Several thousands have signed a petition in an attempt to reach out to the Scottish government hoping they will take action against the rape advocate.

Last Monday, Cat Boyd started the petition calling for the Holyrood government to stop Daryush Valizadeh, the rape-promoting “neo-masculinist” .

“RooshV (Valizadeh), a militant pro-rape pick-up artist is holding gatherings for his followers in Glasgow and Edinburgh. This makes our cities unsafe for at least half the population. Promoting rape is hate speech, and should be treated as such,” the petition says.

Valizadeh writes that rape should be allowed and claims it would actually be good, as it will help push women to become more alert in situations such as this. He also thinks that by legalizing rape, women will stop showing mixed signals about consent, but in Valizadeh’s previous journal, his movement seems to be in favor of women’s well-being, his next articles show his true intentions.

“Modern women are too broken, unreliable and narcissistic to give men anything reliable besides fornification,” said Valizadeh.

Not only are Glasgow citizens petitioning against his movement, but people several other communities are also taking part in stopping his world-wide meet-ups.

“Pro-rape women-haters are not welcome in Glasgow, as they will find out when they gather in George Square… and have the pish ripped right out of them by decent Glaswegians.

“These men deserve derision and pity. Violence and intimidation is their game and we will not join in,” protestors said.

Valizadeh’s plans failed to execute as they occurred during Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week. His announcement for his plans only encouraged people around the world to promote against sexual abuse.

“The focus is going to be on the fact that all forms of sexual abuse and sexual violence are unacceptable and survivors should not have to tolerate it. There should also be adequate services to support those who have experienced it and clear guidelines for reporting it,” a spokesperson for the week’s organizer said.

Article via The Guardian, 2 February 2016
Photo: End rape_ Sexual Abuse by Your DOST [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Researchers have begun to dive into studies of how the objectification of women in sexist ads portray the way society sees them in real life.

In late 2015, Madonna Badger, ad agency co-founder and creative director of Badger & Winters took part in the #WomenNotObjects campaign. As a result, she came across an endless number of ads that exploited women’s bodies simply because “sex sells.” In the campaign video, the majority of the women mocked each ad as the video progresses, but one said, “I’m only here for your entertainment,” which ironically is the hard truth behind these ads.

In honor of Badger’s late daughters, who passed in an unfortunate event in 2011, she compiled a video to step forward in the campaign. Badger wanted to make a change and help young women.

“I want my life to have a purpose,” said Badger. She wanted to expose the ad industry for its objectification of women and the negative effects it puts on youth.

“I love my job but I don’t want to do if it if hurts anyone.”

Ad models know that they are there to make the product look good by looking good. They step into the scene fully understanding the exploitation of their sexuality, but that does not mean they agree with it.

Badger hopes to raise awareness of this culture by the use of the hashtag #WomenNotObjects as a conversation starter.

“I am your mother, daughter, sisters, coworker, manager, CEO,” a mantra used to help kill the culture of objectification of women.

In order to teach society to respect women, we need to start from the root. Children of this decade are born and raised into this culture, so if there is any method — it is simply teaching children to respect women from a young age so that they can grow to be a better generation.

Article via Mashable, 27 January 2015
Photo: Racy chewing gum ad in London by Todd Mecklem [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Tami Reiss aims to prevent the use of tentative, apologetic qualifiers that many women use in the workplace with her new Gmail plug-in, Just Not Sorry. Offered for Google Chrome, the plug-in underlines tempering words like “sorry” and “just” written in emails and alerts the user with a pop-up describing the used phrase’s connotation. Tami Reiss is the CEO of the consulting firm Cyrus Innovation.

“The women in these rooms were all softening their speech in situations that called for directness and leadership,” Reiss said of her experience working at Cyrus Innovation. “We had all inadvertently fallen prey to a cultural communication pattern that undermined our ideas. As entrepreneurial women, we run businesses and lead teams—why aren’t we writing with the confidence of their positions?”

The plug-in has inspired a movement to ensure that #10000women send direct, unapologetic emails consistently throughout 2016. It has already been downloaded by thousands of users.

“This app prevented me from needlessly writing I am sorry in 6 emails today alone,” wrote one user in a review on Google Chrome’s Web Store. “LOVE IT. Thank you. #sorrynotsorry.”

Article via Good, 30 December 2015

Photo: Yackathon! Yelp’s First Community Hackathon in Montreal by Yelp Inc. [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Sexual harassment in Silicon Valley has affected 60 percent of the senior women in technology, according a recent survey. The survey, Elephant in the Valley, surveyed more than 200 women of power and influence in the Bay Area. According to the respondents, nearly 60 percent of these women stated that they had received unwanted sexual advances in the workplace. 65 percent of those advances came from a superior, and 1 in 3 stated that the advances made them fear for their safety.

The authors of the survey wrote that they were inspired by the conversations generated by the Ellen Pao trial. Writing on their website the authors stated, “What we realized is that while many women shared similar workplace stories, most men were simply shocked and unaware of the issues facing women in the workplace. In an effort to correct the massive information disparity, we decided to get the data and the stories.”

Treo Vassallo, an investor and advisor who participated in the Ellen Pao trial was also one of the authors of the survey. She testified against Kleiner Perkins during the trial , vividly recalling her own experience being sexually harassed by a former partner at the VC firm. Afterwards, she stated that a large number of women approached her with their own horrifying stories of harassment. Moved by what she heard from others, Vassallo wanted to be a catalyst to continue to conversation and bring change.

Part of the problem could be that women are the minority in the tech world. Nearly 80 percent of reported sexual harassment crimes are committed by men against women, especially when men are senior to them. The purpose of this survey is to make these numbers more visible. The hope is that by bringing these stories to light, and exposing the data that has been collected, the male-dominated culture of sexual harassment will be tempered within the workplace.


Article via Cnet, 11 January 2016

Photo: Trae Vassallo, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers by Dow Jones Events [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Hera Hussain is the founder of Chayn: an advocacy group that leverages technology to empower women against violence and oppression so they can live much better lives. One of the main themes of this group is to use the power of technology to help people most overlooked by society. Hussain says it is usually women, especially women of color that are affected. One of their projects included a hackathon to create solutions to end sexual violence in high conflict zones. Another was an online toolkit for domestic abuse survivors to build their own legal case.

A particular hackathon held more than a month ago called #PeaceHackBEY helped to resolve the issue of integrating women into the picture of solving societal challenges. In partnership with the global NGO International Alert, Chayn brought together a variety of technologists, activists, thinkers, and engaged citizens aiming to create solutions to some of the major social problems facing Lebanon today.  Before, there were two extremes in civil society: events that focus solely on women and the latter dominated by men. In events leading up to the Hackathon, anti-government protests swept the city over issues like public services and the lack of resources and support for the Syrian refugees that entered Lebanon to escape turmoil.

“Civic tech is a term that emerged because there was demand for citizens to create solutions when the response from government was slow and people wanted to make change on their own,” Hussain says. “This hackathon felt like it was the right thing because it was tackling issues that Lebanese society faces as a whole—access to services, resources, and information—but which tend to affect women most because they’re disenfranchised.”

Chayn is headquartered in London, but Hussain is originally from Pakistan and heads a team of volunteers from all over the world. Hussain hopes the organization acts as facilitators, active in working with stakeholders and finding sustainable solutions to build peace. “We believe in a ‘build with, not for’ approach—that’s all about working with people you’re building solutions for, rather than building it for them without including them as part of the design process,” she says.

Article via Good Magazine, September 22, 2015

Photo: Globe in Purple via Norm Hoekstra [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]

Women have come a long way in the profession of law. For example, four women have been appointed to the Supreme Court to date, and makers are even trying to convince Lego to create figurines representing these women to encourage young girls to think about legal professions. With this in mind, antiquated views of women’s role in law firms seem not only uneducated but also comical. Consider this memo from a 1956 law firm on interviewing new lawyers. It starts off very bluntly, stating that “the firm desires to be candid about its preference for male applicants”, and the memo only gets worse from there. According to the instructions for hiring new lawyers, the firm does “not rate a girl applicant on equal terms with the men applicants” and if a male candidate’s and a female candidate’s resumes appear identical, “the man is given preference, barring some personality defect, on the grounds that being a man, he has probably had extra-curricular experience in the business world.” Even the word choice in the memo is significant: while female candidates are referred to as “girls”, implying they are juvenile, male candidates are referred to as “men”. The memo ends with the writer expressing the opinion that the firm will “not suffer” from preferring male candidates and therefore will continue doing so.

While the memo and the ideas it contains are old-fashioned and outdated, sexism still exists within the legal profession. For example, BMC Group, which provides “legal, financial and corporate information management solutions”, released an advertisement last December featuring a woman in a revealing outfit meant to resemble a business suit. After some viewers express negative opinions of the ad, BMC Group, rather than changing their advertising approach, hosted a party at the American Bankruptcy Institute’s southwest conference featuring the “BMC Group Bikini Girls”. Understandably, some women at the conference were reported to be “appalled” at the idea. Expressing one’s distaste with sexism with law can have negative consequences, though. Charlotte Proudman, a human rights lawyer, received a message from Brown Rudnick partner Alexander Carter-Silk via LinkedIn expressing several compliments concerning her picture on the site. Proudman proceeded to call out Carter-Silk’s publicly for sending her what she interpreted as a sexist message, explaining that women should be regarded for attributes other than just their appearance. Since the incident, Proudman has publicly stated that she misinterpreted Carter-Silk’s message and has apologized to him. The damage has been done, though; many have told Proudman that this incident has essentially ruined her career. The incident shows what the repercussions of calling out sexism within law can be for women, and perhaps explains why some simply choose to ignore it.

So how can law firms go about trying to support gender equality? The Women in the Workplace 2015 report, published by and McKinsey & Company, offers several suggestions. Firms should begin by tracking metrics for both men and women within the firm such as promotion and salary amounts, how high-profile assignments are distributed, and how long members of different gender and minority groups stay with the firm. This allows each individual firm to assess and diagnose their unique problems. Additionally, firms should make it very clear that gender diversity is important by setting clear goals and creating training to reduce gender bias. Finally, firms should strive to level the playing field for men and women by dividing important assignments equally and encouraging networking and support programs for women.

Though true gender equality may still be a long way off—more than 100 years, according to the creators of the Women in the Workplace 2015 report—hopefully the legal profession can start making better strides towards reducing sexism.

Articles: Legal Justice League, n.d.; Above the LawSeptember 9, 2015; Above the LawSeptember 11, 2015; Above the LawSeptember 11, 2015; Above the LawOctober 2, 2015;

Photo: LEGO Legal Justice Team @ SCOTUS 03 via Maia Weinstock [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]