Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Men's spaces

From Wikipedia:
Men's spaces refer to separate social and cultural spaces, roles and norms available to men in non-westernized societies. It is the membership of these spaces that determines a male's manhood. [...] The westernized view deems men's spaces as discriminatory toward the rights of women, and therefore fit for abolition. This western standard generally does not apply toward women's spaces, which are viewed as beneficial for women.
No comment needed....oh my.

Revisiting the poverty gap

From a recent article by Jessica Valenti
women work outside the home, but they make about 76 cents to a man's dollar and make up the majority of Americans living in poverty
I think I tackled the wage gap quite often and out of my mind when we look at more than raw wages and factor working time in women make 92 - 95 cents to a man's dollar and there is no proof that this gap is caused by discrimination.

Back to the majority of Americans living in poverty, which I also tackled before. And what can I say the new numbers are here, drumroll please:
U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2009

Poverty Status in 2008
Men living in poverty: 12%
Women living in poverty: 14%

A 2% difference. But there is something that the statistic do not show us.

Alimony and child support

Both of those are threated as monthly bills. What does this mean. Imagine a household with husband wife and one kid. Once the income in that household falls below a certain level, this family is listed as living in poverty. Now after a divorce it is assumed (by the statistic) that the one, who is not living with the children does not have to pay alimony and child support and is therefor less likely to be listed as living in poverty. Keep in mind that after someone who has to pay child support loses his job it can take quite a long time to adjust alimony and child support payments. Often those who have to pay child support are fathers. Some numbers:
In the past decade, child-support collections from the estimated 11 million fathers who do not live with their children have nearly doubled, to more than $18 billion a year. Most of that money comes from fathers who have stable jobs and can afford to pay. [...] Where the money does not come from is the 2.5 million poor noncustodial fathers in the United States. According to a study by the Urban Institute, nearly 30 percent of these men are in prison. Among the remainder, nearly half are unemployed. Those who do have jobs earn an average of $5,600 a year, well below the poverty line. [...] Poor fathers are often asked to pay significantly more, as a percentage of their income, than middle- class fathers, according to the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation, a social policy research group that studied 5,500 low-income fathers in seven cities in the 1990's. Nearly two-thirds of the poor fathers tracked by the study had child support orders that demanded more than half of their income.[...] The maximum that child support enforcement can take under federal laws is 65 percent of a person's salary [...]  only 4 percent of fathers are able to get their child support payments reduced when their earnings drop by more than 15 percent. Judges tend to proceed on the assumption that the man's income will eventually get back to its former level. Even if a reduction is granted, it takes as long as six months - while arrearages mount.
Legislation also eliminated an automatic assessment of surcharges for unpaid child support. Starting Jan. 1, 2011, courts will have the authority to assess surcharges on a case-by-case basis if there's a finding of willful noncompliance with a court order. Watson (director of Berrien County Friend of the Court office) said a law that went into effect in 1996 assessed an 8 percent surcharge twice a year to any unpaid support. The idea was to give non-custodial parents an incentive to pay support, Watson said, "but it's buried people." The surcharge amount was reduced in 2006 to tie it to the five-year average of interest rates on treasury notes. Aside from the impact on individual payers, Watson said, the high interest rate and frequent compounding created a huge statewide total of IOU money that is unlikely to ever be paid. At the end of 2009, the statewide total of unpaid child support was more than $9 billion, and half of the amount is surcharges. Surcharges totaled $250 million in 2009 alone. Many people who pay court-ordered child support earn low wages and, for them, the surcharges are particularly burdensome. Watson said 54 percent of child support payers in Michigan report income of less than $10,000 annually. They account for 77 percent of the total past due support payments. - from here

Homeless men

Men are more likely than women to be homeless. Those are not in the statistic (it is a telephone survey). Numbers by the U.S. Conference of Mayors 2007 as deciphered by Robert Franklin about 75% of the homeless population are male:
Most studies show that single homeless adults are more likely to be male than female. In 2007, a survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that of the population surveyed 35% of the homeless people who are members of households with children are male while 65% of these people are females. However, 67.5% of the single homeless population is male, and it is this single population that makes up 76% of the homeless populations surveyed (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2007).

about 51% of all homeless adults are single men and about 17% are single women.  Strangely, it gives no overall figures for homeless adults, but if the 3:1 ratio for single adults is applied to the remaining 32% of adults who aren't single, that would give an overall percentage of 75% male and 25% female.  Of course the fact that it's been men who've lost 80% of the jobs during the past year may well mean that men make up more than 75% of the homeless, but we don't seem to know that now. 

Imprisoned men

Probably not among the gifted and wealthy I am citing the above Glenn Sacks's article again.
93% of our world-leading 2.3 million incarcerated people are men
Who will certainly have a hard time finding a job in a recession after being in prison.

In conclusion...

...I fail to see why poverty hits women that much harder. But I am certainly not surprised that Valenti sees it that way. I might be coming back to that article again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Three woman caned for having extramaterial sex

An article I found via feministing, which highlights whom we care about. The news here is that women got caned, the article just dropped the men that were caned as well (and probably more harshly). Some quotes from other articles:
Malaysian authorities said Wednesday that officials caned four Muslim men and, for the first time, three Muslim women this month after being found guilty of having sex out of wedlock. [...] All seven were found guilty of illicit sex and sentenced by a Shariah court in the Kuala Lumpur area between December 2009 and January 2010. [...] Two of the women and the four men were struck six times, while the other woman was struck four times. Mr. Hishammuddin said that a doctor was present at the canings, which took place in male and female prisons, and that the offenders weren't tied. The women were seated while they were struck, and no injuries were reported. The idea, the officials previously have said, is to humiliate rather than injure—unlike the canings administered to drug pushers and other violators of civil laws, which can sometimes leave deep scars.

“It was carried out perfectly.” Hishammuddin said in a statement. “Even though the caning did not injure them (the women), they said it caused pain within them.” [...] Under these laws, the women have to be whipped in a seated position by a female prison guard and be fully clothed. Sex out of marriage is considered illegal under Islamic law and punishments can range from a fine to six strokes of the cane or both.
So to summarize, although caning affects more men than women, once women get punished as well there is an uproar. I am not surprised here. Hopefully that uproar leads to abolishing that kind of punishment (and not just for women).