Seventy communities in the United States with populations that are at least 50 percent African American or underserved women will receive a total of $2.9 million in federal funds to support breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration, the National Association of County and City Health Officials announced Aug. 15. Calondra D. Tibbs, the senior director of the membership organization's maternal, child and adolescent health and injury and violence prevention program, said the letters will go out in October to 2,800 local health officials across the country seeking applications for the funds to develop or improve breastfeeding support efforts in their communities.
Tibbs said she will be looking to award the funds for thoughtful and innovative programs in both urban and rural communities and for professional or peer support. She expects to distribute the funds, which works out to roughly $40,000 per community program, early next year.
Breastfeeding rates of African American women and Latinas have lagged behind white women but have been steadily increasing.
--Rita Henley Jensen
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In the biggest speech of the year, and his first major address, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to speak at length about the scourge of rape and violence against women, breaking a long silence on the matter and raising the issue to major prominence, Think Progress reported Aug. 15. In speaking out, Modi challenged citizens and government alike to change the way the nation thinks about rape.
The Architectural Record announced the winners of its first annual Women in Architecture Awards on Aug. 12. The awards program recognizes the role of women in the profession and encourages firms to promote female architects and their work. "We aim to honor and celebrate women, and to advance the conversation about their role in the field," said Cathleen McGuigan, editor in chief of Architectural Record, in a press statement.
An Iranian mathematician is the first women to receive a Fields Medal, often considered to be mathematics' equivalent of the Nobel Prize, The New York Times reported Aug. 12. Maryam Mirzakhani, a professor at Stanford, was one of four winners honored at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Seoul, South Korea. "This is a great honor. I will be happy if it encourages young female scientists and mathematicians," Mirzakhani said.
Houston Mayor Annise Parker and eight members of the Houston City Council joined together earlier this week to call for the repeal of a 2013 Texas law that could close half of the state's abortion clinics, News 92FM.com reported Aug. 11.
India's federal cabinet voted to bar same-sex couples from adopting children, The Advocate reported Aug. 10. Their draft bill will now progress to Parliament for ratification. Prior to the bill, the government placed restrictions on LGBT couples, including an age requirement and required letters of recommendation. Officials have not decided on whether the bill will pertain to single prospective LGBT parents.
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A shadow report to the two-day Aug. 13-14 meeting by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination outlines racial and gender problems that pervade the delivery of U.S. health care. The report is produced by the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights in partnership with a number of other groups, including SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective.
Mississippi is asking a federal appeals court to uphold a 2012 state law requiring abortion clinic doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges, the Associated Press reported Aug. 13. In late July, a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the law is unconstitutional because it would close Mississippi's only abortion clinic. Democratic Attorney General Jim Hood filed papers Aug. 13 asking the full court to reverse the three-judge panel's ruling and allow Mississippi to enforce the law. It was not immediately clear when and if the full court would consider the request.
NARAL Pro-Choice Texas and Progress Texas released a video Aug. 12 containing audio from a training hosted by a group of anti-abortion groups at the State Capitol on Aug. 4, 2014. The video reveals the methods anti-abortion activists currently employ to physically intimidate women from accessing safe and legal abortion care, the group said.
A third of managers in the United Kingdom would rather employ a man in his 20s or 30s than a woman of the same age for concerns about the possibility of maternity leave, The Guardian reported Aug. 11. The survey finds that out of 500 managers 40 percent admitted they are wary of hiring a woman of childbearing age while a quarter said they would rather hire a man. A third of managers surveyed also claim that women are not as good at their job when they return from maternity leave.
Iran's parliament voted to ban permanent forms of contraception in order to boost the country's population growth, The Guardian reported Aug. 11. The bill endorses Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's call for more children to be born. It bans vasectomies and similar procedures for women and advertising for birth control. Health officials are concerned that illegal abortions will increase in Iran, where more than half of abortions are illegal. For more information read the Women's eNews story "Fertility Push Viewed as Unsexy by Young Iranians."
Radio show Equal Time with Martha Burk will feature on Aug. 16 a half-hour interview with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney of New York on why U.S. women need the Equal Rights Amendment now more than ever.
Many Lands' End customers were shocked when the clothing company, known for their conservative wear, sent their customers a free edition of GQ magazine, reported Fox News Aug. 15. While the magazine was meant as a gift, the plan backfired when shocked customers saw the cover, featuring model Emily Ratajkowski wearing nothing but a black bikini bottom and a strategically-placed leis. The clothing company issued an apology and announced they will now be sending its customers Condé Nast Traveler instead of GQ.
A study recommends an alternative for women seeking venture-capital money: Kickstarter, The Atlantic reported Aug. 14. It found that projects on the site started by women are more likely to succeed than those started by men. Even though Kickstarter operates on a much smaller scale than the venture capital industry as a whole, the fact that more than 90 percent of its funded projects go on as businesses for one to four years points to the usefulness of the site in promoting more equality in entrepreneurship.
The Obama administration announced it plans to issue new interim rules by Aug. 22 to accommodate those religious nonprofits that object to complying with the birth control benefit under the Affordable Care Act, RH Reality Check reported Aug. 13.
The Barbara Lee Family Foundation released a multiplatform phone app on Aug. 11 for women in public office. The app serves as a guidebook, offering female candidates and elected officials advice for women in public office and research on women in politics.
Dotty Lynch, political editor for CBS News, passed away at the age of 69 on Aug. 11, Politico reported. Lynch, a political analyst and pollster, was an early leader in the polling industry when it was dominated by men. She also served as polling chief for the Democratic National Committee. Lynch was battling aggressive melanoma.
June Krauser, a swimmer who broke scores of world records while in her 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, passed away age 88, The New York Times reported Aug. 10. She died at her Florida home from complications of Parkinson's disease. Krauser is known for her involvement in organizing U.S. Masters Swimming, a competitive adult league.
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