Advancing the Feminist Cause but at What/Whose Cost?

GirlThe Brazil National High School Exam (ENEM) recently made headlines for its inclusion of several controversial questions. The nationally administered exam included two questions that asked students to take a stance on women’s’ rights in Brazil. Two of the multiple choice questions included excerpts from prominent feminist scholars while the essay’s theme was the prevalence of violence against women in Brazilian society. After the test was administered, the questions caused national debate. Students and politicians alike used social media to express feelings of disdain and support.

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COP21: Include African Women

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Edna Kaptoyo and Priscilla Achakpa discuss the importance of African women’s voices at COP21. See full video here.

In the video above, Priscilla Achakpa of Nigeria and Edna Kaptoyo of Kenya discuss the importance of African women’s involvement in the Paris Climate Change Conference given the disproportionate effect that climate change has on women in developing countries. Achakpa and Kaptoyo explain that in rural communities, women are the main source of labor in a family. This means that the woman is responsible for collecting water and firewood for the household, along with completing other agricultural and household tasks. When lakes dry up as a result of climate change, it is women who are expected to walk to the extra distance to the next available water source. This can prove to be a dangerous and grueling task.

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Women’s Media, Only the Starting Point

In recent years, female students start to take advantage of the technology era and make great efforts to create online platforms for women’s voice. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, a young Muslim student, launched MuslimGirl.net, which challenges stereotypes of Muslim women. Another group of Harvard students is even more high-profile by designing an online magazine website, Her Campus, exclusively for domestic and international female students.qOdDBN1

Her Campus has more than 300 chapters, each called “My Campus,” at universities in the United States and across the globe, including Finland, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom and Puerto Rico. Continue reading

Germany and Refugees: The Challenges Ahead

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Willkommensklasse in Berlin / Westfälische Nachrichten

It is now projected that over 1 million refugees will make their way to Germany by the end of this year. What will the future look like for those who manage to stay?

So far, German language learning has been a keystone to integration programs. The requirement to enroll in schools varies across German states, but usually comes into effect 3 months after asylum applications are submitted.  Students of all levels join Willkomensklassen, where language acquisition is the main focus. The expectation is that these separate courses will enable refugee children to later join standard classes the next year.

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“They Realized that we are Indeed Capable of Studying:” The SDGs and Educating People with Disabilities

Sustainable Development Goal Number 4 Source: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/focussdgs.html

Sustainable Development Goal Number 4
Source: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/focussdgs.html

The theme for this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated on Thursday, December 3rd, was “Inclusion Matters: Access and Empowerment for People of all Abilities.” This Day is aimed at creating awareness about disability issues aimed at developing an “inclusive and accessible society for all.” This year, the Day was also celebrated against the backdrop of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [discussed in an earlier post]. According to Charlotte Vuyiswa McClain-Nhlapothe Disability Advisor for the World Bank Group, one of the achievements of the SDGs is that they have at least 11 references to disability. Continue reading

The Ultra Rich and Education

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan with their daughter, Max.

This week Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, his wife, announced that they would be donating a large percentage of their fortune to charity over the course of their lifetimes- roughly 99% of their Facebook shares or about $45 billion. This announcement came in the days leading up to the birth of their first child and was delivered as an open letter to their daughter. They framed their announcement as part of their vision for the better world they hoped for for her in her lifetime and to many this was heralded as a generous and selfless decision. And maybe it was to a certain extent. But by putting their money into an LLC, which is what Zuckerberg and Chan have announced they are going to do, they will avoid paying a large sum of taxes on their enormous fortune. So what might the real effect of their decision be, and in particular what could it mean for the state of education in the United States?

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For Them, Education Is Literally the Best Way out

When students mock how schools resemble prisons, schools in prisons are in fact cherished by inmates, especially female prisoners. Recently, three news articles bring up the issue of education in female prisons. In California, female prisoners are trained with computer skills and they obtain certificates after graduation. In Tennessee, women involve in adult education programs where they earn diplomas equivalent to high school degrees. And in Montana, The Department of Corrections is considering adding computer programming classes to state prison education programs to improve inmates’ chances of getting jobs when they finish their sentences. Continue reading