Myriam El-Khomri, one more woman in the French government

Myriam El-Khomri

The appointment by President Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls of Myriam El-Khomri as Minister of Labor came as a surprise. The position became vacant when the former minister left to become mayor of Dijon, a medium sized French city. The presumed good candidates for the position were all men.

With this appointment nine of the sixteen senior ministers are women, a precedent in French politics certainly.

Myriam El-Khomri, who had been in the Paris council and worked closely with Anne Hidalgo, the current mayor of Paris, made her way working on urban policies. She was elected in the vibrant XVIII district that regroups Montmartre, the tourist attraction, and la Goutte D’Or, where over 30% of the population is of West African and North African descent. She was praised for her sense of dialogue, enabling urban and social improvements in this district. She carried this expertise to her next employment as State Secretary to the Minister for Urban Affairs, which she held until now. She clearly opposed ghettoisation and supported programs to promote social diversity.

Why was she appointed in this rather liberal socialist government? Surely, sending an image of progressive young government is part of the strategy as this government is contested on its left. Then, she is going to be in charge of preparing the next social roundtable between the unions and an unfettered business/corporation leadership. With the strong hand of Manuel Valls on his ministers, she will need a lot of diplomacy if she wants to remain true to her belief that employment policies have to be approached from fairer urban public politics angle.

In addition, Manuel Valls and President Hollande have already expressed their desire to “simplify” the labor code, and that is what scares the unions. France has rather good social and labor protection compared to many other European countries that have seen their labor regulations crumbling. What will be her role in these contradictory discourses? On one hand, drastically cutting public spending and on the other one, pretending that public services and social programs will be maintained, even improved, as neoliberal policies in France like anywhere else generate increased inequalities.

Lastly and remarkably, since the Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who was born Spanish, took office, he has promoted two women who were born in Morocco. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem left the Ministry of Gender Equality to become the Minister of National Education, Higher Education and Research and now Myriam El-Khomri. He declared that these two women represent diversity, the reality and the strength of France. Although this appointment is encouraging, it is definitely not enough to strongly establish that diversity is the reality and strength of France.

Wouldn’t it be a good move to change asylum policies, as 75% of asylum demands are denied annually?

 

 

(Photo Credit: Alain Guilhot / Le Monde)

Misogyny and Racism among Republican Contenders for the 2016 Presidency

The current competition among several Republican candidates to win the Republican ticket for the 2016 Presidency is overwhelmingly centered on statements and promises to support policies that are misogynistic.

Candidate Donald Trump is gaining popularity among the Republican voters for his stance on immigration. He vows to deport the children, even if they are American citizens, born to “illegal immigrants.” Apart from this notion being unconstitutional, it exposes an immigration restriction that used to be applied more than a century ago–the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, “which severely restricted the entry of unmarried Asian women [my emphasis] into the United States as part of an effort to limit the growing Asian and Asian American population” (Gurr 30). Other Republican candidates, like Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush, are in agreement with Trump, although Jeb Bush has picked Asians over Mexicans as his voodoo doll.

In giving credence to the belief in ousting children of illegal immigrants, Republican candidates are enhancing the population control practices that have been historically enacted on poor and non white populations.

The most recent battle is being waged to defund Planned Parenthood, an old battle that has now become frenzied and vicious. The gradual erasure of Planned Parenthood from many states attests to the gradual diminishment of health care for women who are particularly disadvantaged—rural women, poor women, teenagers, women of color. While the Republicans have built up arguments about Planned Parenthood’s evil, like their trade in “baby organs” (fetal tissue), based on evidence collected by decoy clients, the facts remain glossed over and unheeded: Abortion is a vital service PP offers, but is not federally funded and is a tiny percentage of the care that Planned Parenthood offers women, from prenatal care to breast cancer screening and HIV tests.

Also, much talked about in the news is Trump’s crass treatment of Fox’s news anchor, Megyn Kelly. In critiquing Trump, one finds oneself supporting an equally misogynistic and neoliberal institution, Fox News. Interestingly enough, during the first Republican debate, Megyn calling out Trump’s misogynistic name calling of women made her a target of Trump’s humiliating riposte—he questioned her intelligence and her work as a journalist. And she was not spared the name calling either; on social media, Trump continued his war days after his first fracas, and called her a “bimbo.”

While many have rallied to Megyn’s support (due to her privilege of being an anchor on Fox, her youth, her whiteness, and her class), there was no protest or walk out when Jorge Ramos, a top Latino journalist, was summarily kicked out by security when he tried asking Trump a question about his proposed immigration policy! Here we see, along with misogyny, a deep and fertile racism, (the two often go together), but a section of the populace is eager to overlook these events as harmless, pure theater.

These recent events bear a dangerous echo to the beginning of the Nazi era and Hitler, with Mein Kampf as the bible that would build a country based on exclusions through genocide of the unwanted. If Americans select a President who will enact policies that are racist and misogynist and do away with press freedoms, we can begin to believe that we have lost our basic human and civil rights. We need to be angry, stay alert, and organize more than ever.

 

 

(Photo Credit: Getty Images / Fusion)

In the US and Europe: women, migrants, and injustice

Two news stories worthy of comment today: first, The New York Times reported yesterday that a nine-man, three-woman jury acquitted a young man from the elite prep school of St. Paul’s of rape charges, even when his 15-year-old victim reiterated over and over, that she had said “no” to her rape, several times during the ordeal.

What part of “No means No” did this jury not get?  In the twenty-first century?

The defense lawyer’s bizarre and illogical closing argument, which clearly found favor with at least some of the jurors, was this: “He’s not a saint. He’s a teenager.”  As if all male teens (and all men, it seems to imply), unless they are saints, will rape and assault young girls, and that that is a normal, acceptable thing; as if somehow, rape by teenagers should not be named or punished in the same way as rape by those who are not teenagers.  One of the six men who brutally raped and killed the bus commuter Jyoti Singh in Delhi in 2012 was a 17-year-old teenager.  Describing someone’s age status is not an argument. It is shameful that it became one, with a whole set of unspoken assumptions about acceptable sexual behavior, and seems to have been accepted by a majority of the members of that jury.  How this majority male jury was selected to decide a case involving a young girl’s rape, gender bias, and other serious concerns about this grave failure of the justice process also emerge.

The other story takes us to violence against a different vulnerable population: those Syrian, Iraqi, Eritrean, and Afghani refugees dying on Europe’s roads and shores, in its fields and seas– those that European countries and international media dishonestly and dehumanizingly call “migrants.”  As Hannah Arendt forcefully argued, based on the experience of Jewish refugees in the mid-twentieth century, these minorities have lost the protection of their states, and are “stateless people” – NOT “migrants.”  Even the term “refugee,” she argued, hid from view the fact that these people were in the position they were in because their states could/would no longer protect them and their basic human rights.  Instead of dehumanizing these stateless people by building more walls and pushing them out to sea, Europe needs to deliver on its promises in the 1951 Geneva Convention—made in the wake of the independence of most of the world from over 300 years of brutal British and European exploitation, dehumanization, enslavement, and colonization—to respect and protect the human rights of refugees.  Somini Sengupta nailed it when she noted, “Countries are free to deport migrants who arrive without legal papers, which they cannot do with refugees under the 1951 convention. So it is not surprising that many politicians in Europe prefer to refer to everyone fleeing to the continent as migrants.”

If European states refuse to help these human beings and turn them away from refuge, they are no better than the state governments people are fleeing. In the dissembling name “migrant” that denies people their history and human identity, Europe simply reproduces the inhumane state violence of those regimes it disparages.

 

 

(Photo Credit 1: Telesurtv.net) (Photo Credit 2: EurActiv.com)

The battle for women’s reproductive rights in the United States rages on!

The latest campaign against women’s health in the United States has taken place in the background of the Presidential Republican primaries.

Not surprisingly, the infamous videos filmed illegally in a Planned Parenthood office that spurred national propaganda against the organization were rigged. Amazingly, the anti abortion organization the Center for Medical Progress that released the videos with false assumptions claim, on their home page, to be a group dedicated to monitoring and reporting on medical ethics and advances. They even claim to be concerned with bioethics and human dignity. In fact, their work is a distinct attack on women’s dignity and against all principles of ethics.

This group cannot produce medical progress and that is exactly the point. This imposture is inscribed in the larger project to eliminate and/or control a section of the population defined by gender, race and class. Low and middle-income women and women of color are the ones who are primarily going to be hurt. In 2013, 52% of all patients were Medicaid patients, 22% were Latinos, 14% African Americans. This campaign is formed in the political Republican discourse of discrimination.

This scheme is fueling the ongoing crusade against Planned Parenthood and against women’s health and rights in Republican states. We have already seen the consequences in Texas where 55% of women reported at least one barrier to accessing reproductive health care services including cervical cancer screening. Additionally, Bill HB2 has already effectively reduced women’s rights in Texas with only 6 ambulatory abortion centers left.

Each state has contracts with Planned Parenthood. What is being done is to eliminate public state money that was allocated to the organization to provide public health services to women.

These multilevel attacks are well orchestrated. Blocking them demands much resources a great deal of mobilization. Numerous inspections and bureaucratic hassles are put in place. Florida redefine gestational age. Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida, Utah and New Hampshire plan to end their contracts with Planned Parenthood.

Clearly, the intent is to continue to make the safety net thinner for the most vulnerable.

Pregnancy is already a risky business in the United States since women, and again especially low-income women and women of color, are under scrutiny and may end up in prison as well as deprived of medical and social support.

Jeb Bush declared that half a billion of dollars on women’s health is too much. Then, he shared his vision of public responsibility when it comes to women’s rights, asserting, “But abortion should not be funded by the government, any government in my mind.” Meanwhile, US women’s life expectancy is only 32nd in the world.

Should the role of the state be to allow women to control their reproductive health by guaranteeing them access to reproductive health services? Remember, half of all pregnancies are unintended in the United States, and pregnancy services are not free of charge. Remember as well, women have higher quality of life and life expectancy in countries where the government funds abortion and where pregnancy services are free of charge.

How the “life” of the unborn has toppled the life of a woman is no mystery: a great dose of political cynicism serves vested interest and neoliberal economics to create a geography of increasing discrimination and vulnerability.

As for morality, these videos, falsified and published by a dubious organization, got more traction and visibility than the reality of women’s reproductive health and lives! Why? Why are women’s universal rights to reproductive health and health care being systematically erased?

 

 

(Photo Credit: Anne Savage / eclectablog.com)

This city is a monster created through the violent fusion of enemy organisms

This city is a monster created through the violent fusion of enemy organisms, kept together, kind of, by the fear of the even worse. An inward shameful rage is its most permanent emotional state. It is fabled for beauty, but to see it requires a blindness of the moral kind. It is not a good thing, this city.

I was born here, grew up here and will die here. I am one of its products and makers, but I scream for its destruction, as my Khoi forebears have done at the time of its beginning. The stories I tell are nothing but this scream in words.

There is the mountain and then to its immediate south, the sea, with the city squeezed in between into the shape of a wedge of cheese. The sea has water and fish and beaches with sand. There are rocks and plants on the mountain, and often, clouds. In summer the sun shines hotly and the wind blows hard from the South-East. Winters are colder with lots of rain, interspersed with mild, sunny, windless days. North of the mountain are flat, sandy lands, unprotected from the winds. To its South-West a rocky peninsula juts into the sea, forming part of the coasts of two bays. In one of them is an island.

Seven teenage girls crammed into a room by themselves are never quiet. Shrill yells and laughs are hardly muffled by the closed door of my daughter’s room. I can only guess at the objects of their alternating outrage, derision and amusement. It is a happy guessing game as pleasure in each other overlays every alternation. They continue through the night in unwitting mockery of what they call a sleep-over.

Before six the morning L. storms out of her room and announces they are going for a jog. B. tries to intervene. Isn’t it still dark? But you are still in pajamas? I thought you hated exercise? Be careful, I call after the girls as they run out into the mist. They will never be careful these girls, not when the streets are empty and still, and they are queens of a city that for all anyone could tell they alone inhabited, which would have been just wonderful.

 

(Photo Credit: Bruce Sutherland / finweek.com)

 

Tufts University, Sotheby’s, WeWork and the war on women workers

Former WeWork cleaners’ vigil at WeWork headquarters on Monday

In the United States, August 26 is Women’s Equality Day. On Aug. 26, 1920, the amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for women officially became part of the U.S. Constitution. That equality does not extend to the workplace. Ask the women who clean offices. They’ll tell you of rampant sexual violence, harassment, persecution, and dismissal for speaking up or trying to organize. This is part of the global condition of women workers in the shining not-so-new economy of global cities.

In Boston, Tufts University “employs” around 200 janitors. The workers officially work for DTZ. DTZ describes itself as “a global leader in commercial real estate services.” DTZ boasts “facilities management for Harvard, Stanford, Florida State universities and many more colleges and universities across North America, Australia and Asia.”

Tufts claims DTZ began plans for reorganizing its custodial staff a while ago. Tufts also claims the university “planned the layoffs because it found out it was paying more for cleaning services than other similar universities … The restructuring will save the university about $900,000.” Both stories could be true at the same time.

Tufts would not speak with the janitors because the janitors don’t work for Tufts. They work for DTZ. When the notices finally came, janitors, students, the Service Employees International Union and other supporters began a months’ long campaign, which resulted in a temporary stay of eviction. But then the school year ended, the students went off, and the workers remained.

In July, DTZ told all the workers they had to change their schedules. Paula Castillo, 67-years-old, has worked as a janitor at Tufts for 19 years. She describes the impact of changed hours and increased workloads, “The shift in our work plus the change of our schedules have had a large impact on us. I used to schedule my weekly hospital appointments around 4 p.m. after work, but now that my hours were changed, I can’t go at 4 … The problem is that I won’t be able to clean the 120 bathrooms, and four buildings with three to five floors that I’m assigned to. We won’t be able to finish all the work they’ve assigned us. What they want is to take out all the elders, and it’s difficult to find a job because of my age. I won’t be able to.”

This is not particular to Tufts or to DTZ. It’s the same-old and new norm, all at once. At Sotheby’s in London, four Latin American workers joined a protest asking for livable sick leave. The next day, they were fired, but they don’t work for Sotheby’s. They work for Servest, “one of the largest cleaning services companies in the UK with experience in every setting you can imagine … With us, you can also expect a completely flexible approach.” Servest also flexibly “maintains” Cambridge University.

In New York, WeWork “released” its sub-contracted cleaners this past Monday, and announced it would be hiring new workers in “an exciting transition.” The new hires will be called Community Service Associates, and they must now demonstrate an “ability to communicate in English.” There is no mention of the metrics for evaluating that ability. Carlos Angulo has worked as a cleaner at WeWork for two years: “If I talk to the toilet in English it’s not going to answer. The printer doesn’t ask me to talk to it in English.”

These work forces are overwhelmingly women of color, and more often than not immigrant and transnational women of color. From dismissals to changed schedules to reduced hours and work speedups, efficiency and paying-more-for-services-than-our-brothers always provides cover for the systemic assault on women’s dignity and well being: office cleaners, garment workers, home health care workers, domestic workers, restaurant workers, teachers, nurses, women farm workers, women.

 

 

(Photo Credit: SEIU 32BJ / Gothamist)

Write My Mother’s Name On My ID Card!

 

Afghanistan is going to issue its citizens their first biometric national identification cards “tazkira”. For decades the Afghan tazkira has been a paper form filled out with black or blue ink, and a stamped photo glued or stapled on the top-left corner of it. The name of the bearer has not been the only name on the tazkira. It also contains the names of the father and the grandfather, which are crucial to an Afghan’s identity.

With the modernization of the national identity card, the Afghan elite and the women’s rights advocates, by writing open letters to the president on the social media, have started asking for the inclusion of the mother’s name in the new tazkiras; with the slogan: “Write my mother’s name on my ID card”.

However, it appears very unlikely that the Afghan government would take such a leap of faith to ensure women’s rights.

In Afghanistan, one’s mother’s name is rarely mentioned in public as it is considered a taboo. There are tragic incidents that mentioning someone’s mother’s name in public has ended in killing the violator, who had broken this cultural norm.

In a country, where identities are formed in relation to fathers and grandfathers, the Afghan policy makers have little political interest in devising policies that are perceived contradictory to the status quo gender norms. One has to look at the last four decades to become wary of introducing modernization policies, which can backfire and lead to civil unrest. This apprehension among the politicians and lawmakers has continually subjugated women’s rights to allegedly “more crucial issues” such as “stability” and “security”. Nonetheless, it should be stressed that the mere fact that this idea has picked up in the country, regardless of how unlikely it is that a mother’s name would appear on the tazkira, illustrates that the Afghan society is making some of its very first steps towards breaking social taboos and deconstructing and reconstructing traditional identities.

In Sierra Leone, OUTRAGE FOR HANNAH!

Fatou Wurie 1 Fatou Wurie 4 Fatou Wurie 2

Hannah was raped. It does not end there. Hannah was disembodied; skull fractured, glue found in her eyes, broken bones in multiple areas of her body, her spinal cord – shattered. When Hannah was found, only a pink brassier covered the top part of her body. Her legs were sprawled apart, the only cover came from the beach’s sand and seaweed. Hanna was raped and her murder, an inhumane act of violence.

Hundreds of women and men took to the streets on Thursday August 20th in a march organized by PowerWomen 232, a network for professional Sierra Leonean women. PowerWomen led the way for solidarity, chanting “Justice for Hannah, Justice for Women”. The outrage sourced from the predisposition that Hannah was raped (before autopsy results were released) and then murdered when images of Hannah’s deceased body were proliferated across local social media platforms. Those images forced us all to stop, question, mourn and be reminded that horrific acts of sexual violence very much thrive in our small nation’s shores.

Sierra Leoneans from all levels, high political personalities, leaders of women’s groups, activists, entrepreneurs, and students; the UN body, expatriates, and men marched wearing black, symbolic of solidarity at a time when being passive is no longer an option. Many who marched that day were not expecting this depth of brutality that Hannah’s young body had endured into her death.

Hannah’s death pierces through a plethora of Sierra Leone’s social and political issues currently circuiting in the country. Her death screams over denial about her violent murder, screams over blame (that it is because she was a sex worker that she got raped), and screams over the thick silence that has clothed action when it comes to enforcing punitive action against perpetuators of sexual violence.

Hannah’s death reminds us all that women’s bodies in Sierra Leone are under heavy siege. That Sierra Leone’s highly patriarchal society still subjugates with structural discrimination in practice, custom, and law, with a plethora of women still facing suppression in education, employment and politics. Sexual violence has always been rampant in Sierra Leone – the rhetoric that Ebola has induced a spike in sexual violence undermines the reality that little has been done to improve social and economic options for women.

Hannah was raped, maimed and murdered. Let that resonate with us all. This is a stark reminder that urgent work must be done to continue to speak up against sexual violence; that laws must no longer lie dormant but must be activated with stringent punitive actions against all perpetrators. More women who have experienced sexual violence must speak up, if enough of us are talking about this, sharing our stories – policy makers, communities, our women and men, the world will LISTEN.

Hannah’s death must not go in vain – we must channel our outrage into positive change. We have been reminded that the bodies, and psyches and spirits of Sierra Leonean women are not safe because Hannah was not only raped, she was brutally murdered and left exposed. We cannot turn away, we must act NOW.

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(Photo Credit: Fatou Wurie)

The treatment of Sulma Franco is a national disgrace

The signs read, “SULMA IS WELCOME HERE”, but for how long, and what is welcome? Ask Sulma Franco, a 31-year-old LGBT activist from Guatemala who has lived in Texas for six years, part of that in San Antonio, much of it in Austin. In Austin, she owned a thriving food truck business, La Ilusión. No longer.

In 2009, Sulma Franco applied for asylum as an open lesbian who faced violence if she returned home. She passed her initial interview with immigration officers, who determined she had a “credible fear” of returning to Guatemala. Released from detention, she was allowed to work. For years, she reported to immigration officers every three months. In June 2014, she was arrested and faced deportation. She says her former attorney failed to file some papers, and so her asylum case ended, abruptly and without her knowledge: “I didn’t have any problems until then. The immigration official said to me, ‘You know what, I want to tell you your case is closed and you’ll be detained.’ As simple as that. My record is clean. I’m not a criminal … I was paying taxes on my business, and was contributing to society. I had a work permit, driver’s license, business permits that were all in my name.”

No one disputes that Sulma Franco, as an open lesbian and prominent LGBT activist, faces peril if she returns to Guatemala. According to a 2012 study, Guatemala is a world leader in “the frequency and severity of violence against women — including lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender (LBT) women”. Sulma Franco already knows this: “The most difficult situation is that I would end up dead. The discrimination, the hate due to my sexual orientation … In my country, these are things that happen because of sexual orientation. That’s why I fear returning. They can’t tolerate the idea that two women can fall in love, have a child, run a business. If I fled this, why would I want to return? Here, I was able to take my girlfriend to a restaurant and have no problems … I don’t want to go back. I’ve suffered enough there. I’ve been discriminated against, abused and beaten up in every form because of my lifestyle … I can be tortured. I can be sexually abused. I can also be killed.”

On June 11, Sulma Franco was given sanctuary in an Austin church. Faith based groups joined immigrant rights organizers and women’s groups to push for a stay in deportation. On Tuesday, August 18, Sulma Franco was granted an order of supervision, which allows her to stay in the United States “for the time being.” Meanwhile, La Ilusión is no more, thanks to months in detention.

The treatment of Sulma Franco is a national disgrace, and it’s far from over. Yet again, for one woman to arrive at a precarious for-the-time-being, hundreds of people have to invest thousands of hours. In a famous scene in The Elephant Man, John Merrick, the protagonist, asks his mentor, “If your mercy is so cruel, what do you have for justice?” His mentor replies, “I am sorry. It is just the way things are.” Sulma Franco knows the way things are: cruel mercy, injustice posing as rule of law, and massive and intensive exploitation of those women who dare to dream. As simple as that.

Sulma Franco

 

 

(Photo Credit 1: Mari Hernandez / The Austin Chronicle) (Photo Credit 2: Alberto Martinez / San Antonio Current)

In New Zealand’s prisons, Māori women’s lives don’t matter

#NativeLivesMatter. Native women’s lives matter. Tell that to New Zealand Aotearoa. The island nation increasingly uses both names. Aotearoa, the Māori name, is being used with greater frequency. That may be so, but at the same time, the prisons of that island nation are overwhelmingly Māori, and in particular Māori women, and the State doesn’t care.

The active lack of concern for Māori women is shown in the new Te Tirohanga, or Focus, program in the prisons, a new program based on Māori principles: “With 8,500 prisoners among a national population of 4.5 million, New Zealand ranks as one of the highest jailers in the developed world. But as has been repeatedly highlighted in reports by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the Māori component is staggering. While those who identify as Māori make up about 15% of the New Zealand population, the corresponding figure behind bars is more than 50%. Among women, for whom there is no Te Tirohanga option, it is higher still, at 60%.”

60 percent of the women in prison in New Zealand are Māori, and for them, there is no Te Tirohanga option. Why are Māori women excluded from this option?

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has long noted the dire mathematics of New Zealand’s prisons. In its 2014 report, the Working Group identified five areas of concern: over-incarceration; detention of Māori; detention of refugees, asylum seekers, and irregular migrants; detention of persons with mental or intellectual disabilities; detention of children and young persons. The only people not over incarcerated are White adults not living with mental or intellectual disabilities. For Māori women, however, the situation is dire: “The over-representation of Māori in the prison population poses a significant challenge as recognised in New Zealand’s National Report to the 2014 Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in the Human Rights Council. Māori make up more than 50 per cent of the prison population while Māori comprise some 15 per cent of the population of New Zealand. In the case of Maõri women, they account for more than 65 per cent of the prison population … The Working Group recalls that the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Human Rights Committee and, in two reports, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, have recommended that New Zealand increase its efforts to prevent the discrimination against Māori in the administration of justice. Particular concerns have been raised in relation to the overrepresentation of Māori women.”

Particular concerns have been raised in relation to the overrepresentation of Māori women. How has the State responded? For Māori women, there is no Te Tirohanga option. In its most recent Census Report, the New Zealand government includes prison populations under Living outside the norm: An analysis of people living in temporary and communal dwellings. Too often, prisons come up as “outside the norm”, but for Māori women, it’s exactly the opposite. Prison is the norm, and, for prisons, Māori women are the norm. Neil Campbell, the director of Māori for the New Zealand Aotearoa Department of Corrections looks at the Te Tirohanga program and wonders, “If this is such a great program, why are we limiting it to the five whare [units]? Why aren’t we running it in the community? Why don’t women have access to it?” Why don’t Māori women have access to it? Because, for the State, Māori women’s lives don’t matter.

 

(Photo Credit: UNDP)