Wednesday 11 October 2017

Reasons To Be Cheerful 20

I remember when bar staff thought women shouldn’t order drinks at the bar, so if you tried, they would ignore you (circa 1970). The stigma against going on blind dates – you had to pretend you’d met through friends – really has disappeared. (There were endless articles claiming it had gone when it hadn’t.) Heatherwick buses now have windows (and they slide to open, actually letting in AIR). 
Over the last two centuries, poverty has fallen, education and literacy have risen, democracy has increased, more people are vaccinated, and child mortality has fallen. Smoking in pubs and offices is a distant memory. Aquariums like Sea World no longer exhibit performing whales. And we don’t kill people for fun in public arenas any more. Do you still want "everything to go back to how it was", Brexiteers?

And when did the UK stop prosecuting “poachers” for shooting rabbits that nobody else wanted?
When did we cease whaling? Circa 1960, says Wikipedia. (Harpoon guns made whaling too efficient, and we ran out of whales.)

Since 1558 England has had a female head of state for 41% of the time. (Dan Snow)

1598 Edict of Nantes gives rights to French Protestants
1685 Edict of Nantes renounced, leading to persecution and flight, and depriving France of “many of its most skilled and industrious individuals” (Wikipedia)
1787 Rights restored
1797 Declaration of the Rights of Man ends religious discrimination in France

Poland banned corporal punishment in schools in 1783 (in their Constitution), and the Soviet Union in 1917. (UK 1986, some private UK schools 1998.)

Capital punishment was banned in West Germany in 1949. It continued in the DDR until 1987.

1782 Spanish Inquisition abolished
1823 Slavery abolished in Chile
1851 Window Tax repealed in UK

1914 Defence of the Realm Act ("The trivial peacetime activities no longer permitted included flying kites, starting bonfires, buying binoculars, feeding wild animals bread, discussing naval and military matters or buying alcohol on public transport. Alcoholic beverages were watered down and pub opening times were restricted to noon–3pm and 6:30pm–9:30pm (the requirement for an afternoon gap in permitted hours lasted in England until the Licensing Act 1988). Wikipedia)

1917 Dangerous Drugs Act bans selling and possessing non-prescription narcotics
1917 Women are admitted to the armed forces
1917 House of Commons agrees to remove the grille from the Ladies’ Gallery

1917 Stoke Newington appoints first woman Councillor
1924 Stoke Newington appoints first woman Mayor

1960s Australia no longer classifies aborigines as animals under the Flora and Fauna Act
1962 Jamaica gains independence from UK
1965 Contraception legalised in US
1970 Royal Navy ends officially sanctioned daily rum ration for sailors, instituted 1665
1974 Roman Catholics can be appointed Lord Chancellor

1974 Women can get credit cards without a husband's approval
1982 El Vino’s lifts ban on women standing at the bar

1990 Native Americans allowed to practise their languages in schools.
1992 US ratifies Human Rights Covenant
2002 Keiko the orca from Free Willy was freed in Iceland and lived in the wild for five years.

2015 Malta becomes the first country to outlaw non-consensual medical interventions in cases of intersex.

What a week! Greater abortion access for Northern Ireland women, same-sex marriages in Germany, huge faith school reforms in South Africa and Ireland. (@Humanists_UK)

By law now nothing prevents Tunisian Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men and inheritance between men/women is now equal!

Massive collapse in number of Anglicans in Britain, survey shows. “Given the number of faith schools, something is wrong!”
(@WalkerMarcus, paraphrase)

Homeopathic products should not be sold in Australian pharmacies because they place consumers at “unacceptable risk”, an independent review of pharmacy regulation for the health department has found. (Guardian) The NHS is considering ceasing to fund homeopathy in London and the Southwest – why hasn’t this happened already?

The Tasmanian government apologises to people affected by laws against gay sex and cross-dressing, repealed in 1997.

Garden Bridge quashed.
Supreme Court ruling extends same-sex survivor benefits to pre-2005 accrual.
First same-sex wedding involving a Muslim in the UK.
Church of England priests can choose whether or not to wear vestments in services.
Baroness Hale becomes Britain’s top judge.
Jordan's parliament votes to abolish a law which allowed rapists to avoid jail by marrying their victim.
Nepal criminalises banishing menstruating women to huts.
The loos are free at Victoria Station.
First Pride march in Kosovo.
Kenya’s High Court rules that one-third of MPs must be women.
MTV scraps gender-specific categories for movie and TV awards.
Falkland Islands introduce marriage equality.
First US woman wins a college football scholarship.
Rola Sleiman becomes the first female pastor in the Arab Christian world.
Female Islamic clerics declare fatwa against child marriage.
Nevada bans gay “cure” therapy for kids, becoming the 10th jurisdiction to ban gay “cures”.
Taiwan’s top court rules same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional.
Scottish Episcopal Church votes to allow same-sex marriage.
The King’s Troop is almost 50/50 men and women.
German government approves equal marriage.
Saudi women can drive. (It had something to do with the country's reputation in the rest of the world.)

1857 Taney's Dred Scott ruling declared that African Americans, whether free or enslaved, were not and could never be citizens of the U.S.

The Confederacy’s “cornerstone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. (Alexander Stephens, 1861)

The Great Reform Act of 1832 gave the franchise to about 17% of the adult male population. And even that change had been fought fiercely by many of the landed interest that dominated British politics… [The “reform” narrative] was a tale of doing just enough at the 11th hour to avert rebellion by the majority of Britons who made the wealth. (Times, Sept 2017)

If you are a same-sex married couple you cannot get divorced on the grounds of adultery – adultery being a biblical definition that relates to an extramarital affair between a man and a woman. In reality, a same-sex couple can get divorced on the grounds of “unreasonable behaviour”, which can cover infidelity, but in the interest of equality this should be changed. (For straight couples, if your husband is unfaithful with another man, that isn’t adultery. Independent)

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