We are at a “moment of movements.”
Women’s movements, in particular, are at the forefront of resistance against repressive governments. And human rights funders are recognizing the power of grassroots organizing and collective action in delivering social change.
So how can funders best support women’s movements in the current political climate? What opportunities are there for connecting movements, both in the U.S. and globally? And what role can research play in building evidence to deepen our understanding of social movements and successful movement building strategies?
In May 2018, Global Fund for Women sought to explore these questions by hosting an engaging and interactive panel discussion. Watch a short video, with highlights from the panel, below.
Panelists included Olesya Bondar, Director of the Ukrainian Women’s Fund; Jacqueline Hart, Vice President for Strategic Learning, Research, and Evaluation at American Jewish World Service; Irit Houvras, American Jewish World Service’s Director for Strategic Learning, Research, and Evaluation; Monica Raye Simpson, Executive Director of SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Center. The panel was moderated by Leila Hessini, Vice President of Programs at Global Fund for Women.
Interested in learning more? Download our Download our summary report of the panel here.
My sister had to run away to the jungle. There are a lot of things we have experienced. Terror from the Indonesian government itself – killing people in a subtle way. They give injections to pregnant women – but it is not the right medicine… it kills the baby.
Esther Tapnesa on living under the U.S.-backed occupation of West Papua, in the 2012 film Journey to Freedom
Since “Nazi” is the accusation of the moment, it could be seen as surprising that eugenics is not a topic of the moment. Medical experimentation into the promotion and prevention of fertility was a hallmark of the Nazi era, so widespread concern about Nazism ought to lead to critical examination of the nature and history of twenty-first century eugenics. This is especially so since the pharmaceutical industry is now the most profitable on earth: bigger than oil, gas and chemicals combined.
The history of eugenics is frequently traced to the turn of the twentieth century and the writings of British scientist Sir Francis Galton, who promoted early intermarriage among select groups and the restriction of welfare to the “inferior”. The world’s first eugenics-based compulsory sterilisation law was passed in Indiana in 1907, and as New Zealand author Helen Smyth points out in Rocking the Cradle, eugenics
held sway until Hitler’s experiments in World War II brought the theory into international disrepute. New Zealand was a participant in the international eugenic debate, which tended to encompass discussion of contraception and the falling birth rate.
A key feature of British colonial eugenics included the promotion of ideals of white motherhood and white femininity summed up in the idea that “in the womb of British womanhood lies the Empire’s progress and strength”, as claimed by one New Zealand commentator. Eugenics of course is racism that relies on the control of women’s reproduction: so it will promote fertility among white women with status and restrict abortion rights while sterilising and experimenting on poor women of colour. The essentialism of idealised motherhood also breeds homophobia: anti-lesbianism and ideas of male homosexuals as “women” trapped in male bodies requiring castration.
Since eugenics relies on control over women’s reproduction, the medieval witchcraze – long before Galton’s time of course – is one of the most important episodes in its history. As Andrea Dworkin writes in Woman Hating, many women burned as witches in the Middle Ages were healers and midwives who also offended the church by performing abortions. The massacre of these women allowed men to take control of women’s reproduction and reproductive health, and establish gynecology as a male-dominated medical profession. “Gynecology was slow to rise,” writes Mary Daly in Gyn/Ecology.
Man-midwives of the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were under fire from woman midwives, such as Elizabeth Nihell, who described their instruments as “weapons of death”. Nevertheless, the nineteenth century saw the erection of gynecology over women’s dead bodies.
In the meantime, the colonisation of America had begun, and as the Native American population living north of Mexico was reduced from ten million to less than one, Dworkin writes that the “first slaves” brought to the United States “were women – white women.”
Women were imported into the colonies to breed. Just as a man bought land so that he could grow food, he bought a wife so that he could grow sons.
A man owned his wife and all that she produced. Her crop came from her womb, and this crop was harvested year after year until she died.
Dworkin explains that it was then “no contradiction or moral agony to begin to buy black slaves”. Black feminist writers Angela Davis’ Women, Race and Class and Dorothy Roberts’ Killing the Black Body discuss the impacts of race-based slavery on women. Davis’ writes how white men saw Black women as “breeders”, while Roberts adds that “Racism created for white slaveowners the possibility of unrestrained reproductive control.” J. Marion Sims, “the Father of Modern Gynecology,” used enslaved African-American women to conduct surgical experiments without anaesthetic.
As stated, eugenics as it is currently understood gained momentum at the turn of the twentieth century. By 1930s Germany, Nazi doctors were carrying out experiments in concentration camps: Carl Clauberg worked with a chemist from a pharmaceutical company to experiment with sterilisation and fertility on hundreds of women; Josef Mengele experimented on twins to discover whether multiple births could be engineered. Himmler was in charge of eradicating homosexuality through “cure” or “euthanasia”; Kurt Warnekos sterilised homosexual men, and also performed sex reassignment surgery on Einar Wegener, or “Lile Elbe”. This was not the only case of experimental sex reassignment in the Nazi era, and it is significant that Warnekos was not held accountable during the Nuremberg trials.
By the 1950s and 60s, writes Judith Richter in Vaccination Against Pregnancy, there was another “rise and endorsement of population control ideology among certain interest groups”. This was a decisive factor in “turning contraceptive development from an endeavour that medical scientists shied away from into a socially acceptable, even desirable, one.” One of these interest groups was the United States’ Population Council, established in in 1952 by John D. Rockefeller and Frederick Osborn. In Killing the Black Body, Roberts identifies Osborn as one of America’s key eugenics strategists and a long-time officer of the American Eugenics Society.
The Population Council is sponsored by corporate foundations and has remained a primary instigator of contraceptive research and testing. It is responsible for testing of the Pill, intrauterine devices (IUDs), Norplant, and immuno-contraceptives. Women’s safety, self-determination and protection from sexually transmitted diseases take a backseat in its research. Eka Esu-Williams, an African immunologist, has pointed out how the immuno-contraceptives being tested today are likely to contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in Africa including AIDS. For those developing contraceptive technology, preventing the spread of illness in the Third World is not a priority.
Throughout the twentieth century, women living within a militarised Central and South America were frequently used as a testing subjects for reproductive technologies. The Pill was initially tested on women in Puerto Rico, and in the mid 1980s, female sterilisation was the most widely used contraceptive method in Brazil, used by 44% of all women. In her 1987 book Don’t Be Afraid Gringo, Elvia Alvarado relays the way Honduran women have been used for gynecological experimentation:
I don’t like my daughters using that birth control, because of all the problems it causes. Those pills do a lot of harm to women here. Maybe they don’t affect the gringas so much… But… Honduran women, many of them get sick.
The worst thing we get is cancer. Here in my village six women died recently from vaginal cancer. Before we never had that kind of sickness… But now lots of my friends are dying from it. Some were using pills, others were using IUDs. My sister’s in the hospital right now dying of cancer in the uterus.
Norplant, a contraceptive that releases progestin through six matchstick-sized silicone implants in the upper arm, was originally developed by the Population Council as a tool of population control in Third World Countries. “The scientists designed the contraceptive,” writes Roberts, “specifically for distribution to poor, uneducated women of color.” This was done with the help of nearly $15 million in U.S. foreign aid.
In Killing the Black Body, Roberts assesses countless cases of black mothers being ordered to use Norplant as an alternative to imprisonment while in court for drug-related offences. Norplant was tested in Bangladesh, and Brazillian feminists ran Norplant trials out of the country in 1986. In Peru, the capsules were issued to women through Norplant-or-sterilisation ultimatums; Indonesia (which has dispensed two-thirds of the world’s supply of Norplant) made Norplant use a requirement for women’s employment in some cases. In many jurisdictions where Norplant has been promoted, doctors were unequipped or unwilling to remove implanted capsules.
Dramatic body weight changes and heavy bleeding are two of the most commonly reported side effects of both Norplant and its successor, Depo-Provera. Depo-Provera injects progestin in an intense concentration, rather than gradually, and was initially manufactured by pharmaceutical company Upjohn.
In a 1982 issue of Broadsheet, New Zealand feminist Phillida Bunkle called Depo-Provera the “new eugenics”. The drug was not approved for use as a contraceptive in the United States until 1992, but was still exported to Third World women and prescribed to both African American and Native American women long before then. New Zealand was an early adopter, and by 1982, 25% of Maori women of fertile age had been given the drug. Bunkle points out that it was
given to Maoris twice as often as Pakeha. Depo is not accepted as a contraceptive in Australia, but is given to Aboriginal women; it is stringently limited in Britain but prescribed extensively to West Indians; it is approved for use on black but not white women in South Africa.
Testing was also carried In France, where Depo-Provera was used by 20 percent of sub-Saharan immigrant women compared to 4 percent of French-born women. Depo-Provera was trialled extensively in Thailand, as well as in the Pacific, for instance in the Marshall islands (also the site of extensive nuclear testing). Rongelap islander Renam Anjain tells Zohl dé Ishtar in Daughters of the Pacific, that “I have had an injection [depo provera], but it made me really sick. Another woman has had an injection too, and when she wanted to have a baby, she couldn’t.”
Alongside Norplant and Depo-Provera testing and sterilisation, another particularly stark illustration of contemporary eugenics comes in the form of the global surrogacy trade. The documentary Google Baby shows how women are currently forced to tolerate life treated as “incubators” in surrogacy clinics in India, often giving birth to white babies through the use of both egg and sperm donors. Egg donors are usually white women chosen for genetic desirability and given drugs to induce superovulation. Meanwhile, the production-line treatment of women who give birth to babies in surrogacy clinics, while not seen as mothers of children at all, is spine chilling.
Another particularly stark illustration of eugenics principles in action comes in the form of the late nineteenth century British interest in developing prosthetic or mechanical “wombs” from wood and glass. These trial inventions, called “artificial mothers” or “child hatcheries”, were attempts to challenge the indispensability of women’s bodies, and demonstrate the extent of control over reproduction that is sought through eugenics.
This historic interest in “artificial mothers” finds a very clear parallel in yet another form of contemporary eugenics: transgenderism. A 2018 Turkish study wonders whether transgender-identified women could be used as uterus donors for transgender-identified men who seek a female reproductive anatomy. Many of these women, whose wombs are sought after, will be lesbian – up to 80% of young people who are transitioned are homosexual. The essentialist ideals of womanhood, reproductive and sterilising experimentation on women, and homophobic conversion therapy implicit in transgenderism all indicate that it is contemporary eugenics. As Raymond writes in The Transsexual Empire
A not-so-incidental by-product of this particular medical theodicy is the enlargement of medical knowledge about manipulating organs of the body which specifically function to define biological sex. This, of course, works to the ultimate benefit of the sadistic side of the theodicy, enabling medical research and technology to acquire a specialised body of scientific knowledge on the manipulation of human sexuality that probably could not be acquired by any other accepted medical procedure.
Liberal New Zealand seeks to lead the way in normalising transgenderism, for instance through pushing law changes that allow sex markers to be changed on birth certificates through a simple, one-step process. Champions of such changes take pride in New Zealand’s history as global “pioneers” – but our early adoption of, for instance, neoliberal economic policy and Depo-Provera require that we think more critically about what our guinea pig status can really mean, for those within and outside New Zealand.
When considering the global impacts of pioneering transgenderism, it needs to be understood that the experimentation relied on for and promoted by transgenderism is racist. Recent history of global reproductive experimentation shows us this, but a recent Givealittle campaign run by New Zealand promoters of transgenderism does too. The campaign raised money to promote breast binding in Africa, Latin America and Central Asia, without considering how this Western practice will be absorbed in those contexts. In Iran, for instance, transgenderism is used by doctors as effectively mandatory conversion therapy to make homosexuals appear to be heterosexual. As a result, Iran has between 15,000 and 20,000 transsexuals according to official statistics – or as many as 150,000 by unofficial estimates. In Afghanistan, the pressure on mothers to give birth to boys rather than girls has lead to the practice of bacha posh – girls being raised as boys. To avoid being forced back into female subservience at puberty, some Afghan girls investigate trips to Iran.
Given the status of women around the world and the history of Western medical experimentation on women of colour globally, it is not hard to see how women in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and beyond might be used as experimental fodder in this latest reproductive experiment that New Zealand seeks to champion. Locally, too, there is a sizeable push to conflate Western transgenderism with indigenous concepts relating to gender and sexual orientation such as Māori takatāpui and Samoan fa’afafine. This conflation is appropriative, and will lead to increasing prescriptions of puberty blockers to increasing numbers of Pacific young people. Puberty blockers are known to lock children on a path to cross-sex hormones, and this course of treatment results in sterilisation 100% of the time.
It should be clear from this article that medical eugenics is an aspect of white supremacy that never went away, but continued to shape-shift throughout the twentieth century and under neoliberalism into something more and more global and insidious. Eugenics in its current manifestations require us to think critically about abstract and unreal ideals of femininity; escalated efforts by men to control women’s reproduction and reproductive anatomy; the promotion of suspicion toward lesbians; reproductive experimentation targeted at indigenous groups, and the vigorous punishment of dissent. All of these count as central (not exhaustive) features of eugenics programs.
In the power struggle being waged between liberals and conservatives in New Zealand today, it is liberals who often use the term “Nazi” to characterise and protest racist thinking. These accusations may be accurate, but the history of medical eugenics demands that liberals take a look at what their own ideologies have in common with Nazism to boot. All the evidence shows that transgenderism is a neoliberal eugenics movement with roots in the Nazi experimentations, the witchcraze, slave trade and colonisation, as well as twentieth century conversion therapy and population control. Its promotion relies on just as sedate a populace as the rise of Nazism did, so it is time we woke up.
We’re thrilled that Stronger CA priority bill “Closing the Salary History Loophole” (AB 2282 – Eggman) was fast-tracked by Governor Jerry Brown and signed into law on July 18.
This bill will close a significant loophole in California’s ban on using prior salary history to justify pay discrimination: Until now, employers could point to a person’s prior salary to justify paying them less, as long as they could also point to other, different factors. Under 2282, prior salary cannot be used at all to justify wage disparities under the California Equal Pay Act, which prohibits unequal pay based on gender, race or ethnicity.
Why is AB 2282 important?
No more waiting to find out what a job pays
AB 2282 will also require employers to provide a position’s salary range or hourly wage scale to a prospective employee (i.e. job applicant) upon “reasonable request” — any time after the applicant completes an initial interview with the employer.
This means no more wasting weeks, taking off work, or traveling for multiple interviews only to find out a prospective job pays way too little. For working single moms, low-wage workers, and many others in California, this is a huge victory.
- Breaking the cycle of pay discrimination
Prior salary often comes with a built-in history of discrimination based on a person’s race, ethnicity, and/or gender.
By making it clear that a person’s prior salary or hourly wage cannot justify any gender or race-based pay differential for equal work (whether by itself, or accompanied by lawful factors), AB 2282 closes a significant loophole and allows California to continue leading the nation on equal pay laws.
Now, employers can only rely on legitimate, non race or sex-based factors to justify paying one employee less than a co-worker of a different sex or race for equal work.
This interpretation is consistent with a federal opinion by the 9th Circuit issued in April, which said employers cannot use prior salary at all (neither alone, nor with other lawful factors) to justify pay disparities under the federal Equal Pay Act, because “[r]eliance on past wages simply perpetuates the past pervasive discrimination that the Equal Pay Act seeks to eradicate.” (Equal Rights Advocates argued before an en banc panel in this case.)
By seeking salary history from job applicants and relying on it to set a new employee’s pay rate, employers perpetuate historical discrimination and wage inequalities across the every job sector. Women earn less than men starting just one year out of college, even when controlling for factors like major, occupation, and hours worked. Because women frequently begin their careers earning lower salaries than men, they remain at a stark disadvantage throughout their working lives, especially when employers set pay based on prior salaries.
To support other bills in Equal Rights Advocates 2018 Stronger California legislative agenda — to reduce pay discrimination, help end sexual harassment, increase protections for domestic workers, and make child care more affordable — click here.
This is a collection of facts and statistics relating to gender identity, catered to a New Zealand audience.
Who identifies as transgender?
- Heterosexual adult males comprise the majority of adult-to-trans people (Sheila Jeffreys, Gender Hurts).
- Ruth Barrett reports in Female Erasure that an estimated 0.3% – 0.5% of males define themselves as women.
- According to a 2003 study by John Hopkins School of Medicine, one in 11,900 males and one in 30,400 females identify as “transgender”.
- A recent New Zealand study suggests that at least 1.2 percent of secondary school children identify as transgender (Jennifer Bilek and Mary Ceallaigh, in Female Erasure, 2016, source not cited.)
- Diane Ehrensahft, founding member of the Child and Adolescent Gender Centre in San Francisco, claims that infants who can’t yet speak can still be diagnosed as transgender based on actions like unclipping baby onesies to make them into a “dress”, or rejecting hair clips.
- Children as young as five are being affirmed as the opposite sex and fully socially transitioned into the identity of the opposite sex. Genitalia tuckers for natal boys and penis prostheses for natal girls are available to purchase for children as young as six.
- RainbowYouth, a New Zealand organisation, promotes breast binding in schools. This is also a tacit way of encouraging the next step, double mastectomies. These have been carried out on young women in New Zealand who identify as transgender.
- According to the American College of Pediatricians (ACP), 80-95% of pre-pubertal children with gender dysphoria will experience resolution by late adolescence if not exposed to social affirmation and medical intervention.
- Puberty blocking medication followed by cross sex hormone medication leads to sterilisation 100% of the time, because this course of treatment prevents the reproductive anatomy from developing.
- According to the ACP, the largest study of twin transsexual adults found that only 20% of identical twins were both trans-identified. If genes and/or prenatal hormones contributed to transgenderism, this would be closer to 100%.
- Many reports show a pattern in girls being treated as “transgender” as also suffering from anorexia and/or autism.
- “The trend we are now witnessing is saying, in essence, that for 1 in 100 children the body that their mother gestated and birthed and brought to earth is not good enough – and that biology is not something to love and respect.” (Bilek and Ceallaigh, 2016)
- It is often claimed that the existence of intersex conditions proves the legitimacy of claims that males can become female and vice-versa. That this claim is absurd and rife with contradictions at the outset should be self evident.
Experimental gay eugenics
- While the majority of trans identified adults are male and heterosexual, a landmark study by psychiatrist and lawyer Richard Green found that up to 80% – the great majority – of children diagnosed with gender identity disorder become lesbian, homosexual or bisexual (Yale University, 1987). Because this diagnosis puts children on a medical trajectory that ultimately results in sterilisation, many feminists call transgenderism a new form of gay eugenics.
- In Iran, transgenderism is used by doctors as a “cure” for homosexuality, which also reduces executions. Those who wish to remain in Iran often receive a shocking prescription to have surgery to change their gendered appearance and appear heterosexual. Iran has between 15,000 and 20,000 transsexuals, according to official statistics. Unofficial estimates put the figure up at 150,000. (Bilek and Ceallaigh, 2016)
- A 2018 gynecological study invesigates the possibility of utilising the uteri surgically removed from females who undergo gender reassignment procedures, for installation into the bodies of males who undergo sex reassignment procedures. This kind of experimentation is part of a longer history of sexist, racist and homophobic eugenics that also has roots in the Nazi era.
Big money and media
- The new, global pharmaceutical industry is now the most profitable industry on earth, outpacing oil, gas and chemicals combined (Bilek and Ceallaigh, 2016).
- According to the ACP, there are now 40 gender clinics across the United States that promote the use of pubertal suppression and cross-sex hormones in children.
- The top five funders that have provided over 55% of all trans lobby and media funding from 2011-13 include such major players as the Open Society Foundation (George Soros), Arcus Foundation, Tawani Foundation, Tides Foundation, and many officially “anonymous” donors with high profiles in tech, medicine and entertainment – such as the wealthiest CEO in the United States, Martine Rothblatt (Bilek and Ceallaigh, 2016). Starbucks has recently announced its support, and in New Zealand, transactivism has corporate backing from Air New Zealand, NZME, to ANZ Bank to Fletcher Building (see video at 14:00).
- In 2013 transgenderism barely registered on our cultural radar. By 2014 there’d been a 400% spike in media coverage (and this was before the transition of Bruce “Caitlyn” Jenner). Though transgender individuals make up less than 4% of the population (but growing), there were at least nineteen new television shows featuring a transgender character in 2014. (Bilek and Ceallaigh, 2016)
- Feminists have written extensively about postmodern theories of gender as a backlash to the Women’s Studies departments that were set up in feminism’s “second wave”, in the 1970s and 80s. The Sexual Liberals and the Attack on Feminism is a notable anthology. Students at Otago University have replaced their Women’s Week with a “Period Week”, and this year the campus “feminist” organisation printed thousands of stickers saying “Boys Bleed Too” to spread around campus in celebration, believing that “Period Week” was still too female-centric.
- Most if not all women’s organisations in New Zealand have capitulated to the demands of transactivism. That is true of both Women’s Refuge and the National Council of Women (NCW).
- In this climate, silencing, censorship and blacklisting of feminists who are critical of transgender politics is now commonplace in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Because of this, women are resorting to protest. Lesbians around the world are protesting transgenderism, and this year alone have protested at Pride Parades in Auckland, San Francisco, London and beyond.
- Plenty of trans-identified people, like Miranda Yardley, and detransitioners, like Jade Praerie, are speaking out against the irreversible harms of trans ideology on women and trans-identified people alike.
- Transactivists claim that men who identify as women must be given priority in women’s services because they are at more at risk of violence than biological women.
- In the decade between 2008 and 2018, there were two reported murders of trans-identified people in New Zealand.
- In the seven years between 2009 and the end of 2015, 79 women who had already suffered a recorded history of partner violence were killed in New Zealand by men. Note that this is only the number of women killed by men with a prior recorded history of partner violence, meaning that these deaths were all entirely preventable.
- The website Woman Count USA has recorded the names of over 800 women that were killed in the United States by men, in the seven months between January and July 2018.
- International studies show that trans-identified males do exhibit male pattern violence. Reports of violence against women by trans-identified men abound. The Woman Means Something database collects and collates such reports.
- In New Zealand, Malcolm Platt, Rory Francis, and Alex Seu are local trans-identifying male sex offenders whose access to already overflowing women’s prisons would be eased with current Green Party proposals to turn sex self-identification through birth certificate amendments a simple, one-step process.
- In New Zealand, Official Information Act requests have revealed that there are currently approximately thirty-three trans-identified males in New Zealand prisons in total. Eighteen are in for violent crimes, including sexual assault. Seven are in women’s prisons already. According to Corrections New Zealand, in 2017 alone, four assaults were reported against women by trans-identified persons in women’s prisons.
- Women are told that the suicide rates facing trans-identified people are extraordinarily high, and that therefore, we should refrain from asking critical questions about gender identity.
- Yet, as stated, adult males constitute the majority of those who identify as transgender, and the male suicide rate is higher than the female suicide rate, as Statistics NZ reports. It makes sense that among a concentrated group of males who have dysphoria in common, as well as experiences with high-risk invasive medical intervention and surgery, suicide rates would be markedly higher.
- According to the World Health Organisation’s 2014 report Preventing Suicide, suicide is the leading cause of death globally for teen girls aged 15-19. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention stated that suicide among teenage girls hit a 40-year high in 2015.
- Transgenderism undermines women’s sports. In recent years, Gavin Hubbard has represented New Zealand in women’s weightlifting, and “Kate” Weathersley has competed in men’s and women’s mountain biking simultaneously. In March 2017, Hubbard won gold in the Australian International weightlifting championships after lifting 19 kilos more than Samoan silver medallist Iuniarra Sipaia. In the States, Fallon Fox is a male who dominates women’s mixed martial arts.
- Transactivists like to ridicule women who seek to keep female-only bathrooms and changing rooms female-only. Women’s only bathrooms were fought for by first wave feminists seeking to increase women’s participation in public life, and are still being fought for the same reasons by feminists for instance in India.
- Transgenderism brings with it a drive to erase references to female genitalia, menstruation, pregnancy and abortion.
- Abortion Law Reform New Zealand increasingly refers to “pregnant people” rather than pregnant women. Their 2018 submission on abortion law reform includes the word ‘women’ only twice, preferring “pregnant people” and “people with a uterus”. Such language is reductionist and dehumanising. As Rachel Moran writes in her book Paid For, a classic misogynist joke asks ‘What is a woman?’ and answers, ‘A support system for a pussy.’ Transgenderism encourages women to think of themselves in such reductionist terms.
- In the United States, MaryLou Singleton was kicked out of the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) when she objected to the removal of the sex-specific terms like “women” and “female” from MANA’s core competency documents. An open letter to MANA from Singleton and a Collective of Many Midwives can be found here.
- Globally, taboos on female biology such as those described above contribute to the oppression of women and girls. This sex-based oppression of includes sex selective abortion and female infanticide; female genital mutilation; the forced marriage of 15 million girl children annually; forced hijab; denial of education including sex education; poverty and sweatshop labour; domestic servitude and abuse; sex trafficking (98% of sex trafficking victims are female); honor killings and acid attacks, among many other abuses. This oppression is profitable: sex trafficking generates U.S. $32 billion a year; pornography about US$97.06 billion.
The San Francisco Examiner covered a federal hearing and Equal Rights Advocates press conference regarding our federal lawsuit against Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education. They extensively quoted Legal Director Jennifer Reisch, and ERA client, advocate, and student survivor Amelia Wagoner.
Jennifer Reisch, legal director of Equal Rights Advocates, said that the new guidelines also “eliminate time frames for resolving complaints,” resulting in investigations “going on indefinitely,with no resolution for either party.”
At a press conference following the hearing, Amelia Wagoner, a student survivor, shared her experience with navigating Humboldt State University’s processes under the new policies after she was sexually assaulted by a student athlete last October.
“Even after he was notified that he was being investigated I wasn’t offered any protection,” said Wagoner. “I just wanted to go to class, go to practice and feel safe but I couldn’t.”…
Reisch said that the new policies send a message to students reporting sexual harassment and violence that “ you come forward at your peril.”
“You will be subject to an indefinite investigation, you are going to potentially be subject to a system that will allow the responding student to appeal even if you’re not allowed to appeal,” she said.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of plaintiffs Equal Rights Advocates, SurvJustice, and Victim Rights Law Center by three national public interest organizations: Democracy Forward, the National Center for Youth Law, and the National Women’s Law Center.