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Filtering by Tag: good news

Activism works: suspension of racist “Secure Communities” program in NY

Jerin

Here is another example that activism works.  Thanks to your signatures, calls, and other forms of activism, the racist "Secure Communities" program will formally be suspended in every county across New York State. http://news.change.org/stories/victory-new-yorkers-celebrate-suspension-of-controversial-secure-communities-program

This anti-immigrant program put the lives of domestic violence victims in jeopardy.

Thanks to each of you who helped.

Activism Works! Dominique Strauss-Kahn Quits in Wake of Charges of Sexual Attack

Jerin

Thanks to all of you who attended the NOW rally to oppose rape, in front of IMF's headquarters in DC, and asked for Dominique Strauss-Kahn's resignation from IMF.  Thanks also to those of you who mobilized in other ways to speak out against violence against women.  Thanks to your activism, Dominique Strauss-Kahn resigned yesterday.  


You can still send a message to his alleged victim, who "feels alone in the world."   A sexual assault is horrific enough - to compound  that with being an: immigrant, single mom, poor, and woman of color brings additional layers to that trauma.  We have been receiving notes of encouragement for her from across the globe, from New York to Switzerland.  If you would like to send her a message, please comment on this post with a note, or email us at youngfeminists at gmail.com.  If you like, please include your name and location, so we can show her there are people from all over the world who care about her.  We are compiling the messages and sending them to the publicist.   Thank you.

In Solidarity,
N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)

GOOD NEWS: MTA Modifies Sexual Assault Announcements to Reflect Bystander Responsibility

Jerin

The following announcement is from Assemblymember Glick in NYC, whose office helped me personally when I was working to propose and create the CUNY-wide-sexual-assault policy for all half-a-million students.


Sincerely,
N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)


For more information please contact Matt Borden, Chief of Staff, 212-674-5153


Assemblymember Glick Successfully Lobbies MTA to Change Sexual Assault Announcements
I am proud to announce that I have successfully lobbied the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) to change its subway announcements regarding sexual harassment. Until now, subway announcements informed the public that sexual harassment is a crime and that victims of such a crime should report incidents to the police, thus placing responsibility for such incidents only on the victims. Considering that the MTA's prides itself on its "See Something, Say Something," campaign, I asked that the announcement regarding sexual harassment reflect a similar sentiment. The burden of reporting sexual harassment shouldn't alone fall on the shoulders of victims and I am happy to report that it no longer will. I have been informed that the new announcement will be as follows:
 "Ladies and gentlemen. A crowded subway is no defense to unlawful sexual conduct. If you believe that you have been the victim of a crime, or witness to a crime, notify an MTA Employee or Police Officer."
Once the announcement has been modified, lab tested, and field tested, it will be rolled out systemwide.
 This is a small but important step in changing the antiquated thinking on sexual harassment. I am thankful to the MTA and especially its President Thomas F. Prendergast for making such an enlightened decision. Sexual harassment is a serious crime that is everyone's responsibility. Urging civic participation by witnesses is an important aspect of promoting the ideal of a greater good in which all individuals have a stake.

Good News: Feminist achievements

Jerin

I was having a burnout weekend, dealing with different people with egos, who claim to be feminist/progressive, but allow their quest for power to get in the way of progress.  I cheered myself up with the following feminist-good-news articles.  Hope it helps brighten your day amidst this war on women.


Sincerely,
N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)

Myrtle Beach Marathon Results: Kathleen Castles Places First


By Jenna Goudreau
FORBESWOMAN

Gains, and Drawbacks, for Female Professors
By KATE ZERNIKE
The New York Times

Operation Defend Charlotte: Success!!

Meghan

Last week I traveled to Charlotte, NC to help defend Family Reproductive Health against Operation Save America and other Christian fundamentalists from their attempts to harass and terrorize the providers, patients and staff of that clinic, as well as two other private clinics in the city.
Aside from the truly amazing and inspiring women I spent those days with in Charlotte, I learned so very much about clinic harassment and anti-choice tactics. On Saturday, July 24, Flip Benham & OSA arrived at FRH to witness the line of 70 committed and powerful pro-choice clinic defenders along the side of Hebron St at 8:30am, they promptly turned around and drove away. Although the defenders were fired up and ready to go toe-to-toe with OSA, the real success was realized when we were told by clinic staff that it was the first Saturday in 8 years that the clinic staff and patients went unharassed and able to peacefully and autonomously care for women.
I want to thank each and every person who contributed all week, especially on Saturday, for your strength and commitment to TRUSTING WOMEN.

See...
Erin Matson's blog following the clinic defense: http://now.org/issues/abortion/charlotte_defense.html
@ClinicEscort photo from Saturday: http://twitpic.com/288hu1

Posted by: Meghan!!

NOW Applauds Senate Judiciary Committee Vote On Elena Kagan

YoungFeminists

Trouble reading this email? View it online
NOW Press Release
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Bennett, c. 301-537-7429, w. 202-628-8669, ext. 123
NOW Applauds Senate Judiciary Committee Vote On Elena Kagan
July 20, 2010
The National Organization for Women applauds the Senate Judiciary Committee's affirmative vote today on Supreme Court nominee Solicitor General Elena Kagan. NOW's National Board voted earlier this month to endorse Kagan to become the next U.S. Supreme Court justice.
"The Senate Judiciary Committee did the right thing today by giving its approval to Elena Kagan," said NOW President Terry O'Neill. "NOW calls for a swift confirmation of Elena Kagan by the full Senate. Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens leaves behind big shoes to fill, but after listening to Kagan's testimony during the Senate hearings, NOW is confident that she will prove herself a champion of equality and justice for all."
O'Neill continued: "If confirmed, Kagan will be the fourth woman to serve on the court, and she will make history by being part of the first-ever trio of women to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court at the same time, yet another first for this accomplished woman. But this will be more than a symbolic, inspiring achievement for women -- it will be a genuine victory for every woman and girl who benefits from her years of service on the high court."

Domestics Gain Rights; Iran to Stone Adulterer: Feminist Cheers & Jeers of the Week

YoungFeminists


Womens eNews
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives

Saturday, July 3, 2010
Domestics Gain Rights; Iran to Stone Adulterer
By WeNews staff
Saturday, July 3, 2010
(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

thumb pointing up
New legislation passed in New York state grants workplace rights to domestic employees, reported the New York Times July 1. Domestic workers will now have a set workweek consisting of 40 hours with three vacation days annually after a year of employment. They will also be protected against sexual harassment and be entitled to disability benefits, unemployment insurance and overtime. New York is the first state to grant such rights to domestic employees. Also, the state legislature approved a law June 30 that permits midwives to practice independently of obstetricians.
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More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The Gender Equality Architecture Reform, GEAR, campaign celebrated the United Nations General Assembly resolution, agreed to on June 30 and formally adopted by the General Assembly on July 2, to establish "UN Women"--the new gender equality entity at the U.N. The new entity, to be headed by an under-secretary general, will consolidate the four existing U.N. agencies that focus on women, increase operational capacity at the country level and gain increased funding for work on women's empowerment and advancement, according to a July 1 press release from GEAR.
  • Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., introduced a bill on June 30 that would regulate the misleading practices of crisis pregnancy centers, reported Ms. Magazine July 1. Some of these centers, typically run by anti-abortion volunteers who are not medical professionals, pressure women to not consider abortion as an option and prevent women from receiving neutral and comprehensive medical advice, the article reported. The Stop Deceptive Advertising for Women's Services Act would require the Federal Trade Commission to create and enforce rules to prohibit crisis pregnancy centers' deceptive advertising practices, such as advertising under the term "abortion services."
  • The New Jersey Senate approved legislation restoring $7.5 million in family planning funding, reported the Associated Press June 28. Republican Gov. Chris Christie's budget plan had eliminated state funding for 58 women's health centers. Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a Democrat who advocated for the restoration, said "the money will not be used for abortions" but for other health care needs. If the bill is passed, thousands of uninsured women will receive financial assistance with medical care, reported the State House Bureau June 28. The General Assembly will consider the bill on July 5. Christie has not said whether he would sign it.
  • In a case that pitted antidiscrimination principles against religious freedom, the United States Supreme Court ruled June 28 that a university can legally deny recognition to a student group that bars gay students, reported Reuters. The court upheld a ruling allowing the University of California's Hastings College of Law to deny recognition of the Christian Legal Society--a group that, since 2004, has required its members to sign a statement of faith that vows devotion to Jesus Christ and bars those with what it defines as a "sexually immoral lifestyle," including gay and lesbian students. In the court's opinion, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said that the university need not provide a religious-based exception to its policy that groups must open membership to all students who want to join.
  • For the first time in history, a women's major professional bowling event will be held at "a traditional sporting venue," reported the PR Newswire June 30. The 2011 Bowling's U.S. Women's Open is scheduled to take place at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.



Jeers

thumb pointing down
An Iranian woman accused of adultery has been sentenced to death by stoning, reported The Jerusalem Post June 30. Sakineh Mohamamadi e Ashtiani, 43, allegedly had affairs with two men who then murdered her husband. Infidelity is illegal in Iran and is usually punished with lashes and prison time; execution by stoning in these cases is rare, the article reported. If carried out the sentence would be the first known stoning to take place in the Islamic Republic in years.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • A doctor in Florida is giving her pregnant patients an experimental hormone, dexamethasone, to ensure that female babies will be more feminine and not become lesbians, reported Jezebel July 1. Some scientists believe the hormone, if administered prenatally, might prevent ambiguous genitalia, but pediatric endocrinologist Maria New says the hormone will also keep girls from doing such things as hanging out with boys, choosing male-dominated careers and being gay.
  • A senior official in Afghanistan's Ministry for Women's Affairs told a recent United Nations workshop that about half of Afghanistan's 476 female prisoners were detained for "moral crimes," reported the BBC July 1. The article looks at female prisoners in Badam Bagh, or Almond Garden, Afghanistan's only prison for women in the capital Kabul. One of the prisoners is a 16-year-old girl who was arrested after her boyfriend proposed marriage to her unaccompanied by his parents. The girl was initially sentenced to three years in prison, but the sentence was reduced to 18 months. The prison is home to 147 women and children and was opened two years ago.
  • More women in Ireland are reporting difficulties in coming up with the money for abortion services, reported The Irish Times June 29. Counselors at the Irish Family Planning Association are seeing more women report this difficulty amidst the current economic climate, said the association's chief executive, Niall Behan. At the same time, the Dublin's Well Woman Centre said increasing numbers of women using their services were considering terminating pregnancies as a consequence of the recession. Not all crisis pregnancy counseling services in the United Kingdom are seeing the same trend, the article reported.
  • The Supreme Court's June 28 ruling that Americans have the right to own a gun for self-defense anywhere in the United States has some Chicago residents disappointed and others concerned about the safety of women, reported National Public Radio June 29. The ruling, which says that state and local gun laws may not infringe an individual's legitimate right to keep and bear arms, means that Chicago's 28–year-old gun ban will be abolished as of July 15. Some residents fear that the modified gun law will disproportionately affect women, who are the primary victims of weapon homicides in the city, reported The American Prospect June 29. Eighty-seven percent of violent crimes in Chicago are committed with handguns.
  • Planned Parenthood of the Heartland filed a lawsuit June 28 challenging a new Nebraska law requiring mental health screening for women seeking abortion, reported the Associated Press. The new law requires women wanting abortions to be screened by doctors or other health professionals to determine whether they were pressured into having the procedure. Those women also would have to be screened for risk factors indicating they could have mental or physical problems after an abortion, reported the article.
  • HIV rates are on the rise among Asian women, highlighting the need for new policy priorities with a gender focus, warns the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, reported South Africa's Times Live June 28. "A gender focus is crucial to stem the spread of HIV fuelled by gender inequalities that increasingly place women and girls at risk," said the U.N. Programme's Asia Pacific Regional Gender Advisor Jane Wilson. In 2007, women accounted for 35 percent of all people living with HIV in Asia, up from 18 percent in 1990, reported the article.

Noted:

  • Supermodel Naomi Campbell, as well as her agent and actress Mia Farrow, have been called to testify at the trial of Charles G. Taylor, the deposed president of Liberia, reported the New York Times July 1. Campbell allegedly received diamonds from two men representing Taylor in September 1997; her testimony would contradict Taylor's claim in court that he had never owned or traded in diamonds. The prosecution contends that he used them as currency to finance a rebellion in Sierra Leone in the 1990s, in which tens of thousands of people were killed, raped or mutilated. The charges against him include murder, conscripting child soldiers and terrorizing and mutilating civilians.

  • A divorce bill, approved July 1, would for the first time allow a couple in New York to dissolve their marriage by mutual consent and without requiring one spouse to accuse the other of adultery, cruelty, imprisonment or abandonment, reported the New York Times July 1. The bill makes New York the last state to allow some version of no-fault divorce.
  • Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-Calif., pressed Elena Kagan on her views about life and health exemptions for the mother within abortion bans during the Supreme Court confirmation hearings this week, reported Campus Progress June 30. "Senator Feinstein, I do think that the continuing holding of Roe and Doe v. Bolton is that women's life and women's health have to be protected in abortion regulation," Kagan replied. Kagan went on to talk about banning so-called partial-birth abortions, which she encouraged Bill Clinton to support while he was president.
  • Overweight women have a much higher risk of a miscarriage after having in-vitro fertilization compared with slimmer women, new research indicates, reported the Associated Press June 28. Research from a London clinic tracking women who became pregnant after having in-vitro fertilization found that among women with a normal weight, 22 percent using in-vitro at the clinic had a miscarriage, but among overweight and obese women, the risk of miscarriage was 33 percent. Doctors aren't sure why excess body weight makes pregnancy more risky, but suspect fat may have harmful effects on the lining of the uterus, making it more difficult for proper embryo implantation.
  • A study indicates that home births may be best for the mother because she is less likely to have medical intervention--from painkilling drugs to forceps to a Caesarean section--but is riskier for the baby, reported The Guardian July 1. The research shows that home births carry three times the risk that her baby will die. The study, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, analyzed studies in the United States and Europe, looking at a total of 342,056 planned home births and 207,551 planned hospital births.
  • A New York City woman was charged with sex trafficking, promoting prostitution and conspiracy, reported the New York Daily News June 29. Jin Hua Cui, 44, is said to have coerced young Korean women applying for jobs as nail salon attendants into prostitution. After answering help wanted ads in Korean language newspapers, applicants were threatened with either embarrassment or violence by Chinese gangs if they did not comply. The defendant pleaded not guilty and is currently awaiting trial on $10,000 bail.
  • Nearly 20 percent of older American women have opted to not have children compared to 10 percent in the 1970s, according to a Pew Research Center study, reported Reuters June 25. "Women have more options than in the past to build strong careers and to exercise the choice not to have children," said D'Vera Cohn, a co-author of the report.. Cohn said another reason for the increase is that children are seen by some couples as less important for a successful marriage. Education is also a key factor, as the more educated the woman, the higher the childless rate.
  • A simple blood test may one day help predict the age at which a woman will begin menopause, say the scientists who developed the test, reported HealthDay News June 28. Their study found that the average difference between the age predicted by the test and the actual age a woman reached menopause was about four months, while the maximum margin of error was between three and four years. The test measures a hormone produced by cells in the ovaries. If the test's accuracy can be confirmed in larger studies, it could be used by women early in their reproductive life to help decide when to start planning a family, the article reported.
  • A growing movement in Europe to ban burkas and niqabs--the face coverings worn by some Muslim women--is igniting a debate over individual religious freedom versus broader cultural values, reported USA Today June 28. In Belgium, a bill making it a crime to wear a face veil in public passed unanimously in April in the lower house of parliament and is expected to become law later this year. Similar legislation in France could mean up to $18,575 in penalties and a year in prison for someone convicted of forcing a woman to wear coverings. Lawmakers across the continent are considering similar measures, reported the article.
  • Pregnant women should be given a breath test to reveal the impact of smoking on their unborn child, says the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, reported Australia's Herald Sun June 28. The carbon monoxide test would determine if the woman smokes, how much and even the impact of secondhand smoke. Women who fail the test would be offered support to help them quit for the good of their fetus, reported the article.
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Feminist Cheers & Jeers of the Week: Female Teen Sailor Found; Iranian Journalist Jailed

YoungFeminists

Womens eNews
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives

Saturday, June 12, 2010
Female Teen Sailor Found; Iranian Journalist Jailed
By WeNews Staff
Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cheers

thumb pointing up
Abby Sunderland, a 16-year-old American teen who attempted to sail around the world on her own, has been found a day after she had gone missing in the Indian Ocean, reported the BBC June 11.
Sunderland sent distress signals after her yacht was pounded by huge waves nearly 2,000 miles off the south African coast and midway to her destination in Australia. Her father said Sunderland would not be resuming her round-the-world attempt.
Sunderland's story comes just a month after Australia's Jessica Watson became the youngest person to sail around the world non-stop, solo and unassisted at age 16, reported Agence France-Presse.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged $1.5 billion on June 7 in a joint push with the U.N. to improve the health of women and children, reported Reuters June 8. Melinda Gates and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described a comprehensive approach through 2014 to bring improvements in women's and children's health, including the areas of prenatal care, access to contraception and promotion of education on vaccination, nutrition and breastfeeding.
  • The National Center for Women and Information Technology released June 10 a report titled "Women in IT: The Facts." The report indicates that the technology industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the U.S, with more than 1.4 million potential new computing-related job openings by 2018. As the industry has so far failed to attract highly-qualified women to move into these jobs, the report addresses the role of women's participation in the rapidly-expanding field. The report also documents the wage gap in the computer industry.
  • Democrats are looking to repeal a longtime ban on abortions performed at U.S. military hospitals overseas, reported FOX News June 9. The bill, part of an amendment to the defense authorization bill, threatens policy enacted during the Clinton administration that restricts abortions at military hospitals to only cases of rape, incest or if the woman's life is threatened.
  • Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa are the first in the nation to administer abortion pills by videoconference with a physician, reported The New York Times June 8. After an in-person exam with a nurse, the patient videoconferences with a physician. Afterward, the physician can press a button remotely that releases the drawer in front of the woman containing bottles for two pregnancy-ending pills--mifepristone and misoprostol. The concept was first promoted by Jill June, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and a Women's eNews 21 Leader 2003.
  • Three anti-choice bills that would have had a detrimental impact on women's health and safety have been beaten back in the New York Assembly Health Committee, according to a Huffington Post blog June 7.
  • The Internal Revenue Service has ruled that same-sex couples must be treated the same as heterosexual couples under a feature of California tax law, reported The Wall Street Journal June 5. Advocates for the change say it is the first time the agency has acknowledged same-sex couples as a unit for tax purposes. Couples in Nevada and Washington--community-property states that also recognize domestic partnership--may also be affected. The IRS said the nearly 58,000 couples who are registered as domestic partners in California must combine their income and each report half of it on their separate tax returns. Same-sex couples account for an estimated 95 percent of the state's domestic partnerships.
  • The nonprofit International Partnership for Microbicides announced the first trial among women in Africa to test a potential HIV-preventing vaginal ring, according to the organization's June 8 press statement. The ring contains an antiretroviral drug that may prevent the sexual transmission of HIV. The clinical trial will test the vaginal ring's safety and acceptability.
  • Faith Matters, an interfaith community cohesion and conflict resolution organization, has launched a report naming England's top 100 mosques that meet the needs of Muslim women, reported the organization June 7. The report is based on interviews with over 100 Muslim women living across England from Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Somali and Turkish communities and assesses approximately 500 mosques throughout the country. Criteria in assessing the mosques included the provision of separate prayer spaces for women, services geared toward women and an Iman or female scholar who is accessible to women.
  • Taking serious note of the fact that reproductive rights of women were still not guaranteed in spite of various schemes that are in place, the Delhi High Court in India has awarded compensation to two women who gave birth on the streets because of the government's negligence, reported sifynews June 6.



Jeers

thumb pointing down
Iran sentenced award-winning journalist Jila Baniyaghoob to jail for one year and banned her from writing for 30 years, reported Agence France-Presse June 9. Baniyaghoob was arrested a year ago and charged with propaganda against the Islamic regime over her reports on last year's disputed presidential election and the protests following the official results. In 2009, the International Women's Media Foundation gave Baniyaghoob its Courage in Journalism award.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • A Saudi cleric has issued a decree permitting unrelated women and men to mingle so long as the man drinks the woman's breast milk, reported The Los Angeles Times June 10. Sheik Abdel Mohsen Obeikan, a scholar and consultant at Saudi Arabia's royal court, has called for women to give men breast milk--not directly from the breast--to establish maternal relations and get around the ultra-conservative kingdom's ban on mixing between men and women who are unrelated. Islamic tradition stipulates that breastfeeding establishes a degree of maternal bond, even if a woman breastfeeds a child who is not her own.
  • Young children of women abused by their partners are at an increased risk of being obese, finds a Boston University study, reported Reuters June 8. The study looked at nearly 1,600 children born between 1998 and 2000, most of whom were born to unmarried parents. It indicated that the more often abuse occurs, the higher the risk that pre-school children--especially girls--will be obese. Children whose mothers reported being chronically abused by a partner were 80 percent more likely to be obese at age 5, compared to children whose mothers reported no abuse.
  • As an estimated half-million soccer fans descended on South Africa for the World Cup, which began June 11, there are increasing concerns that more people will become victims of human trafficking and that younger women and girls, in particular, will be at risk, reported ESPN's "Outside the Lines" June 7. Patric Solomons, director of the Cape Town-based children's advocacy group Molo Songololo, believes the magnitude of the World Cup will definitely have an impact and fears that a host of factors--including a huge, impoverished lower class and no laws specifically criminalizing all forms of human trafficking--make South Africa uniquely susceptible to exploitation by human trafficking syndicates, reported the article.
  • To care for the growing number of obese pregnant women, hospitals are buying longer surgical instruments, more sophisticated fetal testing machines and bigger beds, reported The New York Times June 5. The problem has become so acute that five New York City hospitals--one of which says 38 percent of its pregnant women are obese--have formed a consortium to determine how to handle the situation.

Noted:

  • A study finds that children of women who took the epilepsy drug valproic acid during the first trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have serious birth defects, reported HealthDay News June 9. Specifically, babies whose mothers took valproic acid during the first trimester were 12.7 times more likely to have a spinal court defect, 2.5 times more likely to have a heart defect and five times more likely to have a cleft palate than babies of mothers who did not take the drug. The absolute risk of having a baby with any of these defects, however, remains small.
  • On Super Duper Tuesday female candidates from both political parties emerged victorious, reported The Washington Post June 9. Women winning nominations for U.S. Senate seats include Arkansas' incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), Nevada's former State Assemblywoman Sharron Angle (R) and California's former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina (R). She will face a female opponent in the general election, incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer (D). Gubernatorial nominations included California's former eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman (R) and South Carolina's Rep. Nikki Haley (R).
  • Research shows that cases of domestic violence increase by nearly 30 percent in England on soccer match days. In response, Greater Manchester has launched a domestic abuse campaign to run up to and during this year's World Cup, reported End the Fear June 9. The campaign includes a series of posters incorporating images of a football shirt, a remote control and a broken beer bottle, which will be displayed in locations such as hospitals, doctors' offices and licensed premises. The advertisements containing information on domestic abuse support services will also run on buses.
  • Singer Chris Brown has postponed his tour in Britain after being denied a visa to enter the country in a decision linked to his criminal record, reported Reuters June 8. In August 2009, Brown was sentenced to five years' probation for assaulting then-girlfriend singer Rihanna. Britain's Home Office said: "We reserve the right to refuse entry to the U.K. to anyone guilty of a serious criminal offense. Public safety is one of our primary concerns. Each application to enter the U.K. is considered on its individual merits," reported Reuters.
  • A half-dozen Catholic reform groups pushing for women to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests marched on the Vatican June 8 to promote their cause, reported the Associated Press. The march on St. Peter's Square occurred on the eve of a three-day Vatican rally marking the end of the church's yearlong celebration of the priesthood.
  • Veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas resigned June 7 over comments she made concerning Jews in the Middle East, reported The Guardian June 9. Thomas, 89, reported on the White House for half a century and through nine U.S. presidential administrations. She is recognized as a trailblazer for women in journalism and, among many firsts, was the first female officer of the National Press Club and first female president of the White House Correspondents' Association.
  • Kavita Ramdas, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, announced in a press release June 7 that she was stepping down as of September 15, after 14 years at the fund. Ramdas, a Women's eNews 21 Leader 2003, said she would be on sabbatical until June of next year. She added that the fund expects to have a new president in place by early 2011. Ramdas' announcement comes on the heels of Sarah Gould's announcement on May 26 that she would leave as head of the Ms. Foundation after 25 years. Gould is a Women's eNews 21 Leader 2009.
  • A Nevada state senator says he wasn't intending to bribe a rape victim's sister when he left her a message suggesting it could be "financially beneficial" if she told the truth, the Associated Press reports. Republican Sen. Dennis Nolan acknowledges making the May 19 call but says he just wanted to coax the woman to meet with him so he could wear a "wire" and record what she said. The rape case involves Gordon Lawes, a friend of the senator. The 28-year-old was convicted in 2008 of raping a 16-year-old girl; he was sentenced to life in prison with possible parole after 10 years.

GOOD NEWS: In Specter-Sestak Race NARAL Breaks With Obama

YoungFeminists

Womens eNews
Covering Women's Issues -
Changing Women's Lives
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
In Specter-Sestak Race NARAL Breaks With Obama
By Rich Daly
WeNews correspondent
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
NARAL is backing Joe Sestak in today's high-profile U.S. Senate race with Arlen Specter. Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, Lois Herr is endorsed by the National Women's Political Caucus in her bid to unseat Joe Pitts in the U.S. House.
Joe Sestak WASHINGTON (WOMENSENEWS)--NARAL Pro-Choice America has jumped into today's marquee Democratic primary by endorsing challenger Rep. Joe Sestak for the U.S. Senate nomination over incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter, who is endorsed by President Barak Obama.
"The difference between Joe Sestak and Arlen Specter is that voters can count on Joe Sestak to be consistently pro-choice," said Ted Miller, director of communications for NARAL Pro-Choice America, based in Washington, D.C. The organization tracks Republican and Democratic elected officials.
The leading pro-choice organization said Specter, who switched parties last year over doubts he would survive a Republican primary, had a mixed record on abortion rights compared to his rival.
The organization also sees its Sestak endorsement as consistent because it endorsed him in both his previous races for the seat he holds in the House of Representatives.
Specter earned 100 percent and 90 percent in 2007 and 2009, respectively, on NARAL's congressional abortion rights scorecard. Sestak earned 100 percent ratings in both years.
In 2005 Specter, who describes himself as pro-choice, scored a low 20 percent on the NARAL scorecard by voting against a budget amendment to improve women's access to contraception and by supporting four anti-choice candidates for the circuit court of appeals nominated by President George W. Bush.
The Sestak-Specter race has tightened in recent weeks with Quinnipiac University polls finding Specter with a mere two-point advantage (44 percent to 42 percent) on May 12. In early April Specter was polling with a 21-point lead.

Lois Herr Challenges Pitts

In another Pennsylvania Democratic primary race on May 18, Lois Herr, is once again challenging Rep. Joe Pitts to represent the socially conservative 16th District. She has won the backing of the National Women's Political Caucus, the bipartisan pro-choice group in Washington, D.C.
Pitts was one of the authors of an amendment to a version of the national health care overhaul that would have banned federal taxpayer funding of elective abortion. Pitts has again raised the abortion issue in recent weeks by introducing the Protect Life Act (HR 5111) that would establish a ban on federal funding for elective abortions in any private or public health insurance program.
"He's trying to stir up that issue and use it as a wedge," said Lulu Flores, president of the bi-partisan National Women's Political Caucus. Flores commended Herr for focusing on economic, environment and transportation issues, which directly affect many more voters in the district
Flores said Herr, a former telecommunications executive, faces an uphill battle but may benefit from the national anti-incumbent mood.

Hanabusa Runs on May 22

In a Hawaiian race on May 22, the National Women's Political Caucus has endorsed State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, a Democrat, in a tight three-way special election for one of the state's two seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Hanabusa, a labor attorney and community organizer, faces Rep. Ed Case, another Democrat, and Republican Hawaii City Council member Charles Djou.
"We find she's incredibly effective and we want to see more women who are prepared to serve in higher office," Flores said.
Democratic groups have split their support between Hanabusa and Case, giving the polling lead to Djou, the sole Republican, in a district that Obama swept with 70 percent of the vote in the general election.
Emily's List, one of the largest sources of funding for pro-choice Democratic female politicians, is backing 26 candidates in these mid-term elections, the first of which falls on June 1, when Diane Denish runs for governor of New Mexico and Terri Sewell seeks to represent Alabama's Seventh Congressional District.
The National Women's Political Caucus also has endorsed some June primary candidates, including North Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elaine Marshall, the state's first female secretary of state. She is facing a June 22 runoff against Cal Cunningham, a former Army prosecutor.
Although Marshall is tied at 36 with her primary opponent, she is within one point of Republican incumbent Sen. Richard Burr, according to recent surveys of likely runoff voters and general election voters, respectively, by Public Policy Polling, based in Raleigh, N.C.
Rich Daly is a writer in Washington, D.C.

Feminist Cheers & Jeers of the Week: Elena Kagan Hailed;Female Pols Sink in U.K.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Elena Kagan Hailed;Female Pols Sink in U.K.

By WeNews staff
Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cheers

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President Barack Obama's appointment of Solicitor General Elena Kagan received a warm reception among women's rights groups.
"This is an outstanding appointment," Lynn Hecht Schafran, senior vice president of Legal Momentum, told Women's eNews. In addition to Kagan's "superb credentials," Schafran said "it's nice to see the U.S. catching up with Canada where there are four women on the nine-member Supreme Court."
Siobhan "Sam" Bennett, president and CEO of the Women's Campaign Forum, cheered the news but also expressed concern about the possibility of negative media treatment, as did the Women's Media Center, which ran an article criticizing previous media stories that have focused on Kagan's questioning her sexual orientation rather than her judicial record.
Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights, however, had a more guarded reaction to the High Court news, saying Kagan's public record revealed little about her views on Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. In a press statement, Northup called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to conduct a rigorous confirmation process and "thoroughly explore Ms. Kagan's views on the constitutional protection that should be afforded to women seeking abortions."

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Eight retired former jockeys rode on May 14 in the "Lady Legends for the Cure" race in Pimlico, Md., to benefit breast cancer research, reported the Baltimore Sun.
  • The annual New York Women's Foundation breakfast on May 13 featured hip-hop star Mary J. Blige discussing growing up with domestic violence. Blige said as a child she was awakened in the middle of the night by her mother's "screams" and as an adult she experienced domestic violence. She also thanked her 4 million fans who "helped her get through" the emotional toll the abuse took on her. During the breakfast, Ana L. Oliveira, president and CEO of the foundation, announced it would increase its giving to women's nonprofits working in New York City by 20 percent this year. In 2009, the foundation awarded $2.75 million in grants to 65 New York City grantees.
  • The W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced May 11 a $75 million effort to tackle structural racism and promote racial healing and the awarding of grants to 119 organizations. Trustee Fred Keller, at a Washington, D.C., press conference, called it the largest private investment in anti-racism efforts. The Battle Creek, Mich., foundation is expected to continue addressing maternal and infant mortality rates and related health issues in African American communities as part the initiative.
  • Maria Longhitano, a married teacher and a member of the breakaway Old Catholic Church, will be ordained as the first Italian female priest, reported BBC News May 13. Pope Benedict XVI is against having women as priests and his predecessor excommunicated seven previous ordained women.
  • Fifteen-year-old Alexis Thompson will be playing her first professional golf tournament on June 18, reported The Vancouver Sun on May 11. If Thompson wins the Shoprite LGPA Classic she will be the youngest woman to win a professional golf tournament. In 2009 Thompson was named Golfweek's Women's Amateur Player of the Year and the Junior Girls' Player of the Year.
  • Cherie Blair, wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, asked conference attendees at the Clinton Global Initiative's midyear meeting on May 13 to support a pilot project that would give mobile phones to 4,000 women in Kenya to help achieve gender equality, reported the Associated Press May 14.
  • UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow called for South America's Guinea women who were raped last September to be compensated, reported The Associated Press on May 10.
  • An Arizona emergency human rights delegation gathered in Washington, D.C., May 9, Mother's Day. Female immigrants and their children told stories about raids, harassment and detention of family members, Domestic Workers United said in a press statement. The delegation was supported by Arizona's Puente Movement and several labor unions, reported CODEPINK May 9.
  • The Embrey Family Foundation awarded two large grants for the advancement of young women. The American Indian College Fund received a $1 million grant for 20 women's scholarships, the fund said in an April 30 press statement. The Center for Women's and Gender Studies at The University of Texas at Austin announced its $450,000 grant to start a studies program looking at women's rights as human rights.
  •  Illinois' Highland Park High School girls' basketball team won't attend a December tournament in Arizona because of state's new citizenship law, reported Chicago Breaking News Center May 12. The team's school district said the trip would be a risk to the girls' safety and the new immigration laws go against the team's beliefs. This season the team won its first conference championship in 26 years. The school district is looking for another tournament for them to attend.
  • A "potty parity" bill was presented to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee May 12, reported the Washington Post May 13. Presented by Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), the bill would require future new construction and renovated federal buildings to have equal or greater numbers of toilets in women's restrooms compared to men's restrooms. "Being forced to wait in line for restrooms is a form of gender bias," said Kathryn H. Anthony, architecture professor of the University of Illinois, during her testimony.



Jeers

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The May 6 U.K. balloting left women's ranks in Parliament thinner than ever, the Centre for Women and Democracy said May 7. After the vote, women composed 22 percent of the 649-member Parliament, a drop of 2.5 percent.
Only four women are slated for the 23 positions in the new cabinet, reported The Guardian May 13. Cheryl Gillian, Theresa May, Caroline Spelman, and Lady Warsai will be joining Prime Minister David Cameron's new cabinet. May will be the new Home Secretary. She is the second woman to hold the position, reported HR Magazine May 12.
  • Iran executed Kurdish woman Shirin Alamhouli by hanging May 9 for allegedly bombing government offices, reported the AFP. Alamhouli and four men were executed for their political opposition to the Iranian government, Maryam Namazie from Iran Solidarity told Women's eNews May 12. The sentences were carried out in secret, without their families or lawyers being informed.
  • Despite the support of many female veterans, the Women's Military Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery is running out of funding, according to a May 11 report from MSNBC. Female veterans from World War II are ill or dying, draining a key donor pool. Foundation President Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, who served in Vietnam, said the only reason the memorial was able to stay open in 2009 was a $1.6 million dollar congressional appropriation and a fundraising drive that raised $250,000 dollars.
  • Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton vowed not to abandon Afghan women in any resolution between the Afghan government and Taliban, reported the Associated Press May 13.

Noted:

  • Women have become more financially conservative than men since the economic downturn, a March 2010 survey by Citigroup found, according to The Wall Street Journal on May 11. The survey of 1,010 women and 992 men found that 72 percent of women said they would save any extra money or use it to pay bills, while 65 percent of the men said they would use extra money that way. Women also considered large purchases more closely, with 33 percent thinking now was a good time compared to 40 percent of men.

In memoriam:

Rhonda Copelon, a New York lawyer who took on cases of gender-based violence and international human rights, passed away on May 6 at age 65 due to ovarian cancer, reported The New York Times May 8. One of Copelon's victories resulted in victims of international human rights abuse to use U.S. courts to seek justice, reported the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Lena Horne, the enormously influential African-American jazz singer, actress and civil rights activist, died May 9 at New York Presbyterian Hospital at the age of 92, reported The Associated Press on May 10. The hospital spokesperson did not share any other details aside from her death, reported the AP.