Grannies for peace among “Women Who Count”


granniesJoan Wile, one of our “Women Who Count” in Introduction to Women’s Studies, was part of a group of 18 women ages 58 to 92 who were arrested in 2005 after trying to enlist in the military in protest of the Iraq War.

The women wanted to be sent to war in place of young people — in some cases their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Their argument? We’ve lived long lives, they said. Put us in harm’s way rather than young people just starting out in the world.

Their story made the New York Times, and they were acquitted after a six-day trial. You can read additional NYT coverage of their efforts here.

After that action, the group Granny Peace Brigade was formed, and a call was put out for grandmothers across the country to join the movement.

One result of that was Grandmothers Against the War, a group based in California’s Bay Area.

Wile has written a book, Grandmothers Against the War: How We Got Off Our Fannies and Stood Up for Peace. And the group holds a teach-in each year to educate people about U.S. involvement in militarization around the globe.

This year’s event, held Nov. 9 in Manhattan, was called “Say `No’ to U.S. Militarization of Latin American and the Caribbean.” Read more about it here.

The Granny Peace Brigade has taken on other issues as well. They have joined forces with HealthCare NOW and other advocates for single payer health care.

They have also partnered with Code Pink to help with counter-recruitment efforts, including informing parents about how they can make sure their son or daughter opts-out of military recruiting efforts based in high schools. New York’s YaYa Network is working with the Granny Peace Brigade on that effort as well.

To download an opt-out form, click here or here. For an FAQ on the subject, click here.

Read more about the Granny Peace Brigade on its blog.

You can read brief bios of more “Women Who Count,” as posted by Introduction to Women’s Studies students, here.

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Round-up of feminist political news


Visit the Ms. Web site to contribute your feminist ideas for change
The first issue of Ms. magazine in 2009 will hit news stands just as President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in. And it will feature the best of YOUR ideas for moving forward to make the change we need. Submit your ideas by clicking here.

Women are gaining political power, says a recent CNN story. Read it here

2008 Election Analysis: Gender Gap Delivers
Women’s votes delivered the electoral votes of New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado and Indiana to Barack Obama and elected several Democratic U.S. Senators. Read more.

Check out the National Women’s Law Center’s Platforms for Progress
It offers concrete proposals and outlines steps that should be taken by the new Congress and Administration in the areas of education, employment, basic economic security, health, and legal rights. Download the complete Platform.

How does the U.S. rank regarding political empowerment of women? 
The United States now ranks 56th for its political empowerment of women. And as The Global Gender Gap Report 2008 says, gender equality is an important factor in determining a country’s competitiveness because it relates directly to its use of human talent.

As the reports says, “To maximize its competitiveness and development potential, each country should strive for gender equality—i.e., to give women the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as men.”  Download the report here

Sexes equal in education, but women lack power: study says
Women still lag far behind men in top political and decision-making roles, a waste of talent given that their access to education and healthcare is nearly equal, the World Economic Forum said on Wednesday. Read the full story.

From Ohio to Kenya, women celebrate Obama win


obamaBarack Obama’s 87-year-old Kenyan grandmother ran out of her home and began dancing when she heard that her grandson had won the U.S. presidency.

Now she and other Kenyans are enjoying a national holiday today to celebrate his win.

For women, it should be a national holiday here, too. One reason for this is Obama’s rating on 10 key issues of importance to women.

Read more about the impact of the 2008 election on women at the Women’s Media Center.

Stay up to date on the feminist perspective on the election at Feministing.com.

Find out more about the role women played in Obama’s win by clicking on these headlines:

Women’s support proves key in battlegrounds

Hispanics, young voters, women help Obama win

US polls ’08 witness woman power

Why women support Obama

Women who count: Post them here for fall 2008


In Introduction to Women’s Studies, we talk about women who have made a difference in the United States and around the world.

These are women who have influenced the world of work, culture, government, law, or social policy. These are also women who have worked to prevent violence against women or have taken on an activist role in some other way.

In all cases, these women are “Women Who Count.” Post your facts and comments about the women on our list here.

Feminist economists rate presidential candidates on women’s economic concerns


As Joe the Plumber plays out his moments in the sun, a group of feminist economists rate the two candidates according to women’s economic concerns.

Read “The Financial Debate—Moving the `Joannes’ Front and Center” by Marcia G. Yerman for The Women’s Media Center.