Credit: Kenya Girl Guides Assoc., from Say NO – UniTE on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).
Data show that fewer girls are being subjected to female genital mutilation, the United Nations said Feb. 6, reported the Associated Press. In the 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East where the practice is concentrated, the U.N. said an average of 36 percent of female teens between the ages of 15 and 19 have been cut, compared to an estimated 53 percent of women between ages 45 and 49. Estimates, produced by UNICEF, indicate that at least 120 million girls and women have experienced female genital mutilation in the 29 countries. The new data were released to mark the International Day of Zero Tolerance of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting.
More News to Cheer This Week:
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has reached an agreement with PNC Mortgage in Trumbull, Conn., settling allegations that the lender violated the Fair Housing Act by requiring a home loan applicant on paid maternity leave to return to work before the lender would approve a home loan, the federal agency announced in a statement Feb. 6.
Sally Jewel has been appointed secretary of the interior by President Barack Obama, ending his long streak of male-only appointments.
With a glaring spotlight on sexual violence after a fatal gang rape, a high-profile Indian government panel has joined women’s rights advocates in demanding changes to India’s sexual assault medical exam, including the invasive “two finger” test, CNN reported Feb. 6.
Feb. 5 marked the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Family and Medical Leave Act by Bill Clinton. The law represented a milestone for women as it enabled working parents to take three months off work after childbirth, adoption and other family caretaking obligations without fear of being fired.
Egypt‘s National Council for Women Chief Mervat al-Tallawi called on all women who have been sexually assaulted to file reports and join in a mass lawsuit against the state, Egypt Independent reported Feb. 4.
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban, has told a broadcast interviewer that she is feeling well after undergoing a five-hour operation, BBC News reported Feb. 4. Malala, 15, had surgery at a Birmingham hospital to fit a titanium plate over her damaged skull.
Despite the structural problems and widespread despair in Palestine, female entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to carve out a niche for themselves in the marketplace, boosting the economy as well as their confidence and independence, The Christian Science Monitor reported Feb. 4.
A 200-year-old law forbidding women to wear trousers in Paris was revoked last week, The Telegraph reported Feb. 3.
During CBS‘s live discussion Feb. 3, Obama addressed women in combat, saying female soldiers are taking great risks and should not be prevented from advancing in their careers, The Huffington Post reported Feb. 3.
Egyptian activists released a brutal video Feb. 1 showing images recorded during the mass sexual assault of a woman in Cairo‘s Tahrir Square, The New York Times reported Feb. 2. The video, posted to urge volunteers to join a campaign against attacks during demonstrations, shows disturbing overhead images of a crowd of men swarming around a woman being assaulted just out of view.
More News to Jeer This Week:
Tennessee Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy introduced a bill earlier this week that would force women to have a mandatory ultrasound no less than 24 hours before having an abortion, and then wait the 24 hours before proceeding with the abortion, Ms. Magazine reported Feb. 7.
The Irish government has accepted limited responsibility for the incarceration of over 10,000 women in partly state funded asylums, the Magdalene Laundries, which were run by religious orders in Ireland from 1922-1996. On Feb. 5, a government report published evidence of “significant” state involvement in the commercial operations that never paid wages to inmates who often did not know why they were committed or for how long, reported The Irish Times.
The Arkansas state House approved Feb. 4 a bill that would outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy without any exception for rape or incest, in a vote of 75 to 20, the Feminist Daily News reported Feb. 5.
Syrian refugee women and children in Lebanon are facing domestic violence born of stress, deprivation and frustration, France 24 reported Feb. 5. According to the UN Population Fund, 31 percent of 460 women surveyed have been threatened by weapon-wielding family members while 7 percent have suffered sexual aggression.
The Asia Pacific region is losing between $42 billion to $47 billion per year because of restrictions on women’s access to employment opportunities, and another estimated $16 billion to $30 billion per year because of gender gaps in education, according to the U.N., The Council on Foreign Relations reported Feb. 5.
Eight senators voted not to consider the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, Think Progress reported Feb. 4. VAWA’s reauthorization has been caught up in partisan gridlock over added provisions that would protect undocumented immigrants, as well as LGBT and Native American victims of domestic violence.
Fewer women are entering science and technology professions, according to a new infographic created for City Town Info and published Feb. 4 by Mashable. The infographic indicates that women are outnumbered and out-earned in science, with men taking home an average of $1,117 to a woman’s $853 per week.
Melanne Veveer‘s last day at the State Department was Feb. 9, according to an email sent to Women’s eNews. Veveer, the first ambassador for global women’s issues in the State Department, will continue to work on issues affecting women’s progress around the globe and will lead Georgetown University‘s new Institute on Women, Peace and Security. President Obama has issued a memorandum making the post permanent.
The New Mexico Medical Board on Feb. 7 exonerated an Albuquerque doctor of gross negligence for her handling of a late-term abortion, reported the Associated Press.
Catholic bishops on Feb. 7 rejected the White House’s latest attempt at compromise on contraception, saying it did not adequately accommodate religious organizations that object to covering free contraception in employee health plans, reported Politico.
A Tel Aviv District Court judge has allowed Haaretz to publish the name of David (‘Dudi’) Digmi, the largest known trafficker of women in Israeli history, the Israeli newspaper reported Feb. 5.
Arrests could come as early as this week in the rape of six Spanish tourists in Acapulco, Mexico, CNN reported Feb. 6. The six women were among 14 people victimized by a group of hooded gunmen who burst into a beach bungalow in the resort town before dawn on Feb. 4.
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