when pigs fly … expect the unbelievable

Archive for July 2010

Back to women warriors:  Institutional history and urban legend suggest that the military is the place to demonstrate your masculinity.  At least, if you’re a guy.

The American military is now about 15% female, even though women remain prohibited from holding certain posts.  The UK, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Greece, Turkey, Portugal and Italy also have restrictions which prohibit women from serving in certain positions which are deemed to be particularly dangerous.  However, Canada, Australia, Spain, Hungary, Norway, Denmark and Germany, among others, do not restrict women troops from any positions for which they qualify.   Chile and China have mandatory conscription of all citizens, as does Israel.  Most western nations allow women to volunteer to serve, but women are not actively recruited.

Evidence in Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate that women can be in battle with their male colleagues and the would will not come to an end.  This finding paves the way for more women who desire to enter military service.


OK, OK, I told you that in the upcoming blogs I’d tell you some more about women warriors.  But in researching something for the Stennis Institute I found this map that is very interesting…..so with thanks to the United Nations for making this available, take a look at this URL. It is worthy of your time.


I saw my friend L. L. Gates, who is the Work Based Learning Coordinator at East Mississippi Community College, last night and she and I talked about a common friend, Lieutenant Colonel Rashann Harris who is the Commander of the Army ROTC cadre at Mississippi State University.  That made my mind wander to women warriors.  LT Colonel Harris has served in several overseas assignments with her troops, and she often reminded me that in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans there is no front line.

The truth is that Iraq and Afghanistan are the first wars in which thousands of American military women have been active participants, working and fighting.  Women are not just nurses anymore.  It used to be, not so long ago, that virtually the only way to get into the officer corp as a woman was to be a trained nurse.  We need nurses, certainly, and an army nurse is a special breed, but now the army is recognizing that they have more and more men nurses as well.

Women in these 21st century wars are warriors.

But they remain the victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault in what remains a male dominated, hidebound institution.  Many of these women warriors carry knives and large, heavy duty flashlights (which make a great weapon if necessary) for protection when they go out on the American bases at night.  They risk assault not only by American soldier and civilians but Iraqi or Afghan soldiers and civilians as well.

Sexual harassment and sexual assault are not their only trials in the field.  Tune in for more…

Money Talks

Posted on: July 14, 2010

Ok, we know its true.  Women are traditionally paid less than men.  And women continue to be paid less than men in the 21st century.  There are some valid reasons that statistics reveal this.  For example, a concentration of women in female-dominated jobs and a higher percentage of women working part-time. The major culprit — which is not a valid reason for women to continue to be paid less than their male counterparts — is outright gender discrimination.

The wage gap persists across all sectors of the community and all kinds of jobs.  For example, in the high-pay, high-prestige internet job market, women earn 24% less than their male counterparts.

In 2009 in the United States, the median weekly earnings of women who were full-time wage and salary workers was $657, translating to 80% of a man’s wage of $819.  This creates a lifetime of loss.  According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, a 25 year old who works full-time year-round for the next 40 years will earn $523,ooo less than the average 25 year old man will, if the current wage patterns continue.

President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act in the early 60s, and President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter  Fair Pay Act in the first month of his term as president.

No significant change.

What do we do?

Joni Seager, in The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World (2003) calls domestic violence the most ubiquitous constant in the lives of women worldwide.  The United States is not immune.   One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.  As of 2009, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.  Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.

Here are some statistics from the US in 2009:

Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.

Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:

  • Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
  • 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
  • Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
  • 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.

The most ubiquitous constant indeed.

July 2010
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