From the November-December 2015 issue of News & Letters
The Empowered Fe Fes (slang for females) is a project of Access Living, a Chicago-based social justice agency run by and for people with disabilities. This group of young women discusses issues affecting their lives such as reproductive justice, sexuality, domestic violence and discrimination. Along with demonstrating for their rights, they have created educational projects around these issues with dance performance and a documentary. Their latest, “Take Charge!” is the first guide to reproductive health and self-advocacy by and for women with disabilities. It tackles misconceptions about the sexuality and self-determination of women with disabilities and does not present the elimination of disabilities as the goal of healthcare.
* * *
In El Salvador, the gangs that control much of the country are attacking, raping and killing teen girls who refuse to date a gang member or do favors for the gang. Sometimes the girls go missing and are not found. Girls attempt to survive by not leaving their homes except to go to school, or by attempting to emigrate to the U.S., often alone. Before they reach it, they are often caught by Mexican officials and returned to El Salvador, or are raped and murdered along the way.
* * *
In Seattle, Wash., the Ada Developers Academy—named after Ada Lovelace, who invented the first computer code long before the invention of the first computer—the U.S.’s only tuition-free school for women in software programming, began its third year. The school is important in teaching women confidence in their skills and in providing diversity in the creation of new technology. New students are not required to know anything about coding because the school’s philosophy is that learning to be a computer programmer has a lot to do with learning how to learn, as well as to envision and create new things.