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Punished Christian Sudanese Meets Pope
Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who faced the death sentence for refusing to renounce Christianity, met with Pope Francis in Italy, TIME reported July 24. Ibrahim and her family, en route to the U.S., conversed with the Pope, who wanted to show “his closeness and prayers” for those who suffer because of their faith, in the Vatican. 
ISIS Orders Genital Mutilation of 4 Million Iraqi Women 
Militant group Islamic State has ordered all girls and women in and around Iraq's northern city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, the United Nations said July 24. The "fatwa" issued by the Sunni Muslim fighters would potentially affect 4 million women and girls, UN resident and humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq Jacqueline Badcock said, CBC reported. 
Two Foreign Women Shot Dead by Gunmen in Herat
Two Finnish women were shot and killed by unknown gunmen while riding in a taxi in the western Afghan city of Herat on July 24, France 24 reported. The attack came the same day that a market bombing in Afghanistan's north killed six people. No group has yet claimed responsiblity for the killings, but the Christian medical charity the women worked for was targeted by the Taliban four years ago in an attack that killed eight. The militants claimed at the time that the medics were "missionaries". 
Montana Judge Censured Over Rape Comments 
A Montana judge who gave a rapist a lenient sentence and suggested that the 14-year-old victim was at least partially to blame for her attack received a public reprimand from the Montana Supreme Court, RH Reality Check reported July 23. When delivering the rapist's sentence, Judge G. Todd Baugh suggested that the victim "looked older than her chronological age," and therefore was "as much in control of the situation" as her rapist. 
Iraqi Group Receives Death Threats for Helping Women, LGBT People 
Religious groups are threatening to kill the members of an organization dedicated to helping women and LGBT people, The Daily Beast reported July 22. The Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq has received threats from Asaib Ahl al Haq, a Shia militia in Baghdad. The militia accused the organization of prostituting women in its shelters. The young women and gay men have been moved from the organization's main office to undisclosed locations.   
Congress Introduces Act to Curb Abusive Scheduling Practices 
Congress introduced a bill meant to promote flexible workplaces and prevent abusive scheduling practices on July 22. Many low-income workers receive their schedules last minute and their hours can change weekly, according to A Better Balance, a non-profit organization. The bill would give workers the right to request changes in their work schedules and protect them from retaliation from employers. 
Maryland to Cover Transition-Related Care for Transgender Employees 
Transgender employees in Maryland now have access to gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy and other transition-related care under their state-provided health insurance plans, The Baltimore Sun reported July 22. Sailor Holobaugh, a clinical research assistant at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, brought a discrimination case against the state in November 2012 after he was denied reimbursement for a $4,500 surgery. Maryland joins California and Oregon to become the third state to offer such coverage.  
Italian Teacher Alleges School Fired Her for Being Gay 
An Italian Catholic school could lose its public funding if it is found it fired a teacher for being gay, Gay Star News reported July 22. Italy's Ministry of Education is investigating the Trento school after a teacher alleged that she was fired to "protect the school's ethics." Firing an employee because of their sexual orientation is illegal in Italy.   
Transgender Activist Named Marie Claire Contributing Editor 
Marie Claire has added Janet Mock, a New York Times best-selling author and transgender rights activist, as a contributing editor, reported July 21. Mock is the author of the bestseller "Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More." 
Charges Against Mother Who Left Kids in Car Dropped 
A mother who was arrested for leaving her children in her car while she went on a job interview will not go to prison, reported July 21. Shanesha Taylor left her children in the car after plans with the babysitter she hired fell through. Taylor was charged with two counts of felony child abuse and faced up to eight years in prison. She agreed to a plea agreement in which the charges against her will be dropped if she completes classes and establishes trusts for her children. 
Israeli Academic Suggests Raping Palestinian Women to Deter Attacks
Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli scholar of Arabic literature and lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, declared that raping the wives and mothers of Palestinian combatants would deter attacks, Alternative News reported July 21. "The only thing that could deter a suicide bomber is knowing that if caught, his sister or his mother would be raped," said Kedar during a radio talk show on Monday.


Obama Signs Order Protecting LGBT Workers' Rights

President Barack Obama signed an executive order banning workplace discrimination against LGBT federal employees, reported July 21. The order makes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity illegal. It does not contain religious exemptions that the current Employee Non-Discrimination Act has.   


African American Women Need 19 Months to Earn as Much as White Men in a Year
American women overall who work full time, year round are paid 77 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts but African American women who work full time, year round are paid only 64 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This gap—which amounts to a loss of $18,650 a year—means that African American women have to work nearly 19 months—until almost the end of July—to make as much as white, non-Hispanic men did in the previous year alone, according to a fact sheet published in July by the National Women's Law Center. 


Poor Pregnant Women Giving Birth to Healthier Babies

Pregnant women at the lowest rung of the nation’s economic ladder have narrowed the gap with wealthier women in the health of their babies, The Washington Post reported July 20. While experts agree that government policy has been critical to boosting the health of poor newborns, the improvements aren’t because of a single policy or administration. Rather, they reflect improved access to care, as well as a complex array of other factors, some not easily within the government’s grasp to change, from pollution to nutrition to violence at home.


Companies that Sell to Women Are Run by Men

The Huffington Post reports July 21 on the absence of women at the top of companies that make and market products to women. Theonline publication and Catalyst, an organization aimed at boosting women in business, looked at 19 of the largest companies that cater in large part to women and found that just one company, Avon, has a board of directors that’s majority women. The lack of women executives may help explain why some products and marketing campaigns are so out of touch, adds The Huffington Post.


Mormon Church Still Promotes Gender Differences 

The Mormon Church has not shifted its official positions on the roles of men and women since the 1970s, according to a new study, Yahoo News reported July 21. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints emphasizes the importance of innate gender differences and promotes traditionally masculine traits for men (e.g., strength, leadership) and traditionally feminine traits for women (e.g., delicacy, gentleness). Women are not allowed to have leadership roles in the Mormon Church hierarchy, and are encouraged to take on a support role for their husbands. 






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