Int’l Human Rights

Wedding Dresses That Make The World A Better Place

Image: Apaige PhotographyWhat if finding the perfect wedding dress had a lot more to do with how it impacted the world than it did in just making someone feel and look like a bride? The Feminist Bride aims to help fiancés bring more meaning to their wedding through better social practices, so when I met founder, Marcie Muehlke at (un)convention Brooklyn last fall I had to share what amazing things her wedding dress company, Celia Grace was doingCelia Grace is a women-led wedding dress company that helps impoverished women abroad (fair trade) and brings handmade, environmentally friendly and sustainable gowns to the wedding industry. If brides want to really wow guests on their wedding day, a Celia Grace dress adds an extra layer of eco-feminist thoughtfulness, empowerment and compassion that is hard to come by in the wedding dress industry.

How Gender Discrimination Is Creating a Marriage Crisis in India and China

Image Caption: The Economist Video -  Why China and India face a marriage crisis

Image Caption: The Economist Video -
Why China and India face a marriage crisis

Discrimination against women is a global crisis. There is not one place in the world where women experience complete equality. The belief that women should access education, which leads to better physical and financial health, intellectual fulfillment and professional opportunities is not evenly held across the globe either. A lot of this has to do with the idea that a women’s place is only in the home and not as an outside member of the community. This is why many individuals in certain countries have practiced sex-selected abortions or infanticide if they find out they are having a girl (and for the record, while the video below focuses on India and China, those are not the only two places where these practices exist). Boys are socially allowed to get educations and be income earners and therefore can contribute to the family unlike women, who are not given the same opportunities or social stature. This is why many cultures see men are the more valued gender. 

Jewelry that Empowers Survivors of Human Trafficking

Free Bird BraceletsFor this Feminist Fashion Friday, take a moment to think about the jewelry you are wearing right now – who made it? By buying it, did it help someone in need or make the world a better place? Here at The Feminist Bride jewelry often comes under scrutiny due to the wedding industrial complex or how it can sometimes negatively affect gender equality; but sometimes there’s jewelry that creates positive social welfare and makes an amazing difference in the lives of women and their families. Relevée jewelry does just that, and we love socially conscious options for weddings. Founder and Executive Director of Made by Survivors, Sarah Symons explains how Relevée jewelry is made not only by women but specifically helps survivors of human trafficking in South Asia. So if you need to buy your best ladies, your bride, your mother of the bride/groom, your local mailwoman or just a friend a gift consider Relevée jewelry first. Here’s more on how amazing and socially minded it is.

Emma Watson and Men’s Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson Co-Hosts Special HeForShe Event. UN Photo/Mark Garten

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson Co-Hosts Special HeForShe Event. UN Photo/Mark Garten

Emma Watson’s impassioned United Nation’s speech seeking both sexes to peacefully unite in order to achieve women’s equality has touched a nerve. Inaugurating the HeForShe campaign, Watson went on to explain that fundamental feminism “… by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

Creating Social Good with Your Wedding Registry

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Image: KIVA. In this Group: Saraswati, Tikeswar, Sapuri, Manorama, Ketaki, Upasi, Sumanti, Jamuna, Sumitra

Feeling like a traditional gift registry is an egregious imposition to ask for more stuff that you already have? Or an archaic gendered tradition? Suspicious that asking for money as a gift throws every etiquette book into a blazing book burning fire? Here’s an option that gives the newlyweds tremendous good karma  - consider a micro finance registry. The beauty of having guests contribute to micro finance loan account is that it generously gives to those in more immediate need and then eventually the newlyweds when their the ones in need. To read more about this idea, check out The Feminist Bride article on Green Bride Guide

Women’s Equality Day: A Difficult Year But There’s Hope

Ladies, it’s been a tough year for us. I feel your pain, not in an our-periods-are-sGames 2012 Individual Event 2 Obstacle Courseynchronized way, but in a “This-is-2014, but-it-feels-like-the-stone-age!” sort of way. Before we celebrate Women’s Equality I think it’s imperative to review how we’ve been treated this year.

Why there’s much more to the Nigerian girls’ kidnapping

Hundreds of schoolgirls were kidnapped in a school raid in Nigeria on April 14, 2014. 140502173752-lead-dnt-tapper-social-media-campaign-kidnapped-nigerian-schoolgirls-00012525-story-topThe kidnappers are from the Islamist group Boko Haram, which means, “Western education is sinful.”  Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been unable to retrieve the girls and he is seeking internationally assistance.

US Secretary of State John Kerry promised help. “The kidnapping of hundreds of children by Boko Haram is an unconscionable crime, and we will do everything possible to support the Nigerian government to return these young women to their homes and to hold the perpetrators to justice,” Kerry said from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The international community is right to respond cooperatively, but what about addressing why the girls were kidnapped in the first place?

Iraq Moving To Legalize Child Marriage

A terrible step backwards in women’s fight for equality overseas. Iraq’s Council of Ministers has drafted a law, The Jaafari Personal Status Law, which will be voted on April 30. If passed the law would:

  1. Legalize marital rape
  2. Grant men the authority to marry girls as young as age ninePhoto Courtesy: (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  3. Prohibit Muslim men from marrying non-Muslims
  4. Require wives to submit to sex on their husband’s whim
  5. Prevent women from leaving the house without the permission of their husbands
  6. Give automatic custody in divorce cases to fathers.
  7. Only father have the right to accept or refuse a marriage proposal
  8. Discontinues temporary marriages for sexual pleasure (called zawaj al-misyar or “traveller’s marriages”)

This law was formed to appease the Shi’a Muslim community in Iraq, which have a stronghold majority in the country at 36 million. It’s argued that Iraq’s current law that women can only marry at the age of 18 religiously discriminates against the Shi’a Muslims. As it stands, UNICEF estimates that more than 24 percent of Iraqi women are married by age 18, and nearly five percent are married by age 15.

If passed before Iraq general elections, the law will violate the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, which Iraq signed and its own constitution.

To understand how widespread this issue is in the world and not just potentially in Iraq, here are some facts:

  • In developing countries, more than 60 million women aged 20-24 were married/in union before the age of 18. Over thirty-one million of them live in South Asia (UNICEF estimates based on MICS, DHS, and other national surveys, 1987-2006).
  • In countries like Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Niger more than 60 per cent of women entered into marriage or into a union before their eighteenth birthdays (MICS, DHS, and other national surveys, 1987-2006).
  • Girls living in the poorest 20 per cent of households are more likely to get married at an early age than those living in the wealthiest 20 per cent. In Peru 45 per cent of women were married by age 18 among the poorest 20 per cent, compared to 5 per cent among the richest 20 per cent (UNICEF estimates based on DHS 2000).
  • Women with primary education are significantly less likely to be married/in union as children than those who received no education. In Zimbabwe, 48 per cent of women who had attended primary school had been married by the age of 18, compared to 87 per cent of those who had not attended school (UNICEF estimates based on DHS 1999).

To read more about global child bride issues:

The Young and the Betrothed – Child Brides

15 Year Old Afghan Bride Beaten for Refusing to Enter Prostitution by In-Laws

Acid Throwing and Forced Marriage Now Illegal in Pakistan

Information originally appeared in: Iraq Wants To Legalize Child Marriage – The Daily Beast.

 

Malala Yousafzai on Empowering Women through Education

What a powerful presence, speaker and inspiration! Feminist Bride fact: As women’s access to education increases, they end up marrying later in life. This occurs because educated, professional women need marriage (or a husband) less as a means of support. Marriages to highly educated women are more likely to succeed because of their financial independence and more developed conflict resolution skills. Educating women is a no brainer!

Her book, I am Malala is available on Amazon.

For more awesome speeches from inspirational people and on marriage equality:

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13-Year-Old Speaks on Marriage Equality at Bar Mitzvah

One of the Best Speeches Championing Marriage Equality

Speech! Speech! The History of the Wedding Toast

Sen. Elizabeth Warren Shares How Gov’t Shutdown Affects Women

Zach Wahls Speaking on Marriage Equality in Iowa

 

Same-sex Marriage Legal in England and Wales Now

In what is considered another great feat for same-sex couples, England and Wales ended their

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images -  Peter McGraith (L) and David Cabreza plan to be one of the first same-sex couples in England and Wales to marry on March 29, the day gay marriage becomes legal in the United Kingdom.

Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images – Peter McGraith (L) and David Cabreza plan to be one of the first same-sex couples in England and Wales to marry on March 29, the day gay marriage becomes legal in the United Kingdom.

ban on gay marriage today (Saturday, March 29)! The only downside is that wedding guests will have to eat more fruitcake/bride’s pie at British weddings. Some sacrifices are worth making for equal rights.

The first couple in England to marry will be Peter McGraith and David Cabreza. All major parties in England’s parliament (including the conservative majority) supported the change. Prime Minister David Camerson shared these words,

“It says we are a country that will continue to honour its proud traditions of respect, tolerance and equal worth. It also sends a powerful message to young people growing up who are uncertain about their sexuality. It clearly says, ‘you are equal’ whether straight or gay.” (PinkNews)

Unfortunately, in Ireland and Scotland same-sex marriage is still illegal, though that could change in Scotland in the coming year.

Congratulations to our oversea neighbors who now get to walk down the aisle with the same pomp and circumstance as the royal family. We look forward to even more fancy weddings with exotic headgear and perchance now a modernized Jane Austen film featuring a same-sex couple that ultimately tie the know!

Other related Feminist Bride same-sex marriage articles:

Washington State Revisits Gay Marriage Equality Law

A Testimonial on the Families Gay Marriage Builds

Diane Savino On NY Gay Marriage Bill: ‘We Have Nothing To Fear From Love And Commitment’ (VIDEO)

Religion and Marriage

Chilean President Proposes Rights for Unmarried Partners, Still Opposes Gay Marriage though

Petition Asks Bert And Ernie To Get Married On Sesame Street

Michele Bachmann Gets “Flippy-Floppy” on Addressing Gay Rights Debate

Military gay couples still won’t enjoy benefits

NJ Has A New Situation for Gay Marriage Rights

Maryland’s Gov. Martin O’Malley Pushes for Gay-Marriage

 

To read more from the Washington Post: Gay marriage ban ends in England and Wales as marriage bells toll – The Washington Post.

15 Year Old Afghan Bride Beaten for Refusing to Enter Prostitution by In-Laws

Dahiney Ghuri in Pul-i-Kumri, Baghlan Province, Afghanistan: Afghanistan’s neighbor, Pakistan, outlawed forced marriage and acid throwing on December 11, 2011.  Unfortunately for Afghanistan, a similar story has gained huge international attention as well, but for opposite reasons. 15-year old bride, Sahar Gul, who after refusing to become a prostitute by her in-laws was severely beaten and locked in a dirty basement bathroom for several months with barely enough necessities to survive. Her in-laws of seven months pulled out her nails, clumps of hair, burned her with cigarette butts, and tore pieces of flesh from her body. Gul, in critical condition, will be transported to India for serious treatment and recovery.

Acid Throwing and Forced Marriage Now Illegal in Pakistan

A historical moment for Pakistan, whose Senate passed two new bills: The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 and The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2008. This makes the following illegal in Pakistan. 

Hillary Clinton United Nations Speech: ‘Free and Equal in Dignity and Rights’

An amazingly powerful speech that should be shared and heeded. Hillary Clinton speaks to the United Nations about how LGBT rights are human rights. Clinton explained that LGBT legitimacy does not differ from the civil rights issues that other groups experienced throughout history. She stresses that to make sure LGBT members are not discriminated or abused we all need to recognize the need to accept and protect – that they should be as free as the rest of us to live in peace, expression and lifestyle without condition.

“It proclaims a simple, powerful idea: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And with the declaration, it was made clear that rights are not conferred by government; they are the birthright of all people. It does not matter what country we live in, who our leaders are, or even who we are. Because we are human, we therefore have rights. And because we have rights, governments are bound to protect them.”

“I am talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time. I speak about this subject knowing that my own country’s record on human rights for gay people is far from perfect. Until 2003, it was still a crime in parts of our country. Many LGBT Americans have endured violence and harassment in their own lives, and for some, including many young people, bullying and exclusion are daily experiences. So we, like all nations, have more work to do to protect human rights at home.”

“It is violation of human rights when people are beaten or killed because of their sexual orientation, or because they do not conform to cultural norms about how men and women should look or behave. It is a violation of human rights when governments declare it illegal to be gay, or allow those who harm gay people to go unpunished. It is a violation of human rights when lesbian or transgendered women are subjected to so-called corrective rape, or forcibly subjected to hormone treatments, or when people are murdered after public calls for violence toward gays, or when they are forced to flee their nations and seek asylum in other lands to save their lives. And it is a violation of human rights when life-saving care is withheld from people because they are gay, or equal access to justice is denied to people because they are gay, or public spaces are out of bounds to people because they are gay. No matter what we look like, where we come from, or who we are, we are all equally entitled to our human rights and dignity.”
Click to here to read full transcript.

More Feminist Bride articles related to gay rights:

A Testimonial on the Families Gay Marriages Builds

Religion and Marriage

Diane Savino On NY Gay Marriage Bill: ‘We Have Nothing To Fear From Love And Commitment’ (VIDEO)

Petition Asks Bert And Ernie To Get Married On Sesame Street

Michele Bachmann Gets “Flippy-Floppy” on Addressing Gay Rights Debate

Military gay couples still won’t enjoy benefits

NJ Has A New Situation for Gay Marriage Rights

Woman’s Pro-Gay Shirt Deemed Offensive at Dollywood, Dolly Parton’s Theme Park

Miley Cyrus Inks Wrong Symbol In Support Of Gay Marriage

Maryland’s Gov. Martin O’Malley Pushes for Gay-Marriage

Hair’ Celebrates Same-Sex Marriage With On-Stage Weddings

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Meets & Marries East: The Mail Order Brides Industry

Three Women Earn Nobel Peace Prize

It is amazing to see not just one, but three women share the Nobel Peace Prize! Congratulations to Leymah Gbowee, author of “Mighty Be Our Powers,” her memoir of life as a peace activist during Liberia’s horrific civil war; Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is Liberia’s president and Africa’s first democratically elected female president; and to the democracy activist, Tawakkol Karman of Yemen, for her activities in Arab Spring. Each woman promoted peace in a non-violent way, while supporting democracy and gender equality.

The Young and the Betrothed – Child Brides

While many of us fret over unimportant issues related to our own weddings or believe that our freedom of choice on how to marry is a sign of progress, we must remind ourselves that equality and humanity in marriage is seldom enjoyed in other parts of the world. From the denial of gay marriage to the following issue of child bride, we must remember that  many existing forms of marriage violate basic human rights. It is up to us who are privileged enough to enjoy healthier forms of marriage to not turn our backs on those who still need help.

Happy Women’s Equality Day 2013: Don’t Pop The Champagne Just Yet, There’s More Work to Do

On August 18th, women celebrated the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920 stating that is is unlawful for any United States citizen to be denied the right to vote based on sex. Women have been enjoying the right to vote for 91 years. And today, women are celebrating Women’s Equality Day, which honors not only the 1920 amendment, but also “calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality.” But don’t pop that champagne just yet, we haven’t accomplished full equality yet.

Wedding Contract by Males and Dowry Dispute Leaves Bride in Poverty

Yes, Virginia [Woolf] dowries so still exist! The writer who insisted women must have their own income would be upset about this law decision and the culture leading up to it in all capacities. Our Canadian neighbor’s B.C. Supreme Court turned down a petition for payment of a dowry under a marriage contract authorized in a sharia court of Amman, Jordan. Seems that the dowry and sharia were contracted by the bride’s uncle, leaving her to live in poverty after her divorce.