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Iraqi Candidates Step Up; Sex Assault Bill Fails

Saturday, March 8, 2014

About 3,000 Iraqi female candidates are preparing to start campaigning for parliamentary elections, a record high. Also this week, the Senate rejected a bill to remove military commanders from decisions over the prosecution of sexual assault cases in the armed forces.

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About 3,000 Iraqi female candidates are preparing to start campaigning for parliamentary elections, a record high. Also this week, the Senate rejected a bill to remove military commanders from decisions over the prosecution of sexual assault cases in the armed forces.
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Iraqi women show that they have voted in a parliamentary election.

Credit: James Gordon/james_gordon_losangeles on Flickr, under Creative Commons

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(WOMENSENEWS)--

Cheers

About 3,000 Iraqi female candidates are preparing to start campaigning for parliamentary elections, the Arabic-language daily newspaper reported . It's the biggest female participation in an election in the recent history of Iraq, and the majority of the women are running for the first time. The Higher Commission for Elections in Iraq asked every party to have a minimum of 25 percent female candidates on their list.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Brussels Airlines says it will use an all-female crew on its Brussels-to-New York flight on March 8, on the occasion of International Women's Day, reported . The flight is scheduled to depart Brussels at 10:30 a.m. and land at New York's JFK Airport at 1:05 p.m., all times local. Read more about today's festivities in the Women's eNews story "."

On the occasion of International Women's Day, the International Coalition for Egyptians Abroad has launched an online campaign, , to document and raise awareness about the sexual abuses and torture endured by Egyptian women in detention. The campaign also includes a urging the U.N. to condemn and "to take adequate procedures" to stop the violence.

Brig. Gen. Peggy C. Combs has become the first woman to take command over Fort Knox and U.S. Army Cadet Command, the reported. Combs served in the Army for 28 years and succeeds Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith in the role.

The Vatican could soon make significant changes to the role of women in the Catholic Church and to its approach to divorce, Pope Francis said, reported . In an extensive interview granted to two newspapers, Corriere della Sera in Italy and La Nacion in Argentina, the pope said women could have greater decision-making power in the church's hierarchy.

The new budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015, March 4, supports a $5 million State Paid Leave Fund and an additional initiative to support state paid leave programs. Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work, stated that the additional funding also strengthens wage and hour enforcement will help ensure that workers receive fair wages and overtime pay and can access job-protected leave for family and medical purposes.

Forbes' annual billionaires list includes a record number of women this year, reported . The number of women on the list increased by 25 percent since last year. The United States has the most female billionaires on the list, with 58, followed by Germany with 16 and Brazil with 14.

Female Saudi activists demanded "measures to protect women's rights" in a petition to the country's consultative council, reported . Women in the kingdom are banned from driving and must have permission from a male guardian for work or travel. Read more in the Women's eNews story "."

The United Arab Emirates recently approved five abortions, the Arabic-language local daily reported . The country's Shariah Committee for Issuing Fatwas approved the five procedures after reviewing 11 applications in cases in which the fetuses had indications of mental retardation.

Jeers  

The Senate rejected on March 6 a controversial bipartisan bill to remove military commanders from decisions over the prosecution of sexual assault cases in the armed forces, the reported. Advocacy groups argued that wholesale changes are necessary to combat an epidemic of rapes and sexual assaults in the military. The measure, pushed by Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, received 55 votes -- five short of the 60 votes needed for advancement to a floor vote. Missouri's Claire McCaskill, in a rare split among Democratic female senators, led the opposition to the bill.

The same day, the reported that a sergeant responsible for advising students at the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., pleaded guilty in a case that included accusations that he secretly videotaped female cadets in the locker room. Sgt. First Class Michael McClendonwill will serve a 33-month sentence before being mustered out of the Army with a bad-conduct discharge.

Also this week, the former lead prosecutor in a sexual assault case against a U.S. Army general wanted most of the charges dropped after he became convinced the accuser had lied, reported . Other members of the prosecution team said the victim's misstatements about a missing cell phone are insufficient to challenge her credibility. The testimony came at a hearing for Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, facing a court-martial on charges that include physically forcing a female captain under his command to perform oral sex. If convicted, Sinclair could get life sentence in a military prison.

More News to Jeer This Week:

Abductions, rapes and murders of women have all soared with more women being killed in Mexico than ever before, reported . Since former President Felipe Calderon launched a military offensive on the drug cartels at the end of 2006, over 85,000 people have been murdered. Most are young men but the number of women killed shot up 155 percent to 2,764 in 2012, official data indicates.

About a third of all women in the European Union have suffered either physical or sexual violence since the age of 15, according to by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, March 5. The survey, based on interviews with 42,000 women, is said to be the largest one conducted on the subject.

Three reproductive health care facilities have been shut down in Texas after new restrictions on abortion providers went into effect last November, reported . Rio Grande Valley no longer has any clinic providing abortions.

Research finds black women with breast cancer are on average about 40 percent more likely to die of the disease than white women with breast cancer, the reported . The analysis shows that the mortality rates for white women with breast cancer have dropped much more rapidly over the past 20 years than for black women.

All women in Syria's northern city of Raqqah are now obliged to wear head-to-toe coverings, reported . The imposition comes from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a Syria-based Islamist militant group that gained complete control of the city in the beginning of this year. The group also has banned music, singing and smoking.

The 60 percent rate of unmarried women in Tunisia has religious leaders calling to restore the legality of polygamy, the Arabic-language Palestinian News portal reported .

More than 41 million people can't take a paid day off when they or their families fall ill, according to a report by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, Think Progress reported . Low-income workers are more affected than the well off. The report finds that occupations that have the least access to sick days, such as those in food preparation and personal care, are dominated by women.

Seventy-nine percent of the beneficiaries of Jordan's protection services for domestic violence are women over 18 years old, according to the Ministry of Social Development, the Arabic-language local daily reported . The ministry also reported that women received 55 percent of the country's low-income financial assistance from the National Aid Fund.

Marissa Alexander could get up to 60 years in prison after being convicted of three accounts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced to 20 years, reported . Since the 2012 incident, Florida's law has changed so that sentences for the same crime must be served consecutively, not concurrently. Amid criticism from her supporters, the judge has ruled that Alexander needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her husband was abusive toward her.

Sixty-eight percent of Iraqi female journalists complained that they had suffered from sexual harassment or gender discrimination at work, the Arabic newspaper, , reported . They voiced this criticism at a forum for Iraqi female journalists.

The lack of attention to gender differences in scientific studies can be harmful to women's health, the reported . A study by the Connors Center for Women's Health found that animal and human studies typically use male subjects, and even when females are included, researchers fail to analyze and report results by gender.

Noted:

Women in the group Palestinians Against Blockade Committee demonstrated outside the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the Gaza Strip to protest the aid group's decision to reduce food aid, the Arabic-language local daily reported . The protesters said the decline in food aid over the years causes their families to suffer while their economy is being choked off by the Israeli blockade.

For the fourth year in a row, Lubna Al Qassimi, minister of international development for the United Arab Emirates, tops of the Arab world's most powerful women, the reported .

Girls who play with Barbie dolls see fewer career options for themselves than for boys, according to a conducted by an < researcher. In this context, has been launched to raise $95,000 to begin production on a doll that has a real woman's proportions, TIME reported.

Hillary Rodham Clinton would enter the 2016 presidential race better liked and more respected than she was when she ran for the Democratic nomination in 2008, according to a released March 4. The survey indicates that 51 percent say they'd like her to run for president in 2016 (including three of four Democrats), 43 percent say they hope she doesn't. Another shows that a majority of people in New Jersey, New York and Virginia view the former secretary of state favorably.

Nine women received wombs donated by their mothers or other close relatives since 2012 and doctors have begun transferring embryos into four of them, reported .

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