Women's Fightback no.3, July 2007

Defend Malalai Joya!

Published on: Mon, 09/07/2007 - 21:18

By Amina Saddiq

AT 28, Malalai Joya is Afghanistan’s youngest member of parliament, one of only a handful of women MPs. And Joya is a consistent fighter for women and girls.

She has taught literacy classes and ran an orphanage and health clinic. She has spoken out against the continuing dominance of the warlords, religious fanatics and drug traffickers in Afghanistan’s stitched up and botched together post-Taliban parliament.

For this, for being a brave fighter for the oppressed, Joya has now been suspended by her “fellow MPs” from Parliament. Joya has also received many threats on her life

The left and the ‘veil’

Published on: Thu, 28/06/2007 - 21:13

by Pat Yarker

Some on the left argue that Muslim women have taken to wearing the ‘veil’ (used here to mean such attire as the niqab or burqa) as a political act with a positive content. They read in veiling” a statement of support for anti-imperialism, and an expression of solidarity with co-religionists under attack. They point to aspects of Frantz Fanon’s writings about the Algerian war of independence against the French as a vindication of this position. Conscious of my own identity as a white atheist male, I want to argue that there are problems not only with citing Fanon in relation to

Police fail ‘honour’ crime victims

Published on: Thu, 28/06/2007 - 21:08

BY Sofie Buckland

As the Organisation for Women's Freedom in Iraq campaigns against honour killings in Kurdistan (see www.workersliberty.org/node/8491), news of honour killings in Britain has been splashed across the press. Centring on the case of Banaz Mahmod, a young Kurdish women, whose uncle and father have just been convicted of her murder, British press coverage exposes the failure of police to take this kind of violence seriously.

Banaz told police on at least four separate occasions that her family were trying to kill her. Her transgression was to leave an unhappy arranged marriage

High court “purity ring” challenge

Published on: Thu, 28/06/2007 - 21:05

As I write this we are awaiting the High Court judgement on the case that a 16 year old girl, Lydia Playfoot, has brought against her school for stopping her wearing a “purity ring”.

The idea of “purity rings” is imported from the Christian right in the United States. They are aimed at young people and are supposed to represent their commitment to chastity until they get married. They are the symbols of a movement called “The Silver Ring Thing”. The rings are inscribed with a reference to the biblical verse I Thessalonians 4:3-4, which translates as: “God wants you to be holy, so you should

Remember Harriet Law

Published on: Thu, 28/06/2007 - 21:02

By Laura Schwartz

In 1868 Karl Marx wrote a letter to Kugelman announcing the election of Harriet Law to the General Council of the First International. The election of a woman to the otherwise all male International was, in 1868, certainly noteworthy.

In Britain and most of Europe women were still denied any form of parliamentary representation, including the vote, and were also excluded from or marginalized by many radical political movements. In theory, Marx recognised that the struggle for socialism would never succeed unless it included women.

In the same letter he went on to remark

Porn at work is not ok

Published on: Thu, 28/06/2007 - 21:00

Cath Fletcher's article in Women’s Fightback 2 "What's wrong with liking porn?" is the flip side of what Sofie Buckland described (Women’s Fightback no. 1) as campaigning against porn as a way of "expressing distaste". Whilst some anti porn campaigners base their viewpoint on their dislike of porn, Cath seems to be basing her arguments on women liking porn. Like or dislike is really not the point.

We need more open discussion of sex and sexuality in our society, as Cath says, but the availability of pornography does not in itself promote that discussion. The objectification of women's bodies

Gay Pride — we still need to fight!

Published on: Thu, 28/06/2007 - 20:58

BY Maria Exall

London Pride, taking place over the weekend of 30 June-1 July, is an event which points towards liberation. The right to celebrate our sexuality in public is an important part of our freedom.

This years Pride takes place in a year when we have seen bans and protests against Pride in other countries. The Mayor of London will be attending London Pride, but the Mayor of Moscow has banned Moscow Pride. Neo Nazi groups and religious reactionaries have targeted Prides in many countries. In Jerusalem a Jewish fundamentalist protestor was arrested with a homemade bomb, created for use

A real strategy for equal pay

Published on: Thu, 28/06/2007 - 20:55

BY Janine Booth (Chair, RMT Women’s Advisory Committee - PC)

The Women and Work Commission was New Labour’s attempt to address the embarrassment and injustice of the enduring gender pay gap. But its report was woeful, in great part blaming women and girls for going into low-paid jobs and men and boys for renouncing those jobs for better-paid work.

The Government has now published a report on the work it has done in response to the Commission — entitled ‘Towards a Fairer Future’. And as befits a woeful Commission, it’s a woeful report. It emanates from the Department of Communities and Local

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