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Denying Sex Workers HIV Funds | Mother Jones

Posted: August 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Denying Sex Workers HIV Funds | Mother Jones

After years of discrimination, sex workers and NGOs staged the largest protest against the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) ever at this year's International AIDS Conference. Back in 2003, mandated by the Republican-controlled Congress and former President Bush, PEPFAR was heralded by many conservatives and liberals as a big step forward for HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa. What many don't know is that an anti-prostitution clause embedded in the bill severed US funding to one of the highest at-risk populations: sex workers.

PEPFAR mandates that any organization receiving US funds enforce "a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking." But, Titania Kumeh notes, "it's not clear whether [PEPFAR's proponents] recognized the difference between sex trafficking and prostitution, spoke to any sex worker-run organizations that combat exploitation, or spoke to groups that seek HIV preventative care and battle sex trafficking," thus harming PEPFAR's own goal.

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CV Harquail: Separate Still Isn’t Equal: Sexism Among TED Conferences

Posted: August 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The influential TED conference recently announced a one-off event called TEDWomen after mounting criticism that the TED stage is overwhelmingly male-dominated. CV Harquail says only 17% of TED speakers are women, and calls the TEDWomen conference a display of "simplistic, outdated, and unenlightened thinking." With a separate conference for women, she says TED "demonstrates the very discrimination it is supposed to address."

Indeed, separatism can easily be viewed as segregation. According to Harquail, "Once upon a time, it made sense to create separate conferences for women. Women thinkers and activists were so marginal, so subordinated, and so far from the public platform that separate conferences were virtually the only way to create space for women to present, discuss and promote their ideas." But for TED, she says it's inappropriate.

The root issue of gender inequality of TED speakers remains, but women-only spaces can still be valuable. Can TED have the best of both worlds?

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