Thousands of women and veterans in South Africa celebrated Women’s Day on Aug. 9 by re-enacting South Africa’s historic Women’s March of 1956, when more than 20,000 women gathered to protest laws that restricted black movement in white-controlled areas during apartheid, the Johannesburg Mail and Guardian reported.

Earlier this year, Present Thabo Mbeki called upon South Africans to usher in a women’s movement to achieve gender tolerance and equality. On Aug. 6, a network of activists, officials and businesswomen launched the Progressive Women’s Movement, a campaign to increase the number of women in business and politics.

While women represent a third of South Africa’s parliamentarians and 43 percent of Mbeki’s cabinet, domestic violence and sexual assault tied to the spread of HIV are leading health problems. Between 2002 and 2003, over 55,000 women and girls were raped in South Africa, according to a 2006 report from the United Nations Children’s Fund.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Iran’s judiciary chief Ayatollah Shahroudi halted the stoning of Ashraf Kalhori, an Iranian woman condemned to death after she was convicted of adultery, announced Iranian journalist, lawyer and former Women’s eNews Leader for the 21st Century Shadi Sadr in a public letter Aug. 10. The 37-year-old mother of four is not totally safe from harm though, said Sadr, who continues to petition the government to ban stoning as a form of punishment.
  • In an attempt to reform gender inequality in Saudi Arabia, Saudi television stations have begun to hire women for talk shows and news programs, Reuters reported Aug. 7. Female journalists there are not allowed to interview people outside their offices or men who are not their relatives; they must also wear the hijab, or Islamic veil, and face arrest if they violate the rules. Even so, female journalists said they are more efficient professionally than men, who only work four hours a day.
  • The U.S. Tennis Association has named its National Tennis Center in New York after tennis legend Billie Jean King, the Associated Press reported Aug. 3. Having played on carpet, hard court, grass and clay, King, now 62, is the only woman to win championships on all four surfaces. In 1973, she defeated Bobby Riggs in a “Battle of the Sexes” match. The tennis center will be officially commemorated at the U.S. Open starting Aug. 28.
  • The International Union of Muslim Women in Sanaa, Yemen, will organize the first colloquia to discuss in public marital sexual relationships this month, reported al-Seyassah, a Kuwaiti newspaper, Aug. 7. University of Cairo professor Hiba Jamal Qutb, one of the first Arab women to discuss sex openly, will speak. Despite a cultural taboo, Yemen has the highest rate of Web searches about sex among Arab countries, the story said.


Working women in the United States are worried about health care, the rising cost of living and retirement benefits, according to the annual “Working Woman” survey from the AFL-CIO, the Detroit Free Press reported Aug. 8.

Of the 22,000 U.S. women who participated in the online survey, 97 percent said they are concerned with the rising costs of health care and 88 percent said they were worried about retirement. Other concerns included the high costs of college education and the ability of young people to move into the work force in the future; a majority of working women said they could not afford to “opt out” of work in order to care for their families.

“What we heard was a sense of desperation about how hard it is to keep things together,” said Karen Nussbaum, director of AFL-CIO affiliate Working America in Washington, D.C. “Working women are telling us ‘we’re in trouble’. They’re one illness way from losing their house and their health insurance.”

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Sixty-one percent of U.S. women have never heard of HPV, the human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer, the Web site Medical.net reported Aug. 3. Sixty-four percent of women didn’t know the appropriate age to be screened for cancer, and more than 55 percent weren’t aware that breast cancer screenings should begin at age 40. Those figures spiked to more than 70 percent for Hispanic and African American women. The data was drawn from a 2005 trends survey from the National Institutes of Health.
  • Women lack representation in senior positions on Wall Street because the corporate lifestyle isn’t conducive to raising a family and juggling a demanding job, the New York Times reported Aug. 6. Data compiled by the paper from nine major firms on Wall Street showed that women make up 33 percent of incoming banking analysts and 25 percent of MBA-educated associates, but only 14 percent of the top-tier executives, indicating that women begin to move out of Wall Street positions in the middle ranks, limiting the number of women in the recruitment pool that feeds the top ranks.


  • Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney fell to her Democratic primary challenger Hank Johnson in a runoff election Aug. 8. But other women fared better in a series of primary races around the country. Democrat Claire McCaskill of Missouri won a primary and will face GOP incumbent Sen. Jim Talent in November. Also in Missouri, Democrats Sara Jo Shettles and Veronica Hambacker won primaries and will take on incumbent Republican Reps. Sam Graves and Kenny Hulshof. In Michigan, Democrats Sharon Renier and Nancy Skinner won their primary races; Renier will run in an open seat and Skinner will take on Republican incumbent Joseph Knollenberg. And in Connecticut, Democrat Dianne Farrell won the right to take on moderate Republican Rep. Christopher Shays.

    Meanwhile, M. Jodi Rell, the Republican governor of Connecticut, and Jennifer Granholm, the Democratic governor of Michigan, won the right to seek reelection in primary races. In Connecticut, incumbents Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat, and Nancy Johnson, a Republican, won their party’s nods; in Michigan, incumbents Candice Miller, a Republican, and Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, a Democrat, won their primary elections; and in Missouri, incumbent Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican, won the GOP primary.

  • Anti-choice advocate Carol Crossed has bought the Adams, Mass., home of suffragist Susan B. Anthony for $164,500, the AP reported Aug. 6. Serrin M. Foster, president of the Alexandria, Va.-based Feminists for Life, said the home will be used to highlight early feminism in the United States.

For more information:

UNICEF-South Africa

AFL-CIO Working America

National HPV and Cervical Cancer Prevention Resource Center