Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Happy Women's History Month!

7. March 2006 • David Boyle
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The National Women’s History Project website has some inspiring information on the history of women, especially useful and topical now since March is Women’s History Month.
One highlight on the website, so to say, is a link to George W. Bush’s presidential proclamation for the Month , including a part which intersects nicely with just-ended Black History Month and with a prominent Detroiter of historical fame and blessed memory:
”...In 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, helping to inspire a nationwide movement for equal justice under the law. Recently, our Nation said goodbye to another remarkable American woman and courageous civil rights leader, Coretta Scott King, who helped call America to its founding ideals.
...This month, I encourage all Americans to join me in celebrating the extraordinary achievements and contributions of American women.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate ceremonies and activities to honor the history, accomplishments, and contributions of all American women.”

(But has he considered how much affirmative action has helped American women? One wonders…)

—Hope everyone at UM, women and men both, enjoyed her/his spring break, by the way!

UPDATE: Looks like WLSA (Women Law Students Association at the Law School—I enjoyed being a paying member) will have its annual Pay Equity Bake Sale tomorrow and Wednesday, c. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or longer, outside room 100: i.e., you draw random slips of paper showing that if you are a woman or minority (for the day), you get paid less, so you get to pay less for your baked good!
This is kind of a progressive alternative to the “affirmative action bake sales” that “conservative” groups hold, where you pay less if you are a woman or minority (as opposed to drawing a random piece of paper); but only as an insult to women and minorities, not to show that women and minorities are still discriminated against.

  1. A truly sad item, in various ways, giving an inauspicious cast to the beginning week of Women’s History Month: Yanni Arrested in Florida in Alleged Domestic Dispute ,

    “The musician Yanni was arrested at his home after an alleged domestic dispute with his girlfriend, authorities said.

    Yanni, whose legal name is John Yanni Christopher, was arrested early Friday and faces a domestic battery charge, according to a police report.

    The Greek-born singer-pianist denied the allegations.

    Yanni asked his girlfriend, Silvia Barthes, to leave his beachfront home in Manalapan on Thursday night, the police report said. Barthes, 33, told police she attempted to pack her clothing but the 51-year-old musician threw it on the ground.

    She told officers he then grabbed her arms and shook her, throwing her on the bed, and jumped on top of her, according to the report.

    ...”These allegations are cruel, false, without merit and baseless,” said the statement released by his manager, Danny O’Donovan. “At a more appropriate time and place, I hope and pray I will have an opportunity to address my fans and colleagues all over the world.” ...”

       —David Boyle    Mar. 8 '06 - 07:33AM    #
  2. Inflatable sex dolls to fight machismo ,

    “Mexico is deploying an army of inflatable sex dolls dressed as office executives in a head-turning publicity campaign against workplace harassment of women in the famously macho country.

    Timed to coincide with International Women’s Day on Wednesday, the advertisements show sex dolls with staring eyes and gaping red mouths dressed in suits and sitting at computers.

    “No woman should be treated like an object. Sexual harassment is degrading and it’s a crime,” says a voice-over at the end of a television ad, which shows a man walking past one of the dolls and casually stroking her shoulder.

    ...Mexico’s national institute for women said the ads—which will run on television, radio, print media and billboards from mid-March—were aimed at stirring up controversy and symbolized the use of women as sexual objects.

    ...The anti-harassment campaign comes on the heels of a campaign to combat violence against women, which showed prominent women photographed with bruised and cut faces.

    Mexican President Vicente Fox has headed a series of campaigns against sexism and other discrimination in his five years in office.

    However, he caused a stir earlier this year when he made a joking reference to women as “washing machines with two legs.””

       —David Boyle    Mar. 10 '06 - 08:44AM    #
  3. Nice Viewpoint on Women’s History Month in Daily today by Dana Christensen, Viewpoint: A reflection on Women’s History Month ,

    “Women’s History Month this March presents us with an opportunity to look at women’s progress in recent decades and what impact the proposed constitutional amendment to ban affirmative action would have on Michigan women.

    Despite having 20 women in elected and appointed offices and three women in Congress, Michigan does not fare well in many equally meaningful categories.

    We rank second to last in the country with respect to relative earnings of men and women: Michigan women earn only 67 cents for every dollar men earn. Today, women remain severely underrepresented in nontraditional occupations, even though these jobs pay 20 to 30 percent more than traditionally female jobs. In 2002, for example, women made up only 10.8 percent of engineers, 1.4 percent of auto mechanics, 1.8 percent of carpenters, 30.6 percent of doctors and 29.2 percent of lawyers.

    ...Even though we still have a long way to go, we have solid evidence that affirmative action programs have opened up job opportunities for qualified women to achieve higher wages, advance in the workplace and seek nontraditional careers that make them better able to meet the financial needs of their families. A Department of Labor study estimates that because of the affirmative action policies of the 1960s and 1970, five million minority workers and six million women are in higher occupational classifications today.

    ...A glance at the effect of Proposition 209 in California, which banned affirmative action in 1994, shows the dangers ahead. University professor Susan Kaufman recently reported how the ban has affected programs to improve access and exposure to education, employment and business opportunities for girls or women and minorities – including breast cancer screening, battered women’s shelters, science and math programs for girls, summer and after-school programs and teacher training. A lawsuit currently pending under Proposition 209 challenges all programs providing services or funding targeted for women in California.

    Kaufman finds that should the initiative pass, many similar programs could be vulnerable in Michigan. These programs include gender-specific community or public-health programs, such as breast, cervical and prostate cancer screening; breastfeeding promotion, prenatal smoking cessation and domestic violence programs; review systems designed to monitor and address barriers to achieving full participation, such as discrimination based on race, ethnicity, gender, age or disability; and government outreach programs that ensure that women and minority owned businesses have a fair chance to secure government contracts. Educational programs will be threatened the most if MCRI passes. Among those susceptible are summer and after-school programs for boys or girls; recruitment and support programs for high school and community college students in career education programs that are non-traditional for their gender, such as men in nursing or women in skilled trades; apprenticeship, education and training programs for nontraditional occupations; outreach and funding for women and minority math, science and technology teachers; and scholarships, fellowships and grants for women and minorities at all levels of education.

    Do not believe the supporters of California businessman Ward Connerly when they say that there are exceptions to the affirmative action ban. There are not. Should this state constitutional amendment pass this November, you can bet that there will be years of litigation to determine its reach. This Women’s History Month, Michigan residents should celebrate the achievements women have made with the help of affirmative action programs and think hard about what could be lost when they go to the polls in November.”

       —David Boyle    Mar. 27 '06 - 11:27PM    #
  4. April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (following Women’s History Month), and, says organizer Margaret Kelly about Take Back the Night 2006,

    “For those of you who are not familiar with TBTN, it is an international rally and march that is organized in local communities with the purpose of unifying women, men, and children in an awareness of sexualized violence. The event is a collaboration of community and campus organizers who are ready to take a stand against violence and make the night safe for everyone. This event has been held in Ann Arbor since 1978.

    Thursday, April 6:

    Rally and March, UM Diag. The rally starts at 7:00 pm, rain or shine, and will include speakers, drumming led by Lori Fithian of Drummunity, music, & poetry, featuring sexual assault counselor and activist Laura Sanders and Judy Karandjeff, Executive Director of the Michigan Women’s Commission. Following the rally, we will march through downtown Ann Arbor, reclaiming the night! Men Against Violence Against Women will host an alternative event for men after the rally. However, everyone is welcome to march. Childcare is available. A van will follow the march to assist those with special needs. Hope to see you there. Please spread the word!!!”

       —David Boyle (27th annual Take Back the Night march Thursday)    Apr. 5 '06 - 09:19PM    #
  5. Just as a reminder, courtesy of Byanqa Robinson,

    “Help fight sexualized violence!

    The Take Back the Night Rally and March is TODAY, Thursday, April 6 in the UM Diag.

    The rally starts at 7pm, rain or shine, and will include speakers, drumming led by Lori Fithian of Drummunity, music, & poetry, featuring sexual assault counselor and activist Laura Sanders and Judy Karandjeff, Executive Director of the Michigan Women’s Commission.

    Following the rally, @ 8pm we will march through downtown Ann Arbor, reclaiming the night! EVERYONE IS WELCOME TO MARCH. However, Men Against Violence Against Women will be hosting an alternative event for men who are interested, after the rally as well.

    Childcare is available. A van will follow the march to assist those with special needs. An ASL interpreter will be available.

    Hope to see you all there. Please spread the word!!!”

       —David Boyle (Take Back the Night rally/march TONIGHT 7 p.m.)    Apr. 6 '06 - 08:29PM    #