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Women Push Climate Action; Sudan Metes out LashesBy Kimberly St. Louis
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Today, Oct. 24, is the International Day of Climate Action. Over 4,400 events are being planned, many by and for women, in 175 countries to create public awareness and urge leaders to commit to policies that will lower global levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Some scientists say 350 parts per million is the safe limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Climate change can have disproportionate effects on women, especially those in rural areas of developing countries, some expert say. These women depend heavily on natural resources, such as water, for their security. Drought, uncertain rainfall and deforestation--which may all potentially be linked to climate change--restrict their access, threatening these women's livelihoods.
Many of the events taking place globally and nationally are being planned by women, some highlighting women's role in this movement. Here's a sampling of events in the United States and Canada (all times are local):
United Methodist Women will focus on the Christian response to climate change from a woman's perspective at their annual gathering. This event is taking place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The United Methodist Church in East Greenwich, R.I.
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light is having a 3.50 Mile Healing Walk in Albuquerque along the Rio Grande Bosque, organized by Joan Brown. The walk begins at 8:45 a.m.
"Fill the Hill" is a mass rally on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, being organized by a young woman, Gracen Johnson. This event runs from noon until 3:30 p.m.
There will be a screening of "Sisters on the Planet," a film about the impact of climate change on women in the developing world on Nov. 4 in Columbia, Mo. This event is co-sponsored by Oxfam and the League of Women Voters.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- Two female aid workers were freed, unharmed Oct. 18 after being held captive 107 days in Darfur, AFP reported. Sharon Commins and Hilda Kawuki, workers with GOAL, an Irish relief agency, were kidnapped from their compound by armed men in July. They were released after local tribal chiefs pressured their abductors. "There were mock assassinations on a few occasions, so it was extremely scary. We were always anxious and stressed and upset until the minute we got out," Commins told the New York Times.
- The city of Puebla, Mexico, has invested approximately $440,000 to finance 35 pink taxis, which are driven exclusively by women, for women, AFP reported Oct. 20. "Some of the women who have been on board tell us how male taxi drivers cross the line and try to flirt with them and make inappropriate propositions," taxi driver Aida Santos told AFP. Each taxi comes equipped with a beauty kit, a GPS system and an alarm button for emergencies. Women's rights activists charge that the "sugary presentation" of the taxis doesn't address the root of the harassment problem, the article reported.
- Kuwaiti women are now permitted to travel without their husband's consent, after Kuwait's constitutional court overruled a 1962 passport law on Oct. 21, Voice of America reported. The previous law prevented women from getting a passport without their husband's approval.
- A chauvinistic remark towards a female politician by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi broke the silence of thousands of Italian women on his sex scandals, Reuters reported Oct. 20. Approximately 97, 000 Italian women signed a "Women offended by the premier" appeal. Berlusconi told Rosy Bindi, a member of the Democratic Party, she "was more beautiful than intelligent."
- After a week of heavy criticism, PepsiCo. has decided to remove a sexist iPhone application called "AMP UP Before You Score." The application promoted the company's AMP energy drink by giving men tips on picking up 24 stereotypical types of women, the Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 22.
- Women now represent 48 percent of the professional positions in the Major League Soccer Office, according to the 2009 Racial and Gender Report Card, Major League Soccer reported Oct. 20. There are now three female team vice presidents, an increase from two in 2007. About 25 percent of the league's female office employees are team senior administrators, an increase from 20.4 percent.
- The U.S. Senate passed a hate crimes bill, which will extend protection to people who are victims of crimes because of their sex or sexual orientation, according to combined press accounts.
- Colombia's Constitutional Court ordered a national campaign to educate young women on their sexual and reproductive rights, Colombia Reports reported Oct. 20.
Two Sudanese women arrested in July were sentenced to 20 lashes and a $100 fine by a court Oct. 22 for wearing 'indecent' clothing, AFP reported. The women wore trousers and no headscarf at the time of their arrest. "This sentence shows that we are not equal before the judge . . . I will continue to fight this law," said journalist and activist Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who was among the several women arrested in July. Al-Hussein she was released last month after spending a day in jail.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- Dr. Edward Erin was found guilty Oct. 19 of poisoning his hospital secretary and mistress, Bella Prowse, in an attempt to terminate her pregnancy, BBC News reported. The jury found Erin guilty on two counts of attempting to administer poison. Traces of the prescription drugs were found in Prowse's body and in a cup Erin gave her. Erin is a married father-of-two. He will be sentenced Nov. 16.
- Four South African students who humiliated black cleaning women on video in 2008 were allowed back to school, The New York Times reported Oct. 19. Jonathan Jansen, the new rector at the University of the Free State, withdrew the complaint to provide "a model of social justice and racial reconciliation."
- Five Muslim widows in India who were accused of being witches were paraded naked, beaten, and forced to eat human waste Oct. 18, BBC News reported.
- Unsafe abortions are the leading cause of maternal death in Nigeria, where abortion is illegal, according to Dr. Ejike Oji, country director of Ipas, a non-profit women's sexual and reproductive rights organization, the Daily Triumph reported Oct. 21.
- About 5,400 women reported being raped this year in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Reuters reported Oct. 20.
- Pope Benedict is making it easier for Anglicans disaffected by the ordination of women priests and homosexual bishops to convert to Roman Catholicism, Reuters reported Oct. 20.
- A Chicago physician and a women's clinic filed a lawsuit Oct. 13 against an Illinois parental notification law for abortions that will go into effect Nov. 3, the Chicago Tribune reported Oct. 19. The law would require physicians to contact parents of girls under 18 before performing an abortion. Girls can sidestep this provision by petitioning and going before a judge. No notice is required in cases of medical emergencies such as sexual abuse.
- The three children of Carol Anne Gotbaum, a New York City woman who strangled herself in 2007 with her shackles while in police custody at the Phoenix international airport accepted a $250,000 settlement from city of Phoenix, according to press reports on Oct. 19. Gotbaum was the daughter-in-law of New York City's Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.
- A new study found that for both husbands and wives alike, the more housework you do, the more likely you are to have sex with your spouse, The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 21. The study of 6,877 married couples also found that wives spent an average of 41.8 hours per week on household tasks, compared to 23.4 hours spent by their husbands.
- A Swiss criminal court rejected imprisoned film director Roman Polanski's request for bail and house arrest Oct. 20, The Associated Press reported.
- Burlington, Vt., topped Self magazine's list of healthiest and happiest cities for women. The survey looked at 100 U.S. metro areas in about 50 different categories, including death and disease rates. Bethesda, Md., ranked second, Portland, Maine, third, Cambridge, Mass., fourth, and San Francisco, Calif., took the fifth slot. The rankings are included in the November issue of the magazine. Kimberly St. Louis is an editorial intern at Women's eNews through the New York Arts Program. She is a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University studying journalism and politics and government.