Cheers and Jeers

U.S. Voters Favor Equal Pay; 2 Sex Scandals Erupt

Saturday, July 27, 2013

American voters overwhelmingly favor proposals that would provide women equal treatment in the workplace. But scandals surrounding two male politicians further flared up this week.




A rocket launches in the 2010 Team America Rocketry Challenge.
New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner.

Credit: Talk Radio News Service on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

American voters overwhelmingly favor proposals that would provide women equal treatment in the workplace and help them achieve a work-family balance, a national survey shows. Ninety percent of American voters favor policies that would help women get equal pay for equal work, and that would raise wages for women and families, and 72 percent support expanding paid family, parental and sick leave for working families, according to the poll.

More News to Cheer This Week:

North Carolina lawmakers passed a budget that includes $10 million to compensate the state's victims of forced sterilization, NBC News reported July 25. From 1929 to 1974 North Carolina forcibly sterilized thousands of men, women and children, usually without their consent.

President Barack Obama nominated former first daughter Caroline Kennedy as U.S. ambassador to Japan, the Associated Press reported July 24. If confirmed, she would be the first woman to occupy such a post.

Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the country's legislature's refusal to permit abortions for victims of rape, incest and pregnant women with fatal fetal abnormalities amounts to "unacceptable cruelty," Think Progress reported July 24. Shatter also called for a future referendum to expand abortion access to women who find themselves in those situations.

Seattle established a Gender Equality in Pay Task Force to address wage inequities among male and female city workers, according to an op-ed piece in The Seattle Times July 22. Mayor Mike McGinn announced the initiative on his official blog after a report was released by the National Partnership for Women and Families ranking Seattle as having the widest gender wage gap among the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas.

The U.S. Department of Education is investigating the University of Southern California and its handling of sexual assault cases, The Los Angeles Times reported July 22. Two current USC students said at a news conference that their 110-page complaint contains accounts from more than 100 students detailing problems with the university when handling reports of sexual assault. The complaint was filed last spring.

A federal judge in North Dakota issued a temporary block on the nation's most restrictive abortion law, known as the "fetal heartbeat" ban, MSNBC reported July 22. The judge said the law, which prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, was "invalid and unconstitutional."

The United Arab Emirates pardoned a Norwegian woman who was sentenced to jail for illicit sex after she reported being raped by a colleague while on a visit to Dubai, Reuters reported July 22.

Tour de France organizer Amaury Sport Organization is willing to discuss holding a women's cycling race alongside the men's event after a 24-year hiatus, Bloomberg reported July 22.

Jeers

Two scandals with U.S. politicians flared up this week. In New York, Anthony Weiner, a mayoral candidate, admitted to exchanging sexually charged messages with as many as three women since resigning from Congress in 2011, MNSBC reported July 24. "I don't believe I had any more than three," he said when asked by an Associated Press reporter how many women he engaged with online.

In this context, the National Organization for Women in New York City called on Weiner to drop out of the mayoral race, calling him "clearly and compellingly unfit for public office," The New York Times reported July 23. Weiner has refused to drop out of the race.

In reaction to the new revelations of Weiner sexting other women after his resignation, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh took on his wife, Huma Abedin, Mediaite reported July 25. Limbaugh said on air that "Huma is a Muslim" and, like so many Muslim women, she doesn't "have any power." Therefore, she could not have stopped Weiner from behaving as he pleases.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, Mayor Bob Filner has been disinvited from being the keynote speaker at an event on military sexual assault, after three women -- making the total number of complainants seven -- came forward this week and accused him of sexual harassment, The Huffington Post reported July 24.

Filner was also restricted from meeting with women alone at city facilities, ABC 10 News reported July 23. On July 22, his former communications director said he made her feel "ashamed, frightened and violated" and is unfit for his job. Irene McCormack Jackson, 57, is the first alleged victim to step forward since sexual harassment charges involving Filner broke out two weeks ago.

Against this backdrop, the San Diego County Sheriff's Office announced that it created a special hotline to handle sexual harassment complaints against the 70-year-old Democrat, Fox News reported July 21. The sheriff's office announced that it would be the lead investigative agency for any complaints against Filner and any information gleaned via the hotline would be turned over to the California attorney general's office for possible prosecution.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Former International Monetary Fund Chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will have to defend himself in a French court on charges of aggravated pimping, the Associated Press reported July 26. The case revolves around an alleged hotel prostitution ring and hinges on whether Strauss-Kahn knew he was partying with prostitutes and whose money was used to pay them. His lawyers have said Strauss-Kahn had attended "libertine" gatherings but did not know that some women there were paid.

Sixty percent of U.S. women's job gains since the recovery period began in 2009 have been in low-wage occupations, according to a new analysis by the National Women's Law Center, Think Progress reported July 24. This represents a big shift, as these jobs employed less than 15 percent of all working women in 2009. In contrast, just 20 percent of the jobs men have added since the recovery have been in these low-pay jobs.

Syria's female refugees are struggling with domestic violence and being exploited and harassed for sex by aid workers and strangers alike in Lebanon, the Daily Beast reported July 24.

Female presenters who wear figure-hugging outfits on Britain's Sky Sports are there to provide "window dressing" alongside their male colleagues, BBC presenter Gabby Logan said, The Independent reported July 23. Sky Sports rejected Logan's claims, saying it employed trained journalists who are "passionate about sport.

Thirty million girls are at risk of undergoing a genital cutting in the next decade although the practice is in decline, according to a report released July 22 by the United Nations Children's Fund. The study surveyed 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where female genital mutilation persists.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania looked at the reasons behind the divide between black and white women with breast cancer. They found that while a significant number of black women still receive inferior cancer care, the larger problem appears to be that black women get less health care over all, and that screening and early detection campaigns may have failed to reach black communities, The New York Times reported July 23.

Noted:

Sheila Oliver, who is running for the Democratic nomination in New Jersey's special U.S. Senate election, wants to give women and minorities a stronger voice in Congress, NJ.com reported July 23. "I am making a statement for women across New Jersey," Oliver, D-Essex, said.

Ariel Castro pleaded guilty to kidnapping and raping three women during a decade of captivity as part of a deal that will keep him in jail for the rest of his life but spare him the death penalty, the Chicago Tribune reported July 26.

An advertising agency is using women's thighs as a living billboard to catch the attention of people living in ad-saturated Tokyo, the Daily Mail reported July 23. So far more than 3,000 women have signed up to the scheme, which uses temporary tattoos of products or company logos.

The number of divorced and separated women in the United States is on the rise, according to a recent report by Bowling Green State University's National Center for Marriage and Family Research, The Huffington Post reported July 22. The report found that 15 percent of women in the United States are divorced or separated today, compared with less than 1 percent in 1920. The increase is mainly due to cultural changes.

Unmarried women, a key voting bloc for Democrats, are expected to vote less in 2014 than they did in the 2012 presidential election, reported U.S. News and World Report July 23. However the study indicates they may be motivated to turn out in greater numbers if candidates reach out on economic issues important to women, such as equal pay for equal work and protections for pregnant workers.

Amina Tyler, the imprisoned Tunisian member of the Ukrainian women's group Femen, is facing new charges following an altercation with a prison guard, the Associated Press reported July 22. Tyler has been in prison for two months for other charges and no trial date has been set.

In Memoriam:

Trailblazing White House journalist Helen Thomas died at age 92 after a long illness, CNN reported July 20. Thomas covered 10 presidents over nearly half a century and became a legend in the industry. She was considered the dean of the White House press corps because she was the longest-serving White House journalist. Thomas broke barriers by becoming the first female president of the prestigious White House Correspondents' Association and Washington's Gridiron Club. Read more in the Women's eNews story "Helen Thomas Leaves Her Front Seat on History."

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