For International Women’s Day 2017: 5 Women Reaching for Gender Equality

Fighting Gender Equality is Hard Work, Like Exercise

Let’s Aim for Women and Men to be Equals.

The day is almost here! March 8th is International Women’s Day (IWD) 2017. I hope this special day will be full of actions that help move the world toward being gender equal. On IWD, which dates back to 1908, let’s celebrate the accomplishments of women around the globe. Here are five of the many women championing for equal rights for women:

Manal al-Sharif

As a women’s rights activist from Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif inspired a campaign for women’s right to drive. She went against the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia and was imprisoned for nine days after filming herself driving a vehicle and then posting it to YouTube.

Her 2011 Women2Drive campaign put pressure on the government to change the law, particularly when social media picked up the story of this woman who questioned why women did not have the same rights as men. She continues to speak out about female oppression in her country.

Alma Gomez

In the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, Alma Gomez campaigns against feminicide. She co-wrote a chapter of the Terrorizing Women: Feminicide in the Americas book, as well as penning several articles on the killing of women who were involved in human rights causes.

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Science Fiction Writing: It’s Not Just a Man’s World

Well, of course, the title makes sense, right? I mean, why shouldn’t women write sci-fi too? But the jarring truth is that men are still being spotlighted much more often than women for their science fiction stories, even though both genders are writing it.

Men Getting the Sci-Fi Spotlight

The focus on men in the science fiction genre has been going on far too long. This point applies to both the authors and the characters in the books. Yet you only have to look back to Mary Shelley to see that women have been writing sci-fi for a long time! But time and again women struggle to get the attention of men writing in the genre.

For example, last week when I was on Google.ca (I’m in Canada) I searched the term “sci fi writers.” Up came photos of 10 well-known authors in the Science Fiction genre and (wait for it) they’re all men. Here’s what I saw:

science-fiction-writers-search

There’s Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Charles Stross, and more. Please understand I’m not saying these aren’t talented writers. The point, though: Where are the women? Because there certainly ARE women who in the sci-fi world.

It’s like we’re just replaying the all-male shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award again and again. And it’s frustrating that sometimes people aren’t willing to look around for a more diverse pool of authors for awards.

YES, women writers in Science Fiction do exist, and they are awesome. You only have to look so far as Natacha Guyot to prove it.

Science Fiction Writers, Including Natacha Guyot

I recently purchased Natacha Guyot’s sci-fi tale Dream Crusher. She has visited my other blog Poetic Parfait a few times, where she’s blown me away with her analyses of sci-fi works and her love of spaceships. If you missed Natacha’s series at her site on #SciFi Women Interviews, I highly recommend it too. You’ll read about female writers who adore writing in this genre and the compelling story-lines they’re creating for readers.

Of course, there are many, many women writing about science fiction. It’s just that men Continue reading

Literary Prizes Just for Women? Yay or Nay?

As a female author, I do hope that gender equality will happen in my lifetime. But, I don’t know if it will become a reality that soon. Here are my thoughts on having female literary prizes (as reblogged from my other blog Poetic Parfait). Do you agree? Yay or nay?

Poetic Parfait

Do you think there should still be literary prize categories just for women? Is it actually setting back the clock on gender equality or helping the cause?

Sometimes I have wondered about this point and today wanted to put it out to the crowd (aka you wonderful peeps). For example, there is the Baileys Woman’s Prize for Fiction. It has good intentions by celebrating excellence and originality in women writers around the globe. But, is separating out women really doing a disservice to the female gender? After all, doesn’t gender equality in its purest sense mean not differentiating between different prizes for each gender?

Interestingly, the original name for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction. Note that there is no mention of the female gender in the previous title.

However, on the other hand (just to play devil’s advocate), maybe women do need to be…

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