The louder voices of women

Women’s organisations feel they have not been strongly engaged in the Summit preparation. Francoise Girard, President of the International Women’s Health Coalition, regrets the lack of transparency in the run-up to the Summit. The first draft of the business plan civil society members were given in April had less to do with women rights than with buying contraceptives. The agenda tackled the supply side of the contraceptives market rather than women rights, failing to work within the existing framework of the United Nations Population Fund or UNFPA (an existing institution with the same mission).
Sidelined from the process, civil society mobilised for months. Women’s organisations from the north and the south came together to issue a public statement in June. The document led the UK government to adopt language on non-coercion and non-discrimination. Women’s advocacy groups are now acting as watchdogs, helping shape the policy that comes out of the Summit, making sure services are provided to all women, and reiterating that one type of contraception should not be favoured over others in the distribution chain.
In Salem district, for instance, signs posted in towns reinforce the societal message: “Pay 500 rupees and save 50,000 rupees later,” a suggestion that aborting a female fetus now could save a fortune in wedding expenses in the future.
Salem district, a mostly rural part of Tamil Nadu, has a longstanding reputation as a deathtrap for baby girls. The Vellala Gounder community, the dominant caste there, owns most of the land and is intent on retaining property rights within the family. Sons represent lineage; daughters marry and relocate to their husbands’ homes. As a result, local women, like Lakshmi, who gave birth to a girl early last year, may refuse to nurse their newborns. They leave it to midwives or mothers-in-law to administer the oleander sap, say anti-infanticide activists.
Nearly 60 percent of girls born in Salem District are killed within three days of birth, according to the local social welfare department. That doesn’t count the growing number of abortions there to ensure a girl baby won’t be carried to term.
Amid such stubborn statistics, activists are at work to counter the forces of tradition. A focus of their work: improving the standing and self-image of women themselves. 

If only India’s other stats – on economy, poverty alleviation, healthcare – grew at the rate crimes against women are climbing up in this country. At an increase of 31% it is exponential. It is also shocking, amazing and ridiculous. A 2006 report by the National Crime Records Bureau said in India a woman is raped every half hour and is killed every 75 minutes. And this is according to 2004 data. Factor in a one-third jump and do the math. Also, make space for the large number of women, perhaps larger than the ones reporting their violation, who keep quiet and bury their shame forever in their hearts for fear of another round of abuse, this time from family, society, police.
Such barbarism in a country that dreams to be a world power and demands every seat at every global high table should indeed be humiliating not only for its leaders but also its people. But few are moved by the plight of half the nation’s population, still living in such dread, such suffocating coexistence. And this in 2009 – the 21st century.
Vivid Entertainment has offered Nadya Suleman a $1 million contract to star in a porno. Major porn distributor Vivid Entertainment sent a letter to Nadya Suleman, offering her a 1 million dollar payday if she star in a skin flick of her own. Vivid has even sweetened the deal by promising full medical and dental insurance for her family if she signs on to do multiple videos. SF Chronicle reports: 

Vivid Entertainment spokeswoman Jackie Martin says the offer also promises a year of health insurance for Nadya Suleman and her 14 children. Suleman gave birth to octuplets at a Bellflower hospital on Jan. 26, and already had six other children. The home the unemployed single-mother lives in is facing foreclosure. Vivid says the offer was sent Tuesday via overnight mail and there has been no immediate response. The offer letter says Suleman’s video would be distributed under the Vivid-Celeb imprint, which has released videos starring Pamela Anderson and Kim Kardashian.

More recently, Nadya was seen home hunting over a $1.24 million house in Whittier. The $1 million would be more than enough for a down payment. And, it is not like having multiple people inside of her at once is a foreign concept. She’s already had six and then she went back for eight more. Three to four should be a cakewalk for her. Let’s hope Vivid is being sarcastic here, because unless she’s getting gangbanged by gorillas there is no way regular dudes are going make this convincing.

The doctor that did this shit should pay for everything.
The Suleman octuplets are eight children born to 33-year-old Nadya Suleman on January 26, 2009, in Bellflower, California, United States. The Suleman octuplets are the world’s longest-living; this was only the second time ever that a full set of octuplets was born alive in the United States. The birth of the octuplets has raised controversies regarding their mother’s decision to have a large family and the physician’s decision to help her by the use of assisted reproductive technology.

Recently the medical community in North America has become concerned that many women overestimate their chances of conceiving if they delay childbearing into their late 30s and 40s. Therefore, recommendations are being made about how to increase public awareness regarding the risks of age-related infertility. To be honest, this issue and the way it’s being dealt with irks me.
I do agree that public education is extremely important. A woman’s fertility begins to decline significantly after 35 and, beyond 40, chances of conceiving with one’s own eggs, even using in-vitro fertilization (IVF), or other costly and invasive procedures, are dishearteningly low. But I don’t think that public education will have a dramatic impact on current child-bearing trends, nor do I necessarily think it should.
Here is the problem: As a counsellor working with fertility clinic clients, I have seen many women unable to conceive using their own eggs due to the natural age-related decline in fertility, but I have never seen a woman who voluntarily delayed childbearing simply because, as the media and even some members of the medical community assume, their career is more important to them.Here are the reasons why most of the women I see are beginning child-bearing later in life:
Trauma/Emotional Readiness – Often times they have experienced some sort of physical and/or emotional trauma or abuse that takes years for them to overcome to the extent that they feel that they have the tools to parent. Abuse or dysfunctional relationships with their own families can make it difficult for them to form secure attachments or relationships with others. In these cases, they have either been unable to maintain a stable relationship, or have not felt capable of parenting because they did not have positive role models.
Relationship history – It is increasingly common for women to re-marry in their 30s or 40s after a previous failed marriage, and want to have children with their second partner. I have also seen couples who initially did not want children and then changed their minds (or one member of the couple did not want children and then changed his or her mind). Some women have simply been unable to find a life partner and end up becoming a single parent by choice. Most of these women are doing this later in life because this was not the initial plan they had for family building and were waiting to find a life partner but eventually felt their time was running out.
Financial Readiness – I have never had a woman sit down and say she put off childbearing until she could be partner in her law firm or CEO of her company. Rather, many women thoughtfully choose to delay having a family until they are in a position to provide adequate financial support and stability.
So the problem is, if women in these cases are made aware of the realities of age-related infertility, do we really want them to begin childbearing in spite of the fact that they may be emotionally unready, single or in an unhealthy relationship, and/or not financially stable?
I do agree that these issues are the result of changes in gender roles and expectations in modern society. But I question whether a majority of women are voluntarily giving priority to their careers over having families, as the media would have us believe. I don’t think women are putting their career goals first because they can, I think they are doing so because they have to. Most women now have to get a college or university education and must earn an income.
I think women may be marrying later, not necessarily to allow them to focus on career advancement, as much as to ensure they have the emotional readiness and have found a suitable partner. Given the high divorce rates, should we really be encouraging women to settle down before they are ready, and marry, not for love, but to ensure they have adequate time to procreate? Should we be encouraging women in unhappy marriages to stay in the relationship and have children, just to avoid risking childlessness if they leave?
The majority of single parents in Canada live in poverty and the majority of single parent households are headed by women. Should we be encouraging more single women approaching the end of their most fertile years to start having babies, even if they do not have adequate means to support a child?
One option that women who want to preserve their fertility is to freeze their eggs. A growing number of fertility clinics across Canada now offer this service to women for social, rather than just medical reasons. But this too, is not something that will likely significantly affect the rates of women in North America dealing with age-related infertility. The biggest reason, is that egg freezing is extremely expensive, and therefore out of reach for most people. In addition, the technology for preserving eggs has improved significantly, but it certainly does not come with guaranteed results.
So yes, it is important that women are aware of the realities of their biological clock, but because of the realities of modern life, this knowledge may not change current childbearing trends, nor do I necessarily think it should.One wants a baby, the other doesn’t, yet — can this marriage be saved?Not Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s 14-month marriage, evidently. According to reports this week, the singer and comedian split because Brand, at age 37, was eager to start a family and Perry, 27, wasn’t ready.It seems like having a discussion about kids — do we want them? when do we want them? how many do we want? — would be a no-brainer for a couple before saying their “I dos.” Couples who don’t see eye to eye about kids are twice as likely to divorce, according to studies, and childfree couples divorce more often than couples who have at least one child.Still, many feel that a divorce without kids is no big deal; there’s no custody or co-parenting battles, child support or fears about how your decision will impact the kids for years to come. You’re just splitting up stuff and money — it’s sort of like “divorce lite.”But is it easier?It certainly wasn’t for “Eat, Pray, Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert, who didn’t want kids. She detailed the agonizing reality of her decision in the best-seller and movie that catapulted her into near-goddess stature for legions of middle-aged divorcees. Gilbert described how she wept and prayed on the bathroom floor as her then-husband slept in the next room, blissfully unaware that she had no intention of ever having babies with him — or anyone else, for that matter. It was a costly divorce, emotionally and financially (for her); on top of that, she felt like she had to defend her decision not to have kids, too. That hardly seems like “divorce lite.”Yet, in the awkward moments after learning someone is getting a divorce, we often find ourselves saying something like, “Well, at least you don’t have kids to deal with.” While that is a small blessing in the big picture, that doesn’t really ease his or her pain and sadness in the moment, kids or no kids. Plus, according to marital therapist Lisa Rene Reynolds, author of “Parenting Through Divorce: Helping Your Kids Thrive During and After the Split,” “You may be opening up a whole other wound if your friend had wanted kids and didn’t have them before her marriage ended.” Besides that, childfree divorcees are not without their own set of worries. They tend to spend more time agonizing about repeating relationship mistakes as well as having enough resources to keep up the lifestyle they had when they were married, experts say.readmore

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