Tag Archives: equality

Self-Conscious

Cassini is no more. The Saturn-bound satellite was launched in 1997 when the earth was a very different place. As it’s four-year sell-by date passed, the little robot who could kept on snapping photos around the ringed giant and its moons. Remote controlled from three planets and an asteroid belt away, it was decided that the explorer had to be destroyed in Saturn’s thick atmosphere rather than contaminate one of the moons where life might someday be found. Yesterday the probe burned up on its way through Saturn’s perpetual cloud bank. This has led to many emotional tributes, even among scientists who believe Cassini was just a machine. It also shows us how little we really know about consciousness.

During the two decades that Cassini was in space, we’ve learned quite a bit about animal consciousness here on our own planet. Many are now finally becoming convinced that we share this strange quality we can’t even define with other biological entities. Well, at least the “higher” kind. And we can’t help but think that maybe our more intelligent machines possess it too. We treat them as if they’re alive and willful. That could be a case of our own consciousness projecting itself onto inanimate matter—that’s something consciousness is pretty good at too—but since we lack the ability to measure consciousness, we can’t know if it’s there or not. To hear the astronomers talk, we’re going to miss Cassini, a machine that outperformed expectations. Ironically, once we get machines off the earth they tend to do that, even without oil changes every 5000 miles.

Down here on earth we complicate consciousness with cash. Devising an elaborate economic system to demonstrate who can buy power in the White House and who can’t, we want to know who is more important than whom. It’s a simple metric. Bank accounts tell the truth, no matter what the level of consciousness—or even of sentience—that the account holder may have. And then we wonder why a nation that can send a satellite three planets away can’t even figure out that all races should be treated equally and fairly. Cassini was a collaborative effort. Different races, genders, and economic classes contributed to its remarkable voyage. Eyes around the country were moistened when its last image was projected to earth. We wisely decided to immolate our satellite before we could contaminate another world. Meanwhile on our own planet we’re barely conscious of what we continue to do.

Mothers’ Daze

Washington’s war on women has made this Mother’s Day especially poignant. As hard as it is to believe, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell had mothers. I can’t comprehend any male being anything but grateful and humble in a woman’s presence. Don’t accuse me of idolatry—I know women aren’t perfect. Neither are men. Especially not men. Mother’s Day isn’t an excuse to treat our moms as less-than-special other days of the year. We sometimes forget that life is a gift. And we should always say “thank you” to those who give. Pregnancy isn’t easy on a woman’s body. Indeed, until recent times childbirth was the number one killer of women. At some periods in history female life expectancy was only into the twenties. Giving birth is a self-sacrifice. We would do well to remember that daily.

Social organization outside the home was conveniently male early on, but not necessarily so. Without our mothers none of this would’ve been possible at all. Why do we fail to give back when we’ve been given so much? Yes, our moms are special to us, but women everywhere are mothers, daughters, and sisters to all of the men out there. To be human is to be both female and male. How could we ever forget that? How is it possible to use woman as political bargaining chips as if one person has any kind of right to tell another how to use her body? When we look at mom do we see only a physical body? Do we not see a mind? Emotions? Love? How can we look into the face of all that and claim that men are in any way superior or deserving of more than their share of power and prestige? Mother’s Day should be a revolution.

I don’t mean to be combative, but I’ve been pushed into a corner. From my earliest days I’ve felt women were stronger than men. Being raised by a mother on her own can be a revelatory experience. I emerged with nothing but gratitude for the sacrifices one woman had made to be called a mother. If any men have forgotten that lesson, use this Mother’s Day to repent. If you’re alive to read this, or to share it, you have a mother to thank. And tomorrow’s no excuse to forget that and act as if this one day were enough to show gratitude to those who have taught the human race to love. It’s Mother’s Day, but so should every day be.

5 Ways to Protect Women from Exploitation

Please enjoy this guest post by Daphne Holmes:

Women’s roles in society vary from region to region, with some states exhibiting greater equality than others. In the United States, for example, shifts continue to alter women’s place within social and work culture, so American society appears to be moving in a positive direction for many women. Unfortunately, women’s rights and social justice are not always promoted elsewhere, so realizing their potential is an upward struggle for most women worldwide.
Protecting women from exploitation is a moral imperative that sets progressive societies apart from others that do not share a commitment to equal treatment for all members. The following approaches help women’s causes by addressing some of the unique issues they face and supporting a fundamental guarantee of equality.

Remove Systematic Injustice

In order to protect all members of society from exploitation, social structures must be in place to accommodate each group equally, regardless of race, color, gender or creed. Government, for example, must reflect a stance that protects women equally, supporting laws that facilitate their advancement and punish those standing in their way.
A culture of respect instills and perpetuates the correct values, so adopting tolerance for diversity is an essential first-step for raising women’s profile in society. Patriarchal societies, on the other hand, leave the door open to exploitation, because women are deemed insignificant, and their right to excel is not guaranteed.

Ensure Essential Needs

Surviving as a woman in a culture that does not acknowledge equal rights can mean diminished access to basic elements of survival. To elevate women’s position in society and protect them from exploitation, fundamental needs like food, health care services, water and shelter must be available to furnish the cornerstones of personal development.

Educate and Enlighten

In many cases, ignorance and outdated thinking are behind exploitation, so education is a powerful tool for protecting victims. The benefits of education are seen in two distinct ways. General knowledge about women’s causes and education about the difficulties they face are enlightening to members of backward societies, opening their eyes to an entirely different standard of equality. And women’s education is also an important feature of equal societies, furnishing vital information that helps women rise-up from oppression. With inroads in both areas, exploitation can be seen for what it is; increasing the likelihood women will escape its ill effects.

Stop Sexualizing Women

For specific progress to occur, general changes must be made to the way women are characterized. Movies and other media, for example, sexualize women with graphic imagery and unflattering portrayals that diminish the progress women make in real life. Valuing women for reasons other than their appearance and sexuality increases their mobility within society. By recognizing their achievements and potential, women enjoy greater opportunity for advancement and suffer less at the hands of exploitation.

Increase Accountability

Women face a number of forms of exploitation worldwide, including sexual trafficking, labor mistreatment and other abuses. Unfortunately, cultural imperatives and other influences prevent most abusers from being held accountable for exploiting women. For lasting reforms to take-hold, consistent punishments must be applied to offenses against women, establishing consequences that curb abuses. And demand must also be slowed, in order to remove the incentives for trafficking and sexual exploitation. Stiff penalties for abusers and access to justice are key features of a system committed to protecting women.

Protecting women from exploitation starts within a culture of respect, acknowledging women’s valuable place in society. Through education and programs supporting women’s rights, even regions slowed by backward thinking and outdated social structure can make positive strides protecting women’s rights. And by changing views and values about women, and enforcing penalties against exploitation, society contributes to constructive outcomes, rather than turning a blind eye to harmful practices.

Author:
Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from www.ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at daphneholmes9@gmail.com.