unique view. Instead of the roaring falls that drench you when you see them, we got to see a subtler beauty. I really wanted to go in the Devil’s Pool, but unfortunately that is on the Zambia side of the falls so I didn’t get the chance… this time. I would also love to go rafting there and see more of Zimbabwe, so I guess I will just have to again sometime! Most of my pictures of Victoria Falls are on Julia’s camera, but I will get those soon.

Overall, it was an amazing weekend, and I am even more in love with Botswana and Southern Africa.

20 Nov

Absolutely true and bang on. Great post.

finding development

We have found that there are no mental health consequences of abortion compared to carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. There are other interesting findings: even later abortion is safer than childbirth and women who carried an unwanted pregnancy to term are three times more likely than women who receive an abortion to be below the poverty level two years later.

That is a quote from the researchers who are two years in to a five year study abortion – specifically the first scientific study which looks at what happens to women who have been denied abortions. This study has been following 956 women who sought abortions, 182 of which were denied. This study takes place in the USA but I believe much of the information can be extrapolated to other nations.

I find it fascinating that less than halfway into the study researchers are already able to debunk many…

View original post 402 more words

What’s Culture Go To Do With It?

8 Nov

I had the amazing opportunity to attend a forum on Reinvigorating the Gender Movement in Botswana this week. It was a really valuable experience and I got to hear some great and open debate, learn more about the history of the gender movement in Botswana and meet some really interesting people.

BUT (because there is always a but) there were two comments that just irked me.

The first was: “Women have more power than men because they can say no in the bedroom. Men will never say no!” Excuse me?! In what world can women always say no? Marital rape is a sad reality. Also, maybe she would want to have sex if her pleasure was put on an equal level as his. And maybe she would want to have sex if she wasn’t tired from working two jobs every single day – her paid work and the unpaid work she does at home. Of course, I too am making assumptions with these statements, but I just want to make it obvious that a woman does not always have the power to say no, and when she does have the power – well, why shouldn’t she? And to speak to my personal experience regarding the power dynamic in Botswana – when a man hits on me by asking me how many cows my parents want, that shows me that he has put the power on him and on my parents (likely mostly my father) while giving me none of the power.

Also – why should a woman’s power be connected to her sexuality? Men are judged on their intelligence, on their work, on their ideas – so why aren’t women?

The second comment was: “I married a Kalanga woman because I think she is still more controllable. It is still in the Kalanga culture to raise a girl to be a woman that will take care of her husband.”

This reminded me a comment on my Facebook that I choose not to address at the time. Here it is:

Image

How long are we going to blame culture for human rights violations?! Oppression does NOT equal culture. I am tired of skirting around it – but the “culture” excuse a shitty and pathetic excuse. Cultures are socially constructed and therefore are molded and changed over time. We need to carry the best parts of culture forward into the future while leaving the harmful parts in the past.  

New HIV law in Canada: Too Strict or Too Lenient?

7 Nov

This article was originally published by the International Women’s Initiative Survivors’ Blog.

A court ruling in 1998 stated that it was a crime for HIV carriers in Canada to not reveal their status to a sexual partner if there was a significant risk of transmission. Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada updated this law. The Supreme Court ruled that people with low levels of HIV do not need to disclose their condition to sexual partners if they use condoms. This was decided because “the realistic possibility of transmission of HIV is negated” when the carrier has a low viral load and a condom is used. In all other situations, HIV carriers must disclose their status to their partner. HIV carriers who do not meet these conditions and do not tell their partners can be charged with aggravated and sexual assault. 

To read the rest of my post, please go here

 

2012 USA Election

6 Nov

A vote for Romney is a step backwards.

finding development

I’ve noticed an increased number of blog hits in the past while from people searching such things as ‘romney parental leave’ (or other variations of that) and ‘romney’s views on women.’ All I can say is that if you are taking the time to do your research, I commend you. Congratulations, an informed voter is my favourite kind.

Now all that being said, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have political representation that fights for basic human rights, and in my opinion, Romney is the farthest from that. Now, I’m not American, I am Canadian and living in Vietnam of all places. But I have seen first hand how American politics have the ability to influence politics and development around the world. No politician will be perfect, no one person or political party will meet all of your needs, but look beyond yourself and look at what…

View original post 110 more words