New Era for Female Pols; Chemo Rations Shorted

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

The influence of women in U.S. electoral politics bodes well for the entry of New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton into the presidential race, the Washington Post reported Jan. 21.

In the last presidential election, 9 million more women than men voted. Although Clinton has had “rocky moments with female voters” in the past, a Jan. 19 Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that she has a 59 percent favorable rating among U.S. women nationwide. Among women over 55, Clinton’s approval rating has improved by 10 percentage points in the past year. In addition, Clinton enjoys an advantage among younger women, low-income women and women of color.

“Over the last 35 years, the political climate has changed to make women more acceptable to Americans at all levels of office,” Ruth B. Mandel, director of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, told the Post. “And now, finally, the moment has arrived when we have a candidate ready to make that leap and a public that can see a woman in that role.”

At the same time, Republicans in the House of Representatives plan to recruit more female candidates to run in the 2008 election in an effort to help regain some seats lost in the midterm election, when the party lost control of both houses of Congress, the Hill newspaper reported Jan. 23.

“I think women candidates, as a rule, make better candidates than men,” Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, told the Hill. “We have not put the emphasis on finding and recruiting them that we should.”

Among female lawmakers, Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 2-to-1. Cole said he would name a woman as the party commission’s recruitment chair.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • A group of Israeli women has petitioned the nation’s high court to prohibit bus companies from telling women to sit in the back in Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods, Reuters reported Jan. 24. Some members of the Orthodox sects of Judaism follow teachings that ban any public contact between men and women. The Israeli government has recently backed transport companies that run gender-divided buses on 30 public routes.
  • The United Nations will deploy its first all-female peacekeeping force to the conflict-torn West African nation of Liberia on Jan. 29, the Associated Press reported. The 103-member team, which has trained since September and is drawn from India, will help conduct local elections and assist with prison security.
  • Under pressure from activists and eager for approval to join the European Union, Turkey has launched a major campaign against honor killings, the Los Angeles Times reported Jan 21. Pop stars and soccer celebrities have produced TV spots and billboard ads condemning violence against women, while Turkish imams have declared honor killings a sin.
  • More than 500 international manufacturers of cosmetic and body care products have vowed to eliminate toxic ingredients from their products, the San Francisco-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics announced Jan. 25. The pledge’s signatories have agreed to replace ingredients linked with cancer, hormone imbalances and birth anomalies with safer alternatives by 2010.
  • Three hundred men have joined a Burlington, Vt., campaign against domestic abuse, the Burlington Press reported Jan. 23. Members of the White Ribbon Campaign, which was formed last December, wear white ribbons to symbolize their commitment to challenging violence against women. Members agree to speak to at least one boy and man to raise awareness.
  • Saudi Arabia’s most prominent princess, Lolwah Al-Faisal, said that she would allow women to drive if she were queen for a day during comments made at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the Times of London reported Jan. 25. Al-Faisal is vice-chair of the board of trustees and general supervisor of Jeddah’s Effat College. Her remark was broadly received as a direct challenge to the nation’s driving ban, imposed by religious order in 1990.

For more information:

“Bus Beating Puts Orthodox Women on Online Alert”:
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/3007/

“Report Says Abuse by U.N.’s Blue-Helmets Persists”:
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2493/

“Activists Push for Safer Ingredients in Makeup”:
http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/1811/



Jeers

A study in the Jan. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that income, physical fitness and education are linked to the amount of chemotherapy a woman receives in the first phases of breast cancer treatment.

As many as half of cancer patients are not entering treatment with enough medication, concluded the study, conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan who based their findings on data from 764 randomly selected patients.

Women with lower incomes, less education and higher body mass indexes received less chemotherapy than they need. Of women who lacked high school diplomas, 32 percent did not receive enough treatment, compared with 14 percent of high school graduates. Twelve percent of patients with average BMIs received sufficient treatment, while nearly 22 percent of obese and severely obese women did not.

“With somebody whom you have more in common, whether it’s education level or other socioeconomic factors, you’re more able to negotiate side effects,” lead author Jennifer J. Griggs told Reuters.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • About 1 in 5 women living in India go through menopause by the age of 41 due to chronic malnutrition and poverty, the Australian News reported Jan. 24. A study found that 3.1 percent of Indian women reached menopause between 30 and 34; 8 percent by the age of 39; and 19 percent by age 41. Early menopause is most common in rural areas and among women who are illiterate and have a low body mass index.
  • China will need 15 years to correct its gender imbalance, according to Zhang Weiqing, head of the nation’s National Population and Family Planning Commission, Reuters reported Jan. 23. In 2005, there were 118 boys to every 100 girls born in China. Zhang said the nation will campaign to protect girl babies, but will not change its one-child policy.
  • The League of Displaced Women, a center in Cartagena, Colombia, that served as a meeting place for women and children displaced by violence and as a human rights training facility, was destroyed in an arson attack, Reuters reported Jan. 23. The center also functioned as a school for 140 children and has won several human rights prizes. The United Nations will fund reconstruction efforts.

Noted:

Concerned that useful varieties of birth control pills could be shut out of the market, a government panel of health experts advised the Food and Drug Administration not to set standards on the effectiveness of newer birth control pills, the AP reported Jan. 25. Since the 1960s, hormone dosages in birth control pills have been lowered to reduce the risk of side effects. This practice has made newer pills less effective than their earlier counterparts in preventing pregnancy, but it has reduced the risk of serious blood clots and stroke.

In Memoriam:

Julie Winnifred Bertrand, the oldest known woman in the world, was 115 when she died on Jan. 18. Bertrand was born on Sept. 16, 1891, in Coaticook, Quebec, and had lived since 1972 in the Montreal nursing home where she died, her nephew told the Montreal Gazette. “She was tough, feisty and self-sufficient,” he said. Bertrand, who was the eldest of six children, never married.

Toyin Adeyemi is an independent journalist based in New York City. Nouhad Moawad oversees Women’s eNews’ Arabic site.

Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at editors@womensenews.org.


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