Today's Headline News

 Announced: Stricter U.K. Sexual Assault Guidelines  

Alison Saunders, director of public prosecutions in the United Kingdom, announced guidelines that would take it mandatory for suspects of rape or sexual assault to provide hard evidence that consent was provided with full capacity and freedom, Ms. Magazine reported on Jan. 30.  These guidelines were issued to all police and prosecutors to make sure rapists face justice and a way to modernize rape investigations.  

“For too long society has blamed rape victims for confusing the issue of consent, by drinking or dressing provocatively, for example, but it is not they who are confused, it is society itself and we must challenge that," Saunders said.

Related Story: Women: When We Succeed, We Can Also Escape Abuse

 Iranian Activist Released From Prison  

Iranian women’s rights activist Mahdieh Golroo was released from prison on bail of $200,000, Global Voices reported Jan 30. Golroo spent nearly 100 days in prison and 45 days in solitary confinement as a result of protesting in front of the Iranian parliament over acid attacks that occurred in October against women in the Iranian city of Isfahan.  The attacks trigged controversy as there was a disagreement between police and locals over the number of attacks. Iranians also said it was hypocritical to arrest Golroo as she protested against an event condemned by the government. 
 Related story: India Laws Fails Acid Test; Attacks Continue 

 Girls Outperform Boys in Education Study

Girls outperform boys in educational achievement, found a study, Mic reported Jan. 29. Researchers found that in 70 percent of countries examined girls scored higher on standardized testing than boys. However, it also found boys overall score higher in mathematics than girls.  
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow and the University of Missouri, looked at 1.5 million girls from 74 countries. Performance among girls in the Middle East was higher than those of boys but achievement levels between girls and boys in the United States and the United Kingdom were similar. Male performance was only higher in three locations: Colombia, Costa Rica and the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh. 
Related story: Girls' Gains in School Don't Subtract from Boys'

#Smearforsmear Campaign Raises U.K. Cervical Cancer Awareness

The #Smearforsmear campaign has been launched by the British organization Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust to raise awareness about the disease, The Huffington Post reported Jan. 29. To participate, women smear their lipstick, take a selfie and post the photo on social media. Many celebrities have already joined in on the campaign on Instagram.
The trust hopes the campaign will encourage testing for cervical cancer. Currently 1-in-3 women in the United Kingdom ages 25 to 29 currently do not get tested. “The number of women taking up their cervical screening invitation in the U.K. is going down year on year and this is extremely worrying," said the trust’s spokesperson Maddy Durrant.
Related story: Uganda Tests Strategies for Cervical Cancer

Missouri Lawmakers Introduced Three Bill to Restrict Abortion

Three separate abortion bills were proposed by the Republican majority in Missouri this week. One of the bills introduced by GOP Representative Rocky Miller will require both parents to be notified prior to an abortion. Currently Missouri law requires only one parent to be notified for a minor to complete an abortion procedure. In addition, a bill named the parental involvement enhancement act requires that the parent/guardian of the minor seeking an abortion prove their identity. The bill requires a notarized signature by the parent/guardian with a valid birth certificate and drivers license.
A final bill, introduced by Representative Linda Black, requires the department of social services to produce a video that would provide narration of the gestational period of the unborn child, the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at the time, alternatives to abortion, procedures, pain or injury to fetus and mother, etc. Women would be required to view the video before receiving an abortion. 
Earlier this month, similar restrictions were proposed in Connecticut. The two bills introduced would require physicians to notify parents or legal guardians 48 hours in advance of giving a minor child an abortion. Abortions would be prohibited otherwise. 

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