From the May-June 2018 issue of News & Letters
The Boston Women’s Health Collective was formed in 1969 when 12 women decided to publish a book with accurate information about women’s sexuality, reproductive health and other health issues then socially taboo to discuss. Our Bodies Ourselves was first published in 1970, then updated for each of eight later editions. Due to lack of funding, updates have ended, but the 2011 edition will remain in print with its website maintained by volunteers. The collective states that today these subjects can be researched on the internet. However, its other goal of challenging the medical industry to provide better care and research for women has not been fully realized.
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Maxine Hammond, aka Max Dashu, is raising funds at https://gofundme.com/house4SHA to preserve the Suppressed History Archives of over 15,000 slides, 30,000 digital images, photos, research texts, articles and videos she has collected for 48 years. As a student she experienced “entrenched resistance” to feminist scholarship and became an independent scholar, writing books and giving presentations on women’s global history. This enormous, suppressed history of women as leaders, creators, warriors, scientists and thinkers and their role in resisting oppression is “dislodging the stereotypes about who women are or can be.” Her studies, especially of Indigenous cultures, show “how systems of domination establish and perpetuate themselves.”
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In March, Marielle Franco, a 38-year-old city councillor of Rio de Janeiro, and her driver were assassinated by two armed men. Franco, a Black Lesbian feminist from a favela (poor neighborhood), was a “tireless social warrior” against police violence, poverty, racism, discrimination against LGBTs, drug-trafficking gangs, and government corruption. Protests against these problems and against her murder came together at her funeral, with union members, feminists, Leftists, and favela residents chanting “Not one step backwards.” Tens of thousands have protested across Brazil as well as in New York, Paris, and Berlin.
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On April 13 in Ireland, 250 protesters organized by the Belfast Feminist Network demonstrated outside Kensington Stadium during a rugby match to tell the Ulster Rugby team to “Stamp out misogyny.” On March 28, two players were acquitted of raping a woman, with one also cleared of sexual assault charges. Signs read “Stand up for the Ulster women, too,” and “What if it were your daughter?” Anne Madden from Belfast, wanted to “show solidarity with the many women and men outraged by the behavior of these high-profile sportsmen.” She stated, “This case has highlighted depraved views of women that have no place in a century or a civilized society that values all their citizens whatever their gender. Time’s up; its time to stamp out misogyny.”