Cheers and Jeers

Ecuador Closes Down Torture; Egyptians Nix Rights

Saturday, January 28, 2012

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Most of the biggest Egyptian political parties have committed to delivering ambitious human rights reform in the country's transition, but have either given mixed signals or flatly refused to sign up for ending discrimination, protecting women's rights and abolishing the death penalty, Amnesty International said Jan. 24. Amnesty sought meetings with 15 major political parties in Egypt, asking them to sign a human rights manifesto. A number of them had reservations over a pledge for women's rights to be protected, including for women to be given equal rights in marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. Several parties invoked Islamic law to explain why they would not commit to this.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., introduced a bill that would ban women in Washington, D.C., from having abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, reported the Huffington Post Jan. 25. Five other states passed 20-week bans in 2011, none of which include exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
  • Women's rights advocates say it's unacceptable that a majority of nominations for Order of Australia honors are for men, reported the Sydney Morning Herald Jan. 26. In the nominations list released, 599 men but only 234 women were nominated.
  • Haiti, still struggling to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake, is trying to cope for the third time in five years with the sexual abuse of minors by United Nations peacekeepers, reported the Inter Press Service Jan. 23.
  • The Pakistani legal system presents insurmountable barriers to justice for victims of sexual violence and particularly incest, according to the report "A Struggle for Justice: Incest Victims in Pakistan," released Jan. 24 by Equality Now. There is no specific law against incest in Pakistan and issues such as sexual violence, including rape and incest, are surrounded by stigma.
  • New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's newsman son, Greg, is being investigated for allegedly raping a woman, law-enforcement sources told The Post Jan. 26.


  • The Center for Women Policy Studies published their first three Reproductive Laws for the 21st Century papers on their website Jan. 24. The reports cover the success of and future threats to contraceptive coverage in the U.S., abortion in Ireland and the Hyde Amendment, which bars Medicaid from paying for abortions.
  • Most employed mothers would work even if they didn't have to, but they're also looking for new ways to negotiate the demands of mothering and the pressures to be an "ideal" employee, a study published Jan. 23 in Gender and Society found.
  • Catalyst, a nonprofit that researches women and business, announced that initiatives from Sodexo and Commonwealth Bank of Australia are the recipients of the 2012 Catalyst Award, the annual award honoring exceptional business initiatives that advance women in the workplace, reported PRNewswire Jan. 24.
  • While 28 percent of all households in the U.S. consist of just one person, women are more likely than men to live alone, reported Fortune Jan. 25. Eighteen million women in the country live alone; 14 million men do. Unmarried women also purchase more homes than unmarried men. Of house buyers in the U.S., 10 percent are unmarried men and 21 percent are unmarried women.
  • Rep. Gabrielle Giffords submitted her resignation to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, just more than a year after a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left six people dead and Giffords critically wounded, reported Talking Points Memo Jan. 26. Since that time, Giffords has made significant progress, but she is resigning to continue focusing on her recovery.
  • Consumers may now want to know not only how the animals they eat are raised but whether they are male or female, reported The Globe and Mail Jan. 25. Sam Gundy, co-owner of the Toronto high-end butchery Olliffe, Purveyors of the Finest Meats, says that while he can't distinguish between male and female chickens in taste, the mouth-feel is different.
  • Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Jan. 25 she will seek a fourth term in the U.S. House following her failed presidential bid, reported the Associated Press.
  • Lego has introduced a new range of pink and pastel colored bricks in a bid to appeal to girls, reported The Telegraph Jan. 25. Lego's marketing director David Buxbaum said, "I would argue we are giving girls what they are asking for." Freelance writer Bailey Richards, however, has found the new toys offensive and has launched an online petition against them, reported NPR Jan. 24.
  • An Oklahoma hospital that failed to build a women's health center in honor of Garth Brooks' late mother must pay the country singer $1 million, the Associated Press reported. The hospital, Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in Yukon, must return Brooks' $500,000 donation plus pay him $500,000 in punitive damages, a jury decided Jan. 23.
  • Eighty percent of African American women surveyed believe that sexism is a problem in society today, compared with 71 percent of white women, 78 percent of black men and just 58 percent of white men, according to a survey conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, released Jan. 22.
  • A Stanford University study challenges the cliche about women having a higher tolerance for pain than men, SF Gate reports. In an examination of tens of thousands of electronic patient records, women tended to report much more severe pain than men, no matter the source of the pain.
  • Democratic North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, the first woman elected governor in the state, said Jan. 26 she would not seek re-election this year, reported the Associated Press. Her departure creates a wide-open gubernatorial primary in a state that is key to the presidential race.
  • About 10 percent of men but only 3.6 percent of women age 14 to 69 are orally infected with the human papillomavirus, or HPV, reported MSNBC Jan. 26. It was unclear why, though scientists theorized that transmission through oral sex on women is more likely than on men or that hormonal differences between men and women may be a factor.
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