Despite facing new demands in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States military has continued to improve its child care system, according to a release issued Wednesday by the National Women's Law Center, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C.
The center, which has studied the topic since 2000, noted that the military has strengthened accreditation requirements, integrated programs for teenagers, lowered the cost child care for low-income families and increased the number of military child care spaces.
Other News to Cheer About This Week:
- Rallies broke out in Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, and other Asian cities on Wednesday to pressure the Japanese government into providing apologies and compensation for World War II-era women who were forced into roles of "comfort women" (military sex slaves) by the government, reported Reuters.
While the government has issued apologies and a private fund for the 70- and 80-year-old women, the efforts have been called insincere and government officials criticized for making demeaning remarks and for approving textbooks that omit "comfort women" from history, Reuters reported.
- Women involved in small-scale, community banks in Niger have been more equipped to survive their nation's ongoing food crisis, reported Reuters on Wednesday. The London-based nongovernmental organization CARE International, focused on eradicating poverty, organized the women into pooling money and food into savings over the last few years. Members can take loans from the savings, to start small business endeavors for example, and once profits are earned, the money goes back into the pool for others.
- The number of 20- to 24-year-old Canadian women who smoke dropped 5 percent in 2004, according to the Canadian Tobacco Use and Monitoring Survey, reported CBC News on Thursday. Men have continued smoking at the same rate, around 31 percent, while 25 percent of women smoke.
- The California Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of a supervisor at L'Oreal, the French cosmetics and perfume company, who resisted her boss' order to fire a woman because she was not "good-looking enough" and replace her with someone who was "hot," according to the Los Angeles Times. The judges gave the supervisor the right to sue her employer for alleged retaliation, a decision that would expand rights for workers who oppose orders that could be discriminatory, the paper reported.
A group of Ugandan women move into the third week of their hunger strike in the Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre, according to a Wednesday press release from London and San Francisco-based Legal Action for Women.
The women are protesting the refusal of their asylum, saying that they face potential rape and imprisonment by the Ugandan government or the insurgent Lords Resistance Army if they return to their homeland. A statement from the women says that the conflict between the government and the rebel group has raged for 18 years.
The women are also protesting the conditions of the detention center, in which they say they are underfed, sexually intimidated, medically neglected and subjected to racist abuse.
Conditions appear to be worsening. The Ugandan women are not allowed to send faxes to advocacy groups and do not have the money or access to lawyers in order to fight for their rights, according to Legal Action for Women. There have also been complaints of intensifying sexual intimidation and harassment, reportedly a factor in the recent attempted suicide of the spokesperson for the protesting group, Harriet Anyangokolo.
Other News to Jeer This Week:
- Among other medical risks, infertility is now shown to be connected with female genital mutilation, according to a study that took place in Sudan, where the practice is prevalent, reported Voice of America on Friday. The study, by the Karolinska Institute's Division of International Health in Sweden, found that infection, likely to have been caused by the operation, may have led to damage in women's reproductive organs. In the approximately 300-studied, women who had undergone the procedure were found to be 5 or 6 times more likely to be infertile.
- As intimidation and hostility from militant groups, as well as regular citizens, is mounting in Afghanistan, 50 women were reported to have withdrawn their candidacies from the nation's September 18 parliamentary elections, according to Radio Free Europe on Friday. The approximately 300 women still running in the campaign are facing reports of house burnings, attack and death threats, reported the U.S. funded international news agency.
- NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading abortion rights group in Washington, D.C., announced Thursday it will pull its television ad in opposition to Supreme Court nominee John Roberts, according to the New York Times. The move came in response to criticism that the ad distorted Roberts' record because it suggested Roberts sided with violent anti-abortion rights groups when he argued as deputy solicitor general in the first Bush administration that a 19th-century anti-Ku Klux Klan statute could not be used to halt disruptive demonstrations at abortion clinics.
-- Allison Stevens contributed to this report.
Rachel Corbett is a Women's eNews intern and freelance writer based in New York City. Allison Stevens is Washington Bureau Chief for Women's eNews.