Jun. 26th, 2011

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[personal profile] the_future_modernes
via: [livejournal.com profile] ontd_political

No 'him' or 'her'; preschool fights gender bias


STOCKHOLM – At the "Egalia" preschool, staff avoid using words like "him" or "her" and address the 33 kids as "friends" rather than girls and boys.

From the color and placement of toys to the choice of books, every detail has been carefully planned to make sure the children don't fall into gender stereotypes.

"Society expects girls to be girlie, nice and pretty and boys to be manly, rough and outgoing," says Jenny Johnsson, a 31-year-old teacher. "Egalia gives them a fantastic opportunity to be whoever they want to be."

The taxpayer-funded preschool which opened last year in the liberal Sodermalm district of Stockholm for kids aged 1 to 6 is among the most radical examples of Sweden's efforts to engineer equality between the sexes from childhood onward.

Breaking down gender roles is a core mission in the national curriculum for preschools, underpinned by the theory that even in highly egalitarian-minded Sweden, society gives boys an unfair edge.

To even things out, many preschools have hired "gender pedagogues" to help staff identify language and behavior that risk reinforcing stereotypes.

Some parents worry things have gone too far. An obsession with obliterating gender roles, they say, could make the children confused and ill-prepared to face the world outside kindergarten.MORE



[my note: So FIX the world outside of kindergarten!!! I am SO TIRED of these ridiculous arguments against change! ZOMG if we try to change the status quo we will be challenged!!! Well of course we will be challenged! Stand up to challenge and change society so that the shit we are trying chaneg will be fixed!]

At Egalia — the title connotes "equality" — boys and girls play together with a toy kitchen, waving plastic utensils and pretending to cook. One boy hides inside the toy stove, his head popping out through a hole.

Lego bricks and other building blocks are intentionally placed next to the kitchen, to make sure the children draw no mental barriers between cooking and construction.

Director Lotta Rajalin notes that Egalia places a special emphasis on fostering an environment tolerant of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. From a bookcase, she pulls out a story about two male giraffes who are sad to be childless — until they come across an abandoned crocodile egg.

Nearly all the children's books deal with homosexual couples, single parents or adopted children. There are no "Snow White," "Cinderella" or other classic fairy tales seen as cementing stereotypes.
Rajalin, 52, says the staff also try to help the children discover new ideas when they play.
"A concrete example could be when they're playing 'house' and the role of the mom already is taken and they start to squabble," she says. "Then we suggest two moms or three moms and so on."
Egalia's methods are controversial; some say they amount to mind control. Rajalin says the staff have received threats from racists apparently upset about the preschool's use of black dolls.MORE


I like that they are trying to fix the problem. 4 for you, Sweden!
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EXCLUSIVE: Worker rights deteriorating post-GFC, says Burrow

For global union leader Sharan Burrow, a short visit to her home country of Australia is a peaceful oasis away from a world where the situation for working people is going backwards fast.

A rising tide of youth unemployment and lack of social protections across much of the world pose the biggest challenges to working people, Burrow has told R@W News in an exclusive interview.

The Brussels-based General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation says that while the role of unions in the Arab Spring has been inspiring, elsewhere “the world’s in a really bleak space”.

And the former ACTU President has urged workers in Australia to join international campaigns for rights at work in the expanding global economy.

Burrow, who took office as General Secretary of the ITUC a year ago after a decade as ACTU President, said people in Australia probably did not appreciate the ongoing impact of the Global Financial Crisis on workers in other parts of the world.

“The world’s in a really bleak space of unemployment at record highs, and youth unemployment in particular now is a social risk for every nation in the world, not just developing countries where youth unemployment can be as high as 70% in places like Yemen, but go to the heart of Europe, Spain it’s now more than 50%, France and Germany 20%-plus,” Burrow tells R@W News.MORE
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Greece: Is the media part of the problem?


As Greece battles economic collapse, protests in the country have been getting louder, bigger and more heated. Greeks on the streets have been demonstrating against the squeeze on their wages and pensions, but the media covering those protests have found some hostility directed at them as well.

The protesters accuse the media of stereotyping them, of being voices of the economic and financial elite and not reflecting the reality of the Greek worker. In our News Divide this week, we look at the Greek protests and how the media covered them.See awesome video which won't allow me to embed at the source



DEBTOCRACY: Causes of Greece's debt crisis and solutions, hidden by the government and the dominant media [full length documentary]


Read more... )

The struggle in the squares

Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou and his PASOK party government survived a June 21 confidence vote in parliament, but he will face continued mass protests as he pushes for yet more devastating austerity measures.

Greece is in the grips of a desperate economic crisis. The government has needed massive bailouts engineered by the European Union and International Monetary Fund, but they have come with the demand that the government slash spending, cut the wages and benefits of workers, and privatize public enterprises.

But a new mass movement has arisen to give voice to the anger of the mass of the population. Following the example of youth and workers in Spain--and before that, the Egyptian revolutionaries of Tahrir Square--the Greek "aganaktismenoi" ("indignants") have occupied public squares. On June 27 and 28, the so-called "movement of the squares" will demonstrate alongside the labor movement during a 48-hour general strike called as parliament is set to vote on yet more cutbacks.

Panos Petrou, a member of the socialist group Internationalist Workers Left (DEA) and a participant in the occupation in Athens' Syntagma Square, explains how this powerful new movement developed.

Read more... )
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If Crime Is Organized, then Why Not Us?


Sicilia: “We Are Taking the First Steps in this Great Crusade to Dignify Our Country”

Before the Caravan of Solace, many of the families who had lost their own to the war on drugs remembered them in the privacy of their living rooms. They lived below a yoke of fear imposed by the government’s criminalization of the victims and they didn’t dare raise their voices in a cry for justice. Now, as a result of the caravan, many know each other and recognize each other. They dare to go out into the street and say that their son, daughter, husband, wife, father or mother was not a criminal. Families that beforehand did not know each other began to share their pain, hugging each other, in the street, to appeal for justice, peace and dignity.

The recognition between them, the sharing of stories of life and death, the pain and solace, the love, the desires for justice, helped them to dignify the names of their fallen family members, friends and neighbors. This is what unites María Elena Herrera Magdalena of Morelia, Michoacán, whose four children were disappeared, with the parents of Juan Martín Ayala and of Sarahy Méndez Salazar, murdered in San Luís Potosí. This is what joins María América Nava of Ecatepec, in the state of Mexico, whose brother, a community organizer, was assassinated, in a hug with Nepomuceno Moreno, from Sonora, who joined the caravan to continue seeking justice for his son. Estela Ángeles Mondragón, of the Rarámuri, (also known as Tarahumara) indigenous community, shares with them the constant pilgrimage she makes from the mountains to the courtrooms to claim justice for her daughter, gunned down, and her assassinated husband. MORE


Mexican Community Uses Barricades to Drive Out Organized Crime and Political Parties


Armed with machetes, sticks, and farm tools, residents of Cherán, Michoacan, covered their faces with bandanas and set up barricades around their community on April 15. It is a scene reminiscent of Oaxaca in 2006, except this time, the barricades aren't meant to keep out paramilitary death squads; they keep out organized crime.

Read more... )


A Mexican Movement at a Crossroads: A Paper Pact or an Organized Community?


While the Media and Some Activists Obsess Upon the “National Pact,” a Deeper History Unfolds Among Drug War Victims

“Invention,” Javier Sicilia reminded this week, is “the daughter of necessity,” and a venture as ambitious as ending a war that has taken 40,000 Mexican lives in half a decade, by definition, requires a lot of creativity and innovation.

Read more... )

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