Bit of a news round-up
Louise Livesey // 29 February 2008
Disparate stories but all worth a mention….
First, and rather worryingly, a Nigerian State Assembly member beat a female opposition politician into a coma for behaving “like a prostitute” because she repeatedly criticised him on the radio. Alhaji Labaran Abdu Maderi has said his actions – which began by slapping Hajiya Habiba Garba repeatedly whilst she was in the Police Station making complaints about his actions. The situation then escalated as Maderi encouraged/ordered other male supporters of his party to join in beating Garba. The Police apparently stood by and did nothing, although they have promised to investigate. More from Feminist Majority Foundation, Daily Trust and Leadership Nigeria. Garba is apparently recovering but has since been reported for breaking Islamic newspaper codes on nudity by having her injuries photographed and published.
Christine Hoff Sommers, meanwhile, has called the Vagina Monologes toxically anti-male. Speaking at an event organised by a group which seeks to “take back feminism from the radicals”, Hoff Sommers said that
“Masculinity is seen in this play as toxic,” she said. “In the play, the vagina’s like a crime scene when men get near.”
Shame neither the organisers nor Hoff Sommers realises that in the late 1970s Zillah Eisenstein was writing about the fact that even demanding rights equal with men was a radical notion – let alone, as Hoff Sommers portrays her own brand of feminism, “equity feminism,” which she argues is about empowering women and men equally. Maybe if Hoff Sommers stopped attacking other feminists and started actually listening to them she’d realise there was a whole lot more in common between her position and theirs.
And finally a tiny piece of almost good news – women professors in the UK have risen from 16.7% of all professors in 2005-6 to 17.5% in 2006-7. Of course they’re still paid less than their male colleagues in many cases (see also here which reports a 15% pay gap between men and women in equivalent positions). And women are more likely to be on temporary or fixed term contracts than male peers. It seems women fair slightly better in the post-92 institutions than in Russell Group Universities* with the Russell Group pay gap avraging 18.2% and the Post-92 institutions averaging 6.2%. However, naturally, the post-92 institutions are seen as less prestiguous so the decision women face is closer-to-equal-pay or prestige – something male academics have never had to consider in applying for jobs.
* Russell Group is the twenty Universities which receive two thirds of the research funding in the UK and are deemed “research intensive”. Post-92 Universities are those institutions allowed to become Universities under legislative changes in 1992 (hence the name) which are represented by Million+