Cheers and Jeers

To Do: End Gender Bias; Test's Control Subjects Die

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A U.N. specialist on population told an international parliamentarians' conference that the members had a duty to improve the status of women. In India, 254 members of a control group untested for cervical cancer died. The U.S. funded the research.

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Indian women in river;
 

Credit: Arturo Avila on Flickr, under Creative Commons

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

Women and girls are not commodities and must be treated as human beings with equal rights to those of men, Babatunde Osotimehin, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, told politicians from across the world at a conference in Stockholm, reported . Osotimehin told delegates that they had a duty to raise the status of women in their countries and to remind their heads of state of the commitments they made to improve the lives of women and girls.

More News to Cheer This Week:

A Saudi woman has become the first licensed female pilot in the kingdom, reported . Thirty-five-year-old Hanadi Al-Hindi, who had battled kidney problems, acquired licensing from the Jeddah-based General Authority of Civil Aviation to fly planes in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom's women are currently barred from driving cars.

Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. has been named No. 1 on Diversity Inc's Top 50 Companies for Diversity -- just four years after it lost a multi-million-dollar lawsuit for discriminating against women, reported . DiversityInc said the company's CEO has shown a "deep, visible" commitment to diversity, and the amount of women in top levels has doubled in the last five years.

With the results still being counted from Afghanistan's recent presidential election, the top United Nations official in the country urged efforts to ensure that women remain meaningfully engaged in the political process and improve political life there, reported . Speaking after a meeting with female parliamentarians in the capital Kabul, Jan Kubiš congratulated Afghan women on their participation in the elections--as voters, electoral workers, observers and candidates.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani admitted that women in his country still face discrimination and cultural barriers but he insisted they are not universally treated as second-class citizens. In a speech marking Women's Day in Iran, Rouhani criticized those who consider women's presence in society as a threat and said Iran still had "a long way to go" to ensure gender equality, reported . The remarks were followed by confirmation that the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had agreed to pardon or commute the sentences of some female prisoners.

A transitional home in Maine for women and children who are homeless is getting a boost from the state with a $20,000 donation, the reported . The home for women between the ages of 16 and 21 offers job training, parenting classes and other resources. The home can support up to four women with one or two children each for as long as 18 months. Most of the women who seek shelter at the home have experienced child abuse or domestic violence.

Jeers

The death of 254 women in India from modest backgrounds in the course of a 15-year U.S.-funded clinical trial has triggered a raging debate about its ethicality, reported . The trial was for a cervical cancer screening method and the women who died were part of a control group kept without screening to study death rates in unscreened populations.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Det Bowers, a pastor challenging Lindsey Graham in the South Carolina GOP Senate primary, said it was an "abominable idolatry" when wives love their children more than their husbands, reported . He added that in the "vast preponderance" of situations where men are adulterous, women are to blame because they have showered too much emotion on their children instead of their husbands.

Lawmakers in Louisiana are currently advancing a proposal that would require the state to keep incapacitated pregnant women on life support, even if their family members object, reported . Louisiana already has a state law mandating that, in cases when doctors are trying to decide how to approach life-sustaining procedures, "any ambiguity shall be interpreted to preserve human life," but some members of the legislature want to add specific language requiring doctors to keep women alive as their pregnancies advance.

Women don't need insurance coverage for birth control because they can purchase it at "any shop on the street," including a gas station like 7-Eleven, according to Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the current Archbishop of New York, reported . Dolan " last the weekend to defend for-profit companies' right to deny birth control coverage to their workers, an issue that's at the heart of a pending Supreme Court case. The archbishop argued that the most prominent plaintiff in that suit, Hobby Lobby, should have the right to refuse contraceptive coverage to thousands of its employees based on the owners' religious beliefs.

New Hampshire state Rep. Will Infantine, a Republican, explained that the pay gap between men and women stems from the fact that men work harder, take riskier jobs and are "more motivated by money" during a House speech against the state's paycheck equity bill, reported . "Men by and large make more because of some of the things they do. Their jobs are, by and large, more riskier," Infantine said. "They don't mind working nights and weekends. They don't mind working overtime, or outdoors in the elements."

The majority of the pay gap between men and women comes from differences within occupations, not between them -- and widens in the highest-paying ones like business, law and medicine, according to data from Claudia Goldin, a Harvard University labor economist and a leading scholar on women and the economy, reported . Rearranging women into higher-paying occupations would erase just 15 percent of the pay gap for all workers and between 30 and 35 percent for college graduates, Goldin found. The rest has to do with something happening inside the workplace such as flexibility in terms of hours and location.

Louisiana lawmakers are advancing a measure that would require abortion providers to distribute a pamphlet that includes information about the "alleged psychological effects of abortion" and lists names of mental health resources for women who are seeking assistance, reported . The pamphlet will be created by a 14-member task force that includes state lawmakers, psychologists and people who counsel women against having an abortion. Supporters argue that it advises women about the risks of mental health issues, when research has found that 90 percent of women report feeling relief.

The rate of unemployment amongst Saudi women in 2013 has been pegged at 34 percent, up 2 percent from the previous year, according to recent statistics issued by the Central Department of Statistics and Information. "I don't think it is the lack of jobs but the introduction of women in new sectors is a real challenge," said Khalid Al-Khudair, CEO of Glowork, an online platform for female employment based in Riyadh, reported . "Saudi women are entering many new industries, such as the tourist industry, but gradually."

A fifth of women have no pension savings within five years of retirement and will rely solely on the state pension in Great Britain, a report warns. A total of 30 percent of women over age 50 expect to work longer than previously anticipated compared to about a quarter of men (23 percent), reported . The report's findings indicate that the gender pay divide that most women experience in the workplace continues into retirement.

Two doctors have filed suit against University General Hospital in Dallas after the hospital revoked their admitting privileges because they provide abortions on their own time, off site, the reported . The law prohibits hospitals from discriminating against doctors because they provide abortions.

Noted:

Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for jokes she made about their captivity, but the outspoken comedienne has no plans to say she is sorry, "They got to live rent free for more than a decade," Rivers told the gossip site, reported .

A trend toward childlessness is gaining momentum in Italy, reported . Italy's birth rate has been far below the replacement rate for years. But now more couples with precarious jobs, low salaries and a late start together are opting to have no children at all. A quarter of Italian women end their childbearing years without children, compared with 14 percent in the U.S. and 10 percent in France.

More women than men favor hiking the minimum wage to $15 dollars, according to a new survey. Roughly 60 percent of women support raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour, compared to just 45 percent of men, across all income levels, reported .

In Memoriam:

Janet Gray Hayes, who became the first female mayor of San Jose, Calif., 40 years ago and sparked a late-20th-century women's movement in elective politics, died April 21 at the Saratoga Retirement Community where she had been living, reported . Hayes was 87.

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