Barnard Changes Policy; Chinese Group Shut Down

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Free Chinese Feminists

Credit: OccupyWallStreetNYC on Twitter

A protest to free the five Chinese feminist activists who were detained earlier this year.

(WOMENSENEWS)–

Cheers

Barnard College in New York City announced June 4 that it will begin accepting transgender women, reported. The college will be joining a slate of women’s colleges that have created formal policies on whether to admit students who do not identify with their birth sex.

"I think certain issues just hit the zeitgeist at a certain point in time," says Debora Spar, Barnard’s president, who’s led a months long effort to explore the issue with her community, including five town halls and a survey that yielded some 900 responses.

The announcement came a few days after former Olympic athlete and reality TV star Bruce Jenner, who is transitioning to life as a woman, revealed her new name as Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner posed in a white strapless leotard on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine, reported . In a video on the magazine’s website, Jenner said the cover, which features the headline "Call me Caitlyn," represents a liberating phase of her transition.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Women in Zimbabwe are starting to venture out at night without fear of being arrested on prostitution charges after the Constitutional Court ruled it was illegal and sexist for police to indiscriminately arrest women on the streets and in public establishments. Before the ruling, women out at night were frequently arrested on allegations of being prostitutes, the reported .

An abortion rights group challenged Kansas’ first-in-the-nation ban on a second-trimester procedure that anti-abortion activists describe as dismembering a fetus, the reported . The lawsuit filed in Shawnee County District Court by the Center for Reproductive Rights asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional and block it from taking effect in July as scheduled.

Thousands of people have taken part in a march in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires condemning violence against women, reported . Marches against "femicide" also took place in other cities and in neighboring Chile and Uruguay. The protests follow recent cases of violence against women that have shocked Argentina.

Of the 120 Knesset members, 29 are women, reported , saying it is the highest number of women the Israeli Parliament has ever had. The Knesset is 24.2 percent female, which puts it ahead of the United States, where 19.4 percent of Congress is female, but behind the United Kingdom’s 29.4 percent, according to the .

Jeers

A Chinese women’s rights organization connected to five feminist activists whose detentions in China prompted international concern earlier this year said it has been forced to shut down permanently because of mounting pressure from authorities, the reported . Founder and Executive Director Wu Rongrong said she was "sad beyond words" at the closure of Weizhiming in the eastern city of Hangzhou and that there now would be "even fewer opportunities" to speak out publicly in support of women’s rights.

More News to Jeer This Week:

The news industry is still lagging behind when it comes to achieving gender equality, according to the annual report released June 4. Women are on camera only 32 percent of the time in evening broadcast news and write 37 percent of print stories news stories. At the New York Times, more than 67 percent of bylines are male, reported. Hard news is mostly covered by men and women covering sports are fewer than last year with only 10 percent, down from 17 percent last year.

A U.S. airline has been accused of discrimination after a Muslim woman was allegedly told that she could not have an unopened can of cola because she could use it as a weapon, reported . Tahera Ahmad, who wears a headscarf, was traveling on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C., on May 30 when she said a flight attendant refused to give her an unopened can while other passengers were given one. When Ahmad asked the attendant for an explanation, she was told that she could not be given one for security reasons.

reveals that 1-in-3 working women in the U.K. admit to feeling disadvantaged in the workplace, the reported . The report revealed that 31 percent of respondents believe that men are offered greater opportunities at work.

Pakistani politician Fazal-ur-Rehman said that women in jeans are to blame for disasters like earthquakes and inflation, the Indian newspaper the reported .

Noted:

Former venture capitalist Ellen Pao is appealing her March loss to Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers in a much-watched Silicon Valley gender discrimination trial, reported . A spokesperson said Pao is appealing a jury’s verdict that she failed to show the venture-capital firm discriminated against her and retaliated against her when she complained.

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