Sanja Juričić-Franić – Raising a glass to gender equality

Cross-posted from UN Women

At a winery at the end of a town in rural Herzegovina, a 32-year-old woman stands amid barrels of wine, staring across the vineyards.

Her name is Sanja Juričić-Franić. Together with two more women, her sister and her mother, she leads the “Gangaš” winery in Čitluk, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sanja holds a Masters’ Degree in agronomy and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in economy. A wife, mother and successful entrepreneur, she is an enologist who has had to combat prejudice and stereotypes in this male-dominated profession.

“As a woman, gender equality means having the freedom to make my own choices when it comes to life decisions, without being affected by social prejudices.”  Read More »

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The Slippery Slope of “Religious” Freedom versus Human Rights

News of the result of the Burnwell v Hobby Lobby Stores case reached my ears at the worst possible moment, surrounded by staunch Republicans in the great state of South Carolina. I spent the week at home deflecting backhanded comments about those damn liberals and their slow and steady destruction of the America we know and love. With the words “THANKS OBAMA” still ringing in my ears, I find it impossible to voice my thoughts on the Hobby Lobby ruling without in some way addressing the environment I have only recently vacated.

 By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled in Burnwell v Hobby Lobby Stores that, in reference to the stipulation within the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide health insurance coverage for contraception, closely held for-profit corporations with religious objections cannot be required to uphold the mandate. Religious groups described it as a small part of a larger war on religious freedom. Supporters of the ACA argued that its elimination would continue the various forms of selective equality that still plague a country whose central premise is that all people are created equal, allowing corporations to impede not only women’s reproductive rights, but also to challenge other civil rights statutes with the same vigor.  Read More »

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Social Media is So Anti-Social

I’m 30 years old and I have been using computers since I was a toddler. I’ve been using the internet since elementary school. I designed my first website when I was about 13 or 14. I also ran an online zine on AOL at that same time. I’ve had my own domain where I host my personal blog for 13 years now. You could call me a geek or a nerd and I would be totally okay with that. What you should never call me is a whore or a slut. You shouldn’t threaten me with rape or murder. You shouldn’t say that I deserve a lobotomy or I look like a man or that I’m fat or ugly. You shouldn’t say this sort of stuff to anyone, anywhere. Ever.

Shortly before I turned thirty, I made the mistake of responding to a snarky comment from a Twitter user. This user had responded with “BWAHAHA A Woman made the hashtag” over my friend calling out people who were making rude remarks on the hashtag #FlukeForCongressCampaignSlogans. I asked him, “Is that supposed to make the hashtag any less offensive?” He responded with, “Haha! I bet you’ve never needed BC. #HumanManatee” I’ve been made fun of for years over my weight. It’s a sore subject for me, but I didn’t want this stranger to know that. I didn’t want him to know that I cared what he or anyone else thought about how I looked, so I fired back, “You think you’re original, but you really aren’t. And I have been on birth control off and on since middle school.” I probably should have either ignored the first remark or left out the part about taking birth control in middle school, but I didn’t. I never stood up for myself as a kid when people would say cruel things about me due to my weight, so I felt good about standing up for myself with this internet bully. And I’ve never been ashamed of the fact that I had to take birth control pills when I was in middle school (or high school or college) because there’s nothing shameful about them. A little packet of pills had never defined me before, but when I used them to respond to this guy, they did.  Read More »

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Brisbane Tattoo artist calls on followers to ”Bash Women” & “Fuck Women’s Rights”

TRIGGER WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT AND IMAGERY DISCUSSING SEXUAL ABUSE

Yesterday morning I was at the gym when I heard the news headlines for the day. They included the regular stories – the increased cost of living, the budget, the economy, cute little ‘fluff stories’, and of course, the news that another woman had been murdered.

The news report told of a Chinese woman’s body being found naked and injured in Melbourne city, assaulted by a man who had been ‘living rough’  on the streets. She was simply walking to work when she was sexually assaulted and murdered.

Before I even had time to adjust to this news, I was bombarded with more stories of violence against women.  Following this report came news updates that Gerard Baden-Clay was still pleading ‘Not Guilty’ to murdering his wife Alison, whom he was cheating on, along with reports that Oscar Pistorius  was pleading mental insanity to shooting dead his girlfriend.

And despite the overwhelming daily news reports that violence against women is impacting on millions of women every day worldwide (such as the 200+ Nigerian school girls who are still missing), still it seems that many are too desensitised by a culture of violence, misogyny and sexism, to see that violence against women is a serious issue. If you need more proof, just look at the Elliot Rodger fan pages for evidence.

Perhaps one of the worst displays of hatred toward women that I saw yesterday however, was that of a local Brisbane tattoo artist named Ryan Parsons who thought it would be funny to upload one of his designs to Instagram. The image, which featured a naked woman head first in a dumpster, with her hands bound, her shoes strewn on the ground, and a bird feasting on her genitals, was hash-tagged ‘fuck women’s rights’ and ‘bash women’.  Read More »

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Today’s Modern Harems

Jillian Lauren was raised in a typical middle class New Jersey family. But as a teenager, she went down an unexpected road, dropping out of college, becoming an escort and spending a year and a half living in the harem of Prince Jefri Bolkiah of Brunei.

Now a New York Times bestselling author, she is taking a stand against culture-based abuse and the oppression of women.

Jillian published a memoir of her experience, Some Girls: My Life in a Harem. She describes the hedonistic lifestyle of the Brunei royal family, Prince Jefri’s harem filled with 30 to 40 women, many younger than 16, and a drunken evening she spent at the Kuala Lampur Hilton with the Sultan of Brunei himself.  Read More »

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