More Observations About Occupy’s Missing the Need for 5050
The Occupy Movement has made initial strides to overcome the marginalization of women that has occurred in most decision-making, but there have been some criticism that it has not yet achieved this goal. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/11/the-occupy-movements-woman-problem/248831/ and http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/30/occupy-wall-street-women-voices
Another occupy-movment-related attempt at representative governement, the Peoples Congress at ,http://peoplescongress.org is also forming. Initial attempts at informing the Steering Committee there have been underway, but so far, no commitment to gender balance has been made or publicized on their website. Input is needed now to insure that 50-50 gender balance, and minorities representation in a percentage about equal to minorities prsences in the population, occures at the Peoples Congress. Update: We are happy that Peoples Congress has formed a Gender Equality Committee. and has linked with Ark on the importance of gender balance/ It has developed a page for highlighting gender balance at http://peoplescongress.org/gender-equality-committee/
The recent MayDay protests failed to connect that the day falls on Beltane, the ancient May Holiday highlighting gender mutuality, and although they dealt with labor issues have not yet highlighted a gender balanced approach to economics that includes women’s unpaid work, home and community activity of both women and men, and the more gender balanced Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), with a standard for gender representation, rather than the man-only-made Gross Domestic Product Paradigm (GDP)(see http://soularsolar.webs.com/aboutgendertender.html
The most recent protests in Chicago showed high profile activity of women, as in the efforts of National Nurses United to have their voices heard http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/news/entry/national-press-on-chicago-rally-to-tax-wall-st/ But the Nurses’ call for a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street (Ark would have preferred the Nurses called for a Maid Marion and Robin Hood Tax, to recall that Robin Hood relied on Maid Marion’s partnership for his efforts) has little chance of passage in a gender imbalanced Congress and Executive, and corporations. Only when Nurses, and women of all professions, and mothers at home all call for equal representation at all levels of decision-making will such solutions be given the seriousness which they deserve.
The Chicago Protest Against Nato and the almost Simultaneous protest at Camp David Maryland against the almost simultaneous meeting of the G8 both failed to highlight the total lack of gender balance in both meetings. Take a look at the picture of the G8 meeting and only one woman, Angela Merkel, is the only woman in a group made entirely of men, (many of whose governments, unlike Merkel’s, are nowhere near gender balance.) Similarly, a picture of the NATO Summit reveals a very large circle of men only http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/photo/2012-05/21/c_131600159.htm But the Occupy protests made no mention of the underlying gender realities in thie peace/war organization.
The Christian Science Monitor noted that the Nato Summit, which dealt with the future of Aghani women, contained so few women that it could not address this issue http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2012/0520/At-NATO-summit-on-Afghanistan-few-women-s-voices-heard Amnesty International held a Shadow Summit, but its participants, Speakers and panelists include Afifa Azim, Executive Director, Afghan Women’s Network; Manizha Naderi, Executive Director of Women for Afghan Women; and IL Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, likely failed to grasp that the dangers ot Afghan woman and US women are linked, and due to an accepted culture of lack of overdue women’s representation/gender balance in both countries, and too many lands. (Jan Schakosky likely failed to even mention there are currently almost twice as many Afghan women in office than the number in the even more patriarchal and dangerous US Congress, and the current election will leave this world-endangering imbalance as is.) The Afghan women themselves highlighted the People’s Summit, which was also coordinating with Occupy,http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/2012/05/17/a-summit-to-represent-us.html. The People’s Assembly http://www.peoplessummitchicago.org/ did have a fairly gender balanced panel of KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Malalai Joya, former Afghan member of Parliament and internationally renowned opponent of NATO’s occupation of Afghanistan; Rev. Janette Wilson, Rainbow/PUSH coalition; Reiner Braun, International Coordinating Committee of the European No to NATO network; Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence; death row prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal via speakerphone; Malik Mujahid, Muslim Peace Coalition; Medea Benjamin, Code Pink; Col. Ann Wright (ret.), antiwar activist. But nowhere was there any linkage that the problems of women are based in the underrepresentation of women in Afghanistan and those of women in the United States, and are linked with each other and too much of the rest of the world. In fact, the FLYER for the People’s Summit starts with an Afghan women, but then mentions only male speakers, and leaves out most of the women, especially the home grown variety. http://www.peoplessummitchicago.org/uploads/1/1/6/4/11649707/ps_poster.jpg But women’s rights are very much an American and whole world issue, now just as much as important and possibly equally or more endangered in the US than in Afghanistan, because Afghanistan has almost twice as many women in its Parliament than the US, with 27% compared to 17% (and neither meeting the bare critical minimum of 30% called for by 2000 the the UN Beijing Platform for Action for Women.
It is not enough to just have women on the menu, as they are at: http://cang8.org/protest-natog8-summit-may-2012-chicago/ at an activity connected with Occupy; they and the men must speak up for actual full presence of women with men in decision-making, or their efforts at peace come to naught. Women from Wisconsin took a beautiful intergenerational approach to the their presence http://occupywi.org/2012/05/women-in-the-streets-at-nato/, yet failed to hone in on women’s representation/gender balance as the fulcrum issue that determines war and peace and all human rights. Their women’s action was not even mentioned in the Occupy Wisconsin list of events http://occupywi.org/2012/05/wisconsin-goes-to-nato/, and there was clearly no Wisconsin men’s profeminist partnering to its importance in dealing with NATO, and all war culture/pseudogovernment.
Occupy Chicago does have a gender equity group http://occupychi.org/committee/27 It states: “We reject any and all restrictions to abortion access, equal pay, equal access to housing, healthcare, childcare, and other social services as an outrageous, governmentally-sanctioned attack. But it does not yet mention and call for full gender balanced representtaion as the critical mass need to defense against such attack. Women (and men who respect them) simply cannot protect women of any race or sexual orientation from attack without equal female/male gender representation.