Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
10-15 TABLE of CONTENTS:
QUOTES by Felice N. Schwartz, Marie Carmichael Stopes, Martin Duberman.
Five Years Since Beijing - What was the Result?
By Irene Stuber
The Chinese media honestly blacked it out with a big silence.
The "free" American media colored it out with entertaining bits masquerading as news. Instead of substance, Americans were treated to spiffy articles and tv snippets about buses, mud, dancing troupes, meeting-place defects, and Chinese human rights violations.
In both China and the United States - as well as the rest of the world - the largest gathering of women in the history of this world went into oblivion as a non-happening with hardly a whimper because of the attitude of those - primarily men - who control news coverage.
Virtually nothing about the substance of the Fourth U.N. Conference on Women held in Beijing and Hairou, China, September, 1995, was published in the U.S. More space was given in the weekly news magazines to the Miss America Pageant than to a meeting of the most powerful and influential women of this world, including many of the women who head nations.
More words were spent quoting CongressMEN on the non-right of an American citizen, Hillary Rodham Clinton, to travel to China to give a speech than to reporting her words which were stirring and hard-hitting.
Rodham-Clinton, speaking as the wife of the President of the United States, stated unequivocally, "As long as discrimination and inequities remain so commonplace around the world -- as long as girls and women are valued less, fed less, fed last, overworked, underpaid, not schooled and subjected to violence in and out of their homes -- the potential of the human family to create a peaceful, prosperous world will not be realized.
Let this conference be our -- and the world's -- call to action."
Rodham-Clinton dared in undiplomatic language to list the wrongs:
"The voices of this conference and of the women at Huairou must be heard loud and clear:
"It is a violation of human rights when babies are denied food, or drowned, or suffocated, or their spines broken, simply because they are born girls.
"It is a violation of human rights when women and girls are sold into the slavery of prostitution.
"It is a violation of human rights when women are doused with gasoline, set on fire and burned to death because their marriage dowries are deemed too small.
"It is a violation of human rights when individual women are raped in their own communities and when thousands of women are subjected to rape as a tactic or prize of war.
"It is a violation of human rights when a leading cause of death worldwide among women ages 14 to 44 is the violence they are subjected to in their own homes.
"It is a violation of human rights when young girls are brutalized by the painful and degrading practice of genital mutilation.
"It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will.
"If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference, it is that human rights are women's rights... And women's rights are human rights.
"Let us not forget that among those rights are the right to speak freely. And the right to be heard."
(The complete text of HRC's speech can be found in the library section of this site.)
At the Beijing-Hairou conferences women did speak freely, but their right to be heard outside the conference was - as usual - seriously curbed by the standard news media coverage. Our daily newspaper and TV news programs determined a T&A contest or the number of games a multi-millionaire plays was more important than women's right to life.
Tragically, after the brief flurry of sisterhood at these meetings, the conference women would ordinarily have also been muzzled when they got back home because - other than communicating with a few friends or members of their particular organization - there was no way for them to stay in touch, no way to form cheap easy ways of networking about their growing knowledge, experience, and plans. the women of old before the invention of the printing press, women's information was controlled to suit the controllers.
Friendships and common goals that were formed by women across political boundaries, across oceans and continets, across racial divides would soon evaporate like the smoke of a dying fire... or so those who guard the old ways thought.
But that isn't what is happening.
The women of Beijing and Hairou are still communicating, plotting, and planning.
For the biggest story to come of Beijing and Hairou wasn't in any document, or in any news story.
It was the networking that developed among the thousands of STRONG women who met and saw the same gleam in each other's eyes and recognized the steel within each other, all those women commitment to the betterment of their sisters... they were women leaders and women everywoman from grassroots level to heads of state, brown, yellow, white, and black.
Can you imagine the absolute power surge that hit every woman delegate when she saw that she was part of such a POWERFUL GROUP OF WOMEN from every continent, of every nationality, of every race, of every hue and size and age?
That deep in each woman's heart is the truth that the Sisterhood is alive, well, and strong - and getting stronger.
What is almost certainly the most lasting result of this conference won't be the platform - although it is the glue that holds ideas in one place - the most lasting result will be that most of these powerful women are (or will soon be) In-computerized (Internet-computerized)...
Yes, the lasting result of the Women's Conference in China is that millions of women are being networked by computers via the Internet and their words, ideas, documents and ideas can be exchanged inexpensively and quickly sent out to thousands of women.
No longer are women limited to what they can write or publish by the patriarchy that exacts a fearsome cost of money and groveling.
The Internet, cheap, fast, and almost uncensorable is networking women from all over the world.
And don't think it is just Western, high-income women who are involved. African women were particularly interested in the online computer technology where one computer and one phone line can connect an entire village to knowledge.
One computer can help teach the women of that village birth control as well as economics and enough technology to guarantee a safe water supply.
It is ironical that China should be the scene of the largest birth in history: the baby is effective world-wide feminist communication.
"If there is one message that comes forth from this conference," said the U.S. first lady, "it is that human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights -- once and for all."
And the fact that women from every nation have clicked onto this website and read about their foremothers - and contributed information - is proof that the future belongs to women who will reshape the world to their own, more caring selves.
Pregnant Men, Practice, Theory, and the Law
Pregnant Men: Practice, Theory, and the Law by Ruth Colker of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law was published by the Indian University Press and available in papberback.
The book focuses on developing a feminist jurisprudence that works in practice, not just in theory.
The two theoretical issues considered are "anti-essentialism" and "equality." She shows how one can use equality theory in the reproductive health context despite the nonexistence of pregnant men to which we might compare pregnant women.
Through practical, legal examples, she answers the counterfactual question of how men might be treated if they could get pregnant.
Colker says, "I tried to write the book in a way that would make it accessible to a women's studies audience as well as a legal audience because, no matter what our areas of feminist practice, I think we all face the question of how to make our theory work in practice. I believe strongly in the importance of a practical feminism."
Ilona Elek was Probably the World's Greatest Woman Fencer.
Hungarian fencer Ilona Elek was only woman to win two Olympic gold medals: 1936 and 1948. No games were held between 1936 and 48 because of World War II. Amazingly at age 45 she won her first 20 Olympic matches in 1952 but tired in her final three and "only" won the silver.
She was the world foil champion in 1934, 35, and 51. Her closest rivals were American Maria Cerra and Danish Karen Lachmann.
En Heduanna (c. 2350 BCE) was the chief priestess of the Moon Goddess at whose temples the movement of the Sun and Moon were closely observed and recorded. The Moon calendar established is still used to date Easter and Passover - among other holidays.
She was the daughter of Sargon who established the Sargonian Dynasty in Babylon. The position of chief priestess of the moon made her one of the most powerful personages in Sumeria and the temples she headed were centers of learning.
The temples, in keeping with the agrarian society, were also centers of trade where they raised their own food and kept livestock. Their primary Forty-eight of her poems remain. It appears that the tradition of powerful women priestesses and "scientists" were common for the period leading up to her lifetime when "recorded" history more-or- less began.
Jamie Tarses First Woman Head of TV Entertainment Division
After three years of being constantly bombarded by unbelievable pressures by the men who wanted her job, Jamie Tarses, 35, the first woman to run a network entertainment division, resigned June, 1999.
Officially, she mouthed platitudes about change in the business, etc., but in private she spoke about the "never-ending rumors" of her firing, resignation, etc. In a New York Daily News, Tarses sounds a similar theme: "The constant unrest meant you were not able to put your head down and just do your work."
During her tenure, ABC was reorganized, bought, and bought again. Her resignation, she said, has made her a very happy woman. Her salary was in excess of $1 million a year.
Dr. Nancy Vickers Heads Bryn Mawr College
In 1997 Dr. Nancy Vickers has been chosen unanimously by the trustees of Bryn Mawr College to replace Mary Patterson McPherson who joined the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Dr. McPherson led Bryn Mawr to a resurgence of popularity and record financial endowments.
The naming of a woman to head the prestigious college that was molded into acedemic acclaim by the legendary M. Carey Thomas is in keeping with the unarticulated agreement that women should head women's colleges. After women like Thomas and Mary Wollsey, etc., who forged great women's colleges retired, for many years, men trustees turned women's colleges over to men who objected to strong, intellectual women. They cut back the strong academic programs with home economics and other happy housewife things.
In the 1970s, the tide began to turn and within a few years every woman's college was headed and strengthened by strong women leaders.
Dr. Vickers was dean and professor of French, Italian and comparative literature at the University of Southern California.
She is an advocate of women's colleges, having graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1967. Bryn Mawr has received more than 1,600 applications for its new class of 350 and has an endowment of $310 million.
Dr. Vickers is at home with Madonna and George Michael as she is with Dante and Shakespeare, according to newspaper reports. Although most recently at Southern California, she earned her doctorate in French literature at Yale in 1976, taught at Dartmouth from 1973 to 1987 before moving to USC.
Lieutenant Nun - Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World
"Lieutenant Nun is the remarkable true story of a seventeenth century cross-dresser who became a hero of the Spanish-speaking world.
"For centuries Spanish readers have been fascinated with the story of the lieutenant nun. Catalina's story not only sheds light on the Spanish conquest of America but also offers a glimpse into the life of a fascinating woman who thwarted the gender conventions of her society, yet remained committed to its service.
'Born in the Basque city of San Sebastian in 1520, Catalina de Erauso fled a convent at the age of fifteen and spent the rest of her life dresses as a man. In 1603, she became a soldier and fought in the conquest of Chile and Peru. She inadvertently killed her brother in a duel, and gambled and brawled her way through the mining towns of the Andean highlands.
'Finally cornered after twenty years, she confessed her condition to a young bishop and became an overnight celebrity. She continued to wear men's clothing, eventually with the permission of the pope. In 1630, she returned once again to the Americas, to live out her days as a mule-driver and small merchant, but not before she set down the story of her life in writing.
'Eminently readable, Lieutenant Nun is a fascinating page-turner that is certain to strike a chord with scholars and pleasure-seeking readers alike."
So reads the blurb of Lieutenant Nun - Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World by Catalina de Erauso Published by Beacon Press, 1996 ISBN 0-8070-072-6. The book was recommended by Nancy Rising.
10-15 DATES, ANNIVERSARIES, and EVENTS
B. 10-15-1726, Francoise Duparc, French painter. There were 41 paintings in her studio when she died in 1778 but only four are known to exist today. Called a very talented painter, her obscurity is tragic according to art writers and critics Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin, writing in Women Artists: 1550-1950, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1976. They expressed hopes that someday efforts would be made to recover the paintings "which must now be hanging unnoticed in the private collections in the south of France."
B. 10-15-1830, Helen Maria Hunt Jackson - U.S.author and advocate for the rights and recognition of Native Americans.
Her best known work Ramona, 1884, has gone through more than 300 printings.
She turned to writing to earn a living following the death of her husband. Her first book, Verses, appeared in 1870. In 1881 she settled in Colorado Springs, with her second husband. Colo., where she began writing with sympathy for Native Americans in books such as A Century of Dishonor (1881). It was while serving on a federal commission investigating the treatment of Indians that she gathered information for Ramona. She was a lifelong friend of Emily Dickinson.
B. 10-15-1880, Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes - British physician and author.
MCS started Britain's first birth control clinic in 1921 and founded several birth control associations. Some claim Stopes, rather than Sanger, should be given the credit for the beginning of the birth control movement because of Stopes' greater grasp of the emotions, and sociological and personal relationships involved.
They were bitter rivals set at each other by the leaders of their organizations and the press. Stopes was a graduate of geology and held a doctorate of botany. She published Married Love and Wise Parenthood (1918) which was translated extensively as was Contraception: Its Theory, History, and Practice (1923). Women of Achievement and Herstory has archived Married Love in its documents library.
Married Love has been judged one of the 100 most influential books of the 20th century, the first book to speak honestly of women's sexual needs.
B. 10-15-1892, Ina Clair - U.S. actor. IC was a high comedienne of the theater in the 1920-40 era. She remained primarily a Broadway actor because she didn't like the roles she was offered in Hollywood.
B. 10-15-1905, Edna Deane - British dancer, instructor, and choreographer. ED founder the Deane School of Dance after a lengthy career as a world champion ballroom dancer.
B. 10-15-1906, Alica Patterson - U.S. newspaper editor and publisher.
A member of a famed newspaper dynasty, AP created Long Island's Newsday which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1954 for public service. Newsday was a sparkling, modern idea that believed in becoming an active part in local events. It became the twelfth largest evening newspaper in the U.S. It was sold to the Times Mirror Company seven years after her death. She left a million-dollar endowment for the encouragement of young journalists.
B. 10-15-1937, Linda Lavin - U.S. actor best known for her TV roles but has also appeared on Broadway.
B. 10-15-1941, Anne Tyle, one of the most important American writers of the last 20th century who dissects the "eccentricities of modern domestic lives experienced by slightly baffled people."
Event 10-15-1941: the first of a thousand Soviet Union women to be trained as military combat pilots reported for duty.
They would form three regiments to fly fighter and bomber planes in combat as well as being dispersed throughout the air force as navigators and mechanics.
The Soviet (Russian) women would be the only women in the world who would actually fly combat missions. A number of them because aces - and a number of them died in combat.
The Soviets did not segregate their women military personnel in work as did the Americans and English.
A woman mechanic would work side-by-side with men and the women would fly alongside men in actual combat in the same regiment although they would have separate living quarters.
The regular two-year course for pilots was compressed into six months because of the need for aviators with the invasion of Germany.
One of the most popular books about the Soviet women flyers is Bruce Myles' Night Witches - the untold story of Soviet Women in Combat. California: Presido Press, 1981. ISBN 0-89141-125-9. It contains some good information but unfortunately the author tends to tell romantic stories of the young girl's infatuations rather than the horrors of combat and bomber pilots in the air war.
But most importantly, a noted Soviet Woman HERSTORIAN whose dissertation was on the Soviet flyers points out that he confuses many of the incidents and women as well as "embellishing." Reina Pennington made several trips to the Soviet Union, spoke the language, and did superb historical work that included examining source materials as well as speaking to many of the women involved. One of her reports will be found in the 08-01 Women of Achievement and Herstory segment when it is posted.
B. 10-15-1942, Penny Marshall - U.S. actor, comedian, and film director.
PM, one of Hollywood's premier directors, started her career as an actress, starred in the TV hit Laverne and Shirley.
Through the newly-possible woman networking in Hollywood - successful women helping other women - she made her movie directorial debut in Jumping Jack that starred her friend Whoopie Goldberg, and followed it with Big, the first movie directed by a woman that grossed more than $100 million (and made Tom Hanks a star).
In the way of Hollywood men directors who do the nominating, Marshall's next film The Awakening was nominated for best film but she was ignored as best director (as had been Barbra Streisand a few years back when her film was nominated for best picture and she was ignored as director.)
PM followed with the smash hit A League of Their Own.
B. 10-15-1959, Sarah Ferguson, formerly the Duchess of York.
Event 10-15-1967, Florence Beaumont, 55, died after she poured gasoline over herself and set herself on fire with a match in front of the federal building in Los Angeles to protest the U.S. involvement in Viet Nam. WOA is searching for more information about the three women who immolated themselves during the Nam protests. We have been able to find information on several men, but not the women.
Event 10-15-1978: the U.S. Congress passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Bill which superseded the U.S. Supreme Court decisions that approved discrimination against pregnant "people" for either disability benefit for women recovering from childbirth or using earned sick leave for childbirth.
(See the review of Ruth Colker's Pregnant Men: Practice, Theory, and the Law above.)
Event 10-15-1999: Dr. Catherine D. De Angelis, vice-dean at the Johns Hopkins medical school, was appointed as the first woman to her the Journal of the American Medical Association in its 116-year history. The editorship of JAMA makes her one of the most influential voices in all of medicine according to the head of the American Medical Association.
QUOTES DU JOUR
"...the cost of employing women in management is greater than the cost of employing men ... (However) the greater cost of employing women is not a function of inescapable gender differences. Women are different from men, but what increases their cost to the corporation is principally the clash of their perceptions, attitude, and behavior with those men, which is to say with the policies and practices of male-led corporations."
-- Felice N. Schwartz, economist, 1989
"It seems strange that those who search for natural law in every province of our universe should have neglected the most vital subject, the one which concerns us all infinitely more than the naming of planets or the collecting of insects.
"Woman is not essentially capricious; some of the laws of her being might have been discovered long ago had the existence of law been suspected.
"But it has suited the general structure of society much better for men to shrug their shoulders and smile at women as irrational and capricious creatures, to be courted when it suited them, not to be studied."
-- Marie Carmichael Stopes in Married Love
"It is essential to challenge the traditions of suppressing information which might prove useful to gay people in better understand the historical dimensions of our experience... The heterosexual world... has imposed its definitions on the rest of us, using them as weapons for keeping us in line by denying us access to knowledge of our antecedents... Power has created that "right" in the past. In the future, other claims to right must be pressed - like the right of a people to a knowledge of its own history (to memory), and indispensable prerequisite for establishing collective identity and for enjoying the solace of knowing that we too have "come through" are bearers of a diverse, rich, unique heritage."
-- Martin Duberman, Hidden from History, Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past, 1989. (As quoted in the Gay and Lesbian Task Force List published by the American Library Association, 1992.)
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