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When I first signed up for this Woman’s Studies course, I really was not all that interested and just took it because I needed it for a GEC requirement. After 10 weeks of reading numerous articles on women’s issues, I am thankful that I took this class because it has taught me a lot. At first I thought Women’s Studies was just all about radical feminists that just THINK women are oppressed, but now I realize that although it seems women have equal rights, they don’t everywhere. There are three topics that really caught my attention in this course and those three are bonobos, rape, and water.

We read an article about bonobos which is an animal similar to a chimpanzee. These animals use sex as a social mechanism and have higher status then female chimpanzees. Another fact that was really interesting to me was that bonobo males get their status through their mothers. It was really neat to learn about women in another form besides human. Female bonobos attain power through sisterhood. This just shows how even in animal’s, sisterhood can make a very powerful difference.

Rape has always been a very touchy subject for women and although I expected to learn more about this in class, I didn’t imagine it to affect me as much as it did. For one of my previous blogs I searched my schools history on rape. I found that there have been many rape cases and they were handled in a horrible way. I never even imagined that something like this would happen around my campus. It taught me to be aware and realize that you should always be careful no matter where you are. It really disturbed me to learn about rape myths that pretty much blame the victim instead of the perpetrator.

The most interesting subject to me in this class was the subject about water being a woman’s issue. I just recently blogged about this but I can completely relate to it. I have family and know people that live in India and I know how hard it is for them to have water sometimes. Their water is not sanitary and sometimes they go days without even showering. I know there are many countries that have worse conditions but when you personally know people it affects you even more. I never really thought that water could be a woman’s issue but I learned that it definitely is. Water is key for survival and if women are responsible for getting water for their families then it definitely is an issue.

I learned a lot in this class and found that I want to learn even more about woman’s studies. I did not come in to this class thinking I would learn anything valuable but I definitely did. Women are faced with so many issues throughout the world and we are so unaware of it. I suggest everyone needs to take at least one woman’s studies class in their lifetime. It really teaches you about everyday issues and really gets you to think and want to take part to make life better for women!

Here are some links to the websites on my favorite subjects in this class:

http://songweaver.com/info/bonobos.html

http://www.aaets.org/

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/03/22/world-water-women-water-health

 

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 A recent article titled “On World Water Day: Women, Water, and Health”, written by Elayne Clift, argued the equal importance of water for women compared to any other gender.  She described the life of a woman named Nakwetikya who was from country called Tazania. This woman had to walk miles and miles in order to provide some form of water for her family. She would walk up dangerous hills and risk her life by carrying heavy barrels of water. The sad part is that the water was not even sanitary. It was filled with feces and polluted with flies. This just makes me think how important water is to me. We are lucky and privileged to have the water that we have but I feel like we take advantage of it. I cannot tell you how many times I have thrown out almost full water bottles because the water was warm or I just did not feel like drinking it. Reading about this woman’s story made me realize that she would have been so pleased to have that water that I threw away so casually. Yet, when I am thirsty from walking up the stairs I rush to have a glass of water that is readily available for me but it is not f or Nakwetikya after her long walks. A British organization called Water Aid, installed water well in Nakwetikya’s village. She was so pleased and said she was as happy as a prisoner being set free. Water Aid is promoting women’s involvement in water providing decisions because they believe that the women will know best where the water is most needed. This is excellent because it is giving women a say in something that is so economically important.

                According to the article, the United Nations has estimated that by 2025 48 countries will face fresh water scarcity. Fresh water in a crucial source to survival and if it is going to become scarce then we need to do something to help provide people with adequate water. There are organizations such as the Public Services International that are trying to improve management of water delivery to those countries in need. If women were able to get water for their families then it would help improve their lifestyles as well.  As mentioned by Clift, the young women would be able to attend school during the day and the elder woman could work out in the fields instead of searching for water all day. It is known that people should drink at least 8 glasses of water each day in order to stay healthy. Although in America we are provided with adequate water, to any of us really take advantage of it. Reading this article made me realize how crucial water is and how important it is to women’s health. Water supply is definitely a Women’s issue especially in those countries where it is scarce. We all need to help support the few organizations that are out there trying to help woman and countries in general that are not being provided with fresh sanitary water.

http://www.renalfellow.blogspot.com/

http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/03/22/world-water-women-water-health

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A recent article titled “Palin and Bachmann trash Michelle Obama’s breast-feeding advocacy”, written by Kristin Wartman, argues the importance of breast feeding for babies. Both republican conservatives, Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann attack the first lady, Michelle Obama for supporting and encouraging breast feeding. Soon after the first lady promoted the importance of breast feeding especially among African-American women, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that breast pumps would be included in tax breaks. Both these conservative women argue that the government should not get involved in personal choices such as using breast pumps. They stress that Michelle Obama is using a leftist idea to get the government involved in everything and feel that the idea of tax breaks is nonsense.

Personally I think that this idea of tax breaks is a good idea. We will take it on whatever we can and this can really help working mothers out. After researching breast pumps, I found that there cost can be as high as 350 dollars and for most women that are on maternity leave that is a very pricy amount. One more thing that stuck out to me from this article is the fact that two conservative republican women are arguing that we should have the rights to chose to breast feed, well what about abortion then? Michelle Obama is not saying that there is some law stating that you have to, but she is just promoting it because there are so many benefits to breast feeding. Republicans are strictly against abortion, so is that not an individuals choice also? I just don’t think that the first lady should be attacked for supporting something beneficial.

A website dedicated to the benefits of breastfeeding lists out its many benefits and some of these examples straight from the site are: http://www.motheringfromtheheart.com/Benefits.htm

• Children receive the most complete and optimal mix of nutrients & antibodies

• The varying composition of breastmilk keeps pace with the infant’s individual growth and changing nutritional needs

• Have fewer incidences of vomiting and diarrhea in the US (20-35 million episodes of diarrhea occur in children under the age of 5, resulting in over 200,000 hospitalizations and 400-500 deaths in the U.S.)

• Protection against gastroenteritis, necrotizing entercolitis

• Reduced risk of chronic constipation, colic, and other stomach upsets

• Reduced risk of childhood diabetes

• Protection against ear infections, respiratory illnesses, pneumonia, bronchitis, kidney infections, septicemia (blood poisoning),

• Protection against allergies, asthma, eczema, and severity of allergic disease

• Reduced risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) Statistics reveal that for every 87 deaths from SIDS, only 3 are breastfed.

The most shocking benefit from this list is that of 87 only 3 infants are breast fed that die from SIDS. This really hits home for me because I have lost a very close infant to SIDS and this baby was not being breast fed. It only makes me wonder that if this baby were breast fed could that maybe have saved them. I think it is a very admirable quality that the first lady is in support of something so crucial to the health of growing babies and I don’t think that people should target breast feeding as a means to attack Michelle Obama.

http://www.grist.org/sustainable-food/2011-02-22-michelle-obama-breast-feed-bachmann-palin

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The Ohio State University is ranked as one of the top fifty colleges in the nation. Going to a well know university, one would think is a pretty safe place to be, but really how safe is Ohio States Columbus campus? One of the leading concerns on college campuses today is sexual assault and behaviors of that nature. Now when we send our kids off to college we hope and pray that they never come across a situation like that but sometimes it is unavoidable. A question that comes to mind is what are Ohio States policies on these behaviors and have they encountered situations dealing with this in the past?

Well, after doing some research on Ohio States university website, I came across a Code of Conduct that addresses these issues. The code of conduct states that if any student within the universities jurisdiction is found to have engaged or attempted to engage in endangering behavior, stalking, or sexual misconduct will be subject to disciplinary action by the university. Endangering behavior is defined as anything that threatens the safety of an individual, stalking is defined as engaging in a pattern of unwanted conduct, and the definition sexual misconduct is broken down into many sub categories. The sub categories include non-consensual sexual intercourse of contact, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, and indecent exposure. Knowing that OSU has these listed out and the repercussions of each act defined is a big relief, but does OSU really take action against situations like this.

After doing some research I came across a case titled Jane Doe vs. The Ohio State University. This case dates back to 2oo2 and is about a rape that occurred on university campus. Jane Doe claimed that defendant Jeremy Goldstein sexually assaulted, molested, and raped her. Both the plaintiff and defendant were students attending the University. It is stated that the defendant was alleged for the rape of another student just nineteen days before that of Jane. Despite knowing of this alleged rape, the university did not suspend of remove the student off the campus and thus led to the defendant’s ability to rape Jane. The university was negligent in handling the case that created a dangerous condition on its campus. It is also found that the university was failing to provide adequate security in the dormitories. The plaintiff demanded rewards for punitive damages, but I was unable to find the end to the case.

It is absolutely shocking to find out that the university did not take the first assault by the defendant seriously. They did absolutely nothing to prevent such an action from reoccurring, and it did indeed reoccur. It has been said that people learn from their mistakes, so I hope that OSU has learned from taking such a serious situation so lightly and I pray that they will not do that again.

http://www.securityoncampus.org/pdf/DoevOSU.pdf

http://studentlife.osu.edu/pdfs/csc_12-31-07.pdf

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An article titled, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”, written by Peggy McIntosh, describes the daily effects of white privilege and how we are unable to see the dominance the skin color of White actually has. Peggy compares this to male privilege in our world and how men are unwilling to see the advantages they have compared to women. Similarly, Peggy argues that we have always been taught to see racism as something that puts people at a disadvantage, but we were never taught to see how it puts the White race at an advantage.  She creates a list of fifty ways the White race is privileged on a daily basis. Two examples that stuck out to me most were, “I can chose blemish cover or bandages in “flesh” color and have them more or less match my skin” and “I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race”. The first one really affected me because I never took the time to think of this. When I go to buy make up I will pick up one that says flesh color but whose flesh color will it match? It is assumed that the flesh color is that of a White person but it fails to show that the flesh color of a Black person may be different. The second one really stuck out to me because although it is embarrassing to say, I find myself conforming to that idea of stereotyping. For example, I see an Asian and assume that they are excellent in mathematics, but I never realized how wrong it is to assume that.

Taking the ideas of Peggy and using it to look at people on social assistance, we can see that they are being lacked privilege over others. If I had to create a list of three ways to show lack of privilege of people on social welfare it would include the following:

1)      People on welfare still live far below the poverty line

2)      Majority of the people on welfare are adult women

3)      Women are paid lower wages that results in welfare assistance

It is a known fact that women are paid less than men and this fact is what led to 90% of people on welfare being women. Women are not given as many job opportunities as men are and therefore are being forced to depend on social assistance programs. The problems with these programs are that they do not last forever. For example, TANF, which is the welfare program in the U.S., only provides welfare for five years. Well what happens after those five years? How are women supposed to survive if they are less privileged then men in searching for jobs? According to Women’s Media, women still earn seventy seven cents of every full-time male dollar. The only way to fix these problems is to become more aware and active in helping the percentage of women in welfare to drop. After reading many articles, I am motivated to make myself and others more aware of the privileges males have over females and to help women get out of welfare programs and instead be in successful independent job positions.

http://www.womensmedia.com/money/95-gender-wage-gap-are-you-paid-as-much-as-a-man-if-he-had-your-job.html

http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf

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The Triangle Waist Company Factory was located in New York City. Many immigrant workers were employed there and women ranging from the ages 16-23 worked there making shirtwaists. On March 25th, 1911 the factory caught on fire and killed 146 workers from which more than half were female. The factory workers worked on the 7th floor up to the 9th. They were not informed of the fire immediately and had no way to escape. They had only one fire escape but even this did not lead to the ground and doors were locked by the owners because they feared workers would steal. Employees were forced to jump out of windows because they would rather risk that then being burned alive. The employees of the factory were not provided with safe working conditions. They worked six days a week and were not properly paid for the work they did.

Kate Kelly wrote an article on Huffpost New York titles “The Triangle Factory Fire Centennial and Why It Matters Today”, this article talks about what we can learn from this fire and how it affects us in present day. Kate writes that workers fought for better pay and working conditions two years prior to the fire but their wishes were ignored and not realized until after the fire happened. In 2004 a New York activist names Ruth Sergel created a group to remember the Triangle Factory workers and to remind us what they did for us. The factory fire created stronger unions and some better working conditions but still till this day there are people who are working in horrible conditions and with bad pay. 98% of garment factories in Los Angeles still have health and safety issues and garment factories in New York violate laws dealing with minimum wage and overtime. Kate says that we all have a responsibility to make sure each of our voices is heard and I really agree with this. Sometimes the voices that are given importance are of those who are wealthy but we have to make sure everyone has their voice heard. By mentioning statistics about how there are still safety issues in big time cities like New York and Los Angeles, Kate is showing how things still have not changed completely.

Today most companies will provide health benefits to their employees and provide a secure environment but it is not everywhere. I work for JP Morgan Chase and the company provides us with benefits and has taken the responsibility to ensure safety in the work environment. I know working for a big time company like JP Morgan Chase is a lot different than working in a factory and it is probably a lot less safe. I feel like we have to have some sort of disaster happen in order for anyone to even think about change. For example, the factory workers in the Triangle Factory had complained about poor working conditions prior to the fire but nothing was done until afterwards and still today it is an issue. When people come to work they want to feel safe and feel cared for, they do not want to be treated as if they are worthless. It is our job and duty as citizens to ensure the safety of our people, and I feel that we should not ignore these horrible working conditions but instead we should do something about it. I know Walmart is not a factory but we all know about Walmart and its poor working conditions. I did an assignment last quarter in which I found that Walmart employees get paid about twenty percent less than the average retail worker. I wish I could do something to help people and make them realize that they deserve better!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-kelly/the-triangle-factory-fire_b_832843.html

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After observing the PBS site provided below about race, I came to know many things about race that I hadn’t known before. This website really makes you think about race and what it actually. I never knew race included religion, class, and status. My impression of race was always based on skin color. I guess that’s just the way I was taught to think race was. The website talks about racism today and even in history, it brings up the sensitive topic of slavery. We all have learned about slavery in some history class, but had anyone really thought about why it happened? African Americans were treated so harshly because of their skin color, their race. How is this fair? I know slavery may have stopped here in the USA, but has racism stopped. My answer to this question is a definite no. We all do not have the same chance at success. We have so many stereotypes in this world that it is hard to believe we could all ever have the same chance. Although many things lead me to believe this, I would like to focus on one particular reason for me saying this. After the horrible terrorist attack on September 11th, the whole country was left disturbed and negatively affected, and this includes even Muslims.

After the September 11th attack, there was a stereotype created that if you are a Muslim, you are a terrorist. I think this is the most ridiculous statement I have ever heard. A group of RADICAL Muslims committed an act that killed innocents and those that had part in this should be punished, not the whole race or religion of Islam. How is it fair to punish an entire race for an act that radical extremists committed? One of my best friends happens to be a Muslim, she was told by a classmate that she needs to hide the fact that she is Muslim or else she would never be accepted anywhere. My friend came crying to me because she was scared. The only think I could say to her was sorry because no one deserves to hear something like that. Also, her cousin wears a hijab (a head scarf that Muslims women wear) and when she was walking to school a group of boys pulled her hijab off an called her a daughter of a terrorist. How is it this innocent girls fault?

Although there are many to choose from, I provided a link below to an article I found on USA today. This article talks about a man who received a email from a co-worker addressed dear terrorist. There were studies shown in this article that after September 11th, many Muslims have been found to be depressed and have worse mental conditions compared to those of Christians. I feel that this is so horrible and should not be happening. Like I mentioned previously, an entire race should not be punished for crimes committed by others.

We can try and deny it but it doesn’t change the truth. Not everyone, but some people are racist when hiring for a job. And this racism is sometimes based on religion and it is very shameful. I wish we can overcome racism but it has been here since slavery days and I feel like it can get better if we all try.

http://www.pbs.org/race/001_WhatIsRace/001_00-home.htm

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-08-09-muslim-american-cover_x.htm

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