"No mother should have to ride the subways or set up house in an elevator shaft or an empty barn in lieu of putting her children to sleep in a warm bed at night." - Theresa Funiciello

May 1999
Vol. 1 - #3

Said It: Feminist News, Culture & Politics  

An End to Poverty

Resisting The Machinery of Violence

The Weekly's Viagra Dependency

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Heard This

Women in Black Protest Under the B52's

The day after NATO admitted that they had bombed a convoy of Kosovan refugees, three members of a Women in Black group--an international network of women opposed to war--climbed over two fences of a British military base and walked toward a number of parked B52 bombers. The women held up banners reading "Bread not Bombs," "NATO bombing will not help the people of Kosova,""NATO bombing does not uphold international law," and "Because we mourn the dead." They tied two banners to the planes, despite the arrival of armed US troops.

The three women were eventually dragged off the base by Ministry of Defense Police, and no arrests were made. "The Military of Defense Police have been instructed not to arrest us because the British government does not want the voice of protest to be heard," one of the women claimed.

As the women left the area, they were followed by the sound of the B52s preparing to take off for another night of bombing.

(Women in Black press release, April 16, 1999)


Feminists Launch International Boycott against the US

The Global Sisterhood Network, based in Australia, has called for an international boycott of all US-based companies in an effort to pressure the US to end the deadly sanctions it has organized against Iraq. The sanctions, first imposed during the Persian Gulf war in 1990, denies Iraqi civilians many of the most basic necessities for living, and has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,000,000 Iraqis. As many as 5,000 infants die each and every month as a direct result of the sanctions.

GSN's conditions for ending the international boycott against the US is the lifting of the sanctions against Iraq. However, the need for an international boycott of any kind against the US is demonstrated once again by the US-led NATO attacks on Yugoslavia. These bombing attacks have resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians, devastating destruction to the environment, and have drastically worsened the already inhumane treatment of the ethnic Albanians, whom US leaders claim to want to protect.

US global domination, like all forms of domination, must be stopped. For more information on the international boycott, go to the GSN website at Then spread the word.


Chinese Women Fight Poverty and Illiteracy

More than half of China's 50 million poor are women, and they need more help from governmental and nongovernmental agencies to end their poverty, according to Shen Shuji, vice chair of the All-China Women's Federation.

Women's federations throughout China have already done much to alleviate women's poverty, she said, but much more needs to be done. "In the past decade, anti-poverty campaigns initiated by women's federations nationwide have lifted at least 1.6 million rural women out of absolute poverty." She announced her group's plans to bring another 1 million women out of poverty by the end of the century, and urged all segments of Chinese society to launch development projects. Part of the campaign must be literacy programs. About 25 million rural women between 25 and 40 years old are illiterate in China.

(China Daily, April 8, 1999)


Female Infanticides and Selective Abortions Persist in India

The ratio of girls to boys in India is already one of the lowest in the world, and is getting even lower as the aborting of female fetuses is becoming more common. Infanticide of baby girls is also alarmingly prevalent in India. One study showed that up to 80% of girl babies in certain rural areas are killed right after birth. The dowry system is largely behind the problem. The dowry tradition, in which parents of girls must pay money to the family of their daughters' future husbands, makes girls financially debilitating rather than a financial asset to their fathers. Dowry disputes are commonly used as an excuse for committing violence against girls and women.

New laws have failed to prevent selective, gender-based abortions and infanticides. Doctors still routinely perform ultrasounds to tell parents the sex of their fetus. Some social critics go so far as to argue that the aborting of female fetuses is an acceptable practice. These selective abortions, they argue, curb infanticide and population growth. Somehow they have missed the fact that female infanticide and population growth, like gender-based abortions, are the result of institutionalized misogyny.

Feminists established long ago that the economic and social empowerment of women is the answer to increased population growth, since economic and social empowerment enables women to *choose* to have small families. Such empowerment would also lead to increased respect and value given to females, and make gender-based abortion and infanticide socially unthinkable.

(Boston Globe, April 14, 1999)


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