Tag Archives: feminism

Sex Work Is Not Sex Trafficking

Around the world, selling sex is as inflammatory an issue as abortion. It’s just as divisive, too—particularly among feminists and in the global human rights community.

At the 2012 AWID Forum—the largest women’s rights gathering in the world—sex workers’ rights took center stage. Panel discussions and plenary sessions featured sex workers from Burma, Thailand and Cambodia, along with myriad organizations—including several AJWS grantees—that protect sex workers from human rights violations. One grantee offered a clever metaphor to capture how sex work is relatively alien to women’s rights conversations. “Imagine you go to a restaurant with a friend,” she said. “You order beef. But your friend explains she is vegetarian, so she orders a plate of rice and vegetables. You look at her plate and think to yourself, ‘This is a bit strange; a little different.’ But it’s a choice on the menu. And it’s a choice she made herself, just like any other choice. That’s sex work—a choice.”

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A Jewish Feminism for Global Challenges

Originally posted on The Sisterhood Blog of The Forward. This is the seventh installment in the series “What Jewish Feminism Means to Me.”

As a child in the 1940s and ’50s, I unknowingly experienced Jewish feminism before it really existed. Beginning in 1938 my mother, Marjorie Wyler, worked full-time as the Jewish Theological Seminary’s director of public relations, radio and television; it was a position she held for 55 years. My mother was way ahead of her time, not only as a public intellectual and as a leader in an institution dominated by men, but by raising my sister and me with the unshakable belief that we could do and be whatever we wanted.

I would learn decades later that my mother’s trajectory didn’t always have a silver lining: She constantly fought sexism in the workplace and was grossly underpaid. In the 1980s and ’90s, I was in the thick of my political career as a New York City Councilwoman, and as Manhattan Borough president. Sexism gnawed at the edges and chewed through the center of my work. Read More »

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My Summer at Pursue: It’s what you do, not what you think…right?

Originally posted on Pursue: Action for a Just World.

Chloe Zelkha, 2011 AJWS intern with Pursue

At school, we always complain that we’re not doing anything. In my classes, we study feminist theory, race theory, queer theory, postcolonial theology, postmodernist thought, liberatory pedagogy; an alphabet soup of academic jargon about justice. But what’s missing, we object, is action. So we work to reform our college policies, classes, and culture, offering peer education classes, bringing speakers to talk about social change, facilitating discussions on race, gender, class – but still, it doesn’t seem like the “real world.” It’s still isolated and primarily academic, and in between trying to change real systems, we’re spending a whole lot of time writing papers.

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