UN Pushes to End Violence; FDA Issues Cancer Alert

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UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women event on Nov. 24.

Credit: UN Women on Flickr, under Creative Commons

UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women event on Nov. 24.

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

The United Nations marked the International Day for Eliminating Violence against Women with the color orange, IPS reported Nov. 25. New York City buildings, including the United Nations headquarters and the Empire State Building, were illuminated orange as a promise of grassroots action to show solidarity in ending the plague that affects one in three women worldwide. “It is up to everyone to play their part; women’s rights are not only women’s business. Men and boys are finally taking their place as partners in this battle,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at an Economic and Social Council event on Nov. 24. The campaign aims to bring attention to what Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the executive director of U.N., described as a “massive and pervasive human rights violation.” Mlambo-Ngcuka and New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray signed an agreement to work together to increase women’s safety.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition parties agreed Nov. 25 to a draft law that would force Germany’s leading publicly listed companies to allocate 30 percent of the seats on non-executive boards to women from 2016 onward, Reuters reported Nov.25. Some leading German business figures have criticized the new legislation, BBC reports Nov. 26. Similar measures have been introduced in other European countries including Norway, Italy and The Netherlands.

Georgia O’Keeffe, best known for her paintings of New Mexico and erotic flowers, set a new auction record for the most expensive work of art by a woman, Time.com reported Nov. 21. “Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1” sold for $44.4 million at Sotheby’s last week, almost triple the auction house’s estimate.

More women are going out at night, defying traditional gender roles in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the BBC reported Nov. 25. Women in these countries are now enjoying greater social freedoms because the proportion of women who are employed has increased between 2006 and 2011, according to the World Bank.

Jeers

The FDA issued a warning over a uterine surgery device that risks spreading cancer, The New York Times reported Nov. 25. The device, a laparoscopic power morcellator, is used in at least 50,000 women a year in the United States. The tool is widely used to remove tumors from the uterus by cutting tissue into pieces to make extraction easier. If a woman has undiagnosed cancer, it risks spreading malignant cells around the abdomen. The FDA did not ban the use of the tool but warned doctors against using them in certain surgeries.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Women’s advocacy groups and labor representatives are speaking out against the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the August shooting of unarmed, 18-year-old Michael Brown. Make It Work, a nonprofit campaign that works to advance economic security for women, men and families, said in a press release that it was “saddened and outraged by this betrayal of justice and disrespect for families of color in Ferguson and nationwide.” George Gresham, president of the predominately female and persons of color union, the 1199SEIU United Health Workers East, said in a press release statement that two members of 1199SEIU, were also mothers of unarmed black men killed by the police, to emphasize the widespread implications and impact of the Ferguson shooting and decision.

A rape report shook The University of Virginia and unleashed claims of years of mishandled sexual assaults, The New York Times reported Nov. 25. The reported frat house rape of a female student happened two years ago and the university has taken fire for its unsteady response to the issue. In a recent video, a dean acknowledged that even students that admitted to sexual assault escaped expulsion and that no one had been expelled for sexual assault in at least seven years. Protestors have been gathering outside of the fraternity house where the rape took place since last Saturday and the administration is struggling to respond to an issue that threatens to rock its prestigious and long-respected reputation. The Board of Visitors that governs the university held a special meeting to discuss the handling of sexual assaults on Nov. 25.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that women are not equal to men and accused feminists of not understanding the special status that Islam attributes to mothers, Hurriyet Daily News reported Nov. 24. During a summit in Istanbul on justice for women, he said biological differences meant women and men could not serve the same functions, adding that manual work was unsuitable for the “delicate nature” of women, The Guardian reported Nov. 24. “You cannot bring women and men into equal positions; that is against nature because their nature is different,” Erdogan said.  His comments have ignited a firestorm of controversy on Twitter.

Noted:

A Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy has filed an appeal in the country’s top court, her final legal recourse after being found guilty of insulting the prophet Muhammad four years ago, The Guardian reported Nov. 24.

Two embattled abortion clinics received reprieves last week, Bustle’s Laura Barbato wrote Nov. 23 in a roundup piece. In the South, the last remaining abortion clinic in Jackson, Miss., is staying open after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to rehear a case that struck down the constitutionality of a 2012 TRAP law designed to close the clinic for good. Meanwhile, the lone abortion clinic in the Cincinnati area was granted an exemption by the state health department, allowing the clinic to go about its business as usual. If both clinics were to close in their respective areas, it would have left thousands of women without safe access to abortion.

Hundreds of students, parents and advocates lined Main Street on Monday in front of Norman High School in Norman, Okla., to protest the school’s handling of bullying related to allegations of sexual assaults of three students, the Oklahoman reported Nov. 24. The case is being closely followed and publicized on Twitter with the hashtag #YesAllDaughters.

In Memoriam:

Nancy Teeters, who in 1978 became the first woman on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, then continued to stand out by opposing former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker’s anti-inflation campaign, has died, Bloomberg News reported Nov. 23. She was 84.

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