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Lecture #12 Jan 19.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Robb Travers

SOC309Y1- Gender, Power, Women and HIV/AIDS Friday, January 20, 2012 Louise Binder, B.A., LL.B, LL.D (Hon.) , O. Ont. Chair, Canadian Treatment Action Council (CTAC) Louise has tremendous power, keen mind, strong intellect, knows how to pull people together= co-founder of Canadian Treatment Action, founder of Blue Print Coalition (looks at how countries or jurisdictions are doing when it comes to meeting needs for HIV for girls, kind of like a report card, received Order of Ontario, plus Queen Elizabeths Jubilee metal) Louise Binder- pessimist when she speaks but optimist when she thinks if you really want to make change you need to be an optimist but to make change need to speak like a pessimist - She is a woman, 5 feet tall, half Jewish half catholic, lawyer, has HIV, child out of wedlock (slut), only as White going for her, old (62) what other people thought were defects of barriers to success, Louise has been successful in her own terms - It all begins with power according to Louise - You need to feel entitled to empower - You can analyze needs and remove barriers and how we can help remove them but at the end of the day power comes from within the individual and they will take it or not - Whatever gives you a sense of power is how you will get it Louise believes in 2 kinds of power (1) internal power: sense of self-esteem and self-respect but you can die for this when the systemic power system does not allow you to be what you want to be (2) systemic power Who Wields Power? HIV and Power are inextricably linked- those people who have power do not have this virus but we know virus thrives where power does not exist - Resource poor settings- third world- we have resource poor settings in Canada (Aboriginal communities- downtown east side of Vancouver) Power is the driving force behind the HIV epidemic: - Where power resides, the virus recedes - Where it does not, the virus thrives Of course, power lies where we know it lies, with: - Adults (more than young) 1 - Men (power over all) - White people (even in non-predominantly white countries) - North Americans - Straight people (edge over transgendered or gay) Looking at demographics of the disease it plays directly to this list The Impact of Power The catastrophic effects of power can be seen worldwide in women and girls: - death as relief (these young people and women: - these women suffer= robbed of childhood/adolescence - suffer= social ostracism, violence, abuse Before death, they are: - Raped - Beaten - Sexually/emotionally abused - sold into slavery - Forced into sex trade - imprisoned - Deprived of children - disowned = Louise speaks from experience not theoretical Worked in Rwanda and Kenya visited South Africa, Egypt Trip to Rwanda work with women and children trip to Goma (democratic republic of Congo that name is really ironic total opposite) Goma is resource rich, fight over power and control of resources came to checkpoint, walk through no-persons zone Saw 16 year old- poked out eyes- so she would not be able to identify them- she was raped, infected with HIV, eyes oozing and another room with beds filled with psychologically tortured women (stunned, moaning) Women wanted Louise there- they wanted her to confirm they were not bad people, bless them, promise to always tell their story Louise saw horrific things, never had a bad dream from it all means that she is trying to stop it and do the right thing (thus she says she is at peace, not part of the problem but at least trying to be part of the solution) 2 If they were not to die, they would most likely not receive: - An education; - A decent paying job; - Property and inheritance rights; or - Reproductive health choices These women did not have the social determinants of health, no education or skill, thus not a good paying job means no money, no property, most countries do not allow inheritance by women and even if they do police may not enforce court order (ex. In Rwanda) womens group formed to stay with her so she would not be kicked out again- this is an example of what needs to happen even if people have rights asserted on paper they need some help. Women also have no reproductive health choices meaning they have more kids than they want (need to feed them, not enough for selves, husbands do not support spend money on alcohol) It has been proved if women had control over family finances more kids would have better life, live to an adult life compared to current men having control = it is a social determinants of health issue - One of Canadas social determinants of health is sex (how born) gender is a choice but many including women have argued sex is not a social determinant of health but Louise says it is a social determinant of health. Louise has HIV because of husband, there were many signs he was doing something bad, but it was because parents together for 52 years she felt she had a responsibility to salvage the marriage because that is what women do: nurture, salvage sex in and of itself because of our genetics if a social determinant of health according to Louise!! - Need to recognize women as equal partners! need to try to find this and learn it you will be helpful if you do learn this Some Figures In the US, HIV is the leading cause of death among African-American women aged 25 to 34. this is because of a power imbalance- Africa is resource rich if woman and Black doomed! Among Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, women comprise 48.8% of new infections each year among Aboriginal people In Canada, a total of 2,050 AIDS cases and 11,403 HIV cases were reported in adult women up to December 31, 2009. 3
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