Female Debate Moderator Urged; Color Gap in Sports

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The 2008 presidential debate

Credit: traviscrawford/Travis Crawford on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Cheers

Change.org has collected over 100,000 e-signatures calling for a woman to moderate at least one of three upcoming presidential debates. Three high school students from Montclair, N.J., launched the campaign after learning it has been 20 years since a woman moderated the big debate. The sole woman who has done so is ABC News reporter Carole Simpson in 1992. The students urge people to sign on, writing, “Women and men will never be truly equal in our country until they’re one and the same in positions of power and both visible in politics.”

More News to Cheer This Week:

China is scheduled to launch its first female astronaut into space as part of a three-person crew on June 15, reported CNN.

A measure in North Dakota to protect religious liberty–which many women’s rights groups said could be used to defend gender discrimination and domestic violence — was defeated in a public vote, reported The Hill June 13.

Ontario has become the first Canadian province to recognize gender identity in its human rights legislation, after a unanimous vote in the legislature, reported the CBC June 13.

A new ad in the campaign by Stand with Servicewomen featuring Lt. Gen. Robert Gard, a 31-year Army veteran, premiered June 11. The campaign advocates for the military to insure abortion services if a pregnancy is the result of rape. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., helped kick off the campaign June 7.

A gay couple is thought to have become the first in the United Kingdom to hold a civil partnership ceremony in a church building, The Daily Mail reported June 11.

Three major health insurance companies said they would keep some protections included in President Obama’s health care overhaul regardless of the Supreme Court ruling, Reuters reported June 11.

Ugandan activists are going to the country’s Supreme Court to urge the government to curb the maternal mortality rate–about 16 deaths daily, reported the Associated Press June 13.

Jeers

Although Title IX, which celebrates its 40-year anniversary this month, has been monumental in women’s and girls’ sports participation, white female athletes and administrators have benefited more than women of color, the New York Times reported June 11.

Among high school sophomores, 51 percent of white girls participated in sports, compared with 40 percent of African American girls, 34 percent of Asian/Pacific Islanders and 32 percent of Hispanics, according to a 2007 report by the United States Department of Education. In college, 50.6 percent of female basketball players and over a quarter of track and field female athletes are African American, but they are largely absent from lacrosse (2.2 percent), swimming (2.0), soccer (5.3) and softball (8.2). Two panels were convened recently, in Harlem, N.Y., and in Washington, D.C., to discuss the problem.

Meanwhile, a state-by-state ranking released June 13 by the National Women’s Law Center found that female high school students receive 1.3 million fewer opportunities than boys to play high school sports.

More News to Jeer This Week:

The Shaheen Amendment, which would allow women to use their military health insurance to cover abortion in the case of rape or incest, stands “little chance of surviving” after the House and Senate begin work on a defense bill, according to one Republican staffer, reported Mother Jones June 13.

The Michigan state House passed an anti-choice bill that would impose restrictions on family planning clinics, including requiring such clinics to be licensed surgical centers even if they don’t provide surgical abortions, reported the Huffington Post June 13. It would also ban teleconferencing to prescribe abortion medication, criminalize coercing a woman into an abortion and creates new insurance requirements for clinics. The Senate will not hold a vote until September.

A South African who had won a Miss Gay pageant was found in his rented room with his throat slit and genitalia severed, reported MSNBC June 14.

Female physician-scientists–doctors involved in research at U.S. medical schools and teaching hospitals–are paid thousands less annually than their male counterparts, researchers found, reported Fox News June 13.

The Women’s Strike Force, a bipartisan PAC focused on defending women’s reproductive rights, expressed shock in a June 15 press statement that the Republican Party of Virginia wouldn’t allow it to sponsor a table at its convention.

Noted

Policies that promote gender equality, safeguards against violence and access to health care make Canada the best place to be a woman among the world’s biggest economies, and India the worst, Reuters reported June 13. The United States came in sixth due to concerns about reproductive rights and affordable health care.

A bank official in the Indian state of Gujarat is challenging a law that allows women to marry at age 18 but requires men to wait until they are 21 to do so, calling it gender discrimination, reported the Times of India June 15.

Ron Barber, a former aide for Gabrielle Giffords, won her 8th District Arizona seat in a June 12 special election, reported the Washington Post.

The U.S. State Department has contacted Chinese authorities about a Chinese woman, Cao Ruyi, who was reportedly detained and pressured to undergo a forced abortion to comply with China’s one-child policy, according to a June 11 press briefing.

Kelley Hardwick, security director for the National Basketball Association, said in a lawsuit that Geno Auriemma, the coach of the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team and University of Connecticut’s women’s team, followed, grabbed and tried to forcibly kiss her during a basketball tournament in Russia in 2009, reported the New York Times June 12.

The increasing number of European infants secretly abandoned in hospital “baby boxes” has caused concern for the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Guardian reported June 10. “There is growing evidence that it is frequently men or relatives abandoning the child, raising questions about the mother’s whereabouts and whether she has consented to giving up her baby,” said Kevin Browne of the Centre for Forensic and Family Psychology at The University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.

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