Cheers and Jeers

NFL Toughens DV Policy; Emmys' Host Debases Latina

Saturday, August 30, 2014

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said that effective immediately there will be tougher penalties for any NFL employee found to have engaged in domestic violence or assault. Also this week, at the Emmys Bruce Rosenblum, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, asked actress Sofia Vergara to step onto a pedestal and show off her curves.

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Credit: Ryan Lejbak on Flickr, under Creative Commons

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Aug. 28 that he had mishandled the Ray Rice case, in which the Baltimore Ravens running back was suspended for two games after being accused of assaulting his fiancée, The New York Times reported. The suspension was announced late last month. Goodell said that effective immediately any NFL employee -- not only a player -- who is found to have engaged in assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involved physical force will be suspended without pay for six games for a first offense. Second-time offenders will be banished from the league for at least one year.

More News to Cheer This Week:

A government immigration board has determined for the first time that domestic violence victims may be able to qualify for asylum in the United States, The Associated Press reported Aug. 27. The ruling comes in the case of a Guatemalan woman who crossed into the U.S. without documents in 2005 after fleeing her husband.

Under state legislation signed last week in Chicago portions of fines collected from pimps, johns and traffickers will go into a dedicated fund to pay for specialized services to aid prostituted women, the Chicago Tribune reported Aug. 26. Other proceeds from johns, including vehicle impoundment, also are subject to the new rules. Some of the bill's sponsors and supporters concede that the legislation's true impact is uncertain, as it depends on whether law enforcement agencies across the state will refocus their efforts by punishing not prostitutes but johns -- the people who buy sex and are believed to be fueling the trade.

After years of being nickel-and-dimed, the city's mainly female school safety agents have won a huge pay-discrimination settlement from New York City, The Daily News reported Aug. 26. In a move timed to Women's Equality Day, the city announced it had settled a four-year-old lawsuit from a group of safety agents who were paid far less than their male counterparts. The suit was settled for $38 million as part of a new labor agreement with Teamsters Local 237. In April 2013 the Teamsters described the suit as the largest pay discrimination suit in the United States.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is circulating a plan to raise the city's minimum wage to $13.25 an hour over three years, followed by annual boosts keyed to inflation, according to business representatives and City Hall officials, the Los Angeles Times reported Aug. 26. The action is expected to be announced on Labor Day. Women are the majority of the nation's low-wage workforce.

Aug. 26 was the annual celebration of U.S. women's suffrage and the day had a good run on Twitter via the hashtag #WomensEqualityDay.

L'Oréal USA has become the first company in the U.S. to be certified with the EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) global standard for workplace gender equality, the company announced Aug. 26 in a press statement. The EDGE assessment is the only business certification for gender equality in the workplace that is universally applicable across industries and countries. Since its launch at the World Economic Forum in January 2011, more than 60 companies in 29 countries use the EDGE assessment methodology and certification process to create an optimal, balanced workplace for men and women.

The Center for Reproductive Rights has joined a federal lawsuit challenging a Louisiana law that would restrict abortion access set to take effect Sept. 1, Ms. Magazine reported Aug. 25. The suit, filed on behalf of health care workers in Baton Rouge, seeks an injunction against Louisiana HB 388, which requires abortion providers in the state to obtain local hospital admitting privileges. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed the law in June. In its complaint, the Center for Reproductive Rights argued that the law makes an impossible demand since hospitals will not be able to respond to providers about admitting privileges before the law takes effect.

England's female rugby stars have been given the chance to turn professional in an attempt to add Olympic sevens gold to their recent World Cup victory, the U.K.'s The Times reported Aug. 25.

Jeers

At the Emmy Awards earlier this week, Bruce Rosenblum, chairman of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, asked "Modern Family" star Sofia Vergara to step onto a pedestal that then rotated 360 degrees, showing off the Latina star's famous curves while he talked about the state of the television industry, Time reported Aug. 25. Vergara played along dutifully until a certain point. "Okay enough, enough," Vergara eventually protested, climbing off the pedestal, "that's why I stopped doing the car shows!"

More News to Jeer This Week:

Media critic Anita Sarkeesian was forced to leave her home after releasing the latest installment of her Web series, which focuses on how women are depicted in pop culture and video games, Think Progress reported Aug. 28. Sarkeesian suffered an onslaught of online harassment after posting the video, escalating to the point where she called law enforcement and fled her home.

Family members and U.S. officials say the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militant group has been holding an American woman hostage in Syria since last year, CBS News reported Aug. 26. The woman had been working for several humanitarian aid groups when she was kidnapped. The U.S. government and the woman's family requested she not be named for fear of her safety.

A group of high school girls in Noble, Okla., were left crying and humiliated after they claim they were called out in front of the entire school for what they were wearing, KFOR.com reported Aug. 25.

Noted:

The "active shooter" alert at Fort Lee Army Base in Virginia was prompted when a female soldier entered a building with a gun and fired once, injuring herself, authorities said, ABC News reported Aug. 25.

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as "intolerant," "lacking in compassion" and "stuck in the past," Politico reported Aug. 27. Women are "barely receptive" to Republicans' policies, and the party does "especially poorly" with women in the Northeast and Midwest, according to an internal Crossroads GPS and American Action Network report. It was presented to a small number of senior aides this month on Capitol Hill. The report -- "Republicans and Women Voters: Huge Challenges, Real Opportunities" -- was the product of eight focus groups across the country and a poll of 800 registered female voters this summer.

The sister of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers was arrested on charges that she threatened to bomb a Harlem woman she was feuding with, The Daily News reported Aug. 27. Aliana Tsarnaev, 23, of North Bergen, N.J., the sister of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was charged with aggravated harassment and was awaiting arraignment.

A study released Aug. 27 found that increasing San Francisco's minimum wage would give raises to 23 percent of the city's workforce, helping to reduce the city's growing income inequality, the Huffington Post reported. The report says about 142,000 workers would see their wages rise as a result of the proposed law. In a gender breakdown the report finds 26 percent of female workers and 21 percent of male workers would receive pay increases.

In Minnesota, nearly 27,000 home care workers chose to unite with Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Minnesota, the union said in an Aug. 26 press statement. Earning a living wage and improving the quality of care for Minnesota seniors and people with disabilities were listed as prime reasons for joining the union. Minnesota home care workers are primarily female, middle-aged and living near poverty, the SEIU said.

The Labor Department has chosen Heidi Shierholz, a well-known advocate for worker-friendly labor policies, as its next chief economist, a Wall Street Journal blogger reported Aug. 25. Shierholz is currently an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning Washington think tank, where she has conducted research on wealth inequality and long-term unemployment, among other topics. She replaces Jennifer Hunt, who earlier this year moved to a post in the Treasury Department. Shierholz recently testified at a congressional hearing where she advocated for a higher minimum wage, more overtime pay and new union protections in order to boost workers' earning power.

During her 15 minute performance at MTV's VMAs award show earlier this week, the singer Beyonce used a sample from novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED speech "We should all be feminists" in her song "Flawless," spurring mixed reaction, the U.K.'s The Independent reported Aug. 25. Many took to Twitter to praise the superstar for promoting feminism through popular culture and for helping to break down the negative stigma surrounding the word. However, others were concerned that the singer's version of feminism appeared to have been interpreted as overt objectification.

Militant group Boko Haram has said it has set up an Islamic state in the towns and villages it has seized in north-eastern Nigeria. Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau made the announcement in a video released to congratulate his fighters for seizing the town of Gwoza earlier this month, the BBC reported Aug. 25. Gwoza is not far from Chibok, where Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photo journalist Mary Calvert, a former Washington Times staffer, has compiled a photo essay that attempts to expose the widespread sexual harassment of women in the U.S. military that is going unreported, the Mail Online reported Aug. 24 in an article carrying a large sampling of the haunting photographs. Calvert says an estimated 26,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place in the armed forces last year, however only 1-in-7 victims reported their attacks.

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