Cheers and Jeers



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Shirin Ebadi has called for Iranian authorities to hold a new election monitored by international observers, Reuters reported June 18. The Nobel peace prize winner also called for the release of those jailed for protesting election results that declared the easy re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hours after the polls closed June 12. Ebadi is a Women’s eNews’ 21 Leader for the 21st Century and is the leading lawyer in Iran advocating for women’s rights. The New York Times also gets a cheer for showing the role of women in the historic protests. On Thursday the paper splashed a photo of three female demonstrators across its front page.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • A refugee advocacy organization focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights was launched June 18, in time for World Refugee Day, which is being observed today, according to a press statement from the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration, a San Francisco-based group, focused on helping refugees from sexual or gender-based violence.
  • Jamaican women are protesting outdated abortion laws, saying they leave no options for poor women seeking abortions, reported Inter-press Service June 14. Sistren, a Jamaican women’s group, is registering its displeasure by staging a play in front of Parliament. Jamaica’s 1861 abortion law permits abortions only in cases of rape, incest, extreme abnormality of the fetus or danger to the mother are apparent. The protesters say hospitals do not serve low-income women who fit any of those exceptions.
  • Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) on June 15 demanded that Senate colleagues support the Pay Check Fairness Act, which would require employers to provide proof for different wages between men and women that is not sex-based. It would also encourage women to demand fair pay, giving benefits to employers who obey the law, and increase enforcement.

    “On average, this wage discrimination costs female workers between $400,000 and $2 million in lost wages, pensions, and Social Security benefits, threatening their long-term financial stability,” the senators said in a letter and press statement.

  • Sixteen female teens will attend a weeklong camp to immerse themselves in the study of cardiology under a program run by the Women’s Health Science Program in conjunction with Northwestern’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute this summer, USNewswire reported June 15. The program, based at Northwestern University, is launching the annual cardiology “camp” as part of its effort to boost women’s 26 percent share of jobs in science and engineering fields.
  • Australia announced it will give $383,400 to the United Nations Population Fund’s programs working in Northern Sri Lanka, the Daily News (Sri Lanka) reported June 15. Among the 280,000 recently displaced by the now ending civil war, 75,000 are women often with children in tow and 6,000 are pregnant women in need lifesaving obstetric care, the newspaper reported.
  • A Chinese woman, accused of killing a township official of Badong County, and injuring another, was released from jail without punishment on Tuesday, by the order of a court in Hubei province, reported BBC June 16. The woman, Deng Yujiao, said she acted in self defense after the men pushed her and threatened sexual assault.


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A 16-year-old rape survivor from Peru, now paralyzed for life, has filed a human rights petition against Peru with the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights said in a press statement June 18. The complainant, who wishes to remain anonymous, was denied of an abortion by the government for a pregnancy that developed from the rape. She attempted suicide after she learned she was pregnant, but failed and was rushed to the hospital where doctors refused to operate on the injuries sustained from the attempted suicide, leaving her paralyzed. In Peru abortions are permitted if the mother’s life or health is in serious danger; but not as a result of a rape. The government has yet to enforce regulations that would ensure women are able to obtain abortions safely, said the press release.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Judge Sonia Sotomayor has come under criticism from senators preparing for her Supreme Court confirmation hearing this week for her membership in the Belizean Grove, a club whose members include over 100 influential women from around the world, reported the New York Times June 15. Sotomayor wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee that the group does not discriminate against men, plenty of men take part in trips, events, and functions and to her knowledge no man has ever sought membership.
  • The U.S. State Department’s 2009 Trafficking in Person Report found Malaysia and Cambodia as sources and destinations for a majority of the women and children who become victims of sex trafficking. “Economic pressure, especially in the global economic crisis, makes more people susceptible to the false promises of traffickers,” Secretary of Sate Hillary Clinton said on June 16, reported the Christian Post.
  • A fact sheet released by the Kaiser Family Foundation on June 11 highlights the disadvantages suffered by female Medicare patients. A lack of benefits and high cost sharing is forcing Medicare beneficiaries to spend larger portions of their income on medical care. A majority of these beneficiaries are women; 56 percent of Medicare patients are women and in the oldest age group, 85 and older, 70 percent are women. According to the study, women generally have lower incomes, with fewer resources and often have more chronic conditions, making Medicare a particularly critical source of retirement security.
  • Between 2003 and 2007 the gains made during the 1990s and early 2000s to encourage contraceptive use among teens appear to have been reversed, the Gutmatcher Institute found in a study released June 18. Between 2003 and 2007 teen contraceptive use decreased and teen birth rates increased, which the author speculates could be tied to the years of federal funding for abstinence-only education under the Bush administration.
  • Unintended pregnancies are rising among young Nigerian women, a study conducted by the Washington, D.C. and New York-based Guttmacher Institute and the Women’s Health and Action Research Center in Benin City, Nigeria found, reported Voice of America News on June 16. Despite improvements in women’s education, women’s health awareness is compromised. Early marriage and early motherhood are still extremely common in Nigeria.

Kayla Hutzler, a journalism major at Manhattan College, is an editorial intern with Women’s eNews.

Women’s eNews welcomes your comments. E-mail us at [email protected].


Cheers and Jeers