Avast! Feminist Conspiracy!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Please join us on March 24 for Ada Lovelace Day

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging (videologging, podcasting, comic drawing etc.!) to draw attention to the achievements of women in technology and science.

Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines, whatever they do. It doesn’t matter how new or old your blog is, what gender you are, what language you blog in, or what you normally blog about – everyone is invited. Just sign the pledge and publish your blog post any time on Wednesday 24th March 2010.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

House of Sharing

We received some very sad news today from the Korean Council for the Women Drafted for Military Sexual Slavery by Japan.

Lee Jeom-rae Halmoni, 89, passed away two weeks ago from a brain hemorrhage. She born in 1921 in Iksan, in North Jeolla Province. When she was only 14 years old, she was forced to serve as a sex slave for Japanese soldiers in China and Singapore for 6 years. She was finally able to return to Korea in 1941.

There are now only 86 living victims of sexual slavery during World War II that are registered with the South Korean government. Time is running out for the halmoni.

Please visit the event page to sign 2 petitions calling on the Japanese government to meet the halmoni's demands for justice. Spread the word, tell all your friends to do the same!

Direct links to English versions of the petitions: Japanese civic groups, English version, the Korean Council, English version

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In Response to the Dodge Superbowl Ad

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Raging Grannies on CBS

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Vaccines: They Work!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Toronto Women's Bookstore in Trouble

Dear TWB community,

The Toronto Women's Bookstore is in crisis and we need your help!

Independent businesses and bookstores have been closing their doors this year, and after 36 years it is possible that we will have to do the same if we are not able to raise enough money to survive. TWB is one of the only remaining non-...profit feminist bookstores in North America, but despite all of the events, courses, workshops, community resources and additional services we offer, the fact that we are a store means that we do not receive any outside funding and rely entirely on sales and the support of our customers to stay in business.

Over the past few years, our sales have not been enough to sustain us and this is why we are coming to you, our community, for help. If every one of you donated $10 we would raise enough to keep going for 3 months, $20 each would keep us in business for 6 months, and $30 each would be enough for us to keep our doors open, hopefully for good. All donations will go directly towards covering the bookstore's costs, and are a part of a larger plan of action and structural change to make the business sustainable in the current economy.

In the past, when feminist bookstores were closing down all across North
America, the support of the community is what kept TWB alive. You are the reason that we are still here today, and we believe that with your help we can once again work together to save this organization where so many of us as readers, writers, feminists, artists, and activists have found a home.

You can make donations over the phone, on our website
www.womensbookstore.com, or in person at the store. Unfortunately, as a non-profit store we are not eligible for charitable status and cannot offer tax receipts.

You can also help by spreading the word to your friends and community,
contacting us if you know of any funding we might be eligible for, promoting this fundraising drive in your paper or on your blog, website or radio show, organizing your own save the bookstore fundraisers or just passing the hat at your holiday parties, giving a TWB donation as a gift, and of course, coming in and bringing all your friends to the store for some holiday shopping!

Thank you all for your support,
The Toronto Women's Bookstore Board, Staff & Volunteers

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

RIP Kim Hak Soon Halmoni

Today the memorial service for Kim Hak Soon Halmoni, the first of the survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery to come out publicly with her story in 1991, was held in South Korea. Kim Hak Soon Halmoni took the leap of faith required to come forth and share her story on TV all those years ago, thus laying the foundations for the international movement of support for the former "comfort women" throughout Asia. Each Wednesday, former "comfort women" and organizations that support them have been protesting in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, but are still waiting for official recognition from the Japanese government.

Yesterday, sadly, one of the few surviving former South Korean "comfort women", Kim Ok-seon Halmoni, passed away. The survivors are elderly, and they don't have much time left to hear the long awaited official apology from the Japanese government. To learn more about the former "comfort women" click here: www.houseofsharing.org

You can write your comments to the Japanese government about the need to apologize officially to the vicitms of wartime sexual slavery by submitting a message on the Japanese government website here: https://www.kantei.go.jp/foreign/forms/comment_ssl.html

THEN and NOW...

Approximately 200,000 women were trafficked into military sexual slavery by Japan between 1932 and 1945. Talking to the survivors in South Korea, hearing the stories of how they survived between 1945 and when the movement of support started in the 1990s, it is clear how difficult life was, dealing with their physical and psychological trauma, in many cases abandoned in foreign countries with no means of support.

TODAY in South Korea, Filipina victims of sex trafficking are facing similar hardships as they attempt to rebuild their lives after being deceitfully recruited as singers and then being forced into prostitution by "promoters" and club owners, usually around US military bases. Their reasons for coming to Korea---to earn money to support children and family at home---remain, and DURAEBANG , "My Sister's Place" Shelter, is assisting them with legal support, vocational training to help them find other jobs, and providing a safe and supportive space for their healing.

Today, in honor of Kim Hak Soon Halmoni, Kim Ok Seon Halmoni, and the thousands of other known and unknown victims and survivors of Japanese Military Sexual Slavery, please make a donation, as small or large as you can afford, to help Filipina women dealing with very similar trauma TODAY in South Korea. Any funds you donate for this campaign will go directly to DURAEBANG where they will be used to support the shelter and Filipina women going through legal procedures against their traffickers. Please help them make a stand and get the help they need now---it's time we put a stop to trafficking and sexual exploitation!

For more information, see our FB event page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=name&id=608405075#/event.php?eid=209298802385&ref=mf

To send a donation by PAYPAL, you can do so with a direct link housed on our website: www.lilayoga.com/donate/

To send a donation within Korea, you can make a direct bank transfer to:
Bank: KB Bank (Kookmin Unhaeng)
Account #: 368102-01-146063

This fundrasier is being coordinated by members of the International Outreach Team of the House of Sharing, in collaboration with Lila Yoga. If you wish to know more information about us, please feel free to get in touch.

Monday, December 14, 2009

RAWA Video

Thursday, December 03, 2009

UN Webcast for CEDAW

Global CEDAW 30th Anniversary Celebration Event
Event Type: Special Day or Anniversary
Date: 03.12.09
Time: 15:00–17:00 (GMT-0500)
Location: United Nations, New York – ECOSOC Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York, NY

On 3rd December 2009, the United Nations will hold a global celebration for the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The event will bring together speakers from around the world who will share examples of how the Convention has been used to implement women’s human rights and achieve gender equality in their country. Participants will hear how CEDAW has been applied to law, policy and judicial decisions, heralding and securing greater human rights for women and girls. Attendees will also learn how the Optional Protocol to the Convention—which celebrates its 10th year in 2009—has succeeded to raise awareness about the Convention and bring justice to individual women.

These examples, plus opening remarks by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and a live performance from Sarah Jones, will inspire attendees, including member states, non-governmental organizations, women’s rights activists and the United Nations system alike to increase their efforts to implement the Convention in their home countries and through the work of their organizations.

Due to space restrictions, the event is by invitation only. However, the celebration will be webcast live on UN webcast: http://www.un.org/webcast/.

For more details, visit the website.

Sponsored by: A working group of the United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE), composed of OHCHR and UNIFEM (co-chairs), UNICEF, UN-DAW, UNDP and UNFPA.

Contact: Jessica Hughes,, +1 917 484 8080

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


"Without memory, there is no debt. Put another way: without story, there is no debt. A story is a string of actions occurring over time-one damn thing after another, as we glibly say in creative writing classes-and debt happens as a result of actoins occurring over time. Therefore, any debt involves a plot line: how you got into debt, what you did, said, and thought while you were in there, and then-depending on whether the ending is to be happy or sad-how you got out of debt, or else who you got further and further into it until you cebame overwhelmed by it, and sank from view."

Margaret Atwood is the kind of writer who makes me want to read more - not just more of her own writing, though certainly I intend to eventually read all she's written, but she also makes me want to read everything there is out there. Her breadth of knowledge and aquaintance with other texts is always astounding. In addition to writting incredible books, I'll never forget her wonderful sense of humour and fascinating talks - living in Edinburgh was a treat for a bookworm like me.

""He solemnly conjured me, I remember, to take warning by his fate; to observe that if a man had twenty pounds a -year for his income, and spent nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence, he would be happy, but that if he spent twety pounds one he would be miserable." Charles Dickens, David Copperfield

"Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth" is one of the CBC Massey Lectures. Inagerated in 1961 to provide a forum on radio where major contemporary thinkers could address important issues of our time, Atwood's series of lectures are from 2008. People often tell me I'm impossible to buy books for because I've read or bought so many of the ones I want that they can't determine what I wouldn't have. For future reference (mom), since the local English bookstores don't carry the Massey Lectures series and I've only read three (the other two were "The Truth About Stories" by Thomas King and "Race Against Time" by Stephen Lewis), so they are always a safe bet. All three have been incredibly fascinating books.

""In my part of the world we have a ritual interchange that goes like this:
First person: "Lovely weather we're having."
Second person: "We'll pay for it later."
My part of the world being Canada, where there is a great deal of weather, we always do pay for it later. One person has commented, "That's not Canadian, it's just Presbyterian." Nevertheless, it's a widespread saying among us."

In the first chapter, Atwood talks about the origins of a sense of fairness, balance, and justice - concepts that may go back beyond humanity - apparently monkeys also get upset if when they have been taught that they can trade pebbles for cucumber slices and then one of them gets a far more covetted grape. She goes on to examine, in Chapter Two, the connection between debt and sin and between debtor and creditor, both of whom have been considered sinful at different times in history. The third chapter looks at the use of debt in plots and the symbolisms of mills and millers, who were thought of as cheats and Devil-like characters as the Industiral Revolution and capitalism marched on through the nineteenth century. She concludes the chapter with an old Greek saying, that the mills of the Gods grind slowly but they grind very small (thouroughly). Chapter Five looks at what happens when it comes time to payup: debtor's prisons, loan-sharks, liquidating creditors, rebelling against unfair taxes, and blood-soaked revenge. The final chapter is a rewrite of the Scrooge story, reframing it to look at the debt we owe to the environment, which we destroy, and those in the developing world, whose labor we profit off of.

"By making amends then, Scrooge is paying a moral debt. To whom does he owe this debt, and why? In Dicken's view, he owes it to his fellow man: he's been on the take from other people all his life-that's where his fortune has come from-but he's never given anything back. By being a creditor of such magnitude in the financial sense, he himslef has become a debtor in the moral sense, and it's this realization that's at the core of his transformation. Money isn't the only thing that must flow and circulate in order to have value: good turns and gifts must also flow and circule-just as they do among chimpanzees-for any social system to remain in balance."