Hey, Hollywood: Pay Attention to Female War Heroes

By on Apr 3, 2014 in Gender in the Media | 0 comments

This post was also published on Feministing.com on April 5, 2015. It also was highlighted on Bitch Flicks’ Weekly Picks. Cara Hoffman has a wonderful op-ed in the New York Times this week about America’s female soldiers...

Getting Girls Excited About Science

By on Mar 23, 2014 in Femellaneous | 0 comments

When I was in elementary and middle school, I loved science. I thought for sure I would grow up to be some sort of a scientist, like a genetic engineer. Well, as luck would have it, I chose to follow my passion for writing instead. But, of course, I don’t regret any of my scientific forays at that young age. I loved participating (and excelling) in science fairs, readings books about outer space and daydreaming about becoming an astronaut. Who knows, it may come true yet. Despite my career choice, I plan to encourage my future daughters to pursue careers in STEM fields. And one way I plan on doing that is sending them to science camps. One of my fondest and most exciting memories from childhood is participating in the B-WISER Science Camp at the College of Wooster in Ohio. My sister and I were invited to attend the camp after our projects won big at a local science fair. We loved...

Support the Women’s eNews Arabic Site

By on Mar 17, 2014 in Gender in the Media | 0 comments

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Women’s eNews. It’s a fabulous news organization that focuses on issues of “particular importance to women.” The site is a much needed alternative to the slew of media that far too often ignores, marginalizes and discounts stories about our gender. What’s particularly great about Women’s eNews is that is also has an Arabic site. The Arabic version doesn’t just rehash English articles but offers unique content as well. In January, Rita Henley Jensen, the founder and editor-in-chief of Women’s eNews, visited me in Doha, Qatar. She was touring the Middle East to brainstorm ways to raise funds and expand the Arabic site. Unfortunately, I recently received an email from Rita explaining that the Arabic site is going on hiatus because she wasn’t able to raise enough money yet to support it. I...

Hey, NY Times: Ukrainian Women are Heroes Too!

By on Mar 11, 2014 in Femellaneous, Gender in the Media | 0 comments

About two weeks ago, the New York Times published an article about Ukrainians’ thoughts on the newly installed revolutionary government. It was an interesting read, but there was one sentence that angered me for its sexist implications. I wrote a letter to the editor about it. Alas, it wasn’t published. But you can read what I wrote below. Do you agree or disagree with me? In Andrew Higgins’ article, Fears of a New Order Filled with Old Faces, published on Feb. 25 in the International New York Times, he writes: “The revered heroes of Ukraine’s revolution are squads of helmeted young men with clubs who risked their lives to hold back government forces as they tried early last week to seize Independence Square, known as Maidan.” Are young men the only heroes of this revolution? Has Higgins already forgotten about the many young Ukrainian women who risked...

CEDAW Review: Qatari Women Demand Their Rights

By on Mar 5, 2014 in Women in the Middle East | 0 comments

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) reviewed Qatar on its progress advancing women’s rights in the country at the organization’s 57th session on Feb. 13, 2014. Qatar ratified the CEDAW agreement in 2009, but as the discussions at the latest session showed, the country continues to fall short in a number of spheres. Qatari pundit Nofe Al Suwaidi wrote a great summary of the CEDAW session and its findings for Justhere.qa. I encourage you to read it. Some of the areas in which Qatari women continue to suffer discrimination: Qatari woman still cannot automatically pass on citizenship to their children. Qatar still has no law on domestic violence, which is scary considering that some 16% of men and 7% of women in Qatar believe wife-beating is justified in certain cases. And apparently 20% of men 15-24 years old agree. Women continue to get...

Don’t Write Me Off As a “Young Woman”

By on Mar 3, 2014 in Femellaneous | 0 comments

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed for the BBC World Service’s Sportsworld Sunday Debate. The topic of the show was whether countries with strong and controversial political views should be allowed to host major sporting events. The issues discussed included the Sochi Olympics and Russia’s homophobia, but I was interviewed specifically about Qatar and its hosting of the 2022 World Cup. I gave my perspective and the other interviewees/guests on the show gave theirs. All in all, a normal debate. Except for one tiny, sexist thing. One of the guests pretty much brushed me off and everything I had to say because I was a “young woman.” Here’s the background: I spoke briefly about women’s rights and migrant laborer issues in the country. Basically I said that when it comes to women’s rights, Qatar actually has a lot of things going for it. The...

EuroMaidan: Women Rising in Ukraine

By on Feb 24, 2014 in Femellaneous | 0 comments

The past couple of days have been truly exciting in Ukraine. Nationalists, anti-corruption activists and opposition leaders have ousted President Viktor Yanukovych from power and are now calling for new elections in May. As a Ukrainian-American, watching the revolution unfold has been both exhilarating and frustrating. It’s been an incredible experience to witness the everyday people of Ukraine rise up and demand their democratic and human rights from the government. But I wish I could be standing alongside my fellow Ukrainians, instead of watching the EuroMaidan protests from afar. I am nervous about what lies ahead – will justice prevail? Will Ukraine finally break free of Russian subjugation, just as my grandparents have dreamed of for so long? Or will EuroMaidan transform into another failure, just as the 2004 Orange Revolution did? Will another Russia-lackey or avarice...

Vatican Synod on the Family: My Feminist Thoughts

By on Feb 23, 2014 in Gender and Religion | 0 comments

On Friday, Pope Francis convened a two-day closed synod at the Vatican about modern family life. The issues up for discussion include communion for divorced and remarried Catholics and other hot-button issues, such as contraception, couples living together outside of marriage, abortion and possibly even gay marriage. The details of the synod are a bit murky and it seems like the cardinals in attendance won’t be issuing press releases anytime soon. This particular conference is a lead up to a larger, more comprehensive synod that will take place in October, and then another in 2015. Though the cardinals’ current conversations at the Vatican may not be released publicly, Religion News Service reporter David Gibson did get some interesting feedback from the participants prior to the synod’s commencement: Francis wanted the entire College of Cardinals to have a chance to...