Title IX Protected; Guatemalan Killings Continue

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to consider reinstating a lawsuit that challenged the law that mandates equal opportunity for women and girls in sports, reported The Associated Press.

At issue was whether the law, known as Title IX, discriminates against male athletes because it requires that the ratio of male to female athletes be similar to the overall composition of the student body. In this case, a group of male wrestlers argued that enforcing what they called “quotas” undermined men’s sports.

The Supreme Court, without comment, rejected the appeal.

“After almost four years, we hope the last word on this case has been spoken,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. “Title IX cannot be blamed for cuts to men’s teams. It’s high time the wrestlers stopped using this important law as a scapegoat for their own problems.”

Other Things to Cheer About This Week:

  • Lawmakers on Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court’s recognition of a constitutional right to privacy, with a push for legislation that would combat efforts to restrict access to birth control. The Griswold case laid the groundwork for widespread access to birth control and set a precedent later used to legalize abortion.

    Meanwhile, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has urged passage of a bill that would increase funding by $100 million to programs that provide family planning services and aim to raise awareness of contraception and prevent teen pregnancy. The bill would also expand private health care coverage of FDA-approved prescription contraceptives and related medical services.

  • Democratic and Republican senators introduced Wednesday legislation that would renew authorization of funding for programs aimed at addressing violence against women. Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, a champion of the original 1994 Violence Against Women Act, said this year’s bill should address battered women’s housing needs, provide more job security for abused women, focus on the effects of domestic violence on children and teens and ease immigration ties that bind battered immigrant women to their abusers.
  • For Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat from Washington State, the elections are finally over. A judge on Thursday upheld her victory against her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, according to the Washington Post. The ruling put an end to a seven-month legal battle over a nail-biter contest last November.
  • Japan plans to revise a 1947 law that restricts women from working in tunnels and mines, Kayo Rokumoto, a labor ministry official, said Wednesday. Rokumato said the recommendation to lift the 60-year ban was based on the growing numbers of female engineers, according to The Associated Press. Critics of the law say that the labor restriction resulted from outdated religious beliefs about the impurity of women. The revised law could be approved in 2007.
  • The Kuwaiti cabinet named two women–royal family member Fateema Al Sabah and engineer Fawzia Al-Bahar–to Dubai’s main planning and development council on Sunday, reported Reuters. In a majority vote on May 16, the Kuwaiti Parliament gave women the right to vote.
  • A group of nearly 100 Iranian women challenged restrictions on women’s presence at soccer matches when they attended a World Cup qualification match between the national team and Bahrain on Wednesday, according to Radio Free Europe. Women’s attendance at games has emerged as a presidential election issue for frontrunner Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who favors lifting the ban.
  • Louise Harel replaced Bernard Landry as the leader of the Parti Quebecois in Canada. Women now hold almost all influential positions in the major political party, reported Canadian newspaper Thursday. The Quebec National Assembly is almost one-third female, one of the highest percentages in the world.
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday created an inter-ministerial task force for eliminating violence against women in the country, reports the Chinese Xinhua General News Agency. Many Afghan women, especially those living in rural areas, are forced into marriages, sometimes as children, and suffer extreme physical abuse, which can include honor killings.
  • The United Nations Development Fund for Women announced on Thursday the release of a new electronic library on CD-ROM that contains multimedia materials, research tools and comprehensive studies on the gender dimension of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to a press release.
  • The New York State Assembly passed the Healthy Teens Act on Tuesday to fund age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education, according to a press release by the Family Planning Advocates of New York State. The bill provides teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease prevention strategies to school districts, school-based health centers and community organizations.
  • A new law requires twice as many toilets for women than men in New York City’s newly built and renovated arenas, bars, convention halls and movie theaters, reports Newsday. Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed the “potty parity” bill on Monday.
  • For more information:

    Amnesty International–
    “Guatemala: No protection, no justice: killings of women and girls –
    Facts and Figures”:
    http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAMR340252005

    Family Planning Association of New York State–
    Healthy Teens Act Press Release
    :
    http://www.getthefactsny.org/documents/PR-ApassesHTA.pdf

    UNIFEM–
    Gender and HIV/AIDS Electronic Library:
    http://www.unifem.org/resources/item_detail.php?ProductID=39


    Jeers

    Over 500 women and girls were killed in Guatemala in 2004 and the killings continue to rise, according to a report released Thursday by the human rights organization Amnesty International.

    The report, based on numbers provided by the Guatemalan National Police Force, criticized the Guatemalan government for failing to properly investigate and prosecute the killings.

    “The lack of proper investigations and convictions in cases of killings of women and girls in Guatemala sends the message that violence against women in the country is acceptable,” the organization said, noting that many victims were killed in exceptionally brutal circumstances and that the real numbers of women killed remains unknown because of a lack of attention to the problem by authorities.

    Women accounted for 4 percent of all killings in 2002 and 12 percent in 2004, according to government records. To date, only 9 percent of the cases have been investigated.

    Other Things to Jeer About This Week:

  • Adrienne Germain, president of the New York-based International Women’s Health Coalition, in a press release on Thursday criticized the United Nations 2005 progress report on its Millennium Development Goals, saying the report provided little clear guidance to improve the lives of girls and women worldwide.

    The U.N. progress report notes that women and girls are disproportionately vulnerable to HIV/AIDS and that education and services to females were essential but, according to Germain, no specific commitments to eradicating the problems were made. The press release notes that the underlying forces of the HIV/AIDS pandemic include violence against women, child marriage and gender discrimination.

  • The Iranian Guardian Council barred 89 female candidates from running in the upcoming June 17 presidential elections, leading to demonstrations by women in Tehran in front of the presidential palace, reported the official Islamic Republic News Agency on Thursday. Earlier, a member of the Iranian Guardian Council called women “incompetent to take up presidential responsibilities,” according to Iran Focus, a nonprofit news agency in the Middle East.
  • Norway, Switzerland, Denmark and Canada governments pulled their names off a Turkish women’s rights poster after the Turkish government criticized the four countries for intervening in Turkey’s internal affairs, reported The Turkish Daily News Friday. The poster by the Women’s Platform on the Turkish Penal Code is part of a campaign to raise public awareness of new domestic violence and rape laws in the country.
  • — Allison Stevens contributed to this report.

    Kamelia Angelova, an intern at Women’s eNews and a freelance reporter based in New York City, studies Journalism and Political Science at Hunter College. Allison Stevens is Washington Bureau Chief at Women’s eNews.


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