Michelle Wie, 15 years old, was the first female to qualify to compete in a national men’sU.S. Golf Association event. Wie chose to compete in the men’s Amateur Public Links becausethe winner is customarily invited to the Masters tournament, one of men’s golf’s four majors.The Masters is held each year at Augusta National, site of much controversy in recent yearsdue to the club’s all-male membership.

Although Wie did not win the event, she was among the final eight competitors in single-eliminationmatch play. Upcoming events for Wie include the Evian in France, followed by the Women’s British Open,according to combined press reports.

Other news to cheer about this week:

  • A poll shows that most Americans would like to see Justice Sandra Day O’Connor replaced by a woman, reported the Gallup News Service on Friday. The poll also shows that Americans have a simultaneous preference for a more conservative court and one that would uphold the Roe vs. Wade, keeping abortion legal nationwide.
  • A Web site to educate women about healthcare policies and contraception is now offered by Patti Blagojevich, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s wife, the governor’s office said Wednesday in a press release. “Birth control in Illinois is supposed to be covered by insurance, but right now, it’s far too complicated for women to know which insurers cover birth control and what they cover,” Patti Blagojevich said.
  • The Church of England voted to permit women to be ascend to become bishops, Christian Today reported Wednesday. While celebrated by many, the decision is expected to widen a chasm in the church’s membership that began with the church’s ordination of the first female priests 11 years ago.
  • Women are more apt leaders for large companies according to a new study of Finland’s 500 largest companies, The Business Times reported Wednesday. The study by the credit research firm Suomen Asiakastieto, demonstrated that female-led companies boasted a 4 percent higher investment rate of return than those led by men.
  • Laura Bush, on the television Today Show, expressed her desire for a woman to fill the Supreme Court seat soon to be vacated by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The first lady said that although she would like to see a woman she has full confidence in any decision her husband makes.
  • Emergency contraception has not shown increased usage rates since it became available over the counter in Great Britain, according to a new BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) study reported by the Washington Post on Wednesday. The study concluded that advocates on both sides of the emergency contraception issue were wrong: Women did not rely on emergency contraception as a substitute for conventional birth control but its increased availability did not reduce unwanted pregnancies, the Post reported.
  • A new law permits women to divorce their husbands in the United Arab Emirates, reported the Dubai Interact on Thursday. Some predict this might be a catalyst for other Gulf nations to enact similar laws.
  • Women are allowed to be full members of Fraternal Order of Eagles 132 Michigan chapters as a result of two civil rights cases, reported the Muskegon Chronicle on Wednesday. The traditionally all-male non-profit group based in Grove City, Ohio, formerly allowed non-voting participation of women in the organization.
  • An effort to block Rutgers University’s proposal to close the nation’s largest public women’s college has been launched by the college’s alumnae, according to a press release from The Associate Alumnae of Douglass College on Thursday. The organization is asking for public support to encourage leadership at Rutgers to reconsider the possibility of turning Douglass into a general residential campus.
  • Lowered maternal mortality rates and generally improved reproductive health for Thai women have been achieved in Thailand, according to the United Nations Population Fund, which announced the news Wednesday as part of World Population Day.
  • Educating women on the Iraqi constitution is the goal of a new workshop series, reported Reuters AlertNet on Wednesday. Nongovernmental organizations, the Iraqi Center for Women’s Rehabilitation and Employment and the Civil Alliance for Free Elections have teamed up to host the workshops.
  • In Massachusetts, Lieutenant Gov. Kerry Healey will urge Gov. Romney to increase availability of emergency contraception, the Boston Globe reported Thursday.
  • A suspected arson at an abortion clinic last week has prompted Mayor Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach, Fla., to push for legislation that would establish a buffer zone protecting the clinic, employees and clients from anti-abortion protestors, reported the Sun-Sentinel on Tuesday. The move is expected to trigger quick opposition and lawsuits as other buffer zone cases have done elsewhere.
  • A former inmates represented by attorney Richard Cardinale reached a court settlement that will require the city of New York to inform women held at Riker’s Island jail of their right to refuse certain medical examinations, reported the Associated Press on Friday. Imposed pap testing, pelvic, and breast examinations have been an unquestioned part of the female inmates’ experience at Riker’s Island.


Although the legal age to wed in Afghanistan is 16, the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and various nongovernmental organizations have found that nearly 60 percent of females are being married are underage, often as young as 7, according to Reuters AlertNet on Wednesday. “Child marriage and early childbearing mean an incomplete education, limited opportunities and serious health risks,” said Masouda Jalal, Afghan minister of women’s affairs. In poor and rural communities, the practice of child marriage is most common, leading to high maternal mortality rates and injury during sexual intercourse.

Other news to jeer at this week:

  • Iowa has never elected a congresswoman or female governor, reported the Des Moines Register on Tuesday. Mississippi is the only other state to have such a record.
  • Despite efforts to the contrary, women are still underrepresented in Moroccan leadership positions, reported Arabic News on Wednesday. The 2003 family code reform, authorizing equal rights between the sexes, has not done enough to raise the rate of women in administrative positions above 10 percent, the report said.
  • The feminization of poverty is on the rise in Ireland due to persistent discrimination in Irish law and insufficient financial support, reported the World Peace Herald on Thursday. The number of women in poverty has more than doubled since 1994 despite enactment of anti-sex discrimination legislation.
  • In what has been deemed yet another sexist offense by Japan’s minister of education and culture, Nariaki Nakayama praised a statement made by a Japanese woman who said former “comfort women” should be proud of the obligatory sex they performed in service to the Japanese military during World War II. The Chinese Foreign Ministry castigated the Japanese official for his comments on “comfort women,” reported Bloomberg.com on Tuesday.
  • Despite a burgeoning print media industry in Nepal, only 15 percent of the country’s working journalists are women, reported The Rising Nepal on Thursday. Many female reporters are transferred to desk jobs after they get married, according to the “Status of Women Journalists in India” report, which found a lack of female editors and low promotion rates for women in the field.
  • Professional women who take time off from work to raise family are finding it difficult to resume their old positions, according to a study by the Forte Foundation and the Wharton School of Business, reported by the Star-Ledger on Friday. Close to 50 percent of women had trouble going back to work and many made significant changes in field, position and rank when they did return.
  • Massachusetts women are dying from AIDS at a rate almost three times higher than in 1989, even though the overall AIDS death rate has dropped, reported the Boston Herald on Sunday. White and African–American women both had increased death rates, while the men’s rates decreased. The Latino population, with decreased rates for both men and women, did not follow the pattern.
  • An anti-abortion group has admitted to filming a Melbourne, Australia, abortion clinic entrance, reported Australian news source, The Age, on Friday. The intimidation tactic occurred the day before the anniversary of a clinic security guard’s murder by a man who protested with the group. The clinic is seeking a legislated buffer zone.
  • The House Small Business Committee has scheduled a July 25 hearing to “explore the impact on small pharmacies when a government entity compels pharmacists to dispense a drug to which they may be morally opposed.” Abortion rights advocates believe that the hearing may be a preliminary step toward new laws designed to protect pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control for moral grounds.

–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 at Women’s eNews.

For more information:

Save Douglass College:

World Population Day 2005: Observances Around the World:

State of Illinois Contraceptive Coverage:

I-Save Rx:

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