Women's Rights

655 petitions

Update posted 20 hours ago

Petition to Jim Turley, Ellie Morrison, Michael Surbaugh, The Boy Scouts of America, Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scout President Jim Turley: Speak Out Against Discrimination and Harassment of Girls

I have been an unofficial member of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) for 13 years and try my best to live by the Scout Oath and Law. On February 1, 2019 - 478 days after the announcement that the BSA would soon allow girls to join - I was finally permitted to become an official member of the new Scouts BSA. I have done all the work to earn the highest rank in Scouts BSA - Eagle Scout. Unfortunately, the BSA leadership - Boy Scout President Jim Turley and Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh - want me to wait another year-and-half, until October 2020, to earn the Eagle Rank. Why? It looks like the BSA is retaliating against me for speaking out against discrimination?  For example, did it really take the BSA 8 months to revoke the membership of an honor society adult leader cyberharasser? Why? I am committed to building the new Scouts BSA but we need to be free from discrimination and harassment.   The Boy Scouts say they are ready to welcome girls and young women but they continue to discriminate against us.   When I first met with the Boy Scout Chief Scout Executive, he encouraged me to keep earning Rank and Merit Badges.  Mr. Surbaugh even said that I could be the first female Eagle Scout.* I did the work. I earned Merit Badges and Rank Advancement.  I completed my Eagle Project. I was even elected Senior Patrol Leader of my Troop. I should earn the Eagle Rank.  This past October, BSA President Jim Turley told me that my work, and the work of hundreds of other young women, will not count. We will have to start all over. Are male Scouts required to repeat work on Rank and Merit Badges?    Young women demonstrated enormous leadership in pushing the BSA to do the right thing and accept girls into the program. Because of this, girls will rise through the ranks and become Eagle Scouts alongside the best of the boys. All we need is the opportunity Mr. Turley.  Please end the discrimination and retaliation against young women - NOW.   If the new Scouts BSA intends to welcome girls, there can be no tolerance for Harassment and Bullying of young women.  Mr. Turley, we deserve a safe program, free from harassment. Please work with me to end discrimination and to speak out against harassment at the BSA.    Send an email to President Turley and Chief Scout Surbaugh, respectfully telling them that girls have worked just as hard for recognition and deserve to the same Rank Advancement and Merit Badges as boys and to speak out against harassment. Please send to all email addresses:;;;; #ScoutHerIn #LetSydneyInNOW #CatalystInc #MeToo *There already are female Eagle Scouts. 

Sydney Ireland
11,394 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Nicholas S. Zeppos, Jeffrey Balser

Vanderbilt: do right by BethAnn Mclaughlin

Vanderbilt University's retaliation against Professor BethAnn McLaughlin's courageous stance against sexual harassment is poised to cost her her job. During her tenure process at VU, Prof. McLaughlin became a witness in the sexual harassment complaint against a member of her department. VUMC halted her tenure process for 17 months, as described in a recent article in Science, when VUMC’s Executive Committee of the Executive Faculty approved her tenure. The Dean of the VU School of Medicine, Jeffrey Balser, then asked the Committee to reconsider. The Committee’s voting members included Prof McLaughlin’s new chairman in Pharmacology, Dr David Sweatt, who is now on leave after multiple charges of sexual misconduct came to light including drugging and raping a student. Dr. Sweatt and other members acceded to the Dean's request and voted to deny Prof. McLaughlin's tenure. Prof McLaughlin’s other appointment is in Neurology and her chairman in that department trained with Dr. Sweatt, creating a bewildering lack of internal support for Dr McLaughlin that has only come to light because brave women recently came forward to Vanderbilt’s Title IX office and MeTooSTEM. Prof. McLaughlin will lose her job on February 28th. The signers of this petition are outraged by the unjust treatment of Prof. McLaughlin by Dean Balser and VUMC. This treatment violates our shared values of fairness, accountability, and stewardship, values the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has described as critical to the Integrity of Research (see report). The tenure process is the means by which a professor's contributions to the academic community recognize the scholarship, teaching, and service to their peers. When administrators pressure faculty to reverse their decision on tenure, they bring politics and fear into a process that should be objective and independent. Even the appearance of administrative interference strikes a blow against academic freedom and the expectation of scholarly independence. Research in the biomedical sciences in the US is funded primarily by taxpayers via grants from the National Institutes of Health. Part of the peer-review process by which grant applications are evaluated includes scoring the environment in which the research would be done. The mistreatment of Prof. McLaughlin and perversion of her tenure process raises serious concerns about whether the VU School of Medicine provides an environment that supports the integrity of research and the career advancement of researchers. Although the community continues to debate whether sexual harassment should be designated research misconduct akin to falsification of data, sexual harassment and retaliation against those who report it or bear witness against harassers clearly degrades the research environment. The signers of this petition pledge to apply appropriate criteria in scoring the environment of applications from the VU School of Medicine. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2018 report on sexual harassment in academia recognizes that women rarely report sexual harassment due to well-founded fears of retaliation. The report recommends that institutions promote culture change to honor those who report sexual harassment. To  honor Prof. McLaughlin and other targets of the unfair and unjust environment established by the administration of the VU School of Medicine, the signers of this petition will decline invitations to VU School of Medicine as seminar speakers, site visitors, and conference attendees, and we will protect our trainees from this environment as well.  In conclusion, we request that the Chancellor of Vanderbilt University support the continuation of Prof. McLaughlin as faculty. We remind the Chancellor that the impact of his decision will be felt by the nearly two thirds of women in academic sciences who have recently experienced sexual harassment and by those who support them. We urge the Chancellor to celebrate the values of fairness, accountability, and stewardship by honoring one person who has embodied these values in her actions on behalf of the larger VU community.

Sharona Gordon
5,416 supporters
Update posted 2 days ago

Petition to Charlie Baker, Robert A. DeLeo, Harriette L. Chandler, Karen E. Spilka

Ban Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in Massachusetts

Our names are Aisha Yusuf, Hanna Stern, and Mariya Taher, and we each are pleading to the Massachusetts State Legislature to pass a law making it illegal for someone to carry out Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting/Circumcision (FGM/C) on young girls. FGM/C involves removing and damaging healthy and normal female genital tissue on girls, and can cause physical harm including pain, bleeding, shock, tetanus, genital sores, and cause long-lasting psychological harm including sexual disorders, fear of sexual intimacy, nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder. Mariya - I was born in the United States and now live in Massachusetts, but at the age of seven, I was subjected to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in India. Friends and relatives of mine also living in the United States have undergone FGM/C both here in the United States or in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Australia, and many other countries in the world. Aisha- I got my circumcision when I was five. I know many women who also got it done. Personally, I know people in my community who talk about it as if it’s normal. I was aware of people practicing it behind closed doors but I also know that some people are looking for ways to keep the practice alive here in the States even though it might mean legal action is taken against them. I didn't know my home state, Massachusetts, had no laws against FGM/C until I met Mariya who works with many communities to protect girls against FGM/C. Hanna - I literally stumbled on the subject of female genital mutilation searching for a global health research topic online for a school project. I knew nothing about it and was concerned that others would find it uncomfortable and unrelatable. My teacher told me that was all the more reason to focus on FGM/C. It’s not a cultural issue; it’s not a third-world problem. FGM/C happens all over the world; it is happening in Massachusetts! Regardless of culture and tradition, and despite a lack of intent to cause injury, the end result is girls in MA are being violated and need our protection to safeguard them from FGM/C. Massachusetts is known for its progressive policies in terms of reproductive rights, anti-discrimination laws, and equality issues, yet our state still is in the minority of states that do not ban female genital mutilation or cutting. As FGM/C is nearly always carried out on minors, is a violation of the rights of children, and reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes that constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women, we must protect girls from undergoing FGM/C. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that over half a million girls and women in the United States are at risk. Massachusetts ranks 12th in the nation for at-risk populations with an estimated 14,591 women and girls.  Since 2012, the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association has over and over again tried to advocate for a state law criminalizing FGM/C. Yet, still to this day, no law has been put into place. The current bills, S.788, and H.2333, have been sent to committee for study and most likely will not move forward either. All three of us believe in the importance of education and community engagement to help create social change within communities and amongst groups where FGM/C might be happening. To that end, we each have organized and participated in community events to educate our friends and family members about the harms of FGM/C and why it should be abandoned. Yet, despite our efforts, FGM/C continues, often being touted as a religious or cultural practice that is needed to control women’s sexuality. In April 2017, a doctor in Michigan was charged with performing FGM/C on minor girls, highlighting yet again that FGM/C does affect women and girls living in the United States. The doctor claimed FGM/C was a religious requirement and that there were no harmful effects. We three believe that culture and religion should not be an excuse used to sanction harm to girls. We need a bill in Massachusetts that unequivocally reiterates that female genital mutilation/cutting is a form of violence. There are laws against domestic violence and sexual assault. We need a law against FGM/C as well. We three believe our state can do a better job of protecting girls in the Commonwealth by banning FGM/C. You can support us too by signing our petition demanding that legislators make passing a bill banning FGM/C high on their list of priorities. Let’s work together to take a stance against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting!  ~ Aisha Yusuf, Hanna Stern, and Mariya Taher  

Mariya Taher
279,571 supporters