Senate Funds Child Care; Walmart Wages Feed Hunger

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Walmart employees protest in D.C.

Credit: UFCW International Union on Flickr under Creative Commons

Walmart employees protest in D.C.

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

The Senate overwhelmingly voted to approve a reauthorization bill for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, EdCentral reported Nov. 17. The grant program provides billions in aid and federal subsidies to low-income families to help them pay for child care and has been due for reauthorization since 1996. Its approval could mean big changes in policies that help child care providers serve low-income children across the country.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Nicola Sturgeon, the newly elected first minister of Scotland, has pledged to deliver greater opportunities for women, BBC reported Nov. 19. Sturgeon, the first female to hold the post, also vowed to tackle low pay and improve child care

An "average-looking" doll, complete with acne and stretch marks, has gone on sale after a successful crowdfunding campaign, The Daily Mail reported Nov. 20. The doll’s proportions are based on CDC data, according to artist Nickolay Lamm, 26, from Pittsburgh. "I think a realistic sized doll is important because, when I look at current dolls on the market, I can’t help but notice how disproportionate they are," Lamm said during an interview with Saloon.com. Read our related story here.

Erica Enders-Stevens won the Auto Club National Hot Rod Association Finals on Sunday to become the first woman to earn the Pro Stock world championship title, the Associated Press reported Nov. 16. She is the third woman to win an NHRA world championship, joining three-time Top Fuel champion Shirley Muldowney and three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champ Angelle Sampey.

In the major court decision since Hobby Lobby, a unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit said that non-profit organizations that object to providing birth control must still comply with the birth control coverage requirement of the federal health care law, the National Women’s Law Center reported Nov. 14.

President Obama’s Nov. 20 executive order to overhaul immigration is being supported by immigrants around the country. The order will prevent the deportation of millions of immigrants and outlines an easier path to gain legal working status. Four million people will be eligible for a new legal status that defers deportations and permits them to gain paid employment, as long as they pass background checks and pay taxes. Another million will be protected in other ways within the plan. The many immigrant members of 1199SEIU Healthcare Workers East, the largest U.S. healthcare union, say the president’s actions are a step towards keeping families together and strengthening the economy. They have vowed to continue the fight and support Obama’s choice to legislate on behalf of immigrants. The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health also commended Obama’s decision and said the next step was to lift bans on health coverage for immigrants, particularly Latina women. By allowing immigrants a chance to avoid deportation and work legally, many say that the economy will benefit and families can stay together in a more economically secure environment.

Jeers

Walmart workers across Ohio are on strike to protest wages so low that a new report. says adds to the country’s hunger crisis. Most workers are paid under $9 an hour. The strike is a prelude to nationwide planned strikes at 1,600 locations on Black Friday next week, Business Insider reported on Nov. 21. With Thanksgiving a week away, a group of Walmart employees posted a photo to Facebook showing a food bin at a store in Oklahoma that was apparently put out as part of a food drive to help needy employees, TPM reported Nov. 20. The photo was posted to the "Making Change" page, a campaign that describes its mission as "challenging Walmart to act responsibly and help rebuild our economy."

More News to Jeer This Week:

Women in Indonesia are required to complete an "obstetrics and gynecology" exam as part of the recruitment process to enter the police force, The Independent reported Nov. 19. Indonesia’s National Police jobs website says that in addition to medical and physical tests, women hoping to become policewomen must also undergo virginity tests.

Maria Jose Alvarado, Honduras’ 19-year-old beauty queen, went missing and authorities in the Central American country confirmed her death and that of her sister, Sofia Trinidad, 23, The NY Daily News reported Nov.19. Two men have been arrested, and one of them has reportedly confessed to killing and burying the women.

Violence against women is a worldwide epidemic according to a five-part series of studies in the medical journal The Lancet, Time reported Nov. 21. Though awareness of the violence is growing, countries must make policy and financial changes to make a real difference. The series, called "Violence Against Women and Girls," details worldwide statistics that illuminate the hardships of women around the world. As many as 140 million women have undergone female genital mutilation and an estimated 30 percent of women have experienced partner violence. The series aims to bring attention to these issues and declare that increased global attention and awareness alone isn’t enough to make real change.

About 100 people were arrested in Nairobi, Kenya, after a second woman was forcibly stripped of her clothing for "dressing indecently," BBC News reported Nov. 18. The woman’s clothes were torn off and she was paraded along a road. Around 200 people rallied in Nairobi to protest the violent treatment. The Nairobi police carried out a mass arrest to catch those responsible, a common method when the police force is under public pressure.

A 26-year-old woman is ISIS’s most recent American hostage, The Daily Beast reported Nov. 17. Her family asked that her name not be made public to prevent further jeopardy to her life.

Women with the ability to hire, fire and influence pay seem more prone to depression symptoms, NBC News reported Nov.20. Women in authority positions are evaluated more stringently compared to women without job authority and male co-workers. Higher-status women are often exposed to overt and subtle gender discrimination and harassment.

A Ferguson corrections officer was accused of brutally raping a woman in a city jail last year, New York Daily News reported Nov. 17. The accusation comes amid widespread distrust for law enforcement and troubling incidents involving police in the Missouri town after the police fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown earlier this year.

Noted:

A November report from the White House Council on Girls and Women spotlights leaps by women and girls of color in recent years but also calls attention to major lagging areas, such as persistently higher rates of poverty, school suspension and teen pregnancy.

As another rape allegation besets Bill Cosby, NBC and Netflix have set aside projects with the 77-year-old comedian, the New York Times reported Nov. 19. In an essay on Hollywood Elsewhere, Joan Tarshis, a former actress, wrote that the comedian drugged and raped her on two occasions in the fall of 1969 when she was 19 years old. Cosby has repeatedly denied the accusations.

As part of the backlash against Time Magazine for placing "feminist" on its latest list of "worst words," the Feminist Majority is petitioning an editor at Time to remove the word from the poll, published in early November.

Women who have had abortions are sharing their stories to support the 1 in 3 Campaign to end the silence on abortion, The Daily Beast reported Nov. 20. One in three women has had an abortion in the United States and the 1 in 3 Campaign aims to end the shaming and silencing of women who make the decision. The first to share her story was Lizz Winstead, co-creator of the Daily show and a women’s rights advocate. Following her lead, women came out with their personal stories in a speakout on Nov. 20 and on the campaign’s site.

A woman who died south of Cairo, Egypt, marks the second bird flu death in two days and the third this year in the country, Al Jazeera reported Nov.18. Egypt has reported seven bird flu cases so far in 2014. Most victims have been women and children who are traditionally care for domestic poultry, AP reported Nov.17.

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