Cheers and Jeers

Ecuador Closes Down Torture; Egyptians Nix Rights

Saturday, January 28, 2012



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Women's rights groups in Ecuador are claiming victory. Bowing to pressure, the government is shutting down underground clinics that the groups say used torture techniques to try to "cure" lesbians, reported MSNBC Jan. 25. Many women claimed they were physically, psychologically and sexually abused in attempts to make them straight.

Ecuador's president has appointed Carina Vance, a lesbian and gay-rights activist, as the new health minister. Before the appointment, the previous minister announced last week that the government would investigate and close all such clinics in the country, launch a national advertising and awareness campaign against homophobia and develop a crisis hotline for victims, according to

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More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The World Economic Forum anticipates an increase in the number of female leaders at its annual meeting in Alpine Village of Davos. This comes after the forum introduced a minimum quota for female executives last year, reported the Financial Times Jan. 25. This year, about 17 percent of the 2,600 attendees will be women, 1 percentage point above last year's.
  • Brazil says it will fine private health plans that refuse to pay for the removal and replacement of faulty breast implants sold by two European companies, reported the Associated Press Jan. 26.
  • Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen has become the so-called 25th vote to ensure passage of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Washington, according to CNN Jan. 23. In a statement, Haugen said, "I don't see where my believing marriage is between a man and a woman gives me the right to decide that for everyone else."
  • The Sundance Institute and Women In Film are working together to track female filmmakers who are showing their work at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and plan to use the data to increase women's presence in all areas of filmmaking, reported CBS Jan. 24. Women remained vastly underrepresented behind the camera in the movie business in 2011, Reuters reported Jan. 24. Last year, women comprised 18 percent of directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers and editors working on the 250 top-grossing domestic films, according to "The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2011."
  • Women's rights groups in Britain, speaking at the Leveson Inquiry, have called for more accurate reporting of violence against women and a ban on naked or semi-naked images of women in newspapers, reported The Guardian Jan. 24.
  • The International Museum of Women opened its 2012 global online exhibition MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe, which explores emerging issues, unique challenges and changing perspectives of motherhood throughout the world, reported PRWeb Jan. 24.
  • President Barack Obama marked the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision by saying that the ruling was more than just about establishing a woman's right to an abortion, the AP reported Jan. 23. Obama said in a statement that the court's decision also makes clear that the government "should not intrude on private family matters."

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