Saudis Olympics-Bound; 2 Afghan Women Executed

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Saudi women playing soccer.

Credit: MidEast Soccer blogspot, AslanMedia on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Cheers:

After much controversy, Saudi Arabia announced that two women will be included in its Olympic delegation, reported the Associated Press July 12. Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will compete in judo and Sarah Attar will run the 800 meter.

Two other countries that historically have not sent women to the Olympics have also changed their policies this year, so that no nation will send an all-male delegation. Brunei is sending one woman to compete in track and field and Qatar is sending four women — a swimmer, a table tennis player, a track and field athlete and a shooter.

Meanwhile, the United States is sending more women than men to the Olympic games for the first time, reported the Huffington Post July 10. There are 269 women and 261 men competing in London this summer.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Planned Parenthood Federation of America pledged to reach 2 million more women in the U.S. and a million more overseas during the London Summit on Family Planning. Planned Parenthood joined other independent organizations, governments and private foundations at this week’s conference aimed at increasing access to contraception for 120 million women living in the world’s poorest countries by 2020.

Fulfilling unmet contraception demand by women in developing countries could reduce global maternal mortality by nearly a third, according to a study published July 9 in The Lancet. The New York Times reported this study, authored by Johns Hopkins researchers, could be a great improvement for one of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

The founder of a Palestinian radio station that focuses on women’s issues has been elected a fellow by Ashoka Arab World, a platform for social entrepreneurship. Read Women’s eNews’ story on NISAA FM from last fall: Palestinian Women’s Radio Crosses Boundaries

A petition on Change.org that has garnered over 260,000 signatures is calling on the Department of Defense to require sex offenders in the military to register with state sex offender registries and to create a military sex offender registry.

A pro-lesbian super PAC launched on July 11 to fundraise for candidates who support LGBT rights as well as reproductive rights for women, reported Politico.

More than 200 activists took part in a national work-family coalition gathered in Washington, D.C., this week to celebrate advances such as paid sick days and to plan for future action. According to the group, the United States is one of just four countries in the world where parents do not have legally protected paid maternity leave.

The New York City Council has designated over $3 million dollars for an 18-bed residential supportive housing facility for homeless LGBT youth, reported the Huffington Post July 9. Many of the city’s 4,000 homeless youths are LGBT but the city government funds only 259 shelter beds.

The Marine Corps’ Infantry Officer Course is one of the last remaining male-only domains in the American military, but the New York Times reported on July 9 that in September female officer volunteers will participate in a study to gauge the feasibility of allowing female Marines to serve in more extensive combat roles.

An Israeli bus company will pay $3,200 to a teenage girl after the bus driver told her and a friend to move to the back of the bus so that two haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, Jewish men could sit in their seats in the front, reported YNet News July 11.

Jeers

The head of a regional women’s affairs department in eastern Afghanistan, Hanifa Safi, was targeted and killed by a car bomb on July 13, reported Reuters. She was driving in the region’s capital when a bomb attached to her vehicle exploded, killing her and leaving her husband in a coma. A spokesperson for the province’s governor said that “enemies of Afghanistan” planted the bomb.

She is the second regional leader of women’s affairs to be assassinated since the posts were created in Afghanistan’s 34 provinces 10 years ago. The assassination also occurred just days after a woman accused of adultery was publicly executed outside Kabul. The charges are said to be unsubstantiated; her death was recorded on videotape. About 50 women and men at a Kabul rally protested this public execution, reported the Associated Press July 11.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Professional women in the nation’s capital believe men have more opportunities for career advancement and that appearance matters more for women than for men, according to a survey conducted by National Journal.

The mayor of a small town in Germany designated certain spaces in a parking garage for men and others for women, reported ABC News July 11. Mayor Gallus Strobel told the Daily Mail that “men are, as a rule, a little better at such challenges” but that female drivers were welcome to try parking in the spots.

The governors of Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina have all said they will not expand Medicaid in their states as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, reported Politico July 10. Over two-thirds of adult Medicaid recipients are women, according to a January 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation report.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley vetoed almost $500,000 in funds allocated by the state legislature to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence, reported the Charleston City Paper July 6.

Rape has become a tool of war in Syria and appears to be perpetrated mostly by government forces, according to findings from the Women’s Media Center’s Women Under Siege project, which crowdsources reported sex crimes in the country.

While the fate of Texas’ Women’s Health Program — which is 90 percent funded by the federal government — is currently being litigated, Gov. Rick Perry and the state’s Health and Human Services department have announced that Texas will create a new Women’s Health Program, funded entirely by the state, that does not allow providers to “promote” abortion, reported the Dallas Observer in a blog July 11.

A woman who attended a stand-up show featuring comedian Daniel Tosh, host of Comedy Central’s show Tosh.0, claims that when she vocally disagreed with him about rape jokes, he responded, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, five guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?” Her story quickly went viral. A Change.org petition is calling for Comedy Central to fire him.

Noted:

The majority of U.S. women surveyed have emerged as primary breadwinners, according to Prudential Financial’s latest biennial study, Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women, which surveyed 1,400 women across the country.

A mid-year report on the state of legislation related to reproductive rights showed that 39 new abortion restrictions have been enacted in 2012 — fewer than the 80 enacted in 2011 but still historically high, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The National Organization for Women, a major women’s rights group, has officially endorsed President Obama in the 2012 presidential race, reported Politico July 11.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s $1.4 million ad campaign spotlighting Mitt Romney’s positions on women’s issues is making an impression on female voters in key states, according to post-run ad testing commissioned by the group, reported the Huffington Post July 9.

The family of a woman forced to undergo an abortion because she ran afoul of China’s one-child policy has accepted a cash settlement of about $11,200, apparently ending a controversy that caused a public uproar and embarrassed the government, the Associated Press reported July 11.

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