A female pitcher from Japan, Eri Yoshida, signed on to play with an all-male minor league baseball team in the United States, reported the Associated Press on April 9. Yoshida will be playing for the Chico Outlaws, based in Chico, Calif.
Women’s eNews was ahead of the story, reporting on the female pitcher as she was considering the Chico Outlaws’ offer. Ila Borders was the first female pitcher to play on a men’s professional baseball team, both the Associated Press and Women’s eNews reported.
More News to Cheer This Week:
- The Reformed Political Party in the Netherlands now cannot bar women from office, reported Reuters on April 9. The party did not permit women into its orthodox Protestant party until 2006, and even now does not have any female members. The court ruled that the party is obligated to admit women since the Dutch are a party to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
- Four women are flying with the U.S. space shuttle Discovery, breaking the record for the number of female astronauts in space at one time, reported the Associated Press on April 5. The three female astronauts–Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, Stephanie Wilson, and Naoko Yamazak–met Tracy Caldwell Dyson at the International Space Station.
- The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee reports that nursing mothers have a new right as a result of the health care reform law (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) to take a "reasonable" break for breastfeeding while they are at work, although enforcement measures are not yet in place. The committee’s Web site FAQ says employers are not required to pay for this off-duty time and that employers with fewer than 50 employees can be exempt. The Department of Labor still has to define the meaning of a "reasonable" break.
- Published in the Journal of Pediatrics, a new study indicates breastfeeding can prevent more than 900 infant deaths each year, reported Ms. Magazine April 6. Of the deaths, 95 percent were due to sudden infant death, respiratory infections such as pneumonia, and necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in pre-term infants. Risk for these ailments is nearly eliminated if mothers breastfeed their infants until at least six months after birth. However, the study reported that although 75 percent of U.S. mothers breastfeed at first, only 32 percent continue to do so after three months and only 12 percent are breastfeeding after six months. Child health problems associated with low breastfeeding rates cost the country $13 billion a year in direct health-care costs and indirect costs, such as missed time from work, reported Health Day.
- Marcy Forman, a police officer with 30 years of service fighting crime and illegal activities, retired last week, reported The Washington Post on April 6. She began with the U.S. Customs Service and later with the Department of Homeland Security, where she earned the highest ranking for a female law enforcement officer, reported the Post. "Forman said she had to overcome a number of obstacles as a woman in a male-dominated profession, but remained undeterred while raising a family, dealing with life and death matters and the politics of government," reported the Post.
- The April 6 NCAA win by UConn’s women’s basketball team marks their second straight NCAA victory, reported ESPN. In a close game with Stanford University, the UConn Huskies won by six points, with a final score of 53-47, and finished a perfect season. If the team wins the next four games of the 2010-2011 basketball season, UConn will break the women’s all-division record of consecutive wins. The record is currently held by Washington University, who won 81 consecutive games from 1998-2000. If the team’s winning streak continues past 81 games, they could be looking to break the all-time college winning streak of 88 games, set by the UCLA men’s team from 1971-74, ESPN reported.
- Britain’s key political parties are courting the women’s vote ahead of the May 6 election, reported The New York Times on April 9. Politicians have been speaking with women online through a popular British moms’ site, Mumsnet, and in person. Commentators are referring to the vote as the "Mumsnet election," reported the article. The disputed nature of the politicians’ intentions though has surfaced. The Time reports: "Some women are indignant both at the notion that their entire gender speaks with one voice and at the candidates’ touchy-feely methods of courting their support."
A 13-year-old Yemeni girl died on April 2 of internal bleeding following intercourse four days after her marriage to a man about twice her age, reported the Associated Press on April 8. The young girl’s death is an example of a growing problem within Yemen related to the practice of girls marrying, the article reported.
"Yemen once set 15 as the minimum age for marriage, but parliament annulled the law in the 1990s, saying parents should decide when a daughter marries," reported the article.
More News to Jeer This Week:
- The U.S.-led military command in Afghanistan, NATO, admitted to killing three Afghan women in a Feb. 12 operation, which they previously covered up, reported The New York Times on April 5. A group of Afghan investigators claimed that evidence had been tampered with. Brig. Gen. Eric Tremblay admitted on April 4 that NATO troops in fact did kill the women. Two of the women were pregnant–one a mother of 10 children and the other a mother of six.
- Selina Scott, a former newsreader for BBC’s Breakfast Time and ITV News at Ten, has written a report blaming female senior BBC staff for the lower numbers of older female presenters at the BBC, reported Telegraph.co.uk on April 5. Scott’s report explores the reasons behind the scarce number of BBC female presenters over age 50, despite the greater female ratio on the board of BBC Trust, reported The Telegraph.
- Oklahoma’s Democratic Gov. Brad Henry signed into law three "emergency" anti-abortion bills on April 5, which take effect immediately, USA Today reported. An abortion-rights group said earlier there was a "good chance" it would challenge one or all of the measures in court.
- On April 6, the Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, to be the next archbishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese, putting him in line to become the highest-ranking Latino in the American Catholic hierarchy, reported the Associated Press. Gomez would take over when the current Cardinal Roger Mahony retires, which is expected to happen next February when Mahony turns 75. The appointment of the Mexican-born Gomez as coadjutor for Los Angeles also will likely make him the country’s first Latino cardinal, and will have a direct impact on the future of women and the church. Gomez is an archbishop of Opus Dei, the conservative movement which enjoys favor at the Vatican, the article reported.
- A class action lawsuit on behalf of about 5,600 women against the pharmaceutical company Novartis went to trial on April 8 in Manhattan federal court, BusinessWeek reported. The employees seek about $200 million in lost wages and other damages, along with an injunction barring future discrimination. The lawyers for the women claim that a Novartis AG pharmaceuticals unit discriminated against female sales representatives by denying them equal pay and job opportunities and mistreating those who took pregnancy leave. Novartis has denied the allegations. The trial is to last five weeks.
- U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., will not run for re-election in the fall of 2010, reported The Detroit Free Press on April 9. Stupak has received attention and criticism for being the leader of the seven anti-choice Democrats who changed their votes on the recent health care reform bill at the last minute, switching from being against the bill to supporting it. Stupak currently represents the second largest congressional district east of the Mississippi River, reported the article.
- A new study released by the Annenberg Center for the Digital Future, at the University of Southern California, shows that more young women are embracing online communities, while men are showing some signs of "networking fatigue," reported the Associated Press April 6. The study reports that fewer men are saying that their online communities are as important as their offline equivalents, reported the study. The shift in attitudes between the two sexes has taken place over just a couple of years. Researchers are reporting that 67 percent of women under 40 said they feel as strongly about their Internet communities as their offline ones, while only 38 percent of men said the same. In 2007, the numbers were just the reverse, with 69 percent of the men and 35 percent of the women feeling that way.
- U.S. births fell in 2008 for most groups of women, probably because of the recession, according to updated figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reported the Associated Press April 6. The one exception to the trend was the birth rate among women in their 40s, who perhaps felt they didn’t have the luxury of waiting for better economic times. The birth rate for women in their early 40s rose 4 percent over the previous year, reaching its highest mark since 1967. Birth rates fell for teen mothers, as well as women in their 20s and 30s. The new report is based on a review of more than 99 percent of birth certificates for 2008, the first full year of the recession. Overall, about 4.2 million babies were born that year, a 2 percent drop from 2007. It’s the first annual decline in births since the start of the decade.
Wilma Mankiller, the first woman elected to lead the Cherokee Nation, died on April 6 from pancreatic cancer, reported Indian Country Today on April 8. Her service to Native Americans and others earned her praise from President Barack Obama, former-President Bill Clinton, who awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, reported the article. Her memorial service will be held at the Cherokee Nation Cultural Grounds at 11 a.m. today in Tahlequah, Okla., reported the Cherokee Nation website.