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The Great Unemployment Fudge

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 14/05/2022 - 2:27am in

In the U.S., we are told, the post-World War II period was a golden age of full employment. High wartime government spending had brought to an end the double-digit unemployment and misery of the Depression, and as war gave way to peace, unemployment settled at a non-inflationary level of 3-5%. It's known as the post-war "economic miracle".

But it's a myth. There was never full employment. The low unemployment of the post-war years is a massive statistical fudge. In fact, over five million people lost their jobs immediately after the end of the war, most of whom never worked again. But they were never listed as unemployed - because they were women. 

The Great Unemployment Fudge started in the "Depression of 1946", described by the Cato Institute as "one of the most widely predicted events that never happened in American history". During the war, there was full employment, GDP was roaring and industrial production was at an all-time high. But much of this was devoted to the war effort. Alvin Hansen was one of many economists warning that sudden cessation of wartime production and employment would plunge the economy back into Depression: “The government cannot just disband the Army, close down munitions factories, stop building ships, and remove all economic controls,” he said. Unemployment forecasts for demobilization ranged from 8 million to 20 million.

Understandably, policymakers were very worried. And with reason. Hansen's warning proved prophetic: as the war came to an end, the economy fell into a deep recession. The fall in real GDP in 1945-46 dwarfs both the Great Recession and the Covid-19 recession. Only the Great Depression was worse:

(source: BLS)

BLS figures show that the fall in real GDP was mainly caused by deep cuts to government spending: in 1946, government spending fell by nearly 65%, and by 1948 the government was running a budget surplus.  But private sector consumption and investment increased. There was quite a boom in residential construction. As has happened so often in U.S. history, the housing market pulled the economy out of recession. 

For the Cato Institute, the remarkable rebound in GDP and surprisingly low unemployment proved that worries about government spending cuts re-starting the Depression were unfounded. Blithely assuming away the counterfactual, they claimed that cutting government spending had kickstarted private sector investment and created 4 million new jobs. Unemployment was higher than it had been during the war, of course, but that's because mobilization had artificially depressed unemployment. After demobilization, unemployment rebounded to an average of around 4%: 

It averaged about 4% for the next twenty years. 

But it is extremely odd for unemployment to be so low in a recession of such severity. The Great Recession was in real GDP terms much less severe than the 1945-6 recession, yet unemployment rose to 10%. I wondered if something was artificially depressing the reported unemployment figures for 1945-6. So I went on a hunt. 

I didn't have far to look. This table from a a research paper by the Cato Institute economists Vedder & Galloway - the same people who claimed that the "Depression of 1946" never happened - shows that the increase in joblessness immediately after the war was far higher than the reported unemployment figures. I've highlighted the relevant figures. 

As we might expect in a period of demobililization, armed forces employment fell sharply and civilian employment rose. Federal employment also fell as a result of the government's budget cuts, and non-federal employment rose. This rebalancing from military and government employment to private sector civilian employment shouldn't have caused a fall in the labour force. Yet it did. The first highlighted line shows that between 1945 and 1946, the total labour force shrank by nearly 6 million people. 
It is also evident that despite Cato Institute's gleeful claim that 4 million new jobs were created, job losses during this period were far higher. Total employment fell by 7.27 million. But only 2.5 million people are recorded as unemployed. So nearly 5 million jobless people were not recorded in unemployment figures. 
The detailed figures in this table show us that between 1945 and 1946, nearly three million female civilian employees lost their jobs. As their jobs disappeared, civilian employment among men sharply increased: 
(chart from Evan K. Rose, Cambridge Core)

The fall in women's employment was almost a mirror image of the increase in women's employment as men shifted from civilian employment to the armed forces early in the war. But unlike the men, women did not shift to non-civilian employment. Most of them simply disappeared from the labour force. 
As a result, the labour force participation rate - the proportion of the adult population that is either working or looking for work - fell to less than 60%, a drop of nearly 6% in one year. It did not regain its wartime level until 1981. 

So the surprisingly low unemployment rate in the deep recession of 1945-6 is explained by millions of women leaving the workforce to make way for men returning from the war. 
Did the women want to leave their jobs? Vedder and Galloway say they did:
In particular, millions of women voluntarily decided to withdraw from the labor force and reverted to their traditional roles as mothers, wives, and housekeepers.
This is the heart of the Great Unemployment Fudge. People who voluntarily withdraw from the labour force aren't unemployed. So if women who left their jobs in 1945-6 were simply reverting to being mothers, wives and  (unpaid) housekeepers, they did not need to be included in unemployment statistics. Hey presto, we have an explanation for the remarkably low unemployment in the 1945-6 recession. The GDP fall in 1945-6 was merely the economy readjusting itself to peacetime activity. The "Depression of 1946" really didn't happen. 
But Rose found that far from voluntarily leaving the workforce, women were systematically pushed out to make way for men: 

  • Employers, particularly in manufacturing, were encouraged to replace women with returning veterans, and enthusiastically did so:

    1946 USES report on the airframe industry, for example, notes that employment opportunities were limited “almost entirely to veterans, who receive preference in nearly all plants” (War Manpower Commission 1943–1945, February 1946, p. 13). In 48 large plants with 160,000 total employees, 4,000 veterans were hired in December 1945, despite net employment declines of 2,000 jobs. A similar report on the rubber tires and tubes industry, which had been roughly 20 percent female since it became critical in mid-1944, noted “women to be displaced...many employers have indicated to the USES that they expect to replace most of the women on the production line with men” (War Manpower Commission 1943–1945, January 1946, p. 15).

  • The federal government sharply cut the proportion of women it employed, from 38% during the war to 28% by the end of 1946. Simultaneously, it cut total federal employment by half a million jobs due to budget cuts. This reduction disproportionately fell on women.  
  • Although hundreds of thousands of women applied to the U.S. Employment Service (USES), they were largely ignored by the USES, which prioritised finding employment for veterans. Female placements dropped precipitously as men returned from the war: 

    Furthermore, to prevent women competing with veterans for placements, USES limited placements for women to the kinds of jobs they had done before the war, even though this meant women were less likely to get employment: 

    The USES explained the drops in female placements at the time by noting that “women job seekers have become more sharply limited to the types of jobs which they had held before the war”

  • Some women - notably in cities - were claiming unemployment compensation, which meant they were actively seeking work. Rose says employers actively discriminated against them: 

    Few employers were looking for them, however: 60 to 81 percent of jobs posted in USES offices in these cities specified “men only,” leaving two and half times as many female UC claimants as jobs open for women.

    Rose also says that although the jobs available to unemployed men and women typically paid far below their previous earnings, the wage cuts were deeper for women - 49-53%, as opposed to 34-49% for men. 

  •  Women were "bumped" down into lower-skilled jobs to make way for men in higher-skilled jobs. This happened even in industries which traditionally had large female workforces:

    The USES noted that in the hosiery industry, where two-thirds of employees were female, some women hired to knitting and machine-fixing jobs were “bumped” as veterans returned.

    "Bumping" happened in the jobs market too. Rose observes that for unemployed women who had done semi-skilled clerical work during the war, the chances of finding a similar job after the war were extremely poor.

Faced with discrimination, harsh pay cuts, and unfair job downgrades, many women did indeed opt to leave the workforce. But it is hard to see how dropping out of a labour market that did not want them and was determined to push them out is in any way "voluntary". 
To modern eyes, deliberately pushing women out of the workforce to make way for men appears appalling. But in its time, it was sensible. No-one wanted a return of the unemployment and poverty of the Great Depression. And there were an awful lot of veterans needing jobs. If women had stayed in the workforce, they would have competed directly with those veterans for jobs. At the time, unemployment was considered to be a much bigger problem for man than for a woman, because she was considered only to be working for herself while he was keeping his entire family. So reducing male unemployment had to be the priority, even if it meant large numbers of women remaining jobless for long periods of time. I have no doubt that women were put under considerable social pressure to leave their jobs and return to being housewives and mothers. 

But I have much less sympathy for the blatant misrepresentation of unemployment figures and the poisonous claim that women "voluntarily" left the workforce. Had women still been counted as "available for work" in 1945-6, reported unemployment would have been in double digits - not as high as in the Great Depression at its worst, but certainly of the order of 10-12%, similar to the rates immediately prior to the war. And it would have stayed elevated for a long time. But that would have destroyed the myth of full employment, along with the notion that cutting government spending by 65% in one year can ever kickstart recovery and job creation.

So the Depression of 1946 very much did happen. And its effects were very long-lasting. It wasn't just women who worked during the war who were excluded from the post-war workforce. Women who were children during the war were too, and so were the early "baby boomer" women. Women didn't start to return to the workforce in significant numbers until the second half of the 1960s, and they were still being systematically discriminated against well into the 1970s.
This is by no means the only example in history of a country disguising high unemployment by encouraging some groups of people to leave the workforce. For example, in the early 1980s recession, the U.K. paid older workers, particlarly men, to retire early to make way for younger people. But in no other post-war recession to my knowledge were millions of women systematically pushed out of the workforce without compensation to provide jobs for men. Let us hope this never happens again. 

Time for a reckoning with the system that breeds sexism

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/04/2022 - 2:29pm in


sexism, sexism, Women

When the #MeToo movement erupted in 2017, the rage was palpable. It gave women the confidence to share their stories of sexual assault and harassment, and finally they were being believed.

More than 200 powerful men were taken down by survivors’ testimonies and protesters took to their streets in their thousands for Women’s Marches demanding accountability from abusers.

In 2021, the rage was reignited in Australia with the revelations that Brittany Higgins was raped in Parliament House and Liberal minister Christian Porter was accused of a historic rape. The Morrison government’s contempt for women drew 150,000 protesters out for the March4Justice rallies.

Jess Hill’s Quarterly Essay The Reckoning is an assessment of the #MeToo movement in Australia. Hill’s essay details the downfall of a handful of powerful Australian men, dedicates a whole chapter to praising the Turnbull government and shares the powerful stories of women standing up to their abusers.

But Hill fails to understand or explain the origins of sexism and in doing so leaves the reader with little hope that things can be changed.

“Why is hatred and contempt for women still a default position for so many boys and men?” asks Hill.

Her answer is a “maleness” that is so traumatising it leaves men unable to be emotional, expressive or vulnerable.

But the problem is not maleness, but rather the experience of life in a capitalist society that is permeated with sexism.

All around us are sexist ideas and institutions that reflect women as merely sexual commodities, caregivers and homemakers. Because without women’s unpaid domestic labour and caregiving, the capitalist state would have to fund it—to the tune of $10.9 trillion.

Sexist ideas

Hill rightly points out that things such as pornography influence the perception of women’s worth. These sexist ideas are perpetuated by capitalist institutions—from the school system, to advertising, the media and the government.

Men aren’t innately sexist or prone to abusing women. They learn these ideas from the world around them. As Karl Marx once wrote, “The ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class.”

But the movement with the potential to challenge this and win serious reforms that could transform women’s lives is mentioned only once. “Unions work on these issues every day and continue to improve conditions for women in the workplace,” writes Hill.

Things like equal pay, permanent jobs, free childcare, abortion rights, funding for women’s services and adequate welfare payments give women the confidence and the financial freedom to do something about abuse and harassment—both in the home and in the workplace.

But under capitalism these things must be fought for, and at the height of the #MeToo movement, workers took the fight against sexism into their workplaces.

Workers at McDonalds, Google and at hotels in the US staged walk-outs and strikes and won their demands around sexual harassment at work.

And in 2019, workers at Chemist Warehouse distribution centres in Melbourne and Brisbane struck as part of a campaign against sexual harassment and bullying that won permanent jobs and pay rises, while forcing sexist managers to resign.

Despite these inspiring struggles against sexism, Hill’s answer for vulnerable working women experiencing harassment in the workplace is meagre stuff—the Respect@Work report and whoever forms government after 21 May.


The final chapter, titled Men, takes a pessimistic outlook on the future of the women’s movement. “Do we, ultimately, believe it’s possible for them [men] to change?” asks Hill.

This kind of essentialism leaves little inspiration that things could ever change. But history shows us what is possible and the kinds of demands we need to transform women’s lives.

Over the course of the 1917 Russian revolution, abortion was legalised and made free, women were paid equally, prostitution was decriminalised, paid maternity leave was introduced and women were liberated from the home through socialised domestic labour provided by the state. This is the kind of world we should be fighting for.

Hill’s essay seeks to explain how #MeToo is changing Australia. It’s true that #MeToo has put powerful abusers on notice, that women’s rage and protest has forced some concessions from the government and that the movement has given women the confidence to finally share their stories.

But the essay is only useful as a catalogue of #MeToo in Australia. Instead of arguing for the radical transformation of society that could end sexism, Hill believes that in a century “women will still be holding signs … that say ‘I can’t believe we’re still protesting this shit’.”

By Ruby Wawn

“The Reckoning: How #MeToo is Changing Australia”, by Jess Hill, Quarterly Essay 84, $24.99

The post Time for a reckoning with the system that breeds sexism appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Howard Shocked To Learn That Women And Minorities Are Allowed To Vote

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 29/04/2022 - 8:08am in

Former Prime Minister fresh out of the deep freeze for the election John Howard was today shocked to learn that women and minorities are in fact allowed to vote in the upcoming election.

”I have to say that the news has come as a bit of a surprise to me,” said Mr Howard, ”All those years that Janet accompanied me to the voting booth I thought she was doing it as a show of support.”

”Never in my wildest imagination did I think she was actually voting.”

When asked for his views on Australia’s housing affordability problem, the former Prime Minister said: ”I don’t see what the problem is, I have a house, my kids have houses, everyone I know has a house.”

”Australians need to stop complaining and accept their lot in life.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back on the campaign trail otherwise Scott, err, ScoMo will chuck me into a nursing home. And not the good type, the type that pops up every now and then on A Current Affair.”

Mark Williamson


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OUP Responds to Letter Regarding Gender-Critical Feminism Book

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 28/04/2022 - 3:59am in

Oxford University Press (OUP) has responded to an open letter circulated earlier this month (the first letter covered in this post) that voiced concerns about its decision to publish next month a book about gender-critical feminism by philosophy professor Holly Lawford-Smith (Melbourne).

The letter, signed by David Clark, Managing Director of Academic Publications for OUP, replied to questions raised in the letter about the review process Lawford-Smith’s book underwent:

Every academic title published by OUP is assessed by the Delegates of the Press, and undergoes a rigorous review process to ensure the quality of the scholarship we publish. This book is no exception. It was thoroughly reviewed, including a round of supplementary reviews with experts in particular areas. Due to the confidential nature of the process, we cannot share details of who those reviewers were, but we trust them to have reached balanced judgements based on their expertise.

Clark notes the contentiousness of the topic, and frames OUP’s role as one of facilitating academic discussion of it:

We recognize that there is considerable and passionate debate about some of the positions held by gender critical feminists and their perspectives on a variety of issues. We are confident that Gender Critical Feminism offers a serious and rigorous academic representation of this school of feminist thought. As you rightly state, we have also published other titles on topics such as transgender rights and tackling prejudice, to further contribute to academic debate. We will continue to represent a wide range of feminist philosophy in our publishing and a wide range of books on philosophy and gender, featuring authors who are trans and gender non-conforming.

He adds that OUP’s decision to publish any particular work is not thereby an endorsement of the views defended therein:

I would also like to clarify that the Press does not advocate through its publications for any particular views, political positions, or ideologies. Equally, what we publish is not reflective of—nor influenced by—the personal views of our employees.

I appreciate that what I have said may not address all of your concerns, but I hope you can see that our mission—and our commitment to publishing a breadth of views and perspectives to inspire academic debate—continue to guide our work, as they have since we were first founded.

The whole letter is below:

UPDATE – My two cents: This letter seems mostly like the right kind of response. Not all publishers aim for a kind of neutral facilitation of quality-controlled inquiry but OUP and most other academic presses do, and I think that’s a valuable role that Clark is right to call attention to and rely on in his explanation of the decision. I imagine that Clark’s assurances about the review process the manuscript underwent will be doubted by OUP’s critics. Such doubt will be encouraged, I suspect, by Clark’s use of “balanced” to describe the desired judgments of the reviewers. Why not “sound” judgments or “informed” judgments or “reasonable” judgments? “Balanced” evokes worries that bothsidesism or other political considerations played too prominent a role in the decision. Or perhaps this was just an infelicitous word choice by Clark. One might have a better sense of what to think about that, and about the critics’ doubts, once the book is published.

‘Internships’ for Adults Are Helping Women Rejoin the Workforce

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/04/2022 - 6:00pm in


Economy, Women, work

After a 10-year career break to take care of her two young daughters, Rachael Grieve recalls jumping back into the job market in 2019 and finding nothing but despair. The yawning gap in her resumé left her with few opportunities that suited her ideal schedule and experience. After a failed interview for an office manager position, she was left despondent. “I went home and burst into tears, thinking, that’s it, I’m done,” says Grieve, who is based in London. “It just felt like all these doors were closed.”

“I still remember that desperation and fear, especially after interviews that destroy your confidence like that, which was humiliating at the same time. You find yourself stuck as to where to go.”

Soon after that, a chance conversation with a friend who still worked at her previous employer, financial services group Nomura, led to Grieve returning, and ultimately, setting up the company’s Returners Program in 2019. Open to people who’ve taken a career break of 18 months or more, the program offers 12 weeks of induction, training and coaching, after which time candidates can apply for positions at the company. Nine out of the ten returners who have gone through the program are now working there full-time.

The initiative forms part of Nomura’s plans to increase female representation in a sector that is notorious for being male dominated. A statement on its website says it has reached 31 percent female employees against a target of 33 percent, with 14 percent of those working at a senior level, compared with a goal of 19 percent. 

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Return programs like Nomura’s could also help counteract the disproportionate withdrawal of women from the workforce during the pandemic, as women generally became the default parent during school and daycare closures. As of February 2021, women leaving their jobs accounted for the majority of the decrease in U.S. labor force participation. Fewer women in work also worsens the gender pay gap, which stands at around 15 percent in the U.S. The Harvard Business Review has described return programs, which it dubs “returnships,” as one of the best ways to get women back into the workforce.

Tackling the gender equality issue isn’t easy, admits Grieve, who’s now Nomura’s global head of learning and development for technology. That’s why she feels strongly about leading this program so it becomes a standard part of Nomura’s diversity, equality and inclusion strategy.

“Our chief information officer from day one was 100 percent supportive,” Grieve says. “This made a massive difference, to be given the platform and sponsorship to do it. I also made sure all senior managers understood the caliber of the candidates we were getting through it.” 

Shereen Peeroo Finney

One of those candidates was Shereen Peeroo Finney, a London-based cybersecurity architect who joined Nomura in 2019 after taking two years away from work to rethink her career. While she had already gained new skills through training, she’d lost some confidence. But the support provided in such a structured program, including resumé advice, practice interviews, external mentoring and a 90-day plan, plus a cohort to bond with, makes the difference between a returner thriving and struggling, Peeroo Finney says. “The extra support does get you up to speed a lot quicker.” 

Tailoring both the recruitment and onboarding program to accommodate and even embrace career breaks — which employers have traditionally viewed as a flaw, rather than a sign of healthy work-life balance — gave Zandra Otubamowo the boost she needed. The four-year gap on her resume to take care of her two young children led to a string of rejections, and led her to believe, when she began job hunting in 2020, that she may have to move backwards in her career to get started again.

Like Grieve, a friend told Otubamowo about the Return to Work program at Meta, formerly known as Facebook. The program launched in 2018 to offer six months of training and mentorship to people who have been away from work for at least two years. If they’re a fit, the program can lead to a full-time job. Like Nomura, Meta hopes its initiative will contribute to its goal of doubling its number of female employees globally by 2026. (Currently 36.7 percent of Meta’s 118,000 employees are women).

Washington-based Otubamowo got a spot in Meta’s program, and in September 2020 took on a role as a technical program manager.

“The support in the program was like being put into a bubble to protect us, which you don’t get when you just come in normally,” she says. “From my manager, to my mentor and my buddy, there were so many people that were put in place for me to make sure I succeed. You’re coming into a space where things are moving so quickly, but in the program people help you move at your pace.” 

“I don’t think I could have survived otherwise,” Otubamowo continues. “For me, it made a lot of difference in terms of transitioning slowly back into the workplace. We need more women to feel comfortable coming back into the workforce and not feel like they have to take a paycut or fall behind — that you are going to be given what you deserve.”

The post ‘Internships’ for Adults Are Helping Women Rejoin the Workforce appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

India’s Women Are Building An Alternative To Toxic Masculinity

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/04/2022 - 6:00pm in

It was the event of a lifetime for the residents of Mandkola, a village with a population of 10,000 in the north Indian state of Haryana. In early March 2022, a couple hundred women and young girls set aside their daily chores to march to a nearby government school with two common goals: empowerment and justice.

As everyone came together, an elderly woman in a bright red saree spontaneously rose to address the crowd. “We have gathered here to kickstart [Mandkola’s] first women’s panchayat,” she said. “With this we mark the beginning of a new movement in our village.”

Traditional panchayats are assemblies of male elders — usually from the Jat community, Haryana’s largest caste group — which meet every few weeks to determine the rules governing their village or a number of nearby villages. They also exist to settle disputes between members of their community. Although they have no sanction under the law, the centuries-old form of local government dominates how many village communities in northern India function.

Panchayats are generally considered regressive and extremely patriarchal, passing strict rules dictating things such as what women are and aren’t allowed to wear, what they can and can’t learn at school, and who they can marry — all at gatherings local women are not allowed to attend. Those who fail to follow the rules dictated by their panchayats put themselves at risk of harsh punishments, including orders to rape or kill.

But a growing movement of female-led, or “lado” [daughter] panchayats is emerging across northern India to challenge the toxic aspects of the traditional panchayat model and reinvent it as a force for progressive change.

Women and young girls stand united at Mandkola village's first lado panchayat.Women and young girls stand united at Mandkola village’s first lado panchayat. Credit: Safina Nabi

The idea was first conceived by Sunil Jaglan, a social worker and village leader from Bibipur, a village in the district of Jind, Haryana, who became a well-known rural gender activist after the birth of his first daughter in 2012. That year, in Jind, Jaglan organized the first ever panchayat at which women were allowed to participate. The event, while still male dominated, saw at least 200 women attend and several speak, and focused specifically on the under-reported crime of female infanticide in India.

“It took me and a few like-minded Khap leaders [village elders] two months to make the event happen due to strong resistance from senior Khap leaders,” says Jaglan. “They were of the opinion that historically there is no place for women to participate in panchayats.”

2012 and the years that followed saw the early signs of progress towards a kind of grassroots governance in northern India in which women were empowered rather than subjugated. But it was the country’s Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 and the subsequent explosion in child marriage — notably of girls — that sparked a wholesale push to create panchayats by women, for women, rather than just ones in which they could participate.

“Women and young girls from across northern India were contacting me during lockdown saying they wanted to tackle the worrying increase in girl child marriages,” says Jaglan. “It was this that sparked the beginnings of women-only panchayats. Of course, Covid-19 was a very difficult time for many but out of that came an overwhelming desire from women to create structures that instill greater equality in their communities.”

Inspired by the need for change, and using his contacts and past experience, Jaglan organized meetings to discuss the idea of initiating female-only “lado” panchayats. Somewhat to his surprise, he says, the idea was widely accepted.

In June 2020, the first lado panchayat took place — online as a result of Covid — at which 160 women and young girls took part, predominantly logging in from villages across the northern states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar and Rajasthan. In the months that followed, a further eight online lado panchayats took place, all discussing the subject of child marriage. Bar Jaglan, who joined to support the initiatives, no men were present.

Sunil JaglanSunil Jaglan, a rural gender activist in northern India who helped initiate the lado panchayat movement. Credit: Safina Nabi

As Covid measures eased up and in-person meetings were again permitted, Jaglan helped organize the first physical lado panchayat in September 2021 in Nalwa village. Located in Haryana’s Hisar district, Nalwa is infamous for child marriages so it was hailed a momentous occasion to see the community’s women come together to discuss the idea that girl child marriage should be prohibited by law. At the meeting, women from Nalwa initiated a campaign to send postcards to Prime Minister Modi declaring their wish to ban girl child marriages. 

In December 2021, the Union Cabinet finally raised the minimum age of marriage for Indian women from the present 18 years to 21 years. This issue had long been discussed and many factors contributed to making the increase happen, although it is widely felt that the postcard campaign and related momentum of discussion at the lado panchayats helped push the government to actually implement it.

According to Professor Kiran Bala, dean of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at K R Mangalam University in Gurgaon, Haryana, political participation such as that taking place at the lado panchayats is an important tool of empowerment in any society.

“When marginalized sections — here women — are supported by male members of their society to deliberate, raise voice and take important decisions on the behalf of society, the society develops with exponential speed,” says Bala.

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To date, four physical lado panchayats have taken place in northern India, most recently Mandkola’s historic event in March. Here the women present discussed issues they felt most urgently needed to be addressed, the most prominent being the lack of access to high school, college or university for girls in the village.

“Our daughters can only study up to class eight,” said an elderly woman from the crowd. Many among the audience cheered in agreement, prompting the panchayat to hold a discussion on the matter. 

Like every lado panchayat, the one at Mandkola ended with the formation of a committee. Under the leadership of Sonam Mahabali, the newly-elected head of the panchayat, or “lado pradhan,” the committee prepared a resolution with a charter of demands which were then submitted to the local, district and state authorities. A concrete outcome of the event is a plan to push for at least one high school for female students in every surrounding district.

Mahabali, a young woman from Mandkola who aspires to become a teacher, spoke at the panchayat of how she has to travel to a district college five kilometers from her home, often on foot. 

“I do not want my four younger sisters or the girls of this village to face what I currently face,” she says. “My only desire to participate in this program is to work for the betterment of women.”

The post India’s Women Are Building An Alternative To Toxic Masculinity appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

An Orchard Grows in Kansas City

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 20/04/2022 - 6:00pm in


trees, Women

Three great stories we found on the internet this week.

Putting down roots

Where garbage once festered, now stands an orchard. That’s what’s happening all over Kansas City — and now, in cities across the U.S. — as a sprawling tree-planting effort bears fruit.

In 2013, Giving Grove, a Kansas City nonprofit, started cleaning up dump sites, empty lots and other underutilized spaces, and planting orchards and gardens in them. The groves have flourished and made an impact on several levels. Besides replacing polluted and underused urban space, they provide food to the surrounding community, whose members care for the orchards themselves. “At the root of all that success is the fact that the neighborhood takes ownership,” said Giving Grove CEO Rob Reiman.

In the nine years since Giving Grove sprouted, it has spread to ten other cities and planted some 330 orchards, many of them cultivated by youths who live in food deserts. “They share with me their love of the orchard and seven times out of 10 the conversation focused on the community, not the food,” said Reiman.

Read more at the Kansas City Beacon

Where the wild things are

Rewilding efforts are popping up across the world, but how effective are they? A new mapping project is tracking the progress, and stacking up proof that rewilding works.

A rewilded area of the Netherlands. Credit: Frans de Wit / Flickr

Rewilding is the process of letting nature reclaim human-altered landscapes. It is taking place in an array of environments, from central London to rural India. The map unearths the stories behind the restorations and makes them tangible to a global audience. “It creates the inspiration, but also gives the confidence that something’s really happening there,” said Alexander Watson, CEO of the social enterprise hosting the map. 

Going forward, the map could also be used to inform the marketing of carbon credits and track the return of native species to areas that once teemed with them. Even Watson himself has been surprised by things that the project has revealed. “I wasn’t aware that you have wild bison going through Romania,” he said.

Read more at Mongabay

Round the bases

Major League Baseball is elevating women to leadership roles at a breakneck pace, according to a report by The 19th.

In 2020, Kim Ng became the league’s first general manager when she took over the Miami Marlins. Since then, more than a dozen women have been signed to Major League team operations, from the front office to the coaching staff. “It’s amazing what has happened since 2020,” said one historian. The San Francisco Giants hired their first female coach. So did the Boston Red Sox, who made Bianca Smith the first Black woman to serve as a coach in a professional baseball organization. At the start of 2021, women served in over one-quarter of all professional roles across the MLB, a sports league that, until recently, was almost entirely male dominated. 

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But there’s one glass ceiling that shows no sign of cracking yet. Though there’s no rule against female players, not a single woman has yet taken the field as a player on a Major League team. Could that soon change? Last month, Alexis “Scrappy” Hopkins was drafted by the Kentucky Wild Health Genomes — part of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball  — to be a bullpen catcher. “Confidence and desire and experience has been rewarded in the right way,” said Ng of the progress.

Read more at The 19th 

The post An Orchard Grows in Kansas City appeared first on Reasons to be Cheerful.

OUP’s Decision to Publish “Gender-Critical” Book Raises Concerns of Scholars and OUP Employees

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 12/04/2022 - 4:45pm in

Two open letters are circulating regarding the decision of Oxford University Press to publish Gender-Critical Feminism, a forthcoming book by Holly Lawford-Smith, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Melbourne.One letter, posted by Eugenia Zuroski of McMaster University (who notes that it was “very much a collaborative effort”), is from “members of the international scholarly community with a relationship of some kind, or several kinds, to Oxford University Press,” including authors, reviewers, series and journal editors, translators, instructors who teach OUP’s books, and readers. In the letter they express their “profound disappointment” with OUP’s decision to publish the book. They note that they are not aiming to “censor ideas” and do not call for the decision to publish the book to be reversed.

Rather, they raise questions about the processes involved in the publication of the book, and call for OUP to answer those questions and take other measures (more on that below).

The authors are troubled by the book because, they write, “‘gender critical’ discourse attempts to deny transgender rights under the guise of scholarly inquiry,” and that it is

not a scholarly field, but a coordinated polemical intervention, unsubstantiated by peer-reviewed research in the fields of gender, sexuality, queer, and trans studies, that promotes itself by the deliberate sowing of public “controversy” without being held accountable for very real and dangerous consequences of these discourses for entire demographics of human beings.

They also note some of the things Lawford-Smith has said that make her, in their eyes, an “anti-trans-rights activist” involved in the “public mobilization of transphobic rhetoric and bigotry”:

In her public interviews and on her website, Lawford-Smith repeatedly describes trangender women as “men,” states that only transgender people have “gender identities” and that gender identities are not real, dismisses the transgender population as “fashionable,” and expresses support for conversion therapy, as well as other scientifically and ethically unconscionable views. Meanwhile, Lawford-Smith, through her YouTube channel and other outlets, has publicly dismissed gender-inclusive rhetoric as “propaganda” and maintained that the defense of biological sex is, in fact, a key rallying point of “gender-critical feminism.” Just last week, her home institution announced that it had to “counsel” her in response to a transphobic post on her social media account that ran “counter to the views and values of the University of Melbourne.”

They also refer to this episode.

They then turn to the editorial and publishing processes:

We are deeply concerned, based on our familiarity with the widely debunked tropes of “gender critical” discourse, that Lawford-Smith’s book promotes such distorted and unsubstantiated claims. Our previous experience with Oxford University Press leads us to wonder by what possible processes of in-house review, peer review, Editorial Board review, and even copyediting an entire book under the title “Gender-Critical Feminism” could have made its way to print. As it is being marketed under both Social Sciences and Arts & Humanities on the OUP website, in the fields of Philosophy, Politics, and Sociology and specifically in the interdisciplinary fields of Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, we would expect a press of OUP’s reputation to incorporate the expertise of a wide range of specialists in feminist theory and gender and sexuality studies. Is this book positioned in productive conversation with, for example, OUP’s own recent Gender: What Everyone Needs to Know, and were its authors Laura Erickson-Schroth and Benjamin Davis, invited to participate as peer reviewers? Erickson-Schroth is also the editor of Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource by and for Transgender Communities, a second edition of which is scheduled for publication in April. OUP has published the work of transgender authors in the past, and has connections to academic experts in this community should they choose to reach out. Especially given the direct invocation of trans studies in the title of Chapter 5, “Trans/Gender,” we would expect the due diligence of consultation with experts in that field, as well as rigorous copyediting by someone familiar with the editorial style guides developed by trans communities to ensure that published language does not reproduce forms of rhetorical violence directly connected to forms of systemic and material harm. Barring that, we might even simply ask, how is this text in alignment with OUP’s style guidelines for acceptable language, which asks authors to ensure that: “No form of language or expression has been used that could be interpreted by a reader as racist, sexist, derogatory of a particular religion or creed, or otherwise offensive?”

At the end of the letter, they turn to what they hope OUP will do:

We therefore request, as people whose names and intellectual labours are associated with Oxford University Press and its reputation, a clear and detailed account of what measures have been taken to ensure the scholarly quality of this forthcoming publication (while being mindful of the need to maintain reviewers’ anonymity), and what further steps the Press is taking to make itself accountable for the consequences of its publication should the book go forward to print. Measures the press could undertake to offset the harm done by the publication of this work might include soliciting and publishing trans-affirming scholarship by transgender authors, updating the house style guidelines to include specific guidance on language around transgender rights, donating a portion of the book’s profits to supporting transgender rights organizations, and/or developing editorial guidelines for the submission of works that challenge the human rights of any marginalized group. We recommend that these steps for accountability be undertaken in consultation with transgender rights activists and transgender scholars. We hope that this process can help guide OUP in editorial directions that affirm trangender peoples’ humanity and rights.

You can read the whole letter here.

The other letter is from people who are “Oxford University Press employees and authors.” In it, the letter writers say they are “asking management to reconsider their decision to publish this title.”

They write that

at a time when transgender rights are under attack, we believe that the publication of this book will embolden and legitimize the views of transphobes and contribute to the harm that is perpetrated against the trans community globally… We are asking OUP to prioritize the wellbeing of its trans employees, trans authors, and the trans community as a whole over the potential profit that this book may generate.

That letter is here.

(Comments are closed, at least for now, as much of today is full of teaching and meetings, and I have no time to moderate.)

UPDATE (4/12/22): Some have asked why this post does not include my opinion about these letters, and the boring answer is that I didn’t have time to write that part yet. Perhaps I will over the next few days. But briefly, regarding the first letter: it’s good that they’re not calling for the book not to be published, but still, it strikes me as the wrong kind of response to what we should acknowledge are real problems with current discourse surrounding the rights and treatment of trans persons (some of which are touched on in the letter). An important reason it’s the wrong kind of response is that the letter writers have not read the book they’re objecting to (even if they think they know what will be in the book, and even if they believe they have good evidence for that based on what I am sure is excruciating familiarity with a lot of public discourse on this topic and specific things Lawford-Smith has said). “But would people have to wait to read a book defending race-based slavery by someone who seems to be a racist before objecting to plans to publish it?” Good question. “But doesn’t that analogy ignore relevant differences between ‘defending race-based slavery’ and ‘defending ‘gender-critical’ views’?” Another good question. “Aren’t the letter writers just making sure proper procedures and review have been followed, which is something everyone wants?” Fair question. “But would such requests be prompted by plans to publish a book critical of ‘gender-critical’ views?” Not wholly unreasonable to ask… And so you can see why I haven’t had time to write the opinion part yet.

New Data on Women in Philosophy Journals

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 19/03/2022 - 2:27am in

How much writing by women do philosophy journals publish? How does this vary by quality and type of journal? How does it vary by the type of reviewing manuscripts undergo? How have women’s rates of publication changed over time?

These are among the questions answered by a new study of women’s publication in philosophy journals, just published in Ethics. The study, by Nicole Hassoun (Binghamton), Sherri Conklin (AviAI Inc.), Michael Nekrasov (Santa Barbara), and Jevin West (Washington).

In conducting their study, the researchers divided up philosophy journals into three categories: “top” (based on an informal survey at Leiter Reports), “non-top”, and “interdisciplinary” philosophy journals. They find:

  • “an overall increase in the proportions of women authorships in philosophy journals between 1900 and 2009”
  • “stagnant growth in the proportions of women authorships for recent decades, especially in Nontop Philosophy journals”
  • “the proportion of women authorships has been lowest in Top Philosophy journals over time but that these journals show the greatest increase in the proportion of women authorships between the 1990s and the 2000s”
  • “women authors are underrepresented in Top Philosophy journals even compared to the low proportion of women philosophy faculty in the United States overall”
  •  “the proportions of women authorships in lower-ranked philosophy journals and women philosophy faculty in the United States do not differ”
  • “previously reported disparities in Value Theory [between the comparatively low proportion of women authorships and compartatively high proportion of women faculty] are sustained across all philosophy journal categories, including lower-ranked journals where women authors publish in greater proportions”
  • “Top Philosophy journals practicing Nonanonymous review publish higher proportions of women authors… than Top Philosophy journals practicing Double or Triple Anonymous review… Nontop philosophy journals publish the greatest proportion of women authorships when practicing Double Anonymous review, the most stringent anonymization level within this journal tier… while Interdisciplinary journals publish the greatest proportion of women authorships when practicing Triple Anonymous review”

Below you can see the change in number and proportion of women authors in each type of journal from the 1900s to the 2000s:

(Fig. 4 from Hassoun et al.) Total proportion of women authorships by decade and journal category (1900s–2000s). The top graph shows the total number of authorships by decade and journal category; the bottom graph shows the proportion of women authorships by decade and journal category.

In the following figure, you can see which 10 journals have the highest proportion of articles by women and which have the least, for the periods of 1900-2009 and 2000-2009, color-coded by category:

(Fig. 2 from Hassoun et al.) Journals with the ten lowest and those with the ten highest proportion of women authorships for all three journal categories ranked by proportion of women authorships. The top two graphs represent the total proportion of women authorships across all years (1900–2009), and the bottom two graphs represent the proportion of authorships from 2000 to 2009. The total number of authorships per journal “n =” is shown on the right of the graph.

The authors also used a generalized linear model (GLM) to provide estimates of how women’s authorship in philosophy journals varies by area of specialization, and how this compares to the proportion of women working in these areas:

(Fig. 9 from Hassoun et al). Generalized linear model (GLM) estimates of the proportion of women authorships (2000–2009) by journal AOS compared to faculty AOS (2014). The mean estimated proportion of women authorships across all journals separated by journal category and AOS for the years 2000–2009. Error bars represent the CI based on the output of the GLM. The number of observations (articles for each journal AOS and category in the 2000s) is displayed at the top of the graph with the “n =” label. Note that this figure displays the mean proportion estimated by the model on all articles in a journal category.

They also used the GLM to provide estimates of how the proportion of women authorships varies by type of manuscript review (non-anonymous, double-anonymous, triple-anonymous):

(Fig. 11 from Hassoun et al) GLM estimates of the total proportion of women authorships across all journals separated by journal category and review process for the years 2000–2009. Error bars represent the CI based on the output of the GLM (the CIs are very wide owing to the limited data for Nonanonymous review). The number of observations (articles for each journal category and review type in the 2000s) is displayed at the top of the graph with the “n =” label. Again, note that this is the mean proportion estimated by the model on all articles in a journal category.

The authors discuss their findings and possible explanations for them. For example, regarding the finding that “top” philosophy journals that use triple anonymous review publish a lower proportion of women authors than journals that employ other review types, they say:

our new analysis revealed the surprising result that Interdisciplinary journals utilizing Triple Anonymous review and Nontop Philosophy journals utilizing Double Anonymous review publish the greatest proportion of women authors overall. The low proportion of women authorships in journals using Triple Anonymous review in philosophy may have something to do with their being Top Philosophy journals rather than their review process.

What, then, explains the low proportion of women authors in top journals? Among the possible explanations offered as hypotheses for further investigation, the authors mention:

  • “women are particularly hesitant to submit to those journals”
  • “even with full anonymity, markers of gender, including the chosen topic of research, might still be available to referees and editors,” leaving opportunities for gender bias to operate
  • “some suggest that men and women may have different views about what counts as valuable contributions to philosophy. So, if the editors and editorial boards for most philosophy journals are primarily men (at around 73 percent in 2010 according to historical data collected from the websites of journals included in this study), they may be more likely to reject work by women philosophers based on the topic, style of the writing, or citation practices”
  • “there exists some evidence that academic writing produced by women academics is held to higher standards than that produced by men during the peer review process, even, it seems, when reviewed anonymously”
  • “women are… less likely to coauthor than men, and perhaps coauthored articles are more likely to be accepted than single-authored articles”

The study is entitled “The Past 110 Years: Historical Data on the Underrepresentation of Women in Philosophy Journals” (it may be behind a paywall). Readers may also be interested in exploring interactive versions of some of the above data at the Data on Women in Philosophy website.

International Working Women's Day Led the Fight Against Russia's War 105 Years Ago

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 14/03/2022 - 6:53am in


Russia, Women

image/jpeg iconfrauentag.jpg

One hundred and five years ago today, on International Working Women’s Day (23 February old style/8 March today) 1917, women workers from both home and factory took to the streets of St Petersburg. Then, as now, Russia was involved in a disastrous war which had brought nothing but death, hunger and misery. Then, as now, Russia was governed by a ruthless authoritarian police state. The women workers who organised had been told by political organisations that it was too early to strike but they had had enough.

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