Ahed and Malala: Why We Revere Some Young Female Activists and Not Others

World Wide (Conversation) – After Israeli forces shot her 15-year-old cousin in the head with a rubber bullet last December, Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian girl from Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, stood up to the occupying Israeli forces and was arrested and charged for slapping a soldier. The story of the activist went viral. But what Ahed was fighting for was largely buried beneath sensationalized media representations of her. Her story is unlikely to circulate in the same elevated spaces granted to Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who survived…

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Why We Should Pay Attention to the Power of Youth

North America (Conversation) – Youth turnout in the recent United States midterm elections was the highest it has been in 25 years. The midterms also saw the average age of congressional representatives go down by 10 years. Likewise, in the 2015 Canadian federal election, 58 per cent of newly eligible voters turned out to vote, an increase of almost 18 per cent over the 2011 election. There have been similar increases in voting among 18- to 24-year-olds in provincial elections. Dramatic wins in 2015 for the NDP in Alberta and…

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Interview with the Free Women’s Movement (TJA) in North Kurdistan

Kurdistan (OpenDemocracy) – After the Syrian Kurds’ fight for Kobane (a Kurdish city in northern Syria/Rojava) against ISIS in 2014-5, many across the world were suddenly made aware of the Kurdish women’s movement. What has not reached us, however, is a much wider context that enabled the Kurdish women-fighters to confidently take up arms to defend themselves and their people. The unprecedented accomplishments of the Kurdish women predated Kobane and the war in Syria. They are rooted in the evolution of Turkey’s Kurdish liberation movement, as it is represented by the Kurdistan…

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Groping, Grinding, Grabbing: New Research on Nightclubs Finds Men do it Often But Know it’s Wrong

Australia (Conversation) – We have conducted what we believe to be Australia’s first quantitative research on young people’s behaviour in nightclubs and the findings present a disturbing picture. The research suggests that behaviour is taking place at these clubs that would be criminal if non-consensual, and totally unacceptable at the very least. However, the behaviour is somehow tolerated – in some cases almost encouraged. Many young people think they are too conservative, and that the behaviours they witness must be normal and acceptable in a nightclub setting – so they…

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Meet the Women’s Rights Activists Languishing Behind Bars in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia (GV) – The October 2018 murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi — who Turkish officials say was killed at the order of Crown Prince Bin Salman — has cast new light on the many human rights abuses that take place in the kingdom. International and regional human rights groups and activists are taking this new scrutiny as an opportunity to publicly demand the release of imprisoned human rights activists, including women’s rights defenders. At least ten women’s rights activists are currently in jail in Saudi Arabia in retaliation for…

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How Mainstream Media Helps Weaponize Far-Right Conspiracy Theories

United States (Conversation) – Once an anti-Semitic rumor moved from fringe to the mainstream, it took less than two weeks for violence to erupt. The false allegation that liberal philanthropist George Soros was funding or supporting a caravan of Honduran refugees heading to the U.S. spread wildly from a single tweet posted on Oct. 14. Along with far-right memes, that allegation helped motivate both an alleged mail-bomber and a mass shooter at a Pittsburgh synagogue. The way these messages traveled across the internet in this short time span is just…

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Why Racism is So Hard to Define and Even Harder to Understand

(Conversation) – Today, what can be defined as racism and what cannot has become a matter for debate. Every racist caught in the act, whether it be wrongly accusing a black child of sexual assault or running over and killing a mosque-goer, claims not to be racist. Eric Kaufmann, a prominent professor at a London university, has claimed that “racial self-interest is not racism”. He is joined by others who see talking about race as “unhelpful”, be that from a left-wing perspective that privileges class, or from a conservative one…

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On the Edge, In Between, Off Kilter

(FemAct) – I’m feeling the surface tension between truths. Yesterday, I picked my children up from school and bought them hot chocolate mix from United Dairy Farmers on the way home. We got the last box of plain hot chocolate, and there were no marshmallows to buy. I asked the cashier if she had any marshmallows in the ice cream bar that she could put in a cup and sell to us. She ended up giving us an entire container of marshmallows from the coffee bar for free. Women and children…

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Women Feel Better When they Work with Other Women

(Conversation) –  The #metoo movement has brought the widespread sexual harassment experienced by women in the workplace to the fore. Women in traditionally male jobs and workplaces are even more likely to experience gender discrimination and sexual harassment. This has been described as “the ‘manly’ jobs problem.” A recent study I worked on with my colleague Wen Fan from Boston College looks closely at this question of how gender equality is unfolding in the labour force. Most adults spend almost half their waking hours at work, so it is a hugely…

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50 Years After Star Trek’s ‘Kiss’, How Have Attitudes Towards Interethnic Marriage changed?

(Conversation) – In the long-running sci-fi serial Star Trek, the mission of the crew of the starship USS Enterprise is to “boldly go where no one has gone before”. This was most often apparent in the crew’s discovery of new worlds and new beings in the course of the drama. But the series pushed another new boundary 50 years ago when, having been subjected to “sadistic” mind control by aliens, Captain James Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Lieutenant Nyota Uhura (played by Nichelle Nichols) were compelled to passionately kiss…

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