To thunderous and sustained applause, Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai received the Nobel Peace Prize on Dec. 10, CNN reported. Yousafzai, 17, is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and was, alongside fellow winner and child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi, described as a champion of peace. "This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education," Yousafzai said in her speech. "It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change. I am here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice. It is not time to pity them."
More News to Cheer This Week:
Pope Francis has said he is pleased that 5 of the 30 members of the International Theological Commission are women but that it needs more female theologians, The Catholic Herald reported Dec. 8. "They are the strawberries on the cake, but there is need for more," the Pope said as he met the members, named to a five-year term in July.
In November 2014, women surpassed their previous employment peak, which was in September 2013, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate for female breadwinners, including single mothers, decreased considerably from a peak in 2010 at 13.4 percent to 8.2 percent, Ms. Magazine reported Dec. 10.
The Ms. Foundation for Women is backing the nationwide marches for justice and an end to police violence. "In Sanford, Florida, Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, New York and countless cities and towns across the country, systemic racism has trumped justice," President and CEO Teresa C. Younger said in a Dec. 11 statement. Younger also, on Dec. 10, vowed that her organization will continue to monitor the National Football League’s response to domestic violence among its players. "They need to continue their march down the field before they make a touchdown to truly change the culture of sexism," she wrote.
An Indiana federal judge found a 2013 state TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law unconstitutional, the Feminist Majority Foundation reported Dec. 10. The law requires abortion clinics to meet the same building code requirements as ambulatory surgical centers, even in facilities that only administer medication abortions. The bill targeted the only abortion clinic in Lafayette, which would have required costly renovations to continue serving over 4,000 patients.
A Planned Parenthood Action Fund bill was approved by the House of Representatives on Dec. 11 that will ensure for the first time that Peace Corps volunteers have access to abortion in cases of rape, incest or to protect the life of the woman. "We applaud Congress for extending equitable abortion coverage to female Peace Corps volunteers," Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund said in a statement. "These volunteers put their safety on the line through their invaluable service and deserve the same protections we provide to other women throughout the federal government. The bill also maintains current funding levels for key health programs such as the Title X Family Planning Program and the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.
An Uber driver in India allegedly raped a 25-year-old female passenger then threatened to kill her if she told police, The New York Daily News reported Dec. 7. The woman, who dozed off in the taxi, told police she woke to find the taxi parked in a secluded place where the driver assaulted and raped her, before dumping her near her home in New Delhi. As a result, the company has agreed to carry out a review of its India operations, Reuters reported Dec. 11, and is working to establish clear background checks currently that were missing in order to lift the government ban that was implemented earlier this week.
More News to Jeer This Week:
A Tennessee woman’s prison sentence was extended six years because she was pregnant while committing a federal offense and 100 organizations and leading experts are challenging the decision. National Advocates for Pregnant Women and 99 other organizations and experts filed a friend of the court brief on Dec. 8 in defense of Lacey Weld, a woman who pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine while pregnant. Federal prosecutors argued that because she struggled with addiction and was in a volatile environment with dangerous fumes while pregnant, Weld put her unborn child at risk and deserved stronger punishment than the men who also participated in the operation. The federal district court in Tennessee agreed and increased the sentence, citing "a substantial risk of harm to the life of a minor" and creating a worrisome new precedent for judging pregnant women. Those opposed include medical and public health experts, reproductive justice and women’s rights organizations and civil rights and civil liberties organizations.
In Washington State, a King County prosecutor says his office will not seek state felony charges against a 9-year department veteran for punching Miyekko Durden-Bosley in the face so hard he broke her eye socket, Boing Boing reported Dec. 6. At the time, she was handcuffed in the back of his police cruiser. Durden-Bosley, 23, was intoxicated and arrested outside the home of a Seattle man whose mother had called the police. The police officer suffered no injuries, according to court documents.
Two Saudi women detained nearly a week ago for violating the kingdom’s female driving ban were ordered to be held for 25 more days on Dec.7, The Associated Press reported. The women were arrested Dec. 1 after driving into Saudi Arabia from the United Arab Emirates. They are supporters of a grassroots campaign launched last year to oppose the ban.
The ISIS militant group has released a list of rules about how females slaves, women and children should be treated once captured, Newsweek reported Dec. 9. The pamphlet was released by the Research and Fatwa Department of ISIS on Dec. 3, and justifies capturing women due to their unbelief in Islam. The pamphlet explains that members can have sex with the captured women and details how a female slave can be beaten.
Women who are not enrolled in college are more likely to be sexually assaulted, according to a report released Dec. 11 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The rate of rape and sexual assault among women ages 18-24 was 1.2 times higher for non-students compared to students, according to the data collected from 1995 to 2013. Non-college students, however, are more likely to report rapes: 67 percent of these assaults go unreported, while 80 percent of college rape victims do not report.
A group of mothers have staged a mass breastfeed outside Claridge’s after staff at the London hotel told a woman to cover up while she was feeding her baby, The Daily Mail reported Dec. 6. The demonstration took place days after Louise Burns complained that she was asked to place a large napkin over her baby’s head in the restaurant as she breastfed. U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage became embroiled in the row, suggesting mothers could "sit in the corner" in restaurants to avoid offending people. He insisted it was "not too difficult" to feed a child in a way that was "not openly ostentatious."
If the presidential election was held today, Hillary Clinton would be elected president of the United States according to a poll released Dec. 8 by Bloomberg. The survey shows Clinton has at least a 5 point lead over all possible Republican presidential contenders. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush trails the former Secretary of State by 6 percent in a head-to-head matchup, as do Gov. Chris Christie and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Clinton has an 8 point lead on Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and a 13-point lead on Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. However, Clinton has not announced whether she will run for presidency in 2016.
Notable Trio of Women Behind Senate’s Torture Report
The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the 15-member author of the controversial report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of torture during the Bush administration, includes a notable trio of women. Its chair, California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, one of the six women elected to the Senate in 1992 in the so-called Year of the Woman, is widely credited with insisting on the release of the 524-page executive summary of the 6,000 page Dec. 9 report that has created a storm of reactions across the globe. Feinstein, a life-long Democrat, in no stranger to turbulence. She served as mayor of San Francisco after the 1978 assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk. Feinstein, also a city supervisor at the time, found Harvey Milk’s body.
The other female Democrat on the intelligence committee is Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. First elected to congress in 1977 and to the senate in 1986, Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress. As the Senate’s "dean of women," she mentors female newcomers to the Senate.
Susan Collins, the sole female Republican on the committee, has the distinction of being the only pro-choice female Republican in the Senate. A former chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee during the Bush Administration, she coauthored the Collins-Lieberman Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act that also created the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board to ensure privacy and civil liberties concerns are being protected.
–Rita Henley Jensen, editor in chief