Friday 10 June 2016

Reasons to Be Cheerful 15

I don't miss the Good Old Days. Society is more democratic, less hierarchical, less top-down now. People are less sarcastic. In fact they are much, much politer. And I can open a bank account without getting a man's signature.

We've advanced from the days when chattel slavery was considered normal and the absolute rule of monarchs was considered a product of divine creation. (Mike Ballard)

She helped found the Oxford Women’s Dramatic Society, but was sent down for breaking the ban on male and female students acting together. (Martin Edwards)

SCOTUS rules for Obamacare; GOP leaders ditching Confederate flag; US cleaning up FIFA. What's going on? Gay marriage in most states. Legalized pot. Period of remarkable social, legal and legislative change in the US. And it has kind of snuck up. (Simon Robinson ‏@iron_emu)

Racist abuse is illegal. Homophobic abuse is illegal. Sexist abuse and ableist abuse? Neither illegal. Cant see case for why latter 2 arent. (Jen Izaakson ‏@Izaakson)

Until 1863, the punishment for leaving the Church of Sweden was banishment from the country. (Andrew Brown)

Bristol NHS Homeopathic Hospital to be privatised as The Portland Clinic. On dwindling referrals, how will it survive? (Andy Lewis ‏@lecanardnoir)

My favourite acts: NHS Act 1948 Equal Pay Act 1970 Race Relations Act 1974 Child Benefit Act 1975 Minimum Wage 1998 More favourite laws: From the 1965 Race Relations Act and the 1970 Equal Pay Act, to the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1976, through to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and more recently the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 and Equality Act 2010. (Sophia Cannon ‏@UndercoverMutha)

Worldwide, illiteracy halved between 1970 and 2005 and four fifths of the world’s population have now attended a school. Life expectancy rose from 48 in 1950 to 71.4 now. In the 25 years to last year, child mortality halved. GDP4per head has roughly tripled in the past half century. We in Britain have been getting, on average, steadily richer, holidaying more, driving more safely and living longer... We’ve grown more tolerant of each other, too. (Matthew Parris, Times June 4 2016)

The first black president celebrating the victory of same-sex marriage = what you got instead of a jet pack. (@LOLGOP)

I’ve lived long enough to see “women with so-called period pains are all neurotic/exaggerating” become “period pains are as bad as a heart attack and should be taken seriously”.

Doctors don’t tell middle aged women “It’s your age, dear” any more. It’s easy to take a buggy or wheelchair on the bus. The cost of solar power has fallen by 80%. Medical schools no longer have a quota system for women, and prestigious schools in the US no longer have a quota system for Jews. London’s historic buildings are clean. Holloway Jail is going to close. Lawyers have stopped defending violent clients by saying “Women really like being beaten up”.

Nobody makes golliwogs any more, and Robinsons dropped their mascot after public pressure. Many institutions are removing racist and gendered language from their written output. Racist and abusive language is forbidden by law in the UK.

Leftards 1, Libertarians 0. (Insert “metropolitan elites”, “luvvies” at will.)

When did it cease to be legal for pub landlords to refuse to serve women if they were on their own? When were women allowed to join the Kennel Club? When did primary schools stop segregating pupils into GIRLS and BOYS?

The Code of Hammurabi gave women more rights than 19th century UK law: "If a woman quarrel with her husband, and say: "You are not congenial to me," the reasons for her prejudice must be presented. If she is guiltless, and there is no fault on her part, but he leaves and neglects her, then no guilt attaches to this woman, she shall take her dowry and go back to her father's house."

1545 Charles Estienne is the first writer to identify the clitoris in a work based on dissection

1801 First parliamentary divorce brought by a woman, Jane Campbell
1872 1872 Susan B Anthony is beaten up, arrested and put on trial for attempting to vote. She was fined for registering.

1919 Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act Forced the Bar – the last professional holdout – to accept women (It also meant they could serve as magistrates or jurors, even if married.)
1922 Women in Chicago arrested for wearing one-piece bathing suits
1920s-1930s Nancy Astor, the UK’s first serving woman MP, raises the drinking age from 14 to 18

1930s Edith Picton-Turbervill MP introduces the Sentence of Death (Expectant Mothers) Bill

1944 French women get the vote
1945 Family allowances to be paid directly to women (after a long campaign starting in 1918)
1948 Cambridge University gives women full degrees

1951 "It is becoming customary for women to have their own banking accounts.” Lloyds Bank ad
1955 First woman newsreader on TV
1958-61 First woman newsreader on the BBC

1960s Marlborough College abolishes fagging and opens sixth form to girls

1970 Annie Nightingale becomes the first woman Radio 1 DJ
1970s Work pension schemes begin to include women
1971 The FA allows women to play on the pitches of affiliated clubs
1971 Women get the vote in federal elections in Switzerland. One canton held out until 1990 for local elections.
1972 Men no longer automatically get custody of children on divorce. (Before that, a special court order had to be made to give the mother custody.)
1973 The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of Conservative Judaism votes to count men and women equally as members of a minyan
1975 Angela Rippon becomes the BBC’s second woman newsreader.
1975 The women of Iceland strike for equal rights and the country shuts down

1980s It became OK for a woman to order drinks at a bar (It was probably illegal for publicans to refuse to serve women – but why did they in the first place?)
1987 Diane Abbott becomes UK’s first black woman MP. The first non-white MP in UK parliament was Dadabhai Naoroji in 1892. Abbot was the fourth non-white MP, and first black MP of either sex.
1988 Practice of dedicating young girls to Hindu temples outlawed on human-rights grounds

1990s Tall girls are no longer treated with sex hormones (a practice that began in the 50s). (Social Science & Medicine  In China many women have their legs lengthened in agonising surgical procedures. Many jobs have height requirements. Guardian 2003)

1991 Baroness Scotland becomes the first black woman to be appointed a QC
1991 Scouting Movement becomes co-ed
1997 The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra accepts women to permanent membership (about time too)
1999 The “right” of a defendant in a rape case to cross-examine the victim is removed. (Michael Howard started the process in 1996.)

2010 Israel enacts a bill allowing civil marriage registration, enabling citizens lacking a religious denomination to marry
2010 Prof Dame Sally Davies became Britain’s first woman Chief Medical Officer

2014 Forced marriage now a crime punishable by up to seven years in jail
2015 Female genital mutilation banned in Nigeria
2015 The Gambia bans FGM

2015 Coercive Control becomes a crime under the Serious Crimes Act
2015 Saudi women are promised their own ID cards, and greater legal powers for divorced women and widows. In December Saudi women vote, and stand for office, for the first time.

2015 China announces end to one-child policy (Some claim the one-child policy had some good results: parents treat their single daughter as a son, and many more women go to university.)

2015 Oxford University nominates Prof Louise Richardson as its first female vice-chancellor

2015 Peers call for legal changes to give Muslim women rights when in Sharia “marriages” or polygamous relationships. (Lady Cox outlined a bill to address the position of couples living in Islamic marriages not registered under UK laws. (Arbitration and Mediation Services (Equality) Bill.) If passed, would it apply to non-Islamic threesomes and more, and mistresses?)

2016 Victims of forced marriage to receive lifelong anonymity
2016 Avielah Barclay becomes the first female Torah scribe for 250 years
2016 A UK university wipes out gender pay gap with a salary hike (June 4)

2016 The BBC will be forced to pay men and women stars/presenters the same
2016 The Italian Senate passes civil unions by 173-71.
2016 British Airways allows all cabin crew to wear trousers

2016 In June St Peter’s College in Oxford unveils first portraits of women in its Hall
2016 The Stationers’ Company has appointed its first female master in 612 years
2016 Women WWII pilots can be buried in Arlington Cemetery

2016-06-08 Hillary Clinton becomes first woman presidential candidate in the US

Changes the Catholic Church resisted in Ireland:

1944 Tampons
1950 Mother and Child scheme (Free healthcare for mothers and children under 16. The Church thought it was the responsibility of the parents, and didn't like the idea of women getting gynaecological care from the wrong kind of doctor.)

1970 Catholics studying at Trinity College
1973 Married women in Civil Service
1985 Contraception
1986 Divorce
1993 Decriminalisation of same-sex activity
2005 Ferns report into child abuse
2010 Civil partnerships
2013 Abortions if mother’s life at risk, risk of suicide
2015 Equal marriage
And it lost every single battle.

The Catholic Church has lost the battle against gay unions everywhere else in Europe, leaving Italy as a last stronghold it will do anything to defend. (Gustav Hofer, Italian filmmaker It lost this one too.)

1650 Cromwell prescribes the death penalty for adultery (repealed under Charles II).
1685 Last witch legally executed in the UK. A suspected witch was lynched in 1705 in Scotland. The last witch convicted in the UK was Jane Wenham in 1712.

1789 The French National Assembly issues its Declaration of the Rights of Man, proclaiming that ‘all men are born, and remain, free and equal in rights’.
1791 The French Assembly votes almost unanimously for total Jewish emancipation. It also abolished the privileges of the nobility, the special obligations of the peasants and the immunities of the clergy.

1801 George III gives up British monarchs’ claim to be King of France, and Great Britain and Ireland join to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (The UK is 215 – count them – years old.)
1844 Factory Act restricts women textile workers to a 12-hour day and children aged 9-13 to a 9-hour day

1915 Le gouvernement français interdit la fabrication et la vente de la liqueur d'absinthe

1930 Poor Law repealed (It compelled tramps to walk to the next “casual ward” for food and lodging. George Orwell wrote A Day in the Life of a Tramp in 1929.)
1937 Final edition of Dress Worn at Court (it included knee breeches)

1950 Bastards can be ordained

1960 Betting and Gaming Act repeals Act requiring British men to practice the longbow for two hours a week
1967 Torres Strait islanders gain Australian citizenship, but many lacking a birth certificate struggle to “obtain a passport or driver’s license, open a bank account, access social security, or obtain a tax file number. Some parents have even struggled to enrol their children in school.” ( You have to buy a birth certificate, and being illiterate doesn’t help with the bureaucracy.
1969 Skeffington Report recommends more genuine public involvement in city planning (Why are we wai-ting?)

1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act requires police interviews with suspects to be recorded
1998 The Scotland Act enshrines human rights in Scotland – they cannot be removed by Westminster

2003 Licensing Act makes it illegal to sell alcohol to someone who is drunk
2008 Criminal Justice and Immigration Act abolishes the common-law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel in England and Wales

2015 The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to uphold the availability of tax subsidies related to President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, the 2010 Affordable Care Act better known as Obamacare

2015 Liverpool homes saved as council gives up on Pathfinder II (headline)
2015 Tesco will donate unsold food to charity

2016 Scotland has banned fracking (I think)
2016 British National Party (BNP) removed from the register of GB political parties
2016 Church of England says religious robes are no longer compulsory. (Lawyers, please copy.)

2016 The Pope suggests contraception may be used in the Zika crisis (Come on Pope.)
2016 Polio could be gone in 12 months, says WHO
2016 Government says all schools shall become academies – then U-turns and says it won’t make this law. Government refuses to accept 3,000 lone refugee children – then changes tune.
2017 US to ban microbeads in toiletries

2015 Australian doctors told not to prescribe homeopathy, pharmacists ordered to strip their shelves
2015: NHS Halton CCG confirms it will no longer fund homeopathic treatments, and the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital will cease offering homeopathic treatments from October 2015
2015: NHS Dorset CCG confirmed that they will no longer be funding homeopathic treatments.
2015 South Africa no longer recommends beetroot and garlic to treat AIDS, but supplies anti-retroviral drugs
2015 UKIP suggests 24-hour drinking should end

In the US, slavery was abolished, but Jim Crow laws progressively restricted the lives of black people. Citizens of colour were progressively enfranchised, but voting is still made difficult for them – polls close early, there are long queues and waits of several hours, registration is difficult. (Onwards and upwards?)
529 Emperor Justinian shuts down the Neoplatonic Academy
1686 Roman Inquisition condemns the slave trade
1780 The Gordon Riots – around 250 are killed by police in riots over Catholics being given rights
1840s-50s Slavery abolished in Moldavia (now Moldova, with former territories now in Romania, Ukraine). Most of the slaves were Roma or Tartar.

1917 The Tsar is overthrown, and all legal discrimination against Jews is repealed
1919 Paris Peace Conference adopts the principle of equal rights for all religions and ethnic minorities in the newly created states

1950 Some Native Canadian children allowed to enter the school system (instead of being educated separately)

1967 Supreme Court brands Virginia's anti-miscegenation law unconstitutional, legalising inter-racial marriage. Until the Supreme Court ruling it was illegal in 16 US states to enter into an inter-racial sexual relationship or marriage.

1976 End of White Australia policy
1978 Indian Religious Freedom Act protects native peoples in the US

1980s End to “scoop” programme in Canada, started in the 60s, in which Native Canadian children were taken from their parents and adopted or fostered by white families
1981 Mauritania abolishes slavery (but apparently it still goes on)
1986 Equal pay for aboriginals in Australia

1990s The duty of councils to provide sites for Travellers is “scrapped” in the early 90s.
1996 Last federally operated residential school for indigenous Canadians closes

2002 Ugandan-born Bishop Sentamu becomes the first black bishop in the UK to take charge of an Anglican diocese.
2016 UAE Cabinet approves national tolerance programme

And when Turgenev’s mother died, he liberated all her serfs.

20 years ago America introduced a domestic violence law. Domestic violence is down 67%, murders down 35%. UK discussing a similar law, Jan 2014.
1215 Pope Innocent III bans priestly cooperation in trials by fire and water

“Sir Samuel Romilly, speaking to the House of Commons on capital punishment in 1810, declared that "...(there is) no country on the face of the earth in which there [have] been so many different offences according to law to be punished with death as in England."[citation needed] Known as the "Bloody Code", at its height the criminal law included some 220 crimes punishable by death, including "being in the company of Gypsies for one month", "strong evidence of malice in a child aged 7–14 years of age" and "blacking the face or using a disguise whilst committing a crime". Many of these offences had been introduced to protect the property of the wealthy classes that emerged during the first half of the 18th century, a notable example being the Black Act of 1723, which created 50 capital offences for various acts of theft and poaching.” (Wikipedia)

1540-1640 48 people tortured at the Tower. It was not officially part of English law and was usually used in interrogation. (Dan Snow)

1826 The practice of burying a suicide’s corpse at a crossroads with a stake through its heart is banned

1907 Romanian Peasants’ Revolt is put down by the army, resulting in many deaths

1970s “Crime passionel” no longer a defence for murder in France.

1997 UK bans handguns
1998 Crime and Disorder Act outlaws racially/religiously motivated violence, harassment, intimidation

2009 “Provocation” no longer a defence for murder in the UK (abolished by the Coroners and Justice Act)

2010 The President of Brazil puts forward a bill to make smacking children illegal.
2012 In Iran people will no longer be condemned to die by stoning, minors will no longer have death sentences passed on them. (But watch this space.)
2015 Violence against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence (Wales) Bill passed into law

2013 The UN committee against torture said the UK must prohibit all techniques designed to inflict pain on children. (Letter to the Guardian, Aug 2014)
2014 Egypt outlaws sexual violence and harassment for the first time
2014 Alcohol prices rise - binge drinking lessens - injuries due to violence fall. Lowest for 10 years, say police.

2015 Support for the death penalty in the US is falling. Europe refuses to supply drugs for lethal injection
2016 Nebraska abolishes the death penalty (First traditionally conservative state to do so since North Dakota in 1973. Washington DC and 18 other states ban the death penalty. “Nebraska hasn't executed an inmate since a 1997 electrocution.” AP)

2016 President Obama promises he’ll use his executive powers to bring in gun control

In France, hate speech is only illegal if it directly incites violence, according to cartoonist Garry Trudeau.
Twelve children die from violence every hour (says UNICEF).
Every 30 seconds, the UK police receive a call about domestic violence.
There are still men who think that all domestic violence is the fault of the woman.
Smacking is legal in the UK.
Bullying is legal in the UK.
Boarding schools are legal in the UK.
There are about 400 single-sex schools in the UK – down from 2,500. (via Steve Beach)


The most conspicuous indication that something is changing came in 2013 while Obergefell v. Hodges was still working its way up to the court. Alan Chambers, the president of the “ex-gay” ministry Exodus International, apologized to LGBT people for causing them “pain and hurt” and shut down his organization. (NYT Feb 2016)

1973 Homosexuality ceased to be classified as a mental disorder with the 1973 revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). A compromise diagnosis termed ego-dystonic homosexuality persisted despite heavy criticism until finally being removed in a 1987 version of the DSM.

1979 In Sweden Homosexuality was legal, but still classified as a mental illness. This was changed after a peaceful protest. 

1981 Medicare stopped funding gender reassignment (It started again in 2014.)

1990, 17 May The General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removes homosexuality from their list of mental disorders.
1992 Gay men and women can become intelligence agents
1993 Homosexuality legalised in Ireland

2003 14 US States legalise homosexuality. (Legal in Italy since 1870, England 1967, Scotland 1980, Northern Ireland 1982, Isle of Man 1992, Tasmania 1997.  (Dan Snow)
2010 The US military police of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is repealed, though Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice still forbids homosexuality. However, any prosecution would clash with Supreme Court rulings.
2015 Jersey passes law protecting LGBT and intersex people from discrimination
2015 Nepal supreme court rules that equal rights apply to LGBT citizens
2015 Mozambique scraps colonial-era anti-gay law
Same-gender marriage is now legal in all 50 US states.

1970s The US forcibly sterilises Puerto Rican women, and moves some of the population to slums on the mainland, to make room for military bases.

1981 Last forcible sterilisation in the US. Many US states proposed and enacted sterilisation laws from the late 19th century. “The Oregon Board of Eugenics, later renamed the Board of Social Protection, existed until 1983, with the last forcible sterilisation occurring in 1981.” Wikipedia

In the 60s, a deaf child was allowed into a mainstream school “as long as she didn’t need any help”.

Birth control was illegal in the U.S. until 1965 (for married couples) and 1972 (for single people).

In the mid-1970s some banks still refused to let women use the prefix "Ms" on cheque books. Women wanting to open an account were asked for authorisation from father or husband.

There are still faith schools in the UK. There are still “honour killings” in the UK. Worldwide, 30 million people are living as slaves. You can be fired for being gay in 27 US states. Black students and those from poorer backgrounds are less likely to be offered a place at university (or a job). And can we ban vast cruise ships?

1692 Maryland enacted a law which punished white women who had children by slaves by selling them as servants for seven years and binding their children to serve until the age of 21 if they were married to the slave, and till 31 if they were not married.

1658 Adulterers in UK were whipped and forced “to weare two Capital letters namely A D cut out in cloth & sowed on theire uppermost Garments"

1776-1967 Interracial marriage illegal in the United States
1949-1985 Interracial marriage illegal in South Africa
1900-20 Canada discourages black people from immigrating because “they won’t be able to stand the cold”.
1924 US Racial Integrity Act of 1924 bans any white person marrying any non-white person (depended on the state).

2015 The Garrick Club votes to continue all-male membership
2015 Pitt Club in Cambridge will admit women during daylight hours, and for Sunday lunch
2016 Muirfield Golf Club does the same, excluding itself from the Open
2016 Some Cotswold Morris teams won’t allow women even as musicians.

2016 Women graduates still face £8,000 gender pay gap. (Telegraph Dec 2015)
2016 Voter registration is publically available. (Great for stalkers, murderous exes, identity thieves etc.)
2016 Nigeria rejects a gender equality bill
2016 France opts for the “Swedish model” of prostitution law (criminalises punters)

2016 People are making money charging thousands to ship people from war zones across the Mediterranean in leaky dinghies
2016 People are making money renting out third world women’s bodies to carry children for parents in the first world
2106 Turkey's President Erdogan calls women who work “half persons”

The old days have a habit of lingering on. (Michael Wood, LRB 2004)

More here, and links to the rest.

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