Cellphones in Hand, Saudi Women Challenge Notions of Male Control

Excerpt from this article:

The three cases are part of a campaign by Saudi women, who have been broadcasting daring videos with their cellphones, using Facebook to organize street protests and posting Twitter messages to challenge the very idea of male supremacy in their famously patriarchal society.

The campaign, started by a loose network of activists who have enlisted young, media-savvy women, has gone far beyond earlier protests against the kingdom’s reaffirmed ban on female drivers, and has become a challenge to the pervasive guardianship system. In this entrenched system of guardianship, a male relative — usually a father or a husband, but sometimes a brother or even a son — has the legal right to control a woman’s movements.

What use is the right to drive, the young activists ask, if a woman still needs a man’s permission to leave the house?

Even among some of the activists themselves, there has been surprise at the response. “I’m very impressed; a few years ago I thought I was the only one who thought this way,” said Moudi al-Johani, 26, a Saudi woman who said she was locked up by her family when she returned from Florida during a college vacation.

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Meet the Woman Behind the New App That Takes ‘Sorry’ Out of Your Emails

Excerpt from this article:

For  Tami Reiss, the inspiration for Just Not Sorry—the new app she created that aims to stop women from resorting to undermining phrases in emails—was all over her inbox.

When installed as a Chrome extension, the app underlines words like “just,” “sorry,” “I think,” and “does this make sense” in shame-y crimson red digital ink. Already, thousands have downloaded the plug-in.

“It came to me from a variety of places,” Reiss says. “One, I like to build things that actually help people. Two, years ago, I did this influencer training and part of what we learned there was about what they called structural influence…which is that you can create an environment that supports positive change. It’s like, ‘Don’t put a stumbling block in front of a blind person,’ but the opposite. How do you create an environment that helps people know what they should be doing? How do you make it easy for them to make good choices?” Reiss looked around at the data and the op-eds and the shampoo ads and that Amy Schumer skit and at a million more meditations on how and why women say they’re sorry. And she decided to do something about it.

See also this counterpoint, excerpted from the article “The Just Not Sorry app is keeping women trapped in a man’s world”:

I’m sorry to do this to you but this is yet another piece on “Just Not Sorry” because I just don’t quite get it, apologies. I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep it brief. Here is my problem: when did being polite become a bad thing?

 

 

A Hooters is serving ‘angel shots’ to protect women on bad Tinder dates

Excerpt from this article:

From 2009 to 2014, as dating apps grew in popularity, Britain’s National Crime Agency saw a 450% increase in reported cases of rape occurring during the first face-to-face meeting of people who met online. If these signs become more prevalent, they could play a role in helping reduce that figure in the future.

 

Virtual reality raises real risk of motion sickness

woman wearing virtual reality headset

Excerpt from this article:

With virtual reality finally hitting the consumer market this year, VR headsets are bound to make their way onto a lot of holiday shopping lists. But new research suggests these gifts could also give some of their recipients motion sickness — especially if they’re women.

In a test of people playing one virtual reality game using an Oculus Rift headset, more than half felt sick within 15 minutes, a team of scientists at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis reports online December 3 in Experimental Brain Research. Among women, nearly four out of five felt sick.

So-called VR sickness, also known as simulator sickness or cybersickness, has been recognized since the 1980s, when the U.S. military noticed that flight simulators were nauseating its pilots.

Indian women face ‘digital purdah’

Excerpt from this article on Warc (thanks for sharing Rina!):

India has one of the world’s wider gender gaps as regards phone ownership as 43% of men have one compared to just 28% of women; the proportions are broadly equal in other major regional markets such as China (49% v 48%) and Indonesia (43% v 38%).

…There is a reluctance among parts of a socially conservative male population to see wives and daughters carrying phones, which they regard with suspicion when in female hands.

“Mobile phones are really dangerous for women,” according to an elder in one Uttar Pradesh village which has confiscated mobile phones from every woman under the age of 18. “Girls are more susceptible to bringing shame upon themselves,” he added.

 

Why Do So Few Women Edit Wikipedia?

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Excerpt from this article:

In 2008, a survey found that less than 13% of Wikipedia contributors worldwide were women. The free online encyclopedia that “anyone can edit” was outed as being mostly run by men. A follow up survey in 2011 found similar results: globally, 9% of contributors were women; in the U.S., it was 15%. Meanwhile, there appeared to be no significant gender difference in readership rates.

…Two professors, Julia Bear of Stony Brook University’s College of Business and Benjamin Collier of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, decided to explore the issue from the perspective of women who had been behind the scenes… They found clear differences. Women reported feeling less confident about their expertise, less comfortable with editing others’ work (a process which often involves conflict), and reacting more negatively to critical feedback than men. …

And yet while Bear and Collier’s analysis showed that women reported less confidence in their expertise, greater discomfort with editing, and greater negative response to criticism, their analysis also found that it was the first two (less confidence and greater discomfort) and not the last (negative response to criticism) that was affecting their contributing behavior…

“Wikipedia is a representation of knowledge. If you go there, and you don’t see any female representation or role models, it shows an implicit bias in the way things are ordered and prioritized,” Reagle said. “That can have a significant effect on people.”

Enlisting more women to contribute is the only way to keep women’s interests and needs from becoming afterthoughts.

 

Emojis Would Show Women Doing More Than Painting Their Nails

 

Excerpt from this article:

When it comes to emojis, women can be brides or princesses, paint their fingernails, get a haircut and go dancing in a red dress. If those sound like roles determined by the patriarchy, well, it’s not a new complaint.

But it may be changing. Google wants to add 13 emojis to represent women, and their male counterparts, in professional roles.

“Isn’t it time that emoji also reflect the reality that women play a key role in every walk of life and in every profession?” said a proposal from a team of Google employees that was submitted to the Unicode Consortium, which serves as the midwife to new emojis.

The proposed emojis include women in business and health care roles, at factories and on farms, among other things. Google wants the organization to approve them by year’s end, but the process of getting new emojis onto keyboards is a long one during which things can change or be scrapped.

See also: Emoji Feminism