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U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., introduced legislation last week that would address the rising incidences of sexual assault and violence on college campuses, Ms. Magazine reported April 27. The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, or SaVE Act, would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 and expand the 1990 Jeanne Clery Act to "improve education and prevention related to campus sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking."

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • A group of women in Saudi Arabia launched a Facebook page and demonstrated outside voting centers in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman to protest the ban on women voting in a September municipal election, reported UPI April 25. The registration for the elections began April 2.
  • The Women Presidents’ Organization, a nonprofit group, and American Express released the top 50 list of the fastest growing women-led companies, which generated $4.1 billion in combined revenues last year, Forbes.com reported April 28.
  • For the first time, women are surpassing men in advanced college degrees and bachelor’s degrees, according to a Census Bureau report released April 26, reported the Washington Post.
  • The government of Indonesia is working to reduce the country’s highest maternal mortality rate in Southeast Asia by providing free birth delivery and family planning programs, reported Antara, the government’s news source, on April 23.
  • Thousands of girls in the United States will be signing petitions in the next few weeks urging policymakers in Washington to support girls all over the world involved in child marriage, reported the Philadelphia Inquirer April 24. Read this recent WeNews story for background.




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Immigrant women who have undergone female genital cutting have a hard time getting gynecological care in the United States, said advocates gathered at an April 27 conference in New York. Ritual cutting is also called female genital mutilation or FGM.

Sauti Yetu Center for African American Women, a nonprofit based in the South Bronx, N.Y., a conference host, collected data in 2008 that found only 17 percent of obstetricians, gynecologists and midwives at hospitals in New York City were able to identify World Health Organization classifications of the types of female genital cutting.

Although 96 percent of clinicians said they had a role to play in addressing the growing incidence of this type of cutting, many did not have adequate training to do so. Women reported feeling embarrassed in doctor’s offices by the looks and treatment they received from medical staff.

Participants discussed the need to collect data on the number of women living in the United States who have undergone genital cutting.

A representative of Tostan, a nonprofit active in more than 500 communities in rural Africa, discussed the importance of showing respect for a deeply ingrained tradition.

Genital cutting of women has no medical benefit and can cause serious side effects, such as bleeding, infection, difficulty during intercourse and birthing complications.

–Katherine Rausch

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Maternal mortality is on the rise in California, with African American mothers roughly four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women in any other racial or ethnic groups, according to a California Department of Public Health study released April 26, the Associated Press reported. For more information on the disparities in U.S. women’s maternal health, see WeNews’ Black Maternal Health series.
  • Fear and not enough materials are putting mothers-to-be at risk in Libya’s rebel capital Benghazi, Agence France Presse reported April 26.
  • Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City, known for her comments against gay people in 2008, apologized for her comments made April 27 that women and minorities earn less because they don’t work hard enough, reported NewsOK, an Oklahoma news source April 29. But the NACCP says it is not enough.
  • Kansas and Indiana legislatures are both looking at plans that would cut Planned Parenthood’s funding, reported the Kansas City Star April 23. The Indiana bill was approved by the Senate and House and now heads to Gov. Mitch Daniels’ office, reported the Christian Science Monitor.
  • The Kansas legislature approved new health and safety regulations specifically for Kansas abortion clinics April 27 that would include annual, unannounced state inspections, the Midwest Democracy Project reported. State abortion bills continue to pile up all over the country. This week, bills were also considered in Michigan, Alabama, Florida, Maine and Iowa.
  • After a transgender woman was beaten severely by two young women in a McDonald’s restaurant in Baltimore, Change.org set up a petition to hold all the employees who stood and watched accountable for the attack. The crime is still being investigated but the women, 14 and 18, could face hate crime charges, according to CBS News April 26
  • Athletic programs at U.S. colleges exploit loopholes to get around a federal rule, called Title IX, requiring they spend as much money on women’s athletics as on men’s, The New York Times reported April 26.
  • Only seven out of 57 Liberal Democrat members of parliament in Britain are women and the Fabian Society, a socialist group affiliated with the Labor Party, said there will be no female MPs after the next election if the current poll ratings continue, reported the Guardian April 25.


  • Senior citizens, workers and advocates held 40 events this week in at least 18 states generally to address the House Republicans who voted to cut funds to the Social Security Administration, change Medicare benefits and slash Medicaid–all of which women are the majority of beneficiaries–the Strengthen Social Security Campaign, a coalition interest group, announced in a press statement April 26.
  • When actress Ashley Judd recently revealed that she was sexually violated as a child, most media outlets wrote that she "confessed" to being abused. WeNews commentator Wendy Murphy says that’s applying the language of a perpetrator in an April 24 column in the Patriot Ledger, a daily paper from Quincy, Mass.
  • Richard L. Buchter, a new judge for a case involving a woman who shot and killed her husband after being beaten, agreed to reconsider a decision to bar testimony from psychiatric experts about the long-term abuse Barbara Sheehan experienced, reported the New York Times April 27. Sheehan is being defended by lawyer Michael G. Dowd, a WeNews 21 Leader for the 21st Century 2010. Read background on the story in these WeNews articles: 1 and 2.
  • The mother of a girl featured on an anti-abortion billboard is suing the groups behind the ad, Life Always and Majella Cares dba Heroic Media, saying neither she nor her daughter were asked for consent, reported the Courthouse News Service April 27. For background on these billboards, check out a WeNews’ story and an AM New York story.
  • The Supreme Court turned down a request from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia to depart from its usual practice and "fast track" review of the controversial health reform law, CBS News reported April 25. Read Women’s eNews’ column about the law’s impact on breastfeeding rights in the workplace.
  • Six of the eight schools in Detroit scheduled to close in June attended a meeting April 25 to plead their case to Detroit Public School Emergency Manager Robert Bobb, reported Detroit News April 25. One of the schools, Catherine Ferguson Academy, is a public school for pregnant and mothering teens, which has a 90 percent graduation rate, compared to a national drop out rate of about 70 percent for pregnant teens, reported RH Reality Check April 24.
  • Betty Dukes, chief plaintiff in the largest sex-discrimination suit in U.S. history, is back on the job as a greeter at a Wal-Mart store in Pittsburg, Calif., as the case against the mega-retailer awaits a Supreme Court ruling, The Philadelphia Enquirer reported April 26.
  • More U.S. women seem to be using the "morning-after" pill now that the emergency contraceptive is available over-the-counter, a new study finds, Reuters reported April 27.