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Irish Fund Supports Women; Bhutto's Death Preventable

Saturday, April 17, 2010

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A new fund dedicated solely to women's causes was launched on April 15 in Dublin by Ireland's President Mary McAlees, The Irish Times reported. The Women's Fund for Ireland aims to address problems facing women and girls in the country, including poverty, violence and improving access to health care and education. It will also support grassroots projects in areas such as the arts, literacy and support for careers.

Tina Roche, chief executive of Philanthropy Ireland and the Community Foundation for Ireland, which matches donors with charities or community groups, pledged 100,000 pounds (about $171,000 U.S.) on behalf of her organization to begin the fund, which they hope to grow to 10 million pounds. She said there were 200 women's funds worldwide and there was clearly a need for funding specifically for women, the article reported.

More News to Cheer This Week:

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  • A proposed human trafficking law in South Africa makes any trafficking offense punishable with life in prison, reported the Associated Press on April 16. The future law, depending on the situation, also punishes those liable for "providing premises for traffickers, transporting victims and failing to report suspected cases," according to the article.

  • The numbers of female executives in Canada's public service continue to outnumber male executives, and more women are now assuming executive roles within the field, reported the Montreal Gazette on April 12. "The government's latest demographic snapshot shows 43 percent of executives are now women, far outstripping the number in the executive suites of corporate Canada."

  • Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is advocating for more women on the U.S. Supreme Court before Justice John Paul Stevens retires this year, reported New York Times op-ed columnist Charles M. Blow on April 12. President Barack Obama has a chance to change the number of women represented in the U.S. Supreme Court, Blow wrote. Former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan is said to be on the president's short list of nominees. On August 8, 2009, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the third female justice selected in the U.S. Supreme Court's history.

  • American Rae Armantrout, one of three finalists for this year's Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, took home the award for her book "Versed," according to the Pulitzer Web site. The prizes were announced on April 12. The other two finalists in this category were also written by women: "Tryst," by Angie Estes, "a collection of poems remarkable for its variety of subjects, array of genres and nimble use of language;" and "Inseminating the Elephant" by Lucia Perillo, a collection of poems.

  • The effects of a quota imposed on Norway's directorships for more women to be represented on boards are also being proposed to other governments to institute change in the boardrooms, reported Time.com in its April 26 issue. "We'll never know if Lehman Brothers might have avoided collapse if it had been Lehman Sisters, but a wider range of perspectives and opinions in its leadership would have made it less likely that inordinate risk and bad decisions would have been taken," said Ruth Sealy, senior research fellow and deputy director of the International Centre for Women Leaders at England's Cranfield School of Management, according to Time.com.

  • Elham al Qasimi left her native Dubai for Norway to cross-country ski from Borneo Ice Station for an 11-day journey to reach the North Pole in sub-zero temperatures, reported The National on April 11.

  • Katie Spotz, a 22-year-old female rower from Atlanta, made history when she became the youngest person to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean. In response, she was featured in an interview on the nonprofit media organization Peace X Peace's Web site on April 6. Spotz rowed 2,817 miles in ocean waters to raise money for access to safe drinking water for 2,600 people.




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The 2007 assassination of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto could have been prevented if the government at the time, under President Pervez Musharraf, provided adequate security, reported a U.N. commission that investigated the death of Bhutto, reported the Associated Press April 16. The findings were released in an April 12 report.

More News to Jeer This Week:


  • A study on media coverage in Ghana indicates too few stories have been focused on women, according to allAfrica.com on April 12. Out of 6,053 news editorials, 1.6 percent (or 96 editorials) were about women, according to the study, "Gender Equality Contesting Media Spaces: The Coverage of Gender in the Ghanaian Media." In comparison, 2 percent (or 126 editorials) were on children and 1.9 percent (or 115 editorials) on youth.

  • Filipino journalist Marietes Vitug told the International Women's Media Foundation that she is receiving new death threats through text messages on her cell phone, the organization reported on April 9 in their email newsletter. The organization is urging the Phillipines' government to guarantee Vitug's safety. Vitug won the organization's Courage in Journalism Award in 1991.



  • A study released by the British Medical Journal shows that pregnant women who undergo bariatric surgery--a drastic weight loss surgery for people considered to be obese--before delivery were 75 percent less likely to suffer from pregnancy-related hypertension than their counterparts, reported Business Week on April 13. Conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the study looked at the medical records of 585 obese pregnant women who gave birth between 2002 and 2006. Roughly half of the women in the study underwent weight loss surgery before delivering their child, and some went through the surgery after.

  • Working Mother announced the following six companies as winners for top hourly earners on April 13:

    • CCLC -- Portland, Ore.
    • Marriott International -- Bethesda, Md.
    • McDonald's USA -- Oak Brook, Ill.
    • Sodexo -- Gaithersburg, Md.
    • University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics -- Madison, Wis.
    • UNM Hospitals -- Albuquerque, N.M.


  • Two studies released this week offer conflicting information about the maternal mortality rate. The rate at which women die in childbirth or soon after delivery has fallen by about 40 percent since 1980, with dramatic reductions in the populous nations of India, China, Brazil and Egypt, reported The Washington Post on April 14. Published in the British medical journal Lancet, the study found that maternal deaths have fallen from about 500,000 deaths in 1980 to about 343,000 in 2008. However, a separate report by a group headed by the United Nations reached a very different conclusion on maternal mortality, saying that from 350,000 to 500,000 women still die in childbirth every year, reported the Associated Press.

  • Women in countries where rape is used as a weapon of war now have a tool that will force rapists to experience some of the grief imposed on them, reported The Global Post on April 11. Forced entry inside a woman will lead to the attachment in the man of an elastic polyurethane condom with toothed hooks. The cylinder tube, being called Rape-aXe, is only removable through surgery. The Global Post includes an interactive video explaining the process.

In Memoriam:


  • Polish solidarity leader Anna Walentynowicz, 80, died in an April 10 plane crash, which also killed Poland's president and many of the country's other political leaders, reported Yahoo! News on April 13. Walentynowicz was an activist who became an important figure in the solidarity movement after being fired from her job at a shipyard in 1980. She led an 18-day strike, which brought forth the first independent worker's movement in communist-held Poland, reported the article.

  • American actress Dixie Carter died at age 70 on April 10, reported the Orlando Sentinel on April 11. Carter played the role of Julia Sugarbaker on "Designing Women," a show that challenged societal issues such as sexism and AIDS. Carter died of endometrial cancer, reported the Associated Press.