Sisters of the Earth – This Week in Global Women’s News

December 31, 2004

Sisters of the Earth – This Week in Global Women’s News

UNFPA Warning: Women and Girls Especially Vulnerable in Wake of Tsunami

The United Nations Population Fund is calling on governments, sister UN agencies and other humanitarian partners to ensure that the special needs of women and girls are included in relief planning. Tens of thousands of pregnant and nursing women, especially susceptible to waterborne diseases are likely in need of supplementary feeding, prenatal care, and delivery assistance. Physical and psychological trauma will exacerbate the problems of pregnant and nursing women.

For more information, please contact David Del Vecchio at +1 (212) 297- 4975, or Omar Gharzeddine at +1 (212) 297-5028,

Urgent Request from Women’s NGO in Colombo, Sri Lanka

From Nimalka in Colombo, Sri Lanka: “… We need help material and cash to take care of the emergency relief required after the tidal wave devastations in Sri Lanka…I have just come back from few camps operating in and around Colombo to take care of the displaced from Moratuwa and Modera areas. Some supplies like medicines, pillows and mats were provided as IMADR intervened immediately with some help for me.

Cash etc could be sent to:
IMADR, Standard Chartered Bank, a/c 111 421 7801, FORT – COLOMBO, Sri Lanka

Your contributions would be acknowledged and receipts issued and reports sent about our interventions. Should you wish to enquire further about this urgent plea, Lesley Abdela & Tim Symonds may be reached at: or

Talk Show Covers War’s Impact on Women and Children

Lucinda Marshall writes: “Last weekend I published an article on Common Dreams, ‘Unacceptable: The Impact of War on Women and Children.’ A few days later I heard from someone that had read the article who told me that she had written to Mike Malloy, a talk show host on Air America and told him about the article and suggesting that he cover the topic of militarism and violence against women. He wrote back to her a few minutes later and said he would cover it the following evening.

“And cover it he did, for 3 HOURS! including reading the article, explaining what Feminist Peace Network did, about our Atrocities newsletter and great commentary of his own on violence against women.”
The show can be found at: (22-12-2004)
Feminist Peace Network –

One Abortion Clinic Remaining in Mississippi

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization is the last remaining abortion clinic in Mississippi, the state with the largest collection of laws and policies designed to restrict abortions. The state recently enacted the nation’s most sweeping conscience clause, which permits any health care provider to refuse to provide any abortion-related service, including emergency referrals.

Susan Sontag Dies at 71

On December 28, 2004, Susan Sontag, internationally acclaimed novelist, essayist, and critic died at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. The cause was complications of acute myelogenous leukemia. Ms. Sontag had been ill with cancer intermittently for 30 years, a struggle which inspired one of her most renowned books, Illness as Metaphor (1978).

Two of her most recent works were the essays Regarding the Pain of Others, on the imagery of war and disaster, and Regarding the Torture of Others, written in response to the torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

Palestinian Women Win Shining Victory in Elections

In spite of facing pressure from relatives and neighbors not to run as candidates in the Palestinian local elections, women ran and won, more than half of the candidates defeating their male opponents.

More Scandal for UN’s Peacekeepers

An investigation of a United Nations logistics expert in the Democratic Republic of Congo has ignited a sex scandal. The expert was a French man who worked at Goma airport as part of the UN’s effort to rebuild the war-torn country. When police raided his home they discovered that he had turned his bedroom into a studio for videotaping and photographing sex sessions with young girls. Other investigations have uncovered 150 allegations of sexual misconduct by peacekeepers and UN staff in spite of the UN’s official policy of “zero-tolerance.”,,3-1413501_1,00.html

What “Free Trade” Agreements Mean for Women

Almost ten years after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China and the U.S. government’s ratification of the Beijing Platform for Action, analysts have begun to evaluate expected benefits in preparation for the meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March, 2005.

Major shifts so far determined are negative trends in employment, consumption, and general well-being for women, their families, and their communities.
International Trade and Gender Network

Air Force Academy Was Made Aware of Rape Allegations Before Scandal Broke

According to Pentagon records an anonymous letter to top Air Force officials revealed rape allegations at the Air Force Academy six months before the scandal became public. Part of the letter, addressed to, among others, then-Air Force Secretary James Roche, Chief of Staff John Jumper, reads: “Female cadets are being raped and sexually harassed by male cadets and academy officials refuse to prosecute the male rapists.”

Women on the Stage in Toronto

Kamal Al-Solaylee writes: “If there’s a recurrent theme to year-end roundups of Toronto theatre,
it’s the usual carping about the under-representation of women and ethnic communities on the stages of one of the world’s most diverse cities. It’s undoubtedly a real concern, and addressing the issue takes us perilously close to such dirty words as sexism, racism and quotas. Yet if the proverbial Martians were to descend on Toronto in January, they might well wonder what all the fuss is about. January is women’s month on stage and, even better, women of various ethnic backgrounds–women playwrights, women directors and, in one case, an all-black, all-female cast.”,1413,36~53~2624815,00.html

Research “Indicates” Men Prefer Subordinate Women as Life-Partners

Men would rather marry their female assistants than female professional equals or superiors, according to a recent study by social psychologists, who suggest that men’s preferences for less-dominant women may be rooted in evolution. The study indicated that for women a man’s status had no influence on his desirability as a partner.

“Males who preferred to mate with relatively subordinate partners–as opposed to higher dominance partners–may have been better able to limit the chance–or amount–of paternal uncertainty, either by preventing their partner from having sex outside of the partnership or by being able to closely monitor their partner’s sexual behavior for possible infidelity,” write Stephanie L. Brown (University of Michigan in Ann Arbor) and Brian P. Lewis (University of California in Los Angeles).;jsessionid=Z3HBBJDYKUNUUCRBAEKSFFA?type=healthNews&storyID=7210173

Daughters Sold to Cover Debts in Afghanistan

In order to combat the illegal drug trade the Afghanistan government has been plowing under poppy fields on whose crops small farmers depend to repay debts, compelling some farmers to offer their daughters for marriage in payment of debts to opium dealers.


Check out this interesting commentary on the story of Adam and Eve by Jay Willaims, Director of the Department of Asian Studies, Hamilton College, New York.