Cheers and Jeers

Clinton Says Roles Improving; Mass Assaults in Egypt

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Prospects and the appreciation for women's roles are improving everywhere from Liberia to Japan, says Hillary Clinton. Yet, during celebrations for Egypt's new president, Tahrir Square was the site of a series of sexual assaults.

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Hillary Clinton

Credit: Valsts kanceleja/State Chancellery on Flickr, under Creative Commons

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

Women around the globe continue to face a double standard when being judged as leaders, Hillary Rodham Clinton says, but their prospects and the appreciation for their roles are improving everywhere from Liberia to Japan. In an interview with about her new book, "Hard Choices," said a woman running for president in 2016 (whether her or someone else) would encounter a different and friendlier political landscape than she did in 2008.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Actress Angelina Jolie and British Foreign Secretary William Hague opened a conference on June 10 in London that focused on combating sexual violence in war zones, reported. "We must send a message around the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence, that the shame is on the aggressor," Jolie said.

Seven couples sued North Dakota for its same-sex marriage ban, making it the latest state to have its marriage prohibition challenged in court, the reported . The couples hope the ban is declared unconstitutional and overturned. "North Dakota has targeted a minority of individuals for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation," the complaint reads.

Jill Abramson, former executive editor at The New York Times, will teach narrative nonfiction at Harvard University in fall 2014, reported . The paper's publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. abruptly fired Abramson last month, shocking the media world and prompting investigation into the actual reason for her dismissal.

Congregants at a prominent New York City church made history by selecting their first female leader, The New York Daily News reported . The Rev. Amy Butler was elected to lead Riverside Church, becoming the first woman to serve as senior minister in the 84-year history of the nondenominational congregation.

The Vera Institute of Justice has developed a tool making it easier to identify human trafficking survivors, a released found. The tool is a 30-topic that asks potential survivors to provide evidence of human trafficking. The study found that out of 180 participants, 53 percent were found to be trafficking survivors.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged politicians to work together to protect women, reported . Modi's comments were made in response to the gang rape and lynching of two female teens last month. "We are playing with the dignity of women. Respect for women, their security--it should be the priority for all 1.2 billion people," he said. The female teens, aged 14 and 12, were kidnapped, raped and lynched on May 27.

Women's Health Research at Yale will fund studies on vital women's health issues such as debilitating and lethal diseases, reported . The pilot project will fund studies on women's health and gender specific medicine.

Lego will add a female astronomer, paleontologist and chemist in a limited edition box set, the company June 3. Called "Research Institute," the mini figure set was designed by Ellen Kooijman, a geochemist at the Swedish Museum of Natural History.

The United Nations and its partner Pampers, the diapers company, vaccinated 100 million women and their newborns in 25 countries to prevent maternal and neonatal tetanus, a . press release reported . Tetanus claims the lives of 58,000 of infants each year.

Jeers

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi paid a visit early June 11 to one of the Tahrir Square victims of mass sexual assault, reported. During celebrations held by supporters of El-Sisi over the past week for his victory in the presidential elections and up until his inauguration, Tahrir Square was the site of a series of mass sexual harassment and assault incidents. In a video report aired June 10 on national TV, El-Sisi was shown apologizing to the victim, as well as to all Egyptian women subjected to sexual abuse. He also vowed to implement tougher measures against the crime.

Shortly afterwards, a statement from Egypt's presidency declared the intended formation of a committee comprised of government officials as well as Muslim and Christian spiritual leaders to devise a strategy to combat the growing phenomenon of sexual harassment.

Last week, Egypt introduced new punishments for sexual harassment in an effort to crack down on the worsening problem, reported . In a decree issued by outgoing interim President Adly Mansour, sexual harassment is now a crime punishable by up to five years in jail. Until now, Egypt had not had a law defining sexual harassment.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Eighty-seven thousand petitioners under the anti-sexism group UltraViolet have urged the Washington Post to address the recent sexist content in its opinion pages, Ultraviolet reported in a press release about the June 11. The signatories demanded the Post fire George Will, an opinion writer who authored offensive pieces, as a stand against the sexist content it published.

Boko Haram affiliates captured at least 20 women in northeastern Nigeria in broad daylight, reported June 11. The women were taken from a town only about 5 miles from where Boko Haram took 200 schoolgirls almost two months ago.

Women make up a mere 2.6 percent of the highly paid construction jobs in the U.S., according to a National Women's Law Center published . The statistic, which has remained static for 35 years, calls attention to "the discrimination that blocks women from entering and staying in this nontraditional field"--specifically, sexual harassment, gender-based stereotypes and lack of training.

African Union peacekeepers have been implicated in the enforced disappearance of four women in the Central African Republic, reported . Twenty Congolese soldiers from the peacekeeping force detained four women and seven men after an insurgent group killed a Congolese peacekeeper and wounded others.

The Vital Records Office in Wisconsin will not yet process the marriage licenses of hundreds of same-sex couples that have already been married in the state, reported . Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen requested an emergency stay on June 9 to keep marriage licenses from being issued to same-sex couples, reported. Van Hollen's decision came days after a federal judge declared the state's ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. Couples who married before the stay was issued will not have their marriage documents recognized until further instruction is given.

A bill moved to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's desk on June 9 that requires hospitals to keep brain-dead women on life support to protect the fetus, even if the woman's family members object, the reported. Known as Bill 1274, the legislation indicates that if a woman is at least 20 weeks pregnant, her doctor must keep her on mechanical support unless her will specifically states that she does not want to be on life support. Jindal is expected to sign the bill.

Noted:

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, current White House budget director, will serve as the 22nd secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, the reported . Burwell will replace Kathleen Sebelius and oversee the largest domestic department.

Women who have experienced sexual violence in conflict need help to get their lives back on track in the form of compensation, said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the head of UN Women, reported . The impact of fighting is felt on multiple fronts for women – physically, emotionally and economically. However, when conflict ends, they often miss out on compensation.

Samuel Curtis Johnson III will serve four months in jail for sexually assaulting a female teen but will not be registered as a sex offender, the reported . Johnson will also pay a $6,000 fine. The S.C. Johnson heir was charged in 2011 with indecently touching a girl when she was between the ages 12 and 15.

A new graphic novel illustrates Private Chelsea Manning's experiences being tried and imprisoned, reported . The United States vs. Private Chelsea Manning uses real time sketches and quotes from the trial of Manning. The Defense Department is considering the U.S. Army request to move Manning, who is transgendered, to a civilian prison so she can receive hormonal treatment, the reported .

One-third of sexually active U.S. women used withdrawal, often in combination or rotation with other contraceptives, in the last 30 days to prevent unintended pregnancies, the Guttmacher Institute June 6.

In Memoriam:

Award-winning actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee died at age 91, reported . Friendly with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, Dee was considered a "formidable force in both the performing arts community and the civil rights movement."

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