Eminent theoretical chemists Anna Krylov, Emily A. Carter and Laura Gagliardi have called for a boycott of the International Congress of Quantum Chemistry to be held by the International Academy of Quantum Molecular Sciences in Beijing, China, in 2015. The Conference’s list of 24 speakers and five chairs is all male. Krylov stated in the online boycott petition that this is an ongoing problem with bias in the scientific community, and that the Women in Theoretical Chemistry web directory lists over 300 women, many of whom are “far more distinguished than many of the men being invited to speak at these conferences.”
* * *
On Jan. 24, Shulamit Aloni, an outspoken Israeli leader in human, civil, women’s and children’s rights, died at the age of 86. She had a long career as a member of and minister in Parliament, and also worked for social justice as an attorney, teacher, radio show host, and author of several newspaper columns and six books, the last written at age 80. She strongly supported a secular government and a constitution for Israel, and stated the country’s occupation of Palestine “is killing us all.” A proposal has been made for an Israeli LGBT center to be renamed after her, and her passing is feared to mark the decline of the Left in Israel.
* * *
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, members of the Russian punk feminist rock/performance protest art group Pussy Riot, were imprisoned in 2012 for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” for protesting President Putin’s combination of church and state. Released on Dec. 23, 2013, they rejoined the group, which performed in a concert for Amnesty International, then released a video critical of the oil industry. Two members of the group were beaten at the Sochi Olympics by security officers while making a video of their protest of Putin’s anti-LGBT policies and arrests of activists.