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An informal coalition of Saudi women’s rights activists said women across the country began driving their cars on June 17 in defiance of a ban on female drivers in the kingdom. The driving protest occurred one month after Manal Al-Sharif, a Saudi computer technician and mother, was arrested and jailed for driving her own car. The group made the announcement in a June 16 press statement.

The Women2Drive Facebook page, which includes messages of support from around the world, said the campaign would continue until a royal decree reversed the ban, reported Global Post June 17. The campaign has been publicized on social networking sites, including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, where women have been posting images of themselves driving.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Anti-choice billboards stating that "the most dangerous place for a Latino in his mother’s womb" were removed this week, according to a press statement released by The Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles on June 16.
  • U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returned to her Houston home on June 15 after a five-month stay at TIRR Memorial Herman, reported The Associated Press June 15. She and her husband also left to visit their home Tucson, Ariz., the following day–her first trip back since she was shot at point-blank range.
  • On June 15, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch vetoed a bill requiring pregnant underage women who wanted an abortion to notify their parents or a judge of their decision, reported The Associated Press June 15.
  • Growing numbers of gay couples across the country are adopting. The New York Times reports that about 19 percent of same-sex couples raising children reported having an adopted child in the house in 2009, up from 8 percent in 2000.
  • The Center for Reproductive Rights filed a federal lawsuit June 13 to halt implementation of the requirements that women wanting an abortion in Texas must have a sonogram and hear a detailed description of the fetus, reported the Dallas Morning News, June 13.
  • N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a Marriage Equality Act, which would remove barriers for New York state residents who were denied the right to marry solely because they were of the same sex. The state’s Senate is one vote away from approving it, according to combined press reports.
  • A high-level U.N. meeting has produced an ambitious plan to largely eliminate by 2015 the transmission of the AIDS virus from pregnant women to their newborns, The New York Times editors noted in an editorial June 13.
  • Michelle Bachelet, under-secretary-general and executive director of UN Women, will bring attention during her visit to Tunisia to women’s role in the nation’s movement toward democracy and the need to make gender equality a part of the country’s reform process, reported UN Women in a June 16 press statement.


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Afghanistan, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, India and Somalia are the five most dangerous countries to be a woman says a global report by TrustLaw Woman, reported the Guardian June 14. Each country was ranked in terms of six risk factors including: health, discrimination and lack of access to resources, cultural and religious practices, sexual violence, human trafficking and conflict-related violence.

The survey was based on responses from more than 200 aid professionals, academics, health workers, policymakers, journalists and development specialists chosen for their expertise in gender issues. TrustLaw Woman is a website providing pro-bono legal information to women’s groups from the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • The Supreme Court affirmed a law that discriminates against fathers by establishing different citizenship criteria for children born abroad to an unmarried U.S. citizen depending on the sex of the citizen parent, according to combined press accounts. A staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the case, said the law is based on the outdated assumption that mothers, not fathers, care for and nurture their children
  • The Federation of Women’s Lawyers-Kenya is demanding more women be nominated to the country’s Supreme Court, saying women have been short-changed, reported the nation’s Capital News June 16.
  • North Carolina state representatives overrode Democrat Bev Perdue’s veto of the state budget, ensuring that a provision to strip all federal and state money from Planned Parenthood will take effect on July 1– if the N.C. Senate overrides the veto as well– reported the Huffington Post, June 15.
  • Tom MacMaster, a married American man studying in Scotland, confessed that he created the blog "A Gay Girl in Damascus," in which he posed as a Syrian-American lesbian, reported the BBC News June 14. MacMaster issued an apology on the blog June 12.
  • The Wisconsin Supreme Court gave approval on June 14 for cuts to collective bargaining rights for public workers in the state, undoing a lower court’s decision that Wisconsin’s controversial law had been passed improperly, reported The New York Times June 14.


  • Congresswoman Michele Bachmann announced her run as a Republican candidate for the 2012 presidency race during an appearance at the GOP candidate debate in New Hampshire.
  • In a strange twist of fate, the Hyde Amendment has become a stumbling block in efforts to bar states from banning abortions, said Keith Mason, founder and president of the anti-abortion group Personhood USA, Reuters reported June 11. The amendment permits Medicaid to pay for abortions in the case of rape or incest.
  • Christine Lagarde is still a shoo-in as the IMF’s boss despite the emergence of a new candidate, Israel’s central bank governor Stanley Fischer, Mindful Money reported June 12.
  • Wal-Mart employees, with help from The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, has created the non-union Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), reported The New York Times June 15.
  • Yoplait recently cancelled a commercial promoting its product Yoplait Light. The National Eating Disorders Association deemed the ad a slight trigger for those who have or show warning signs of an eating disorder, reported the Huffington Post June 15.
  • U.S. births declined for a third year in a row, believed to be a reflection of the weak economy, the AP reported June 15.
  • Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner stepped down as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on June 16, reported Time Magazine on June 16.

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