Religious extremists in Mali are targeting women. They’ve already outlawed music and smoking; now they’re going after women, “demanding that they cover their heads, restricting their ability to work, and compiling a list of women who are pregnant or have children but are not married which has raised fears of punishment.” According to UN human rights leaders, “the Islamists have imposed an extremist form of Islamic law known as Shariah in northern Mali with drastic punishments including the stoning death of a couple accused of adultery, eight amputations, three public executions and a number of floggings.”
Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, was shot in the head for going to school, by grown men who realize that educated girls and women are a direct threat to their power. Today is International Day of the Girl, and it’s worth remembering that less than 10% of all foundation giving in the United States goes to women and girls. Girls around the world are out of school, physically and sexually abused, forcibly married as children, and subjected to a series of other abuses and indignities. There are also lots of women and girls around the world who are fighting to change that, on levels big and small. But no girl is an island, and they can’t do it alone. Kristof writes:
One of my greatest frustrations when I travel to Pakistan is that I routinely spot extremist madrassas, or schools, financed by medieval misogynists from Saudi Arabia or elsewhere. They provide meals, free tuition and sometimes scholarships to lure boys — because their donors understand perfectly that education shapes countries.
In contrast, American aid is mainly about supporting the Pakistani Army. We have tripled aid to Pakistani education to $170 million annually, and that’s terrific. But that’s less than one-tenth of our security aid to Pakistan.
In Malala’s most recent e-mail to a Times colleague, Adam Ellick, she wrote: “I want an access to the world of knowledge.” The Taliban clearly understands the transformative power of girls’ education.
Religious extremists, of course, aren’t just somewhere “over there” — we’ve got a whole lot of ‘em in the USA too. Amanda Marcotte writes about the right-wing war on sex, and how they are (hopefully) losing. It’s worth pointing out, though, that there are a whole lot of shared values between the people who stone women for having children out of wedlock, the people who shoot children for going to school, and the people who basically put “women should die before they should be allowed abortions” in their party platform.
Prudie addresses a woman whose husband wants her to sign a post-nup entitling her to only 20% of their assets. Why? Because, he says, the house was his before they got married, and he makes more money than she does. Ladies, here is a tip: Find out if the guy you’re marrying is a jerk before you marry him.
Mitt Romney says that no one dies in the United States because of lack of health insurance. A Harvard study says that’s not quite the case. In fact, 45,000 people die every year because they aren’t insured.
Creepy dudes on Reddit take photos of unsuspecting women and put them on the internet for masturbatory fodder, without the women’s consent. Now those same creepy dudes are just furious that someone would dare out them without their consent. Because posting the women’s photos is totally legal! they say. Well, sorry brothers, but outing your online identity is totally legal too! And if women don’t have a basic right to not be photographed and put online just because they leave their homes, you certainly don’t have the right to have your identity permanently obscured when you’re out photographing them.
When nerds turn into Nice Guys: Sioban Rosen has an excellent and hilarious piece in GQ about grown-up nerds who aren’t nearly as sweet and sensitive as we’d like to believe. Money quote: “If you suspect you might be one of the unsavory types of nerds, ask yourself a few questions: Do you see yourself as a perpetual underdog in life’s great battle to get action? Do you believe your underdog status entitles you to enact a sort of psychosexual revenge against those who have historically prevented you from getting laid (i.e., women)? Congratulations! You are probably a nerd, and also kind of a dick.”\
Tig Notaro’s stand-up is the best $5 you will spend all week (month? year?). Even if you don’t buy, click over and read.
Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister of Australia, is pissed. And it’s awesome.