A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on Dec. 21 when two female sailors became the first to share the coveted "first kiss" on the dock after one of them returned from 80 days at sea, The Huffington Post reported Dec. 21. Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill and shared a quick kiss in the rain with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- In Madagascar legal aid clinics are playing an increasingly important role during the country's current political and economic crisis, especially for poverty-hit rural women who are under-served by the country's ailing judicial system, reported IRIN Dec. 22. The purpose of the clinics is to ensure that justice is within reach, especially for women.
- Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi formally registered her party Dec. 23 for any upcoming elections, returning the Nobel laureate to the country's political arena, reported the Associated Press.
- Two Bahraini female activists were released from jail Dec. 20, but refused to leave until another woman, imprisoned since September, was also set free, Bikya Masr reported Dec. 21.
- Saudi Arabia will open its first government engineering school for female students,Al Arabiyareported Dec. 21. The five-year bachelors program will include electrical and industrial engineering courses.
- The number of women proposing marriage to men in Morocco has risen, Al Arabiya reported Dec. 20. Sociologist Abdul Samad al-Dialmi said the rise is part of a female campaign to promote gender equality.
- President Obama on Dec. 19 issued a "national action plan" aimed at giving women a bigger role in resolving conflicts around the world, The Washington Times reported Dec. 19.
- A Nevada state judge rewrote a misleading anti-abortion ballot initiative to make clear it was designed to ban all abortions and other vital women's health services, said a Dec. 18 press statement from the ACLU of Nevada and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The initiative was originally worded in such vague terms that it failed to make clear the far-reaching effects the initiative would have on Nevada law.
- The United Nations General Assembly voted to designate October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, TrustLaw reported Dec. 19. The day will promote girls' rights, highlight gender inequalities between girls and boys and address the various forms of discrimination and abuse suffered by girls globally.
- Israel's political leaders and chief rabbis condemned persistent efforts by ultra-Orthodox Jewish men to shunt Israeli women to the back of public buses, reported the Associated Press Dec. 18. The outcry came in reaction to an Israeli woman's experience of being asked to move to the back of a bus, which was posted on Facebook and was highly covered by Israeli media.
- Thousands of women massed to protest against Egyptian military violence in Tahrir Square Dec. 20, reported The New York Times, after a video and photographs showing Egyptian army soldiers beating a young woman Dec. 17 went viral on the Internet. In response, the country's military council reaffirmed "its respect and total appreciation for the women of Egypt and their right to protest, effectively and positively participate in the political life on the road to the democratic transition, Associated Press reported Dec. 20. The council also mentioned that reports of forced "virginity tests" on detained female protesters last April had been transferred to the Supreme Military Court, according to Bikya Masr.