Saturday, December 19, 2009

Feminist Cheers & Jeers of the Week: Wal-Mart Goes Anti-DV; Arab Women Manhandled

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Wal-Mart Goes Anti-DV; Arab Women Manhandled

By Kimberly St. Louis
WeNews correspondent
Saturday, December 19, 2009

(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers


Cheers & JeersPosters aimed at abused women reading "Domestic Violence: End the Silence, End the Violence" will soon be displayed in women's restrooms in Arizona Walmarts, The Arizona Republic reported Dec. 18. "It's tough to reach the thousands of women affected by domestic violence in Arizona at a time and a place when they feel safe, without the abuser around," Attorney General Terry Goddard told The Arizona Republic.
(Not from Women's eNews but me, Jerin Alam: I guess that's good news considering Walmart's racist, sexist & classist policies.  Read more about them here: http://www.walmartmovie.com/ )

More News to Cheer This Week:


  • Female breast cancer survivors in China with diets rich in tofu, soy and fresh soybeans have lower risks of death and relapse, according to a study, the Daily Herald reported Dec. 14. Women in the study who ate the most soy protein had a 29 percent lower risk of dying and a 32 percent lower rate of their breast cancer returning. The study followed 5,033 women diagnosed with breast cancer from March 2002 to April 2006 for an average of four years. The research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
  • New York Gov. David A. Paterson plans to extend antidiscrimination protections to transgender state employees, The New York Times reported Dec. 15. Paterson will carry out the decision, which will require state agencies to include transgender individuals in their nondiscrimination policies, through an executive order to be signed Wednesday.
  • A measure to legalize same-sex marriage was passed on Dec. 15 by the District of Columbia's City Council by an 11 to 2 vote, The Washington Business Journal reported Dec. 15. Opponents have threatened to overturn the bill by putting it on a referendum. Republicans and conservative Democrats in the House, which oversee the district's budget, are weighing legislative methods for blocking the bill.
  • Two women in Northern Ireland who claimed they were discriminated against after going on maternity leave have been awarded more than 17,000 euros, BBC News reported Dec. 16. "Women returning to work after the birth of a baby, with responsibility for the upbringing of their child, have rights under sex discrimination and employment rights laws which cannot be set aside," Equality Commission casework director Anne McKernan told BBC News.
  • Six El Salvadorian women may be able to file suit against their supervisors who they claim sexually harassed and then fired them last year for rejecting their sexual advances, Long Island Press.com Dec. 17. The women, who worked for nearly a decade with a government contractor in Long Island, N.Y., filed complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in April. They may be able to file suit now that the 180-day review period has ended. "This one of the most shocking cases our firm has ever had," Jeffrey Brown, senior partner at the Leeds Morelli and Brown law firm, told Long Island Press.com.
     
  • Lawmakers voted to ease Spain's abortion law Thursday, The Associated Press reported Dec. 17. The bill, which was passed by a vote of 184-158 in the country's Congress of Deputies, will allow the procedure to be carried out without restrictions up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. It will also allow 16- and 17-year-old female teens to have abortions without parental consent.
     
  • Female executives have emerged as serious contenders for statewide political office in Connecticut, California and Florida, MSNBC.com reported Dec. 17. Some political observers, like Chris LaCivita, a Republican political consultant, say their candidacies could create an alternate model for women to enter politics and help the parties broaden their candidate pools.

Jeers


JeersWomen in the Arab world experience groping, verbal abuse and other forms of sexual harassment in the streets, schools and work places on a daily basis, according to activists at a Cairo meeting, The Associated Press reported Dec. 15.

Harassment is unchecked across the region because there aren't laws in place to punish it, women don't report it and authorities ignore it, activists concluded at the two-day regional conference on sexual harassment, which ended Monday. Women's response is to cover up and confine themselves to their homes,

"We are facing a phenomenon that is limiting women's right to move . . . and is threatening women's participation in all walks of life," said Nehad Abul Komsan, an Egyptian activist who organized the event with funding from the United Nations and the Swedish development agency.

Segregation between the sexes is the norm in the region and women are sheltered by religious or tribal customs, but sexual harassment is still common despite what women are wearing.

Statistics in the region have until recently been nonexistent. A series of studies presented at the conference hinted at the widespread nature of the problem, The Associated Press reported.

More News to Jeer This Week:


  • Black women are less likely than white women to receive radiation therapy after the removal of a cancerous cyst or tumor from their breast, according to a study, ABC News.com reported Dec. 14. The therapy is considered standard care for the treatment of breast cancer that is caught in the early stages. Researchers found that 65 percent of black women received radiation therapy after undergoing a lumpectomy, compared to 74 percent of white women. The study is based on the review of medical records of more than 37, 000 women, aged 66 and older, who were diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer in 2003 and treated through Medicare. The study was published in the Dec. 14 issue of the journal Cancer.

  • Female veterans may have much higher rates of divorce, greater risk for homelessness and are more likely to be a single parent, but are the least likely to receive acceptance and recognition for their service than their male counterparts, The Associated Press reported Dec. 14. Also, when female vets seek help at VA medical centers, they are screening positive at a higher rate for military sexual trauma, which indicates that they've experienced sexual harassment, assault or rape, The Associated Press reported.

  • A federal civil rights agency investigating possible gender discrimination in college admissions will subpoena data from more than a dozen mid-Atlantic universities, according to officials, reported The Associated Press Dec. 17. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is focusing on whether some colleges favor men by admitting them at higher rates than women or by offering them more generous aid packages. Women outnumber men nearly 60 percent to 40 percent in higher education nationally. The probe sprung from anecdotal evidence and news accounts that admissions officials are discriminating against women to promote a more even gender mix, Lenore Ostrowsky, the commission's spokesperson, told The Associated Press. The commission members voted Wednesday to authorize subpoenas for 19 universities within a 100-mile radius of Washington, D.C.

  • About 50 percent of female teens living in U.S. cities acquire at least one of three common sexually transmitted infections--chlamydia, gonorrhea or trichomoniasis--within two years of becoming sexually active, according to a study, ABC News.com reported Dec. 17. The Indiana University School of Medicine study of 381 teens, aged 14 to 17, also found that it was common for these teens to have repeat infections. Subsequent sexually transmitted infections (not necessarily the same type) were diagnosed in about 75 percent of the teens within two years after the initial infection. The number rose to 92 percent of the teens within four years. Female teens that become sexually active at younger ages usually don't get screened for sexually transmitted infections until several years after they begin sexual activity, according to Wanzhu Tu, associate professor of medicine at the university. The report was published in the December issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

  • An Illinois insurance executive pleaded guilty Dec. 15 to secretly shooting nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews, The Associated Press reported Dec. 16. Michael David Barrett pleaded guilty to interstate stalking. U.S. District Judge Manuel Real allowed Barrett to remain free pending sentencing on Feb. 22. Andrews told the Associated Press that she plans to advocate for changes in the hotel industry that will protect female travelers.

  • Three more women have come forward to accuse a Saratoga County sheriff's deputy of forced sexual contact while he was on the job and in uniform, Timesunion.com reported Dec. 18. Donald A. Harder III, 29, was indicted Thursday on 11 additional charges of criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, forcible touching and official misconduct. The women came forward with complaints against Harder after hearing of his Aug. 13 arrest.

  • A Sierra Leone woman is contesting an election after officials said women cannot run for chiefdom, The Associated Press reported Dec. 15. Elizabeth Kumba Simbiqa Torto says the officials' decision is discriminatory and she wants a new vote. She also told The Associated Press that she was harassed and threatened by officials and residents when she complained. On Monday, she was prevented from going home when protesters attacked her house and threw stones at her convoy. Torto says she is eligible for the position because her father was a chief.

Noted:


  • James Chartrand, who founded "Men with Pens" in 2006, revealed that "he" is actually a Canadian mom of two, Newsweek reported Dec. 15. After working under her real name (which she has not revealed) for years, Chartrand struggled to make it as a freelance writer. Out of desperation she started submitting her work under a male pseudonym, to see if it made a difference. Instantly jobs started pouring in. "It's a fact that the majority of business is conducted by men," Chartrand told Newsweek. "So I assumed, if I choose a male name I'll be viewed as somebody who runs a company, not a mom sitting at home with a child hanging off her leg." Chartrand decided to out herself after an ex-business partner starting telling people.

  • A judge could determine Friday whether to allow an Oklahoma law to go forward that will post information online about women who get abortions in the state, CNN reported Dec. 18. The law would require doctors to fill out a 10-page questionnaire for every abortion performed, including a woman's age, marital status, race and years of education. "We don't feel that the government should be able to run a grand inquisition into women's private lives," Jennifer Mondino, an attorney challenging the law on behalf of the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, told CNN.

  • Older women who take antidepressants may have a higher risk of stroke and death compared to women not on the medication, according to a study, ABCNews.com  reported Dec. 14. The study compared six-year data on 5,500 postmenopausal women who began taking antidepressants after enrolling in a trial by the Women's Health Initiative. "The annual risk (of stroke) was 0.3 percent for women who did not take antidepressants and ranged from 0.4 to 0.5 percent for women who did," Dr. Jordan W. Smoller, assistant vice chairman of psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital told ABC News.com. "In a sample this large, that is a statistically significant difference, but it means that by far, most women did not have a stroke."

  • A woman accused of threatening an anti-abortion demonstrator by knife outside a women's clinic in Duluth, Minn., last month has pleaded not guilty to an assault charge, the Chicago Tribune reported Dec. 17. The woman's next court appearance on second-degree assault is Feb. 16.

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.

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