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South African runner Caster Semenya–who underwent gender verification tests this summer–will retain her gold medal, title and prize money for her August victory at the women’s 800 meter race at the world track and field championships in Berlin, Reuters reported Nov. 19. The results of her gender test, which stirred much controversy this year, will remain confidential.

"The implications of the scientific findings on Caster’s health and life going forward will be analyzed by Caster and she will make her own decision on her future. Whatever she decides, ours is to respect her decision," The International Association of Athletics told Reuters.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Leaders of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice urged lawmakers to remove language from the anti-choice Stupak Amendment, which restricts federal funding for abortion, Talk Radio News Service reported Nov. 16.
  • The Center for Reproductive Rights in New York ran a TV ad Nov. 18 that raises the heat on pro-choice legislators to turn back the Stupak Amendment, The New York Daily News reported. The ad was aimed at the Washington, D.C., area.
  • British women will have the "right to know" if their partner has a history of domestic violence under proposals from police chiefs, Telegraph.co.uk reported Nov. 16. This law would reflect the Sarah Law campaign, which was established following the July 2000 murder of Sarah Payne.
  • An Irish Bishop is challenging a Vatican-enforced ban that prohibits discussing the ordination of women, BBC News reported Nov. 14.
  • Starting Dec. 14, young women seeking legal permanent resident status in the United States will no longer be required to take the human papillomavirus vaccination, according to the Federal Register, Ms. Magazine reported Nov. 16. The requirement–for women ages 11 to 26–was implemented in July 2008 and mandated by federal immigration authorities. Women’s and immigrants rights groups argued that the gender-specific condition was costly and discriminatory.
  • Michelle Obama addressed a group of young women at a luncheon in Denver as part of the White House initiative to promote mentoring young women on careers and financial literacy, as well as other skills, the Denver Business Journal reported Nov. 16.
  • A women-only cardiac rehabilitation program helped reduce symptoms of depression in women with heart disease, a U.S. study found, U.S. News and World Report reported Nov. 17.
  • Pregnant women with multiple sclerosis, or MS, may have a higher risk of certain pregnancy complications, but overall their pregnancies are as healthy as women without the nerve disorder, according to a study, Reuters reported Nov. 18.
  • Verizon Wireless’s HopeLine program donated $40,000 to eight organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area that focus on Asian American women affected by domestic violence, PRNewswire reported Nov. 18.




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A 20-year-old divorced Somali woman found guilty of adultery was stoned to death Nov. 17, while her partner’s punishment was 100 lashes, BBC News reported Nov. 18. The judge, who works for the group al-Shabab, said the woman was guilty of adultery for having had an affair with an unmarried man and giving birth to a stillborn baby.

Local villagers reported that the woman was taken to public grounds and buried up to her waist. It is believed to be the second time a woman has been stoned to death for adultery by the group.

Earlier this month, the pregnant girlfriend of a married man was spared being stoned until she gives birth.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi tried to convert 200 Italian women to Islam, according to Italian media, Reuters reported Nov. 16. The women were recruited by an agency "seeking attractive girls between 18 and 35 years old" and were promised 60 euros ($90) and "some Libyan gifts."
  • U.S. female teens ages 15 to 19 had 409,531 cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea in 2008, with African American women having the highest rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, Reuters reported Nov. 16. Syphilis rates among women increased 36 percent from 2007 to 2008.
  • The weekend arrest of a 25-year-old Fayetteville, N.C., mother on human trafficking and felony child abuse charges shows the trafficking trade is more prevalent than most people realize, according to a state senator, WRAL.com reported Nov. 16. Police said that Antoinette Nicole Davis offered up her 5-year-old daughter Shaniya for prostitution. A body believed to be the girl’s was found Monday afternoon in a wooded area near Sanford, N.C.
  • Women remain underrepresented in the top-ranking positions at Chicago’s 50 largest public companies, according to a census, the Chicago Tribune reported Nov. 18. The report, based on fiscal year 2008, found that 14 percent of companies have female directors, a drop of about 1 percentage point from the previous year. Seven companies have no female directors and 17 have no female executive officers. Women of color represent only about 3 percent of directors and about 2 percent of executive officers.
  • A 54-year-old rabbi is on trial for offering cocaine to girls in exchange for sex, BBC News reported Nov. 18.
  • Companies with women in top positions perform better and are more socially responsible, but there are few women in California corporate executive suites and board rooms, according to a graduate school study, Los Angeles Business reported Nov. 19. Women hold only 10.6 percent of the top management and board positions in California’s largest 400 firms, down from 10.9 percent in 2008. Forty-six percent of the companies have no female executives.
  • Veracruz, Mexico, became the country’s 17th state to declare that life begins at conception, The Associated Press reported Nov. 18. The state’s government also asked the nation’s Congress to consider outlawing abortion, which is likely to make abortion a federal issue in Mexico.
  • The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee reminds employers of the significance and benefits of worksite lactation in a Nov. 16 press release. According to a CDC survey, 75 percent of new mothers initiate breastfeeding, but rates of exclusive breastfeeding at six months and continued breastfeeding at 12 months are far below national standards. Currently, only 24 of the 50 U.S. states have legislation providing worksite support for breastfeeding.


  • The Senate is scheduled on Nov. 21 to vote on whether to open debate on its health care reform bill. This version of the bill does not include a federal abortion coverage ban. Unlike the House, the Senate’s bill protects the status quo for reproductive health care coverage for women. Not a single Republican is expected to vote for the bill, so the Senate will need all 58 Democrats and the two Independents to reach the minimum number of votes to overcome the Republicans.
  • Not before age 21. That is the startling new guideline for when women should begin having annual tests to check for a common and preventable form of cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued the new guidelines Nov. 20 and also recommended less frequent subsequent tests for cervical cancer, Agence France-Press and other news agencies reported. Previously, it was recommended that cervical cancer screening begin three years after first sexual intercourse or by age 21, whichever occurred first.
  • An anti-depressant has been dubbed "Viagra for women" after three clinical trials have shown they significantly improved sexual desire and satisfaction in women, The Independent reported. The trials were carried out among 2,000 women in the United States, Canada and Europe, using four different doses of the drug. Only the highest dose, 100 mg a day, was effective.
  • The winners of the 6th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business–an international competition–were announced Nov. 13, according to a Nov. 16 press release. Out of over 1,000 nominees in 54 categories, top picks included Anna Chagnon, Shunee Yee, Lindsay Phillips, Melissa Fields Tugwell, Shabnam Rezaei, Jennifer Openshaw, and Nancy Long. They are called the "Stevie" Awards after the Greek word "stephanos," which means "crowned."
  • A court bailiff resigned after being charged with sexually assaulting women in the Derry, N.H., courthouse where he worked, wbztv.com reported Nov. 18.
  • Experts and patients alike are fired up about a U.S. government-funded group’s mammogram guidelines (released Nov. 16) that set the breast cancer screening age for women at 50, not 40, and counsels against breast self-exams, ABC News.com reported Nov. 17. Guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force–an influential panel of independent experts–say that women in their 40s should stop having annual mammograms and older women should have an exam once every two years instead of annually.
  • A 200-year-old law banning women from wearing trousers in Paris resurfaced Nov. 16 and is still technically in force, Telegraph.co.uk reported Nov. 17. The rule banning women from "dressing like men," was first introduced in 1800 by the police chief and survived repeated attempts to repeal it.
  • Working Mother Magazine published "Custody Lost," a group of articles exploring the extent to which working mothers are losing custody of their children after divorce. The magazine reported that 2.2 million divorced women in the United States don’t have primary custody of their children. An estimated 50 percent of fathers who seek custody are granted it.
  • An Asian women’s group and a family shelter screened "Heaven on Earth," a film that chronicles one woman’s story of domestic abuse and violence Nov. 20 at a cultural arts center in Spring Valley, N.Y., LoHud.com reported.
  • While pregnant women are considered at highest risk for the H1N1 virus, they are among the Britons most averse to getting vaccinated for fear of side effects, according to a magazine survey, Reuters reported Nov. 18. "In all the pregnant women we’ve offered it to (the vaccine), I think only about one in 20 has agreed," Dr. Chris Udenze, a family doctor based in England, said in the survey.

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.