From the January-February 2016 issue of News & Letters
In December, the UN investigated the status of women in the U.S. for a report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in 2016. The women were appalled at how far the U.S. lags behind international human rights standards in many areas, including pay, maternity leave, childcare, healthcare, government policies, and social attitudes. Upon visiting a women’s clinic, they were shocked at the anti-abortion harassment of women entering the clinic, since in much of Europe, abortions are a normal part of healthcare. In November, the World Bank released a four-decade study of 85% of the world’s population, concluding that local grassroots feminist movements are the most important factor in creating positive change for women.
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In Britain, parents on the online discussion forum Mumsnet, frustrated with increasingly gendered marketing of children’s toys, books and clothing, launched the “Let Toys Be Toys,” “Let Clothes Be Clothes” and “Dinosaurs for Everyone” campaigns. Their petitions and letters have been successful in making manufactures and retailers stop labeling and segregating toys and books for boys or girls. The clothing campaign critiques the stereotypes in clothes marketing such as the overuse of pink and the promotion of high heels for girls, even for baby girls.