Iran Opens Sports to All; Kansas OKs Abortion Law

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Ghoncheh Ghavami jailed

Credit: Anoo Bhuyan on Flickr, under Creative Commons

A protest for Ghoncheh Ghavami, who was held in prison in Iran for attempting to watch a volleyball match.

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

Iran announced that women would be allowed to attend big sporting events, reversing a rule that had barred them from entering stadiums to watch matches attended by men, The New York Times reported April 4.

Women and their families would be allowed to attend most athletic events, except for "masculine" sports, like wrestling or swimming, during which male athletes wear uniforms or suits that cover little of their bodies, an Iranian official told the state-run news agency.

More News to Cheer This Week:

The NFL named Sarah Thomas as its first-ever permanent female official, Mashable reported April 8. The pro-football league announced Thomas’s appointment as a line judge along with eight other referees.

Residents of Ferguson, Mo., elected two African American candidates to its City Council including one woman, NBC News reported April 7. Ella Jones, elected with 50 percent of the vote, becomes the only female member of the council.

In France, using a model with a BMI under 18 could result in jail time, Time Magazine reported April 3. France has become the latest country to ban excessively skinny models from working in the ultra-chic country’s fashion industry, joining Israel, Spain and Italy.

Jeers

Kansas became the first state to ban the second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus, The Associated Press reported April 7. The law, which will become official on July 1, bans the dilation and evacuation procedure and redefines it as "dismemberment." There is an exception when the abortion is necessary to save a women’s life or prevent permanent damage. Two abortion rights groups that operate Kansas clinics with abortion services, Trust Women and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said they’re considering challenging the new law in court.

Similar measures have been introduced in Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina.

Against this backdrop, conservatives in Texas are pushing two bills, including one that would publicize the names of judges who give minors permission to obtain abortions, Mother Jones reported April 6.

More News to Jeer This Week:

U.S. soldiers and military contractors who were stationed in Colombia allegedly sexually assaulted as many as 54 children between 2003 and 2007, a report commissioned by the Colombian government and the FARC leftist rebel group found. The U.S. Army, however, told The Daily Beast that no credible evidence had been found to warrant an investigation but said further inquiry is possible.

Rolling Stone retracted April 5 its story about a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity after the publication of an external review conducted by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, Talking Points Memo reported. The report issued by the university found that "A Rape on Campus" was a "story of journalistic failure that was avoidable."

Female infants and girls in Kavumu, a town in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, are being been abducted and raped, Foreign Policy reported April 9. At least 35 girls, whose ages range from 6 months to 11 years, requiring "heavy surgery" have been hospitalized and treated for severe trauma. To date, no one has been able to determine who is responsible for the rapes.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research released April 8 its Status of Women in the States series, analyzing data about women and poverty. The series found that women earn less and have higher poverty rates than in men in every state.

Five women — members of China’s new feminist movement — sit in jail, accused of provoking social instability, The New York Times reported April 3. One of the women, Wu Rongrong, 30, an AIDS activist, is said to be ailing after the police withheld the medication she takes for hepatitis. Another, Wang Man, 33, a gender researcher, was said to have had a mild heart attack while in custody. Lawyers for the detainees say the women have been subjected to near-constant interrogation.

On the occasion of Equal Pay Day, April 14, the National Women’s Law Center is providing a detailed analysis of the gender wage gap showing that women make 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. This gap amounts to $10,876 less per year in median earnings and accumulates to a $435,049 loss over a 40-year career.

Noted:

Ellen Pao said this week she would like to ban salary negotiations at Reddit for its news employees, PBS Newshour reported April 7. The article reports that Pao, who lost her gender discrimination case last week, is banning the negotiations because she believes men negotiate more aggressively than women, leading to higher salaries for men.

A South African girl was taken off a plane in Cape Town on suspicion of planning to join the Islamic State, BBC reported April 6. Her relatives contacted authorities after she disappeared from her parent’s home on April 5.

Sex workers in Catalonia have created Spain’s first formal lobby group for the profession, the Guardian reported, with the aim of encouraging candidates in the upcoming municipal and regional elections to back them in their push to regulate the sector.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report April 7 showing an increase in the use of long-active reversible contraception, specifically IUDs, among teens. Usage of LARC methods among teens aged 15-19 has increased 7 percent over the last eight years.

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