Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Girls Rule ... The White House?

Even girls who aren't big fans of Senator Hillary Clinton are happy that a woman is making history by running for the White House, Heidi Evans reported in the New York Daily News on Sunday.

"Clinton's announcement she's in it to win has struck a chord with a young generation of girls who see they can rule not just in pop culture, but in politics, too," Evans wrote.

Vannessa Velez, a seventh-grader at Booker T. Washington Middle School in New York, told Evans that she thinks it's brave of Senator Clinton to run for President.

"She has to know people are going to say a lot of things about her," Vannessa said.

Click here to read the whole article. Then, tell us what YOU think about Senator Clinton's campaign for the presidency!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Global Warming is Real, says Olivia, age 10

Global warming is real and has an effect on the whole world, and the following information I have learned from the Duluth News Tribune shows that.

In Paris, scientists gathered recently to finalize details of an authoritative report on the climate change that is predicted to project centuries of rising temperatures and sea levels unless there is change. Everyone can help stop global warming by doing little things; that causes a chain reaction. For example, we can replace normal light bulbs with ones that don't consume so much energy. If a lot of people do so, we'll make a dent in the effect of global warming. Scientists who are involved in writing the report say they are nearly certain to come to the conclusion that there is at least a 90 percent chance that emissions, caused by humans, are the main factor in global warming since 1950.

Global warming is changing many things, and its result is a very dangerous one; sea levels come up, and that means that floods could occur. In the report coming out, authors say that it will describe a growing body of evidence that global warming is likely to cause a profound transformation of the planet Earth. They also said that three large sections of the report will be forthcoming during the year, and I will try to gather that information as well.

Among the findings in the recent drafts, this much has been learned:
  • The Arctic Ocean could have a huge loss of sea ice during summer later in the century.
  • Europe's Mediterranean shores could become just barely habitable in summers, while the Alps could go from being snowy winter destinations to becoming summer havens from the heat caused by global warming.
  • Growing seasons in temperate regions will expand and droughts are likely to move further to the semiarid regions of Africa and southern Asia.

Global warming is very dangerous, and if no changes are made, very horrible things could happen. For other information, go to: www.fightglobalwarming.com or www.climatecrisis.org And once again, I suggest you watch An Inconvenient Truth narrated by Al Gore regardless of what political beliefs you have. Act out now, because we want to leave behind a good planet for the generations after us. - Olivia

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Congress is Listening!

Hey, girls! Are you anywhere near Washington, D.C.?

If so, you're invited to a
New Moon Open House!

When: Wednesday, March 21, from 4-6 pm

Where: Busboys and Poets, 2021 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C.

Why: To celebrate girls’ voices and commemorate New Moon’s special “Letter to Congress” issue!

RSVP to newmoon@newmoon.org by Monday, March 12, 2007

Hope to see you there!

Closing the Wage Gap, one Tennis Player at a Time

Last year, when French tennis player Amelie Mauresmo won Wimbledon she made 1.17 million dollars in prize money. That's an amazing amount of money! But what shocked me was that she received $53,000 less than the men's Wimbledon winner, Roger Federer. Why? Just because she's a woman. In the January/February 2007 issue of New Moon, 12-year-old Sylvie wrote about the Wage Gap in America. On average, women make only 69 cents for every dollar a man earns. "That means that over my lifetime, I'll probably earn at least $700,000 less than boys my age, just because I'm female!" Sylvie points out in her article. "We need wage reform NOW," Sylvie adds. Well, I'm here to announce one small victory for women, and for Sylvie. Today, Wimbledon announced that it will pay women and men tennis champions equally! Go Brits! I hope companies across the world listen to message Wimbledon is sending--women deserve equality, and that means equal paychecks. Thanks for speaking up, Sylvie, and thanks for listening, Wimbledon!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What does "Made in the USA" really mean? by Natalia Thompson

Most of the clothes that hang in your closet probably come from overseas. You might have noticed that their labels tell you they were made in Vietnam, China, Honduras, Mexico, Thailand, maybe Pakistan.

Chances are, you’ve heard that child labor, poor working conditions, and low wages (if any) are often associated with clothing produced in developing (or third world) countries. What you might not know is that the clothes you wear with an American label (like those that say, “Made in USA”) might have been produced under those same conditions—and they might not have been made in the United States at all, at least not in actual U.S. territories.

As Ms. Magazine reported last spring, the Mariana Islands (located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and Asia) have become a source of cheaply created clothing that still features the “Made in USA” labels so coveted by clothing manufacturers.

Technically, the Mariana Islands are part of the U.S. The islands were taken by the U.S. during World War II, and in 1975, they became a commonwealth of the U.S.—meaning its citizens are U.S. citizens and subject to most U.S. laws. But until this year, one law that the Mariana Islands weren’t required to follow was the minimum wage law. While minimum wage in America was set at $5.15 per hour (it was recently increased to $7.25), in the Marianas, it was only $3.05.
Without having to pay their workers fair wages, big corporations have been able to important thousands of “guest workers” from poor Asian countries (mainly women from China, the Philippines, Bangladesh, and Thailand). Most workers arrive with only a third- or fourth-grade education, and most have left children and families behind in their home countries. They often hope to make enough money to send home to their families, but they often find that’s not the case. A 22-year-old Chinese worker told Ms, “The recruiter told us that in America it’s a very free country, and because we had never been here we believed them. They were lying.” Another worker added, “This is a dark, dark place in America. It’s a nightmare here.”

Poor wages aren’t workers’ only problems. Sex slavery, or trafficking women into prostitution, has also become a thriving industry on the Marianas. Even women who land jobs in garment-making face terrible working conditions; some have worked up to 20 hours each day in terrible sweatshop conditions.

After years of ignoring the working conditions on the Marianas (thanks to years of work by former Majority Leader Tom DeLay and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to keep wages in the Marianas low), Congress is finally paying attention. Last month, Congress passed the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, bringing the $7.25 minimum wage to the Marianas and other U.S. territories. And on February 8, Congress held hearings on the current conditions in the Marianas.

(A side note: The White House opposes the new law, and is trying to get the Senate to add in tax breaks for small businesses to the bill).

I’m glad that we finally have lawmakers who realize the importance of standing up for exploited women workers. But better wages aren’t enough. Women working in the Marianas deserve better working conditions as well—Congress should also address the sweatshop labor conditions women still face, the continuing problem of sex slavery and human trafficking (the Marianas are still exempt from most U.S. labor and immigration laws), and the lack of real reproductive healthcare for women on the islands.

Please contact your Congress members to ask them to continue fighting for the rights of workers on the Mariana Islands.

For too long, the U.S. citizens living on the Marianas have been ignored by the very people who make the laws they live under. It’s time to change that.

- Natalia Thompson, 15

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Banning Landmines, by Eliza

So long as there is war and conflict in the world, there will be humanitarian emergencies. So long as there are landmines in the ground, people will be deprived of their basic right to a decent life; communities will be denied the opportunity to prosper; nations will be depleted of resources needed to rebuild and develop. Yet with the continued support of Member States, we have the means to end this suffering. To that end, the United Nations Mine Action Service is one of our most precious resources.
Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations

Landmines are horrible things. Originally used by the military, they are placed in the ground, where people can't see them and are activated when stepped on. When people step on them, they are seriously injured. This makes it hard to create safe communities, and for refugees to return home. Every year, thousands of people die from stepping on one, and many live in the poorest parts of the world.

Landmines date back to the Greek and Roman empires. However, it was during the second World War that they began being used widely for defensive and tactical reasons, and to achieve military objectives. Many of the mines were not immediately cleared. Many European countries still live with the threat from the second World War. In the 1960s, technology was developed so landmines could be scattered in large quantities by machine. Thousands covered the land during the Vietnam War. In the 1980s, mines became a weapon of choice in many internal conflicts. They were very inexpensive, another reason to use them. In 1992 six humanitarian organizations joined together the create the :

The work of the ICBL, which grew to more than 1400 non-governmental organizations, in partnership with the Committee of the Red Cross, The UN and governments worldwide (can you believe that the U.S. government is not one of them?!), aims to make the history of landmines a short one.

Landmines make me sick, and I'm going to do everything Ican to stop them. I saw one when I went to the UN with my mom and grandmother. Our tourguide said some children had seen them, and thought they where toys. They did look like yo-yo's. It's not just feet that get injured, but hands, too. I can't imagine living somewhere, and not having anywhere safe to go, not even home.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Letter to . . . Advertisers?

Hi, girls! As you know, New Moon is still working hard on our Letter to Congress campaign, collecting YOUR letters so we can personally deliver them to Congresspeople at the end of March. If you haven't sent your letter yet, download postcards and find out more here.

We're also beginning to prepare for another Turn Beauty Inside Out Conference in New York City, where we'll once again be tackling the advertising industry. Last Friday, I wrote about the TBIO conference and someone left this great comment:

"Hey, I would love to come, but I live in Canada. I have a very good idea
though, maybe it can be like the Letters to Congress.... but girls can write
letters to the people who work in the advertising industry and you can share
them with them or discuss our feelings. It would be awesome is ALL girls can
have a voice in it. Please consider my idea."

I thought this was a GREAT idea, so I immediately emailed Caroline, the Executive Director of Mind on the Media. She agreed that she'd love to deliver girls' letters to advertisers. So if YOU have something to say to the women and men who work in the advertising industry, send your thoughts to Caroline@mindonthemedia.org or to

Mind on the Media: Attn: Caroline Ticarro-Parker
710 St. Olaf Avenue Ste. 200
Northfield, MN 55057 USA

So pick up your favorite pen or brush up on your typing skills -- lets make Congress AND advertisers start listening to girls!

Friday, February 09, 2007

New York, New York

Hey, girls! Is there something you'd like to say about the way advertisements show girls and women? Then consider attending this year's Turn Beauty Inside Out conference in New York City. As part of the conference, girls will get to speak directly with people who work in the advertising industry!

Last year, we travelled to New York for the Turn Beauty Inside Out conference focusing on music. You can still read the blog about our experiences here.

So, what got me thinking about New York and TBIO? Well, this morning I came across this poem, and it brought me back to my very first time seeing New York.

Bright lights shone at me when I walked off the plane
the plethora of colors reflected on my amazed eyes.
All of the billboards, the skyscrapers,
and the people took me completely by suprise.

Independance swept into my eyes--
I was parentless--no mom or dad.
Just my grandparents by my side
the right of passage from what I am to what I had

Broadway, fashion, Statue of Liberty, Time Square
New York is thought of so glamorized.
We forgot about the people past Brooklyn--
9/11--the deaths that made them so mezmorized

I felt like I flew in a rocket ship--instead of a plane
Colorless Lake Oswego would never be the same.
I rode on a rainbow, in this sleepless city,
where nobody has the same name. - Miranda, 11

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

15-year-old Natalia reports on Women's Health Worldwide

Hey, girls! Is women’s health important to you? Then read on for some important information on an American policy that most citizens don’t even know exists!

Since 2001, women and girls in developing countries (also known as Third World nations) have been living under the Global Gag Rule. It’s a policy President Bush established when he took office that cuts American funding to family planning and women’s health organizations that use their own money to fund abortion services.

The Global Gag Rule (which earned its name for suppressing free speech and debate on abortion-related issues) hasn’t just restricted women’s reproductive rights by limiting access to abortion; it’s also weakened family planning programs in general, and has limited the supply of contraceptives (which give women a way to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and decide when they want to get pregnant). It’s even caused some health care organizations to have to shut down. In short, the Global Gag Rule cuts essential funding and jeopardizes women’s health.

The good news:

On January 22, U.S. Representatives Nita Lowey (a Democrat from New York) and Christopher Shays (a Republican from Connecticut) introduced the Global Democracy Promotion Act (GDPA), which would end the Global Gag Rule and allow international family planning programs to receive the funds they need to serve women and families.

Why I support the Global Democracy Promotion Act:

The GDPA would end a policy that hurts the women and girls who most need our help. As many as 200,000 women and girls die from unsafe abortions each year, and ending the Global Gag Rule would allow them to access the health care they desperately need.

A few other important points:
  • The Global Gag Rule was meant decrease access to abortions, but it’s actually increased abortions around the world: with less family planning services, women are having more unwanted pregnancies, and more abortions.
  • Like in the United States, the ban on abortion that the Global Gag Rule imposes affects ALL women and girls, and doesn’t take into consideration women and girls whose pregnancies are the result of rape or incest.
  • By hurting family planning services, the Global Gag Rule is weakening many other health care services, like the care new mothers and those affected by HIV/AIDS receive. In fact, The Global Gag Rule Impact Project reports that the same family planning providers who lose funding due to the gag rule are those on the front line in the fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS
  • Access to family planning helps reduce abortions and deaths caused by unsafe abortion. Regardless of whether abortions are legal, women in desperate situations still seek them out.

Above all, I think this issue comes down to a basic respect for international women’s rights. Speaking with Ms. magazine, Kenyan doctor Solomon Orero summed up the effect of the Global Gag Rule: “Women are dying because we don't care enough for their lives.”

Make a difference for women worldwide!

You can visit Feminist Campus, a global activism site, and send a message to your congresspeople in support of the Global Democracy Promotion Act. (But remember to get your parent’s permission before sharing information like your name and address over the Internet!) Or send your representatives your own message through New Moon’s Letter to Congress Campaign! - Natalia

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Olivia, 10, brings us another update on Global Warming

On January 4th, Olivia wrote a post about Global Warming to go with the article, "We're Just Warming Up" in the January/February 2007 "Letter to Congress" issue of New Moon. Now, Olivia follows up on the latest news.

I gathered the following information from the NRDC website. Polar bears need our help because they are the current species being directly affected by global warming. To sign a petition to protect these majestic creatures, go to: www.thepetitionsite.com.

The Bush Administration has proposed to list the polar bear as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act because its Arctic sea ice habitat is melting from global warming. This proposed protection comes after successful legal action by NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) and its partners to protect the imperilled polar bear. But this proposal won't become reality without a huge outpouring of public support. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is asking for your comments before making a final decision about whether to protect polar bears or leave them at the mercy of global warming and their vanishing habitat. Polar bears live only in the Arctic and are completely dependent on sea ice for survival, but 80 percent of their summer ice could be gone in 20 years and all of it by 2040. They are already suffering the effects: birth rates are falling, fewer cubs are surviving, and more bears are drowning. Time is running out. Without protection, polar bears could become the first mammal to lose 100 percent of its habitat to global warming. - Olivia

Friday, February 02, 2007

Genuinely UniQuE

Here is a poem that Rebecca, from Peterborough, Ontario sent us. Thanks for the great submission.~ Melanie

I am who I am,
you are who you be,
I am me,
but are you who I see?

My inside and out,
are like symmetry,
but I think that you
are who they want you to be.

What truth do you see
in this puzzle you've formed?
Be like me...but be you
(if you see what I mean!)

By: Rebecca, 14
Peterborough, Ontario

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Iraqi Girls Missing Out on Education

On January 11th, 15-year-old Natalia wrote her response to President Bush's January 10th address. She follows up with more information about life for Iraqi girls. Please note that some of the news content behind the links is disturbing--if you feel uncomfortable or frightened, talk to an adult you trust. - New Moon Editors

"Last Sunday, a group of students at a girls’ school in a neighborhood of Baghdad (the capital of Iraq) had just finished taking and exam. They were gathered in the courtyard of their high school when a mortar shell crashed into the school and exploded. The explosion left at least five girls (ages 12 to 16) dead and at least 20 injured.

It wasn’t the first time an Iraqi school had been attacked—in fact, ten people were killed just recently at Al Gharbiya, a different Baghdad high school. According to Iraqi officials, schools in the Baghdad area have been hit by either gunfire or mortar shells at least six times in the past month.

In Iraq, the education system has become just another victim of the ongoing violence that has sent the country toward civil war. UNICEF reported yesterday that many Iraqi teachers have left the country because of violence, while students are staying home because of the how dangerous it has become to leave home.

But girls face special problems. In Baghdad, sectarian groups often single out girls’ schools for specific threats, and the attacks have lowered attendance rates among girls. As I wrote in this blog on January 11, 74% of Iraqi children not in school are girls.

Saad Hashem, a 38-year-old father of four daughters, explained in an interview with the Boston Globe, “Many families are afraid to send their daughters to school because people will kidnap them.”

I think it’s terrible that so many Iraqi girls can’t access their education simply because of threats to their safety. As Hala Ahmed, a thirteen-year-old student at the school attacked on Sunday, said, “We are innocent girls. We are not fighting. Why are they attacking us? We just want to study.”

Nawal Muhammad, a teacher at her school, added, “We were terrified by what happened. They were young girls trying to build their future. It is unacceptable and I hope it will be an example to the government to show that something urgent must be done to stop such terrorism in Iraq.”

“When I saw those girls dead in the ground I couldn't believe that I was inside a school; I thought I was in a war zone,” Nawal said. “We are revolted with this situation. Schools should be safest place in the world.”

I definitely agree, and I wish that political and military leaders—both Iraqi and American—would take responsibility for something as simple as girls’ safety. The Iraqi government did criticize the most recent attack on the girls’ school, but there’s so much more that needs to be done.

Someday, Iraqis who are students today who will be the leaders of their nation. For their sake and for their country’s sake, American leaders should encourage the use of military protections for Iraqi schools, so that all Iraqi children have a fair chance at accessing education—and so that their nation will have a brighter future.

Call or email your representatives in Washington and let them know what you think today."