January 26, 2010

Meet Mary Russell – Woman Detective

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:35 am by lbrosch

I just recently discovered a great mystery series featuring a strong minded, intelligent young woman named Mary Russell. She becomes an apprentice to the famous Sherlock Holmes during World War I in England. They soon begin to solve new cases and end up in serious trouble, of course, having to solve a mystery that involves saving their own lives. You can’t help but fall in love with the character of Russell who is struggling with a difficult past, trying to find her place in life as a developing teenager with a brilliant mind. She is far from your average teenager. The background of England during the World War I time period seems very historically accurate and adds to the tension of the story.  The Beekeeper’s Apprentice is the first book of the series which is followed by many more adventures of Mary and Sherlock. The following quote is an example of the eloquent writing style of Laurie R. King: “This was, however, 1915, and if  the better classes clasped to themselves a semblance of the old order, it did little more than obscure the chaos beneath their feet. During the war the very fabric of English society was picked apart and rewoven. Necessity dictated that women work outside the home, be it their own or that of their employers’, and so women put on men’s boots and took control of trams and breweries, factories and fields. Upper-class women signed on for long stretches nursing in the mud and gore of France or, for a lark put on smocks and gaiters and became Land Girls during the harvest. “

January 20, 2010

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:37 pm by lbrosch

Lisa Genova who has a Ph.D in neuroscience has written a fictional account of what it is like for a Harvard woman professor to find out that she has early onset Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 50. This woman main character is an accomplished cognitive psychology professor with a long respected career in teaching, research, publishing and presentation at conferences worldwide. She suddenly finds herself lost in her neighborhood one day while out jogging. The story deals with her own feelings at facing the diagnosis as well as the reaction of her husband and three grown children. All the varying facets of human emotion are displayed as each character deals with the diagnosis differently. Lisa Genova did a great deal of research through interviews with Alzheimer’s patients at varying degrees of their illness as well as the latest developments on drugs and treatment plans for the disease. Although this story is heartwrenching it is an important book for people to read especially if they are dealing with this disease with a loved one or think they may have to in the future. I found it difficult to read because I have lost both my father and uncle to the disease in the last 5 years. I myself have a good chance of developing the disease. I did find the book to offer hope in that more recent developments in treatment of the disease may delay the loss of memory to the extent that was revealed in the story. More importantly, for those who may be starting down the road of dealing with a loved one’s memory loss it helps you to understand what is happening to the person who is going through the disease and feel empathy with their confused state of mind and understand some of their feelings and responses.

For more information on Alzheimer’s disease check out their website at http://www.alz.org/index.asp.

Wollstonecraft’s Daughters will be discussing this book at their next book discussion for Sunday, February 21 at 10 AM. This discussion will take place at  OuterWorld Landscapes,
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Subbarao/135/202/43

January 14, 2010

Human Trafficking Exhibit at Alliance Virtual Library in Second Life

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:57 am by lbrosch

I recently attended this exhibit which is a multi-media exhibit that allows visitors to learn about the dark underworld where people are bought and sold, living lives as abused and dehumanized slaves.  The United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking reports that this criminal activity is second only to drug trafficking.  No region of the world, no race, no gender, no age group is beyond the reach of traffickers.  This exhibit serves to provide information about human trafficking, but also places the visitor inside this world to experience a small sampling of the hardships faced by victims.

If you are a member of Second Life you may access the exhibit at the following slurl:

http://slurl.com/secondlife/Info%20Island/138/105/34

The exhibit contains various resources. The experience is divided into three distinct areas that you can visit.  You need to take a sound badge and wear it before you teleport to these areas. The sound badge can be found on a poster at the landing area.

=============Human Trafficking Exhibit===================

Global Government Agencies Combating Trafficking
—Anti-trafficking government agencies around the world.

Global Non-Profit Agencies Combating Trafficking
—Anti-trafficking non-profits around the world.  Learn how you can volunteer and what you can do to help.

Human Trafficking Global Information
—Reports from countries and regions around the world.

What is Human Trafficking?
—Basic definitions and information

Statistics, Publications and Reports on Human Trafficking
—In depth information.  (Some links are to PDF files which will need Adobe reader.)

Report Instances of Human Trafficking
—How to report suspected human trafficking activity.

Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation
—Personal stories and news reports from around the world.

Human Trafficking for Forced Labor
—Personal stories and news reports from around the world.

Human Trafficking for Adoption/Marriage
—Personal stories and news reports from around the world.

Each exhibit sign provides Internet links to information and groups combating human trafficking.  I have linked to many of the provided links and other information on the right side of the blog page.

This information provided adds to the recent discussion on Half the Sky by Kristof and WuDunn.

I would like to thank the following people from Alliance Virtual Library who were responsible for the exhibit and the information shared here.

=================Credits===========================

Alliance Library System and Lorelei Junot (SL name) owners of Info Island.

Rolig Loon (SL name) co-producer, audio scripting
Abbey Zenith (SL name) co-producer

Background photo for exhibit used with permission from the photographer, William Warby (RL name).

Bucky Barkley (SL name) scripting contributor
Cindy Elkhart (SL name) art contributor
Silhshoot Seelow audio contributor
Silhsoot’s Class
Thoth Jantzen (SL name) video contributor
Waldron Rhino (SL name) audio contributor
Rocky Vallejo (SL name) consultant

http://www.freesound.org audio contributor

What You Can Do Now to Support the Global Cause

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:15 am by lbrosch

Support  microfinance by opening an account at www.kiva.org. You need only give 25$ toward one struggling woman’s business to make a big difference. You can read about each of the projects and choose your own to support. Take a look at all the successes that have been reported in this program. Spread the word. You can give a gift certificate to start a family member or friend on their way to giving support.

Sponsor a girl or woman through Plan International, Women for Women International, World Vision, or American Jewish World Service. I sponsor a woman in Bosnia through Women for Women and four Guatemalan children through World Vision and Children International. Two of my children are teenage girls who are postponing marriage and childbirth due to the funds provided for their education and health services.

Sign up for e-mail updates on www.womensenews.org and www. worldpulse.com where you can keep updated on information about women’s abuse. They may provide advice on further actions that you can take.

Join the CARE Action Network at www.can.care.org. This will give you a voice to speak out to education policy makers and take action against poverty and injustice.

Buy gifts from Fair Trade organizations like Serrv International, Global Girlfriend, and Bead for Life.

Look at the further links (on the right side of the blog) to organizations that are making a difference and choose one to join and support.

Kristof and WuDunn do mention this in the book but I would like to emphasize the importance of volunteering yourself to work with an organization that is serving in one of the poor countries of the world. To see first hand what the lives of these women and girls are like is to truly appreciate the need for empowerment of and justice for women throughout the world. I have taken these trips and it has truly changed my life and outlook on rights for women.

Talking Points for Half the Sky

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:47 am by lbrosch

In India, Asia and Cambodia underage girls are kidnapped through various methods and forced into service in brothels . These girls, if they manage to escape find no chance to survive on their own. They require education, drug rehabilitation and some means of supporting themselves to find a life outside of the brothel. When they cannot survive on their own they return to the life in the brothel.

Women suffering beatings at the hand of not only husbands but the husband’s entire family in some cases. Zoya Najabi from Afghanistan explains that the women are expected to be obedient and sometimes if they do not obey, make mistakes in their household chores, etc. it is appropriate and expected that they will be beaten.

In African countries the practice of genital mutilation of young girls has been a tradition that is very difficult to break. Girls are considered unmarriageable if they have not gone through these rites of passage.

Mukhtar in Pakistan is resented and attacked by her own government while trying to start schools for girls and aid programs for women.

Hundreds of women in Africa who have suffered fistulas due to rape, obstructed labor or improper care during childbirth are faced with alienation from their family and community and often left to die.

Global public health has come to the forefront only in recent years in large part due to Allan Rosenfield’s focus on maternal mortality. He wrote; “As a basic human right, women should be able to  have a child safely and with good quality of care.”

In a story of a death in childbirth related from a clinic in Cameroon the situation for women is explained as dire because there is a lack of education on family planning and pre-natal care, lack of health care in rural areas and an overwhelming disregard for women. In many countries women just don’t matter.

Many historians and researchers have pointed out that the status of women in a developing nation is the key to that country’s growth and development.

Simple Solutions?!?

  • World attention to gender inequality and a push for educational opportunities for girls
  • Support recognition that women are the third world’s greatest underutilized resource
  • Most successful aid programs are those started at the grassroots level by the people affected
  • A worldwide women’s movement which should promote an agenda of addressing maternal mortality, eradication of obstetric fistulas, human trafficking, sexual violence, and routine discrimination of girls and women. The tools needed are education of girls, family planning, microfinance, and “empowerment” of women.
  • A global drive to iodize salt in poor countries preventing loss of I.Q from iodine deficiency

Keep updated on the newest developments with Nicholas D. Kristof’s blog for the NY Times, On the Ground.

January 1, 2010

Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:59 pm by lbrosch

This book should be required reading for all women!! It is a shocking exposé of conditions women face in many of the developing countries of the world. As Nick says in the book, the statistics can be overwhelming to the point of your becoming blinded by the information. However, the personal stories hit the mark! Be forewarned that you will not put this book down and forget it. Hopefully if enough women can read this book and come to empathize with the personal accounts of the suffering of these girls and women they will pass on the information to take action. The number of organizations that are listed and described in the book are numerous. I have listed them all with links on a separate page on the right side of this blog. I am already familiar with Women for Women International which I listed on my recommended websites. I correspond with a woman from Bosnia who is supported through this program. I also sponsor children with World Vision and Children International. I would recommend both of those organizations as a way to sponsor teen girls. These organizations provide health care and family counseling services to help girls learn about becoming responsible for their own health and well being and hopefully through education and better economic position they may be able to postpone marriage and childbearing until they are more mature. With these organizations you can correspond and send small gifts to your sponsored children. I hope that if anyone who reads this blog has experience with any of the organizations mentioned in the book that they would share their recommendations and experiences. Further discussion of this book will take place as part of a group within Second Life both at Bookstacks starting on January 6 at 3PM PST and again as part of a discussion with Wollstonecraft’s Daughters book group in Second Life on January 17 at 10AM PST.

Learn more about Half the Sky at the website: www.halftheskymovement.org

Some additional reviews:

Harvard Magazine

HuffPost Review

The Washington Post

The Human Rights Book Review

My Double Life – Wonders of a Virtual World

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:38 pm by lbrosch

I should reveal that I lead a double life. I am a member of Second Life where I am known as Hedda Hazelnut. Some people may have heard of this virtual world and think of it as a time wasting game. Well that is what I thought until I began to investigate the wonderful opportunities for writers, book lovers, educational conferences, lessons on any number of virtual and real world topics, etc. Before I retired from full time teaching I was unable to invest the time for exploration but since I have joined in the last 9 months I have discovered a great place for using my time to the fullest. Oh yes, there are some times for play. You would probably not be able to resist hunting for free furniture and clothes and changing your avatar’s hair, skin, shape,  and clothing frequently just for fun. There can be a beautiful home to decorate, a business to set up and run, and parties and dances with live music to attend. But, back to the educational and enlightening aspects. There is Bookstacks, a group for those who love to discuss books on all topics, Written Word and Inksters among others are groups which promote opportunities for writers to take classes, share writing, critiques, and offer contests. There are any number of schools which offer classes on Second Life skills as well as science topics, language learning, and various technologies. You can daily check the event schedule and find discussion on various books and other topics. You can search groups and find those that appeal to your sense of fun or learning. There are role playing sims where you can step back into history and be a character in the Old West or medieval times. There are libraries where you can actually research information with real librarians there to help you. My involvement with Second Life has brought me new friends that have motivated me to attempt to write a novel, short stories and do freelance writing. I have joined groups where we discuss books and reading in general. Most of the people I have met are professionals, such as librarians, teachers, and technology instructors in real life and we have very stimulating conversations in both chat and voice. I have a real sense of who these people are even when I have never seen their real life faces. I highly recommend Second Life if you have the time to devote. It does take some time to get settled in and comfortable with how to go about joining groups and moving from place to place. If anyone wants a mentor to help you try it out and adjust, contact me as Hedda Hazelnut inworld.