Friday, 16 August 2013

Of course all men don’t hate women. But all men must know they benefit from sexism - LAURIE PENNY

Accessed 16th August 2013


Of course all men don’t hate women. But all men must know they benefit from sexism

Anger is an entirely appropriate response to learning that you’re implicated in a system that oppresses women – but the solution isn’t to direct that anger back at women.
PUBLISHED 16 AUGUST 2013 10:04
This is going to hurt. In the past few months, it has been almost impossible to open a newspaper or turn on a television without encountering a story about another underage girl being raped, another female politician harassed, another trans woman murdered. But as women, girls and a growing number of male allies start speaking out against sexism and injustice, a curious thing is happening: some people are complaining that speaking about prejudice is itself a form of prejudice.
These days, before we talk about misogyny, women are increasingly being asked to modify our language so we don’t hurt men’s feelings. Don’t say, “Men oppress women” – that’s sexism, as bad as any sexism women ever have to handle, possibly worse. Instead, say, “Some men oppress women.” Whatever you do, don’t generalise. That’s something men do. Not all men – just some men.
 This type of semantic squabbling is a very effective way of getting women to shut up. After all, most of us grew up learning that being a good girl was all about putting other people’s feelings ahead of our own. We aren’t supposed to say what we think if there’s a chance it might upset somebody else or, worse, make them angry. So we stifle our speech with apologies, caveats and soothing sounds. We reassure our friends and loved ones that “you’re not one of those men who hate women”.
What we don’t say is: of course not all men hate women. But culture hates women, so men who grow up in a sexist culture have a tendency to do and say sexist things, often without meaning to. We aren’t judging you for who you are but that doesn’t mean we’re not asking you to change your behaviour. What you feel about women in your heart is of less immediate importance than how you treat them on a daily basis.
You can be the gentlest, sweetest man in the world yet still benefit from sexism. That’s how oppression works. Thousands of otherwise decent people are persuaded to go along with an unfair system because it’s less hassle that way. The appropriate response when somebody demands a change in that unfair system is to listen, rather than turning away or yelling, as a child might, that it’s not your fault. And it isn’t your fault. I’m sure you’re lovely. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to do something about it.
Without invoking dull gender stereotypes about multitasking, we should all agree that it’s relatively easy to hold more than one idea at a time in the human brain. It’s a large, complex organ, the brain, about the size and weight of a horrible, rotting cauliflower, and it has room for many series’ worth of trashy TV plot lines and the phone number of the ex-lover you really shouldn’t be calling after six shots of vodka. If it couldn’t handle big structural ideas at the same time as smaller personal ones, we would never have made it down from the trees and built things such as cities and cineplexes.
It should not, therefore, be as difficult as it is to explain to the average male that while you, individual man, going about your daily business, eating crisps and playing BioShock 2, may not hate and hurt women, men as a group –men as a structure – certainly do. I do not believe the majority of men are too stupid to understand this distinction, and if they are we need to step up our efforts to stop them running almost every global government.
Somehow, it is still hard to talk to men about sexism without meeting a wall of defensiveness that shades into outright hostility, even violence. Anger is an entirely appropriate response to learning that you’re implicated in a system that oppresses women – but the solution isn’t to direct that anger back at women. The solution isn’t to shut down debate by accusing us of “reverse sexism”, as if that will somehow balance out the problem and stop you feeling so uncomfortable.
Sexism should be uncomfortable. It is painful and enraging to be on the receiving end of misogynist attacks and it is also painful to watch them happen and to know that you’re implicated, even though you never chose to be. You’re supposed to react when you’re told that a group you are a member of is actively screwing over other human beings, in the same way that you’re supposed to react when a doctor hammers your knee to test your nerves. If it doesn’t move, something is horribly wrong.
Saying that “all men are implicated in a culture of sexism” – all men, not just some men –may sound like an accusation. In reality, it’s a challenge. You, individual man, with your individual dreams and desires, did not ask to be born into a world where being a boy gave you social and sexual advantages over girls. You don’t want to live in a world where little girls get raped and then are told they provoked it in a court of law; where women’s work is poorly paid or unpaid; where we are called sluts and whores for demanding simple sexual equality. You did not choose any of this. What you do get to choose, right now, is what happens next.
You can choose, as a man, to help create a fairer world for women – and for men, too. You can choose to challenge misogyny and sexual violence wherever you see them. You can choose to take risks and spend energy supporting women, promoting women, treating the women in your life as true equals. You can choose to stand up and say no and, every day, more men and boys are making that choice. The question is – will you be one of them?

Laurie Penny is the contributing editor of the New Statesman 

Tony Porter: A call to men (Ted TalkDirectors)

Accessed 16th August 2013

Tony Porter: A call to men (Ted TalkDirectors)

Uploaded on Dec 10, 2010
At TEDWomen, Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don't "act like a man." Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the "man box."

Health Messaging to Boys and Young Men: Dos and Don'ts - John Stoltenberg

Accessed 16th August 2013

Health Messaging to Boys and Young Men: Dos and Don'ts

Presentation by John Stoltenberg

Published on Jan 8, 2013
In this video I share what I have learned about framing health messaging to boys and young men—using a focus on moral reasoning—based on my experience as creative director of the "My Strength Is Not for Hurting" sexual-assault-prevention media campaigns.

A Feminist Guide to Gay Male Misogyny - A talk by John Stoltenberg

Accessed 16th August 2013

A Feminist Guide to Gay Male Misogyny

Published on May 30, 2013
What is gay male misogyny? What distinguishes it as gay male? Why do gay men do it? What does it do to others when we do it? What does it do to ourselves when we do it? And what can we do about it?

A talk by John Stoltenberg April 19, 2013, at Wake Forest University for a symposium titled "Rewriting Homosexuality."

article mentioned in this talk:

Tackling the Roots of Rape by Frank Bruni (NY Times)

Accessed 16th August 2013

Tackling the Roots of Rape

Published: August 12, 2013 373 Comments
Steubenville. The Naval Academy. Vanderbilt University. The stories of young men sexually assaulting young women seem never to stop, despite all the education we’ve had and all the progress we’ve supposedly made, and there are times when I find myself darkly wondering if there’s some ineradicable predatory streak in the male subset of our species.
Wrong, Chris Kilmartin told me. It’s not DNA we’re up against; it’s movies, manners and a set of mores, magnified in the worlds of the military and sports, that assign different roles and different worth to men and women. Fix that culture and we can keep women a whole lot safer.
I reached out to Kilmartin, a psychology professor and the author of the textbook “The Masculine Self,” after learning that the military is repeatedly reaching out to him. Right now he’s in Colorado, at the Air Force Academy, which imported him for a year to teach in the behavioral sciences department and advise the school on preventing sexual violence.
He previously worked on a Naval Academy curriculum with that aim, and helped to write a training film for the Army. At a time of heightened concern about rape and related crimes in the armed services, he’s being welcomed as someone with insights into the problem.
Its deepest roots, he said, are the cult of hyper-masculinity, which tells boys that aggression is natural and sexual conquest enviable, and a set of laws and language that cast women as inferior, pliable, even disposable.
“We start boys off at a very early age,” Kilmartin told me during a recent phone conversation. “When the worst thing we say to a boy in sports is that he throws ‘like a girl,’ we teach boys to disrespect the feminine and disrespect women. That’s the cultural undercurrent of rape.”
Boys see women objectified in popular entertainment and tossed around like rag dolls in pornography. They encounter fewer women than men in positions of leadership. They hear politicians advocate for legislation like the Virginia anti-abortion bill that would have required women who wanted to end pregnancies to submit to an invasive vaginal ultrasound.
“Before you make a reproductive choice, you are going to be required to have somebody penetrate you with an object,” he said. “That’s very paternalistic: we know what’s right. You’re not in control of your own body.”
He noted that discussions of domestic violence more often included the question of why a battered woman stayed than the question of why a battering man struck, as if the striking was to be expected. Men will be brute men, just as boys will be lusty boys.
If Kilmartin’s observations can read at times like humorless chunks of a politically correct tome, that’s not how he actually comes across. He’s loose, funny. In fact he’s got a sideline hobby as a stand-up comic. No joke.
And he’s got a trove of less wonky riffs. He mentions the University of Iowa, which for decades has painted the locker room used by opponents pink to put them “in a passive mood” with a “sissy color,” in the words of a former head football coach, Hayden Fry.
He mentions the bizarre use of the term “sex scandals” for such incidents as Tailhook decades ago and the recent accusations that Bob Filner, the mayor of San Diego, groped women around him, among other offenses. “They’re violence scandals,” he said. “If I hit you over the head with a frying pan, I don’t call that cooking.”
The armed services are a special challenge, because they’re all about aggression, summoning and cultivating Attila the Hun and then asking him to play Sir Walter Raleigh as well.
But Kilmartin said that that’s a resolvable tension, if men are conditioned to show the same self-control toward women that they do, successfully, in following myriad military regulations; if they’re encouraged to call out sexist behavior; and if, above all, commanders monitor their own conduct, never signaling that women are second-class citizens.
The integration of women into combat duties will help, bolstering women’s standing and altering a climate of inequality, Kilmartin said.
But he and the rest of us are taking on fortified traditions and calcified mind-sets, and that’s evident in the enrollment in the two classes of Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Men and Masculinity that he began teaching on Friday. Although female cadets are about 20 percent of the Air Force Academy, they’re more than half of the students who signed up for Kilmartin’s course, he said.
He said that one of them, during the very first session, recounted that someone at flight school over the summer had told her that women shouldn’t fly planes.
“Oh, so do you fly a plane with your penis?” Kilmartin asked the class.
One of the male cadets responded: “Sounds like you’re issuing a challenge, sir.”

The World Needs More Midwives By Esther Madudu, Ugandan Midwife

Accessed 16th August 2013


The World Needs More Midwives

By Esther Madudu, Ugandan Midwife


Posted: 07/24/2013 11:02 am
A motherless baby begins life at a disadvantage. In addition to missing maternal love, the baby is at risk for malnourishment, infection and a host of other problems. My skills as a midwife are vital to saving the lives of mothers every day, but they also go beyond delivering babies. I help to educate women with proper healthcare information and campaign for maternal health to be prioritized.
I was only a young child the first time my grandmother, a traditional birth attendant in rural Uganda, allowed me to watch her assist a mother giving birth. That was the moment I knew I wanted to dedicate my life to bringing babies into the world.
Little did I know then that many mothers die during childbirth. Having been a midwife now for over 12 years, I also know that most of these mothers do not have to die. With a skilled midwife present at birth, over 90 percent of maternal deaths can be prevented.
But maternal mortality remains a heavy burden in sub-Saharan Africa where around 162,000 mothers die every year, leaving close to one million African children motherless. The reason is that 40 percent of African women do not receive basic prenatal care, and more than half of all deliveries take place at home without medical assistance.
Pregnant mothers who do receive medical care often have to walk great distances to get to a facility. There are days I have to walk to meet mothers who cannot make it to the health center in rural Uganda where I work, only to find they have already delivered by the time I've arrived. Once I found a woman giving birth next to a swamp because she could walk no further. The baby's head was out and because she was so close to the water she almost drowned the baby.
My heart breaks to watch mothers go through such agonizing pain to give birth. As one of three midwives at the Atiriri Health Centre in Katine, Uganda, I work 13 hours most days and attend up to five births every day. Resources at the health center are scarce. We have no electricity, which makes delivering babies at night a real challenge. We often use candles, kerosene lamps and even light from our cell phones to see the baby coming out or to stop the mother's bleeding.
Even under such trying circumstances, I am happy to say that in the four years that I have been at the health center, no mother has died in childbirth.
This week, I shared my experiences at the Africa Regional Conference of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM). With partners such as the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) and Johnson & Johnson, the ICM conference was an opportunity for African midwives to be recognized and to come together to share best practices, learn new skills and call for stronger health policy and systems for improving midwifery.
Once trained, a single midwife can provide care for 500 women every year, including safe delivery of 100 babies. In its report in April, Missing Midwives, Save the Children estimated that 350,000 more midwives are needed around the world to help reduce maternal and child deaths. But midwifery training is very expensive for most women in Africa.
We need midwives in Africa more than ever before. I am honored to have been chosen by AMREF to be the face of its Stand Up for African Mothers campaign to raise awareness of the plight of African midwives and African mothers. AMREF has set a goal to train 15,000 new midwives by 2015 to reduce maternal death in Africa.
Without significant extra funds and effort, the UN's Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to cut death rates among women and children are unlikely to be met in many countries by the 2015 deadline. Please show your support by sending a letter to America's leaders asking them to protect global health funding and increase support for maternal, newborn and child-health programs.

One on four young Scots thinks 'provocative dressing' encourages rape - STV News

Accessed 16th August 2013


One on four young Scots thinks 'provocative dressing' encourages rape

STV 14 August 2013 18:43 BST


Almost a quarter of young people in Scotland believe that a woman who is drunk or dressed provocatively is partly responsible if she is raped, according to a new survey.
The attitude among 24% of 16 to 24-year-olds was revealed in research carried out by the charity White Ribbon Scotland.
Around 1800 Scots of all ages were asked their thoughts about violence against women.
The percentage of the participants as a whole who said a rape victim's dress or state of sobriety was a factor in an attack was 14.6%.
More than a sixth (17%) said that rape happens because men are unable to control their need for sex.
The charity's report said: "This point of view can easily lead to validating excuses or justifications for violence against women.
"Believing that men are unable to control themselves against subconscious sexual urges implies that they are not entirely accountable for their actions, but rather are victims themselves to their needs."
A third of participants believed it was a woman's responsibility to leave an abusive partner.
"The concern with this direction of thought is that it underestimates the trauma and difficulties faced by women in abusive relationships and how this creates significant obstacles in attempts to escape or feel able to escape abuse," the report said.
Around four in five (81%) of those surveyed said that the purchase of sex or sexual images creates harmful attitudes towards women while more than three in four (80%) believed that alcohol or drugs cause men to be violent to their partners.
More than three-quarters (79%) of participants said that masculinity is to be physically strong and 71% think men are expected to be in control.
"This expectation of control and physical strength, in particular, create a negative connotation of what masculinity means," the report said.
"In contrast, words such as emotional and sensitive were significantly lower."
Callum Hendry, the charity's campaigns co-ordinator, said the survey findings reveal a worrying trend still exists for people to focus blame on victims rather than the perpetrators of violence.
"This attitude is harmful to creating an equal society and a society in which women feel safe," he said.
"White Ribbon Scotland will be using these finding to create targeted campaigns and education work to engage men and boys to stand up against violence against women.
"We would welcome a fuller, independent, piece of research on attitudes in Scotland in 2013 to assist with the on-going efforts in creating a Scotland free of violence against women."


Accessed 16th August 2013


Uploaded on Jun 21, 2010
Call security, send a group complaint to your neighbour or call the POWA Helpline on 083 765 1235.

Afghanistan: MP Fariba Ahmadi Kakar abducted in Ghazni - BBC News

Accessed 16th August 2013

14 August 2013 Last updated at 02:10

Afghanistan: MP Fariba Ahmadi Kakar abducted in Ghazni

The Taliban have kidnapped a female Afghan MP as she and her children were travelling in a rural area south of the capital Kabul, the authorities say.
Police said Fariba Ahmadi Kakar was abducted by armed men while travelling in the central province of Ghazni with her three daughters.
It is the first time a female MP has been snatched by insurgents.
Police said the kidnappers had demanded the release of four Taliban prisoners in exchange for Mrs Kakar.
Ms Kakar's children were later released in an operation involving Nato forces and Afghan intelligence - but she is said to be being held in a separate location.
The abduction marks a sinister milestone in violent attacks against prominent women in Afghanistan, says the BBC's Karen Allen in Kabul.
As Nato troops prepare to leave the country at the end of next year, there are very real concerns that limited freedoms won for Afghan women are starting to unravel, our correspondent adds.
Just last month, the most senior policewoman in southern Helmand province was shot dead on her way to work.
And last week, Afghan senator Rooh Gul and her husband survived an attack in Ghazni in which their daughter was killed.


Online porn boom: Liberating minds or damaging brains? by Paul Mason (Economics editor, Newsnight)

Accessed 16th August 2013 

Online porn boom: Liberating minds or damaging brains?

Paul Mason (Economics editor, Newsnight) examines how pornography has changed both in content and availability and whether changing pornography content is affecting how we behave

It's a small industrial unit outside Birmingham and the man in the overalls, conversing casually with me about our respective jobs, is doing a particular kind of manual labour. The kind you need to do if you are a porn actor between takes.
Outside, Laura Macrow, one of Britain's most successful adult movie directors, is getting ready to shoot a car wash scene which all concerned admit is on the traditional side of things. Man plus woman plus sponge… the rest you can do with your imagination.
This shoot will end up on the website of the actress, who charges a subscription to view it. But the big change in online porn - and what's driving the political debate - concerns the rise, over the past five years, of free sites.
Modelled on YouTube, though they of course have nothing to do with it, the free porn sites, which are mostly owned by one private Luxembourg-based company called Manwin, work to a different business model.
Peter Johnson, who runs the Authority for Television On Demand, which regulates on-demand porn in the UK, says: "The change in the business model has meant there is an enormous amount of viewing of porn around the world and particularly in the UK. On some of the free sites statistics suggest the UK accounts for 5% of global traffic flowing to the sites."
Mr Johnson believes there may be as many as 66m visits from the UK, per month, to just one of these sites.
Changing content
On sites like xHamster, also owned by Manwin, you can click straight through - with no splash screen asking your age - to porn that would have been seized and prosecuted in the 1970s, but which is now ubiquitous.
Mr Johnson, who was formerly head of policy at the British Board of Film Classification, says: "I think over the past 15 years there has been a marked change in the nature of pornography being offered. We're talking about a subtext of violence, hair pulling, slapping, spitting, abusive language during sex - the very extreme gender power relationships in which the man is all powerful and the woman is submissive."
And it is an issue of demand as well as supply. Once you got masses of free porn, unregulated in Britain, what happened is what always happens with e-commerce - the providers could see what the users were clicking on most, and the content changed accordingly.
"Over the years I've been involved in regulating this sector, porn producers have started off with ethos of, 'We're not going to go down abusive route we're going to make nice pornography' and have tended to move towards stronger and more abusive material," Mr Johnson says. "That's where the market drives them. That's where customers appear to want more extreme content."
For Laura Macrow, who shoots for regulated TV and mainstream distributors in the United States, it has had the opposite effect. She's had to tone things down:
"We've had to tame things down slightly. We've had to change because of broadcast rules, regulation rules, we have to abide by them and follow what the regulators set us," she says.
Does she worry about the prevalence of coercive imagery in "normal" porn?
"I'm not worried about that. In a movie if a girl asks for that, that's a consensual act which she's wanting, she's asked for it. If it's given to her when she's not, then obviously we'd have to take it away in the edit. I shoot for everything on a platform and fulfil that guideline as I don't want to overstep that mark."
Meanwhile the broadband internet has changed porn in another significant way: interaction.
'Free to be different'
Victoria, a student, works as a webcam performer from her bedroom in England's Midlands. Among her specialisms is sado-masochism and her clients - men and women - pay by the minute to interact with her. She says porn plays a useful social function.
"I think what I do, and what pornographers do, is so powerful and beautiful and positive: we help people realise it is OK if you don't want to be heterosexual. It's ok if you don't want to have the same kind of sex with the same person for the rest of your life. It's ok if you want to buy certain props or do things that are not openly discussed. It doesn't make you a bad person and it does not mean these things are bad things."
She rejects the idea that porn "objectifies" women, per se, and though she's worried about the prevalence of coercive imagery, she says it's a question of education and parental responsibility, not censorship:

"I don't ever claim that I help women in what I do but I think it's wrong to perpetuate a myth that it is helping men treat women badly. Lots of young boys do have access to porn that is damaging to women - and all I have to say to that is someone is not teaching these young boys that this is not real."
There are more than 3,000 women doing webcam work on one big site alone, in Britain, so it's almost impossible to even know what's in the content, let alone to police it. The fact remains that in the space of a decade, the computer screen has become a window into a wide range of sexual activity, with a greater emphasis on coercive imagery. So what's it doing to people?
Cindy Gallop set up the website Make Love Not Porn because of a change in behaviour which she attributes to porn.
"Because we have no socially acceptable language of sex in the real world, the language of porn has rushed in to fill that gap," she says. "When people are engaging in sex, men will feel an imperative to use modes of address to the partners which they hear in porn, which are not necessarily the way you would like to use to talk to someone they want to have great sex with."
Feigning pleasure
Gail Dines, professor of sociology at Wheelock College, Boston, says women report peer pressure to take part in activities, sometimes early in a relationship, that were not seen as mainstream a generation ago, but which are performed in pornography without any prior negotiation:
"It's having a profound impact. These young men who have been brought up on porn sex are expecting girlfriends to perform porn sex and these women feel often overwhelmed," she says. "When I go across the US and the UK, the women talk to me about being overwhelmed at having to perform certain types of acts, of having to pretend to like certain acts, look a certain way, moan a certain way."
She cites the changing content of porn, and its widespread availability, as the source of the behaviour change:
"Years ago when a boy, hormones raging, would find his father's Playboy he kind of got glimpses into a world of coy smiles, women bent over in a corn field. Today when he gets into the internet - via a smartphone, computer - he is catapulted into a world of sexual cruelty. There is very little soft-core porn on the internet - it has been wiped away by the industry. It is reshaping their sexuality, their sexual template and their sexual identities."
So does violent porn cause violent behaviour? It's hard to find conclusive evidence in clinical research. What is clearer is the relationship between escalating extremity of the images, and addiction.
Paula Hall is a psychologist who treats people for sex and porn addiction. She has seen demand for therapy take off.
"Some of the clients I've worked with who are addicted to porn have experienced really significant consequences as a result. Fifty per cent have lost a relationship because of it, 20% have suffered from mental health issues, 25% have sexual dysfunctions but critically about 20% have experienced a serious desire to want to commit suicide."
She is particularly worried about adolescent males. "There is more and more research suggesting porn is having a direct impact on the brain. Particularly on the adolescent brain," she says. "We know our brains thrive on novelty. What pornography is doing is giving us super normal stimuli, it's exaggerating what is a natural and instinctive desire to seek out attractive natural partners, but it is exaggerating that - the brain is becoming more wired towards those pornographic images than it is towards partnered sex."
Victoria, the webcam performer, says she can see signs of addiction among her clients, who are typically married men.
"It is addictive, it has the potential to be addictive, it's easy, it's friendly and it's warm and a lot of these clients know when they log on, I have a rapport and relationship with them. I think they forget how much money they spend and how much time they spend on me as well. Do I think it's damaging? Yes, but I don't think it's my place to tell them to stop."
Opt in plan
The government has signalled it will require internet service providers to filter out porn, unless users specifically opt in. Within the industry, views on this are mixed.
Laura Macrow thinks ISP opt-in and filtering is a good thing:
"I'm not scared by it. I shoot movies for all over the world. If people want to watch porn they should opt into it. I don't think it will have an effect on us. You will still have the people that are inquisitive these days and want to watch it. You tell someone not to do something anyway they will go ahead and try it."
Victoria, who makes a living performing via webcam, objects to the crackdown. "Porn has always found a way around this. David Cameron needs to stop trying to control people under a banner of protecting them. It's protecting nobody. It makes our jobs harder. It perpetuates the idea that what is not normal is damaging."
But the current debate on opting in or out of filters may miss the point. Never before have so many men had so much access to imagery of feigned violence, coercion and verbal abuse aimed at women, for free.
The absence of any firm evidence as to its effects so far is not necessarily reassuring. For the same language and verbal imagery is already there in the male-teen culture of computer gaming, and - as we've seen in recent high-profile trolling cases - has spilled over into the social media spectacularly.

What if the price of your fair trade coffee accounted for the unpaid domestic labor of women?

Accessed 16th August


What if the price of your fair trade coffee accounted for the unpaid domestic labor of women?

By MAYA   
That’s what some Nicaraguan fair trade co-operatives are now calculating. Upside Down World describes how this development began with a sesame oil contract with The Body Shop and has now caught on among green coffee co-ops in the country as well.
There are three types of unpaid work mainly done by women: work which is part of actual production although unpaid (like sorting coffee cherries); work which contributes indirectly to production (like washing work clothes); and domestic and other work in the home which contributes generally to the stability of the household and the community.
The innovation of this initiative lies in the fact that it includes pay not only for the first and second of these, but also for the third, seeing women’s work in the home as crucial in providing a stable environment within which cash crop production can take place.
The starting point for this development came in 2008, when the co-operative Juan Francisco Pas Silva needed to renew its Community Trade (equivalent to Fair Trade) contract for sesame oil with The Body Shop. The co-op and ETICO, an ethical trading company that works closely with the co-op) both had strong gender policies and were looking for ways of supporting women through this contract. The idea of including a component for women’s unpaid work came as a flash of inspiration. After rough calculations, a figure of 960 cordobas a year, approximately $50 per manzana (0.7 of a hectare) was agreed – as a recognition and recompense for the contribution to production made by women. 
The effect of this compensation has extended far beyond the purely economic. The extra funds generated by the price increase are funneled back to women’s empowerment efforts–such as loan schemes and educational programs–and many women say they are more confident and feel a greater sense of ownership in the co-operatives. “There is a general feeling from the women, a sentiment that is often repeated, that: ‘somos tomadas en cuenta’ (We are now appreciated, taken into account).”
It’s amazing to think what that recognition would do it it were extended throughout the entire global economy.