7 Women with Disabilities who You Should Know

By Makayla Sundquist

Bada** and disabled? Can those two words coincide? Oh, they most definitely can. Even though women with disabilities are typically portrayed negatively in the media, real life women are combating ableism (discriminating against persons with disabilities) and making history. Here are 7 women with disabilities whose names and stories you need to learn…

  Melissa Stockwell

Althete Melissa Stockwell celebrates her victory holding an American flag. She has an amputated leg and competes in triathlons
Stockwell celebrates a victory in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo via her website

Melissa Stockwell is a Paralympic athlete who competes for the United States as a triathlete. She has won gold in multiple world championships. However, Stockwell was famous long before her athlete career. She was the first American female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq war. Her left leg was amputated after a car bomb in 2004. She started competing in triathlons after having her leg amputated. Talk about bada**!

            Judy Heumann

Huemann sits in her automized wheelchair giving a TEDx talk.
Huemann gives a TEDx talk describing the need to continue fighting for disability rights. Photo via youtube.

Next on the list of totally awesome disabled women is Judy Heumann. Heumann became the first teacher in New York City to teach in a wheelchair. She also played a critical role in the passing of Section 504, the first civil rights protection for people with disabilities. What Section 504 does is prohibit programs that receive federal funding to discriminate against people with disabilities. She currently works as a Special Advisor for International Disability Rights. Go Judy!

Continue reading “7 Women with Disabilities who You Should Know”

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Truth is Power

Women's rights activist Tarana Burke wearing a "Me too" shirt
Activist Tarana Burke

By Sierra Rothermich

“I don’t watch the news, it’s all negative.” Comments like these are said every day to justify society’s apathetic attitude towards the press. But if everything on the news is negative, shouldn’t that spark our passion for combating these horrifying issues? Why would we choose to neglect the social injustice we see in media? We cannot afford to be ignorant of what’s going on in the world.

According to Sasa Vucinic’s TedTalk, 83-percent of the population on this planet lives in societies without independent press. This means 83-percent of the world doesn’t truly know what’s going on in their countries. These people are deprived of knowing their own reality. In the United States, the press and media give us the power to tell the truth. Continue reading “Truth is Power”

A Picture of the American Sex Worker

A diverse group of protests advocating for sex workers rights. Front group holding a sign that says “sex workers rights = human rights.” By Rosemary Anderson

As I write this article, I want to make it known that the sex industry is not always positive for women and girls. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, sex workers around the world have a 45 to 75 percent chance of experiencing violence during their careers.

When sex workers do experience violence, they are not protected by rape shield laws and are not eligible for compensation funds.

Many see sex workers as objects, non-human, and second-rate members of society. This makes sex workers even more prone to being victims of violence.

Women are forced into sex work without their consent, others are forced into sex work because of financial situations, and some choose sex work as their profession.

Continue reading “A Picture of the American Sex Worker”

Remember more than one month a year

By Kali Nelson

As Thanksgiving has come and passed, we are left with little of November left and with Donald Trump popping up at a Navajo veterans event at the White House on Monday to talk about Pocahontas, who was in fact not Navajo.

But today, in honor of Native American Heritage month coming to a close, I want to talk about Native American environmental groups. There are two in particular that I am going to highlight, though there are actually several of them. While they are not directly feminist, it is my belief that feminism and environmentalism are linked and I am using the platform I have to share information about a topic I see little coverage of.  Environmentalism and feminism can be linked in the way they are used to help further each other’s campaigns. One example is Honor the Earth, they had a campaign a few years ago to fight sexual assault of native women. They fought this by fighting the man camps that pop up around new oil drill sights. Continue reading “Remember more than one month a year”

Conservation and Feminism: Not Mutually Exclusive?

A photo of the Earth from space, a large blue marble on a black background
                      A picture of the Earth from Apollo 17

By Kali Nelson

Last semester I wrote a post about Ecofeminism. It was tied to the idea that women and nature are linked and that for women to be free, nature must also be free. Today I wantto go more in depth with that idea.

Where did Ecofeminism come from?

Ecofeminism came into its modern state in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in an academic setting. Ecofeminism could be found mostly in the academic world for most of the seventies and then in the eighties, ecofeminism became for prevalent outside of the academic world. It is very popular in India, where the Chipko movement exists, this movement was for the protection of forests against deforestation. The term was coined in 1974 by French feminist Françoise d’Eaubonne and combines the ideas of gender equality, of nonpatriarchal and nonlinear structures, and of the world that respects organic processes.

The main book that I used as a base for much of my last post was called Healing the Wounds: The Promise of Ecofeminism which is a collection of essays edited by Judith Plant. It was published in 1989. There are more recently published books on this subject, the most recent one I can find being published in 2014. Although I am very certain that there are more recent books.

Continue reading “Conservation and Feminism: Not Mutually Exclusive?”

Sexism in the Academic World

By Kali Nelson

 I have always been told that I would one day go on to school after high school whether it be trade school, community college, or a 4-year school, it was always in my sight. I know my parents are setting me up to succeed, but college alone will not help me. I need to put in 110% to whatever it is I plan to do because if not I may be stuck somewhere I don’t want to be. My parents expect all three of their kids to get to college. Maybe they know, maybe they don’t, but the academic world is sexist.

 Throughout this post I will talk a lot about how women face sexism but this does apply to all minorities in the academic life. The main reason for this is because there haven’t been many studies done to see this aspect.

 Higher education has this illusion of being a white boys club. But women have been flooding the ranks of academic life for years now. In 2015, Time magazine reported that 37.5% of women between the ages of 25 to 34 had a bachelor’s degree, while only 29.5% of men did.  Despite these great numbers, women still face sexism in higher education. Let’s look at how many men compared to women get tenure in 2012. According to the American Association of University Professors, 62% were male and 44% of women. This is only startling if you look at what many universities base tenure on: reviews and publications. Reviews are left by students, mostly as the semester has ended, but can also be left on other websites like “Rate Your Professor”. These reviews usually are harsher on the women professors than they are on men. While this is not the students complete fault it has to do with society.

 Women in academia also have to handle the citation gap. This means that articles written by women received fewer citations then articles written by men. While the article I linked to says that the gap may be small it is detrimental to women because if their article is not cited, the women who wrote it cannot get credit for what they have contributed. Another thing that affects women negatively is the baby penalty. The women who want to get to the top of academic life usually must choose between having a family or having a high position. Women who want a family usually become a second tier faculty member. They fill part time positions or adjunct faculty spots. This hurts women but not men, men having a family actually helps their career.

 Women also have the problem of fighting the idea that sexism is dead in academia. It isn’t, women feel they have to work twice as hard to get the same position. While academia is lightening its attitude towards women it is still a hostile environment or them, some women may some of the only ones in their field. This causes a problem because how can women have equality if there are only a few in a huge field then how do they rise up to be equals.

 There is also the imposter syndrome. This is the feeling that no matter how qualified you are at what you’re doing, your colleges will find out that you shouldn’t be there. I suffer from this a lot. I recently got a job this summer and when I got to the meeting and I met everyone else, I felt that there had been a mistake. I couldn’t be qualified for this, I had so little experience, I felt that I had taken someone way more qualified for the job. This also happened when I got the ok for this position on this blog.  I thought that there were so many more qualified people to do this job, who was I a fairly well off, white girl to tell people what I thought about feminism. I know in my head that I am qualified to talk about feminism because I am a woman. Feminism is not just for one group but I still doubted myself about if I could do it. This is the impostor syndrome, now no matter how qualified I am for a position I still doubt. I had so little confidence in myself, I still think that sometimes I must work twice as hard to even compare with my male counterparts. This problem is not just me, it applies to every woman. This is not helpful to women, trust me, it has led to worry and stress and no sleep because anything less than perfect in anything I do is seen as a failure. People think I act like I’m smart because I like to, no I do it because I’m afraid that people will realize I shouldn’t be here. It’s terrifying. It has taken me a semester to get over the feeling that has plagued me for over a year, and I’m still not even close to over it. Every time I apply for something I trick myself to believe that I am not qualified for it, even if I am more than qualified.

 This is not something to be proud of, I work myself to the bone so that I may feel that I am adequate enough for a job. Women do not need all this extra pressure. We have so many other pressures to escape. I cannot speak for my counterparts but I continued on with school to escape this hell. I came to college to get away from the fear that the world put in me and I have found all new problems to face and one of them is sexism in college.

From Backseat Feminist to Activist

 

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A photo of myself speaking at the Idaho Against Hate demonstration in Moscow, ID

By: Paola Aguilar

This time last year, I was finishing my first Women’s and Gender Studies class and had learned so much about things I never knew about. I went into the class thinking I was fairly well-versed about the issues surrounding people within different intersections of identities and came out realizing how much I needed to learn. While I’ve always felt strongly about the things I believe in, I never wanted to go to demonstrations or start any sort of movement on campus for fear of stirring things up or making changes in places where I thought were not all that necessary.

After that first class, I studied feminist theory and started reading the news as often as possible. I was getting a more in-depth look at different aspects of feminism while reading in the news about unarmed African-Americans dying as a result of police brutality, about women being sexually assaulted on college campuses and being ignored, and about a presidential candidate who said women who have abortions should be punished. By the end of the Spring 2016 semester, I was fed up with the state of things in our country and decided I would take even small opportunities to do what I could to make a difference and positive changes in my community.

Continue reading “From Backseat Feminist to Activist”