Sunday, January 31, 2010

GOOD NEWS: U.N. Delivers Relief Directly to Haitian Women

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

Sunday, January 31, 2010


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U.N. Delivers Relief Directly to Haitian Women

By Joe Lauria
WeNews correspondent
Sunday, January 31, 2010
The U.N. has devised various programs to provide food and aid directly to women, who often get outmuscled by men during disaster situations. Relief efforts have become complicated as many Haitian female leaders who worked with U.N. agencies were lost during the earthquake.
A Haitian girl rests after receiving treatment at an ad hoc medical clinic.UNITED NATIONS, New York--With 45 percent of Haitian households headed by women, a number of United Nations agencies are targeting their relief efforts at Haitian women to help them overcome their human and material losses from the recent earthquake.
"They are the ones who are the economic as well as the psychological mainstay of children and other dependents, the aged and the sick," said Roberta Clarke, regional program director for the United Nations Development Fund for Women, or UNIFEM.
"You can imagine that in the context of pre-existing vulnerabilities--poverty, exposure to gender-based violence and lack of health care services--that this earthquake has dealt a heavy blow to women already stretched to the limits of their capacities to support their families," Clarke said in a conference call last week with reporters.
The experience of humanitarian workers in disaster relief is that men usually outmuscle women for food and other aid at distribution points in the desperate days and weeks following a catastrophe, according to various U.N. officials. In response, the United Nations has devised various programs aimed at bypassing men to get aid directly to women and from them to their dependents.
The World Food Program, or WFP, has developed women-only centers for food distribution in Haiti. WFP spokesman Marcus Prior said Saturday that 10,000 women a day will be given 55-pound bags of rice at 16 WFP distribution points around the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. The women will be given coupons over the next 15 days, which they alone can use in exchange for the rice.
Prior said at a news conference in Port-au-Prince that women could bring family members along to help them carry the rice, but only they would receive the bags. The coupons would be color-coded to help foil counterfeiting, he said.
"Traditionally, WFP has always sought to deliver food into the hands of women as they are more likely to ensure that the food is divided up amongst those who really need it and can't fend for themselves," said Prior in an email interview from the Haitian capital.

Building Distribution System from Scratch

"Our earthquake response here in Haiti is the most complex operation we have ever launched," Prior said. "The whole supply chain infrastructure has also been completely blown apart--we are starting the operation almost from scratch, initially with staff here who lived through the earthquake, many of them losing loved ones and now still living without a roof over their heads, but back at work."
Many female leaders who worked with U.N. agencies were among those lost in the earthquake. The loss of these leaders has also complicated relief efforts by UNIFEM and other U.N. agencies such as the United Nations Population Fund, or UNFPA, Clarke said
Among those killed were Myriam Merlet, the ministry's chief of cabinet and founder of Haiti's National Coordination for Advocacy on Women's Rights; Myrna Narcisse, the ministry's director general; Magalie Marcelin, founder of KayFamn, which operates Haiti's only shelter for survivors of gender-based violence; and Anne-Marie Coriolon, a founding member of one of the country's largest women's groups, Solidarite Fanm Ayisyèn.
"Women's organizations suffered terrible losses during the earthquake," Clarke said. "The [Ministry of Women's Condition and Rights] lost one of its buildings and a number of women leaders lost their lives and that will have a significant impact on gender equality."
UNIFEM, for instance, before the quake was about to deliver a shipment of motorbikes to Ministry of Justice officials to specifically help speed up response time to reports of gender violence. The Justice Ministry building collapsed.

Female-Friendly Kits Distributed

Despite the losses and challenges, various U.N. agencies are continuing with their efforts to reach women. UNFPA is working with nongovernmental organizations to distribute two kinds of kits to women: one for reproductive health and one for dignity, said Jemilah Mahmood, head of UNFPA's humanitarian response branch.
"One of the issues not talked much about is the issue of dignity," Mahmood said. "We must remember that women and girls are still menstruating despite having to live outside in very deplorable conditions." Embarrassment from soiled clothing prevents women from wanting to be seen at distribution points and many would rather stay away, risking their survival, she said.
The dignity kits contain sanitary napkins, hygiene materials and underwear.
The reproductive health kits are packed with a clean sheet, a sterile blade to cut an umbilical cord, a clean string to tie the cord and a blanket to wrap the baby in.
"We estimate 7,000 women are going to give birth in the next month," many "in the middle of the street," Mahmood said.
UNFPA is also shipping medical equipment to perform Caesarian section surgery, as well as basic post-natal care such as vitamins and medicine, she said.
"We know from past disasters that these moments lead to spikes in violence against women and girls, so there is an urgency that they can get in touch and protect themselves and others in their community," said Clarke.

Transistor Radios Instrumental in Crisis

One way to keep the lines of communication open is to distribute transistor radios to women. UNFPA and a nongovernmental inter-agency group called Communicating with Disaster Affected Populations are in the process of doing just that.
"These transistor radios, often solar-powered, proved to be very instrumental during previous crises, such as that of the Indian Ocean tsunami, in helping women and communities access vital information they'd need after a disaster, such as where to go to receive health care, where to seek protection, obtain food," said UNFPA spokesperson Omar Gharzeddine in an email message. "They can also provide a very useful source of information about lost family members."
Women also use the radios to get answers and counseling from radio talk shows, he said. UNFPA is sending a radio journalist to Haiti to "provide key messages and information pertaining to reproductive health and protection," he said.
Tamara Kreinin, executive director of the Women and Population Program of the U.N. Foundation, said the tragedy of Haiti is that before the earthquake it was making great strides to achieve the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals or MDGs, which seek to eradicate global poverty by 2015, particularly in education and "gender empowerment."
"We are quite saddened that there's going to be a bit of a setback," Kreinin said. Even with the progress towards the MDGs, Haiti had the highest rate of maternal mortality in the region, she said.
The risk of a Haitian woman dying in childbirth is 1 in 47.
"We know that number is going to skyrocket because many of the health facilities were destroyed and incidents of injury and trauma are on the rise," Kreinin said.
Joe Lauria has been a correspondent at the United Nations in New York City for the past 20 years.
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Saturday, January 30, 2010

After MA pro-choice loss, Sen. Gillibrand's seat being threatened next

January 2010
   From the desk of
    Kelli Conlin:
NY Kelli Conlin 09It's hard to believe we've already reached the end of January. What a full month it's been.
This month we learned that former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. is considering running for Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's seat. In response to Ford's attempts to rebrand himself for a New York audience, we released a video capturing Ford's own descriptions of himself as "pro-life." It's prompted both the mainstream media and New Yorkers to distrust Ford's sudden portrayal of himself as pro-choice.
This month we also celebrated the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The recent challenges the pro-choice movement has encountered, from health-care reform to the trial of Dr. Tiller's murderer, Scott Roeder, have shown us that even after 37 years, our reproductive rights are still tenuous, and our work to protect those rights is still as important as ever.
Finally, on January 21, we were saddened to lose lifelong friend and NARAL co-founder Ruth Proskauer Smith. During her 102 years, Proskauer Smith was a pro-choice pioneer, advocating for access to birth control and to repeal state abortion bans from the 1940s on. We pay tribute to Proskauer
For Choice,
Kelli Conlin
Kelli Conlin
 Harold Ford, Jr. is NOT pro-choice
NY HFJ video enews
When Harold Ford, Jr. said he was considering running for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's seat, we knew many New Yorkers may not be familiar with the former Tennessee congressman's positions - particularly on choice.
So we let him speak for himself. We released a video in which Ford proudly defends his anti-choice credentials, telling MSNBC's Tucker Carlson in 2006, "I'm pro-life, I'm pro-life, Tucker, so I mean, I don't run from that."
Harold Ford, Jr. does not represent our pro-choice values - and neither NARAL Pro-Choice New York nor the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers will let our state provide an anti-choice vote in Congress.
See the video and share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.
    Dr. Tiller's Murderer, Scott Roeder, Found Guilty
Yesterday we were relieved to hear that Scott Roeder was found guilty of murdering abortion provider Dr. George Tiller. Last June, following the brutal assassination, we held a vigil for Dr. Tiller in New York City's Union Square, where clergy, providers, advocates, and New Yorkers all gathered to honor the memory of the slain doctor who dedicated his life to helping women in need.
In a statement released yesterday, Kelli Conlin said,
Moments ago, Scott Roeder was found guilty of first degree murder in the slaying of Dr. George Tiller.
Roeder's self-serving effort to justify this cold-blooded assassination was horrifying and we are heartened that the jury rejected his attempt at manipulation. While we, and the women Dr. Tiller helped, will forever mourn his loss, we take solace in the fact that justice today was served.
    Knocked Up: Feminist Filmmakers Celebrate Roe
January 22, 2010 was the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the U.S. We started celebrating a week early with "Knocked Up: Feminist Filmmakers Celebrate Roe," a film screening and discussion cosponsored by NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the feminist speaker bureau Soapbox, Inc.
Jennifer Baumgardner's documentary "I Had an Abortion," tells the stories of 10 women who have had abortion, from the days before Roe v. Wade to the present. "Obvious Child," co-written by NARAL Pro-Choice New York intern Anna Bean, is a short romantic comedy about an unplanned pregnancy, an abortion, and an unlikely first date. Following the screenings, representatives from NARAL Pro-Choice New York spoke to the packed audience about how we can break the silence around abortion and communicate our pro-choice values.
Thanks to everyone who participated! 
    Ruth Proskauer Smith, 1907-2010
NY RPS videoOn the eve of the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Ruth Proskauer Smith, a founding hero of the reproductive rights movement, passed away at the age of 102. From her work advocating for women's access to birth control in the 1940s to cofounding NARAL Pro-Choice America in 1969 with the goal of litigating against state abortion prohibitions, Proskauer Smith was a tireless advocate for reproductive freedom. In 2009, NARAL Pro-Choice New York honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award and produced this video as a tribute.
Please join us in honoring Ruth Proskauer Smith for her lifelong commitment to improving the lives of women.
    NARAL Pro-Choice New York in the News
"Democrats rally around Sen. Gillibrand as ex-Tenn. pol Harold Ford Jr. eyes run for New York seat," Michael Saul, The New York Daily News, January 7, 2010
"NARAL Uses Ford's Words Against Him," Elizabeth Benjamin, The Daily News Daily Politics Blog, January 8, 2010
"Newsflash: Democrats in New York Overwhelmingly Pro-Choice," Ben Adler, Newsweek The Gaggle Blog, January 8, 2010
"Stupak: Two More Years?!" Kate Harding, Salon's Broadsheet Blog, January 14, 2010
"Ruth Proskauer Smith: 1907-2010," Kelli Conlin, The Huffington Post, January 22, 2010

Toddlers & Tiaras: Getting "Smize" Completely Wrong and more...

Hilarious/disturbing stories from Jezebel.

Fri Jan 29 2010

living dolls
Toddlers & Tiaras: Getting "Smize" Completely Wrong
On last night's episode, one pageant grandma spent a considerable amount of time training her 7-year-old granddaughter to avoid squniting when she smiled. Tyra Banks would be severely disappointed that her tutelage was not heeded. MORE >>

book reviews
Marry Him: A Diet Book For Your Love Life
We've already argued at length against Marry Him's pro-settling premise, but reading the whole book reveals a whole new level of crazy. Lori Gottlieb's version of dating and marriage is basically calorie-counting for the soul. MORE >>

cover lies
Glamour Pees On Motorcycle, Tells You It's Raining
Glamour editors must think their readers are pretty dumb. From how to wash your face to what men are thinking, we didn't learn anything new this month. Well, except when it's appropriate to pee on your man's motorcycle. MORE >>

period pieces
Will Period Jokes Hurt The iPad?
One day of period jokes later, the snickering over Apple's new iPad is hard to avoid. Does it matter? MORE >>

Feminist Cheers & Jeers of The Week: Dr. Tiller's murderer Found Guilty; Teen Pregnancy Rises

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

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Young women still don't understand the importance of cervical cancer screening, a recent report indicates, Lauren Browne reports today. Various health advocates are taking steps to combat this lack of awareness during Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Check out our Commentoon
Does someone send you Women's eNews? Please help us grow and get your own free subscription today at

Roeder Found Guilty; Teen Pregnancy Rises

By WeNews Staff
Saturday, January 30, 2010


thumb pointing up
It took 37 minutes for a Wichita, Kan., jury to find Scott Roeder guilty of first-degree murder on Jan. 29 for killing Wichita abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Influenced by Christian televangelist Pat Robertson, Roeder admitted he felt his actions were justified by his religious beliefs.
Tiller was one of few doctors in the United States who performed late-term abortions.
Roeder now faces life imprisonment with the possibility of parole.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • In his Jan. 27 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama maintained he would not back away from health care reform and made several explicit promises that address the concerns of female voters. These included:
    • Creation of more loans through community banks for small business owners, many of whom are women;
    • A freeze on discretionary spending;
    • "Earmark Reform" challenging Congress members to make public where funds from private bills are going;
    • Increased support for community colleges where the majority of the student population is female, as well as an increase in federal aid for higher education;
    • An increase of the child care tax credit;
    • A repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians and those affected by the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy;
    • Increased enforcement of equal pay laws;
    • Fixing the "broken immigration system."
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Jan. 28 a Women's Action Plan that will focus on women's security and leadership in the public and private sector in Afghanistan. Clinton described the plan as "comprehensive, forward-looking agenda that stands in stark contrast to al-Qaida's recently announced agenda for Afghanistan's women," becoming female suicide bombers in the West, reported Ms. Magazine.
  • Legislation proposed last summer by the Nepali government to pay couples for remarriage when the wife is a widow has been prohibited by the nation's Supreme Court in a "Stay Order," reported Women for Human Rights. Lily Thapa, founder and executive director of the organization says she hopes that the funds initially proposed to encourage a dowry-like system will now go towards providing social services for single women and their children and to give the poorest widows monthly allowances regardless of age.
  • A new emergency contraceptive that could prevent pregnancy up to five days after intercourse has been hailed as an "exciting" step forward by pro-choice groups, Ireland's Belfast Telegraph reported Jan. 29. The drug, ulipristal acetate, provides a contraception 'window' of up to five days compared with three for the traditional emergency pill. New research indicates that the drug more than halved the risk of pregnancy compared with the 72-hour pill, levonorgestrel. Ulipristal acetate has been licensed for use in Europe since last May, but it's only available by prescription and costs three times more than the alternative drug, the Telegraph reported.


thumb pointing down
The nation's teen pregnancy rate rose 3 percent in 2006, the first such increase in more than a decade. The data reflect an increase of 4 percent in teen birth rates and a 1 percent rise in abortion rates. Seven percent of teen girls became pregnant in 2006, according to a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute.
There was a decline in teen pregnancy in the 1990s, but that decrease stalled in the early 2000s when sex education programs began exclusively promoting abstinence and were prohibited by law from discussing the benefits of contraception.
Unrelated research conducted by University of California Davis indicated coercion, partner violence and birth control sabotage are contributing factors to the rise in teen pregnancy, the Los Angeles Times reported this week.
"This study highlights an under-recognized phenomenon where male partners actively attempt to promote pregnancy against the will of their female partners," Elizabeth Miller, a co-author of the study, said in a news release. "What this study shows is that reproductive coercion likely explains why unintended pregnancies are far more common among abused women and teens" Jay Silverman, a co-author of the study and a professor at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a news release.
While the rise in teen pregnancy is being seen in all demographic groups, the gap between white teens and teens of color has returned to their higher levels.

More News to Jeer This Week:

A report released Jan. 28 indicated that Irish women struggle to overcome the financial, logistical, physical and emotional burdens imposed by restrictive laws and policies that force them to seek abortions abroad, without support from the state. Every year thousands of women and girls travel from Ireland to other European countries for abortions, according to the Human Rights Watch report, "A State of Isolation: Access to Abortion for Women in Ireland."


Jan. 29 was the one-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the law that reinstated women's rights to fight their employers in court for pay discrimination. While this was a positive step towards achieving equal pay for women, the U.S. Census bureau says women are still earning 77 cents to every dollar that a man earns. This could soon be changed if the Fairness Paycheck Act is passed in the Senate, Lilly Ledbetter, a Women's eNews 21 Leader, argued in an essay posted on the Huffington Post.

In Memoriam:

Ruth Proskauer Smith died Jan. 22 in her Manhattan home at age 102, according to The New York Times. She was the founder of the organization that is now known as Naral-Pro-Choice America. She earned a bachelor's degree from Radcliffe in 1932 and became a field worker for the Planned Parenthood League.
The Weekly Feminist News Digest is a service of the Feminist Majority Foundation, made possible through the support of individuals like you. Your contribution is vital to the continued success of our empowering work.

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Jan 29 2010
Roeder Guilty on All Counts
Scott Roeder was found guilty of first degree murder in the May 2009 death of George Tiller, MD, today by a unanimous jury after 40 minutes of deliberation...
Jan 28 2010
Some Feminist Issues Addressed in State of the Union Address
President Barack Obama mentioned several feminist issues in his second State of the Union address last night...
Jan 27 2010
Slaughter Speaks Out on Need for Comprehensive Sex Ed
Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) commented on the need for comprehensive sex education programs after the release of a study yesterday indicating that 2006 was the first year since 1990 where teen pregnancy rates rose in the US...
Jan 26 2010
Roeder Murder Trial Continues on Second Day
The trial of Scott Roeder, who has confessed to allegedly murdering George Tiller, MD, in May 2009, is continuing into its second day today...
Jan 25 2010
Boxer Pushes for Focus on Women at Upcoming Afghanistan Conference
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent a letter to President Barack Obama Friday urging a stronger focus on Afghan women and girls at an international conference on Afghanistan to be held in London this week. In her letter, Boxer indicated deep concern that women are "not being viewed as an essential element" in the US's Afghanistan stabilization strategy...


Jan 29 2010 - Clinton Speaks on Women and Girls at Afghan Conference
Jan 28 2010 - Student Non-Discrimination Act introduced in House
Jan 28 2010 - Lifetime Abortion and Contraceptive Rights Advocate Ruth Proskauer Smith Dies
Jan 27 2010 - Bill Introduced to Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks in NE
Jan 27 2010 - Bangladesh High Court Orders Protection for Flogged Rape Victim
Jan 26 2010 - Ultrasound Bill Approved by KY State Senate
Jan 26 2010 - Veil Debate Renewed in France
Jan 25 2010 - HI State Senate Votes for Civil Unions

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Friday, January 29, 2010

Weekly Feminist Jobs Digest

Weekly Feminist Jobs Digest: 1/22/2010 - 1/29/2010

The Weekly Feminist Jobs Digest is a service of the Feminist Majority Foundation, made possible through the support of individuals like you. Your contribution is vital to the continued success of our empowering work.
Donate Today!

New Feminist Jobs

(DC Metro Region - 1/27/2010)
Title: Phone Canvass Director
Organization: Working America AFL-CIO
(East Coast - 1/25/2010)
Title: Legislative and Field Director
Organization: Florida Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates
(International - 1/25/2010)
Title: Musawah Communications Officer
Organization: Musawah Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family
(Southeast - 1/27/2010)
Title: Public Safety Officer - Sergeant Position #'s 18850, 51551, 57545, 58669
Organization: Department of Public Safety - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

New Feminist Internships

(DC Metro Region - 1/25/2010)
Title: Communications Intern - Sping 2010
Organization: Center for Reproductive Rights

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Young Women Unaware How to Avoid Cancer "Down There"

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

Friday, January 29, 2010


Young women still don't understand the importance of cervical cancer screening, a recent report indicates, Lauren Browne reports today. Various health advocates are taking steps to combat this lack of awareness during Cervical Health Awareness Month.
 Check out our Commentoon

Young Women Unaware How to Avoid Cancer "Down There"

By Lauren Browne
WeNews correspondent
Friday, January 29, 2010
Young women still don't understand the importance of cervical cancer screening, a recent report indicates. Various health advocates are taking steps to combat this lack of awareness during Cervical Health Awareness Month.
(WOMENSENEWS)--Alison Borochoff-Porte has never missed an annual visit to her gynecologist. The 21-year-old Barnard College student gets regular cervical cancer screenings and has been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus.
She believes all women her age should do the same.
"I really hope that young women are going to the gynecologist," said Borochoff-Porte. "At the very least, you need an annual exam."
But a significant number of young women still do not understand the importance of cervical cancer screening, according to a national survey released in mid-January by the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation, a national organization of gynecologic oncologists based in Chicago. In fact, young women feel they know more about the hottest new music than they do about reproductive health. Past studies have shown similar results.
Several health organizations have launched Web campaigns to increase cervical cancer awareness in the month of January, designated by Congress as Cervical Health Awareness Month.
Better education is necessary, as it will help reduce the number of preventable deaths from the disease, women's health experts agree.
Cervical cancer is a slow-growing cancer most often caused by human papillomavirus, or HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. More than 11,000 American women were diagnosed with cervical cancer last year. The diagnosis rate is low among young women age 19 to 25--about 1.6 per 100,000 U.S. females, according to the National Cancer Institute--but concern remains high. More than 4,000 women died last year of the disease.

Simple Cancer-Prevention Test

Most, if not all, of these cervical cancer deaths could have been prevented with a simple screening test that detects abnormal cervical cells before they turn into cancer. Since its introduction in the 1940s, the Pap test has reduced the incidence of the disease by more than 70 percent. Still, cervical cancer remains the second most common cause of cancer death in American women ages 20 to 40.
Young women seem to be largely misinformed about cervical cancer, according to the Gynecologic Cancer Foundation survey of 1,006 females between the ages of 19 and 25. Some 85 percent of survey respondents said they did not believe they are currently at risk for cervical cancer. Two-thirds of the women did not think they were at risk for the HPV infection, even though the infection is common in this age group.
Nearly a quarter of the surveyed women said the Pap test had never been explained to them. About 1 in 5 thought the test was designed to detect ovarian cancer.
"The sheer magnitude of the lack of knowledge was surprising," said Linda Miller, the foundation's cervical cancer campaign specialist. "Lately there has been a lot of discussion about HPV among young women in this age group. We were amazed by the inadequate amount of information out there."
It's vital that young women are educated on cervical health and disease prevention, says Dr. Sharyn Lewin, a gynecologic oncologist at Columbia University Medical Center.
"Cervical cancer is both preventable and treatable," said Lewin. "We know that at least 60 to 80 percent of women in this age group are infected with HPV. Young women need to be aware of whether or not they are infected."
The consequences of not undergoing regular checkups can be serious. Of the women diagnosed with cervical cancer, 50 to 60 percent of them never had a Pap test, according to the Atlanta-based American Cancer Society. About 10 percent had not had a Pap test within the past five years.

Various Efforts to Educate

Credit: Flickr, Creative Commons, fortinbrasThe Gynecologic Cancer Foundation is one of several women's health organizations working to educate the general public about the disease. Its national campaign, funded by HPV vaccine manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline, is using spokeswoman and actress Mandy Moore to inspire young women to talk to their doctors about cervical health.
The Pearl of Wisdom Campaign to Prevent Cervical Cancer, led by the Upper Marlboro, Md.-based nonprofit Tamika and Friends, in collaboration with 21 national partners, aims to recruit more than 4,000 women to take the 'Pearl Pledge.' Participation requires that each woman schedule her annual exam, ask five friends to sign up and wear a Pearl of Wisdom pin to support cervical cancer prevention.
The National Cervical Cancer Coalition organizes the nation's annual Free Pap Test Day, held on the second Friday of January. Women who have not had a Pap test within the past three years can call participating gynecologists to schedule a free appointment. The coalition also provides Web information on how you can raise awareness about HPV and cervical cancer.
These campaigns all have one common message: no one should die from cervical cancer. Young girls should get the HPV vaccine early, ideally at around 11 or 12 years old, before they become sexually active. Young healthy women should talk to their doctors about the newly revised cervical cancer screening guidelines. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists now recommends women begin getting Pap tests at age 21, with repeat screenings every one to two years until the age of 30. Older women may be screened every three years.
Most importantly, young women should visit their gynecologist every year, regardless of whether they are being screened for cervical cancer.
"A lot of girls go to their gynecologist as their primary doctor for sexual health, STDs, family planning, even general concerns," said Debbie Saslow, director of breast and gynecologic cancers for the American Cancer Society. "Even if it is too soon to get a Pap test, girls need to go see a gynecologist."
Lauren Browne is a freelance medical journalist based in New York City. She is currently completing both a journalism degree at Columbia University and a medical degree at Duke University.

For more information:

National Cervical Cancer Coalition:
The Gynecologic Cancer Foundation:
National Cervical Cancer Public Education Campaign:
Pearl of Wisdom Campaign:

NYC for Change: How You Helped Haiti

Thanks to all those who attended our "Stand with Haiti" grassroots benefit. It was a moving night, perhaps best expressed in the words of an earthquake survivor who had just arrived in New York.
Soft-spoken and eloquent, she told her story in her native Creole. She reminded all of us how helpful each contribution was to the people of Haiti in rebuilding their nation. How she had seen so many children who were tired and sad, and who have no home to return to.
Through the generous contributions of our wonderful New York City community, we were able to raise $2,250 to help these children rebuild their future. Amity Hall, who had initially pledged 10% of their revenue, ended up donating much more, citing the worthiness of the cause.
Our heartfelt thanks goes out to them and to you. We know you took time out of your busy schedules to attend our event. And for those who could not attend, or would like to give more, please visit Partners in Health online, at
With kind regards,
Aliya Quraishi
NYC for Change
©2010 | NYCforChange New York New York 10025

NOW Applauds Guilty Verdict in Dr. Tiller murder Trial

NOW logo
For Immediate Release
Contact: Lisa Bennett, 202-628-8669, ext. 123; cell 301-537-7429
NOW Applauds Guilty Verdict in Roeder Trial
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
January 29, 2010
The National Organization for Women commends the jury in the Scott Roeder trial for its swift guilty verdict and for not being fooled by the outrageous defense claim of justifiable terrorism. Roeder sat on the stand this week and described the horrific ways he had planned to maim or kill Dr. George Tiller, and he admitted outright to murdering the doctor at his church last May.
The jury also found Roeder guilty of two counts of aggravated assault for aiming his gun at two ushers as he fled the church. With these three convictions, NOW is relieved that Roeder will most likely spend the rest of his life in jail. We will be closely watching the March 9 sentencing. However, we should not fool ourselves that this is the end of anti-abortion terrorism. Other courageous physicians like Dr. Tiller, who risk their lives every day to provide women with abortion care, remain targets of the radical right.
NOW urges the Department of Justice to investigate this network of anti-abortion terrorists. NOW leadership and our dedicated grassroots activists across the country, have been tracking and witnessing these terrorists at work for decades. Some of our own members have survived harassment and assault. NOW would be happy to share with the Justice Department any relevant evidence we might have that would help shut down this conspiracy to deny women their fundamental right to abortion through violence and the threat of violence.
### | Press Room | View Online | Subscribe

Need NYC volunteers for online Rape hotline

RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization, is seeking volunteers in the New York City area to assist sexual assault survivors on the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline.

The Online Hotline provides live, secure and anonymous help to the growing number of people who prefer communicating via the Internet. Volunteer on your home computer for only 8 hours per month. Make your time online count and help give hope.

For more information on volunteering, or to register for the March 20th-21st volunteer training session in NYC, please visit:

Please note: This is an online volunteer opportunity and involves little face-to-face interaction.

Please contact with any questions about volunteering with RAINN.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

NOW Echoes President Obama: Don't Quit on Women

NOW logo
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906
NOW Echoes President Obama: Don't Quit on Women
Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
January 28, 2010
President Obama's State of the Union speech was never expected to be a policy address about women's rights, but women were keenly listening to every line -- and paying close attention to the messages between the lines, or left unsaid altogether.
The president acknowledged the alarming state of the economy, and the fierce challenges facing workers, homeowners, retirees and young people. But he did not explicitly remind Congress that women are suffering disproportionately in the current recession -- seeing more foreclosures, less health care coverage, worse predatory loan practices and struggling to support their families on incomes depressed by a persistent wage gap.
The president called for better enforcement of equal pay laws; we also need stronger legislation, like the Fair Pay Act of 2007, that addresses the underlying causes of the wage gap -- the most important of which is that the vast majority of workplaces in this country are severely sex-segregated. Obama also called for repeal of the military's anti-LGBT Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, but notably through legislation rather than executive order. He criticized the recent Supreme Court decision that will "open the floodgates" to corporate money in electoral politics. He noted that his administration's civil rights division is finally prosecuting civil rights crimes and he touted the new hate crimes law, which covers gender, sexual orientation, disability and gender identity. He championed the rights of women in Afghanistan and Iran.
NOW calls on the president to hold tight to the values and ideals that he trumpeted. This includes passing health care reform that recognizes every woman's fundamental right to have access to the full range of health care services, including abortion and birth control. As to Obama's request for another way to reform health care while accomplishing the goals he set out, NOW suggests a single-payer plan.
Much of President Obama's speech centered on the economic recovery and job creation. We agree it's essential to strengthen the middle class through tax cuts, help people get into affordable mortgages, help families pay for college educations, limit loan repayment amounts, forgive college loan debt through public service, and revitalize community colleges. But more must be done, and a domestic spending freeze would lead us in the wrong direction. It would, for example, decimate funding for many battered women's shelters at a time when the recession is causing a spike in domestic violence rates. At the least, our swollen military budget should receive as much cost-conscious scrutiny as services for vulnerable women.
NOW was relieved when the bill to establish a "debt commission" -- a stealth attempt to cut Social Security and Medicare with little ability for input from elected legislators -- was blocked in Congress. The president's decision to go ahead with such a commission anyway, by means of executive order, raises serious concerns. Millions of older people, most of them women, rely on Social Security to keep them out of deep poverty. Cuts in Social Security benefits are not the solution to the economic disaster the president inherited from his predecessor.
This is a unique moment in our history, presenting important choices and possibilities. The president was right to champion "changing the tone of politics" over "the politics of no." We know where we stand on this equation, and where women stand. As Obama said, he does not accept second place for the U.S., and he should not accept second class status for the women of this nation. | Press Room | View Online | Subscribe

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gender Issues Must Move to Heart of World Economic Forum Agenda

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010


A gender-mindful approach should fuel the discourse and agenda at the World Economic Forum, which starts today in Davos, Switzerland, says Roxanne Mankin Cason. This change is possible, as there are people at the forum qualified to lead a new conversation.
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Gender Issues Must Move to Heart of Davos Agenda

By Roxanne Mankin Cason
WeNews commentator
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
A gender-mindful approach should fuel the discourse and agenda at the World Economic Forum, which starts today in Davos, Switzerland, says Roxanne Mankin Cason. This change is possible, as there are people at the forum qualified to lead a new conversation.
Roxanne Mankin Cason(WOMENSENEWS)--Many of the world's most powerful leaders are now gathering in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum, which starts today and ends Jan. 31. For years, the gathering was almost exclusively male and its discussions lacked consideration of the gender angle.
But change is more possible than ever and it is time for the World Economic Forum to move gender issues to the heart of its agenda.
Despite the lack of gender issues on past agendas, ironically the forum's annual Global Gender Gap report has become a trusted source of information on progress made--or the lack thereof--by the world's nations towards gender parity. Its premise is that a nation's well-being is correlated to the status of women. One has only to look at the top of the report's rankings, dominated by Scandinavian countries, to see the connection. At the bottom of the 2009 list: Yemen.
The discourse at the forum itself, however, hasn't been focused enough on the undervalued asset, in terms of human capital, represented by women and girls. Last year, during a Davos conversation on the collapse of Lehman Brothers, an investment bank, it was agreed that the 2008 economic crisis might have been averted had the firm been "Lehman Brothers and Sisters."
There is much more to say, though.
As this year's program explores its theme, "Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild," perhaps another word should be added: Reframe.

How to Reframe the Discussion

What topics might a reframed discussion include? Here are a few suggestions:
  • On the economy: Discussion of the global financial crisis at Davos could be informed by a recent report from the New York-based National Council of Research on Women. It asserts that women tend "to be more consistent in managing investments, to examine more conflicting data when making investment decisions and to be more methodical." Far short of critical mass, some reports indicate women currently manage only 3 percent of the trillions invested in hedge funds.
  • On global development: Those in Davos should heed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's January 6 speech on gender. In it she acknowledged that "women and girls are one of the world's greatest untapped resources," adding that, "the United States is taking steps to put women front and center in our development work." She characterized women as "those most responsible for growing the world's food, caring for the world's sick and raising the world's children." Clearly she knows the enormity of the problem--and the opportunity for real solutions.
  • On global stability and security: The evidence continues to grow for the link between gender equity and a nation's stability. Exxon Mobil has invested significantly in leadership, education and financial literacy for women and girls in Africa. Their work includes Ishrak, a program supporting Egyptian girls' education in which I am proud to be involved. The results have been dramatic--fathers who previously insisted on keeping their daughters home are now bursting with pride in their daughters' achievements and seeing the girls as valued assets.
  • On women's political leadership: Although men still dominate, glimmers of change abound. One example: the lower house of parliament in Rwanda, a nation driven by conflict, is 55 percent female, the highest in the world. These Rwandan women, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and other female leaders provide a laboratory for the positive change that's possible when women achieve critical mass in political leadership. Former U.S. Ambassador Swanee Hunt has for years, through her inclusive security work--where women from opposing sides in conflict areas are brought together for discussion and training--advanced women's leadership in 40 conflict areas around the world, including Rwanda and Liberia.

Issues Defy Easy Solutions

World Economic Forum How do we consider these and other vital issues, such as sex trafficking? It isn't easy. Christine Grumm, CEO of the global Women's Funding Network, cites a term from the field of social and technological innovation in describing these interconnected issues: "the wicked problem," one that defies easy solutions.
Isobel Coleman, writing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs about Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's groundbreaking book "Half the Sky," reminds us that the fundamental challenge around gender bias is cultural. "Many people in the West," she says, "too often ignore the problems confronting women in other parts of the world by dismissing, or even condoning, the oppressive practices there as those of a different culture." It is safe to say this mindset has been present in Davos.
That is changing, however, and there are those at Davos who are eminently qualified to lead the gathering in a new direction. The Gates Foundation, Exxon Mobil, Ernst and Young, Goldman Sachs, the Nike Foundation and many others are seasoned in integrating gender considerations into the collective conversation. If only others who are present could keep in mind their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and granddaughters--and extrapolate that awareness into their public thinking. The possibilities are positively breathtaking.
A gender-mindful approach should permeate the discourse at Davos. Let's reframe, rethink redesign and rebuild.
Roxanne Mankin Cason is a Women's eNews 21 Leader 2009 and currently serves as chair of the Global Advisory Education Board and as a trustee of Save the Children.

GOOD NEWS: Iranian feminists freed - help still needed

Feminist Majority Foundation - Equality around the world
Your Voices Are Being Heard -- We Must Continue Our Efforts!
Send an email to help keep up the pressure to ensure the release of these courageous feminist activists.
Tell Friends to take action to help the imprisoned Iranian women's rights activists - we need all the voices we can get!
The nearly 20,000 thousand letters you sent asking the Iranian government to release Noushin Ebadi, sister of human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, and other human rights activists from prison have made an impact! Thank you for your support - it makes a difference and we must continue our efforts.
Noushin Ebadi, sister of human rights activist Shirin Ebadi, and all arrested members of the activist group Mourning Mothers were released from prison! One Million Signatures campaign founder Mansoureh Shojaee and a number of other Iranian feminists, however, remain imprisoned. Help us keep up the pressure to ensure the release of these courageous feminist activists.
Demonstrations in Iran over the theocratic regime have resulted in numerous arrests and at least 9 deaths of demonstrators. The One Million Signature campaign pre-dates these demonstrations that began with challenges of national election fraud earlier this year. The One Million Signature campaign "demanding an end to discriminatory laws against women in the Iranian law," began in 2006. Periodically activists with the campaign have been arrested and detained in Evin prison.
Thank you for your ongoing support of women's rights and for taking action. Please take a moment now to continue your solidarity with imprisoned Iranian women's rights activists by sending emails to protest their imprisonment and to demand women's equality under the law and respect for universal human rights.
We must not be silent in the face of this oppression. Our voices are making a difference.
For Women's Lives,
Ellie Smeal
Eleanor Smeal

P.S. Your support and emails are helping - Please send an email to help Mansoureh Shojaee and the woman's rights activists who remain in jail be freed.
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WWE Champion Mick Foley Takes on Sexual Violence

January 2010

Pro Wrestler Mick Foley Finds His Next Opponent: Sexual Violence
Former WWE champion Mick Foley (aka Mankind, Cactus Jack), isn't a man accustomed to losing. Now he's found a new enemy, one even tougher than The Rock, whom Mick beat to win his first world championship. He has teamed up with RAINN to take on sexual violence.
Mick stopped by RAINN's office for lunch just before Christmas and announced that he and his wife Colette plan to donate to RAINN 50% of the advance royalties from his upcoming memoir, "Countdown to Lockdown." (The book includes a chapter about the origins of Mick's friendship with Tori Amos, RAINN's original spokesperson.) Mick has also begun training to become an Online Hotline volunteer, where he'll be able to help survivors one-by-one, and has lent his fame to the cause by doing media interviews to help us raise awareness and prevent rape.
Read more about Mick and his involvement with RAINN read more

 RAINN in the News
Incarcerated Youth at Risk in Juvenile Facilities
Incarcerated YouthAn estimated 12 percent of youth in state-operated and large locally or privately operated juvenile facilities reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another youth or facility staff.
Read more about this Justice Department report that identified thousands of young victims. read more

Justice Department Finding: 3.4 Million Stalking Victims/Year
StalkingThe Justice Department's newly released Stalking Victimization Report found that, during a 12 month period, an estimated 3.4 million persons age 18 or older were victims of stalking. Moreover, the report showed that stalking is not isolated from other crimes such as violence, dating violence and sexual assault, which also happen as part of a continuum in many victims' lives.
Nearly 75 percent of victims knew their offender in some capacity. Stalking victims most often identified the stalker as a former intimate partner (22 percent) or a friend, roommate or neighbor (16 percent).
Find out more about stalking and cyberstalking, including tips on how to protect yourself read more

Celebrities Come Forward and Speak Out
Stalking"It's now time to tell. And it's okay." That was actress Mo'Nique's message when she accepted a Golden Globe Award. According to ABC News, Mo'Nique has said she was able to use her own childhood experience to prepare for her role as an abusive mother in the film Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire."
"It's incredibly powerful when celebrities come forward and share their stories on survival," Katherine Hull, vice president for communications at RAINN, told "It tells other people they are not alone. And seeing someone who has experienced this crime, and has survived it and is thriving today, shows survivors and victims that recovery is possible."

Lawmakers Making a Difference
Orrin Hatch"I continue to work in the United States Senate to ensure that our nation's laws safeguard Utahns, as well as all Americans, and ensure that the needs of victims and the interests of justice are served. I am committed to being a voice for citizens who fall prey to sexual assaults, and I will continue to advocate for laws that bring sex offenders to justice and strengthen law enforcement tools and resources, such as RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotlines."
~ Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Amy Klobuchar"RAINN has long been at the forefront of national efforts to prevent sexual assault and has helped millions of victims, families, friends, and community members — all touched by violent crime. As a former prosecutor, I am proud to support the nation's largest anti-sexual assault organization and stand committed to joining RAINN in its efforts to improve services to victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice."
~ Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

Thank You and Happy New Year
RAINN would like to thank you once again for your generous support in 2009. If you made a donation in December, you know that one of RAINN's most generous supporters has already doubled your gift. Now is your chance to turn your $100 = $300. You can search our database to see if your employer will match your donation. If it will, all you have to do is send a form to RAINN and we'll do the rest. Search our employer list today.

Check out the New York Public Library's "Best of the Web" list, which features RAINN as a resource for information about sexual abuse. The selected websites are reviewed and chosen by the NY Public Library's librarians.

 More News
Volunteer Spolight:
Kayla Yasmine DeForest

Kayla DeForest"I volunteer for RAINN, as a way to give back to the community in a vitally important way. With each call, I'm constantly amazed by the courage of the survivor to get help, as well as the negligence, isolation, and societal norms which cause survivors to reach out for help behind the anonymity of an online crisis hotline—all too often because they are scared or feel unable to find help face to face within their own community. Volunteering for RAINN has taught me a lot about compassion and helped me to become a more aware and knowledgeable member of society!"
Learn more about volunteering for RAINN read more

Sharing Stories of Survival
Marnie Goodfriend, a RAINN Speakers Bureau member, bravely tells the story of her violent attack — a home invasion turned rape and robbery — and her journey to overcome it, in a new web clip featured on RAINN's YouTube channel. Marnie courageously sought help through RAINN's National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE), and now helps RAINN bring hope to others.
YouTube allows RAINN supporters and survivors to learn more about our work and how we directly support those in need. YouTube You can view Marnie's story, as well as other videos featuring celebrities like Christina Ricci, on RAINN's YouTube Channel. You can connect with RAINN by subscribing to RAINN01 or adding us as a friend!

Until the Violence Stops: V-Day
VDayStudents at Wesleyan University and other schools nationwide are gearing up to help RAINN through their participation in V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. Through V-Day campaigns, usually occurring between February and April, local volunteers and college students, including many of RAINN's supporters, produce benefit performances to raise funds to help victims and combat violence.
Learn more about supporting this global cause read more

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