I come from a long line of women who get the job done. No matter if it is making lunch for a haying crew of thirty hungry ranchers, or rallying resources in the last minutes before a Christmas morning gathering to make sure the late additions to our table would have gifts to open after dessert. We accomplish the task. My female friends are equally driven. I’ve been on a crew of five that made all the food for a wedding with over 300 guests. We stayed up all night peeling potatoes for salad and rolling up pieces of lunch meat for the buffet and got up the next morning in time to set it all up, dress the bride, get to the service, and smile in the photographs. My girlfriends and I have cut firewood, branded calves, painted, packed, and proved over and over that no matter the job, we can get it done.
And now many of those same women and I have joined the ranks of our sisters all over the globe to get other jobs done. Together we are marching for change, for peace, for climate, for the environment. I’ve joined sister-friends in democratic calls for action, given a thumbs up on every single photo another friend posts about wild spaces and our need to keep them. And I have sat in a classroom with the wonderful bloggers that I share this space with, and talked about the challenges and the rewards of being female and the best way to showcase those.
As my blogging experience comes to an end here at the University of Idaho Women’s Center, I can’t help but ask myself when I became a feminist. When I started this internship, I wanted to gain experience blogging as well as meet strong, motivational women. But throughout this process I have learned more than just tips on blogging.
I have always had feminist thoughts and tendencies, but before this experience I didn’t exactly know what they were or where they came from. I didn’t exactly know how passionate I was about women’s issues or what I could do to about it. I have now met a handful of independent, driven, smart, and motivational feminists and I am truly thankful. One of the women in my life that pushed me to this experience is my mother, Christine.
Support. Love. Trust. Strength. These four words hold so much more than just what we say or use them for in our day-to-day lives. Sharing these words with one another helps bring us closer, but also establishes a new form of communication. We will examine these words while focusing on being an ally for those who identify as transgender.
I am no expert when it comes to being the best ally after someone comes to you and opens up as transgender. Honestly, no one is going to have the best or only answer for a topic such as this. Instead, I am going to offer some advice and tips that I have found helpful. Through sharing my own experiences my intention is that it will help others who read this article feel comfortable around a touchy topic.
Women are not expected to be criminals and if they are, often they are described as ‘mad not bad.’ This is because of the view that women defied their natural biological principals to be passive and compliant. “The perception that women may be mad because they ‘dared to go against their natural biological givens such as ‘passivity’ and a ‘weakness of compliance’ ‘ appears to originate from the view that women who conform as pure, obedient daughters, wives and mothers benefit society and men” (Feminism and Crime, 2015). Research suggests that the reality is women commit crime at a different level to men.
Studies have found that most women offenders are mothers, who do not work outside of the home, had problems at school and left with few marketable employment qualifications. Many of these women are on state benefits and have experienced some form of abuse resulting in psychological distress leading to alcohol and drug abuse. Recent data shows that women are in prison for the following crimes: Drug related (37%), Violence (17%), Theft (13%), Robbery (11%), other not specified (9%), Burglary (8%), Fraud (4%), and Motoring (1%). “What is clear is that women are committing certain crimes at a different level to men. Female murderers are much rarer than male murderers and as the statistics above show, most women are in prison for drug-related crimes (37%) before there is a 20% drop to crimes related to violence (17%)” (Feminism and Crime, 2015). There are more women in prison now for drug-related offenses due to the War on Drugs, which has put many male drug dealers behind bars for minor offenses. This leaves their dependents, frequently women who have no prior history of drug trafficking, attempting to make a living by taking over their partner’s deals. Continue reading “Women in Crime”→
Hundreds of women immigrate to the United States every year in search of a better life for themselves and their families. Upon arrival in the Unites States, they must ask themselves, “Where will I work? How best can I feed my family? Where will I live?” If they are one of the 51.1 percent of women immigrates leaving their country because of (but not limited to) political persecution and/or domestic violence, work options for employment are usually bleak. More often than not, they will find themselves working in a field or on a farm, or as a caregiver. This presents a conflict for women who also have children. Many financially-solvent families struggle to pay for childcare. Access to affordable childcare for immigrant women is nearly impossible, as the average pay for undocumented immigrant women is 71 cents for every dollar undocumented immigrant men are paid. Even nationalized immigrant women make 75 cents (compared to native-born women’s 77 cents) for every dollar nationalized immigrant men make.
Immigrant women remain one of the most at-risk populations in the United States. In addition to minimal wages and a lack of childcare, maintaining a residence presents its own challenges. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) offers some housing assistance for legal immigrants who have lived in the United States for five years. This does not address the housing need of women who are undocumented or have been living in the United States less than five years. Also, individuals eligible for TANF must meet specific financial criteria. Once the financial criteria for TANF have been exceeded, assistance is no longer available. This potentially discourages immigrant women from seeking further education and attempts to increase their income, because additional income may mean that housing assistance is no longer available. This increase in wages usually does not fully cover the assistance TANF was providing. Continue reading “Prospects for Undocumented Immigrant Women”→