Fight for your (women’s) rights – Clementine Ford – WORD Christchurch

CoverFight like a girl kicks off with an author’s note “I hope you enjoy it, and find it galvanising!” Well, this book is absolutely galvanising — and upsetting, eye-opening, rage-inducing. It comes down to this: Girls, women, trans women — it’s ok to be angry, in fact if you’re not, you should be:

If you are a woman living in this world and you’re not angry, you’re not paying enough attention. Not to your own life, not to the lives of other women and not to the lives of the women who’ll come after you. (p 281)

Clementine Ford. Image supplied.

Next month you can hear Clementine in person at a WORD Christchurch Shifting Points of View event, part of the Christchurch Arts Festival.

Fight like a girl — Clementine Ford
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Saturday 2 September, 3pm

Join Australia’s online sensation, fearless feminist heroine and scourge of trolls and misogynists everywhere Clementine Ford as she outlines her essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, and exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women. Introduced by journalist Beck Eleven.
Find out more and book your tickets.(one session has already sold out, soz)

Talk of feminism is always timely. Just look what our politicians Meritia Turei and Jacinda Ardern have been dealing with.

The book covers all the topics you’d expect: body issues, diets, sex, gaslighting, girl gangs, and references feminist pop culture touchpoints like Broad City, Parks and Recreation, and Jessica Jones.

Fight like a girl has enough personal backstory to make you understand the things that set Clementine on the path to righteous feminism, particularly in the area of reproductive rights and mental health. She also sets it straight about the online abuse she’s suffered for ten years.

But where I think this book comes out strongest is in its observations:

Why do some women come out against feminism (we’ve seen several high profile NZ examples of this)

… it all comes back to the same thing – women capitulating to the system in order to be given some notion of power within it. (p. 145)

What is privilege?

If you’re not forcing yourself to routinely interrogate the benefits you enjoy in society, it’s all too easy to tell yourself that other people are inventing their disadvantages. (p. 148)

Why do some women hate men? Because they have compelling reasons to. 

Instead of berating feminists for being misandrists, perhaps these men should start taking responsibility for the abominable, destructive and dehumanising treatment of women throughout all of history up to and including the present day. (p.159)

Clementine relates examples of rape culture: Brock Turner, Stephen Milne, the Four corners case, and more. The effect of the cumulative examples is to make you want to change EVERYTHING.


Follow Clementine Ford on Twitter.

If you want more New Zealand stories, I recommend the TVNZ On Demand series So this happened – “real stories of harassment verbal and physical as told by those who have experienced them”.

More feminist reading on our website

Mabel Howard – New Zealand’s first woman Cabinet Minister

It is 70 years since Mabel Howard (1894 – 1972) became New Zealand’s first woman Cabinet Minister.  She first entered Parliament in 1943, after winning the Christchurch East by-election on 6 February. In 1946, she won in the newly-formed electorate of Sydenham. In May 1947, Mabel was voted into Cabinet by the Labour caucus, on the death of Dan Sullivan.

Parliamentary debates 1st session, 28th Parliament vol. 267  June 24 to July 29 1947 lists Mabel like this:
Labour Ministry: Minister of Health, and Minister in Charge of Mental Hospitals – The Hon. Mabel Bowden Howard.

You can see Mabel talk about her new position – and what it meant to the women of New Zealand – here in New Zealand National Film Unit presents Weekly Review No. 306 (1947) published on ArchivesNZ YouTube channel.

A memorable moment in NZ political (and social) history is Mabel holding up bloomers. This was part of a debate in Parliament, to demonstrate variation in clothing sizes.

Member of Parliament, Mabel Howard, demonstrating that oversize bloomers vary in size. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-NZ Obits-Ho to Ht-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22391156
Member of Parliament, Mabel Howard, demonstrating that oversize bloomers vary in size. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP-NZ Obits-Ho to Ht-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22391156

Jim McAloon’s biography of Mabel in Dictionary of New Zealand Biography details her interesting life and career. She came into politics via the union movement, and working with her MP father Ted Howard.

Mabel Howard, Minister of Social Security, inspecting a data processing machine [computer?] built by IBM at the Social Security Building, Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1958/4269-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23259028
Mabel Howard, Minister of Social Security, inspecting a data processing machine [computer?] built by IBM at the Social Security Building, Wellington. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: EP/1958/4269-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23259028
Mabel was a Christchurch City councillor for a number of terms: 1933-1935, 1938-1941, 1950-1959, 1963-1968.

Green & Hahn (Firm). Dame Mabel Howard jiving with singer Johnny Devlin - Photograph taken by Green and Hahn. Clauson, Lou, 1928-2013:Photographs of singers and other entertainers. Ref: PAColl-5679-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/23210753
Green & Hahn (Firm). Dame Mabel Howard jiving with singer Johnny Devlin – Photograph taken by Green and Hahn. Clauson, Lou, 1928-2013:Photographs of singers and other entertainers. Ref: PAColl-5679-01. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23210753

Mabel was a colourful character. There are fab Mabel photo ops you can see on DigitalNZ. She was bullish, efficient, conscientious, determined, and hard-working. Her life and career demonstrate her ongoing concern with women’s rights, equal pay, consumer protection, and social welfare. She was a fighter. A trail-blazer.

Mrs Mabel Howard, in her new house in Karori, Wellington, showing her making a cup of tea. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1960/0845-1-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/30652147
Mrs Mabel Howard, in her new house in Karori, Wellington, showing her making a cup of tea. Dominion post (Newspaper) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post and Dominion newspapers. Ref: EP/1960/0845-1-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/30652147

More about Mabel

Listen to:
Mabel Howard Women in the Council Chamber
Christchurch City Council
This brief political biography originally featured in an Our City O-Tautahi exhibition from 19 – 30 September 2006, featuring Christchurch’s own “Women in the Council Chamber”, initiated and co-ordinated by Cr Anna Crighton.

Lucy Dillon – All I Ever Wanted

Cover of All I ever wantedCaitlin and Eva have something and nothing in common. They’ve both lost their husbands. While Eva is the poised, business-like widow of a celebrity actor, Caitlin is a free spirit who dropped out of university to have a child, and is seperated from Eva’s brother, Patrick.

When Patrick volunteers Eva’s pristine, designer house for fortnightly visits between Patrick and his children Joel and Nancy, Eva is forced out of her comfort zone of grief and into facing her future without Mick, her famous husband.

Nancy, only four, is carrying a secret. Unable to speak since the separation, Nancy thinks it was her wish that made her father go away…

All I Ever Wanted tells the story of how this family is broken apart, then brought together by a common goal: to get Nancy to speak again,

Lucy Dillon writes with an eye for physical detail and emotional nuance, she skillfully relates the feeling of a parent unable to help their child, the frustration of a couple unable to communicate and the pain of Eva’s childllessness. She notes the personality traits that make us unique, and the ways in which we understand and misunderstand one another.

I was swept up in the often moving journey of her characters. A little gushy towards the end (I’m not normally a romance reader) this is a powerfully written book.

All I ever wanted
by Lucy Dillon
Published by Hachette New Zealand
ISBN: 9781444796049

Photo Hunt October: Canterbury Centennial Parade Float, 1951

Canterbury Centennial Parade Float, 1951.
Entry in the 2014 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Merle Conaghan, Kete Christchurch PH14-142 CC-BY-NZ-SA NZ3.0

Float of the Floral Procession as part of the Canterbury Centennial held in Christchurch, February 1951.

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

Inspiring girls to work in STEM – Ada Lovelace Day 2016

Today is Ada Lovelace Day – a celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and science. It’s celebrated on the second Tuesday in October.

STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is a field that needs more women. Careers NZ looks at where women are working in STEM, and job opportunities.

Having inspiring examples for girls and young women is an important part of adding balance into the sector. Curious  Minds – He Hihiri i te Mahara does it well – Increasing girls’ and women’s participation in STEM publishes profiles of women in science, technology and engineering, and new profiles are added each week. Dr Victoria Metcalf’s New Zealand women in STEM – talented and diverse is a cool look into Curious Minds.
Like Curious Minds on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

Fabriko Electronic Stickers Fun Palace
Fabriko Electronic Stickers Fun Palace, Central Library Peterborough. Sunday 2 October 2016. Flickr 2016-10-2-IMG_6300

STEM at libraries and learning centres

Science Snippets in the library hosted by Science Alive! After school sessions start back next week Monday 17 October.

Anna and Gen from Science Alive!
Anna and Gen from Science Alive!

See also:

Books to give girls STEM inspiration

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Our previous Ada Lovelace Day posts

Mothers of the Present: Christchurch women and the vote

On 19 September 1893 women in New Zealand got the vote. Campaigners, led by Kate Sheppard, had fought for years for Māori and Pakeha women’s suffrage.

The Press editorial on 20 September 1893 stated:

We believe that a very large number of women do not desire to vote. [1]

Election day was Tuesday 28 November 1893. The Press reported:

The pretty dresses of the ladies and their smiling faces lighted up the polling booths most wonderfully, and one envied the returning officer and poll clerks whose duty it was to pass in review such a galaxy of beauty.[2]

About 10,000 Christchurch women voted, with only a few incidents:

At the Provincial Council Chamber some peculiar scenes took place. In one instance a man and his wife and daughter came to vote. The man first wished to go into the recess to instruct his wife how to vote. The poll clerks removed him. Then he went into where his daughter was recording her vote and wished to instruct her. This also he was prevented from doing much to his chagrin.[3]

40 years later the first woman was elected into the New Zealand Parliament. Christchurch woman Elizabeth McCombs had been heavily involved in working for the community. She won the Lyttelton seat in a by-election September 1933, after the death of her husband James. She held the seat until her death in June 1935. [4]

Elizabeth Reid McCombs, née Henderson (1873-1935) [between 1919 and 1925] CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0028
Elizabeth Reid McCombs, née Henderson (1873-1935) [between 1919 and 1925] CCL PhotoCD 6, IMG0028
100 years after women got the vote, the Kate Sheppard Memorial was unveiled by Governor-General Dame Catherine Tizard. The words on the Memorial end with the words of The White Ribbon editor, Nelly Perryman, from 1918:

We, the mothers of the present need to impress upon our children’s minds how the women of the past wrestled and fought, suffered and wept, prayed and believed, agonised and won for them the freedom they enjoy today.[5]

Kate Sheppard memorial
Kate Sheppard memorial. Flickr 2014-09-19-IMG_2212

Suffrage resources

References

[1] Woman’s Franchise, The Press, Volume L, Issue 8592, 20 September 1893, page 4

[2] Polling Day in Christchurch, The Press, Volume L, Issue 8652, 29 November 1893, page  5

[3] Polling Day in Christchurch, The Press, Volume L, Issue 8652, 29 November 1893, page  5

[4] Death of Mrs E. R. McCombs, The Press, Volume LXXI, Issue 21493, 7 June 1935, page 13

[5] The Kate Sheppard Memorial

This feature was first published in our quarterly magazine, uncover – huraina. It is our newest channel to help you explore and celebrate the resources, content, events, programmes and people of Christchurch City Libraries, Ngā Kete Wānanga o Ōtautahi.

An hour with Nadia Hashimi – WORD Christchurch

The interviewer for this session was Marianne Elliott who had trained as a human rights lawyer.  She worked in the area of advocacy and communications and Afghanistan was one of the many places she has worked.  She recounts her time there in her book Zen under fire, and her experiences and empathy really helped make this session successful.

Nadia Hashimi. Image supplied.
Nadia Hashimi. Photo by Chris Carter. Image supplied.

Nadia Hashimi wants to portray the “heroic women of Afghanistan rising above it all”. The common portrayal is of an oppressed downtrodden group, meek and in the shadow of the men, hidden by the burka. Afghan women are a mystery, we start making our own assumptions aided by portrayals of the western armies going in to save them.

9780062411198Nadia Hashimi was born in the USA but weaves the stories of her family into her stories. Many have been refugees and her book When the Moon is Low portrays a refugee story and was published before the recent refugee crisis.  Ahead of her time on this issue, it had always been one that had affected her family and the people of Afghanistan.

She not only portrays women differently than the common view but her men too are often kind and romantic and opposed to brutal and paternalistic.  She described romance as being a huge part of Afghan culture.  Radio shows abound where people can call in anonymously and talk about their loves and relationships, she called it an obsession with romanticism and Bollywood movies are incredibly popular.

A House without windows describes the experience of Afghan women in prison.  For some it is a complete erosion of their freedoms, for others whose lives are incredibly brutal it is a welcome refuge, there is no one to bother and harass them, they are fed and may even be able to go to literacy classes.  The justice system is flawed and women are often imprisoned after false statements and for such crimes as running away from home.  Both women described the frustration of working in the justice arena, but also acknowledged that there are some amazing people working in this area who are slowly trying to bring about change.

A question was asked about how we can best support Afghan women. Sending money can be risky as corruption is rampant. She suggested supporting the arts, Afghan women’s writing projects and women’s crafts, we can also read their blogs, listen to their stories and realise that these women are strong and resilient.

WORD Christchurch

Busted: Feminism and Pop Culture – WORD Christchurch

In the 1980s I was very involved in feminist politics, a lot has changed since those times.  We are on the cusp of the first American woman president and women are in some positions of power, but are our lives any better for this?  Many women are choosing to remain single, to concentrate on their careers but still get paid less than men.  Dieting and body image are the mainstay of most women’s magazines, and we seem increasingly obsessed with celebrity culture.  So how does a feminist of many years manage to create a magazine that remains relevent to today’s feminists?

Debbie Stoller. Image supplied.
Debbie Stoller. Image supplied.

Debbie Stoller, is co-founder and editor of BUST:

the magazine was one of the founders of ‘girlie feminism,’ a third wave feminist strategy which re-evaluated and embraced traditional feminine activities.

“Girlie feminism”?? Really?  My old feminist bones are creaking at such terminology, but then I find myself nearly choking when Debbie Stoller declares that Martha Stewart is her third favourite feminist!  Later on she announces that her first and second are Madonna and Courtney Love.  I don’t get it.  However what I do get is that the women’s movement has always been very good at putting the boot in, we haven’t been good at vigorous debate and this has been to our detriment, so with this in mind  I am doing my best to remain open, the old timers in the 70s and 80s believed change would come through politic but Debbie Stoller believes that  “mainstream media is where change will happen”.

86-sm-232x300
BUST. Image supplied

So what is BUST like?  It is full of women comics, musicians and actors saying positive feminist things.  Tina Fey is a good example, recounting being asked  “isn’t this an amazing time for women in comedy?” and I was like ‘I don’t know is it?’ Do I make what Will Ferrell makes? No.” Feminism via BUST now includes cooking, crafting, creating a wedding, interesting sustainable clothing, sex and travel.  There is no evidence of body shaming or articles on the Kardashians.

Feminism via BUST is palatable, it means the magazine has managed to get to 100 issues and that is impressive, as Debbie Stoller says “there’s not a lot of money in feminism”, keeping the magazine going must have been tough at times.  I came away from this session with a mind full of questions, one hour was not nearly long enough, feminism and what it stands for is a debate of unending possibilities and BUST is challenging our foundations.

More WORD Christchurch

First National Council of Women, Christchurch, 1896

National Council of Women, Christchurch. Ref: 1/2-041798-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22694035
National Council of Women, Christchurch. Ref: 1/2-041798-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22694035

Looking at this photo makes me very grateful that I wasn’t born any earlier –  these Victorian clothes look so hot, so uncomfortable, and as for those fussy caps! Ugh!

But what these women are wearing is about the least important part of the  photograph – this is the first National Council of Women, meeting in Christchurch 13-18 April 1896.  It was a world first – a national meeting of women who could vote in parliamentary elections.

Their aim was to ‘unite all organised Societies of Women for mutual counsel and co-operation, and in the attainment of justice and freedom for women, and for all that makes for the good of humanity’.

Many were veterans of the battle to gain women’s right to vote – Kate Sheppard (seated 5th from the left) – which was passed into law three years earlier, while others – such as Annie Schnackenberg (seated on Kate’s left) – were also involved in the temperance movement. Kate Sheppard was voted in as the first President of the Council.

Over the course of six days they passed a number of resolutions including:

Kate Sheppard Memorial
Kate Sheppard Memorial, Flickr CCL-KateSheppard-2010-08-24-IMG_1863
  • the need for minimum wages
  • the conditions of divorce for man and women be made equal
  • the private ownership of large tracts of land, and these kept locked up by absentees, is a wrong inflicted on the people, and is detrimental to progress
  • the abolition of capital punishment
  • the continuation of the present system of free, compulsory, and secular education, and the expansion of technical education
  • that women be eligible to serve on all juries
  • a system of Old Age Pensions, or Annuities, should be established

 

The National Council of Women of New Zealand Te Kaunihera Wahine o Aotearoa is still active, still needed, continuing the good fight for pay equity, extending paid parental leave, ending discrimination against women.

Further reading

Cover of A history of New Zealand women Cover of Maori and Aboriginal women in the public eye Cover of Kiwi rock chicks, pop stars & trailblazersCover of Golden girls Cover of Inside stories Cover of Ettie Rout

International Women’s Day 2016 – Pledge for parity

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on 8 March each year. This global day connects women around the world and aims to inspire them to achieve their full potential. The day celebrates the collective power of women past, present and future.  In 2016 the theme is Pledge for Parity.

International Women's Day

The first International Women’s Day was celebrated in Europe in 1911 on 19 March. More than one million men and women attended rallies to campaign for women’s rights and to end discrimination.

Library resources

Have a look at our booklist of books we love by and about women.

The following subject headings link to titles about the history of women and their rights:

Christchurch City Libraries also has copies of magazines such as Ms. For more women’s studies and feminist magazines, search Feminism — periodicals.

Cover of Men explain things to me Cover Cover of How to be a woman Cover of Vagenda Cover of What should we tell our daughters? Cover of Everyday sexism

eResources

Contemporary Women’s Issues
This resource offers full-text articles that bring together content from mainstream magazines, “grey” literature, and the alternative press — with a focus on the critical issues and events that influence women’s lives in more than 190 countries.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context
This resource offers full-text articles from many perspectives on major contentious social, political, and technological issues. Some topics that particularly affect women are the gender gap, women’s health, and women’s rights.

Women
Internet Gateway listing of sites including women in business, women’s and gender studies and women’s health

Women’s societies and clubs
Local groups for women listed on our community information directory CINCH.

Women and the vote in New Zealand

Kate Sheppard memorial
Kate Sheppard memorial. Friday 19 September 2014. Flickr 2014-09-19-IMG_2216

New Zealand was the first self-governing country in the world to grant the vote to all adult women. Search the library catalogue for books on suffragists and women’s suffrage.

New Zealand women and the vote
Information on women and suffrage from New Zealand History Online.

Women’s Suffrage Petition
The petition was organised in 1893, and was described by Kate Sheppard as “a monster petition” demanding the right for women to vote. A digital image of the actual petition held at National Archives. Search for the names of women who signed the petition at New Zealand History Online.

Women’s Suffrage Movement
Article from 1966 An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock.

Kate Sheppard

Christchurch’s Kate Sheppard was the leader and main figurehead of the suffragist movement in New Zealand.

Kate Sheppard
Books about Kate Sheppard in our catalogue.

Kate Sheppard and Votes for Women
Information about Kate Sheppard’s life and work.