Young people on the streets by Susan Grimsdell

I’ve come across two crowds of young people in the past couple of weeks.  On 24 May hundreds and hundreds of students marched down Queen Street in Auckland blocking the entire street. They were angry at us – oldies – who have used and abused the planet: the damaged, degraded planet they will be obliged to cope with in the coming years.  They carried handmade placards with messages from the heart.  These were not mass-produced as is the case in some protests.  “I’d be in School if the Planet were Cool”, “I’ll… Read More

Gender definition by Susan Grimsdell

There could hardly be a more modern problem than the one facing Caster Semenya, the South African 800m Olympic champion. She is defined as an athlete with “Differences of Sex Development”. Her testosterone levels are apparently higher than the Olympic Committee accepts for a person to be categorised as female. If Caster wants to go on competing in the women’s races, she will have to take oral contraceptives to bring those pesky levels down. Gender dilemma Sports scientists estimate that if she does take the pill, it will cost her about 7… Read More

Puberty revisited by Trevor Plumbly and Susan Grimsdell

Once again, Trevor has taken it into his head that we should have a joint blog, each of us writing our own take on a common subject. This time he has chosen the topic of puberty. Devoted readers will be aware that Trevor often returns to this topic and we can only guess at why this stage in his development looms so large. First flickers by Trevor These days it’s an easy trip: you can blame anything short of climate change on puberty and get away with a sympathetic nod. In my… Read More

Respect by Susan Grimsdell

Vigils all over New Zealand.  People wearing headscarves “as a mark of respect”.  Respect for what?  For the successful oppression by Muslim men of Muslim women? Doesn’t anyone else find it odd that not one single non-Muslim western woman, whether British, NZ, Australian, Canadian, American, European, chooses to go around covering her hair every moment of the day?  Yet many Muslim women do, often depending on age and country of heritage. Let us not ever forget that when a whole cohort of people opt for the same thing, something other than choice… Read More

Child poverty by Susan Grimsdell

I find myself puzzled by something or other every single day.  Today I’ve been giving attention to our NZ government’s declaration that it’s going to reduce child poverty, preferably get rid of it altogether. Children in poverty Now, I’ve never seen a child living in poverty in a well-off household.  Has anyone?  If a child’s living in poverty, surely the parents are too?  I mean, I know people can be horrible to their kids, but this seems to be truly beyond the pale – the parents OK, the child hungry and in… Read More