Friday Morning Reads: Let’s hear it for the girls!

Good Morning!

Well, after an intense VEEP debate last night, I’d like to focus on topics related to something I care about.   So, I’ll let Kirk over there phone in the political news,

I deeply care about the future of the world’s girls.This week, we celebrated the first day specifically for girls. Here are some updates on some of the challenges that girls around the globe face. There are many.

One of the most horrifying futures for girls in many countries is becoming a child bride.  I’ve written about this before since seeing a Maria Hinojosa special on PBS called “Child Brides, Stolen Lives”. This was in 2007. I’m proud that our SOS Hillary Clinton has made ending  this a priority for the US.

Part of Clinton’s initiative includes tackling these core causes through education, underscoring a study that reveals that girls with a secondary level education are six times less likely to marry as children.

Some of the steps to empower girls through education include a $15 million initiative through nonprofit USAID and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) tackling cost and safety issues that prevent girls reaching post-primary schooling.

Clinton’s plan also includes tracking every country’s legal minimum age of marriage, providing more training for consular staff to respond to child marriage cases and specifically tackling child marriage in Bangladesh. Here, a pilot program will promote sensitivity through the government, media and other outlets.

Within the private portion of Clinton’s plan, the Ford Foundation also launched a five-year $25 million commitment to end child marriage by pushing local governments to fight child marriage, fund new research on interventions and work to expand girls’ rights.

Here’s some updated information from CARE.

“Child marriage is a violation of human rights whether it happens to a girl or a boy, but it represents perhaps the most prevalent form of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls,” says UNICEF – Child Protection Information Sheet. “The harmful consequences include separation from family and friends, lack of freedom to interact with peers and participate in community activities, and decreased opportunities for education. Child marriage can also result in bonded labour or enslavement, commercial sexual exploitation and violence against the victims,” continues UNICEF.

Advocates say early marriage can be devastating to young girls who do not have the ability to stop inequalities in marriage. Lack of safety and personal power to stop forced sexual activity in marriage can also place young girls in dangers to exposures with HIV/AIDS. Girls who marry early are also more likely to skip school or discontinue their education all together.

“By forcing a child into premature adulthood, early marriage thwarts her chances at education, endangers her health and cuts short her personal growth and development,” says CARE’s “From Aid to Impact” action report. “Maternal health risks are particularly troubling as risk of death in pregnancy and delivery for girls under the age of 15 is five times higher than for women in their 20s,” added CARE.

But can we change conditions for girls who face early marriage? Advocates say YES.

“That’s what we need to commit to: to end child marriage by 2030,” said Mary Robinson, former United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights and one of the global human rights leaders known as The Elders, in a recent October 4, 2012 Google+ Hangout (sponsored by The Elders).

I learned about The Elders from a wonderful TV program on Jane Goodall called “Jane’s Journey” on Animal Planet. Jane has started working with children in a program all over the world called “Shoots and Roots” that is absolutely amazing. It works closely with The Elders.

Goodall’s life and her efforts to save the communities of chimps she first encountered decades ago are front and center in the TV premiere of “Jane’s Journey” at 8 p.m. Tuesday on Animal Planet

She’s behind some of the latest discoveries, like the raising of twin chimps to adulthood and the ability to determine a wild paternity.

Goodall said about 20 years ago that she had figured out the best way to save the chimps would be to help people who live on the land.

“When we talked to the village elders, they told us they wanted better health facilities and education for their children.”

In return, villagers — now living better lives — have turned their attention to preserving at least some of the jungles where the apes live.

But the effort has taken years for Goodall and an army of like-minded individuals to build infrastructure and promote sustainable livelihoods — like growing and exporting coffee.

Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program is one of those programs that simply amazes me.  Again, I learned about it last week when the program aired.

Roots creep underground everywhere and make a firm foundation. Shoots seem very weak, but to reach the light, they can break open brick walls. Imagine that the brick walls are all the problems we have inflicted on our planet. Hundreds of thousands of roots & shoots, hundreds of thousands of young people around the world, can break through these walls. We CAN change the world.
– Dr. Jane

You should watch the Goodall program, the Hinojosa program, and the PBS program “Half the Sky”--promoted by Mona last weekend on Saturday–if you care about girls and boys all over the world.  We’ve promoted the Somaly Mam program for some time on this blog. Her story and the other women’s stories are so inspiring as is the work they do.

Somaly Mam was born in an ethnic minority community in Cambodia’s Mondulkiri province, and grew up as an orphan living in extreme poverty. A man posing as her grandfather sold Somaly as a young girl into sexual slavery.

Forced to work in a brothel, Somaly was repeatedly tortured and raped. One night, she was made to watch as her best friend was murdered. Fearing she would also be killed, Somaly escaped her captors and set about building a new life for herself. She vowed never to forget those left behind and has since dedicated her life to saving victims and empowering survivors.

In 1996, Somaly established a Cambodian non-governmental organization called AFESIP (Agir Pour les Femmes en Situation Précaire), and in 2007 launched theSomaly Mam Foundation.

She quickly gained international attention for her anti-trafficking efforts, and is the recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation and Glamour Magazine’s 2006 Woman of the Year Award. She was featured as a CNN Hero and named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009.

Somaly was also featured in the film Not My Life, an unflinching documentary depicting the horrors of modern slavery on a global scale, which released in 2011.

So, instead of watching something that is meaningless this weekend, please, take time to learn about the life of girls around the world. There are some really inspiring programs that you can learn about in the links that I’ve provided for you this morning.

I wanted to update you on Malala–a young girl who just wants to go to school in Pakistan–who JJ covered in her news post earlier this week.  She has been shifted to AFIC Rawalpindi in serious condition.

The doctors had conducted surgery on Malala’s head and neck to remove a bullet on Wednesday. They advised complete rest for her in the hospital. Col Dr Junaid, who handled the 14-year-old Malala from the first day after she was shifted to the CMH from Swat, told this correspondent outside the ICU where she was fighting for life, that it was now the unanimous decision of the doctors to transfer her to AFIC Rawalpindi for better care.

“A joint team of doctors from the Pakistan Army and civilians held a meeting and found that the surgery done on Malala in Peshawar was outstanding but felt that she now needed better care. The team said the AFIC was a better place for post-operative care for patients suffering from trauma and head injuries,” Col Dr Junaid said.

He said the two British doctors also expressed satisfaction on Malala’s surgery and congratulated the Pakistani neurosurgeons for doing such an excellent job with limited resources.He said Malala would remain at the paediatric unit of AFIC where foreign doctors would assist Pakistani doctors in her treatment.

Before Malala’s shifting, extraordinary security measures were made in and outside the CMH and the Pakistan Army commandos were seen escorting a brief motorcade of two ambulances and military vehicles.

Malalal’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai, her mother and close relatives and Dr Junaid accompanied her in the military helicopter.Though worried for his patient, Col Dr Junaid said he was optimistic she would recover soon. “It’s a critical injury. We are keeping her on a ventilator,” he said. Asked as to when she would regain consciousness, he said it would require at least 15 days.

The military sources, however, said the decision to shift her to AFIC was taken on the advice of two British doctors called for Malala’s treatment. One of them was identified as Dr Fiona and the other her Pakistan-born husband. The couple visited Malala at the CMH and advised her shifting to the AFIC.

“Fiona has experience in post-operative care in neuro-surgery and head injuries. She and her husband offered their services to Malala and agreed to attend to her if she is taken to the AFIC,” the officials said.

Yesterday in Peshwar, the ruling Awami National Party (ANP) staged a protest rally to condemn the recent attack on Malala Yousafzai and the two other school students in Swat.  People in Pakistan have been outraged at the attack on the young teen.

Speaking on the occasion, Bashir Bilour termed Malala Yousafzai an icon of peace, education and prosperity. He said the bold and courageous girl had even spoken against the militants when they wielded power in Swat. “The militants have shown their cowardice by targeting an innocent teenaged girl,” he said and added that neither the Muslims nor the Pakhtuns could even think of attacking women and children. “The militants cannot stop us from our struggle to establish peace on this soil,” he vowed.

The participants prayed for the early recovery of Malala Yousafzai and her injured friends. The ANP central deputy general secretary Tajuddin Khan, Peshawar district president Arbab Najeeb and other leaders attended the rally.

Meanwhile, students of the Bacha Khan Model High School in Nauthia staged a protest rally at the Fawwara Chowk in Peshawar Cantonment to express solidarity with Malala Yousafzai.Prof Khadim Hussain, who heads the schools project of the Bacha Khan Education Foundation, was leading the rally which began from Nauthia and ended at the Fawwara Chowk.The students in their collective prayers prayed for early recovery of Malala Yousafzai.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Australia lauded Malala in Islamabad even as she fights her own fight against sexism and misogyny in Australia. She was backed today by the New Speaker Anna Burke. There was quite a verbal exchange between the PM and the minority party at parliament.  Gillard accused the opposition leader of misogyny and sexism directly.

But the new Speaker, Anna Burke, said Ms Gillard’s prime ministership had triggered a wave of public and political sexism.

Days after she was confirmed as Peter Slipper’s replacement in the chair, the Labor MP condemned the tone and subject matter of much of the debate in the current parliament.

“I think there is obviously some sexism and misogyny that goes on in the parliament, as it does in a lot of workplaces, tragically,” Ms Burke told ABC radio.

“And I think that one of the disappointing parts about having the first female prime minister is that unfortunately that has brought out the worst in some people in the parliament and some people in the public.

Here’s PM Julia Gillard’s Speech.

Let us also not forget about the assault on the rights of women in this country either.  So, that’s a little change of subject for me this morning. What’s on your blogging and reading list today?

56 Comments on “Friday Morning Reads: Let’s hear it for the girls!”

  1. Great round-up Dak, I look forward to reading these links. Did you see? The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to….the EU: European Union wins Nobel Peace Prize despite debt crises – Europe – World – The Independent

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Last night’s debate had a question to both candidates asking them to describe how their “Catholic faith” influences their positions regarding abortion rights.

    Ryan conceded that he believes that life begins at conception and must be upheld with the exception of rape, incest, or the life of the mother.

    Biden explained that he honors the position of the Catholic Church but would not inject his personal beliefs into public policy.

    He also went on to underscore the precarious position of Roe v Wade should the GOP manage a win and appoint pro life justices to the SC.

    The whole issue of the separation of church and state was given a 30 second airing. The one area of discussion that is primarily an issue where a woman is granted equal rights without having to bow to the whims of whatever religious entity chooses to interfere.

    Another example of how little women are valued in this nation as free thinking individuals who would be forced to forfeit that right in place of beliefs that have no place in the public square.

    Don’t approve of abortion rights? Don’t have one. Simple as that. Yet in the year 2012 we are still talking about the elimination of that basic right, regardless of where one stands on this issue, as if it were the business of these men to reharness us and deprive women their right of determination to control their own bodies.

    This is the primary focus of the GOP agenda and this one issue alone should be enough to reject this party as it is an assault against equality no matter how much they choose to spin it.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m dating myself, but:

      Right on, Pat!!!!

    • janicen says:

      One thing I wish Biden had said regarding abortion rights, and I think the fact that his wife, Jill is a physician would make it even more powerful, is the argument I heard from doctors pleading with the Board of Health in Virginia to refrain from putting onerous restrictions on abortion clinics in response to ideological beliefs rather than actual data. They begged the board to consider the ramifications of setting a precedent of government interference in healthcare decisions. The doctors warned the board that it might feel like the right thing to do now that the governmental regulations and interference were in line with their own ideology, but down the road there might be a different government forcing it’s own ideology on healthcare providers. Once the precedent is set for governmental interference in healthcare, they warned, the road is paved for repugnant ideas like eugenics and forced sterilizations and who knows what else? It was a particularly powerful argument and it worked until round two when our short-list, Vice Presidential possibility of a governor stacked the Board of Health with anti- abortion ideologues.

    • dakinikat says:

      I think Ryan weasel worded the rape, incest, life of the mother part. He said a Romney administration would … which says to me that he left himself out of that and was just saying what Romney planned to do and not him if he had his rathers. Remember, rape is just another form of conception in Ryan’s warped little brain.

  3. janicen says:

    I’m saddened by the victimization of women and girls in the world yet I’m glad that there are fighters like Hillary Clinton and posts to read like this one by dakinikat that open our eyes and raise our awareness. I know everyone wants Hillary to run for President in 2016, but I can’t help but feel that she will be in a position to do more good for women worldwide if she takes up with the Clinton Foundation. It’s sad to say, but I think her talents would be wasted if she sinks into the mire of American politics again.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I have no idea what Hillary will decide to do, but I’m proud that she has used her power as SOS to make a difference for women and girls around the world.

      • bostonboomer says:

        BTW, 14 and 16 were the ages of Romeo and Juliet. And Juliet’s mom was worried about her becoming an old maid if she didn’t hurry up. Some societies are still back in the 1600’s, some have figured out there’s this stage called adolescence that is very important for development.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Sorry, I meant that to be a reply to Mouse down below. I guess I’m a little out of it this morning.

    • Pat Johnson says:

      The sad part is that while we are applauding those women in other parts of the world for expressing themselves agains the tyranny, here at home we are being inundated with state laws – not to mention federal laws in the pipeline – that would erase the gains women have fought for over the decades. The right of self determination.

      I am so sick to death of listening to these Know Nothings advancing theories based on their own limited religious views that have no place in a nation of diversity that would guarantee women remain as second class citizens fully dependent upon the whims of men who do not value them as equals.

      Who cares what happens between a woman and her doctor? What right does anyone have to interfere with decisions made within the confines of a doctor’s office? Whose right is it to dictate to women that they MUST bear a child against their will regardless of the circumstances? Why is someone else’s religious beliefs trumping my free will to lead my life as I choose? Why are women being forced to go through hoops to attain a service that is guaranteed under the law?

      This is the Romney/Ryan proposal and for the life of me I have no idea why this should even be an issue in the first place. But the GoP has made it one for decades and in the year 2012 we are “this close” to watching our rights disappear under a deluge of half assed religious beliefs when some parts of this world the women are rising up and demanding their rightful place against huge odds.

      Only a backward society would honor these policies and I fear we are sliding in that direction if “personhood” is granted to a clump of cells thus overruling the rights of the host vehicle.


    • joanelle says:

      Great post Dak -thanks- I’m preparing for a total knee replacement this Tuesday and so I have not been able to take any inflamatories, no caffeine, no alcohol and am really feeling kind of ‘punk’ – so earlier this week I watched Half the Sky – I’d read the book but nothing is like actually seeing and hearing the people who are there.

      I don’t know what Hillary will do in 2016 but after being tainted by O and his crew it will be interesting to see what her standing will be. I did have a staunch Republican say the other day ” and to think what we could have had if Hillary had been elected. I don’t understand what happened there. She seemed to have enough votes.”

      I wonder when the real story of how Hillary got scammed will come out.

  4. ANonOMouse says:

    On child brides

    Canon Law (Roman Catholic Law) on marriage age:

    “Can. 1083 §1. A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage.

    §2. The conference of bishops is free to establish a higher age for the licit celebration of marriage.”

    Of course 14-15 years of age is illegal in the good ole USofA, but there are a hell of a lot of places around the globe where it isn’t, places where little prepubescent girls are handed off to old men like they’re house pets. These are self-serving rules, made by men, for men and these ancient creeds need to exterminated.

    Be Free !!!!

  5. bostonboomer says:

    I know everyone is probably sick of talking about the debate, but I can’t help myself. I loved this post at Vanity Fair: Why Joe Biden’s Laugh is the Most Devastating Political Weapon of the 2012 Election.

    Basically every time that Ryan said something, about anything, Biden looked down and giggled to himself, sometimes simultaneously scribbling down notes (“<– hate u paul”), sometimes not. New York magazine has a fine summary of the controversy surrounding the chuckle: “On Twitter Piers Morgan deemed Biden's laugh ‘infectious,’ and after weathering the last week many liberals seemed happy to have something to smile about. Unsurprisingly, right-leaning Tweeters weren’t amused by Biden’s suggestion that everything Paul Ryan said in the debate was absurd.”

    But this particular style of laughing—i.e., its specific aesthetic qualities—was what made it so universally, perhaps even subconsciously, persuasive. We think New York is correct that it is an implicit suggestion “that everything Paul Ryan said in the debate was absurd,” but the laugh was equal parts bemusement as it was conspiratorial. It was a laugh that also implicitly suggested that the audience—the intelligent, informed, rational, beautiful, amazing-taste-in-music-having, weight-losing audience—was in on the joke. It was not an arrogant laugh; at no point did Biden seem condescending to anyone but Paul Ryan. It makes sense that Morgan called it “infectious.” Every laugh was an audience-participation question: “Can you believe this guy?”

  6. RalphB says:

    Former senator Larry Pressler of South Dakota proves he’s not insane.

    HuffPo: Republican Senator, Vietnam Veteran Endorses President Obama

  7. dakinikat says:

    Mitt Romney will say anything and do anything to close a sale … sheesh …

    Mother Jones ‏@MotherJones
    VIDEO: Romney praises fringe Utah college founded by pseudo-educator who claimed Pres. GHW Bush part of a Satanic plot

  8. pdgrey says:

    The debate last night, I’m not through talking about it either, maybe because it was a great boost for my birthday and not thinking about my sore mouth. 🙂 But I do worry about the media and how they are playing this. But after reading this, I have another downgrade of Martha Raddatz. I didn’t catch it last night, maybe because Biden really slapped Eddie with his answer. This is one of those Media driven falsehoods they make me crazy. (Insert FDR video) just look at this question.
    RADDATZ: Let’s talk about Medicare and entitlements. Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process. Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive?
    I guess in a debate democrats just can’t bring themselves to correct the moderator and honestly I guess you don’t want to argue with the moderator. But am I the only one who is sick to death of this narrative?

    • RalphB says:

      I looked at a couple of wingnut places and the party of Joe ;You Lie; Wilson, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump, Steve King, Ted Nugent and Hank Williams Jr. are very upset about Joe Biden showing disrespect to Paul Ryan.

      I’m highly amused!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I was yelling at the TV when she said that!

      • pdgrey says:

        This is one of those things the media does that I want to stand on the courthouse steps, scream and be arrested for.

    • NW Luna says:

      Every time the media yammers about “entitlements” they should be immediately corrected. Vigorously corrected. Again and again.

      These are not entitlements. We pay into them.

      Entitlements are Exxon not paying anything in taxes.

      • dakinikat says:

        They are technically entitlements and by definition you pay into them. It’s just the meaning has been so screwed up that it’s inferred as ‘welfare’ and means tested and it’s not and never was. That’s why I advocate not using the word any more. It’s like the way they pre-empted liberal and now are pre-empting the term progressive. They keep shifting the meanings away from the basic definitions. I hate that. Started in the Raygun administration with those damned “peacekeeping” missile. WTF is peacekeeping about an offensive weapon?

  9. dakinikat says:

    StateDept ‏@StateDept
    #SecClinton on #Benghazi: No one wants to find out exactly what happened more than I do.

    Clinton is giving a speech right now.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    CNN admits its own snap poll was skewed toward Republicans. Small print under the poll data:

    SPECIAL NOTE OF CAUTION #1: This poll does not and cannot reflect the views of all Americans. It only represents the views of people who watched the debate. SPECIAL NOTE OF CAUTION #2: The sample of debate-watchers in this poll were 31% Democratic and 33% Republican. That indicates that the sample of debate watchers is about eight points more Republican than an average CNN poll of all Americans, so the respondents were more Republican than the general public.

    • dakinikat says:

      I thought they probably had Erickson picking their snap poll participants since it was so far off the ranch compared to the others.

      • RalphB says:

        Even with everything, results were still within the 5 pt margin of error. Just a lousy poll.

        • dakinikat says:

          I refuse to watch CNN any more. They’ve decided to capture fox viewers from what I can tell. They’re getting sloppy with all kinds of things. I won’t watch them until they get rid of Erickson. They’ve dropped all kinds of minority folks on less that what he says about women.

      • RalphB says:

        I don’t watch them either. Only so much BS I can take in a day 😉

    • RalphB says:

      It;s obviously off since CBS, NBC, and ABC snap polls all show Biden winning. 🙂

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Dana Millbank is the consummate Villager, and he thinks Biden kicked Ryan’s bony ass.

    • dakinikat says:


      The emphasis on congressional Republicans was key to Biden’s strong performance in Kentucky, because it provided a more favorable way for Democrats to frame the campaign: not as a choice between President Obama and some abstract alternative but a choice between Obama and the dimly regarded Republican-led House, which would be in a dominant position under a President Romney. Romney’s views may be all over the lot, but the positions of Republicans on Capitol Hill are clear and stark.

      Many will criticize Biden’s antics on the debate stage: loud guffaws, grimaces, raising his arms and looking heavenward, interjecting with “Oh, God,” and “this is amazing.” But all of the scoffing and incredulity was to an end, and one that Obama would be wise to emulate: It indicated outrage. Biden’s incredulous grins and many putdowns (“bunch of malarkey,” “bunch of stuff,” “Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy,” “notice, he never answers the question”) rattled Ryan, as measured by his copious water consumption. At one point, Ryan flatly denied a $2 trillion increase in military spending that Romney has touted.

      Biden’s theatrics, if overdone, were clearly deliberate, because he dropped them during the closing minutes of the debate and adopted a softer voice. “You probably detected my frustration with their attitude about the American people,” Biden said, reprising Romney’s “47 percent” remark.

      For an Obama campaign upended by Romney’s sudden move to the middle, the vice president’s success in directing his outrage less at the gelatinous Romney than at the the hard-and-fast positions of congressional Republicans would seem to provide an antidote.

      gelatinous Romney! makes me think of that pillsbury doughboy attacking NYC in ghostbusters!!!

      • dakinikat says:

        Did you read Taibbi?

        I’ve never thought much of Joe Biden. But man, did he get it right in last night’s debate, and not just because he walloped sniveling little Paul Ryan on the facts. What he got absolutely right, despite what you might read this morning (many outlets are criticizing Biden’s dramatic excesses), was his tone. Biden did absolutely roll his eyes, snort, laugh derisively and throw his hands up in the air whenever Ryan trotted out his little beady-eyed BS-isms.

        But he should have! He was absolutely right to be doing it. We all should be doing it. That includes all of us in the media, and not just paid obnoxious-opinion-merchants like me, but so-called “objective” news reporters as well. We should all be rolling our eyes, and scoffing and saying, “Come back when you’re serious.”

        The load of balls that both Romney and Ryan have been pushing out there for this whole election season is simply not intellectually serious. Most of their platform isn’t even a real platform, it’s a fourth-rate parlor trick designed to paper over the real agenda – cutting taxes even more for super-rich dickheads like Mitt Romney, and getting everyone else to pay the bill.

        The essence of the whole campaign for me was crystalized in the debate exchange over Romney’s 20 percent tax-cut plan.

        Read more:

      • bostonboomer says:

        No, I didn’t. Thanks!

    • RalphB says:

      Milbank has been very good lately. His article on the Benghazi hearing was the best I read and the only one to point out the CIA involvement in it. There was a CIA rapid reaction force stationed at that “annex” (CIA base) and though they have video of the whole attack it seems they never went to the aid of the ambassador or the consulate. So who failed who?

      • prolixous says:

        Absolutely agreed — I didn’t see anyone else pick up the idiocy of Issa’s calling everyone back from recess for a fictitious hearing in order to score cheap political points.

    • RalphB says:

      Richard Cohen also says Biden kicked his ass. Nice pieces, both of them.

  12. RalphB says:

    Thanks Kat. Matt Taibbi’s debate column was great. Tim Dickinson at Rolling Stone.

    Joe Biden Vs. Paul Ryan: The 15 Best Tweets About the Vice Presidential Debate

  13. pdgrey says:

    I’ve been gone, computer problems. I just got polled for the first time in my life by American Future Funds, some crazy right wing 501.
    The way they ask the questions was head on desk.