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Actress Meryl Streep pledged to give $1 million to the foundation of a National Women’s History Museum to be built in Washington, D.C., according to a March 17 report in U.S. News. A bill to establish the museum–which does not ask for federal funds but does pinpoint a site near the National Mall–is waiting a full vote by the Senate.

After passing the House of Representatives on a voice vote and unanimously out of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works in the last session of Congress, two senators–Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn–placed holds on the bill, according to a USA Today report published this past September. The museum will be funded privately.

A gala, hosted by actress and model Rebecca Romijn, will be held April 12 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. All proceeds will benefit the National Women’s History Museum and will feature special guest Streep and others.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Baltimore has created a coordinator position for their Sexual Assault Response Team, formed to address the country’s highest "unfounded" rapes, cases deemed as such by police because they believe the victim is lying or no crime occurred, reported the Baltimore Sun March 14.
  • The Georgia Senate Rules Committee tabled an abortion bill late March 11 that could have shut down abortion clinics, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • Sex workers and their advocates planned celebrations across the United States on March 18 to celebrate the United States’ acceptance on March 10 of a U.N. recommendation that it recognizes sex workers’ rights as a distinct issue from human trafficking, the San Francisco-based sex workers’ advocacy group St. James Infirmary reported March 14.
  • NASA marked women’s history month with the March 16 launch of a new Web site, Women at Nasa, devoted to the contributions of women at the space agency and an event to recognize women’s role in space history, Space.com reported.
  • The National Association for Female Executives announced its top 50 companies of 2011 where women are capitalizing on–and creating capital in–executive opportunities, according to Working Mother March 15.
  • A repeal for Abstinence-Only Program Funding Act was reintroduced March 15, reported Ms. Magazine.
  • Daily Femme posted on March 13 its interview with Leah Castella, one of Women’s eNews 21 Leader for the 21st Century 2011. Castella created debate camps for female teens.
  • Older women who are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer can expect to live just as long as peers without breast cancer, according to a new study, the L.A. Times reported March 15.




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Wisconsin women will bear the brunt of the "budget repair bill" the Women’s Studies Consortium of the University of Wisconsin System said in a March 2011 statement released March 14. The bill, which was temporarily blocked by a judge March 18 after a lawsuit was filed against the passing of the bill, won’t pass until the lawsuit is complete, reported the Washington Post.

If the bill passes, women will make up the majority of the occupations affected by it: school teachers, nurses, child care workers, social workers and home health care aides, the consortium reported. Public safety workers–firefighters, police and security guards–who have been exempted from the collective bargaining limitations are male-dominated.

GOP Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill on March 11 and the date by which the collective bargaining law takes effect is now a matter of political and legal contention, according to press reports. Dane County officials are challenging the collective-bargaining law in court, saying it was passed without the proper notice required by state law, the Wisconsin State Journal reported March 16.

Losing bargaining rights, the Women’s Studies Consortium says, could mean some women who work outside the home and also play primary caretaker roles give up such crucial provisions as family medical leave, health benefits, paid sick days and living wages.

"If workers lose the legal power to negotiate for everything except their wages, the flexibility and access to care necessary to raise a family effectively will vanish," the Women’s Studies Consortium says.

White women in the state earn 71 cents to men’s dollar for full-time, full-year work, compared to 76 cents nationally, and rank 45th among the states on this indicator. Those statistics are "far worse for women of every other racial and ethnic group in Wisconsin" the consortium says, reporting that 30 percent of African American women in Wisconsin live in poverty, double the overall national rate of poverty.

— Corinna Barnard

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The Air Force will be releasing a survey that finds 1 in 5 women say they have been sexually assaulted since joining the service, according to a March 17 report by The Christian Science Monitor. The same report indicates that 10 percent of women in the Air Force have been raped.
  • An economist is worried the Japanese government is not doing enough to warn pregnant women of the radiation exposure risks to their fetuses, reported the New York Times March 13.
  • The GOP-backed H.R.3 bill, expected to sail through the House, would require the Internal Revenue Service to police how women have paid for their abortions, reported Mother Jones March 18.
  • Poor Iowans would be prohibited from having a taxpayer-paid abortion in cases of rape or incest under an amendment to a budget bill approved by a House committee this week, the Des Moines Register reported March 17.
  • The Republican majority in the Montana House has voted to cut nearly all federal and state family-planning funds from the state health care budget, reported the The Missoulian, a Missoula, Mont.-based daily paper, March 17.
  • Four abortion bills are moving through the Kansas Senate’s Judiciary Committee, reported the Kansas City Star March 17.
  • Pro-Life Wisconsin teamed up with a national anti-abortion campaign to put up a billboard March 15, reading "Choice Kills Those Without One," near a Madison Planned Parenthood clinic, according a report by the Cap Times, based in Madison, Wisc.
  • The Florida House approved a bill March 16 restricting public money or insurance plans that receive public subsidies from paying for abortions, reported the Florida Independent. A similar bill was approved in the Senate March 14, reported the Palm Beach Post.
  • The Illinois House of Agriculture and Conservation Committee, focused on farm and rural issues, passed an abortion bill March 15, while protestors stood in the room wearing shirts reading, "Women are not livestock," reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
  • The Missouri House of Representatives offered first-round approval March 14 to a bill that would effectively ban all elective late-term abortions, reported The St. Louis Today .
  • Idaho‘s House State Affairs Committee approved a bill March 14 that allows the state to opt out of abortion funding under President Barack Obama’s new health care reform, reported LifeNews.com.
  • A bill in New Hampshire, requiring girls to tell their parents or a judge before an abortion, will be voted on this week in the House, reported the Boston Globe March 13.
  • A slick new women’s magazine published by Islamic extremists mixes skin care tips, advice on finding the right jihadist and instructions on raising proper little holy warriors, reported The Star, a Toronto-based newspaper, March 15.
  • The FDA approved KV Pharmaceuticals’ brand name drug Makena that prevents premature births, raising the cost from $10 a dose to $1,500, reported Time.com March 11.


  • The U.S. Justice Department released a report March 18 investigating New Orleans’s police department and Louisiana’s Crimes Against Nature law, reported RH Reality Check.
  • Three senior doctors in India are suspended for their connection to the deaths last month of 18 pregnant women, reported the BBC March 18.
  • A Zimbabwe court has granted bail to six activists accused of treason for attending a lecture about the Egypt and Tunisian uprising, reported the BBC March 17. Read background on this story in the WeNews archive.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said she would not serve a second term and has no plans to run for U.S. president, in an interview March 16 in Cairo, Egypt with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.
  • Several thousand Libyan women marched through the streets of rebel-held Benghazi March 12 demanding a no-fly zone to stop President Moamer Kadhafi from bombing rebel fighters, reported AFP.
  • The FBI has arrested a 37-year-old school bus driver suspected of vandalizing a central California mosque and firebombing a Planned Parenthood clinic last year, reported the Associated Press March 13.
  • Federal prosecutors filed a civil lawsuit against a male anti-abortion activist from Mountlake Terrace, Wash., reported Seattlepi.com March 13.

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