Primaries Include Pro-Choice Wins; Poverty Climbs

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

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Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and progressive feminist Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., won in their primaries Sept. 15, reported Ms. Magazine Sept. 16. Both candidates are pro-choice and supporters of women’s rights legislation. They both had big wins despite seemingly strong opposition. Maloney received 80 percent of the vote, while Kuster won 71 percent, according to the article.

Also winning in congressional primaries Sept. 15 were the following pro-choice females, who did not have strong challenges: Donna Edwards, D-Md., Congressional District 4; Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md.; Carol Shea Porter, D-N.H., Congressional District 1; Nikki Tsongas, D-Mass., Congressional District 5; Gwen Moore, D-Wis., Congressional District 4; and Tammy Baldwin, Wis.-D, Congressional District 2.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • President Barack Obama announced the appointment of Elizabeth Warren as assistant to the president and special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, according to a Sept. 17 White House press release. Warren will play the lead role in setting up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and ensuring it is as effective as possible. Obama said that Warren is responsible for creating "a watchdog for the American consumer" and is "charged with enforcing the toughest financial protections in history," reported USA Today Sept. 17. Warren is a Harvard law professor who first proposed the idea for such an agency, which became a centerpiece of the new Wall Street regulations that Obama signed into law earlier this year, the article reported. Warren was also a frequent contributor to Women’s eNews in 2000 criticizing the U.S. bankruptcy law.
  • Providing young women an education resulted in saving the lives of more than 4 million children worldwide in 2009, reported the Associated Press Sept. 16. American researchers found that for every extra year of education women had, the death rate for children under five dropped by almost 10 percent. In 2009, they estimated 4.3 million fewer children died because women of childbearing age in developing countries were more educated. Educated women tend to use health services more and often make better choices on hygiene, nutrition and parenting.
  • The OneStopPlus.com show had the first runway ever to feature plus-size designs during New York City’s Fashion Week, which took place Sept. 15, the Daily News reported Sept. 16. While the trend may be toward accommodating curvier women, the top-of-the-line brands are still reluctant to change, reported the article. Designers maintain it is harder to make plus-size clothing due to much more variation in body types. In other words, the bodies of two size-0 women are more alike than the bodies of two size-18s, and what flatters each will vary, according to the article.
  • A licensing agreement for the commercialization of a new emergency contraceptive, ulipristal acetate, has been issued in Canada, according to a press release from the pharmaceutical company HRA Pharma on Sept. 17. The oral emergency contraceptive prevents unintended pregnancy for up to five days after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure. HRA Pharma is currently waiting for approval from Health Canada. The pill is known as ella in the U.S. and was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • Researchers from Brown University and Woman and Infants Hospital in Rhode Island have developed the first artificial ovary, the Telegraph reported Sept. 16. The breakthrough could be the answer for women suffering from infertility, particularly cancer patients exposed to chemotherapy or radiation, the article reported. Scientists hope it could also help answer questions about how ovaries work and enable experiments on what causes problems for egg maturation and health. There are no accounts at this time of when the treatment will be available to patients.
  • The National Football League sent a memo to its 32 teams, reminding players and league employees that female reporters should be treated professionally and with respect, reported CNN Sept. 16. The memo was prompted by news that the New York Jets team is investigating allegations of harassment by team members toward television sports reporter Ines Sainz. The league’s media relations playbook states that, "by law, women must be granted the same rights to perform their jobs as men. Please remember that women reporters are professionals and should be treated as such."
  • For the first time ever, women are earning the majority of doctorates awarded in the United States, reported Agence France-Presse Sept. 16. Women now earn more degrees at all levels, including two-thirds of graduate certificate awards and 60 percent of masters degrees. However, in several traditionally male-dominated fields, such as engineering, men still earn the majority of doctorates.
  • Sarah Shourd, a Women’s eNews contributor and one of three American hikers held in Iran as spies for over a year, left the country after being released from prison on a bail of $500,000, reported The Guardian Sept. 14. The other two hikers, Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, are being held in Iran for at least another two months. Shourd was released due to health issues. Her release came after a week of conflicting statements, reflecting an internal power struggle in Iran. On Sept. 10, the government announced a release ceremony set for the following day, reported the Washington Post Sept. 13. Shourd’s mother, Nora Shourd, says her daughter has been denied treatment for her serious health problems, including a lump in her breast and precancerous cervical cells.
  • U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he’s appointing former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to head the United Nations’ new agency for promoting women’s equality, reported the Associated Press Sept. 14. Ban said Bachelet will head "UN Women," an agency formed in July to pull together four existing U.N. bodies that deal with the advancement and welfare of women. Bachelet ended her presidential term in March. Ban says Bachelet will bring global leadership and global stature to the new job. The new agency has twice the budget of the other four combined.

 


 

Jeers

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The United States has the largest number of people living in poverty, 43.56 million, in the 51 years since this information has been tracked, according to the U.S. Census poverty data for 2009, released Sept. 16. Other statistics also show deepening poverty in 2009:

The highest overall poverty rate since 1994, 14.3 percent.

The highest poverty rate for single mother families since 1998, 38.5 percent.

A 13.9 percent poverty rate for adult women (age 18 or over) compared to the 10.5 percent rate for adult men.

A 20.7 percent poverty rate for children.

A 25.3 percent poverty rate for Hispanics and a 25.9 percent poverty rate for blacks compared to a 9.4 percent rate for non-Hispanic whites.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • While almost all U.S. teens have had formal sex education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found only about two-thirds have been taught about birth control methods, reported the Associated Press Sept. 16. Of the 97 percent of teens that have received formal sex education, 62 percent of boys and 70 percent of girls received birth control instruction. The study also found that younger female teens were more likely than boys to have talked to their parents about sex and birth control.
  • In the past decade, 141,000 women, or 2.6 percent of female workers in finance, left the industry, while the number of men working on Wall Street grew by 389,000, or 9.6 percent, reported Daily Finance Sept. 16. The trend is particularly pronounced among young women aged 20-35, where 16.5 percent of these women left the financial industry. The recent sex discrimination lawsuit against Goldman Sachs may further highlight the increasingly male-dominated industry of finance, reported the article.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor has filed an administrative complaint against Tyson Fresh Meats, the world’s largest supplier of premium beef and pork and a wholly owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., the agency said in a Sept. 15 press statement. The complaint alleges that Tyson systematically rejected female job applicants at its plant in Joslin, Ill. The lawsuit seeks that all of Tyson’s federal contracts be canceled; the company be debarred from future government contracts until it has remedied the violations; and Tyson provide complete relief, including lost wages, interest and other benefits of employment to affected individuals. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs asserts that more than 750 women are owed back wages and more than 100 women should be given the option of working for the company.
  • The Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs was hit with a sexual discrimination lawsuit from three former female employees who claim the firm has a testosterone-driven culture of press-up contests on the trading floor, male-dominated golf outings and scantily clad escorts at an office Christmas party, reported the Guardian Sept. 15. Filed in New York’s federal court on Sept. 15, the suit alleges that Goldman’s decentralized structure gives broad discretion to managers in assigning pay, responsibility and advancement to employees. The plaintiffs are Cristina Chen-Oster, a former vice president in bond sales who worked for Goldman for eight years until 2005; Lisa Parisi, who was in asset management from 2001 to 2008; and Shanna Orlich, an analyst from 2007 to 2008 who alleges she was denied opportunities to become a trader. Jacki Zehner, former Goldman Sachs partner, wrote an editorial in Bloomberg against the lawsuit.
  • Virginian Teresa Lewis, convicted in 2002 for plotting to kill her husband and stepson to collect $350,000 in life insurance, is schedule to receive a lethal injection later this month, the New York Daily News reported Sept. 13. Activists are speaking out against the conviction as new evidence suggests she may be mentally disabled and had been manipulated by one of the men she "hired" to carry out the killings.
  • In the state of California, for-profit hospitals are performing Cesarean sections at higher rates than nonprofit hospitals, a nonprofit investigative group, California Watch, reported Sept. 11. The group’s database indicated that women are at least 17 percent more likely to have a Cesarean section at a for-profit hospital than at one that operates as a nonprofit. A surgical birth can bring in twice the revenue of a vaginal delivery, the article reported.

Noted:

  • Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is using her personal fortune in her campaign for California governor like no other candidate in U.S. political history, reported Forbes Magazine Sept. 17. She’s spent $119 million so far on months of wall-to-wall advertising, flown on private jets and included dozens of six-figure consultants and other expenses to spread her message. With $15 million of her own money spent this week, she has surpassed New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s record of spending $109 million–and the election is still a month and a half away.
  • Director of law enforcement relations for Craigslist, William Powell, told the U.S. House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee that Craigslist would no longer host "adult services" ads on its Web site, reported Time Sept. 16. Powell added that this would do little to deter these types of ads from appearing elsewhere on the Internet. He said that his company had "no intention to bring the category back" and "money is not a consideration," reported MSNBC Sept. 16. Craigslist skirted the issue of whether it would stop running erotic service ads that appear on international versions of its site.
  • Maternal deaths worldwide have dropped by 34 percent in the past 20 years, the U.N. reported on Sept. 15. However, the authors of the report stressed that more must be done given that 1,000 women still died every day in 2008 due to complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Of this group of 1,000 women, the new report, "Trends in Maternal Mortality," showed that 570 lived in sub-Saharan Africa, 300 in South Asia and five in high-income countries. The U.N. says the progress is notable, but the annual rate of decline is less than half of what is needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio by 75 percent between 1990 and 2015. The report was released by the World Health Organization, the U.N. Children’s Fund, the U.N. Population Fund and the World Bank.
  • Republican Christine O’Donnell beat Rep. Michael N. Castle on Sept. 14 in the GOP primary to fill the Delaware Senate seat. Castle is a former two-term governor who is the longest-serving congressman in state history; he’s never lost an election, reported the Associated Press Sept. 15. O’Donnell is actively opposed by Republican leaders, but endorsed by Sarah Palin, the Tea Party Movement and other leaders of the party’s conservative wing, reported the New York Times on Sept. 15. O’Donnell is a former abstinence counselor who had failed in previous attempts to win office in Delaware. Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine said in a statement that O’Donnell harbors "extreme views on the economy, health care, and women’s and reproductive rights," the Associated Press reported.
  • Eric Schneiderman defeated opponent Kathleen Rice to win the New York Democratic primary election for attorney general on Sept. 14. Schneiderman had received backing from several women’s advocacy groups, including NARAL Pro-Choice NY and assembly member Deborah Glick, despite opposing a female candidate. Rice, currently Nassau County’s District Attorney, would have been the state’s first female attorney general if elected. In another New York race, Hiram Monserrate, who was thrown out of the state Senate this year for assaulting his girlfriend, lost his bid for an assembly seat, the New York Daily News reported Sept. 15.
  • As part of his bid for reelection, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., accused Republican opponent Sharron Angle in a new ad of siding with domestic violence abusers, "not the abused," reported the Huffington Post. Reid released the ad on Sept. 13, declaring that Tea-Party-backed Angle once voted to prevent restraining orders from other states from being enforced in Nevada, which would have made Nevada a safe haven from domestic abusers.

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