Domestic Workers Sow a New Global Movement

By: Wednesday April 17, 2013 11:00 am

In Argentina and Brazil, a sector of workers that has long labored invisibly is moving out of the shadows and gaining legal protections. Their counterparts in Jamaica and Uruguay are sparking a new political consciousness from the friction between tradition and globalization. Around the world, private homes are becoming labor’s latest battleground as domestic workers stake out their rights.

Despite stretching into every region of the world, domestic work has historically been excluded from conventional labor laws, regardedly merely as “women’s work.” A breakthrough came in 2011 with the passage of the groundbreaking Convention 189 on domestic workers’ rights by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN special agency for labor rights. The convention lays out principles for fair treatment at work, including the right to a fair labor contract and a safe work environment, freedom from exploitation and coercion, and legal recourse against abusive employers.

Women Unionists of the Arab Spring Battle Two Foes: Sexism and Neoliberalism

By: Monday April 1, 2013 12:10 pm

Originally posted at In These Times

This year’s World Social Forum, a transnational gathering of social activists, took place in Tunis, a city bubbling with unrest as it struggles to shake off a legacy of authoritarian rule while navigating tensions over women’s rights, labor and nationalism. At the gates of the gathering last week, these faultlines became starkly apparent when a caravan of trade unionists and rights advocates found themselves unexpectedly blockaded. Border police, under official orders, refused entry to a delegation of 96 Algerian activists that included members of the embattled union SNAPAP, known for its militancy and inclusion of women as leaders and front-line protesters.

Is Gender Justice Getting Shafted in Immigration Reform?

By: Wednesday March 27, 2013 1:05 pm

The politics of immigration touch upon major faultlines in American society: not just the legal boundary between citizen and foreigner, but also lines of race, class, nationality, culture and, increasingly, gender. Women, who make up about half of the U.S. immigrant population and an estimated 40 percent of undocumented adults, face unique challenges as migrants. However, gender issues have gone almost entirely unremarked in official immigration-reform talks–that is, until a Senate hearing last Monday, when Mee Moua, head of the Asian American Justice Center, seized an opportunity to call out the invisibility of women in the debate.

OK, all you women at the top: Zip it. Right NOW.

By: Saturday March 23, 2013 12:20 pm

we now have another in yet a seemingly endless stream of women from elite backgrounds, who are playing at the top of their respective games, who are telling other women a) how to live their home and work lives, and b) that they are not trying hard enough. This one is from Katharine Weymouth, who is the publisher, chief executive, and heir of The Washington Post.

After Steubenville – Don McPherson, Former NFL Player, on Toxic Masculinity

By: Tuesday March 19, 2013 4:25 pm

There has been a lot of worthy essays written about this topic, but this effort caught my eye — “Former NFL quarterback Don McPherson challenges media response to Steubenville verdict,” part of human rights group Breakthrough’s One Million Men, a campaign to engage men to end violence against women around the world. It was unreal to see the rape culture-affirming coverage by the media (Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow of CNN’s coverage come to mind, sadly), that went on and on about the destroyed lives of the convicted rapists, forgetting the victim here is the girl who they violated.

FDL Book Salon Welcomes Donald Tomaskovic-Devey, Documenting Desegregation: Racial and Gender Segregation in Private-Sector Employment Since the Civil Rights Act

By: Sunday January 27, 2013 1:59 pm

The authors amass an extraordinary amount of detail in presenting their conclusions as they examine variations by region, business and decade. They consider some of the background developments comparing expanding industries with contracting ones, and new firms with old ones, showing that such factors vary in importance depending on the industry, the time period, and the impact on racial versus gender segregation.

They also provide in depth comparisons of the firms large enough to be covered by federal civil rights laws versus those exempted, and the varying effectiveness of EEOC enforcement against large firms versus oversight of federal contractors. The result provides a wealth of data for anyone interested in either the trajectory of racial and gender equality in the workplace or the effectiveness of enforcement efforts.

FDL Movie Night: Kings Point

By: Monday December 17, 2012 5:00 pm

Growing old, something we all face. Growing old in the New York of the 1970′s where

“Life wasn’t so beautiful and the winters were cold”

created a diaspora to Florida–over half a million people over 55 moved to Florida from 1975 to 1980, according to the Census Bureau. In Delray Beach an enterprising developer created a seemingly idyllic community of two-story stucco buildings surrounded by tropical plants, with swimming pools, shuffleboard courts, and recreation halls. They named it Kings Point. The down payment was $1,500, slightly more for a second story unit since supposedly the bugs couldn’t get in. (In a stunning oversight, there are no elevators!)

FDL Movie Night: “Bonsai People, The Vision of Muhammad Yunus”

By: Monday October 1, 2012 5:00 pm

Muhammad Yunus is visionary economist and Noble Peace Prize winner who believes in the essential goodness of humanity. Stepping down from the ivory tower of academia, Yunus visited the poorest villages of Bangladesh in 1976 and made a personal loan of $27 to 42 women in the village so they could build and sell bamboo furniture. The loan was paid back with interest, and the women took out a larger loan. Thus microfinance was born. In the past 30 years, microcredit has spread to every continent and has benefited over 100 million people. Yunus’ Grameen Bank (literally “village bank”) has loaned money to 1 out of 1,000 people on earth, at 98% repayment rate.

In Bonsai People, The Vision of Muhammad Yunus, Holly Mosher follows the founding of a Grameen Bank branch and several of the women aided by loans.

Pakistan Fires Echo 1911 Triangle Factory Fire—But Will They Spur Similar Change?

By: Saturday September 15, 2012 5:00 pm

About a century after the shock of the Triangle fire spurred major safety reforms in New York and helped catalyze the U.S. labor movement, two catastrophes in Pakistan on Tuesday revealed that similarly dangerous factories still flourish outside of the United States, in the Global South. A massive fire at a textile factory in Karachi (reportedly with ties to the European market) killed more than 250 workers, and a shoe factory in Lahore was also engulfed in flames, killing 25.

Workplace Toxics Reveal the Beauty Industry’s Ugly Side

By: Sunday June 17, 2012 6:00 pm

While environmental justice campaigns have historically focused on localized pollution issues, the National Healthy Nail & Beauty Salon Alliance organizes around the intersection of workplace environmental health and racial and economic justice. According to the Alliance’s analysis, the hazards endemic to the nail salon industry are stratified by ethnicity and gender: roughly four in ten workers are Asian immigrants, many of them of childbearing age, poor, uninsured and with limited English-speaking ability. And they are assaulted daily by invisible threats.

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Poison Candy: The Murderous Madam: Inside Dalia Dippolito’s Plot to Kill
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