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Posts Tagged ‘Sexism’

IB imageRussia bans Trans* people from driving

Catherine Ravenscroft, Durham University

Last month Russia enacted a new law effectively banning people with certain illnesses from driving. Within the listed illnesses are those viewed as “personality and behaviour disorders”, for example transsexualism and other “disorders of sexual preference”.

The move was justified by the Russian government on the basis of a need to reduce the high rates of traffic accidents occurring each year. The country currently has some of the worst figures for road accident fatalities in the world and it is believed that stricter controls on those given the opportunity to drive will make the roads safer.

Nevertheless, the Act has received international criticism due to its potentially detrimental effects on the transgender community. Jean Freedberg, of Human Rights Campaign Global, argued that the ban is “simply another example of the Russian government’s increased campaign of persecution and discrimination against its LGBT population”. Like other critics, Freedberg fails to see the logic behind connection that the Russian government has drawn between gender identity and driver ability. As Shawn Gaylord, of US-based Human Rights First, argues, “banning people from driving based on their gender identity or expression is ridiculous”. He also expresses concerns that it could deter transgender people from seeking mental health services due to a fear of losing the right to drive.

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SKDr Sarah Keenan teaches and writes on property, feminist and critical race theory at SOAS School of Law.

This piece was originally posted on halfinplace and is reproduced here with permission and thanks.

This is the text of a speech I gave at the SOAS teach-out as part of the UCU strike on October 31, 2013:

It’s great to see you all here at the teach-out today.  As you know, a strike is one strategy in trying to fight the neoliberalisation of higher education, but any political campaign that aims to fight or destroy something needs to also actively think about and start creating what it wants to build instead.  By working together to make this teach-out happen the SOAS SU and UCU haven’t just helped to protest against unfair pay for university staff, but have actually created an open, free and diverse space where students and lecturers can discuss ideas, which is exactly the kind of space that we want our universities to be.

By doing that and being here at the teach-out today creating our own space, we are resisting the politics of inclusion.  Those of us who are trying to achieve real social change need to be careful that we aren’t just asking or fighting to be included in systems and institutions that are already broken.  That means for those of us who occupy marginal identity categories, that we need to avoid political campaigns that aim for our inclusion in systems and institutions that are elitist, and/or that are sexist, racist, homophobic, ableist or otherwise violent.  Those systems and institutions weren’t built by or for marginalised and oppressed people, and inclusion in those systems won’t end structures of power that produce gross social and economic inequality. (more…)

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IB imageSnapshots of law, gender and sexuality news from the past couple of weeks

UN Women Ad Campaign Shows Pervasive Sexism

Lauren Posada

Recently, UN Women has launched an ad campaign, created by Memac Ogilvy and Mather Dubai, which shows the extent of worldwide sexism and discrimination against women. Using the Google search bar, UN Women inputted the beginning of sentences such as “women shouldn’t”, and put the drop down options over women’s mouths. While shocking, a quick check of Google shows that these are in fact true. Arwa Mahdawi, writing for the Guardian, warns us against taking the campaign too literally and notes that “autocomplete isn’t always an entirely accurate reflection of the collective psyche”. Whilst this may be true, and no doubt Google does come up with some questionable autocomplete answers at times, it is undeniably disturbing to see these searches from a world widely used search engine. Whilst perhaps the searches are not reflective of all of humanity, the adverts are definitely thought provoking and lead us to question how far equality between the genders has actually progressed.

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