[…]

A report by prison inspectors has highlighted the situation for black and ethnic minority women behind bars:

However, there is, as yet, no diversity strategy and no guidance on the commissioning of services for minority groups such as women and minority ethnic offenders, let alone minority ethnic women offenders. There is no reference at all to the specific needs of women in the NOMS Race Review, published in December 2008 to chart progress over the last five years against the findings of the Commission for Racial Equality’s inquiry and the Prison Inspectorate’s thematic review of race in prisons. Black and minority ethnic women are therefore further marginalised by the prison system; they could almost be described as ‘forgotten minorities’.

It includes some statistics such as:

  • On 30 June 2007, 29% of women in prison were from a black and minority ethnic

    background (compared with 26% of the male population and 26% of the total population in

    the UK).

  • Of the British national population, 81% were white and 19% black and minority ethnic.
  • On the same date, 25% of the women’s prison population were foreign nationals, with the

    largest proportion from Nigeria and Jamaica (33% of the foreign national population).

The report also notes a rise in the number of foreign nationals in prison for “fraud”:

“This typically involves women who have sought entry to the UK, often for asylum, using forged passports obtained through traffickers.”

Although less BME women than white women in prison self-harm, the report specifically states:

Research has highlighted that self-harm and suicide within the black and minority ethnic women’s population should be viewed in the context of experiences of racism, sexism, class inequalities, patriarchy, gender-based violence and immigration issues

A video of Taliban fighters flogging a young woman in Pakistan ‘for’ leaving the house with a man who was not her husband has been causing outrage and worry:

Reached by phone, Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan claimed responsibility for the flogging. “She came out of her house with another guy who was not her husband, so we must punish her. There are boundaries you cannot cross,” he said. He defended the Taliban’s right to thrash women shoppers who were inappropriately dressed, saying it was permitted under Islamic law.

Obviously, Wilkinson Sword sell razors, so it’s no surprise that they’ll stoop to pretty much any tactics to sell the idea that shaving as much as possible is essential. But still, a ‘comedy’ ad about the shameful and dangerous consequences of skimping on leg-shaving takes the biscuit.

As Cara says:

1. It’s women’s responsibility to the world to adhere to feminine beauty standards.

2. There is nothing that grosses out a guy more than the realization that women are not naturally hairless. This is because all men are a) stupid and b) shallow pigs. Really, they can’t help it, and it is not their fault.

3. Accordingly, note that the bus catastrophe is not the fault of the man, even though the woman repeatedly pushed his hand away from her leg and he was therefore engaging in non-consensual sexual behavior, however comparatively “mild.” It is the fault of the woman for not constantly being prepared for men to force themselves on them. Obviously.

The same company put out this ad, complete with sexism and racist stereotypes:

(via Feministing)

Women are drinking more whisky, reports the Guardian. Here’s an interesting quote:

Neil Macdonald, brand director of Glenlivet, added: “In February, at the annual Whisky Live event in London, we noted an increase in the number of women at the Glenlivet stand, a real mix of connoisseurs and new whisky drinkers. Many of these ladies had travelled specifically for Whisky Live and were very knowledgeable about scotch.

“Mistakes have been made in the past when marketing to women by offering purely cosmetic or ‘lighter’ drinks. Today we find that female consumers are often the most demanding – looking for product integrity and substance.”

Humaira Saeed, editor of the zine Race Revolt interviewed.

TheFourthVine reports that her nephew’s school censored his science project because he did a survey which found out not everyone identifies as male or female:

(This really has been a learning experience, and not just for Z, either. At my younger nephew’s birthday party, Z was wandering around showing off his survey, and many of the older kids asked why he had included an “other” option for gender. Now, okay, you have to understand – Z is the kind of kid who, if you tell him you don’t want to be called a boy or a girl, he will just kind of accept it. So you are other? Fine. People are mysterious anyway, and obviously this is just another layer of mysteriousness to them. He doesn’t need to understand it to be okay with it.

Most of the other kids, though, found this concept fascinating and absolutely bewildering – obviously everyone is either a boy or a girl! Obviously! – and wanted to ask many many questions. Which was the point when my sister turned to me and said, “They’re your friends. You explain it.” You have not lived until you’ve tried to explain being genderqueer to a group of suburban elementary school students hyped up on cake and candy and penguins.)

So tomorrow my sister has to write an irritated letter to the principal, emphasizing that she wants Z’s project – which also apparently was the only one to get graded twice, or possibly not graded at all; the story isn’t clear – back, and she wants it considered for the district competition like all the other projects. And also that it’s sad that the school missed the opportunity to show some genderqueer student or sibling or parent that, hey, you can have a different gender identification and still be considered and counted and included.

Lesbilicious interviews three lesbian parents on the impact of the changes to the fertility laws.

abyss2hope posts about some research which examines research claiming high levels of false reporting of rape, and demolishes it.

Racialicious reviews the TV adaptation of The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

David Cameron wants to pull the UK out of the Social Chapter of the EU. The bit of the EU which grants people in the UK the right to four weeks paid holiday and protections against workplace discrimination and parental leave:

Sign the petition here.

Brigitte Fell was assaulted by her partner in New South Wales, after police officers outed her as being a trans woman during an interview with him, in an attempt to goad him. He was under suspicion of theft and assault:

Jacobson told the hearing he was in custody at the police station when the constables told him he had been “rooting a bloke”.

He then went and attacked Fell. See Bird of Paradox for more.

Finally, a bit of good news: same-sex marriage has been legalised in Sweden and Iowa.