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A law passed in Pakistan will increase the penalty for those convicted of sexually harassing women, BBC News reported Nov. 5. Convicted violators will spend three years in prison up from only one, and will have to pay a 50,000 rupee fine.

"The laws aim to provide security and improve the status of Pakistani women, who correspondents say remain one of the most discriminated-against sectors of Pakistani society," the article reported.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Marie NDiaye won the Prix Goncourt, France’s top literary prize Nov. 2, making the French Senegalese writer the first black woman to win the award. The novel, "Three Strong Women," is about the struggles of three African women, the Associated Press reported.
  • The U.N. will suspend support for Congolese army units that deliberately killed over 60 civilians in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, a U.N. official said Nov. 2, Reuters reported. Many of those killed were women and children. More than 7,000 women and girls have been raped since the army’s operations began in January.
  • "Women in Construction," an online forum, was launched in collaboration with United Kingdom colleges Nov. 2 in mid- and west- Wales, BBC News reported. With 75 percent of women in Wales working in sectors such as cleaning, catering and caring, the forum is designed to help women cross into the male dominated industry.
  • Women Media Networks–an Asia Pacific-based, non-profit organization–was launched in Hong Kong, The Hollywood Reporter reported Nov. 3. It aims to increase the visibility of women in the media sector, help them make informed decisions and to create a regional network.
  • Pop star Rihanna broke her silence about the "big secret" of domestic violence she has kept since her February assault by then-boyfriend Chris Brown, MSNBC.com reported Nov. 3. "My story was broadcast all over the world for people to see, and they have followed every step of my recovery," Rihanna said in the interview for the December issue of Glamour Magazine. "After the beating, Rihanna ended the relationship despite Brown’s pleas to remain together." He didn’t accept that very well. Obviously he didn’t want us to be apart," she says. "But I had to make a decision for me."
  • Derartu Tulu became the first woman from Ethiopia to win the New York City Marathon Nov. 1, The New York Times reported. This victory comes 17 years after Tulu became the first black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 meters at the Barcelona Games.
  • The Las Vegas Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum is working with local police to fight the city’s human trafficking epidemic, KVBC reported Nov. 4. The United Nations estimates human trafficking is a $32 billion industry worldwide.
  • Over 20 organizations from 11 countries will take action Nov. 9 to promote sexual and reproductive rights in Muslim societies, the Association For Women’s Rights in Development reported Nov. 2.




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Three grassroots women’s organizations in Somalia were closed Nov. 2 by rebels intent on preventing women from going to work. "We have taken this step after we recognized that women need to stay in their homes and take care of their children," Maalim Daaud Mohmed, chairman of Balad Hawa, told Reuters. "Islam does not allow women to go to offices."

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Out of 75 major American Jewish communal organizations, a survey found fewer than 1 in 6 are run by women, and those women are paid 61 cents to every dollar earned by male leaders, The Jewish Daily Forward reported Nov. 4. The numbers are especially striking when compared with the overall composition of the Jewish communal work force, the paper reported. Women comprise about 75 percent of those employed by federations, advocacy and social service organizations, and religious and educational institutions, but occupy only 14.3 percent of the top positions. Of the 11 female leaders identified in this survey, three are in interim roles.
  • Parents of female teens 17-years-old and younger in Illinois will be notified when their daughters seek abortions, the Chicago Tribune reported Nov. 2. The parental notification law took effect Nov. 3. Pro-choice activists fear the rule may prevent minors from obtaining safe abortions or force them to have full-term pregnancies.
  • More U.S. women than men had lower economic and financial confidence, according to the Discover U.S. Spending Monitor, Reuters reported Nov. 4. Last month, 58 percent of women rated the economy as poor, an increase from 49 percent of women in September. Men rating the economy as poor dropped one point, to 53 percent.
  • A California corrections department official admitted to his department’s negligence in the case of Jaycee Dugard, ABC News.com reported Nov. 5. Dugard was found in August, 18 years after her 1991 abduction.
  • Black women are losing about twice as much as white women in employment terms, government data show. From October 2008 to October 2009, the percentage of white women employed fell to 55.7 percent from 57.6 percent, Bureau of Labor Statistics show, Family Inequality blog reported Nov. 6. For black women the fall was to 54.8 percent from 58.5 percent.


  • Investigators are trying to identify the remains of 8 of 11 black women found in the home of a convicted rapist in Cleveland, AOL News reported Nov. 6.
  • Government-backed clerics want female teachers in Egypt to remove their niqabs (face veils) in front of female students, Reuters reported Nov. 2.
  • Female soldiers are less likely than men–38.1 percent to 44 percent–to report any pain, according to researchers in New Haven, Conn., The New York Times reported Oct. 30. Female veterans are also less likely than men to report having persistent pain, 18 percent to 21.2 percent. The study was published in the journal Pain Medicine.
  • Women working in Rhode Island’s Asian "spas" became unemployed as of Nov. 3, when Gov. Donald L. Carcieri signed legislation to outlaw indoor prostitution in the state. "For almost 30 years, Rhode Island has had the terrible distinction of being the only state outside certain counties in Nevada where indoor prostitution is not considered a crime," Carcieri told The Providence Journal.
  • An 11-year-old Bulgarian girl went into labor on the second day of a three-day wedding ceremony, Mail Online reported Nov. 3. The 19-year-old father faces six years in jail for having sex with a minor. The age of consent in Bulgaria is 14.
  • Of 615 surveyed United Kingdom employees, 45 percent of women–compared to 26 percent of men–believed that "women have to be better than men to succeed in the workplace," Nov. 5. The survey was done last month by Cisco and Gender IQ.
  • The bodies of three female North Dakota college students–who went missing Nov. 1 after making frantic phone calls–were found in a pond Nov. 3, ABC News.com reported Nov. 4.

Kimberly St. Louis is an editorial intern at Women’s eNews through the New York Arts Program. She is a senior at Ohio Wesleyan University studying journalism and politics and government.