28 February 2014

Is International Women’s Day a waste of time?

Is radical feminism the only way to improve things?!

Emma B. (aged 16), from Lycée Sainte-Marie in Riom, writes:

Since 1975, the 8th March has been International Women’s Day. It is organized by the United Nations. I believe it is a very worthy initiative, but what does it really achieve? In the 1970s, women did great things for equal rights, but, today, who really cares about the issue? Around the world, a few people will get involved in the day’s events but, unfortunately, this will not do much to really improve things for ordinary women…

Women’s Day does a good job of celebrating the women who have had an incredible destiny and have brought progress, like Rosa Parks. That’s fine, but I feel there’s a risk this hides the achievements of ordinary women…

The most positive aspect of Women’s Day for me is the fact that it raises awareness of the violence against women (especially as regards female genital mutilation).

So many women today say and do so many stupid things! I feel these bimbos are spoiling the efforts made by the women of the 20th century to gain equality. Sisters, get your act together!

  1. Why is Women’s Day on the 8th of March?
  2. What does Women’s Day achieve do you think?
  3. Will men and women be equal one day do you think?
  4. Do YOU fight for women’s rights?
  5. Can a girl wear a miniskirt and still be a feminist?

Interview your mother and/or another female relative about how they feel the condition of women has changed...

20 February 2014

20th February is UN World Day of Social Justice

Whose side are YOU on?!
    Questions/to do:
    1. Describe and comment the picture above (give it a title!).
    2. Is the Joker bad or just mad (to what extent is he responsible for his actions)?
    3. Can Superman do no wrong in his fight for justice?
    4. Contrast how Superman sees the world with how the Joker does.
    5. To what extent does the real world resemble the comic book world?
    6. Do YOU fight injustice (how)?!
    Editorial cartoon showing Ban Ki-moon

    Quotes from United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message for the 2014 World Day of Social Justice :

    "The gap between the poorest and the wealthiest around the world is wide and growing..."

    "We must do more to:
    • empower individuals through decent work;
    • support people through social protection;
    • ensure the voices of the poor and marginalised are heard."

    Questions/to do:
    1. What are the main problems facing the world today according to you (which are the most urgent, and which are the most "solvable")?
    2. What criticism is the cartoonist making of Ban?
    3. Translate the quotes above into French (define "gap" and "empower").
    4. Who is the "we" Ban mentions?
    5. What does he mean by "decent work"?
    6. What social protection measures are there in your country?
    7. How can "the voices of the poor" be better listened to do you think?

    The haves and the have nots...

      Assignment 1:
      1. What do you think every human being deserves?
      2. What is "social justice" (give your definition first before researching)?
      3. Why is there so much injustice in the world?
      4. Write a short article for your school webzine entitled: "How I will make the world a fairer place!"

      Dr Ironfist... a (super)hero for our times?

      Assignment 2:
      1. Who are the people (famous or not) you associate with the fight for social justice?
      2. Compile a list of your favourite protest songs.
      3. Think up a slogan, draw a cartoon or design a pictogram to raise awareness about social (in)justice.

      12 February 2014

      12th February is Red Hand Day

      Red Hand Day is on February 12th every year. It was initiated in 2002. The aim is to draw attention to the fate of children who are forced to serve as soldiers. In recent years, children have been used in armed conflicts in many countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Philippines, Colombia, and Palestine.
      Though a number of international organizations are active against the use of children as soldiers, including UNICEF, Amnesty International and the International Red Cross, estimates on the number of child soldiers show no change between 2006 and 2012. Also, studies show that not enough is being done to help these children reintegrate their communities. The work of these organizations is disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration ("DDR").

      Questions/to do:
      1. Describe and comment the image above.
      2. Translate the text above.
      3. Copy and translate the texts in the video (cf link above).
      1. Write a postcard to the Secretary General of the UN explaining what you think of the use of children as soldiers.
      2. Organize your own Red Hand Day event in your school!

      9 February 2014

      Putin on a show...

      The 2014 Winter Olympic Games have begun in the Russian coastal city of Sochi. They will last 16 days. 2,871 athletes will be competing in 98 events. 88 countries are taking part.

      There are several controversies surrounding the games:
      • there have been accusations of corruption (these are the most costly games ever: $31 billion!);
      • there have been threats of terrorist attacks (the security force is 50,000-strong!);
      • there have been calls to boycott the Games because of Russia’s attitude over Gay rights.
      To gain support among world leaders,Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, freed 20,000 prisoners in the run-up to the Olympics, including the Arctic 30 and members of Pussy Riot. And now, thanks to the Olympic Games, Putin hopes to continue building bridges with the rest of the world...

      Questions/to do:
      1. Do you like watching the Olympic Games?
      2. Describe and comment the editorial cartoon.
      3. Why have these games cost so much?
      4. Who are the terrorists that the organizers are afraid of (what do they want)?
      5. What is Russia's attitude to Gay rights?
      6. Who are the Arctic 30 and Pussy Riot (why were they put in prison)?
      7. Do you think these games should be boycotted (why)?
      1. Research the background story of the Sochi Olympics (since 2007).
      2. Research Sochi and its people.
      3. Write an article for the blog Be a sport! on one of the controversies surrounding the 2014 games, stating your opinion.
      4. Watch the documentary Miracle on Ice.
      5. Research the Winter Olympic Games during the Cold War period.