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President Obama’s debt commission rejected a plan to cut $3.8 trillion from the budget, which would have substantially impacted Social Security and Medicare, reported Bloomberg Dec. 3. The plan was unpopular with both parties, with program cuts and tax increases, and it failed to get the 14 of 18 votes from the debt panel required to move forward. If passed, it would have reduced the cost of living allowance for the 54 million people currently receiving Social Security, the retirement age would have been raised to 69 and Medicare would have been cut by more than $400 billion, all of which would have disproportionately affected women.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The House passed a Women Veterans Bill of Rights Nov. 30, requiring the Department of Veterans’ Affairs medical facilities to display 24 specific rights to female veterans receiving medical care, reported Medical News Today Dec. 2.
  • The Illinois Senate passed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act to allow same-sex civil unions, reported Ms. Magazine Dec. 2.

  • WeNews Editor in Chief Rita Henley Jensen was awarded the Social Media Star by the National Association of Female Executives as part of their 2010 Women of Excellence awards.
  • The Capitol building will soon have a restroom for female members of Congress just off the House floor, the Washington Post reported Dec. 2. Currently, congresswomen only have the Congressional Women’s Reading Room facilities, constructed in 1993.
  • The Ladies Professional Golf Association players voted to allow transgender women golfers a chance to play on the LGPA Tour Championship, ESPN reported Dec. 1.
  • A new form of emergency contraception, called "ella," that can prevent pregnancy up to five days after sex, is now available to American women for the first time, the Washington Post reported Dec. 1.
  • The Pentagon concluded that allowing gay men and women to serve openly in the United States armed forces presents a low risk to the military’s effectiveness, even at a time of war, the New York Times reported Nov. 30.
  • Eleven colleges have been selected by the American Association of University Women and Running Start to encourage and train young women to run for elected office, the Associated Press reported Nov. 30.
  • Women won 69 of the 249 open seats–28 percent–of the Afghan lower house of parliament, exceeding the 25 percent set aside for them by the constitution, reported Ms. Magazine Nov. 29.
  • A study by the University of Colorado-Boulder found that by simply writing a self-affirming essay, female students perform significantly better in science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes, reported the Boulder Daily Camera Nov. 29.
  • Grassroots environmental groups, such as the Green Belt Movement, are now focusing on teaching women in impoverished areas to fight against environmental devastation, reported Newsweek Nov. 29.




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The November employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated unemployment rose for both men and women, with the overall women’s rate at 8.4 percent, its highest level since June 1983, reported the National Women’s Law Center Dec. 3. Although 39,000 jobs were added in November, women saw a loss of 14,000 jobs last month.

"Today’s numbers are a stark reminder that the economy remains fragile. With millions of women and men still without work, the country’s top priority must be to create jobs," said Joan Entmacher, vice president of Family Economic Security for the center. "In the midst of the current deficit debate, policy makers must not lose sight that in the short term the focus must remain on investing in the nation’s economic recovery and helping struggling families through this crisis."

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Abstinence-only HIV prevention initiatives are still receiving close to 20 percent of U.S. global HIV/AIDS funding, reported the Center for Health and Gender Equity Dec. 1. The program has proven to have no effect on HIV prevalence rates while actually increasing married women’s risk of infection.
  • A survey of U.K. women who gave birth in February found care is decreasing for maternal health in the National Health System, reported theTelegraph Dec. 3. The survey indicated more than one in five women is being left alone during labor and birth.

  • A Ugandan law banning female genital mutilation has women flocking to Kenya for the procedure due to inadequate resources for enforcement, reported New Vision, a Ugandan news Web site, Dec. 1.
  • In his latest book, Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed that the church has "no authority" to ordain women as priests and rejected the idea that the rule was formed only because the church originated in a patriarchal society, Catholic News Service reported Nov. 30.
  • Just half of pregnant women with HIV in developing countries get the drugs necessary to prevent their infants from becoming infected at birth, the Guardian reported Nov. 30.
  • A British Ministry of Defense review maintained a ban of female soldiers from infantry or tactical combat teams, reported the BBC Nov. 29.
  • More than a third of South African men in a survey admitted to committing rape at some point in their lives, reported the Agence France-Presse Nov. 26.


  • More than half of the 100 rape reports that Baltimore police decided were false or baseless have been reclassified as rapes or other sex crimes, reported the Baltimore Sun Dec. 1.
  • San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris claimed her victory on Nov. 30 in the Nov. 2 race for California state attorney general, reported Ms. Magazine Dec. 2.

  • Mexico City lawmakers have approved legislation to allow women in the capital district to be surrogate mothers, the Associated Press reported Nov. 30.
  • Dozens of Saudi women are challenging male guardianship and suing over "adhl," the practice of male guardians keeping them forcibly single, often for financial gain, reported the Associated Press Nov. 27.
  • Wartime rape victims in Bosnia say they will complain to the U.N. refugee agency about its goodwill ambassador Angelina Jolie due to rumors that Jolie’s directorial debut is about a victim in a rape camp falling in love with her rapist, the Associated Press reported Nov. 30.

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