Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat (Review)
reviews / June 10, 2010

I picked up Farmer Jane as a piece of the puzzle of sustainable food-related books that I’ve been reading lately (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Food Rules, Locavore), in particular because of its focus on women in the movement. On this count, I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Costa does a great job of profiling each of the women she has chosen, touching on how they got into the food production scene, their struggles and successes, and explains what their specific niche or activism is.

Too Much Happiness (Review)
reviews / April 10, 2010

The stories make you really think about the characters and about what real life is all about, not about the happy endings that you read in most fiction.

Literacy in India: done by a woman!
news , thoughts / April 7, 2010

Yesterday, I wrote a post about an article talking about a man named Ehsan in Afghanistan who has created a system of underground schools for women in Afghanistan, called “Underground literacy in Afghanistan: a man’s job?” While applauding what he has been doing, I also lamented the fact that almost all the stories we hear about literacy initiatives and education for women in countries like Afghanistan are about men who do these things … who are “saving” women from illiteracy and despair. Today, I bring you a story about a woman who is making a difference in women’s literacy! Masarat Daud: “A young Dubai-based Indian is out to reinvent the lives of her village-people in Rajasthan by empowering them with education, self-expression and enterprise.” (Getting Down to Grassroots, Kaleej Times) ZAIDEO.com: 8 Day Academy (Dubai, India) Uploaded by VZEntertainment. From the 8 Day Academy Facebook page: 8-Day Academy is an initiative by Masarat Daud, a 26-year-old Indian girl who has lived in Dubai all her life. In February 2009, to escape the monotony and creativity demise of her high-flying job, she quit work to return to her village (Fatehpur Shekhavati) in Rajasthan, India to lead social change. She divides her…

Underground literacy in Afghanistan: a man’s job?
news , thoughts / April 7, 2010

This picture is from The Independent‘s article: Afghanistan’s women defy militants to learn to read. Ehsanullah Ehsan has devoted his life to educating women in some of the most culturally conservative places on earth. I respect what this man, and others like him, are doing in places like Afghanistan. I’ve respected these people for years, since long before I decided to start teaching, and definitely before I started working with Canadian students with low literacy rates. Here’s one of the parts of the article that I found most interesting: A recent report by Human Rights Watch highlighted how important education is in combating the mishmash of honour codes and Islamic fundamentalism that has evolved in Afghanistan, not only condemning women to lives of servitude but also aiding the rise of the Taliban. “Education has profound implications for the intellectual and social development of girls and young women and their ability to exercise and enjoy a range of human rights,” it said. Without schooling there is little chance of most women breaking out of the cycle of “early marriage, segregation, responsibility for household work, and childbearing” – and the brutality and repression that accompany them. This cycle of “early marriage, segregation,…