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Six Colour Flag

Who created the rainbow flag?

In many countries, June is marked as the month of pride celebration. In countries where LGBTQ+ rights are not forbidden, you can see flags displayed on the streets, parliament houses, companies, balconies of houses, etc. They can also be seen in demonstrations, parades, and other events that take place during the whole month. But have you stopped to think by whom and why the rainbow flag was created? I was curious myself, so I thought that it would be interesting to learn together.

Gilbert Baker is the creator of the rainbow flag. Barker was a vexillographer (flag maker), a political activist, a drag queen, and a designer. Besides, he enjoyed watching movies, dancing, loving fashion, and other leisures he practiced with his friend Artie and Cleve.

He was talented in designing banners for anti-war and pro-gay protests; thus, many friends and colleagues including Harvey Milk, who was the first gay politician elected in San Francisco motivated him to create a symbol for the gay community.

Baker knew that the symbol needed to be something new and beautiful. He wanted to strip off the painful stigma that was created by the Nazi in the concentration camp, where gay men were marked out by wearing a pink triangle that was tagged on their clothes.

One night, he was out at Winterland Ballroom dancing with Cleve. Both were moving their hips, snapping their fingers, and dancing to the music. Everything and everyone that surrounded them were flashing, glittering, and colourful. At this point, Baker knew he had the main idea, the rainbow flat emerged. So, on the 25th of June, 1978, Baker raised the flag for the first time at the United Nations Plaza in San Francisco to commemorate Gay Freedom Day Parade.

“We were all in a swirl of colour and light. It was like a rainbow. A Rainbow flag was a conscious choice, natural and necessary. The rainbow came from earliest recorded history as a symbol of hope,” describes Baker on his website.  

The rainbow flag that is raised today has six bans from top to bottom:

Red represents life

Orange stands for healing

Yellow means sunlight

Green nature

Blue meaning serenity

Purple spirit

However, when it was created it had eight colours.  Pink represents sexuality and turquoise magic.

Even though there is a dispute about the right of the rainbow flag from different parts, Baker was clear before he passed away in 2017 that the flag is public and free to use by anyone. It is a gift for everyone since it was created with that purpose.

Today as we raise and see the rainbow flag, let’s have in mind that the LGBTQ+ are part of our community, thus remember that inclusion is our duty. 

References

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20160615-the-history-of-the-rainbow-flag

https://academic.oup.com/jiplp/article/15/9/727/5917767?login=true

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May Pole

May is the month for rain, dance, fertility, and planting.

May Pole is in honour of the God Maya Ya, who embraces fertility, mother earth, and the beginning of the rainy season. During the entire month of May, each neighbourhood in the city of Bluefields and Bilwi in Nicaragua prepares dances that are performed around a decorated tree with colourful costumes and some good vibrating musical rhythm. Games, food and drinks are also prepared. 

In 2011, I was part of the production team of the documentary titled Al Son de Miss Lizzie, which describes the artistic life of Elizabeth Nelson Forbes, who is a pioneer of the Maypole dance in the Caribbean of Nicaragua. 

I invite you to watch the documentary and learn about the mixture of cultures. I hope you can feel the spirit of the God Maya Ya. 

Documentary Al Son de Miss Lizzie

Photo cover: May Pole painting by Nydia Taylor

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Working Market: An Inequal place for Women

Have you experience inequality in the labour market as a woman?

In some countries, the 1st of May was the celebration of Labor Day. Globally, men and women have different experiences in the labour market. Today, employed women are still under-representation since they receive less pay, some work more hours, few hold key positions, and there is a gap regarding social and retirement benefits.

According to a report from the European Commission gender, the gap in employment between men and women is 11.3%. A total of 66.8% of women is currently in employment, whereas men’s employment rate stands at 78.1%.

A friend, who is a mechanical engineer experienced a gender wage differential. While she was working at a company, a male engineer was hired and received a higher salary even though he had less work than her. I am sure that my friend’s case is something that happens regularly. Have you experienced something similar?

What should be done to stop these disparities? I think we should:

  • Speak out. Don’t stay silent.
  • Report any inequality to your union.
  • Promote re-structuring of labour laws and increase political pressures.

What else will you add to this list?

We need changes!

Photo by Jens Maes on Unsplash

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Maya Angelou

Are you a phenomenal woman? I am.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014), is a renowned poet, storyteller, auto-biographer, playwright, journalist, and actress born in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), also shared a passion for radio journalism. She was a strong activist who contributed to the civil rights movement and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. 

She published volumes of poetries, essays, and plays, as well as many children, cook, and picture books.

Her work includes seven extraordinary autobiographies: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, Gather Together in my Name, The Heart of a Woman, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, A Song Flung Up to Heaven, and Mom and Me and Mom. 

Moreover, on January 20th, 1993, at the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton, she recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” this recitation being the second time at a similar event that something of this kind was done. (Robert Frost recited “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration). 

Several of her writings received merited awards and honours from over seventy universities like the University of Arkansas, Ohio State University, Atlanta University, and others. 

Here is one of her poems. Phenomenal Woman.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips

The stride of my step.

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman.

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

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A Role Model: Matilde Lindo Crisanto

Being a Nicaraguan Caribbean woman means you need to be more aware of your identity.

The International Day Against Women Violence was celebrated on the 25ht of November. Globally, many women took the streets or social media platforms to demonstrate once more that this pandemic affects all of us. A lot of women and girls have been victims of gender-based violence at home, at work, on the streets, and in other places. On the other hand, we also have many women leaders who campaign to put stop to this knotty issue that exists in our society.

After ending my bachelor’s degree, I returned to my hometown and started to participate in the Nidia White Women Movement activities, which protect women and girls against violence by giving advice, shelter, and legal accompanied during the process. Its office is located near my house. I knew several of the women who worked there. One was Matilde Lindo Crisanto, a strong Garifuna woman, active, and firm with her statements regarding women’s rights.

Lindo was the second of three siblings. Her father was Harold Lindo and her mother was Imogene Crisanto. After graduating from high school, she studied at the normal school in Waspan to become a teacher. Upon ending this period, she worked in the rural areas with the Miskito and Sumu communities. I recall Matilde being a teacher during my high school years. She taught Geography to both of my sisters at the Moravian Hight School, Juan Amos Comenius.  

My second sister remembers her like this. “Lindo was my geography teacher during my first year in high school in Nicaragua. She taught me Nicaraguan and Central American geography. Due to her passion for teaching the class, I grew to love the subject. It was definitely one of my favourites in high school. Beyond being a teacher, she was an advocate against violence. She voiced herself and fought for women’s rights and equality. Her voice was heard in and out of the classroom. It propelled in the community she served”.

Besides being a teacher, she was a fervent woman’s rights activist who stood up defending women of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. She began involving herself in the feminist movement during the late 80s, by participating in meetings, workshops, and conferences.

Furthermore, in 1995, she participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing. Lindo was also a member of the Women’s Network’s Against Violence, an active member at the Creole Moravian Church, and the National Women Movement.

Shira Miguel, who is the coordinator of the Nidia White Movement where Lindo also worked, remembers her as a passionate woman. She expresses to Women Wheel that when she arrived at the movement, Lindo told her “This is not an easy road. First, when you talk about human rights especially women’s rights; there are lots of people who do not agree with it. Second, be clear that being in a feminist space does not mean that there is no discrimination, being a Caribbean Black or Indigenous woman is not the same as the rest”.

Moreover, Lindo stressed that violence was structural and that women violence in the Caribbean of Nicaragua was not the same as the one on Pacific Coast, which she said loudly and repeatedly on many occasions. Lindo’s trajectory as an activist is not only for the women of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, it’s also at a national level; thus we should embrace and learn from her legacy.

Lindo said, “I am from the black culture, we come from a tradition of the Goodness, queen of the nature, a tradition that reflects our way of being and practices”.

I would like each one of you to think of a black woman in your community who has been a role model for your actions, thoughts, and motivation as a black female. Join moving women stories by sharing your story with us!

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25th of November

Gender-based violence is a pandemic.

Photo: Julie Schroell

Today as we take the streets or social media platforms on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women let our voice be loud saying: this pandemic needs to stop.

I am proud to present this interview to Susanna Viljanmaa produced by PlusCollective. The production team was composed of Gloria De Felice, Susanna Viljanmaa, and Shirlene Green Newball.

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Los pañuelos que usa el movimiento feminista tienen su historia y razón.

Los pañuelos verdes y púrpura: Símbolo del feminismo

Foto: Kimmo Lehtonen

El pañuelo es el accesorio infaltable y el más visible en las manifestaciones feministas. Desde que me uní al movimiento feminista fui testigo de la diversidad de formatos y accesorios que se usan para expresar ideas, anuncios, manifiestos, denuncias. En Paisajes discursivos en movimiento: análisis de la manifestación feminista del 8 de marzo de 2020 en Barcelona de Marín y Ribas (2020), se estudian el uso de las pancartas colectivas, los carteles individuales, las corporalizaciones, performances, pintadas, así como el de otros objetos y accesorios.

“Muchas manifestantes llevan camisetas, banderas en forma de capa, bolsas, pañuelos, coleteros y todo tipo de accesorios y maquillajes de este color con una única función: marcar su alineación y pertenencia al movimiento feminista” (Marín & Ribas, 2020, p.19).

¿Pero cuál es la historia del uso de los pañuelos? ¿Por qué nos hemos apropiado de ellos?

El uso del pañuelo verde se inició en Argentina en el 2005 con la campaña Nacional por el Derecho al Aborto Legal, Seguro y Gratuito, luego conocido cortamente como `La Campaña´. El movimiento feminista se inspiró en los pañuelos blancos que usan las Madres de la Plaza de Mayo, las cuales protestan por sus hijas e hijos desaparecidos durante la dictadura de 1976-1983 en Argentina (Felitti & Romero, 2020).

El movimiento feminista eligió el color verde para luchar por los derechos reproductivos y sexuales, y más profundamente por el autoempoderamiento de nuestro cuerpo. Además, porque el color no esta relacionado a ningún partido político. El color verde significa “equilibrio, primavera, esperanza, razón, lógica, naturaleza, vegetación y crecimiento” (Molina, 2010 p. 6). El pañuelo verde se convirtió en el arma de lucha para las mujeres para decidir interrumpir un embarazo sin censura de ningún tipo ya sea de la sociedad o el sistema patriarcal. Es un símbolo de lucha por el aborto legal.

En el siguiente clip del programa La Marca del Almohadón de Radio Universidad Nacional de Rosario publicado el 29 de abril del 2018 puedes escuchar la voz de las mujeres dando más información sobre el pañuelo verde.

Programa La Marca del Almohadón

En el pañuelo se puede leer frases como: aborto legal para no morir, aborto seguro, gratuito, educación sexual para decidir y anticonceptivo para abortar. La Marea Verde frase que se usa para referirse a la campaña se expandió desde Argentina a otros países de América Latina y el Caribe desarrollándose de acuerdo con el contexto de cada país. Pese a las características particulares que la campaña toma en cada país siempre el pañuelo verde es símbolo de la legalización del aborto y de la lucha del movimiento feminista. Por ejemplo, en República Dominicana se ha adaptado para la campaña de #rd3casuales. Hoy en día también se puede ver el uso de este pañuelo en países europeos en solidaridad con la lucha feminista en América Latina (Felitti & Romero, 2020).

El segundo pañuelo del movimiento feminista es el pañuelo púrpura. Su uso se remonta a los pañuelos que portaban las sufragistas en Inglaterra y Estados Unidos como símbolo de su lucha por el derecho al voto e igualdad de derechos políticos para las mujeres. Actualmente el pañuelo color púrpura es uno de los símbolos más importantes del movimiento feminista. El pañuelo es usado en las marchas del 8 de marzo, en congresos o asambleas de mujeres, así como en diversas manifestaciones de lucha por la equidad de género, justicia y desarrollo del movimiento feminista.

Pañuelo Púrpura

El color violeta/púrpura según la psicología del color significa “experiencia, reflexión, sabiduría, independencia, es místico, melancólico, dignidad, realeza y firmeza” ( Molina, 2010, p.6).

A lo largo de estos últimos años he visto que ambos pañuelos se cuelgan del cuello, o se amarran a la muñeca. Los pañuelos no tienen fronteras, han cruzado océanos y países para seguir su lucha. Los pañuelos son locales e internacionales. Recuerdo que para el 8 de marzo Día Internacional de la Mujer del 2020 la Red de Mujeres en Finlandia co-organizamos con otras plataformas una marcha, allí muchas llevamos nuestros pañuelos púrpura o verde.

Los colores y estos pañuelos simbolizan las luchas de las mujeres a lo largo de la historia. Al usar los pañuelos púrpura o verde nos hacemos de ese poder mientras remarcamos nuestro mensaje de lucha. ¿Posees uno de los pañuelos? ¿Cuándo lo usas?

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A Stranger from South to East

Stereotypes on the metro of Helsinki is seen day by day.


Have you ever felt like a stranger in your country, hometown, or elsewhere? I had felt it many times, especially when individuals assume that you are not from “this place” because you don’t “look, dress or talk” like the rest. At first, it annoyed me, but now I just apply the mirror question or ignore it.

Helsinki is already diverse; however, I think that there is still more to be done to embrace this diversity from different levels. Two years ago, the New Helsinki Theatre (NHT), was created with the aim to bring together professionals of arts, the audience, and the different theatres, to produce together performing arts that show the richness and varieties of cultures in a venue.

In addition, the New Helsinki Theatre is coordinated by two renowned cultural spaces, with vast experience: Post Theatre Collective and Teatteri Metamorfoosi. In an interview with Davide Giovanzana, one of the founders of TeatteriMetamorfoosi, he said, “One thing that touched me a lot when I started theatre was the community, where a group of people who share the similar dream, ideas, and working together (…), made it happen.

As autumn breaks in with its mixture of colours and variety, so is the New Helsinki Theatre with different activities for the public. Many events are being organized from the middle part of October in the NTH Pop-Up 2021. The first one was the seminar Building Bridges: The concrete action for interculturalism and inclusion in Finnish theatre organized at Arts Promotion Centre Taike´s premises on 15th October by NTH. It was a continuation of the Seminar on Art, Culture, and a Diverse Finland organized by the Ministry of Education and Culture. 

The worlds inclusion and intercultural are trending, but how much do we know about them and how it should be applied to the different fields. Fred Delvin (2017), addressed the terms of interculturality and intercultural as having become confused by only comparing cultures; however, he aims to “train people to work within the continuum of similarity and difference to oscillate between the two” (p.14).

As my conversation flew with Davide he also made a critical point about this topic of building inclusion in the theatre field. “I think there is fear in the Finnish theatre, and it is self-centered (…). The tradition “hyvä veljeys” (brotherhood) affects the actors that didn’t study in Finnish theatre school (…), this mentality affects not only the foreigners (from the theatre) but also the Finnish people”. 

For the ending part of this month, there will more events to attend. From 28.10-28.11, Vuotalo will be the venue of the Pop-Up, it includes the presentation of three performances, The StrangerPunch Up!-Resistance & Glitter, and Eros/sa.  

The Stranger

So, have you recalled feeling being a stranger? If you have not, hop up on this metro journey that we will take from the southern to the eastern side of Helsinki. I am sure that after this trip you will feel related to the stories of the play. 

It was a rainy and grey day when I arrived at TeatteriMetamorfoosi, located in Sörnäinen, Helsinki. I entered a studio that has gray walls and a black floor where five individuals were rehearsing a play that I also became part of while watching. I forget that outside was a gloomy day because the different voices saying 5,6,7…, the body movements, the music beat, and phrases transported me to each scene of the play Stranger

This play directed by Davide Giovanzana, performed by Yasmin Ahsanullah, Maija Ruuskanen, and Anastasia Trizna; light designed by Anssi Ruotanen, and produced by Teatteri Metamorfoosi, describes the story of three women feeling an outsider in their city as they travel in public transportation. These three stories are intertwined with Meursault, the protagonist of the novel The Stranger by Albert Camus. The play Stranger portrays many topics, but the main one is “feeling alienated,” said the director.

The timeline of the performance is the Helsinki metro that travels from Tapiola to Mellunmäki in 40 minutes. The play takes an hour is almost real-time of the trip. During this journey, the characters observe the variety of passengers and their economic status. They also experienced being an outsider in their community, by being Othered by other passengers of the metro. 

According to Johnson et al. (2004), Othering is a “process that identifies those that are thought to be different from oneself or the mainstream, and it can reinforce and reproduce positions of domination and subordination”. This process includes stereotyping, racialization, culturalism, discrimination, sexism, essentialism, etc. which divide, create fear, grant privilege, and lack of perspective of “others” in the society.  

So, from the 28th to -31st of October, you are invited to Vuotaloto be part of this play, The Stranger. The objective of the play is that you feel related as the stories evolve and participate in the rave at the end of the play, so you can stop being a victim of the constructed society.

As I ride the metro to meet a friend in the centre of Helsinki, my thoughts are about my life as a stranger in Finland; where I had felt belonged but at the same time rejected, however, I feel that this is one of my home. 

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Ninosca

“The first time a man disrespects you with his hands, It’s a goodbye”. Ninosca

I wrote a review for the Latin American Film Festival Cinemaissi. I was glad to write this story because of two reasons. First, I met the film director years ago and second because I am a immigrant woman like Ninosca. Here is the article. I highly recommend to see the film.

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Breast Cancer

“My advice to the ladies is to check yourselves, examine yourselves, know your body. If you discover something that is not normal, look for professional help” Aleseter

October is the month of breast cancer awareness. I loss a close friend 9 years ago who I still miss. Thus, I would like you to be aware of this illness that is around us.

For this edition I would like to share the story if my friend Aleseter, who is a strong individual a met years ago while working with a journalism project. She is tall, strong, likes to joke, friendly, a baseball lover, and sincere. We became friends and still maintain our relationship.

Aleseter voice

“ In 2012, I discovered a small lump on my left breast. I am from a  small island which had only a small health center in those days; so, I had to wait for some specialist to arrive. They did an ultrasound on my breast, then recommended a biopsy which I got done in Managua (the capital). The result was negative. I flew back home, but deep in my mind I knew something was wrong. A week later, I did a second biopsy and waited 12 days for the result. It was positive. The third biopsy also was positive. 

The doctor told me, “it’s not good news”. I said to him, “anything can kill me except this cancer, because with the help of God, I will overcome it”. I remember he looked at me and said, “those are the words of a warrior”. 

My cancer was stage 1 when it was discovered. A  surgery was done to remove the malignant cells, and then I started my chemotherapy in May. However, when I was on my third chemo session, they discovered more spots in the same place, so I underwent a second surgery and continued my treatment. It was then December, but things didn’t improve, so in January, I had a mastectomy done. 

At the beginning, I didn’t mention it to my son nor the rest of the family, because we grew up thinking that cancer is a taboo. Nevertheless, I told one of my brothers. He said to me:,”cancer is not your sickness, it’s our sickness; you need the moral support from the family”. 

During my chemo treatment, I heard a lot of comments about what would happen to me, but the reality was another, since everyone has their own experience; what is good for you, can be bad for me. For example, I saw a lot of women vomiting during the treatment, I didn’t. The doctor told me that I will lose my hair. Indeed, 16 days after the treatment, I lost it. My brother helped shave the rest. It was a ball of hair”. 

Photo by Gabriel Aguirre on Unsplash

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Mapping abortion: Latin America and Caribbean

Is abortion legal in your country? Tell us.

The 28th of September was the day of decriminalizing abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean. In many countries, activists and feminists once more remembered this day for women’s rights by posting on social media. The green handkerchief symbol of this fight was present.

In countries such as Honduras, Haiti, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Suriname, and Dominican Republic, abortion is illegal under any circumstances, according to the Map of Abortion Law from the Centre for Reproductive Rights.

In Republican Dominican, since 1884, the Penal Code bans abortion; thus, the campaign rd3causales, has been promoted by several women organizations, individuals, and others. This campaign was created after maternal death increased to 20.2% in 2020, according to the epistemology department. Sergia Galván, a renowned activist and feminist, expresses to the newspaper El País “it is cruel to obligate a woman who was raped to continue with a pregnancy”.

The #rd3causalesvan campaign on the Caribbean Island demands that abortion be allowed when:

1-The life and health of women or girls are under threat.
2- Pregnancy is unfeasible.
3- The incident is a case of rape or incest.

While in the previous ones it is a crime, in others, abortion is permitted in cases: where a pregnancy puts the woman’s life and health at risk; in case of rape, incest and deformation or unviability of the fetus. The following are among the countries where abortion is allowed for one or more of these reasons are: Belize, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Peru, Panama, and Venezuela.

Mexico is a case of its own since it operates under a federal system where each state is independent and, therefore, exercises the restrictions according to the laws of the state. However, throughout the country, it is allowed in case of rape or endangerment to the life of the mother.

Last month, a week after the Texas Supreme Court banned abortion in this state, not far from its border, in Coahuila northern state in Mexico abortion lawwas decriminalized. The  11 judges voted unanimously on it. This new law also prevents the persecution of women for getting an abortion.

This new decision can be very important to open the way for other states in Mexico since it is a big country and has many states. So far, in Coahuila, Oaxaca, Hidalgo, Veracruz, and Mexico City, abortion is permitted up to the 12th week of gestation without any explanation.

Many women and organizations that campaigns for abortion rights in Mexico consider this act as a “historical moment”.

In Cuba, Guyana, Argentina, French Guyana, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico, abortion is allowed in the first weeks of gestation and under the term established by law.

Abortion is satanized by many individuals in society; however, my question is to what extent is it reliable to have such laws while many women and girls die because of it?

One of the phrases that was common to read on different platforms on the 28th of September was: We want legal, secure, and free abortion. It is a right.

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Despenalizar el aborto

¿Y vos que sabes del aborto en tu país? Es legal?

Hoy 28 de septiembre usemos nuestro pañuelo verde como símbolo de lucha por el derecho al  aborto legal, seguro y gratutito en América Latina y el Caribe. 

En Latinoamérica y el Caribe hay varios países donde las mujeres mueren por no poder practicar el aborto y existe violación de sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos y la violación física y psicológica.

Según el Center for Reproductive Rights en América Latina y el Caribe el mapa del estado ilegal o legal del aborto se ve así:  

El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname y República Dominicana es prohibido por completo. El Salvador es uno de los países más rígidos, por ejemplo la condena a “Las 17” por más de 40 años de cárcel. 

Mientras que en las anteriores es un delito en otros el aborto es permitido bajo causales como: cuando el embarazo pone en riesgo la vida y salud de la mujer,  en caso de violación, estupro, incesto y deformación o inviabilidad del feto. Entre los países donde es permitido el aborto por uno o más de estos causales tenemos a Belice, Brasil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Perú, Panama y Venezuela. 

México es particular ya que opera bajo un sistema federal, donde cada estado es independiente y por lo tanto ejerce las restricciones de acuerdo a las leyes del estado. Sin embargo, en todo el país es permitido en caso de violación, pero muchas veces no se accede porque hay obstáculos para la ejecución. Un ejemplo claro de ello se dio en junio de este año en Morelia cuando se le negó el aborto a una menor que fue violada por su padrastro. 

En Cuba, Guyana, Guyana Francesa, Uruguay y Puerto Rico y Argentina es permitido el aborto sin condiciones en las primeras semanas de gestación y bajo el plazo establecido por la ley. 

La historia sigue y no termina. Este jueves veremos el caso de Texas y Coahuila, México.

Queremos aborto seguro y gratuito! Es un derecho de las mujeres.

Foto de portada: Kimmo Lethonen/Chile, 2019

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Black Feminism Talk

On July 25th, we proudly celebrate International Afro Women’s Day.

Yesterday, we celebrated International Afro-Latin American, Caribbean, and Diaspora Women’s Day, which was established in the Dominican Republic on July 25th, 1992, and  where women from 32 countries gathered to discuss issues related to their fight and resistance. 

I would like to share with you some of the highlights points of the panel discussion Black Feminism and culture in the Nordics: Who gets to be heard, that was head months ago and organized by the Astra journal and Nordic Culture Point.The panel discussion was moderated by Jasmine Kelakey, an Afro Finish-Swedish, who is an activist focused on anti-black racism and black activism in the Nordics. The guest speakers of the panel were Monica Gathuo, a digital media producer for black women in Finland, and co-coordinator of the Anti-Racism Media Activist Alliance (ARMA); Judith Kiros, based in Sweden, a poet, literature scholar, journalist, who also had participated in several anti-black platforms; Phyllis Akinyi, a Danish- Kenyan choreographer, dancer, performer and researcher; and Deise Faira Nunes, who is based in Norway and is an art researcher, performance practitioner, and freelance writer.

Different background scenarios such as coffees shop, plants and books, map on the wall, or simply a white wall, were the scenes of these women who talked about the fundamental of understanding black feminism, why it’s necessary to be heard, seen, and spoken to make a difference.

Here are some points raised during the discussion:

  • Black feminism has its roots in the United State of America; however, they are other black women groups in many corners of the globe. E.g. Caribbean, Brazilian etc.
  • Black feminism is a pillar for our foundation and thus tells the stories that need to be heard.
  • Experience of “othering” is not the same here in the Nordics as across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Black feminism is an inspiration for solidarity, building communities, bringing joy to our lives, and making changes. It is not only about our struggles.
  • The Black Live Matters manifestation that took place last year in the Nordic countries gave a huge push for a deeper discussion about black topics and the change of black narrative; nevertheless, it is a transit moment that can burn us out. It is important to remember that this moment will dissolve but we will continue being black.
  • The language that is used about black feminism needs to change, develop, and take into consideration research and dictionaries that are done by others.
  • How does representation need to be approached, should we continue to play the game of the systems or focus on our own?
  • Blackness is not homogenous, regardless weather we have similarities, we also have differences.
  • Scandinavian countries are categorized as democratic and have high freedom of speech; however, the issue of racism is present, there is a lack of awareness but also denial. The mainstream or public discourse narratives argue that racism occurs in the USA, but not here.
  • The four panelists hope that the struggle, fight and actions they are doing today may be beneficial for the future generation, and that the situation may be different and better for them.

“I can’t separate myself from black feminism, I am a black feminism,” said Phyllis Akinyi.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

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Billie Holiday: A Voice of Protest

Never silent your voice. Speak out.

I am on vacation, so one of the things I enjoy is watching movies or series. Recently, I watched The United States vs. Billie Holiday, directed by Lee Daniels, with the casting of Andra Day, Trevante Rhodes, Natasha Lyonne, Evan Ross, and others.

The film is a biography of jazz singer, Billie Holiday. Her performances, her love life, the violence cycle she lived, her period in jail, and drug addiction.

The movie starts with the text about the lynching of black individuals that occurred in the United States since the 1930s until the creation of the Civil Rights in 1950s and 1960s. Holiday’s song “Strange Fruit” is based on the lynching of black a North American; thus, its lyrics were consider controversial. This song was prohibited to be sung on many occasions; however, the public continued to ask Holiday to sing it. She was a rebel and refused to stop singing it. Once, she was on the stage, she knew as well that she will have the support of  Lester Young who was her saxophonist, so it was sung as many times she wanted. This was the ‘reason’ used as an excuse by the Antinarcotic, from the FBI to jailed her, arrested, harass her. Drug was planted on her on many occasions.

Holiday new she was targeted for being a black woman, who was protesting for her people. She knew it was a violation of human rights executed by the government; however, all the above incidents never stop her to silencing her voice as a way of protest.

The song “Strange Fruit” was composed by Abel Meeropol and recorded in 1939 by Holiday. The song is based on a poem from Meeropol which is a protest of the lynching that occurred in the Southern U.S.A., against black people and which had a peak in the early 20th century.  The song compares the victims of lynching with the fruits of the trees.

Southern trees bear a strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

This song, without a doubt, was one of the best moments of her career. In 1978, it was received in the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also mentioned in the list as “Song of the Century”. Many other singers such as Nina Simone, Diana Rose, Jeff Buckley, Dee Dee Bridgewater, and others made versions of the song.

Youtube Video

The song USA Government once wated to be silent is an icon, not only for the last century, but also applicable today as a symbol for all the black individuals that are being shot in this country by the government (police). Today blood is on the road and not on the leaves of the trees.

If Holiday were to be present today, I am sure she will sing the song from her heart. The context for the black community has not changed. There is a hierarchical and institutionalized racism that prevails over ‘human rights’ of the black individuals.

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Bell hooks

Parenting plays an important role to fight the patriarchal system.

Last year, I wrote a piece about black female writers. While doing my research, I remember finding the name of Bell hooks in many occasions. However, I don’t know why I didn’t include her name in the written lists. The other occasion when I heard her name, it was at a two panel discussion about black women which I attended. Her name was constantly repeated among the panellists, saying how she was a great influence for their development as a writes, poets, activists, and feminists.   

After hearing so much about her, I decided that is was time that I learn more about who she is and what she has done for the black community. So, I invite you as well to join this learning journey with me.

Bell hooks is the pseudonym of Gloria Jean Watkins, who was born on the 25th of September, 1952, in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, United States of America, where she experienced segregation.  She is a writer, scholar, and activist who has studied and critiqued topics such as race, gender, class, and identity of black women.  She studied at three universities where she obtained her degrees, master’s and doctoral.

The first time I saw her last name spelt in lowercase letter, I thought it was a mistake. It drew my attention. According to the reading from Britannica, her intention is that individuals will focus on her message and not on her. Hooks was her great-grandmother’s last name which she adopted to honour the legacy of her female ancestors.

Bell hooks has developed the Elbell hooks Institute where she hosts discussion with other scholars, orators, and activists about topics such as patriarchy, feminists, racism, violence, spirituality, and so on. For example, she has guest speakers as Gloria Steinem, Berttina Love, Damon Young, and others. This institute has become an international reference to discussions on these topics.

During the years hooks has centralized her thoughts and critiques on the following points:

  • Feminism is not only equality. It goes beyond this, is to finish sexism and oppression. Men are not our enemy, it’s the patriarchal system. We need to change it, not to adapt it.
  • She animates that it’s important to dig in more to feminism, not to stay with what is heard on the media. Go beyond to understand that is not about women that want to be equal to men or create an anti-men movement.
  • It’s important to confront and transform our inter-enemy that has been instilled in us as a child before facing the sexism system. For example, to judge one and another and be hassled among ourselves.
  • She argues that it’s important to establish a feminist-gender equality education policy at school, so future generation of women and men can grow up without sexism. I recall that in 2017, in Finland, each student from ninth-grade was given a free copy (translated) of the book We should all be Feminists writtenbyChimamanda Ngozi.
  • Sisterhood is a significant tool to combat and transform the system.

In an interview conducted by David Remnick for The New Yorker Radio Hour in November, 2017, she stresses that males who commit violence against women mostly had a violence background in their childhood as well as in the way they we grew up.

Another highlight of the interview is that “patriarchy doesn’t have a gender”. Parenting plays a fundamental role to fight the patriarchal system, it is necessary to raise boys and girls the same way. This last point made me recall a friend who is mother of twin boys. One day while we were conversing, she said that she didn’t want to teach her boys not to be sentimental. For example, to tell them, “Boys don’t cry”. On the contrary, she wants them to learn to have feeling. I think this is an essential tool for all parents and the society.

“If we don’t try to understand the male psyche, we cannot solve the problem”.  

Bell hooks

 

Photo taken from Ebell hooks Institute Facebook page.

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Audre Lorde: A Proud Black Lesbian

In June, we celebrate pride month. I hope that you have learned something as you read, heard, and participated in an event of the LGBTQ+ community. I wouldn’t like to end this month without writing about one of the most influential black female writer, activist, and proud lesbian. I am referring to Audre Lorde (1934-1992). She was the third child of three siblings procreated by an immigrant’s family that moved from the West Indies to New York, USA.

Her career started while still being in high school. Her first poem was printed in Seventeen Magazine. Her works are fervent in voicing out sexism, racism, homophobia, gender, and classism as an instrument for action and change. Her actions were done in the United States of America, but many of them were to support injustice that occurred in other countries, for example, the creation of a Sisterhood which was a space of solidarity for the South African women living apartheid.

In the Feminist Writers, Allison Kimmich pointed out that most of Lorde’s work demonstrate to it readers that the differences that exist among us is ignored; however, she stresses that “Lode’s suggested differences in race or class must serve as a reason for celebration and growth”. I think we should all have this into account as we celebrate the pride month and the rest of the year.

Video uploaded by Hailey Kemp

Lorde wrote several books: The First Cities, Cables to Rage, From a Land Where Other People Live, Coal, The Black Unicorn, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, The Cancer Journals, A Burst of Light etc.She also wrote periodicals for Amazon Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Red War, The Black Woman, The Village Voice, The Iowa Review, and a lot of others.

There is no doubt that Lorde is a vivid example of living discrimination for being a black woman and a lesbian, which is the reason she is an icon for the LGBTQ+ community.

“Within the lesbian community, I am black, and within the black community, I am lesbian. Any attack against black people is a lesbian and gay issue, because I and other thousands of black women are part of the lesbian community. Any attack against lesbian and gay is a black issue, because thousands of lesbians and gay are black. There is no hierarchy of oppression”.

Audre Lorde
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Semana del Orgullo Gay

Al aceptar y respetar que hay no existe un tipo de género en la sociedad hace la integración más fluida.

Estoy segura que las siglas LGBQ te son familiares, agrupan a las lesbianas, gais, bisexual y transgénero. Esta sigla fue creada en los años noventa, sin embargo, tuvo que adecuarse a la aparición de otras identidades y tendencias sexuales, por ejemplo, LGBTI, LGBTA etc. Hoy en día se usa LGBQ+ para no agregar más letras y ser más inclusivo con los nuevos movimientos. 

Hace dos años conocí a la joven activista chilena Johanna Romero Ramírez en uno de los plantones organizado en Helsinki en solidaridad con Chile. Ella fue una de las las responsables de la organización de este maravilloso movimiento de solidaridad y motor de las protestas. Al conocerla me impactó su carácter y vitalidad. Johanna siempre lleva un color de pelo distinto, es conversadora y risueña.

En este mes del orgullo gay quiero compartir la historia que Johanna escribió para el blog Women Wheel. Espero que podamos aprender para no seguir discriminando a la diversas tendencias sexuales que tenemos en nuestra sociedad. Acá les dejo su historia y sus recomendaciones. 

“La sexualidad es algo fluido y dinámico. Hay quienes saben desde siempre que su orientación sexual tiende hacia personas del sexo opuesto, hacia personas del mismo sexo, ambos o ninguno.

En mi caso, no fue hasta mi adolescencia, cuando tenía 17 años que la pregunta respecto a si me podían gustar las mujeres se implantó en mi mente. Y ésta no fue por iniciativa propia en realidad. En la escuela solían darme nombres aludiendo al ser lesbiana. Tortillera era uno de los más recurrentes con los que me molestaban. 

Empecé entonces a salir con grupos más diversos, y en ellos empecé a cuestionarme el qué me atraía en realidad. Hasta ese entonces sólo había tenido pololos (parejas hombre). Y una cosa llevó a otra, la curiosidad, el auto descubrimiento, el sentirte cómoda compartiendo intimidad sentimental y sexual con personas del mismo sexo.

Sí bien no me gusta el tema de las etiquetas, creo que son necesarias por un tema político, porque lo que no se nombra no existe. Por ello, cuando alguien me pregunta respecto a mi orientación sexual, mi respuesta es que soy pansexual.

Hoy en día hay mucha discusión respecto a que pansexual y bisexual se refieren a lo mismo, luego que la comunidad bisexual hiciera su manifiesto en el que no sólo se incluye a hombres cis y mujeres cis como fuente de atracción. 

Semana del Orgullo Gay, Helsinki 2019

Pero creo es importante identificarse en lo que a uno le acomoda, y para mí la pansexualidad es sentirse atraído por un otro, sin importar género o sexo biológico, es más una atracción por la persona en sí misma. Esto también incluye el que puedas tener tu preferencia dentro de ello, ya que es algo fluido. Hoy me puede gustar alguien que se identifica como mujer cis lesbiana, así como en algún momento pude haber sentido atracción por un hombre trans heterosexual, por ejemplo.

Qué le diría a las personas en general para avanzar hacia una sociedad de respeto incluyendo a la comunidad LGBTTTIQA+, es simple, no pedimos nada excepcional, solo el ser tratados igual que el resto y el tener la posibilidad de poder vivir los mismos procesos teniendo los mismos derechos. 

Es un normalizar algo que nunca debería haber sido considerado fuera de la norma. ¿Por qué las personas de la comunidad tenemos que asumir un closet del cuál tenemos que salir?

Yo creo que para aportar a ello hay que tener en cuenta lo siguiente:

-Repensar actitudes cotidianas. 

-No es norma pero se asume  en la práctica que toda persona es heterosexual y cis.

-Respetar pronombres personales, o llamar por el nombre social si los pronombres se les dificultan.

-Evitar uso de género en conversaciones, entonces se evitan correcciones del tipo no tengo novio, tengo novia.

-Evitar preguntas en general que no le harías a alguien heterosexual por ejemplo, porque al final cada persona tiene sus propios límites con quien conversar ciertos temas, y no creo la gente vaya por la vida preguntando a personas dentro de la heteronorma respecto a su sexualidad o genitales. 

-Si tienes dudas de cómo tratar a una persona, preguntale qué le acomoda, lo que para alguien es apropiado puede que para otra persona no lo sea, como la vida misma en realidad, es simplemente dar un paso de empatía, aceptar y visibilizar que existen muchas realidades distintas, y que todas tienen cabida en una sociedad de respeto”. 

Pueden seguir aprendiendo de Johanna siguiendola en Instagram: @la_j0

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Online Violence to Women Journalists

Over the years online, violence toward women journalists has been increasing significantly and uncontrollably in many corners of the globe while producing outlets. One of the reasons is the wide use of internet and the different social platforms.

As a woman and journalist, I have an interest to read and hear about stories that involve colleagues from all around, thus, I follow on social media several journalistic centers, foundations or organizations. The more I read, I realize that online violence has become a major issue in many countries, specially covering the pandemic, social-political manifestation, or corruption of state, etc. 

But what is online violence?

According to a report, A/HRC38/47 from the United National Against Women Violence it “extends to any act of gender-based violence against women that is committed, assisted or aggravated in part or fully by the use of information and communications technology (ICT), such as mobile phones and smartphones, the Internet, social media platforms or email, against a woman because she is a woman, or affects women disproportionately” (p.7).

So how many types of online violence exists? The same report mentioned that the range of violence vary from insults, threats, to death; and it can take one of these forms.

  • Cyberbullying;
  • Trolling: trolls post comments to try to provoke controversy;
  • Doxxing: online researching and publishing of private information about a person in order to cause them harm;
  • Obsessive online stalking (cyberstalking), intrusive and threatening harassment of a person;
  • Cyber-control in relationships;
  • Revenge porn: non-consensual dissemination of intimate images, online public sharing of sexually explicit content without the consent of the person concerned, often for the purposes of revenge.

Women journalists are a target group for these types of violence mentioned above for reasons of simple doing their job. This action, as well, creates consequences for journalism, freedom of press, and freedom of expression

A report conducted in late 2020, by International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reveals that 73% of women journalist who participated in the survey had experienced online violence. In addition, the two highest online are physical threats with 25% and sexual violence with 18%. 13% of the participants mentioned that the threats went beyond themselves, since other individuals closer to them, also were attacked.

A friend and colleague of mine, Ileana Lacayo Ortiz from Bluefields, faced this doxing on social media when the social-political crisis broke out in Nicaragua in April, 2018. She also received threat and her house was burglared; so, months later, she fled the country. She was one of the many journalists who left the country for voicing out the injustice of the Nicaragua government. Ileana was not afraid to denounce the assassination of journalist, Angel Gahona in Bluefields on the 21st, of April 2018. In this video produced by Short Shelter City Utrecht, Ileana explains the repression she lived by the government.

Short Shelter City Utrecht documentary

Online violence has many impacts for journalists. As I read the different stories and reports I found that out that the most common effect is mental health mentioned by Ileana, as well. Another journalist who fled her country for protection is the Finnish journalist, Jessikka Aro.

Jessikka held a deep investigation about the pro-Russian internet trolls, but unfortunately, she was backlashed and became a victim of these same activities. In a debate organized by the International Women Media Foundation, the New York Times, and the Washington Post Jessikka said: “online violence is extreme, you can’t escape it, thus, you need to pay attention of your surrounding”.

One of Jessikka’s advice to women journalists who are living online violence is to get in touch with other colleagues or organizations. She said it’s important to know that “you are not alone”. Here is the complete panel discussion.

Press Freedom is a right, so, newsrooms, editors, colleagues and journalists’ organizations should continue to support women journalists who are being victims of online violence.

Do you know a woman journalist who had been abused online? Share it with us.

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

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Black Feminism Talk

What do you know about black feminism? Here are some highlights.

During the past year, my participation in events has decreased. Due to the pandemic, most events are online. As a student, I have long hours of lectures, reading, and writing, so sitting extra time in front of a computer is not that gratifying. However, when my friend, Yesmith Sánchez, invited me to the panel discussion Black Feminism and culture in the Nordics: Who gets to be heard, I decided to attend because of three reasons. First, because as a black feminist and activist I think it’s necessary to hear and learn from other experiences. Second, I am researching a gap based on feminism for my master thesis. Third, it’s important to continue networking regardless that it is online.

The panel discussion was moderated by Jasmine Kelakey, an Afro Finish-Swedish, who is an activist focused on anti-black racism and black activism in the Nordics. The guest speakers of the panel were Monica Gathuo, a digital media producer for black women in Finland, and co-coordinator of the Anti-Racism Media Activist Alliance (ARMA); Judith Kiros, based in Sweden, a poet, literature scholar, journalist, who also had participated in several anti-black platforms; Phyllis Akinyi, a Danish- Kenyan choreographer, dancer, performer and researcher; and Deise Faira Nunes, who is based in Norway and is an art researcher, performance practitioner, and freelance writer. The event was organized by the Astra journal and Nordic Culture Point (information taken from the event).

The five brilliant, lovely, and strong black women are from different backgrounds and countries; however, something they all have in common is that black feminism is a stone foundation for their work and lifestyle.

Different background scenarios such as coffees shop, plants and books, map on the wall, or simply a white wall, were the scenes of these women who talked about the fundamental of understanding black feminism, why it’s necessary to be heard, seen, and spoken to make a difference.

Here are some points raised during the discussion:

  • Black feminism has its roots in the United State of America; however, they are other black women groups in many corners of the globe. E.g. Caribbean, Brazilian etc.
  • Black feminism is a pillar for our foundation and thus tells the stories that need to be heard.
  • Experience of “othering” is not the same here in the Nordics as across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Black feminism is an inspiration for solidarity, building communities, bringing joy to our lives, and making changes. It is not only about our struggles.
  • The Black Live Matters manifestation that took place last year in the Nordic countries gave a huge push for a deeper discussion about black topics and the change of black narrative; nevertheless, it is a transit moment that can burn us out. It is important to remember that this moment will dissolve but we will continue being black.
  • The language that is used about black feminism needs to change, develop, and take into consideration research and dictionaries that are done by others.
  • How does representation need to be approached, should we continue to play the game of the systems or focus on our own?
  • Blackness is not homogenous, regardless weather we have similarities, we also have differences.
  • Scandinavian countries are categorized as democratic and have high freedom of speech; however, the issue of racism is present, there is a lack of awareness but also denial. The mainstream or public discourse narratives argue that racism occurs in the USA, but not here.
  • The four panelists hope that the struggle, fight and actions they are doing today may be beneficial for the future generation, and that the situation may be different and better for them.

“I can’t separate myself from black feminism, I am a black feminism,” said Phyllis Akinyi. If you are eager to hear and learn more about the topics, please watch the panel discussion here.

Photo by the event.

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23 of April: Book Day

On Book Day let’s celebrate all the writers we know and those we don’t know.

Today, as we celebrate International Book Day, I would like to know more about books that have influenced your life mindset.

I can’t recall which was the first book I read. But what I surely remember is that my parents read a lot of storybooks to my sister and me. I enjoyed this. I also remember we had records of some of these books.

Years later, I started to read on my own. Since then, I do my best to read as many books as possible, but I feel that I should read more. Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde are two female writers that have influenced and shaped my thoughts as a black woman; however, I continue to read many others that had been recommended by friends or are listed to be read.

Currently, I am reading The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Margaret Atwood and Sensuous Knowledge by Minna Salami.

Do you remember the first book you read? Which female writer has influenced you?

“Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection”.

Toni Morrison

Photo by Tomas Martinez on Unsplash

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Nina: Feeling good

Years ago, on this day we loss one of the greatest black women singer, Mrs. Nina.

Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

Nina Simone was one of the outstanding female artists from the twentieth century of Blues, Jazz, Soul, Gospel, and other genres. She was born in Tryon, North Carolina, United States of America,  on February 21st, 1933, under the name of Eunice Kathleen Waymon. She was the sixth of eight children. Her mother, Mary Kate Waymon, was a Methodist minister, and her dad was John Devan Waymon, a handyman and preacher. She died at her home located in the South of France on April 21st, 2003.

5 things to learn from Nina

1- Her childhood was marked by the “Jim Crow” laws. During the debut of one of her classical recital concerts, she refused to play because her parents who were sitting in the front seat were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. She played until her parents were relocated.

2- Even though she was famous, she was not silent to denounce and describe her circle of gender-based- violence.

3- She was proud of her black identity, which she describes in many of her lyrics. The objective of these songs was to shape people’s minds not to be ashamed of their roots.

4- From the first to the last shot in the documentary, Nina Simone was a queen of fashion. She was always put together with colourful clothes, makeup, shoes, bags, hats etc.

5-We all need to let go and be free. Nina did it by abandoning her career and family when she moved to Liberia, Africa. She got a lot of criticisms, but she responded that it was the happiest moment of her life. In an interview, she said: ” Freedom for me is no fear”.

Anytime I watch her concerts, I am amazed to see the way she performs. She was very engaging with her audience, charismatic, she enjoyed being on stage, her body movements and passion while singing said it all. 

One of my favourite songs by Nina is Feeling good from her album I Put a Spell on You (1965):

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel

River running free, you know how I feel

Blossom on the tree, you know how I feelil

For me

And I’m feeling good.

So don’t be silent, sing your song loud and proud, just as Nina did, but also add your part.

Feeling good/Youtube
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Aino tool: Helping violence victims

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide
have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

Three years ago, at a workshop, I met Anna Juusela, who is CEO and founder of We Encourage.We were in the same group working on a project. The second time I had the opportunity to join force with her was last year for the Campaign We Want We Do, against women violence. I asked Anna to describe of her organization and the activities they are developing to help women.

Women Wheel: What is the story behind the creation of We Encourage?

Anna Juusela: Few years back, in 2016, I was watching a documentary about an Afghan girl, Sonita Alizadeh, who wanted to be a rapper, but she was forced into marriage. Fortunately, the documentary maker ended up buying her freedom. Something shifted in me. I got a strong determination and vision about helping other girls get educated instead of being forced into marriage. Few years, later I let that vision grow in me and in November 2018, I took action to make this vision a reality.

“Forced marriages are not happening just somewhere over there, they happen under our eyes even in Finland”.

In an article published on We Encourage Blog (March 5, 2020), Anna states “using culture or religion as an excuse for behavior (forced marriages, genital female mutilation etc.), is wrong. In all societies, we should respect everyone regardless of religion, culture, or gender”.

If you are interested in knowing more about, We Encourage visit medium.

WW: What is your mission?

AJ: Our mission is to empower women and girls. We started by building the prototype of a fundraising platform to support NGOs that are helping women and girls. We pilot tested it during last fall and succeeded by getting three girls into school. While interviewing NGOs to understand their path points for fundraising, they brought up another problem, domestic violence. To help out with this need, we created AINO chatbot for the violence experiencers. It is a conversational companion offering guidance, help, and psycho-social support.

During the interview, Anna also explained that We encourage is a bootstrapping startup, which means that currently they don’t have funding; however, she said “luckily, I have found amazing people from all over”, for example, from Australia, South Korea, Canada, and others. In total they are 20 people.

Photo: We Encourage

WW: What is AINO?

AJ: AINO is a conversational Artificial Intelligent (AI) tool for providing psycho-social support and guidance to women victims of intimate partner violence, gender-based violence, and promoting sexual, and reproductive health. The AI tool is expected to act as a reliable source of information for women on their rights and where to seek different levels of support. The tool provides step by step recommendations to victims, and acts as a helping friend.

Other things that you should now about the tool is that it’s available 24/7, it acts as a first line response to support, it provides life-saving information such as how to prepare safety plans and how to access emergency shelters, and it also considers the accessibility of disabled people.

WW: When will it be available and who can use it? Can it be used out of Finland?

AJ: We are still in the development phase. We have the first prototype ready and now we are in the middle of creating the next version with more functionalities. We don’t yet know when it will be launched for the public, as we need to have many test rounds first to ensure it is safe to use.

Also, we need massive amounts of data to train the tool and we are always looking for people to help us out with data collection e.g.  survivors who would be willing to share their story (anonymously), violence professionals to help us with reliable data, etc. The tool is aimed for global markets and we are currently taking our first steps to explore the Tanzanian market.

WW: Who are the partners for this development?

AJ: The tool is built as an open-source project, in collaboration with survivors of IPV, violence professionals, and collaborating NGOs like Nicehearts ry, Naisten Linja, Kynnys ry, and United Nations Technology and Innovation Lab (UNTIL). We also have strategic partners builders like Hyvinpitely, GetJenny, and Datasaur.

WW: Is there something else you would like to add?

AJ: As a woman, who is a firm believer of gender equality, I know there is no such thing as women would be less qualified or weaker than men. There are strong women and weak men, as well as there are weak women and strong men. We all are unique and perfect in our own ways; it is time to break free from the collective conditional programming of gender issues and move towards a new paradigm of valuing each other as human beings. As a mother of a girl child, this way of treating millions of girls as a commodity is unacceptable. We cannot afford to live in a world, where girls are exploited, raped and abused.

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Health Day: Well-Being

Have you been judged because of mental health problems?

Photo by Matthew Ball on Unsplash

Many people have a view and react toward mental health issues backwardly. On several occasions, I have discussed this topic with friends. First, it irritates me when I listen to phrases they use in reference to people with mental health. For example, lazy, to refer to someone that has depression; or crazy to someone with low self-esteem. These comments mostly come from a woman friend toward another woman. 

Second, if we know of someone attending sessions with a psychologist, we assume that their life is at the edge of a cliff, or is that they have a terrible life. I have learned that our ignorance and misunderstanding are likely the reasons for our misconception of what is mental health concept. 

Unfortunately, people with mental health conditions regularly experience violations of human rights, discrimination, and stigma. This is what my friends do. 

So how do we define mental health? The American Psychiatric Association states that “mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behaviour (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities”. Mental health conditions include mental, neurological and substance use disorders, suicide risk and associated psychosocial, cognitive and intellectual disabilities.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide mortality is high (close to 800 000 deaths per year), disproportionately affecting young people and elderly women in low- and middle-income countries. 

Tomado de Radialistas Apasionadas(os)

I ask myself over and over, do my friends realize or know that someone with mental health can be on this list of suicides per year? When I was depressed, I never thought of suicide, but I didn’t eat and sleep for many days. In addition,  I did not have the energy to do anything. 

I had mental health issues years ago, but was lucky that it did not go into a deeper problem. One of the main reasons for this is because I had a lot of support from my family members and friends. Thanks to all. The second reason is that I didn’t care what people thought about me. And lastly, I realized that my well-being was my priority.

I know it’s not easy to understand someone that has mental health issues, however; from my experience, if you have not lived it or have someone close to you with these issues, then I recommend you to please:

-Don’t judge.

– Start with yourself, the discussion and questions about the problem. 

-Don’t be reactive, instead be proactive.

-Read about health awareness to increase understanding and reduce stigma and labels. 

– Ask the person you want to help about his/her situation don’t gossip about it. 

Today as we celebrate World Health Day, let us remember that we are human beings, therefore; we all can have mental health issues, so let’s TAKE CARE OF OURSELVES.

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República Dominicana: 3 causales

Yo apoyo las 3 causales de aborto en República Dominicana

En Latinoamérica y el Caribe existen seis países donde el aborto es ilegal: El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Suriname y República Dominicana, según el Center for Reproductive Rights. Acá las mujeres mueren por no poder practicar el aborto, existe violación de sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos y la violación física y psicológica.

Actualmente en República Dominicana se está impulsando la campaña “rd3causales” luego que el 2020 la muerte materna aumentó 20.2%, según la dirección de epistemología. Como en muchos otras países de la región se permite el aborto bajo causales. La campaña 3 causales en la isla caribeña demanda que el aborto se permite cuando:

1- La vida y salud de las mujeres o niñas está bajo amenaza.

2- Cuando el embarazo es inviable.

3- En caso de ser resultado de una violación o incesto.

Campaña rd3causales

En diciembre del año pasado en Argentina se legalizó el aborto luego que por años fue rechazado por el parlamento. Sin embargo, el movimiento de mujeres, activistas, feministas y el pueblo no dejó de luchar hasta su aprobación. Desde nuestro rincón apoyemos a las mujeres y niñas de República Dominicana para que sea una menos en la lista de países donde se prohíbe el aborto.

Es nuestro derecho, aborto libre, gratuito y seguro.

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Racial Discrimination

Elimination of racial discrimination is not only about skin colour, is also descent, nacional origin, gender etc.

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Today 21st of March, is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, established in 1966, by the United Nations after considering all the previous resolutions of discrimination and apartheid.

This day was chosen in memory of the 69 people (women, men, and children) killed outside the police station in Sharpeville, South Africa (1960), while they held a peaceful demonstration against apartheid law that required all black people to carry identity documentation, which was known as “pass book” at all times.

According to Article 1 of the International Convention of Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination describes it “as any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal, footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life”.

I have a lot of experiences based on racial discrimination such as skin colour, gender, nationality, and ethnicity. I experienced discrimination in Cuba. I was painted on the wall for many since they thought I was a prostitute so; I didn’t have the right to ask or comment. It pissed me off a lot even though I knew it was a possible scenario. I got to admit it was annoying and frustrating. I remember that I had their attention when I got sick, and they realized that I was not a Cuban.

Every day we live racial discrimination because is it constructed by us; therefore, it can also be dismantling by us.

What racial discrimination have you experienced? Share it with us.

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5 things about Minna Canth

Women rights

Photo: Shirlene Green N/Kupion Museum

1-Minna was a Finnish writer, activist, mother, wife, dancer, and theatre actress. She was born in Tampere (centre of Finland) in 1844, under the name of Ulrika Wilhelmina Johnsson, being the oldest of four siblings.

2-She is the first woman in Finland to receive her day flat (19th of March).

3-In Jyväskylä, she attended the Teacher Seminary, which was the first one in Finland to offer higher education for women.

4-She worked at the Keski-Suomi newspaper and Päijäinne. At this last one she published her first work of fiction and stories.

5-Her works were referring to women’s rights issues. The topics she develops in her writing were the separation of property between husband and wife, unwillingness to be a mother, injustice for women, and others.

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Taking the streets

Photo: Rosamaria Bolom/Finland 2020

These pictures were taken in Nicaragua and Finland on the 8th of March, International Women Day. I will continue to fight for women rights that were accomplished by my ancestors and to develop new one. We don’t want to be better than others, we want to be equal.

Photo: Julie Schroell/Nicaragua 2016
Photo: Julie Schroell/Nicaragua 2016
Photo: Shirlene Green N/Finland 2019
Photo: Shirlene Green N/Finland 2019
Photo: Rosamaria Bolon/Finland 2020

#8March #WomenRights #Togetheronthestreets #Equal

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Läsnäolo / Presence/Presencia

Text: Red de mujeres en Finlandia (RdMF)

From 8th to 14th March, as a part of International Women’s Day, La Red de Mujeres-Finlandia (RdMF) makes a window-exhibition that brings together all their visual memories produced during their activities. 

This exhibition results from three years of work and cooperation as a community of Latin American migrant women with other binary and non-binary women’s groups in Finland.

In this window-exhibition, the RdMF gathers and displays the banners, placards, and photographs of the diverse public installations, performances, and demonstrations to tell the story of our process in the feminist movement. A process promoted by migrant women in Finland that tells about our dialogues and contestations with concepts such as solidarity and sisterhood.

“We are inspired by our sisters who fight against patriarchal and sexist violence in our territories of origin and demand their right to full citizenship and dignified life. Their rebellion and audacity nurture our creativity and fuel our struggles as migrant women. To our sisters here and there: we see you and feel you, and we’ll continue marching with you side by side”. -RdMF- 

Patriarkaatti ei kaadu, me kaadamme sen!

La Red de Mujeres Finlandia -RdMF- is a feminist platform based in Finland. Promoted by Rosamaría Bolom, Roxana Crisologo Correa, Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora, Shirlene Green Newball (Abigail) and Nieves Vuoristo.

https://www.facebook.com/MujeresenFinlandia

https://reddemujeresfinlandia.wordpress.com/

Del 8 al 14 de marzo, como parte del Día Internacional de las Mujeres, La Red de Mujeres Finlandia hace una instalación que reúne la memoria visual de sus actividades colectivas. 

Esta instalación es el resultado de tres años de trabajo y cooperación de un grupo de mujeres latinoamericanas migrantes con otros grupos de mujeres binarios y no binarios en Finlandia.

Las banderolas,  pancartas, fotografías de las instalaciones, acciones performáticas y marchas reunidas en la exhibición, cuentan la historia de nuestro proceso en su encuentro con el movimiento feminista. Un proceso impulsado por mujeres latinoamericanas en Finlandia que dialoga y cuestiona con conceptos como la solidaridad y sororidad.

“Nos inspiran nuestras hermanas que en nuestros territorios de origen luchan contra la violencia patriarcal y machista, y reclaman su derecho a una ciudadanía plena, a una vida digna. Su rebeldía y osadía nutren nuestra creatividad y alimentan nuestras propias luchas como mujeres migrantes. A nuestras hermanas de aquí y allá, las vemos, las sentimos y con ustedes seguimos marchando lado a lado”. RdMF

¡Si el patriarcado no cae, nosotras lo haremos caer!

La Red de Mujeres Finlandia -RdMF- es una plataforma feminista con sede en Finlandia. Impulsada por Rosamaría Bolom, Roxana Crisólogo Correa, Shirlene Green Newball (Abigail), Nieves Vuoristo y Violeta Gutiérrez Zamora. 

https://www.facebook.com/MujeresenFinlandia

https://reddemujeresfinlandia.wordpress.com/

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Berta Cáceres

Actuemos ahora defendiendo nuestras cuerpas y tierras como lo hizo Berta.

Foto: Orlando Sierra

Hoy a cinco años de tu partida mujeres en todos los rincones del mundo se unen en una acción global solicitando justicia para tus asesinos. La nueva la audiencia a uno de los autores del crimen David Castillo está programado para del 6-13 de abril.

Berta Cáceres, fue una mujer indígena de Lenca, defensora del medio ambiente y los derechos humanos por más de 20 años. Fue cofundadora de la coordinadora del Consejo Cívico de Organizaciones Indígenas Populares en Honduras (COPINH), la cual organizó varias campañas en contra de las violaciones de los derechos ambientales ejercidos por empresas multinacionales. Berta alzo su voz contra la construcción de la empresa Desa, la cual tenia permiso de construir una hidroeléctrica en territorio Lenca.

Recuerdo la mañana del 3 de marzo del 2016 recibí la noticia por medio de un grupo de periodistas en Nicaragua que Berta había sido asesinada en su casa. En el 2018 el Tribunal Penal Nacional de Honduras condenó a siete hombres por su asesinato, quienes fueron contratados por la empresa Desa.

En el 2015 fue galardonada con el Goldman Environmental Prize. En la ceremonia de entrega dijo: “ La madre tierra, militarizada, cercada, envenenada, donde se viola sistemáticamente derechos elementales nos exige actuar”.

Berta Vive!

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Fight for freedom

As we celebrate Black History Month I want to remember all those women and girls who were tortured, raped, killed, auctioned, and exploited to work on a plantation. Thousands were separated from their family, had their original names changed, gave birth to children products of rape, obligated to breastfeed the master’s children and many other inhumane acts. 

A lot of these women fought and died for slavery freedom. One of those women was Harriet Tubman, whose original name was Amarinta Harriet Ross, nicknamed by her parents “Minty”. She was one of the nine children of the marriage of Harriet Green and Ben Ross who were enslaved in Dorchester County, Maryland.

Harriet was a leader in abolishing slavery in the United State of America. She escaped in 1849 to preside over 300 enslaved people and her family members (including her parents) to freedom along the route of the Underground Railroad. For this act, she received the name of ” Moses”. 

Photo: National Portrait Gallery /Photographer: Horatio Seymour Squyer, 1848 – 18 Dec 1905, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

She also participated in the Civil War by helping the Union Army as a spy, nurse, guerrilla soldier, and other roles. She is considered to be the first African from the United States of America to serve  in the military. Once the war ended, she devoted helping the impoverished former slaves and the elders.  

Tubman’s life was not painted in the colour pink. Three of her sisters were sold to a distant plantation and later the master also intended to do the same to her younger brother. 

“If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If there’s shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop. Keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.” Harriet Tubman 

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Mother language

I was born and grew up in an intercultural environment.  My mother tongue is English Creole and Spanish is my second language. I also understand Miskito (fairly), which is  one of the native indigenous languages in Nicaragua. Miskito is a Misulmapan language, which along with  Sumo and Matagalpan, comprises  this linguistic family. It is spoken by almost 150,000 people in the North and South Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua and the eastern coast  of Honduras, both Central American countries. 

This week as we embrace the celebration of mother languages I would like you to think of any a scenario where you were afraid to speak your language? Often we hear that just Standard English should be spoken among us. But wait, let’s stop here. Who has the right or audacity to decide this? I think there is no such thing.

English is the most accessible language due to globalization. It is also mentioned that it is the most studied language and probably 20% of the world speaks it. Regardless of these figures, there are no such things that there is just one English language that everyone should speak. 

Years ago, I travelled to the United States of America to visit my family. One day while shopping and paying my bill, I was asked by the cashier: Where are you from? I said: Where do you think I am from? She replied: From Africa or Jamaica. So, I said, from both. Her expression said it all, confusion. I did not clarify it because it is not right that as a human being you always got to give an explanation. My answer was not rude since my ancestors are from both places as the cashier later acknowledged.

Yes, as soon as I open my mouth, that question is often asked. I do not get intimidated anymore because I think that language shapes, defines who we are and how we act, it is a social interaction tool.

I am proud to speak my English Creole, which has given me the opportunity to understand the syntactic of other languages and have a better approach to Standard English which is like my passport to communicate when I travel. I insist that parents play an important role to teach children their mother language.

No language is correct or incorrect. Languages are part of communities. “We do language,” as Toni Morrison said.

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

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Nina Simone

¿Qué sabes de Nina Simone? En este artículo hay cinco cosas que deberías saber.

Traducido por Afroféminas

Photo by Jasgleidy Duarte on Unsplash

En este mes de la historia negra quiero compartir con ustedes uno de los íconos de la industria musical y una de mis artista preferida. Ella es Nina Simone.

Nina Simone fue una de las artistas femeninas más destacadas del siglo XX del blues, jazz, soul, gospel y otros géneros. Nació en Tryon, Carolina del Norte, Estados Unidos de América, el 21 de febrero de 1933, bajo el nombre de Eunice Kathleen Waymon. Ella era la sexta de ocho hijos. Su madre, Mary Kate Waymon, era un ministra metodista, y su padre era John Devan Waymon, un predicador. Murió en su casa ubicada en el sur de Francia el 21 de abril de 2003.

5 cosas que debes saber sobre Nina

1- A los tres o cuatro años comenzó a tocar el piano en la iglesia, no cantaba. Un día en su actuación, fue escuchada por la señorita Mazzanovich, quien se interesó en darle clases de piano, donde aprendió música clásica de grandes y famosos músicos como Johann Sebastian Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven y Schubert.

2- Después de estudiar música en Julliard en la ciudad de Nueva York, a los 19 años se postuló al prestigioso Instituto Curtis de Música en Filadelfia, pero su admisión fue denegada. Le tomó varios años admitir que el racismo era la razón. En 2003, pocos días antes de su muerte, el mismo Instituto le otorgó un título honorífico.

3- En 1961, Nina se casó con Andy Stroud, quien se convirtió en su manager y padre de su hija, Lisa Simone Kelly. Desafortunadamente, él abusó de ella física y psicológicamente.

4- Era una activista de los derechos civiles y amiga de Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Correta Scott King y otros. Compuso muchas canciones para la causa.

Ella dijo: «¿Cómo puedes ser artista y no reflejar tu tiempo»? Con la canción Mississippi Goddam, abordó la desigualdad racial por primera vez después del asesinato de Medgar Evers y el bombardeo de la Iglesia Bautista en Birmingham, Alabama, que mató a cuatro chicas negras. El 15 de marzo de 1965, habló y actuó en la marcha de Selma a Montgomery.

5- Nina se volvió violenta en su carrera y vida personal, comportamiento que se entendió cuando le diagnosticaron un trastorno bipolar. Lisa (su hija) sufrió severamente las consecuencias de esto hasta el punto de que adquirió comportamientos suicidas, por lo que tuvo que regresar a Nueva York para vivir con su padre.

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Radio Day

Women voices on the air

Photo by Soundtrap on Unsplash

Today as we celebrate International Radio Day, I would like to share my experience and the stories of three women’s who were pioneer broadcasters and managers.

I remember the first time I talked on radio station for an interview, I was nervous and shy because I don’t like to hear my voice reproduce on any device. However, years later when I coordinated a project for journalists in Nicaragua, I learned to record in the studio and give interviews more often like never before imagined.  

I participated in several workshops along with the young participants from community radios where I learned techniques and skills to become confident in front of a microphone. Besides, I had a lot of motivation from the participants, which made it much easier. 

I had the opportunity to learn and be directed for my recording. Nevertheless, many women have learned empirically to broadcast on radio and had to struggle to let their voices be heard. 

Women’s voices on the radio have played a pivotal role in the history of broadcasting. Their voices entered spaces speaking to housewives, workers, and consumers. Both listeners and broadcasters became a key role for women to vote in the 1920s. 

Photo by Fringer Cat on Unsplash

Eunice Randall, in 1920, at age 19, was one of the first announcers and engineers on Radio 1XE from the Boston area owned by the American Radio and Research Company (AMRAD), which was a factory of radio equipment. 

Randall needed money for her art school study so she started working at the factory, but soon she developed an interest to operate the radio. At the station, she read stories to children two times a week, she read police reports, announced the news, gave morse practice, and other duties. No doubt, Randall was an inspiration for many women during the 1920s.

Betha Brainard is another radio pioneer who grew up in New Jersey, dreaming to become a movie star. She studied theatre which led her to conduct a programme titled Broadcasting Broadway, which debated theatre reviews and up-coming shows at station WJZ. 

Her programme was moved from New Jersey to New York City, where she had it easier to interview actresses and actors and also allowed her to work directly in managing the radio and produced new programmes. In 1927, she became the first woman to hold the position of radio executive at NBC Network.  

Audrey Russell, was one of BBC’s first woman war correspondents, who covered the war between 1941-1945, interviewing civilians of their experiences in the war such as the explosion of a V2 rocket in London. Unfortunately, she was restricted from covering the frontline of the battles, because it was reserved for the male correspondents.

These women’s voices were On-Off the air at the radio station for many years even though they faced more challenges than women do today, However, they didn’t stop. Thanks to their braveness and example, we have the privilege to hear today more talented women’s voices on radios or podcasts discussing topics of interest for women empowerment. 

I would like to list women friends with whom I worked in my home country. They have powerful voices on the radio and have been working to develop a social change in their community. Among them: Ileana Lacayo, Nora Newball, Dolene Miller, Aleseter Brack Downs, Duyerling Ríos, Patrica Orozco, Margarita Antonio, Jamileth Chavarria, and all the other girls at the communities radios.

Today, as radio continues to evolve during the internet era, we also got to remember that it is still the media that reaches the widest audience worldwide. 

Don’t stop giving a voice to the voiceless!

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Aborto Legal

El derecho al aborto libre, gratuito, legal y seguro no es un capricho.

El Salvador es el país con la legislación sobre aborto más rígida de Latinoamérica, contempla penas de más de 40 años de cárcel para las mujeres que se practican un aborto. Uno de los casos más sonado fue el de “Las 17” que fueron encarceladas y representan la lucha de las mujeres salvadoreñas por su derecho a decidir sobre su propio cuerpo. Según el Center for Reproductive Rights, Haití, Honduras, Nicaragua, Surinam y República Dominicana son países donde el aborto también es prohibido por completo.

Entre los países donde es permitido el aborto cuando el embarazo pone en riesgo la vida y salud de la mujer, en caso de violación, estupro, incesto y deformación o inviabilidad del feto, tenemos a Belice, Brasil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Perú, Panamá y Venezuela.

Argentina formaba parte de esta segunda lista, pero las cosas cambiaron a partir del 30 de diciembre del 2020 cuando el parlamento aprobó con 38 votos a favor, 29 en contra y una abstención la legalización del aborto en las primeras 14 semanas de embarazo. Por horas las y los argentinos se concentraron en las afueras del parlamento para esperar la respuesta sobre la legalidad del aborto. La celebración de la marea verde feminista no se hizo esperar en las calles de Buenos Aires y otras ciudades de Argentina, en muchas plataformas sociales se leyó: Es ley al lado del emblemático pañuelo verde.

Este triunfo, significativo para las niñas y mujeres en Argentina, es la conquista del derecho a decidir sobre el propio cuerpo, de decidir si ser madre o no, es la conquista de un derecho humano irrenunciable. Acá les comparto un episodio del Anfibia podcast publicado el 31 de diciembre, explica brevemente la legalización del aborto en Argentina ligado con la historia de Andrea Paz. Este episodio fue producido, escrito y narrado por Julieta Greco y Leila Mesyngier.

Los sonidos del Impenetrable Muy en una

Un equipo de Muy en Una viajó a la provincia de Chaco a registrar los sonidos de uno de los lugares menos explorados de Argentina: el Parque Nacional El Impenetrable. Invitados por la Fundación Rewilding, quien viene haciendo un trabajo de reinserción de animales y especies autóctonas, recorrieron comunidades, durmieron en el medio de la naturaleza y conocieron experiencias del impenetrable chaqueño.  Narración: Tomás Pérez Vizzón Producción y guión: Camilo Genoud y Tomás Pérez Vizzón Edición: Mateo Corrá Ilustración: Sebastián Angresano
  1. Los sonidos del Impenetrable
  2. Llevamos en los botines revolución
  3. Ensayo sonoro: Fuimos felices en un lugar que ya no existe
  4. Cannabis medicinal: Un movimiento que crece
  5. Ensayo sonoro: El virus se fue, el cuerpo pide tiempo

Pero volvamos la mirada hacia Europa y Asia, la legalización del aborto en algunos de estos países también es materia de discusión. En esta semana nuevamente cientos de mujeres y activistas polacas salieron a protestar a las calles por el tema del aborto. En Polonia, si bien el aborto se permite en los casos de violación, incesto y por razones de salud mental, se ha experimentado un grave retroceso cuando se vuelve a discutir su penalización.

No hay duda de que en Polonia la lucha por el derecho al aborto será ardua, me temo que existe un riesgo de que el parlamento apruebe la criminalización del aborto debido a los fuertes lazos que el Estado tiene con la iglesia católica.

El lunes pasado en Bangkok, Tailandia, el senado aprobó con 177 a favor y 7 en contra, la ley del aborto que permite la interrupción del embarazo durante las primeras 12 semanas en caso de que mujer corra riesgo de morir, por salud mental de la mujer, por violación y por deformación del feto.

Empezaba a celebrar esta nueva ley cuando leí, en el New York Times del 28 de enero, las objeciones de varias activistas por encontrar que la nueva ley no contempla el hecho de que la mayoría de mujeres tailandesas se practican el aborto luego de la semana 12. Abortar durante ese tiempo se castiga con cárcel.

Los pañuelos verdes aún flotan en el aire, no dejarán de formar mareas de lucha a lo largo de este año. Es importante remarcar que exigir el derecho al aborto libre, gratuito, legal y seguro no es un capricho de las feministas o de los movimientos de mujeres, sino que es un derecho humano que nos corresponde porque solo nosotras decidimos sobre nuestra cuerpa.

Foto de portada: Kimmo Lehtonen

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A new year and new jobs for women

Metro female drivers

Featured photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

I came across an interesting article published by the BBC World about new jobs for women in Russia while I was scrolling through out my twitter account. From the 1st of this month, 12 females were hired as drivers for the Moscow metro line. Since the 1980s this profession was bad for women and was listed as one of the “dangerous jobs for women”. Interestingly, there is still a list of jobs that are considered not for us in this century.

Society has labelled women as individuals who have less power, are passive, and submissive. As girls, we are taught to sit properly, learn home roles (cook, iron, clean, etc), study professions such as a nursing, secretarial, and others. However, slowly things are changing for women in several countries such as Dubai that allowed women to drive in 2018.

The new action in Russia is positive for two reasons. First, it would allow the city to hire more female drivers for the future. Second, it can be a role model for other cities that doesn’t allow women to have such a job.

Since I moved to Finland, I see women daily driven tram, metro, bus, and other public transportation. But I know this is not the scenario in a lot of countries?

What professional career is banned for women in your country? Share with us.

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Civil Rights Movement

Many women are pillar of the civil rights movement.

Today, (January, 18th.) is the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. He was one of the main black activists in the United States of America who claimed equal rights for the black community. Besides him, there were lots of women who also played a crucial role as strategists and advocates in the Civil Rights Movement. Here is a list of 10 brave women:

Septima Clark (1898-1987)

She was an educator in South Carolina who evolved the Citizenship Schools, which taught and motivated Black Americans to learn literature, education, and citizenship rights to empower their communities. She also fought for equal pay for black teachers and was one of the persons who accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. to the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.

Amelia Boyton (1911-2015 )

She was a key figure of the Civil Rights in Selma, Alabama and one of the leaders who convinced MLK Jr. to march in from Selma to Montgomery on March 7th, 1965. This is known also as “Bloody Sunday”. On the Edmund Pettus Bridge, over the Alabama River in Selma, the protesters were attacked by policemen, Boyton was brutally beaten.

In 1964, she ran for a seat in Congress, being the first African American woman and first female Democratic candidate from Alabama to postulate for this position.

Dorothy Height ( 1912-2010)

She is known as the “Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement”. Her activism started in the 1930s, which advocated for women’s rights such as unemployment, illiteracy and voter participation. For over 40 years, she was the president of the National Council for Negro Women and one of the organizers of the March on Washington. Moreover, she had a big influence on leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis.

Jo Ann Robinson (1912-1992)

She was a teacher who became an active member of the movement after having been attacked verbally by a bus driver in 1949. Disgusted by this action Ann led the Women’s Political Council, which focused their work on the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Following the arrest of Rosa Parks (she refused to give her seat to a white man), Ann immediately acted by distributing over 50,000 flyers calling for a boycott on the 5th of December, which was a success. 

Daisy Bates(1914-1999)

Bates was an activist, journalist, and publisher in Arkansas. Together with her husband, she founded The Arkansas Press, which was published on May 9, 1941, and mainly supported African American stories and advocated civil rights. In 1954, the Supreme Court landmarked segregation as unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education. Bates played a significant role in the desegregation at schools, after this decision by mentoring and organizing the “Little Rock Nine”students to integrate Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

Photo by Malu de Wit on Unsplash

Georgia Gilmore (1920-1990)

She was a cook at the National Lunch Company who was fire for participating in the bus boycott. She embraced her talent to cook from home and support the movement. She founded the Club From Nowhere, which motivated African women to cook and bake goods to be sold outside their houses and at protests gathering. The fund from this action was used to support the bus resistance.

Ruby Dee (1922-2014)

Dee was an actress who used her profession to outspeak the subservient roles given to African Americans in the film industry. Together with Ossie Davis, her husband supported the movement through the arts and demonstrated positive portraits of African Americans in their works. She also was one of the masters of  ceremony at the March on Washington.

Corretta Scott King (1927-2006)

While studying music at the Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, she experienced segregation, which motivated her to join the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP). She married Martin Luther King Jr. in 1953, to whom she gave her support as a wife and mother. However, she continued her quest for civil rights in and out of the United States of America.

Claudette Colvin (1935-)

She was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Claudette’s parents didn’t own a car, so every day she depended on a bus to get to and from school. One day in 1955, at age 15, she resisted giving up her seat on a crowded Montgomery bus to a white woman who was standing ( by law, Claudette supposed to give her seat, even though she was sitting in the black section). For this act, she was forcibly removed from the bus and arrested.

A year later, she gave her testimony at the court case Gayle v. Browder, which, intended to end transportation segregation in the state.

Diane Nash (1938-)

Nash got involved in the civil movements in Nashville, Tennessee, while studying at the Fisk University. She was a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), organizer of the Freedom Rides where Martin Luther King Jr. participated.

Feature photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash

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Label, Label, Label

How often do you get inappropriate questions or statements for being a woman?

How often do you get inappropriate statements or questions for being a woman? I do. I get a lot as a black woman, not being a mother, and feminist. Sometimes it bothers me, gets me mad, and I ignore them, or I give the right answer. I think I have heard a lot and to be honest, I am tired, so I have chosen to answer according to the context; sometimes ironically, reverse the same question, or simply ignore these thoughts. 

Why do we need to be labelled as woman, mother, not a mother, feminist, Indigenous, Black, Asian, African, Arab, poor, lesbian, immigrants, etc?

Society has labelled women like  individuals who have less power,  are passive, and submissive. As girls, we are taught to sit properly, learn home roles (cook, iron, clean, etc), study professions such as  nursing, secretarial, and others. We are also compelled to be thin, to wear makeup, wear the correct clothes, to comply with our reproductive system, be sensitive, get married, have a family, and live happily ever after.

According, to feminist, Marcela Lagarde, in her theory Perspective of gender and The multidimensionality of the gender and feminism category, “everyday life is structured on the gender norms and the performance of each one, it depends on their behaviour and the management of that normatively. Gender is constructed from duties and prohibitions. The relationship between duty and prohibition is essential to build who we are as women and who men are”.

Simone de Beauvoir in her book titled The Second Sex, pointed it out brilliantly: “We are not born women, we become women.”

The moment we don’t rule under these requirements listed above we are categorized as rebellious, rare, selfish, undesirable, bad, modern, and liberal women. This is called a gender rebellion because as subjects we oppose with will and conscience all that is assigned to us.

Since I am a rebel and tired of these labels, I would like to share with you experiences of my girlfriends and myself regarding this topic.

Not a mother

  • Since I am not sure if I want to be a mother or not, people constantly ask: When are you going to have a child? Remember the train is going to leave you. 
  • Why don’t you want to be a mother? Don’t you like children? 
  •  It’s hard to believe that you don’t have children and that you don’t miss having them?
  • Can you have children? Who has a reproductive problem you or your husband?
  • You will regret it when you are old. Who will take care of you when you are older? 
  • You don’t understand mother issues because you are not one.
  • You don’t love children, you are a bad and selfish woman. 
  • I have a very religious aunt that said: I am praying for you to have a child. 
  • You are not a complete woman because you are not a mother. 
  • After having two miscarriages, most remarks were pitiful,  like don’t give up, have faith. It is terrible because they don’t have an idea regarding how hard the post-miscarriage process can be. Not once have I heard ‘you can always adopt, or life is good without a child’. 
  • When I reached the age of 25, people  constantly asked me as a woman: when are you going to get married? And then after I got married, came the second question: when are you going to have children?
  • A friend once told me: you are unnatural because you don’t have a child. 
  • If you are from a “third world country” and you are not a mother it  is more than rare, since the stereotype is that most women have a lot of children.
  • Years ago, I visited a radiologist before my surgery, because I had a myoma in my womb, so when he saw my medical record, he asked: Are you a nun?

During my conversation with  friends, we realized and coincided with four things. First, all the inappropriate questions and statements mentioned above are asked us, never to the men. Second, as we grow, so do our answers and reactions; at the beginning, we can be aggressive, after we break a rule by saying, for example, I don’t want to be a mother and last, we don’t need to justify anything, we simply ignore the comments. 

Third, unfortunately, most of these questions or statements come from women. Fourth, we need to speak more about these labels.

The writer, Roxane Gay, in her book Bad Feminist, expresses “pregnancy is at once a private and public experience. Public intervention can be fairly mild, more annoying than anything else, people want to touch your swollen belly, offering unsolicited advice about how to raise your child {…} simply because you are pregnant”.

Even though my friends and I are not pregnant, I feel that not being a mother is more public than a private issue.

Jakson David/Pixabay Images

Woman/Black

  • I like to wear transparent, short, and sexy clothes so, the comments are: you are provoking men, people will look at you and talk, it is not good for your reputation.
  • I don’t have a brother so I like to have male friends. A decent girl shouldn’t hang out with boys.
  • As a woman, people will usually ask are you married? And, if I answer that I am single, it seems hard to believe.
  • When I tell people that I am an independent woman, that I live by myself and take care of all expenses, they tend to think I am lying, because society stereotype women are dependent on men, if not, something is wrong with you.
  • I often get comments that  Latin American woman is too cheerful, loves to party, has a good taste to dress, and her family always comes first.
  • Once, another woman told me: I would not leave my husband near a woman like you, because I am a Latin woman.
  • • Do you know to cook?
  • For sure, you got that job position or the project grant because your husband knows someone from the company or he wrote it.
  • I worked at a car sale company, so men will say to me: Why are you working here? What do you know about cars? Why are you wearing pearls earring at work? Some clients prefer my men coworkers to attend them rather than me.
  • As a black woman people stereotype the myth that black women are hyper sexual; therefore, they find it difficult to believe that I do not have children, or that I do not want to have sex.
  • One night, I was out dancing with my friends. I was asked, ” how much?”, automatically I was seen as a prostitute because I am a black woman.
  • I have curly hair, “good hair” as they called it, so sometimes people tend to think that am wearing a wig, weave, or that I relaxed it. Is this your hair?
  • • When I decided to embrace my natural hair, people said: Are you getting crazy, it is a shame to have your hair like that, how often do you wash it?
  • You don’t need to go to the beach to tone your skin.
  • Why are you not dating a black man? This question comes from sisters and brothers if you are dating a white man.

Audre Lorde was clear in her book Sister Outsider, “some black women still refuse to recognize that we are also oppressed as women, and that sexual hostility against black women is practiced not only by the white racist society, but implemented within our black communities as well”.

Feminist

  • Why do you hate men?
  • You are a lesbian and for sure you want to turn me into one as well.
  • I didn’t know that in Latin American they have feminists.
  • You, the feminists, are responsible for  women not wanting to have children nowadays.

After hearing all the above statements, it is clear that assuming the gender perspective requires a great effort and leads to an internal intellectual revolution of a personal nature and a cultural revolution of mentalities.

So please, the next time you think about saying something inappropriate to a woman like me, think twice and ask yourself, would you like someone to ask you the same question?

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Nina Simone

“How can you be an artist and not reflect the time”? Nina Simone

Months ago I watched the documentary What happened Miss Simone?, who is one my of favourite female singers.

The documentary starts with Maya Angelou’s quotation: “Miss Simone you are idolized even loved, by millions now. But what happened, Miss Simone?” In the first scene, Nina’s bows to the public, she sits at the piano, takes her time, and then starts to talk. This was at a concert in 1968.

The documentary that lasts 1:42 minutes is directed by Liz Garbus and produced by Amy Hobby in 2015. It describes Nina’s life and career through the voices of family members, activists, musicians, friends, etc. accompanied by her own music composition, an interviews done to her, and concerts.

Nina Simone was one of the outstanding female artists from the twentieth century of Blues, Jazz, Soul, Gospel, and other genres. She was born in Tryon, North Carolina, United States of America,  on February 21st, 1933, under the name of Eunice Kathleen Waymon. She was the sixth of eight children. Her mother, Mary Kate Waymon, was a Methodist minister, and her dad was John Devan Waymon, a handyman and preacher. She died at her home located in the South of France on April 21st, 2003.

UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1950: Photo of Nina Simone Photo by Tom Copi/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

5 things to know about Nina

1- At age three or four she started to play the piano at church, she didn’t sing. One day at her performance, she was heard by Miss Mazzanovich, who got interested in giving her piano classes, where she learned classical music of great and famous musicians like Johann Sebastian Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven and Schubert.

2- After studying music at Julliard in New York City, at age 19 she applied to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, but her admission was denied. It took her several years to admit that racism was the reason. In 2003, just days before her death, the same Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

3- In 1961, Nina got married to Andy Stroud, who became her manager and father to her daughter, Lisa Simone Kelly. Unfortunately, he abused her physically and psychologically.

4- She was a civil rights activist and friend of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Correta Scott King, and others. She composed a lot of songs for the cause.

She said: ” How can you be an artist and not reflect the time”? With the song Mississippi Goddam, she addressed racial inequality for the first time after the killing of Medgar Evers and the bombing of the Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that killed four black girls.

On the 15 of March, 1965, she spoke and performed at the march from Selma to Montgomery.

One of the parts in the documentary I got chill skin was when she sang To be Young, Gifted and Black, at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The title of this song is from a play her friend, Lorraine Hansberry, was writing before her death. 

5- Nina became violent in her career and personal life,  behaviour which was understood when she was diagnosed to be a bipolar disorder. Lisa (her daughter) severely suffered the  consequences of  this to the point that it became suicidal making it necessary for her, to move back to New York to live with her father. 

5 things to learn from Nina

1- Her childhood was marked by the “Jim Crow” laws. During the debut of one of her classical recital concerts, she refused to play because her parents who were sitting in the front seat were forced to move to the back of the hall to make way for white people. She played until her parents were relocated.

2- Even though she was famous, she was not silent to denounce and describe her circle of gender violence.

3- She was proud of her black identity, which she describes in many of her lyrics. The objective of these songs was to shape people’s minds not to be ashamed of their roots.

4- From the first to the last shot in the documentary, Nina Simone was a queen of fashion. She was always put together with colourful clothes, makeup, shoes, bags, hats etc.

5-We all need to let go and be free. Nina did it by abandoning her career and family when she moved to Liberia, Africa. She got a lot of criticisms, but she responded that it was the happiest moment of her life. In an interview, she said: ” Freedom for me is no fear”.

Anytime I watch her concerts, I am amazed to see the way she performs. She was very engaging with her audience, charismatic, she enjoyed being on stage, her body movements and passion while singing said it all. 

One of my favourite songs by Nina is Feeling good from her album I Put a Spell on You (1965):

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel

River running free, you know how I feel

Blossom on the tree, you know how I feel

It’s a new dawn

It’s a new day

It’s a new life

For me

And I’m feeling good.

So don’t be silent, sing your song loud and proud, just as Nina did, but also add your part.

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Wheel Anniversary

1 year anniversary!

A year ago, I started to write about my experiences on my blog Women Wheel. I have written on variety of topics. At times, I can’t do all I have planned for the blog; however, I continue to enjoy the moments I sit to type out my thoughts. I continue to learn and challenge myself to report on topics that I am not familiar with by researching, asking, and reading.

Another autumn is here, thus it’s cold and dark, so I will grab my cup of tea, coffee, or a glass of wine, and quilt before I sit at my cosy spot to keep up with my writing.

Thanks to all my readers. If you have any ideas of topics you want to read about, I will be glad to hear from you.

Cheers!

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Instalación Zapatos Rojos

Una obra artística contra la violencia de género.

Mi activismo inició hace años en Bilwi con el Movimiento de Mujeres Nidia White y el Nicaribbean Black People Association. Recuerdo que cada 25 de noviembre junto a muchas mujeres tomamos las calles manifestándonos contra la violencia de género. Hoy no será la excepción ya que actualmente, pertenezco a la Red de Mujeres- Finlandia. Este año nos unimos a la campaña “We Want We Do” (Nosotras queremos Nosotras hacemos) impulsado por +Collective para combatir la violencia contra las mujeres. Una de las acciones que haremos es la instalación artística de Zapatos Rojos de Elina Chauvet en Kasalaistori Helsinki. Foto: Rosamaría Bolom




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Actions against Violence*

There are many types of gender violence. Be aware.

On the 25th, of November women around the globe will take the street or internet to manifest on the International Day for ​the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day was established in 1993 by the General Assembly of the United National. 

In it’s declaration article 1 states that violence against women “means any act of genderbased violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life”.

A lot of time went we talk about the term violence against women we only think of physical, psychological, and sexual violence,  however that is not the case since there are several types of violence. According to a Reporting on Violence against Women and Girls Handbook for journalist published  in 2019 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  these are also actions of violence against women:

  • Cyberbullying and online harassment to women includes several:

Trolling: post or comments to try to provoke controversy

• Doxxing: online researching and publishing of private information about a person

in order to cause them harm

• Obsessive online stalking (cyberstalking), intrusive and threatening harassment

of a person

• Cyber-control in relationships

• Revenge porn: non-consensual dissemination of intimate images, online public

sharing of sexually explicit content without the consent of the person concerned,

often for the purposes of revenge.

  • Early marriages or child marriages
  • Female genital mutilation/cutting
  • Forced marriages
  • Gender-specific foeticide and infanticide
  • Sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape
  • So-called ‘honour’ crimes
  • Trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants women
  • Violence by an intimate partner or ex-partner and murder (femicide).

Is important to remember that all these actions of violence are based on a patriarchal structure, which is defined by  the power between women and men globally. 

Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

In Finland  +Collective which is a group of individuals of different backgrounds, networks, and organizations has a shared goal to support human rights and equality, promoting social change, and inclusion. Toward the 25h of November, it launched  the campaign ​“We Want We Do”.  The 6-week campaign program includes workshops, webinars, podcasts, and exhibitions; however, the main events will take place at Central​ ​Library Oodi and in Kansalaistori, Helsinki, from November 17 to 29, 2020. 

One the webinar that will be discussed is Online violence that was mentioned above. This way of violence is common today since the use of social media platforms are part of daily routine. You are welcome to join us on 20.11 at 16:30-18:00. For more information click here

In the campaign We Want We Do transgender women voice is hear about the violence they experience. In an interview to Susanna Viljanmaa from Transfeminiinit she manifested, “the violence that most transgender people experience is verbal. For example, the year I came out I got multiple harassment on the street everyday. Also, transgender immigrants face their own problems in Finland, sometimes their diagnoses from other countries aren’t respected or they might not need any diagnosis to get hormone replacement, thus their treatment ceases”. 

The artistic itinerant installation of Red Shoes created by the Mexican artist Elina Chauvet  which ​denounces the high percentage of violence against women and femicides during the 90s in ​Ciudad Juárez, Mexico  is one of the events that will take place on the November 25. Is the first time that this installation will be presented in Finland. During an interview for the campaign she said “the death of my sister by her husband  (femicide) was the cause of  my art. I was really excited when I got an email requesting that my art be presented in Helsinki, it will be at the very north of the planet”. 

Finland is not an exception for women violence. According to data from the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in 2019 there was an ​increase of 6% in relation to 2018 in people who sought help from shelters. 91% of people out of 5,354 who sought services were women. In addition, statistic from the Institute of Criminology and Legal Policy (Krimo) states that in 2019, 15 women were murder in Finland. 

Women violence is a public issue, so please join us, act, and be part of this chain of change.  We Want and We Can Do it.

*This article was published in the We Encourage blog.

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Cancer Awareness

“Cancer is not your sickness, it’s our sickness; you need the moral support from the family”.

My aunt Daity Green Temple died of breast cancer. Hilda is one of my childhood friends. Her mother died twenty five years ago. Four years ago, I  presented her to another friend. Both friends’ mothers died of cancer. Yojaira, a university friend, passed away 8 years ago from cancer. A week after her death, I remember speaking with Miss Aleseter, a friend of mine from Corn Island, Nicaragua, who gave me the bad news of her breast cancer diagnosis. 

For sure, you have also lost a loved one of cancer illness, or know someone who has. Cancer can start anywhere in the human body since we have millions of cells. This disease has become part of our life  and has caused the death of millions of people, globally. 

It was a sunny Friday morning around 9:30 A.M. I had just finished an interview for the production of a documentary. I was sitting when I got the call from Arlene. She said, “ We lost flaca” (Yojaira’s nickname). I remember saying no, no, ¡no! and started to cry.  The following days were and still are sad when I recall vivid memories of her. I lost a dear friend, likewise, a mother lost her daughter, and a sister lost a sibling. 

Yojaira (2009) Photo: Kimmo Lehtonen

For many women and relatives, it is not easy to cope with this illness, because they don’t have the money for the treatment if it is not covered by a healthcare insurance. Some are ashamed to talk about it, and many others do not have access to a proper healthcare system.

I met Aleseter while I was working with a project that enhances journalism knowledge and production. She is tall, strong, likes to joke, friendly, a baseball lover, and sincere. We became friends and still maintain our relationship. I asked her to share her story with us as a cancer survivor.

“ In 2012, I discovered a small lump on my left breast. I am from a  small island which had only a small health center in those days; so, I had to wait for some specialist to arrive. They did an ultrasound on my breast, then recommended a biopsy which I got done in Managua (the capital). The result was negative. I flew back home, but deep in my mind I knew something was wrong. A week later, I did a second biopsy and waited 12 days for the result. It was positive. The third biopsy also was positive. 

The doctor told me, “it’s not good news”. I said to him, “anything can kill me except this cancer, because with the help of God, I will overcome it”. I remember he looked at me and said, “those are the words of a warrior”. 

My cancer was stage 1 when it was discovered. A  surgery was done to remove the malignant cells, and then I started my chemotherapy in May. However, when I was on my third chemo session, they discovered more spots in the same place, so I underwent a second surgery and continued my treatment. It was then December, but things didn’t improve, so in January, I had a mastectomy done. 

Aleseter and I (2018) Photo: Aleseter

At the beginning, I didn’t mention it to my son nor the rest of the family, because we grew up thinking that cancer is a taboo. Nevertheless, I told one of my brothers. He said to me:,”cancer is not your sickness, it’s our sickness; you need the moral support from the family”. 

During my chemo treatment, I heard a lot of comments about what would happen to me, but the reality was another, since everyone has their own experience; what is good for you, can be bad for me. For example, I saw a lot of women vomiting during the treatment, I didn’t. The doctor told me that I will lose my hair. Indeed, 16 days after the treatment, I lost it. My brother helped shave the rest. It was a ball of hair. 

On the island, the rumour was that I was dying. So when I got off the plane, people were surprised to see me in such a good condition. However, people’s attitudes changed toward me, I felt bad. I didn’t realize the impact cancer has on ignorant people who think  that it’s contagious. When I saw this reaction, I decided to get on the radio station and talk about it. I said these words. 

Aleseter voice

Days after, Mr. Siu, the owner of a hotel, told me, “I had always admired you, but now I double admire you, because not everyone wants people to know about their sickness; you were very brave and courageou’s. But on the other hand, some people also mocked my illness. 

Aleseter story

My advice to the ladies is to check yourselves, examine yourselves, know your body. If you discover something that is not normal, look for professional help. 

Have you lost someone of cancer? Share your story.

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The Cry and Smile of 2020

2020 year have being a lesson for all.

Londa Green Newball*

On December 31st, 2019 Jason and myself attended an Agape feast at the Kingston Seventh Day Adventist Church to end the year in fellowship with our church family. This was the last event we attended in 2019. We were excited to receive the year 2020, after a delightful ending of 2019, with a lovefeast celebration and the traditional falling of the ball at Times Square New York City. Also, I was excited to call, text and post on social media the New Year’s best wishes to family and friends. 

The year 2020 represents the beginning of a new decade and a special year because it represents a twin year with the same double digits. We were all looking forward to a fresh new and successful year with new goals. Unfortunately, 2020 started with a rough beginning due to the world pandemic of the corona virus, known as Covid-19. The situation in the United States got worse during mid-March. The country went into a state of shock and lockdown. Corporations, schools, universities, churches, offices, and many other sectors of the nation were mandated to operate from their homes, to avoid the spread of covid-19. The cry of the nation was devastating. People getting ill, dying from the pandemic, and others losing their jobs. The economy was in a state of recession and the population was on standstill and in a state of uncertainty of what the future holds.

The stock market crashed and the file for unemployment skyrocketed in the millions. The environment was and is still tense. It felt like God was silent, but he was not; He was surely listening to the many crying prayers. For sure, the year 2020 represents a new wave of segregation due to social distancing and the banning of large gathering. I truly believe that this entire situation has made us human beings more robotics and dependable on technology. Sadly, it leads to more control and deprivation of our liberty.

The year 2020 has shown her face and power to the world. The world has and is still crying for the hurts that this new decade has installed on us. As a believer in God as a spiritual being, I know that this pandemic represents one of the signs of the end and it is just the beginning of the end. Therefore, I have chosen to live by faith and not by fear. I have learned to trust God holistically and rely that he is in control of everything. I strongly believe that this pandemic has shaken the world to its cores, just as a friendly reminder that God was, is, and always will be in control of our lives.

I name my writing, The Cry and Smile of 2020, with the purpose of making a tie of the global pandemic situation and my personal life. I can testify that I served an awesome God, and that in the midst of a storm, there can still be a smile. My personal story of 2020 has so far put a smile on my brown face. I just want to share a short synopsis of my story. 

Toward the end of January 2020, I started my last semester of my graduate program at SUNY New Paltz. The first two months my classes were on campus, but with the outbreak of the corona virus my classes went online for the rest of the Spring semester, 2020. It was not an easy change, but I learned to adopt quickly. Definitely, the transition from classes on campus to online learning was a completely different dynamic. I kept my strong believe in one of my favorite Bible verses: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. (Philippians 4:13). By the grace of God, and with my discipline, I wrapped up my semester in May. I had reached a milestone and it felt like a burden had fallen off my back.

I smiled, cried, and leaped with joy when I handed in my last paper on May 14th. I graduated with a master’s degree in professional studies Humanistic Multicultural Education. My virtual commencement ceremony was on May 22, 2020. This was the first virtual ceremony conducted by SUNY New Paltz. Therefore, the President of SUNY New Paltz, Donald P. Christian, stated in his commencement speech, that we will always be remembered as the graduates of the corona virus. In my opinion, each 2020 graduate’s name has become a historical commodity of our Alma mater. Our warrior spirit will prevail forever. 

Photo by Albany Capture on Unsplash

Another part of my 2020 story is the fact that during mid-March the schools were closed due to the pandemic. All school districts adopted the distance learning model from home. As a substitute teacher, I did not have a job for the rest of the school year. Therefore, I began to feel an anxiety as to where I’m going to obtain funding to pay my expenses. The economy was in a lockdown state and there were no available jobs. I prayed, and I immediately proceeded to apply for unemployment. My unemployment insurance was approved, and I began to claim my weekly benefits. With the funding provided, I was able to pay my monthly expenses and even have the opportunity to save some money. By God providing for me in times of needs, I can testify that we serve a powerful and almighty Provider who cares and loves us. 

The blessings of God were still putting a smile on my face in the midst of a pandemic. On July 4th, 2020, I got engaged with my wonderful fiancé Jason Wyant, in a hot air balloon over the Canandaigua Lake in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It will be one of the most memorable moments of my life. I can testify that Jehovah is a God of love and he brought two loving hearts together in the midst of a storm. I will share more details of my engagement weekend in my next writing. In the same manner, on October 7th I received a mail from the NY Department of Education containing my Professional Certification Certificate. I had an initial certification prior to acquiring my professional certification. 

In conclusion, my suggestion is to keep your positive attitude and trust in God.  He will deliver you from whatever situation you may find yourself in. What He has done for me He can also do for you.  I can say that life was not all perfect for me, I, too, cried and felt the pain of the pandemic and the fast-dynamic changes in our social and economic environment. But, I have learned to overcome it and remind myself that there is light and hope in the midst of a storm. We can stop our tears and still put a smile on the faces God has given us. 

To be continue….

*Educator,tutor,mentor

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Friendships Stages

How many friends do you have?

A few months ago, a friend asked me, “How many friends do you have”? I responded: a lot, but I also explained to him that my friends are from different life stages, for different needs, and with whom I do varieties of things.  

I am a social person who likes to talk and meet new people; thus, it’s not difficult for me to make new friends. However, I also had learned to keep those friendships that are valuable for me, and give them a special place in life. Once I saw a friend posted on Facebook this quote: 

I said to her that I agreed with this post, and that she was one of those important friends. Yes, I do have many friends, but less than before because I have decided to keep my relationships with those who are loyal, those who do not use me,  nor are toxic, not manipulating, and are willing to listen and talk with me.  

I have friends from my childhood with whom I grew up, from high school-teenage, and my adulthood. For sure, I will have another stage to meet new friends, but always taking into consideration that I am not a doll, I am a human being.  

Months ago, I heard a podcast titled “Call your Girlfriend”, hosted by Ann Friedman and Aminatuo Sow. A piece of information that drew my attention was that the utterances of friendships and freedom have the same linguistic roots meaning: beloved and dear.  

If I had the opportunity to do something different in choosing my friends now, I would surely put less of my energy in keeping those who can inflict harmed or use me. Presently, I just have energy for friendships that have a positive vibration.  

If  there is something I also like about my friends, it’s that they have different age, nationalities, personalities, and energy. Thanks to all my marvelous girlfriends and sisters. I will surely call you to check how you are doing, but I’ll also call when I need you.  

What are your friendships experiences? 

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My Colour Skin Talks

Sydney and I are aware of our skin colour, but we are also proud of it.

This article was published in the magazine Maailman Kuvalehti. This is the English version.

My skin is black. Therefore, it is broken down by society into stereotypes that I live daily. I have experienced racism in varied degrees and in different countries. 

I remember when I travelled to Saint Petersburg, Russia, years ago, by road from Finland. I was the only one (it was a group of us) detained by Russian immigration officers. They reviewed my passport carefully and asked me, ” Why were you in Brazil, Panama, USA, etc?”. “What was the reason for your trip to these countries?”. They went on and on for over 20 minutes before permitting me to enter the country. No explanation absolutely, was given to me. 

Another racist incident happened in 2018, at a supermarket in Helsinki while shopping with a friend from Irak. A man passed by us and said: “It smells like shit”. 

As a black woman, I live double or triple discrimination because of my skin colour, being a woman, or an immigrant. However, I am not giving up on this fight because I know there is a new generation that will continue it. 

One of those young people is my nephew, Sydney, who is an intelligent 12 year old in 7th grade, and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. He is one of the many black boys and men in the United States of America who is a target by the racist system. 

One day, while riding with his dad, they were pulled over by the police. When he got home, he told his mom about the incident and the way he acted. “I put my hands on the car dashboard so it can be visible”, he said. 

Previous to this occurrence he had watched the movie “The Hate U Give” with his parents at which time he learned that his hands need to be visible; so that is what he did that night. 

This past summer the Black Lives Matter campaign was held in several countries, globally. I participated in the one organized in Helsinki, Finland, with my friend from Kenia. I got skin chill when I arrived at the Senator Square, saw and heard the thousands of voices shouting slogans like Black lives matter, I can’t breathe, etc. 

This protest was held during the pandemic and as result, most of us participants took the necessary precautions. When the manifestation was over, I saw a sign that  read: Racism = longest-running pandemic. Yes, it is because black people’s rights had been violated and minorized over centuries. This is not a new incident.

Many brave women and men before me and my nephew have also lived racisms, some even experienced worse situations than those today. They are our heroines and heroes. 

Sydney is aware of his skin colour and that the dramatic incident he went through can be repeated someday. I am also aware of this. Nevertheless, I am proud to be a black woman. I don’t like people to call me brown, chocolate, blackish, or woman of colour. I prefer to be called a black woman, just who I am. So please don’t try to wash away the colour of my skin that talks. 

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Covid-19 and Women in News Coverage

They are at the frontline but almost invisible in the news.

In many countries, lifestyle drastically changed in March after the novel virus expanded over the globe. I remember being at work when I heard the first press conference of the Finnish government about the crisis. Days after, on the 16th of March, they declared a state of emergency. 

Besides talking with relatives and friends who live in different countries about the pandemic, I also followed the media as one of my sources. But it was healthy not to be influenced all day by the news. 

During these months of the crisis, a lot of people are working to give us the services that we need. Many women are among health professionals, public workers, social workers, scientists, and others. However, in many of the reportages, female expert’s voices and women, being the protagonists of the stories have an under-representation in news media. 

Back in April Forbes magazine listed Jacinda Arden,the Primer Minister of New Zealand;  Tsai -Ing -wen, the first female president in Taiwan; Mette Frederiksen, the Danish Prime Minister; Katrí­n Jakobsdóttir, Iceland’s Prime Minister; Sanna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland; Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany;  and Erna Solberg, Norway´s Prime Minister, as leaders who had the best outperformance in the fight against the virus, in contrast to the male heads of state. This was news for days; it would have been great to have such coverage constantly. 

The study, The Missing Perspectives of Women in COVID-19 newswas conducted in India, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK, and the US, by the international audience strategy consultancy, AKAS. In one of the chapters, they analyzed three groups of women coverage in news: as experts, sources of news, and story protagonist.

The first finding of the study is that women expert’s voices were substantially smaller than that of men in all countries. “In the UK, 25% of people quoted in COVID-19/ coronavirus articles were women. This was followed by Kenya and the US, where women were quoted a fifth of the time (20% and 19%, respectively), then by South Africa, Nigeria and India where women’s share of voice in Covid-19/coronavirus stories was 17%, 17% and 16% respectively”.

The second fact is that women were less used as sources of authoritative expertise than men, but they were more likely to be used as a source of subjective personal views. In Akas’s portrayal analysis “half of the people quoted in the news were experts and commentators while only 6% were sources. Women constituted only 19% of all experts but 53% of sources”.

And the third finding is that between the 1st March 2020, and 15th, of April 2020, women had low visibility as the story’s protagonists in the six countries. In the US 14%, South Africa 15%, Nigeria 15%, Kenya 15%, 19% in India, and 26% in the UK. 

Framing the news is very vital to how the audience will be perceived, thus protagonists, expert voices, and sources must be from the people that know about the story to cover. But it’s  also important to write about local stories and the relationships they have with other wider topics. For example, where to get assistance in case of gender-based violence, or by providing tips for parents to entertain their child(ren) during Covid-19. 

Many countries are in the second wave of the pandemic, so less hope this time women can have a higher percentage of lead in the news coverage. 

Do you know a woman in your community who is leading the fight of Covid-19? Share the story with us.

Featured

Aborto legal, seguro y gratuito

Queremos aborto legal y gratuito

Tomado de radialista apasionadas y apasionados

Hoy 28 de septiembre usemos nuestro pañuelo verde como símbolo de lucha
por el derecho al aborto legal, seguro y gratuito en América Latina y el Caribe.


Recuerdo perfectamente el día 26 octubre del 2006 en Managua, Nicaragua,
donde muchas activistas y feministas estuvimos en protesta frente a la
Asamblea Legislativa porque ese día se discutía la penalización del aborto
terapéutico. La noticia de la penalización nos cayó como un balde de agua
helada, fue aprobada con 52 votos a favor, 0 en contra, 9 se abstuvieron y 29 de los diputadas/os no asistieron a la sesión plenaria. Cabe mencionar que esto fue en plena
campaña de las elecciones presidenciales.


La prohibición total del aborto en Nicaragua entró en vigencia bajo el nuevo
Código Penal en 2008 y dispone penas de hasta 12 años de prisión para las
mujeres y niñas que solicitan o se practican un aborto. También se
establecieron penas para los profesionales de salud que brindan servicios de
aborto y la atención obstétrica.


En el informe La Prohibición total del Aborto en Nicaragua, 2009 emitido
por Amnistía Internacional, dice: “Antes de la reforma legal, en Nicaragua se
permitió el aborto terapéutico durante más de cien años como un
procedimiento médico legal, legítimo y necesario. La interpretación de la ley
permitía realizar un aborto cuando de continuar con el embarazo se ponía en
peligro la vida o la salud de la mujer o la niña embarazada y, en determinadas
ocasiones, cuando el embarazo era resultado de una violación. El artículo 165
del Código Penal permitía el aborto terapéutico si tres médicos coincidían
formalmente en que era necesario y el cónyuge o un pariente cercano de la
mujer daba su consentimiento”.


En Latinoamérica y el Caribe Nicaragua no es el único país de la región donde
las mujeres mueren por no poder practicarse un aborto y existe violación de
sus derechos sexuales y reproductivos y la violación física y psicológica.
Según el Center for Reproductive Rights en América Latina y el Caribe el
mapa del estado ilegal o legal del aborto se ve así:


El Salvador, Haití, Honduras, Nicaragua, Surinam y República Dominicana es
prohibido por completo. El Salvador es uno de los países más rígidos, por
ejemplo, la condena a “Las 17” por más de 40 años de cárcel.

Mientras que en las anteriores es un delito, en otros el aborto es permitido bajo
causales como: cuando el embarazo pone en riesgo la vida y salud de la mujer,
en caso de violación, estupro, incesto y deformación o inviabilidad del feto.
Entre los países donde es permitido el aborto por uno o más de estos causales
tenemos a Argentina, Belice, Brasil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile,
Ecuador, Guatemala, Paraguay, Perú, Panamá y Venezuela.

Tomado de BBC


México es particular ya que opera bajo un sistema federal, donde cada estado
es independiente y por lo tanto ejerce las restricciones de acuerdo a las leyes
del estado. Sin embargo, en todo el país es permitido en caso de violación,
pero muchas veces no se accede porque hay obstáculos para la ejecución. Un
ejemplo claro de ello se dio en junio de este año en Morelia cuando se le negó
el aborto
a una menor que fue violada por su padrastro.


En Cuba, Guyana, Guyana Francesa, Uruguay y Puerto Rico es permitido el
aborto sin condiciones en las primeras semanas de gestación y bajo el plazo
establecido por la ley.


Acá puede acceder al mapa interactivo de los países a nivel mundial.


En muchos de estos países donde existen causales para practicar el aborto no
siempre se ejerce en marco de las leyes. Existen varios casos donde las
organizaciones de mujeres y defensoras de derechos humanos tienen que
acompañar a las víctimas y sus familiares para garantizar que se cumpla el
aborto a como manda la ley.


En muchos de estos países no se ha avanzado con despenalizar el aborto
porque existe corrupción política, no hay voluntad de los estados, existe un
sistema patriarcal, hay presión religiosa y muchos otros elementos. No
obstante, la lucha no se detiene y nosotras seguiremos gritando que queremos
tener acceso a un aborto legal y seguro como existe en otros países de la
región y el mundo.


Uno de esos países es Finlandia donde el aborto es legal, sin embargo, la
Asociación de Unión Feminista (Naisasialiito Unioni) actualmente organiza
una campaña llamada OmaTahto2020 recogiendo firmas para actualizar la ley
de aborto.


El 26 de octubre del 2006 sigue siendo un día que no olvidaré como mujer latina caribeña. Nicaragua retrocedió en su legislación y la violación del derecho de la mujer. Por lo tanto, si me preguntas ¿irías a manifestarte otra vez por ello? mi respuesta es un claro: SI. ¿Y vos qué harías?

Featured

Indigenous Women’s Day

Today on Indigenous Women’s Day I celebrate my ancestors.

My first knowledge of Miskito Indigenous culture was learned from my ancestors, Rosina Nelson, my great-grandmother who was a midwife; and from my grandmother, Mandy Lee Thompson Nelson, who worked with the Moravian missionaries in Bilwi. 

Both of them were from the indigenous community of Karata located in front of a lagoon by the same name, where you can sit and enjoy drinking and eating coconut as much as you want while talking to the people who are friendly, and tidy in the way they maintain their community clean. Fishing is the community’s main source of economical income. 

Today, I celebrate these two women, who are my role model of indigenous women. They were strong, brave, and never renounced their tasks. I am proud that they are part of my roots.  

I had the opportunity to meet many indigenous women from different countries and backgrounds while working as a journalist in places such as summits, remote places, and during my daily life. They all are full of energy and carefulness.

Since 1983, International Day of Indigenous Women is still celebrated today. It was established in Tihuanacu, Bolivia during the Second Meeting of Organizations and Movements of America. The main objective of this day is to remember all the brave indigenous women who had fought for their families and communities to preserve the experiences, values, languages, and heritage knowledge. 

Bartolina Sisa was an Aymaran woman from Peru, who fougth against the Spanish colony and participated in the siege of La Paz with her partner Túpac Katari, and other natives. She was captured and executed by her enemies on the 5th of September, 1972.

Indigenous women are often discriminated against for their gender, ethnicity, and poor condition. However, countless outstanding indigenous women shaped and are shaping the history of their community and the world. Here, Women Wheel names 5 figures fought or are fighting for native welfare.  

Shirley Colleen Smith ( 1924-1998), was a Wiradjuri woman, activist, and social worker who devoted her time for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in New South Wales. She was the one who created the aboriginal legal, medical, and children services, a housing company and a tent embassy. 

She was known as Mum Shirl, because while visiting her brother in prison she would talk to the other prisoners, so the guards asked what was her relationship with them. She replied, “I am their mum”.

Autumn Peltier (2004-), is a young water activist from Wikwemikong First Nation in northern Ontario, Canada, known as the “water warrior”. For years, she has been advocating for safe drinking water for indigenous people in Canada and other countries.  

In 2018, she spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, USA, where she said: “Our water should not be for sale. We all have a right to this water as we need it”.

Peltier addressing the UN in 2018

Finnish Sami women,  Tiina Sanila-Aikio, Riikka Karppinen, Inka Saara Arttijeff, Anna Morottaja, Petra Laiti, and others are fighting to save their land, water, and animals ( reindeer-herding and fishing) that are threatened by climate change, the construction of an Arctic Railway, forestry, and mining. 

Brazil Indigenous girls and women activists, Rayanne Cristine Maximo Franca, Célia Xakriabá, Sônia Guajajara, and many others are campaigning under the slogan “Our land, our body, our spirit” to save the Amazon rainforest which is called the “lung of the Earth” from deforestation, climate change, and mining. 

My fifth figure of the list, but in no way the least,  is someone I know from my hometown and had the opportunity to work at moments with her. She is Lottie Cunningham Wren, an indigenous lawyer and human rights defender who has been fighting and working efficiently with the Miskitos, Mayangnas, and Afro-descendants communities in Nicaragua for many years. 

Do you know an indigenous woman in your community, who is changing history? Share your story!

Featured

Radio:First Voices

Hidden or forgotten women voices

That was a track of my voice on reportages, clips, or podcasts I had done. 

I remember the first time I talked on radio station for an interview, I was nervous and shy because I don’t like to hear my voice reproduce on any device. However, years later when I coordinated a project for journalists in Nicaragua, I learned to record in the studio and give interviews more often like never before imagined.  

I participated in several workshops along with the young participants from community radios where I learned techniques and skills to become confident in front of a microphone. Besides, I had a lot of motivation from the participants, which made it much easier. 

I had the opportunity to learn and be directed for my recording. Nevertheless, many women have learned empirically to broadcast on radio and had to struggle to let their voices be heard. 

Women’s voices on the radio have played a pivotal role in the history of broadcasting. Their voices entered spaces speaking to housewives, workers, and consumers. Both listeners and broadcasters became a key role for women to vote in the 1920s. 

Many of these stories of women’s voices are hidden or forgotten, but today I would like to revive three names and actions done by women pioneer broadcasters and managers.

Eunice Randall, in 1920, at age 19, was one of the first announcers and engineers on Radio 1XE from the Boston area owned by the American Radio and Research Company (AMRAD), which was a factory of radio equipment. 

Randall needed money for her art school study so she started working at the factory, but soon she developed an interest to operate the radio. At the station, she read stories to children two times a week, she read police reports, announced the news, gave morse practice, and other duties. No doubt, Randall was an inspiration for many women during the 1920s.

Betha Brainard is another radio pioneer who grew up in New Jersey, dreaming to become a movie star. She studied theatre which led her to conduct a programme titled Broadcasting Broadway, which debated theatre reviews and up-coming shows at station WJZ. 

Her programme was moved from New Jersey to New York City, where she had it easier to interview actresses and actors and also allowed her to work directly in managing the radio and produced new programmes. In 1927, she became the first woman to hold the position of radio executive at NBC Network.  

Audrey Russell, was one of BBC’s first woman war correspondents, who covered the war between 1941-1945, interviewing civilians of their experiences in the war such as the explosion of a V2 rocket in London. Unfortunately, she was restricted from covering the frontline of the battles, because it was reserved for the male correspondents.

These women’s voices were On-Off the air at the radio station for many years even though they faced more challenges than women do today, However, they didn’t stop. Thanks to their braveness and example, we have the privilege to hear today more talented women’s voices on radios or podcasts discussing topics of interest for women empowerment. 

I would like to list women friends with whom I worked in my home country. They have powerful voices on the radio and have been working to develop a social change in their community. Among them: Ileana Lacayo, Nora Newball, Dolene Miller, Aleseter Brack Downs, Duyerling Ríos, Patrica Orozco, Margarita Antonio, Jamileth Chavarria, and all the other girls at the communities radios.

Today, as radio continues to evolve during the internet era, we also got to remember that it is still the media that reaches the widest audience worldwide. 

Don’t stop giving a voice to the voiceless!

Black Woman

#8M #WomenDay #WeCan

Anonymous

What makes me strong?

My heritage
What makes me weak?
My fears
What makes me whole?
My God
What keeps me standing?
My faith
What makes me compassionate?
My selflessness
What makes me honest?
My integrity
What sustains my mind?
My quest for knowledge
What teaches me all lessons?
My mistakes
What lifts my head high?
My pride
What if I can’t go on?

Not an option
What makes me victorious?
My courage to climb
What makes me competent?
My confidence
What makes me sensual?
My insatiable essence
What makes me beautiful?
My everything
What makes me a woman?

My heart
Who says I need love?
I do
What empowers me?
My God & Me
Who am I?
I AM AN AFRICAN Caribbean WOMAN!

Celebro la Mujer que soy

Yolanda Rossman Tejada

Celebro la mujer que soy,

piel de mango de rosa

carne de níspero sabroso

leche de coco en el paladar.

Celebro mi pelo crespo, inquieto,

rotunda cascada sobre tu pecho a la intemperie,

dezlízate, entre esa marejada tempestuosa,

tupido manglar de raíces ancestrales,

maraña de bosque tropical.

Hunde tus manos allí …

atrapa los deseos que aún oculto,

nido de oropéndola, desafiante,

tibio musgo abrigando tu cuerpo

desnudo, dispuesto.

Celebro este rebelde encaje,

lianas y parásitas adheridas a mi tronco,

danzando con la brisa

en seductores malabares.

Enredadera, intrincado follaje

olorosa a melón, granadilla, maracuyá,

te invito a gozar este cuerpo palpitante.

Sonrisa de mayo, mirada de abril..

Celebro esta pascua florecida

que agresiva se asoma,

evadiendo los colores

que intentan apaciguarla,

ella indómita salta, más plateada,

!Atrevida!

Celebro la mujer que soy,

“agua de lluvia acariciando tu cuerpo”.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash