The U.S. military’s ban on women serving on submarines has been lifted, the Associated Press reported April 30. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates notified lawmakers in mid-February that the Navy would be lifting the ban unless Congress took some action against it. Navy spokesperson Lt. Justin Cole said on April 29 that the deadline for Congress to act passed at midnight.
Women make up 15 percent of the active duty Navy, 52,446 out of a force of 330,700, the article reported.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- Female employees at England’s Birmingham City Council have won a sex discrimination case that is expected to pay out £600 million or more than $900 million U.S., reported Women’s Grid on April 29. Women in several types of positions, including care workers, cleaners and clerical workers, were excluded from bonus payments that were offered to men in the same pay grades. Unions representing the 5,000 women are estimated to be owed at least £30 million pounds but payouts should be more.
- Oh Eun-sun from South Korea is the first woman to climb the world’s 14 highest mountains, reported The New York Times on April 27. South Koreans have named her a national hero, reported The Times.
- A federal appeals court ruled on April 26 that thousands of female Wal-Mart employees can file a class action suit over allegations that they were paid less than men and given fewer promotions, The Washington Post reported April 27. The 6-to-5 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in San Francisco is the latest step in a nearly decade-long battle to bring the case to trial. The original class was comprised of women who have worked at Wal-Mart’s sprawling fleet of about 3,400 stores since 1998, initially estimated to number about 1.6 million, which would have made it the nation’s largest sex discrimination case. Wal-Mart said that it now plans to request a Supreme Court review of the ruling, but attorneys for the female employees hope the case will go to trial by the end of the year, the article reported.
- Wendy Stelter, 48, will be sworn in as the first female police chief in Milwaukee’s Chippewa Falls region, reported the Associated Press on April 26. Stelter has served the past 24 years with the Menomonie Police Department and will replace retired Chief Wayne Nehring.
- Omani businesswomen held a conference focusing on enlightening and empowering Omani women through business and technology on April 25, reported the Global Arab Network on April 23. "I am very excited about these workshops. They will help the next generation of businesswomen and entrepreneurs in Oman to effectively embrace the use of information technology in their business practices as well as learn leadership skills that really work," said the founder of the annual conference, Salma al Hashmi, in the article.
The Oklahoma Senate voted April 27 to override Gov. Brad Henry’s veto of two abortion measures, the Associated Press reported. The narrow override votes in the Republican-controlled Senate came a day after the Oklahoma House voted overwhelmingly to do the same. One of the bills will require women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion. The other measure will prohibit pregnant women from seeking damages if physicians withhold information or provide inaccurate information about their pregnancy. Supporters of that measure have said it is an attempt to keep pregnant women from discriminating against fetuses with disabilities, the article reported.
These votes mean the bills immediately will become laws. The Center for Reproductive Rights in New York launched a challenge to the ultrasound law on April 29. The law is "clearly unconstitutional and so detrimental to women in the state," said Stephanie Toti, staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, according to the organization’s Web site.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- At least 13 girls are suspected of being poisoned from an April 25 gas attack on a school in northern Afghanistan, reported Al Jazeera English on April 26. About 80 girls have reported symptoms including headaches, vomiting and shivering following three gas attacks in the Kunduz province, according to the article. The government reportedly said the attacks can be blamed on organizations that are against female education.
- Women are not as confident and educated as men when it comes to personal finance and investments regardless of advances at work and in school, reported The New York Times in its "Your Money" column on April 24. The column offers resources for women to help with personal finance through customized plans on the Web and in person.
- The Belgian Parliament agreed to ban Islamic face veils in public spaces on April 29, reported BBC News.
- April 26 was the first international "Boobquake," a global effort to induce earthquakes by exposing flesh, reported the Boston Herald on April 27. The event is in response to last week’s comment by Iranian cleric Imam Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi. Segighi said, "Many women who do not dress modestly . . . lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes." Purdue University senior Jennifer McCreight initiated the "Boobquake," creating a Facebook page with over 207,000 fans in support, as of April 26, the article reported. McCreight implored women to flesh it up for a 24-hour period to see if a concerted sporting of racy outfits could cause earthquakes.
- Europe’s first Christian equity index was launched April 26, the Financial Times reported. The fund is being marketed as a stock market for "socially responsible" investors that demand stability after the recent financial crisis, reported The New York Times DealBook Blog. The Stoxx Index is made up of 533 European companies, including BP, Vodafone and GlaxoSmithKline, whose revenues come from only approved sources in line with the values and principles of the Christian religion. A distinctive feature: It bans any companies that make contraceptives.
- Young Arab women who are not virgins before marriage have been flying to a medical clinic in Paris to undergo "hymenoplasty," reported BBC Radio 4 on April 24. Many women from conservative families have undergone the procedure, which re-connects the hymen. Under conservative views of some Arab families, women who are not virgins at the time of marriage can be punished or even murdered by their families for their lack of purity. Restoring the hymen takes about 30 minutes under a general anesthetic and can saved the lives of some women, according to the article.