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In an attempt to better share our current activities with our network, SFL is beginning an SFL Around the World blog post series. At the beginning of each month, each region will post an update to their regional blog page to share their current activities. Please stay tuned for more updates next month!

1914372_10153879227994153_4943353493015931166_nWith the launch of the website, WFL has been offering entrepreneurship workshops around South Asia, focusing in particular on at-risk demographics and regions.

On the programs expansion front, WFL has had a panel confirmed for ISFLC 2016, featuring human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer. If you’re coming to ISFLC, you can also find Women For Liberty at a Saturday luncheon sponsored by the Ladies of Liberty Alliance.

We are also working to set up a Regional Women’s Empowerment Workshop in Brazil for May. Subsequently there are two major conferences lined up for 2016, so far: the WFL South Asian Conference in Nepal and the Annual WFL Summit in the United States. Stay tuned for more information on all of these great events.

Please view our regional blog pages for updates on SFL’s other regions.

In an attempt to better share our current activities with our network, SFL is beginning an SFL Around the World blog post series. At the beginning of each month, each region will post an update to their regional blog page to share their current activities. Please stay tuned for more updates next month!

Months have passed but the situation doesn’t seem to be improving. Following the horrific political chaos in country, it was critical for us to conduct another workshop in East Nepal. Our team went into a small village near Duhabi, Morang; but they were refrained from entering and threatened to not come back again. Yet, we are delighted to publish another report on the latest “Women Entrepreneurship Development” Workshop, which took place in Kathmandu, Nepal from November 30th to December 2nd.

image_1For a year, Women For Liberty has (with great courage) offered commitment to build a more compassionate and freer world for every individual and has been focused especially on working to encourage female entrepreneurship in rural avenues of Nepal. This workshop was jointly organized by Women For Liberty and the National Career Foundation with the financial assistance of the District Office, Kathmandu. It was a part of overall efforts to empower women by introducing them to financing options in business, capacity building programs and last, but not least, crafting business plans for their new enterprises.

This event was basically a mobilization to bolster activism for women’s economic freedom generally, and also to focus on women’s active involvement in entrepreneurship. In other words, the campaign sought not only to focus only on women’s economic rights broadly, but also and primarily on guiding them into becoming entrepreneurs. Also, to note: this report will only be based on the feedback and remarks received from the participants of the event.

image_4Surprisingly, the increase in the number of participants, from 19 on day one to 25 on day three, was a major turning point for our workshop. The sheer feeling of joy this brought, not only made us proud but also kept us motivated to run similar workshops in other regions too.

The three-day event ran entirely on an interactive discussion model where participants shared their hard experiences of officially registering their enterprises rather than opting to run it informally. One participant, Sushila Nepal (president of the Sitapaila Cooperative), mentioned that our program was helpful and insight giving; it provided a very transparent mode of performance. She also added that, while women have entered into public life on a massive scale, they are still not widely involved in many sectors. Nor has the nation taken any lead to bring women into the spotlight. (more…)

Sœur_NiveditaFor long decades, our ancestors have fought for freedom and peace, and yet the many contributions of liberal women often go unrecognized. In fact, preconceived mindsets regarding feminism as a whole (including the idea that feminism is inherently anti-male or pro-government) have led many generations to attack feminism and ignore liberal feminists’ contributions to the fight for freedom. Here I will attempt to bring forward some examples of eminent women freedom fighters from South Asian history. Subsequently, I will try to construct a general understanding of how these feminists approached the struggle to secure a better world for all individuals.

Historically, many social structures (ranging from family, to religion, to social groups) relied on biological differences and scientific gender stratification to legitimize the subjugation of women through discriminatory customs, many of which are more or less continuing to date. Extreme religious fundamentalism was often a key factor in denying women autonomy and condemning them to cruel treatment. Women’s freedom of movement (central to economic well being) was particularly restricted and widows were even cremated on the funeral pyres of their deceased husbands as a part of ritual purity.

The Industrial Revolution marks a great turning point in this history. Data shows, for instance, that women’s participation in the labour force increased thanks to high demand from the inflow of trade and commerce during late 18th century. And the stories from our mothers and grannies about how their lives have changed between then and now also tell a story of increasing access to employment and the market. (more…)

It’s International Human Rights Day and, as the world joins together to celebrate individual rights, I couldn’t think of a better time to introduce the new Women For Liberty website to the world!En.jpg

In addition to our new home on the web, and a renewed social media presence, I also hope to bring a reinvigorated vision to WFL’s work. To that end, Women For Liberty is participating in the United Nation’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign. As part of the campaign, we’ll be featuring individualist perspectives on gender-based violence all day on the website and across social media. So make sure to give those a look!

Here’s what I wrote earlier this week about WFL’s decision to #OrangeTheWorld and my plans for the future of the project:

The core value of libertarian philosophy is individual liberty, and it is this idea that Women For Liberty takes as a central value. WFL aims to raise the global profile of this approach to women’s rights. Since one of the most visible barriers to women’s freedom is gender-based violence, especially where it is deemed legally and socially acceptable, the #OrangeTheWorld campaign is a fitting avenue through which to express our commitment to bettering the lives of women everywhere.

Help us show the world that individualist feminism is the answer to gender-based violence and discrimination.Join SFL in adding the orange UN filter to your profile picture today. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, you can also change your cover photo to the banner above!

To stay up-to-date on WFL projects like today’s #OrangeTheWorld campaign, our annual summit, and much more, just click below to start receiving email updates from yours truly.

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This following was written by Yarith Azucena Paredes, Local Coordinator of EsLibertad Honduras and co-founder of the libertarian feminist group Liberty Belles. It was first published in Spanish by the Eleutera Foundation on May 25, 2015.

Throughout the world, exists a cultural disease that has affected many: sexism. In some places deeper than in others, but in all countries present. In Honduras, it is almost imperceptible. The Honduran psychology has been so affected by this it is almost a habit. It has become an important part of the traditions and customs of our people. By trying to eliminate violence against women and female discrimination, we have fallen into discrimination against men, in such a way that the victims became the victimizers, the result of analyzing the problem solely from the female perspective.

image00As a result was born Liberty Belles, a movement of young libertarian feminists, trying to regain the basic concepts of the feminist movement in the world: equal rights, but also equal duties; equal opportunities, but also equal responsibilities. It is of vital importance to us to create awareness that you can live in an area of gender equality. To achieve this goal, workshops have been created to promote female empowerment and self-value value for women.

The above mentioned workshops began on Saturday, May 9th in Girls’ Hearth Our Little Roses, where we were able to share a day with girls from 4 years old to young adults of 23 years and carry out a small study by different means, such as questionnaires, activities and exhibitions that allowed us to analyze the subject of women, womanhood, the factors that influence it, and the role of women in our society from a libertarian feminist approach in general. (more…)

The following was written by Katrina Haffner, a North American Campus Coordinator. 

7d84e0p12ngi3ieruzgwtag5y.490x360x1When you walk into a strip club, the bright and colorful lights flash onstage, revealing a dancer. You may or may not find her attractive and her dance skills could be anywhere from Bill Nye on spring break to something out of Cirque du Soleil but, regardless, to the woman on that stage, this is a job like any other — an opportunity to make good money.

Different from Hollywood images, strip club entertainers today are a variety of ages, ethnicities, and body sizes — something for everyone. Indeed, the people who visit strip clubs seek an array of experiences, but whatever their reasons — and whatever they’re into — their patronage supports workers who need the money or who want the lifestyle offered by this line of occupation. This is what makes strip clubs great, and of course the government is doing it’s best to intervene.

Working at a strip club, especially as an entertainer, is a different career experience than most, and not just because of the nudity. It’s an industry that relies on alcohol sales for the business itself — and an astronomical amount of tipping for the workers. In the United States, most strip clubs hire dancers as independent contractors, who decide their own work schedules (and often other terms of their employment as well). In exchange for this status, the dancers tip the DJ, managers, bartenders, and house an allotted amount, sometimes making little to negative income during a shift.
(more…)

The following was written by Zamzam Hussein. 

Unfortunately, gender based violence is not an unfamiliar subject for most. Everyone has heard about it, experienced it themselves, or knows a person who has been affected by it. Despite this, few really understand it.  

ke-mandGender based violence occurs as a result of normative gender role expectations, along with the unequal power relationship between men and women. It’s important to note here that gender based violence occurs against both men and women — often as a way of policing gender expression that deviates from accepted norms. However, the most affected by such violence are invariably women and girls. This is especially true in Mandera County, Kenya.

There are a few reasons for the especially high rates of violence against women in this region. Mandera County is located at the apex of northeastern Kenya, bordering Ethiopia to the north and Somalia to the east. With a population of 1,025,756 million people, Mandera is the second poorest county in Kenya, with a whopping 87.8% of residents living below the poverty line. Mandera is also host to the most devastating ethnic conflicts in Kenya and the U.S. State Department labeled Mandera as “one of the most conflict-prone areas” in the world. (more…)

The following was written by Linda Kavuka, Chairperson of the African SFL Executive Board. 

5898364-3x2-700x467Last November, Nairobi, Kenya saw one of the largest protests against sexual violence ever held. It was dubbed #MyDressMyChoice. Nearly 1,000 women and men took to the streets to protest against vicious public attacks on women, reported from various parts of the country. Videos of the attacks were posted on social media and showed women being undressed by mobs of men, who tore at their clothes, claiming that the women were “indecently” dressed and “deserved to be taught a lesson.”

If that was not enough humiliation, the mobs would then beat the women ruthlessly – kicking them on their private parts. Keep in mind that all of this happened in broad daylight!

At the time, such attacks were gaining momentum in Sub-Saharan Africa including Kenya, South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe. The attackers would justify their actins by claiming the women were dressed indecently or that the women refused to respond to their cat calls.

A good number of people supported the attacks and even had their own campaign on social media,  #NudityIsNotMyChoice. It begs an obvious question: what does one’s choice of dress have to do with an attack on her body? Should any person be sexually attacked because their way dressing is not “moral” enough? Furthermore, what even is “moral” when it comes to dressing? A Muslim, Christian, Hindu and an African traditionalist, if asked, would definitely not agree on a unified mode of modest dressing! (more…)

The following was written by Andie Moore, ANZSFL New Zealand Regional Director.

18384021094_17336ac5b2_oWhen we talk “LGBT rights,” we often consider it a synonym for “gay rights.” This discourse on human rights and tolerance starts with talk about being able to love who you love, and ends once marriage equality is achieved, forgetting transgender and intersex people along the way. Only in recent years, with Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out and the rise of Laverne Cox, has the issue of trans rights actually become a mainstream discussion.

We are told that much progress has been made for LGBTIQA people now that (in many countries, at least) people of all sexual orientations are equal under the law. Yet, a plethora of problems still plague the transgender community. In societies which claim to champion liberalism and tolerance, a transgender person is murdered every 29 hours, one in five trans people are homeless, and over 50% of trans people will have attempted suicide by the age of 20. Trans people’s over-representation in all three of these statistics shows that, even in the most tolerant areas, transgender people are still neglected, isolated, and marginalized.

Whilst I am quite privileged to have grown up in a more liberal household in what is a relatively progressive country, my experience as someone who identifies as genderqueer and trans has given me some perspective on this issue.

It all starts with attitudes.

(more…)

The following written by Yarith Azucena Paredes, Local Coordinator of EsLibertad Honduras and co-founder of the libertarian feminist group Liberty Belles.

Women have always played a role in the course of history. Their absence from the books, most realize, doesn’t reflect a dearth of women, but rather an historical lack of respect. Women were, for quite a long time, considered second class citizens, their work and potential disregarded. Today, however, it is commonly believed that, at least in Western cultures, this period of history is behind us and gender equality has been reached. Nothing could be more wrong.

 We_Can_Do_It!In Latin America, for example, sexism is a social tattoo, a cultural strain left over from the times of the Spanish conquest, that has been difficult to erase from our modus vivendi. It’s made even more difficult by modern feminists’ insistence on only addressing half of the problem.

As with almost anything, only the last winds of the hurricane are the ones to reach Latin Americans. After proving to be a failure during the last century, socialism, for instance, was nevertheless implemented in Latin America during the last decade. This was called “socialism of the 21st century.” Similarly,  Latin-American “modern feminism” — mainly a mixture of radical feminism (blaming all men for the patriarchy) and traditional Marxism (blaming the capitalist system) —  reflects earlier trends in Europe and North America. These currents of thought seek desperately (and mistakenly) for someone to blame, paying more attention to who might be responsible than to reachable solutions for the problems they denounce. (more…)