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Minority Women Communicators Conference Looks To ‘Occupy the Media and Internet’ in Mexico

The official announcement has been made for the Second Conference of Women Communicators of Indigenous and African Descent. The conference, whose slogan is “We occupy the media, we occupy the internet”, will take place October 6-10, 2015, at the Centro de las Artes CASA (CASA Arts Center) in San Agustín Elta, Oaxaca, Mexico.

According to the announcement, the conference “looks to foster an exchange of experiences in order to reflect on the challenges and difficulties of the work of women communicators, to delve into topics such as gender and inter-culturalism in the media; community media and legislation; political participation and the empowerment of women, and the use of TIC (Information and Communication Technologies) for communication strategies”:

Mujeres que participan en proyectos comunicación, procedentes de comunidades indígenas y afrodescendientes de México y Centroamérica, se reunirán para potenciar el uso de herramientas digitales y transformar la información en acción; generando estrategias de comunicación al servicio de sus proyectos…

Women who participate in communication projects, are of African descent or come from indigenous communities in Mexico and Central America, will gather to improve on the use of digital tools and to put the information into action by generating communication strategies to use in their projects…

The requirements for participation are:
  • Comprometerse a participar durante los 5 días del Encuentro.
  • Trabajar o colaborar en la actualidad y de manera continua en proyectos de comunicación (radio, fotografía, video documental, etc).
  • Pertenecer a alguna comunidad / pueblo indígena o afrodescendiente de México o Centroamérica.

• Commit to participating during the five days of the conference.
• Currently and continuously work or collaborate on communication projects (radio, photography, documentary video, etc.).
• Must be of African descent or come from an indigenous community in Mexico or Central America.

To apply, please fill out the online form available here.

‘Stereotypes Are Another Unregulated Way to Commit Violence Against Nicaraguan Women’

In an opinion piece published in alternative magazine ConexionesKatya Najlis explores the ideas that lead to women being harassed on the street in Nicaragua. The essay presents multiple examples and reflections linking the majority of theories defending the right of Latin American women to move about freely without concern for safety to the social conventions that perpetuate gender inequality:

Los estereotipos hacia la mujer nicaragüense se convierten en otro método de violencia que nadie regula. El machismo asume el cuerpo de la mujer como un objeto público. El uso de imágenes sexistas contribuye a esta realidad, violentándola de forma implícita y posicionándola como un objeto. […] Lamentablemente, algunas mujeres hemos llegado a pensar que es “normal” o que “por nuestra culpa” somos víctimas de este tipo de abuso, y es que los acosadores aprovechan las unidades de transporte –sobre todo las rutas–, para ofendernos sexualmente.

Stereotypes have become another way to commit violence against Nicaraguan women that nobody regulates. Macho sexism assumes that women's bodies are public objects. The use of sexist images contributes to this reality, violating a woman implicitly and positioning her as an object. […] Sadly, some of us women have been led to think this is “normal” or that “it's our fault” we are victims of this type of abuse, and it's because our aggressors use public transport — and especially the streets — to offend us sexually.

Jailed Cartoonist Atena Faraghdani's Lawyer is Arrested for Shaking Her Hand

Mohammad Moghimi, the attorney of the Iranian activist and cartoonist Atena Faraghdani was arrested on 10 June following a visit to his client in jail. His charges are based on the fact that he shook Faraghdani's hand. Faraghdani was recently sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for posting drawings and content critical of the government on her Facebook page.

According to the Human Rights Activist News Agency, Moghimi has been transferred to ward 10 of Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj. His bail has been set to 20 million tomans -approximately $7000 USD. It is likely Faraghdani will face similar charges.

The social media campaign for Faraghdani's release can be followed under the #freeAtena hashtag.

Can Abortion Be Discussed in Medellín's Metro?

Residents of the city of Medellín, Colombia, are asking themselves if the metro is the place to talk about abortion, stemming from an ad by the #ladecisiónestuya (the decision is yours) campaign that's running in the public transit system's cars, as shared by user Jaime Andrés (@JAIM3_ANDR3S):

The Decision Is Yours pic.twitter.com/Nbaq2zJHXn

— Jaime Andrés (@JAIM3_ANDR3S) May 26, 2015

The campaign is being spearheaded by a non-profit organization offering sexual and reproductive healthcare services, carrying the message: “398,000 abortions should not be illegal.”

Under the hashtag #Abortonoesculturametro (Abortion Is Not Metro Culture) referring to the set of rules governing Medellín's Metro called “Cultura Metro” (Metro Culture), people have been sharing their opinions for and against abortion, in the same way that the mass transit system installations’ cars are used on a daily basis to post messages using other graphic material.

Argentinians Organize Online to Demonstrate Against Femicides

Under the hashtag #NiUnaMenos (Not One Less), Argentina is mounting a campaign against the alarming increase in the number of femicides, which shows no signs of going down. Many of the country's public personalities have joined the campaign, like cartoonist Liniers, who used one of his best known characters to participate in the movement.

3 June. Plaza Congreso. No more femicides.

Femicide, understood as a hate crime against women, poses a serious problem in Argentina. Despite the passage of laws that deal with and criminalize violence against women, these crimes continue to be numerous. The protest will take place on 3 June in the Plaza del Congreso.

The movement gained momentum following the murder of 14-year-old Chiara Paéz. She was allegedly killed at the hands of her boyfriend and had been expecting a child at the time of her death.

The NGO La Casa Del Encuentro, which runs support groups for victims of domestic violence, reported that since 2008 in Argentina 1,808 women were killed by domestic violence, 261 of these girls between 13 and 21 years old. Last year alone, 277 femicides were documented in Argentina, according to Buenos Aires Herald.

The Mexican ‘Corrido’ of Feminist Liberation

Junio del 75 en México no te asombres
Se juntaron mil señoras para hablar mal de los hombres […]
Liberación absoluta es meta de la mujer
Pero aquello de que hablamos
Que no lo dejen de hacer aunque sea por favor

In June of '75 in Mexico don’t be surprised
Thousand of women came together to criticize men […]
Absolute liberation is women's goal
But that thing we talked about
Please don’t stop doing it even if it’s as a favor

Lyrics by Óscar Chávez, Corrido de la Liberación Femenina. (Corrido of the Feminist Liberation)

The popular Mexican corridos usually refer to women as wives, girlfriends or lovers, but there was a time in history when feminist liberation was reflected in their lyrics. Angie Contreras, blogging for Mujeres Construyendo (Women Building), explains the double interpretation of feminism in that age which still continues today:

El corrido puede tener un sinfín de lecturas, […] explicare dos:

La primera de ellas, una cultura machista muy arraigada en el mexicano, donde la mujer debe asumirse en un rol de casa, educadora y sobretodo de cuidado, es donde recae la frase “que no lo dejen de hacer”, se nos da la libertad pero deben de seguir haciendo lo que ya sabemos hacer […]

Y una segunda está idea que el feminismo es sinónimo de odio a los hombres “para hablar mal de los hombres”, y esto es una malinterpretación del concepto […] la búsqueda del feminismo es una “liberación absoluta”, cuando se buscaban cosas concretas como el acceso a la educación, el derecho a votar y ser votada, la igualdad de salarios.

The corrido has unlimited interpretations, […] I'll explain two of them:

The first one, a sexist culture deeply rooted in Mexicans, in which woman should assume the role of a housewife, a teacher and caregiver, that is what the phrase “let's hope they don't stop doing it” refers to, that liberty is given to us but they must continue doing what we already know how to do.

And a second one is the idea that feminism is synonymous with hating men “to criticize men,” and this is a misunderstanding of the concept […] the search for feminism is an “absolute liberation”, when concrete things were requested such as access to education, the right to vote and be voted, equal wages.

Continue reading Angie Contreras’ post here and follow her on Twitter.

This post was part of the 49th edition of #LunesDeBlogsGV  (Monday of blogs on Global Voices) on April 13, 2015.

Former French Defense Minister Finds Excuses for the Alleged Rape of Central African Children by French Soldiers

Screen capture of video of Former Defense Minister of France arguing that challenging conditions can explain odd behaviors (such as rape)

Screen capture of video of Former Defense Minister of France arguing that challenging conditions can explain odd behaviors (such as rape)

Afrique Info reports that JP Chevènement, a former defense minister of France, stated on public radio Europe 1 on May 3 that the challenging conditions that French soldiers face in the Central African Republic could explain “behavior of that kind” (see video above). Chevènement was referring to the allegation of child sexual abuse by French troops posted in the Central African Republic. The allegations surfaced after disciplinary proceedings were taken against a United Nations employee accused of leaking the allegations to the French authorities.

The Troubling State of Abortion Rights in Ecuador

This text is part of the 49th edition of #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on April 13, 2015.

Underage pregnancy has been rising in Ecuador for the past several years, while abortion even in cases of rape or incest remains criminalized. According to the State Prosecutor, 98 percent of rapes in Ecuador last year occurred within family circles, and 271 took place on the campuses of schools and colleges.

Writing on the blog Plató Mundo, Valeria Coronel and Antonio Jurado took a look at a recent controversial statement by a government official:

El comentario realizado por Alexis Mera (Asesor Jurídico del Estado), en diario El Comercio: “El Estado debe enseñar a las mujeres que es preferible que retrasen su vida sexual y retrasen la concepción para que puedan terminar una carrera” […] denota una falta de conocimiento ante las estadísticas reales de esta problemática y sus causas. Su opinión es grave y alarmante porque solo se refiere a la mujer, […] esto es un reflejo claro de la sociedad machista en la que vivimos.

Nuestra cultura simboliza una falta de educación grave, que sigue atentando directamente a la imagen de la mujer dentro de la sociedad. Éste es el verdadero problema que se debería combatir.

The remark made by Alexis Mera (Legal Counsel for the State), in the newspaper El Comercio: “The state must teach woman that is preferable to delay their sexual life and postpone conception so they can finish their degree” […] denotes a lack of knowledge about the real statistics of the problem and its origin. His opinion is serious and alarming because he only refers to the woman, […] this is an obvious reflection of the sexist society in which we live.

Our culture symbolizes the serious lack of education, which continues directly attacking women image in society. This is the real issue that must be confronted.

In March 2015, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) urged Ecuador to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Continue reading this text here.

This text is part of the 49th edition of #LunesDeBlogsGV (Monday of blogs on GV) on April 13, 2015.

Mexican Women Are Being Called on to Help Transform Their Portrayal in Mexican Media

WACC, SocialTIC, WITNESS, La Sandía Digital, and Subversiones have called on women interested in telling the stories of strong women in their communities with the purpose of changing the way women are represented in the media.

As one of the representatives of the project told Global Voices, in Mexican media there is not only a lack of production and distribution of content produced by women, but lack of nuanced content, which only serves to replicate dominant stereotypes that do not reflect or promote diversity.

Voces de Mujeres, fotografía extraída del Perfil de Facebook de SocialTIC, utilizada con autorización

Women's Voices. Photo take from SocialTIC's Facebook page. Used with permission.

What does the project consist of? 

The project consists of an audiovisual laboratory caravan where women will learn about photography, video, and text creation. The laboratory caravan will last six months, holding four three-day sessions in different Mexican communities during May, June, July, and August.

What are the participation requirements? 

Women must be 18 and over, residing in central Mexico, involved in community projects, capable of dedicating 8 hours a week from May to September, available for travel during the scheduled dates, commited to sharing with the commuity what has been learned, and have access to a portable computer. Twenty applicants will be chosen.

The registration period for this project expired on March 27, 2015. Organizers are selecting the eligible entries from the ones received from all over Mexico and will soon publish the results. If any questions or inquiries please direct it to voces.mujeres@gmail.com.

Mexican Beauty Pageant Contestant’s Baffling ‘Chimpanzee’ Answer

Mariana Torres. Imagen ampliamente difundida en Twitter.

Mariana Torres. Image widely shared on Twitter.

It's well known that every aspiring beauty queen must answer a difficult question in the interview portion of the contest. Also well known are some of the answers that contestants have given, answers that earned them more publicity than their good looks ever did.

The most recent of those answers was given by Mexican Mariana Morres during the semifinal of the Miss Our Latin Beauty 2015, which has circulated online. The question: “Which partner would you choose to preserve the human species in case of a nuclear holocaust?” Torres answered: “A couple of chimpanzees… You know, due to the theory we come from there, so…”

As expected, Twitter users didn't waste any time in commenting:

Mariana Torres, finalist in Miss Our Latin Beauty really stepped in it while answering a question.

Wonderful! Number 1 fan of beauty queen wisdom. Hahaha.

Mariana Torres makes a fool of herself and loses the final at Miss Our Latin Beauty.

Although some were sympathetic:

Don't make fun of Miss Our Beauty Mariana Torres and her chimpanzee, in the future she could become the partner of some politician.

‘Films for Action’ Website Shares List of Top 100 Documentaries ‘We Can Use to Change the World’

After years of promotion and reviews of documentaries devoted to social change, the site Films for Action released a list of what they consider to be the 100 most influencial and provocative. From critiques to manistream media to the corporate world, passing through the ideas and solutions proposed in and by the majority world, this list of films present a wide view of ideas that many consider crucial to discuss.

The list includes documentaries like The Economics of Happiness (2011), which will be available for free in August, and The Crisis of Civilization (2011), based on the Book by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed.

Documentaries have an incredible power to raise awareness and create transformative changes in consciousness both at the personal and global levels […] All of the films have been selected because they are either free to watch online, or can be rented online. There are several films we would have loved to add to this list, but they currently don't have an accessible way to view them. As that changes, we'll be updating this list over time. Enjoy!