Showing posts with label womens rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label womens rights. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Saudi Arabia back-pedals on women's freedom

Women in one of the West closest allies are still banned from driving cars or travelling alone but it is good to note that the British demands for more women’s rights in the Islamic fundamentalist state is being heeded and having an effect.

 Women can now ride bicycles! But only in parks and recreational areas, not as a means of transport, just for entertainment and pleasure. Of course, a male relative or guardian must still accompany them.

Socialist Courier spots a potential market and business opportunity in selling Saudi Arabia tandem bikes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

She-Town

Jeanie Spence (Jute and Flax workers, Dundee), Lamont (National Federation of Women Workers), Agnes Brown (National Federation of Women Workers), Mary McArthur (national leader and general secretary of the National Federation of Women Workers) and Rachel Devine (Jute and Flax Workers, Dundee).
 In 1900 Dundee was associated with one product: jute. Jute was the cheapest of fibres, but it was tough. As such it was the ideal packing material. Jute bagging and jute sacks were used to carry cotton from the American South, grain from the Great Plains and Argentina, coffee from the East Indies and Brazil, wool from Australia, sugar from the Caribbean and nitrates from Chile. Dundee was ‘Juteopolis’ – synonymous with its main industry. This association of place and product was not unusual. We still link Clydebank with ships, Sheffield with steel, Stoke-on-Trent with pottery. Throughout the late nineteenth century, over half of Dundee's workforce worked in the textile sector, which, from the 1860s on, was dominated by jute. Migrant workers arrived in Dundee in thousands. By the end of the 19th century, the city had quadrupled in size. Many of the immigrants were from Ireland, poor and Catholic. Many Catholic Irish immigrants faced discrimination and bigotry in Presbyterian Scotland. They were attacked from the pulpit and in the street. The Irish women working in the jute mills of Dundee were an exception – they were widely accepted.

Raw jute was produced in significant quantities in only one region of the world: the deltas of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers in Bengal in India. And for a short period – long finished by 1900 – Dundee and the surrounding district had a near monopoly on its manufacture. The Dundee jute industry was composed of many firms, most of them carrying out only one part of the process of buying, transporting, manufacturing and selling jute. Big profits were made in jute, but these were invested overseas rather than in the local economy. From the 1870s on, investment trusts launched by Dundee businessmen, channelled enormous sums into foreign investments and particularly into American railway, land and cattle companies. Dundee's ‘jute barons’ preferred to invest in American stocks rather than in developing new industries in Dundee. The result left Dundee dangerously dependent on the jute industry.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hair again


The Guardian today reports on a story Socialist Courier posted about back in March - the business of selling human hair.

 Hair extensions sales are up to £60m a year and growing (pardon the pun).  Last year HM Revenue and Customs recorded more than £38m worth of hair (human, with some mixed human and animal) entering the country, making the UK the third biggest importer of human hair in the world.

Yet behind the profitis what hair historian Caroline Cox calls the "dark side" of the industry. Most hair comes from countries where long, natural hair remains a badge of beauty - but where the women are poor enough to consider selling a treasured asset. Much of the hair on sale comes from small agents who tour villages in India, China, and eastern Europe, offering poverty-stricken women small payments to part with their hair. As one importer, based in Ukraine, told the New York Times recently: "They are not doing it for fun. Usually only people who have temporary financial difficulties in depressed regions sell their hair." More worryingly, back in 2006, the Observer reported that in India some husbands were forcing their wives into selling their hair, slum children were being tricked into having their heads shaved in exchange for toys, and in one case a gang stole a woman's hair, holding her down and cutting it off. Moscow Centre for Prison Reform admitted warders were forcibly shaving and selling the hair of prisoners.

In temples in south India devotees travel for hundreds of miles and queue for hours to have their hair tonsured, or ritually shaved. Some have prayed for a child, others for a sick relative or a good harvest, and when their prayers are answered they offer up their hair. According to one report, most are rural women whose hair has often never been dyed, blow-dried, or even cut and is worth around £200. The hair is then sorted and sold, often by online auction. Last year Tirumala temple, apparently made 2,000m rupees (more than £22m), from auctioning hair.

Cox points out that such exploitation has underpinned the industry since false fronts and hair pieces became popular in the UK in Edwardian times. "It's taking advantage of those who are disadvantaged," she says. "Working-class women's hair is used to bedeck the head of those who are more privileged. It's been going on for hundreds of years." According to Cox extensions, like long fake nails, are status symbols. "If you have long nails, there is a suggestion you have a lot of leisure time. If hair costs a lot to do, and to keep up, there is the same suggestion. It's almost as though you are living the life of a The Only Way is Essex girl or glamour model."  Cox explains that "The fashion for such a long time has been about the glorification of artificiality. Fake tans, fake teeth, fake boobs and fake nails – and you need fake hair to go with all that. The whole idea of beauty is [now] predicated on artificiality and getting rid of humanness – waxing every hair from your body but putting fake hair on your head."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cheap women in the labour market

A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) found that full-time working women are paid only 77 cents for every dollar paid to full-time working men. In median weekly earnings, women earn only $684 per week, compared with $832 per week for men.

 An analysis by the National Partnership for Women found women in the United States earn $10,784 less than their male counterparts. But the wage gape is even larger for African American and Latina women, who earn $19,575 and $23,873 less than men, respectively.

 “These gender wage gaps are not about women choosing to work less than men — the analysis is comparing apples to apples, men and women who all work full time — and we see that across these 40 common occupations, men nearly always earn more than women,” said Ariane Hegewisch, a Study Director at IWPR.

 Almost 15 million households in the United States are headed by women, and 8.5 million of those households include children under the age of 18. Nearly 30 percent of households headed by women live below the poverty level.

In the UK, women face a national average pay gap with men of almost 15% for full-time work— in London,  it is 23% and the research suggests that women are more likely to live in poverty in London – with the rate as high as 4 in 10 women from black or other ethnic minority groups.

And this after decades of anti-descrimination legislation in both nations! Reforms don't reform capitalism.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Women in Prison

A report recommends that Scotland's only all-female jail should be demolished to make way for specialist units. Last week, the Commission on Women Offenders, chaired by former Lord Advocate Dame Elish Angiolini, published the findings of an eight-month review on women in the country's criminal justice system. It said Cornton Vale prison, near Stirling, should be replaced with a smaller specialist prison for long-term and high-risk prisoners, as well as regional units to hold short-term and remand prisoners. Her comments were echoed by Brigadier Hugh Monro, Chief Inspector of Prisons in Scotland, who carried out his third inspection of the jail in two-and-a-half years. He said inmates suffering from complex mental health issues should be moved into specialist care facilities. Women have been held in "silent cells" without natural light or ventilation where the bed is just a mattress on concrete.

Brigadier Monro said: "We need some signposts nationally about where such people should be held. Either we up our game for male and female prisoners when dealing with mental health issues or we need to look at alternative facilities not within the prison system."

Juliet Lyon
, director of the Prison Reform Trust, said:"It is intolerable that some of most vulnerable women in Scotland should be held in one of its bleakest, most outdated and under-staffed institution."

The number of women in prison has more than doubled over the last decade, although 75% of custodial sentences imposed on females are for six months or less.

http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2012/04/25/cornton-vale-inmates-with-mental-health-problems-should-be-moved-report-says-86908-23837447/

Women in Poverty

Divorce and desertion are pushing Scottish women into poverty and debt spirals much faster than their male counterparts according to research. Women account for over 90% of lone parents in Scotland and 60% of unpaid carers. There are some lone parent families struggling by on less than half of the UK's median income, which is considered to be about GBP7,000 a year. Working tax credits have been reduced.  Lone parents with a child aged seven or over now cannot get income support either and childcare contributions have been cut by 10%.

Women's charity Engender Niki Kandirikirira, Executive Director, said, "We know how many children, pensioners and households are in poverty but it's the statistics themselves that reveal why the numbers are proving so hard to bring down. At no point do we recognise the gendered nature of poverty. Measures to tackle poverty will fail to deliver until we recognise that gender inequality is in itself a root cause."

Socialist Courier would say that this is not the root cause but an exacerbating major contributing factor ino the cause of poverty. It is being a member of the working class regardless of gender that leads to poverty. 
 Save the Children issued warnings recently that the numbers of children living in severe poverty in Scotland will rise rapidly due to a lack of jobs. In Glasgow 18 people chase every vacancy compared to an average of 6 in England. However, even children with working parents are at high risk of poverty - the Joseph Rowntree Foundation reported in 2010 that half of children living in poverty belong to working families.

"There's only so long cash-strapped families can hold out with these sorts of figures to live on,"
said the spokesperson. "This is how chronic debt begins and increasing costs of living ends up driving desperate families into the arms of credit card lenders, pay day loan companies and loan sharks."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The number of unemployed women has reached a 22-year high of more than a million, prompting warnings of worse to come.

Analysts say women are bearing the brunt of the recession and public-sector cuts, with women in Scotland losing their jobs at a rate more than seven times greater than for men. The number of females out of work north of the Border soared by 5000 to 93,000 over the summer. Across the UK, female unemployment rose by 31,000 in the three months to September to reach 1.02 million – the highest level since 1988.

The number of workers forced to take part-time jobs because they cannot find full-time work has also reached a record high, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

reforms fail to reform

On the 40th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act figures have been released to show that women in Scotland will have to wait another 33 years before they are paid the same as men. Male managers earned on average £9,841 more than female colleagues.Even at junior management level, the pay gap still existed, with men being paid £797 more than female executives in Scotland.

Concerning the UK stats generally a spokesman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "Forty years after the Equal Pay Act, women can still expect to earn less than 85 pence for every £1their male colleagues earn. In some sectors the pay gap is far worse."

Socialist Courier can only comment that it once more demonstrates the failure of those that advocate reformism.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

yet another reform failure

The gender pay gap is still growing despite more than 30 years of equal pay and sex discrimination legislation, a Scottish Government report has found.

Men in full-time employment are now paid 15% more than their female equivalents and 34% more than women in part-time work according to the annual report into the Gender Equality Scheme.The report also found wide variations between the gender pay gap in different sectors. The gap ranges from 2% in sales and customer service occupations to as high as 28.1% for managers and senior officials.

Chris Benson, a solicitor who works with the UK-wide Support Equal Pay campaign group, said of the findings: "It is really disappointing that, despite government efforts, the pay gap is still growing..."

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

men and women - equal rights


Equality between men and women in Scotland could take generations to achieve the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) reported . Their Completing the Revolution report said the part-time pay gap would take 30 years to close, and the full-time pay gap would take 20 years.Women working part-time are said to earn 34% less per hour than men working full-time, and women working full-time are said to earn 14% less than men. The gap between the sexes on flexible working - men are less likely to work flexibly, even though half of them want to work more flexibly - is unlikely to narrow without further action . And in the home, the "chores gap" will never close, with women still spending 78% more time than men on housework, said the report.
It is 30 years since the Equal Pay act became law.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Freedom Is Jail

Just to reinforce the previous blog's comment that capitalism distorts all relationships a report comes out of Europe that finds many women in Scotland are choosing to go into prison - and stay there longer - because their lives on the outside are so chaotic .
In some cases, the problems faced by women on the outside were so enormous they considered prison as a refuge.

"There is evidence that some of these women are choosing to go to prison," said Dr Shewan of Glasgow Caledonian University .


It indicates some women choose to go to prison to escape abusive partners; others to try to stabilise spiralling debts and drug addiction. Also reveals that women had committed crimes (including fire-raising) within prison so as to actually avoid release .


Scotland has one of the fastest-growing female prisoner populations in Europe, despite repeated promises from ministers to reduce the problem. In the past decade, it has more than doubled. Last year, it peaked, with 365 women behind bars. On the same day in 2002, there were 273 women in jail.


The study suggests that sentencers sometimes send women to prison to receive help not available in the community.

Community services are so unable to meet the basic needs of women offenders with drug problems, and so many other problems, that incarceration becomes an easier option, according to the report.

"Could this be one of the underlying reasons why the female prison population in Scotland has been (increasing), and continues to increase?"
In his latest report on Cornton Vale, Scotland's only women's prison, Dr Andrew McClellan, the chief inspector of prisons, concluded that, of the inmates, 98% had drug addiction problems, 80% had mental health problems and 75% had a history of abuse and very poor physical health.
Mental health and addiction problems characterise these women, and many experts claim the experience of prison is likely to increase their drug-taking and offending. Many of them are still being imprisoned for minor offences. Seven out of 10 prison sentences passed on women are for six months or less. In 2004-5, more than 400 women were sent to prison for failing to pay a fine.
"We are locking up increasing numbers of increasingly damaged women," Dr McLellan said "It is desperately sad. You see it not just in their eyes but on their arms, which are deeply scarred from a long history of self-harming."


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