Tunisia to Consider Rights; Libya Sets Small Quota

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(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

Tunisia’s new constitution is likely to contain provisions on women’s rights and individual liberties, and the country will need a constitutional council to uphold it, new President Moncef Marzouki said in a Jan. 1 interview, reported Reuters. Speaking to the French news website Mediapart, Marzouki stressed that the respect of human, and more specifically women’s, rights had been an important condition of the power-sharing deal with the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, the winner of Tunisia’s first democratic election.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Women’s employment now appears to be rising, according to data in the January employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. An analysis of the report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research saw equal job growth for men and women (206,000 for each) during the past three months. However, from December 2010 to December 2011, of the 1.6 million jobs added to payrolls, only 521,000 or 32 percent were filled by women; 1,119,000 jobs or 68 percent were filled by men.
  • An Alabama man was arrested Jan. 5 on federal charges that he set fire to a Florida Panhandle abortion clinic New Year’s morning, authorities said, reported the Associated Press. Bobby Joe Rogers of Tuscaloosa was charged with violating federal explosives laws and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
  • A law allowing only women to work in lingerie shops in Saudi Arabia is coming into force, reported the BBC Jan. 4. Campaigners hope this will end decades of awkwardness where women have always been served by male shop assistants.

Jeers

A newly circulated Libyan draft election law that sets aside 10 percent of the parliament seats for women has been slammed by various groups and described as "extremely dangerous," reported The Tripoli Post Jan. 3. A press release by the Libyan Human Rights Alliance said that numerous civil society activists and organizations "find the Libyan Draft Election Law, released on Jan. 1 by the National Transitional Council, to be unreasonable."

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The Australian Commonwealth Games bronze medal-winning cyclist Chloe Hosking apologized on Jan. 2 to Pat McQuaid, the president of the sport’s international governing body, for calling him "a bit of a dick," reported the Guardian Jan. 2. The 21-year-old retracted her words while defending the point she was making–that the Union Cycliste Internationale does not adequately support female riders. She used the insult after McQuaid made comments that female professionals did not merit a minimum salary. Male professional cyclists are guaranteed a minimum salary.
  • Courts in the United Kingdom will be put under a legal duty to ensure that both fathers and mothers are given access to children in divorce settlements, reported the Telegraph Jan. 5. Parents who refuse to accept the orders will be in contempt of court and risk serious penalties or even jail. Under the present system, family courts tend to leave children with their mothers in the vast majority of cases.

Noted:

  • Czech women with silicone breast implants manufactured by a French firm accused of using unapproved industrial-grade material should have them replaced, a Health Ministry spokesperson said on Jan. 5, Reuters reported. The question of who will pay for operations for women who received implants for medical reasons, such as cancer patients, will be settled in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Britain’s government said women who had such implants on the National Health Service as part of breast reconstruction surgery will be able to have them removed and replaced if they are concerned, reported the Telegraph Jan. 6.
  • The number of twins born in the U.S. soared over the last three decades, mostly the result of test-tube babies and women waiting to have children until their 30s, when the chances of twins increase, reported the Associated Press Jan. 5. In 2009, 1 in every 30 babies born in the U.S. was a twin, a large increase over the 1 in 53 rate in 1980, according to a government report issued Jan. 4.
  • Michele Bachmann ended her bid for the Republican presidential nomination Jan. 4, hours after a sixth-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, reported CNN. The Minnesota congresswoman suspended her campaign, a legal technicality that will allow her to continue to raise and spend campaign funds.
  • The Afghan Taliban released a statement on Jan. 3 announcing its leadership has reached a preliminary deal with Qatar to open a liaison office there. A Taliban presence in the Gulf state could be the first step toward peace talks to end more than a decade of war, the Associated Press reported.
  • Prosecutors dismissed charges against a Manhattan woman accused of aborting her 24-week-old fetus by drinking an herbal tea, the news website DNAinfo reported. Prosecutors told a court Jan. 3 that there was not enough evidence to support the self-abortion charge against Yaribely Almonte, 20, who was hit with the misdemeanor count after her fetus was found by her superintendent on Nov. 29.
  • Women have a long tradition of political encampments, Robin Morgan writes in a Jan. 3 essay for the Women’s Media Center, where she makes the case for women being a major constituency for any movements for economic justice.

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