Gender Equity in Science Forum

Learn more about my day job with Science in Australia Gender Equity, which is working to improve gender outcomes for all women, as well as improving workplace culture for all. We also have a special focus on increasing the participation and inclusion of transgender people and Indigenous Australians, and other underrepresented groups. Continue reading Gender Equity in Science Forum

The Walking Dead: Gender, Race and Sexuality

This article was first published on Medium, 2 April 2015. Warning: analysis and spoilers for seasons 1 to 5.

Like millions of fans around the world, I love The Walking Dead, and I’m an avid horror aficionado. Yet after five seasons, with breathtaking plot twists and turns, The Walking Dead’s treatment of gender, race and sexuality remains stagnant. For a show that takes many liberties when asking the audience to suspend disbelief, there’s one area it has no trouble maintaining a familiar narrative: the dominance of White, heterosexual men.

Since it launched, the show has focused on relationships and character development. This proved a novel way to bring horror to popular TV. Anthropologist, Professor Juan Francisco Salazar and Dr Stephen Healy, a geographer, argue that Season Five “reflects on the meaning of group solidarity in a brave new world.” The researchers demonstrate how various social science readings of the show centre on social anxiety. In their view, this most recent season was concerned with “Rick’s communitarian family.” That is, the other characters on the show who have bound together supposedly through Rick’s leadership, even when there have been long periods (notably Season 3) when Rick provided little guidance.

The show invites its audience to consider their own bravery under zombie duress. Would we panic and leave sweet Noah stuck in a revolving door swarming with zombies? Would we become “weak” within the walls of Alexandria? Should this frustrating person or that annoying character be killed? The show does not encourage us to think about why the writers persist on upholding White men as leaders, and why White women, people of colour and other minorities are notably absent from the narrative landscape.

It’s no accident that the diplomatic and inclusive leadership of Deanna (a White woman), flawed as it may be, is presented as fundamentally irrational because of its inclusive ideals. Meanwhile, Rick, a White man, is presented as the only model for viable leadership in spite of his flaws.

Michonne looks at her sword as she runs moves it through the air
Michonne from The Walking Dead

Continue reading The Walking Dead: Gender, Race and Sexuality

Feticide Law in USA Punishes Migrant Women of Colour

Feticide Law in USA Punishes Migrant Women of Colour

Purvi Patel is the first woman in the USA to be convicted of feticide (describing an act that leads to the death of a foetus). She suffered a miscarriage, and with no support, she tried to conceal the stillborn, but admitted her condition in hospital when seeking treatment for bleeding. She is from a Hindu background, where sex outside of marriage is condemned. She is sentenced to spend two decades behind bars – a travesty of justice that serves patriarchal ideals. The American law of feticide is not really about protecting women or babies, but rather it’s about punishing vulnerable, desperate women and ultimately discourages others from seeking help when they are trying to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.

While hers is the first conviction, this is not the first arrest under feticide law. Another woman of migrant background was arrested and held for two years under similar harrowing conditions. “Women of colour, especially those who are immigrants or come from immigrant families, are especially vulnerable when it comes to navigating our country’s legal system and often don’t have the same protections and resources other women do.”

If you’re in the USA, sign this petition to the White House to release Patel: http://buff.ly/1C1AdrF

Story: http://buff.ly/1xNNEyS Photo: http://buff.ly/1IyuoWG #sociology #feminism #migrants #women #indian

Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day! Celebrate with bell hooks, who shows why feminism is not just for women, but for everybody!  

“Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression… As all advocates of feminist politics know, most people do not understand sexism, or if they do, they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”

― bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody.

[Image: photo of bell hooks with above quote]

bell hooks – Feminism is for Everybody

Happy International Women’s Day!

“Simply put, feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression… As all advocates of feminist politics know, most people do not understand sexism, or if they do, they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.”

― bell hooks, Feminism is for Everybody.

In addition to her Oscar speech, which called for gender equality in pay, actress Patricia Arquette showed her lack…

In addition to her Oscar speech, which called for gender equality in pay, actress Patricia Arquette showed her lack of understanding of intersectional issues backstage. She demanded that gay and people of colour pay “women” back for all the work “women” do to advocate for equality. The problem is, of course, that not only was a privileged White woman asking oppressed groups to fight for her rights, but Arquette’s remarks also show her lack of awareness that women of colour and transgender women are women too. When Arquette was crying for wage equality, she meant for White women, not all women. When she demands that gay and people of colour fight for White women, she does not understand how sexism, homophobia, transphobia, class and other issues impact on the wage gap.

Professor Brittney Cooper notes that on top of wage inequality and systemic racism and sexism, women of colour also do other forms of unpaid labour – by continually being forced to educate White women about social justice.

“Some of my academic colleagues of colour call this ‘the Black or people of colour tax’ — the extra, and often unacknowledged labour, time and resources we give to institutions, that our white colleagues don’t have to do and for which we are uncompensated, in order to help struggling students of colour navigate our institutions and insure diversity at the levels of faculty and administration.”

Read more: http://buff.ly/17ytRHG #sociology #feminism

http://www.salon.com/2015/02/25/black_americas_hidden_tax_why_this_feminist_of_color_is_going_on_strike/?utm_content=buffer7d002&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.com&utm_campaign=buffer//cdn.embedly.com/widgets/platform.js

Social Inclusion of Transgender Women

Raewyn Connell, preeminent sociologist on gender, is a transgender woman. She explains the personal consequences that transgender people face in having to constantly explain themselves to other people. She notes that sharing transitioning stories are important, but the everyday policing of this narrative is costly. Continue reading Social Inclusion of Transgender Women

Women Nobel Prize Winners: Tawakkol Karman

Women Nobel Prize Winners: Tawakkol Karman

This is Tawakkol Karman, Winner of the Nobel Peace Price 2011. She was awarded this prize along with two other women activists “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.”

Via: http://buff.ly/1xB6sAH #sociology #feminism #socialactivism #nobelpeaceprize