Blog 3: Gender Equity in Aboriginal Cultures

Based on the reading “Gender and Cultural Diversity in the Early Contact Period”, it can be understood that this article reinforces the point that gender relations vary from one culture to another. This article describes the cultures of both the colonizers (French and English) and the Indigenous cultures the colonizers encountered. Throughout the text, it can be seen that the power exercised by Aboriginal women within their families was unfamiliar and disturbing to the French missionaries since they function based on a patriarchal religious and family system that rested on the God-given authority of men, rather than the Aboriginal societies that function based on the matriarchal system. Therefore, this is one of the main differences between these two communities. One believes that women should take the main decisions, whereas others think men should take the man’s decisions.

Among the largest group, Mi’kmaq, which were semi-nomadic, the contributions of both sexes were valued equally. The tasks of men were linked to the supply of raw materials. They hunted, fished and trapped. They were also responsible for politics and waging war when required. Women hunted small game and collected wild fruits, in addition to looking after the youngest children. When the men returned to the camp with resources, the women took care of their transformation. They prepared the meat to preserve it, tanned the skins and made clothes. Major leaders tended to be male, but women’s opinions on important decisions affected the group were sought and always respected.
Among the Iroquoians, tasks far from the village were reserved for men. They went hunting, fishing, and trapping, but were also involved in the war, trade, and politics. Decision making requires a larger Confederacy Council among various tribal councils, all of which were made of men; but those men were chosen by the senior women. Women had considerable status and authority. They also transformed the resources brought back by men. In addition to making the clothes and tanning the hides, they had to prepare the food so that it would keep as long as possible. Iroquoians societies were both matrilineal and matrilocal. Women also exercised considerable power in the longhouses, where decisions about its distribution among community members were made by women.

It’s quite clear that men’s and women’s roles are complementary and equally essential in the Aboriginal societies in North America. Unfortunately, our society is not only suffering from social class inequalities but also from gender inequalities being very present.For example, a man and a woman could do the same prestigious job and yet the man will get paid more. I truly believe that women are harmed by gender inequality and putting and respecting both genders at the same level and give both equal powers could be one of the things we could learn from indigenous tribes.

Blog 4: Amal Clooney

Born in Beirut, Amal Clooney had to move away to Buckinghamshire, at the age of 2, because of the Lebanese Civil War. She spent her whole life after that in that same city, completing her education and submitting to the bar. She attended  Dr Challoner’s High School, a girls’ grammar school. She then studied at St Hugh’s College, in Oxford, where she received an Exhibition and the Shrigley Award. In 2000, Clooney graduated with a BA degree in Jurisprudence. Next, she continued her education at New York University, where she obtained a masters in Jurisprudence. At NYU, Clooney received the Jack J. Katz Memorial Award for excellence in entertainment law. She is qualified to practice law in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Ten years later, Amal Clooney returned to Britain. There, she became a barrister in London (Bar of England & Wales, Inner Temple) at Doughty Street Chambers. In 2013, Clooney was appointed to a number of United Nations commissions, including as adviser to Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Syria and as Counsel to the 2013 Drone Inquiry by UN human rights rapporteur Ben Emmerson QC into the use of drones in counter-terrorism operations. Her passion for law has shone through her work. Clooney has been involved in high-profile cases representing the state of Cambodia, the former Libyan intelligence chief Abdallah Al Senussi, Yulia Tymoshenko and Julian Assange, as well as being an adviser to the King of Bahrain in connection with the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry headed by Professor M. Cherif Bassiouni. Most recently, Clooney was appointed the special envoy on media freedom by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

As a human rights lawyer, Amal Clooney took on many notable cases. For example, Clooney began work on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in January of 2015. She was representing Armenia, on behalf of Doughty Street Chambers along with Geoffrey Robertson QC. Another example would be her work representing Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian Al Jazeera English journalist, who, along with other journalists, was being held in Egypt. He was eventually sentenced to three years in prison before finally being pardoned by Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Amal Clooney took her career down a different road- in the spring of 2015- by becoming a visiting faculty member and a senior fellow with Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute. She was a co-professor with Sarah H. Cleveland in Cleveland’s course on human rights and taught a class on human rights litigation to students in the school’s Human Rights Clinic. She continued teaching for the spring 2018 semester. Clooney taught at Columbia Law School, again as a co-professor with Sarah H. Cleveland, on a core class on human rights. She has also lectured students on international criminal law at the Law School of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, The New School in New York City, The Hague Academy of International Law, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Aside from her career as a human rights and international law lawyer, Amal Clooney has other conquests. Born Amal Alamuddin, she married George Clooney in 2014. In June 2017, she gave birth to fraternal twins. Along with her husband, Amal Clooney founded Clooney Foundation for Justice, in late 2016, to advance justice in courtrooms, communities, and classrooms around the world. Not only that, she also partnered with the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative in beginning the Amal Clooney Scholarship, which was created to send one female student from Lebanon to the United World College Dilijan each year, to be enrolled in a two-year International Baccalaureate (IB) program.