Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We've been celebrating Things that Go Bump in the Night all week at Hopefully you have enjoyed celebrating the fall season this past month. If you celebrate Halloween or plan to go trick-or-treating tonight, we hope that you have a safe, fun AND healthy time.

According to this article, Halloween doesn't even have to necessarily be an unhealthy holiday in terms of consuming sweets. According to dentist Dr. Mark Helprin, how often you consume candy is more important than how much you consume. You're much less likely to develop cavities if you eat candy at mealtimes, for example, because of acid created by your mouth when you eat.

For those of you who go trick-or-treating, do you or your parents set any limits on your candy consumption?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flu Shot

Do you girls hate getting shots? I know that I do. I just read that the University of Minnesota attempted to set a record for flu shots given in a day at their St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses this past Tuesday--they gave around 11,538 shots in nine hours!

While getting a shot isn't a fun activity, it's better than getting sick later on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all children older than 6 months of age up to nineteen get a flu vaccination each year, since the flu virus is constantly changing.

Does your school promote getting the flu vaccine? What factors or fears do you think stop people from getting vaccinated, knowing the benefits? Visit the Body & Feelings discussion boards at to talk about this issue and others. (You'll need a NewMoonGirls login to participate).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Video the Vote!

Election day is just one week away! With McCain and Obama running such a close race, either candidate could potentially get elected.

Voting issues and problems at the polls from the last election are still fresh on everyone's minds. Video website Video the Vote is dedicated to monitoring and protecting the process of voting. Through its website, the organization encourages ordinary citizens to document voting problems in their own communities and to upload their own videos on the site. Video the Vote works closely with their partner sites such as PBS, YouTube, and Rock the Vote, to distribute the videos across the net.

Many of you may not be old enough to vote yet, but this is a great opportunity to still get involved with the election and politics, as well as join in on an initiative that helps to protect your right to have your vote-and voice-heard in the future! If any of you create your own videos, send them in to and we'll feature them here on the New Moon Girls blog as well! Need inspiration? You can watch the Video the Vote trailer below:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween or Fall Festival?

The spookiest holiday of the year is coming up this Friday, and we're celebrating Halloween all week at!

Does your school or community celebrate Halloween--or is Halloween replaced by an alternatively named Fall Festival? With both Christian and Pagan roots, Halloween is considered by some people to be a controversial holiday because of its negative links to characters such as witches and ghosts. However to most kids, Halloween simply means a chance to dress up as one of their favorite characters and eat more candy than usual.

What do you think about Halloween as a holiday? Should schools not be allowed to host Halloween events because the holiday's historical background has the possibility to offend? Visit the Spotlight Hub at and discuss this and other issues on the Spotlight message board.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Gender and Language

You may not even realize it, but many common phrases and elements of the English language have sexist and gender-role implications. The use of sexism in our language is subtle and unintentional, but is deeply rooted in our culture.

An organization of 100 journalists in Argentina set out to create a list of rules to decrease usage of sexist language when gender-based crimes are covered in the news. The Argentine Network of Journalists for Non-Sexist Communication, the group responsible for creating the document, plans to publicly release their list of ten suggestions on November 25. This is also the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

What do you girls think about sexism and American language? Head on over to The Great Debate message board at New Moon You must be logged in to visit, but if you don't have a membership you can go here to sign up!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Woman leads Muslim Prayer in Britain

Feminist blogger Fatemah Fakhraie posted an entry yesterday on the Religion Dispatches blog about the first woman to lead a mixed-gender congregation in Muslim prayer in Britain.

It was the second time Dr. Amina Wadud had lead a Muslim prayer (the first being in NYC). Many Muslims protested this second sermon, believing that Islamic law doesn't allow for women such as Dr. Wadud to lead prayer.

You can read Fakhraie's commentary on this event here. Fatemah Fakhraie also runs Muslimah Media Watch, a blog that discusses how Muslim women are portrayed in the media.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

It's politics week at! Women have started to be powerful political players this election, with Hilary Clinton nearly gaining the Democratic presidential nomination and Sarah Palin as the Republican vice presidential candidate. As the only female currently on the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is another example of a powerful woman in politics.

Ruth is the second woman to serve as a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States. The Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the country, made up of a Chief Justice and eight justices, all who are appointed by the President. Once appointed onto the Supreme Court, the justices serve life terms. They are only removed from their position by extreme situations such as death, or if they choose to retire or resign.

Ruth attended Cornell University for college, and then attended Harvard Law School. She transferred to and received a law degree at the Columbia Law School, where she later became the first tenured female professor. An influential voice of the Women's Movement,  she has been involved with several initiatives to advance women's rights and reduce gender bias during her career. She founded the Women's Rights Law Reporter, which was the first law journal to focus exclusively on public policy in relation to women's rights. She also wrote a law school case book on sex discrimination and served as the chief litigator for the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) women's rights projects. President Bill Clinton appointed Ruth to be a justice on the Supreme Court in 1993, where she has served for the past 15 years.

Check out this week to watch an interview with a female news journalist and read a girl's account of the Democratic National Convention. You can also read what qualities all of YOU want in a president and what questions YOU would ask the presidential candidates!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A private high school that focuses on character-building

Although the Wall Street crisis is still on everyone's minds, there is still a young generation of kids who are hoping to eventually land jobs that will make rich at any cost. One private high school offers a solution to the cheating-fueled climate that's present in our society by teaching kids integrity and building positive character.

Hyde School, a private high school located in Maine, operates with an "Attitude over Aptitude" policy. With so much emphasis usually placed on how well a student performs academically, the school wants to redirect more focus on building ethical responsibility as well. The school hopes to inspire students to take risks with choosing courses that interest them, to become leaders, and to be concerned and involved with their peers around them.

What do you girls think about the educational culture in America? Do you think that students are more interested in getting a good grade than they are with the process of learning? Do you think that people learn to cheat at an early age in environments like schools?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hawaii Ends Universal Child Health Care Program

It's politics week at! We're only weeks away from electing our next president. Each candidate has been discussing their views on a variety of controversial issues, and the subject of health care in the U.S. is just one of them.

Although it does sponsor some health care programs, the U.S. government is one of the only western countries that doesn't offer its citizens universal health care. Universal health care offers health coverage to ALL citizens in a government, although often at the cost of higher taxes. Many Americans live without health care and can face high medical costs.

Until recently, the state of Hawaii offered universal child health care for its young residents. According to an article published by the Associated Press, the state dropped the plan less than a year after it was launched due to budget concerns and wealthier families taking advantage of the state's program.

What are your thoughts about health care? Should the U.S. follow the lead of other countries and offer universal health care, even if it would require a raise in taxes?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bottled water: what are you drinking?

Many people buy bottled water thinking that it's better or healthier than tap water. But did you know that about 45% of bottled water comes from the same place as the water that comes out of your faucet? Just how pure is bottled water anyways?

According to an article, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group tested different brands of bottled water and found the presence of multiple contaminants. One contaminant was present in a few of the brands tested in quantities that exceeded standards for one U.S. state. Although not necessarily representing a safety risk, the group is currently pushing for the FDA to require bottled water companies to list contaminants on their labels.

Do you prefer to drink bottled water over water from the faucet? Do you think that companies should be required to list contaminants on bottled water? What strategies do water bottle manufacturers use to make you think that drinking bottled water is better than drinking tap water?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dr. Temple Grandin

It's Differing Abilities Week at This week, we're recognizing the unique and different abilities that people live with. Despite setbacks, many of these people are able to accomplish great successes in their lifetimes. Dr. Temple Grandin is an example of a woman who was able to apply her autism to provide an insight into how animals experience the world.

Dr. Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism at the age of three, and didn't begin learning how to talk until the age of four. Although she had a difficult time in grade school socially, she went on to graduate from college and received a p.h.D in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dr. Grandin is the author of several books, designs livestock facilities, and is an advocate for animal welfare. She believes that her autism allows her to have a unique understanding of animal behavior and also greater empathy for how they perceive the world. While our society often views animals as property, she believes that that they still deserve to be treated ethically. Through her work designing livestock facilities, she creates animal-handling equipment that is more humane and thoughtful.

As an advocate for autism, she believes that early intervention as well as supportive teachers are important in leading autistic children on positive life paths.

Visit this week to read more about women who live with differing abilities.

Photo copyright Joshua Nathaniel Pritikin and William Lawrence Jarrold

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Get Outdoors, It's Yours

Yesterday in Baltimore numerous organizations pledged their support for a new national campaign that hopes to encourage youth to get outside.

"Get Outdoors, It's Yours" is a national campaign developed by the Departments of the Interior, Army, and Agriculture. Once a staple of childhood, playing outdoors has been replaced by computer and television in recent years as a source of entertainment. The campaign was designed to encourage young people to get outdoors and appreciate the opportunities that nature offers.

From biking to hiking to fishing, there are countless activities that you can participate in outdoors. Visit the campaign's web page to read more about the campaign and learn about a few of the numerous activities that you can engage in outside and in nature.

How much time do you spend indoors compared to the time you spend outdoors? What are some of your favorite activities to do outside?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Differing Abilities Week

October is National Disability Awareness Month, and it's Differing Abilities Week at! Today we're profiling a woman who was both deaf and blind, but was still able to lead an accomplished life despite these obstacles.

Helen Keller was born in 1880 in Alabama. At nineteen months of age, she contracted an illness which left her both deaf and blind. Because of her condition, she was unable to communicate with other people.
When she was seven years old, her parents hired Anne Sullivan to be her tutor. Anne was able to teach Helen how to hand spell and read. Helen went on to graduate from Radcliffe College, making her the first deaf and blind person to graduate from college.

She spent her life working as both a writer and political activist. She supported many progressive causes, including women's right to vote and socialism. As an advocate for the visually impaired and deaf, she developed support programs for people living with disabilities and travelled the world giving speeches about her own experiences. At the age of 22, she published her autobiography The Story of My Life. She wrote a total of over twelve books during her life!

Read about other extraordinary girls who live with unique challenges this week at

Friday, October 10, 2008

Profile: Marie Collins

It's space and astronomy week at!

As the first female to pilot a space shuttle, female astronaut and pilot Marie Eileen Collins is an example of a woman who achieved her dreams despite childhood obstacles. Born in upstate New York, her family often struggled to make ends meet while she was growing up. Inspired by early woman pilots such as Amelia Earhart inspired her, she dreamed of one day becoming a pilot herself.

After completing high school she attended and put herself through a local community college and then graduated from Syracuse University with an undergraduate degree. After graduation, she entered training to become an Air Force pilot. Like fellow astronaut Sally Ride (who we featured earlier this week!), she later earned a graduate degree from Stanford University.

Marie has travelled to space four times during her career at NASA. She became the first female pilot in 1995 aboard shuttle STS-63 and on a later mission aboard STS-93 she became the first female commander of a space flight. Her most recent and last trip into space was in 2005. She retired from NASA in 2006.

Marie has received a long list of awards for her accomplishments from the U.S. Military and NASA. She was also awarded the French Legion of Honor and has been inducted into the women's hall of fame.

This week, check out stargazing tips, read stories written by other girls, and articles about other women who have worked with NASA at

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Female medical students less confident than male students

According to a recent study, female medical students tend to be less confident and more anxious than male students of equal education when interacting with patients. The male students also tended to over estimate their own competency, while the women underestimated their competency. The study also found that the females appeared less confident to the patients they were treating, and that the male students better identified with the role of being a doctor than the female students after graduating.

Why do you girls think this gender difference might exist? What are some reasons you think the female students might feel less confident than the men? Do you think that gender expectations influence how medical students think they might be perceived by their own patients? Do you think there's more pressure (self or external) on female medical students to live up to expectations because of their gender?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Radical Women Conference

Feminist organization Radical Women, based in the California Bay Area, hosted their 41st annual conference this past weekend. The theme of this year's conference, which took place at the historic Women's Building in the Mission district of San Francisco, was "the Persistent Power of Socialist Feminism."

We interviewed Marit Knutson, a former New Moon reader who works with Radical Women. Read on to learn more about the organization and conference.

New Moon: How did you get involved in this organization?
Marit: I was familiar with Radical Women since in my hometown, Seattle, there is a very large and active branch. However when I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, I met up with organizers at the branch in San Francisco and found it to be the perfect place to organize around many, many issues of concern for me. There was something empowering and special about an women-led, women-organized group. For the last two years, I've been organizing and learning leadership skills and it's been AMAZING!

What is the background on the conference and what is its mission?
The conference is 41 years in the making - Radical Women came out of the 1960s student movement and has lasted throughout the decades. We are very proud to be hosting the conference, titled "The Persistent Power of Socialist Feminism," in San Francisco, at the historic Women's Building. The building is completely covered in a beautiful mural of historical freedom fighters and feminists. We hope that after the conference, women and men will leave feeling prepared to build a strong feminist movement, that has young women of color in the leadership.

What issues does the conference discuss?
We will be talking about a lot of issues, and are delighted to have international feminists from China, Australia, Costa Rica, Israel, as well as Lynne Stewart, who is an activist lawyer. Mainly we'll be looking at women's leadership, how to organize across racial and ethnic lines, organizing around reproductive rights issues, discussing the election, how to stop the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, how to help support immigrant communities as they are under increasing attack, struggles around gender and sexuality, and much much more!

Do you have any advice for young New Moon readers?
The world is a little chaotic so it's important for young girls to be involved in shaping their futures, by keeping plugged in to what's happening. Also, keep reading New Moon. It was an extremely empowering tool for me when I was 10 years old, up until I was a teen! I felt like I was part of something big. As girls turning into young women, we have a lot of challenges in front of us, with sexism and racism, people telling us what we can or can't do with our lives, others trying to tell us what sort of jobs we SHOULD have. But ladies, we CAN do anything! I encourage all of you to learn more about feminism and its impact on the lives of your mothers and grandmothers. We have all benefited from its gains, and we still have a lot of work to do!

Do you have any advice for girls who want to become more involved with feminist issues?
Consider finding some books about strong women who really rocked! For example, Girls Who Rocked the World : Heroines from Sacagawea to Sheryl Swoopes by Amelie Welden (Author), Jerry McCann (Illustrator). Or girls know best By Michelle Roehm, which has a few volumes now. These books help us realize, just like New Moon, that we have a lot of work to do together, working together and sharing stories, but also organizing so that we can band together and fight back if we need to. Also please check out Radical Women's website, ! We have a lot of articles and resources available for use.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Profile: Sally Kristen Ride

It's Space and Astronomy week at!

Today we're profiling an outstanding woman in science and technology, Sally Kristen Ride. In 1983, Sally became both the first American woman and the youngest American to travel into space.

Born and raised in California, Sally went on to complete all of her education in-state. After high school, she briefly attended Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania but graduated from Stanford University with degrees in English and Physics. She continued on to receive her PhD in physics from Stanford as well.

Sally joined NASA in 1978. She traveled as a crew member aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger for STS-7 in June of 1983, and rode into space again in 1984. During her years at NASA, she worked on numerous projects and also founded NASA's Office of Exploration. She has been inducted into the Women's Hall of Fame as well as the Astronaut Hall of Fame for her many accomplishments and contributions to science.

Currently retired, she founded and is the president of the Sally Ride Science program which she designed to encourage and empower young girls who are interested in science, math, and technology.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Harley dealer sued for gender bias

According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Harley-Davidson dealer Dudley Perkins Co was recently sued by one of their former employees for gender discrimination. Female mechanic Bowen Dean had dreamt of being a motorcycle mechanic since a young age, and after completing a year long mechanic training course got hired by the dealer as an entry-level technician.

However, instead of working as a mechanic, Dean was assigned to tasks such as book keeping and customer service. The dealership proceeded to hire two less-qualified men to work as mechanics at the company. Dean filed a discrimination complaint in response, which prompted the company to fire her. Although she has applied for mechanic positions at other Harvey-Davidson dealers, she has yet to be hired anywhere.

What are are your reactions to this article? What initiatives should be taken to raise awareness for women working in male-dominated professions?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Myra Sadker Student and Teacher Awards

Hey girls! The Myra Sadker Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting gender equity. Each year they had out monetary scholarships and awards to support educational initiatives that promote the goals of the organization. Student, teachers, undergraduates, and doctoral students are all eligible to apply.

Visit if you're interested in learning more about this opportunity or applying for one of the awards.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Banned Book Week is September 27-October 4

Did you know that the books Winne-the-Pooh and Charlotte's Web have been banned from some libraries in the past? This week marks the 27th anniversary of Banned Books Week. According to the American Library Association, over 1,000 books have been challenged since 1982. You can find a list of the most commonly challenged books in 2007 here on the ALA website--there were nearly 400 of them! Other books that have been banned or challenged in the past include classics such as Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. More recently, popular books such as Harry Potter have been challenged as well.

Books are banned or challenged for many reasons. One of the main motivations is to protect children from being exposed to difficult subject matter. Content that often causes a book to get challenged includes topics such as racism, profanity, homosexuality, and other controversial issues.

Banning books is a form of censorship that impacts our right to choose. During this week, celebrate your right to choose what books you read and what issues you expose yourself to.

What are your thoughts on this week? Do you support censorship of some book titles in libraries? Do you think it matters who the library's main audience is. For example, do you think that elementary school libraries should be more conscious of what books they have available? Have you read any of the books that are listed as having been challenged or banned?