women writers and artists

Elayne Clift

Elayne Clift writes regularly for Women and Life on Earth about women, social issues, and international development. Her most recent book is a collection entitled Women, Philanthropy and Social Change: Visions for a Just Society . (Tufts University, 2005). 
See her other work at:



Not the Hind Legs of the Elephant (15 March)
Virada Somswasdi was a university law student in the 1970s when she first became disillusioned with women’s status in Thailand.  Not one to sit still in the face of social injustice, she quickly became an activist and organizer for the Women Lawyers’ Association...

Politics and Poultry: Living in the Eye of the Storm (13 March)
My friends want to know if it’s okay to visit.  If it’s not bird flu that frightens them, it’s the political scene.


The Challenge of Change is Focus of Global Women's Forum (29 October)

Small but Strong: the Women of Chiang Mai (20 September)

What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. Say Now? (2 September)
"...how on earth do you begin to explain why healthy personnel from the posh and private Tulane University were evacuated from rooftops while the poor, black patients at Mercy Hospital watched and waited for rescue from the roof of their sanctuary?" 

The Importance of Cindy Sheehan's Vigil (22 August)
...acts such as hers go down in history as enormously significant.  They change public opinion and public policy.  They end wars.  They bring down presidents.

Expanding the Violence Against Women Act (August)
That legislation is due for its second reauthorization in September and a broad coalition of women’s rights advocates are working to add ten new areas to the Act, last reauthorized in 2000, that will further protect and assist women of diverse backgrounds...

Culture Shock (15 August)
I’ll be glad to get to Stage Three.  According to the handbook, that’s when “you can decide to end culture shock” because “you realize you are a foreigner spending a short portion of your life in Thailand, you are not Thai and do not have to act just like they do.”

Feminist Media and Its Contribution to Organizational Life (July)
...the sad thing is that some of our otherness, some of our being shut out, is also coming from within the feminist arena.

Saving the Supreme Court (July)
...There are so many deeply important issues at stake if the Supreme Court becomes unbalanced in its interpretation of the Constitution. None of these is more urgent than a woman's right to privacy in her reproductive life. Should Roe v. Wade be overturned, or litigated away issue by issue, the repercussions for American woman are profound.

Afghan Women Fade from View as Media Touts Democracy (June)
...the mainstream media, once so eager to use such stories to highlight the Bush administration’s agenda, have since ignored women’s lives in Afghanistan in favor of prison abuse scandals and allegations of drug-related misconduct in the Karzai camp. Why?

An Open Letter to Pope Benedict XVI
...Yours is a leading voice in the church for enforcing traditional doctrine on homosexuality, extramarital sex and artificial birth control and you have, in an extraordinary show of naivete, condemned the use of condoms to stop the spread of AIDS. You have also consistently spoken out against a women’s right to reproductive choice, against stem-cell research, and against death-with-dignity laws. You have also tried to muzzle political opinion and free speech, writing guidelines for denying Communion to politicians who support abortion rights. This a worrisome record for someone charged with transitioning the church into the 21st century.


In Memory of Maraget Hassan
(November 2004)
I didn’t know Margaret Hassan, and I’ve never been to Iraq.  But I’ve known a lot of good people like her who work under desperately difficult circumstances in places like Baghdad.  These people are sometimes called international civil servants.  Others call them development experts.  The really good ones are simply humanitarians trying to make a difference in the world...

Be it resolved: Women have a role to play in peace and security (March 2004)
In 2000, the United Nations took a long overdue step: It "remember[ed] the ladies" in peace and security issues when the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. By doing so the Council affirmed, for the first time, that integrating a gender perspective and ensuring women's participation are necessary at all stages of armed conflict as well as in pre and post conflict situations. Nothing underscores this need more than the current situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, a point well-made at this month's 48th annual meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (timed to coincide with International Women's Day and Women's History Month)...