A U.S. federal appeals court has ruled that the Michigan High School Athletic Association was in violation of Title IX–a measure to ensure gender equity at schools that receive federal funds–by scheduling female sports during “disadvantaged” seasons, the Detroit Free Press reported Aug. 16.

“Michigan High School Athletic Association must stop forcing these girls to play second string and instead ensure that they have the athletic opportunities they deserve,” said Marcia D. Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center, attorney for the plaintiff in the case.

The discrimination suit focused on how female high school athletes are scheduled to compete in basketball and volleyball during the fall and winter seasons–not the seasons when other states schedule the sports–and therefore limiting the athletes’ opportunities to play in front of college recruiters and compete for athletic scholarships.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Women who work for women in senior management positions earn more than women who work for men, reported the Washington Post Aug. 13. “The glass ceiling is about all women, not just women who become managers,” said Philip N. Cohen, a University of North Carolina sociologist and co-author of the study. “If women break through the glass ceiling, it helps other women.” The study, which looked at more than a million employees in almost 30,000 jobs and 80 cities, reported that men who work for men make more than men who work for women. Where women work as senior managers, other female employees make 91 percent of men’s salaries; the wage gap is 81 percent overall.
  • India recently enforced its 1994 law banning the use of ultrasounds to check the gender of fetuses when it arrested a husband-wife team that performs sex-selective abortions this week, reported the Christian Post Aug. 14. About 35 decomposed female fetuses were found at the couple’s clinic near a hospital in Punjab, said investigator Jagveer Singh. The couple could face 3 to 10 years in jail if convicted. A study from the British journal Lancet in February found that about 500,000 female fetuses are aborted in India each year.
  • A Pennsylvania court has ruled against anti-choice state legislators who were attempting to block a veto by Gov. Ed Rendell that allowed funding of abortion-related counseling to lower income women, the Associated Press reported Aug. 10. In the state’s 2005-06 budget bill, Rendell’s veto removed a restriction from $9 million in family planning funds that were barred from organizations that offer abortions or provide referrals, including Planned Parenthood.


Health activists concluded that the Bush administration is limiting the reach of the U.S. government’s ability to fight the global AIDS epidemic during this week’s International AIDS Conference in Toronto because of its pro-abstinence policies, the Gay City News reported Aug. 17.

Sixty percent of Bush’s $15 billion plan to combat the disease worldwide is earmarked for abstinence and fidelity programs, the Center for Health and Gender Equality, in Takoma Park, Md., reported at the conference. This is spreading the notion that condoms don’t work in Tanzania, for example, and worsening the epidemic in Rwanda, activists said.

Referring to the administration’s emphasis on abstinence, philanthropist Melinda Gates said, “If you oppose the distribution of condoms, something is more important to you than saving lives.” Bill and Melinda Gates kicked off the conference with speeches emphasizing the importance of developing HIV-blocking microbicide gels for women and campaigning for condom usage.

“You have to put the power in the hands of women,” Gates said. “That is going to be the way to change this epidemic.” The couple announced last week their gift of $500 million toward the eradication of AIDS. Other conference sessions focused on cervical cancer and HIV prevention among sex workers.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Concerned Women for America president Wendy Wright attacked the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, saying the United Nations committee that oversees the CEDAW treaty is imposing radical feminism on the world, reported the Washington Times Aug. 11. During a conference at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington think tank, Wright called CEDAW “the Equal Rights Amendment on steroids” and said it was a weapon to coerce nations into signing agreements to control population and support civil rights for gays and lesbians.

    The Washington-based women’s group and other anti-choice organizations also urged President Bush to withdraw the nomination of Andrew von Eschenbach to lead the Food and Drug Administration, the Houston Chronicle reported Aug. 17. The groups are concerned that von Eschenbach will allow the agency to approve over-the-counter distribution of emergency contraception.

  • Female soldiers returning from the war in Iraq experience less support than male soldiers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Aug. 16. Many of the 1,500 women who have returned in Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and the Iron Mountain, Mich., region struggle to resume their former roles. Among female returnees, 24 percent report mental health problems, compared to 19 percent of male soldiers, the Journal Sentinel reported. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, more than 400 female soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have reported being victims of sexual assault.
  • Women in the United Arab Emirates who marry non-Emirati men are not allowed to pass on their nationality to their children and their children are barred from public schools and free health care, EmiratesToday reported Aug. 14. Women’s groups are lobbying to change the law.
  • Since October 2005, 38 Iraqi lawyers have been killed and hundreds insulted or attacked for defending the rule of law and women’s rights, reported the United Nations’ IRIN news service Aug. 18. The lawyers were working on cases involving honor killings, divorces, religious interpretations or women’s rights. Since January 120 lawyers have fled to Syria, Jordan or elsewhere and others have stopped taking similar cases for fear of reprisal.
  • The number of Cesarean sections have hit a new peak, rising to 29.7 percent of U.S. births in 2004, despite federal health efforts to decrease the rate to 15 percent by 2010, reported HealthDay News Aug. 17. Now, more than 1 in 4 infants are delivered by C-section, up from 1 in 5 in 1996.
  • A seminar of social and political activists and researchers in Santiago, Chile, said that women in Latin America’s largest cities have growing fears of sexual assault by strangers, reported the Inter Press Service Aug. 8. Also, fallout from the armed conflict in Colombia has taken a toll on women, who experience more physical and sexual abuse and teen pregnancies as a result of being displaced from their homes. Many women in Latin American cities, out of fear of attack, groping and harassment, lock themselves in the home all day, the news service reported.