Israel’s government promised to adopt a series of measures to fight women’s exclusion, The Jerusalem Post reported Dec. 13. Some of the proposed measures are new guidelines for public ceremonies, a hotline for women hassled on so-called gender segregated buses and penalties for religious authorities if women are excluded from burials were.

On Dec. 12 President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed fierce criticism of the exclusion of women from the public sphere, YNet News reported Dec. 12.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • Researchers found that HPV tests of women between 29 and 56 could be used to find earlier detection of pre-cancerous lesions, allowing for treatment that improved protection against cancer, reported Reuters Dec. 14. The research found that HPV tests make sense for all women aged 30 or over, since they can prevent more cases of cancer than Pap smear tests alone.
  • Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, sent a letter on Dec. 16, with 35,194 signatures, to President Obama opposing the administration’s recent decision to overrule the FDA’s recommendation about the emergency contraceptive Plan B, says a Dec. 16press releaseby NARAL Pro-Choice America. Obama supports requiring a prescription for the drug for teens 17 and younger.
  • Women from South Sudan called on donors to invest in projects that ensure women benefit equally from development plans at the South Sudan International Engagement Conference this week in Washington D.C., reported The Inter Press Service Dec. 16.
  • In Ghana a representative from National Youth Authority, Henry Adu, appealed to the Ministry of Education to include reproductive health education in the curriculum of junior high and senior high schools, reported Vibe Ghana Dec. 15.
  • Tunisia’s newly appointed prime minister, Hamadi Jebali, of the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, said "there is no reason to worry" about women’s rights,France 24reported Dec. 14. "I can guarantee that Ennahda will be at the forefront of the fight to guarantee women’s rights in all fields–politically, socially and professionally," he said.
  • Google announced Dec. 14 it will donate $11.5 million to combat modern day slavery, PC Magreported Dec. 14. The money will go toward the creation of a coalition of various advocacy groups.
  • A group of elderly South Korean women Dec. 14 held their 1,000th rally in protest of the Japanese government’s treatment of them during World War II, CNN reported Dec. 14.
  • The United Nations will hold an inquiry into the "murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls across Canada," The Province reported Dec. 13. The Native Women’s Association of Canada requested the inquiry to look into the 600 Aboriginal women in Canada who have been murdered or gone missing during the past 20 years.
  • Fatou Bensouda, a lawyer from Gambia, was named the new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Dec. 12, reported The New York Times. She will be only the second person and the first woman to hold this position.
  • Robin Lim, an American woman who has helped thousands of poor Indonesian women have a healthy pregnancy and birth, was named the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year, CNN reported Dec. 12. "Mother Robin" or "Ibu Robin," as she is called by the locals, offers free prenatal care, birthing services and medical aid in Indonesia.
  • Sahar al-Shamrani is set to be the first Saudi Arabian woman to reach the South Pole, Al Arabiya reported Dec. 12. "By going to the southern hemisphere I am sending a message to all Arab women that nothing is impossible and also show the world what Saudis are capable of," said Shamrani.
  • Planned Parenthood plans to expand its urban locations in Arizona from three to five, reported Public News Service Dec. 16. However, abortion services remain unavailable outside of the state’s two largest cities.


A national survey on domestic violence in the United States found that 1 in 4 women said they were hit hard or otherwise violently attacked by their intimate partners, Associated Press reported Dec. 14. The survey is a new national look at how many women say they’ve been abused and offers numbers that are higher than previous reports.

One expert called the report’s estimate on rape and attempted rape "extremely high," with 1 in 5 women saying they were victims. About half of those cases involved intimate partners.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Women with lower educational levels, black women and women who have experienced multiple disruptive events in the last year are overrepresented among second-trimester abortion patients, said a study from the Guttmacher Institute released Dec. 16.
  • As of Jan. 1, Wisconsinites may no longer be able to access free cancer screenings, reported Mother Jones Dec. 16. Gov. Scott Walker has made moves to cut the Wisconsin Well Woman Program, a 17-year-old state service created to ensure that women ages 45 to 64 lacking health insurance can access preventive health screenings.
  • LifeWay Christian Bookstores has removed a line of Bibles because the publisher donates money from each sale to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which in turn "funds Planned Parenthood" breast cancer programs, reported CNN Dec. 15.
  • A University of Vermont fraternity was suspended due to allegations that it circulated a survey that asked members who they would like to rape, Associated Press reported Dec. 14.
  • A small group of ultra-Orthodox Jews prevented some women from voting in local elections in Jerusalem, Associated Pressreported Dec. 14. The incident happened soon after Jerusalem’s secular mayor, Nir Barkat, spoke out against gender discrimination.
  • A 32-year-old mother from France is set to become the first woman to be sent to prison for wearing an Islamic veil,The Daily Mail reported Dec. 13. She was arrested for wearing an outlawed veil outside the Elysee Palace in the French capital on April 11.
  • Philadelphia’s Pearl Gosnell, the wife of a doctor charged with murder in connection to deaths at his abortion clinic, admitted to performing an illegal late-term abortion at her husband’s clinic, ABC News reported Dec. 13. She pleaded guilty to performing an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy, two counts of conspiracy and participating in a corrupt organization.
  • An Australian naval officer was found guilty of spanking a junior female sailor and other acts of abuse, The Sydney Morning Herald reported Dec. 13.
  • Rick Santorum called to end all federal funding of organizations that perform a specific form of second-trimester abortions, The Daily Iowan reported Dec. 12. The Republican candidate described abortions known medically as intact dilation & extraction as "horrific" and compared the procedure to an execution.
  • A Saudi woman was beheaded for "practicing witchcraft and sorcery," the Egyptian News website, Bikya Masr, reported Dec. 12. The woman, identified as Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was beheaded in the Middle Eastern country’s Al Jawf province.
  • Black women have lost more jobs during the recovery than they did during the recession according to a recent study by the National Women’s Law Center, The Washington Post reported Dec. 12. Since June 2009, black women have lost 42.2 percent of jobs lost by women overall in the United States.
  • Afghan women birth an average 5.1 babies, the highest fertility rate in Asia, Reuters reported Dec. 12.
  • Noted:

  • The Afghan woman imprisoned for adultery after a relative raped her was freed Dec. 14 after President Hamid Karzai intervened on her behalf, CNN reported. The woman had been sentenced to prison for 12 years after she reported that her cousin’s husband had raped her two years ago. Karzai pardoned her last week after she agreed to marry her rapist.
  • "Habibi," a film directed by Susan Youssef, won Best Arab feature film, and the film’s star, Maisa Abdel Hadi, won best actress at the Eighth Dubai Film Festival, reported MSN Dec. 14.
  • Though many contraceptive methods are available over-the-counter in the Philippines, they are too expensive for many residents reported BBC Dec. 15. To make contraceptives more accessible, the Philippine government put forward a reproductive health bill that includes a provision to give out free contraception and family planning advice to couples that want it. But the bill is facing fierce opposition from the church.
  • The U.S. State Department has announced the appointment of a new ambassador to the Democratic Republic of Congo, reported Ms. Magazine Dec. 14. The appointment is getting mixed reviews from women’s rights activists and advocates.
  • Potential Egyptian presidential nominee, Bothaina Kamel, turned down a nomination for the International Women of Courage award by the U.S. government, Bikya Masr reported Dec. 14. The general coordinator of Kamel’s presidential campaign explained that the United States "participated, even if indirectly, in the crackdown on the revolution, importing weapons that were used on Egyptian protesters."
  • Girls and young women who are vaccinated against human papillomavirus appear to be no more likely than those who are not vaccinated to engage in sexually risky behaviors, a CDC survey finds reported Web MD Dec. 13.
  • The percentage of women in the military has doubled in the last 30 years, with more than 350,000 serving as of 2009. With more female troops in combat, there has been an increase in post-traumatic stress syndrome diagnoses; 1-in-5 female veterans suffer from PTSD, CNN reported Dec. 13.
  • Michele Flournoy, the most senior female Pentagon official in history, said that she will step down as the chief policy adviser to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta,The Washington Post reported Dec. 12. Flournoy said she feels the need to "rebalance" her personal life after three years in one of the most demanding national security jobs in Washington.

In Memoriam:

Noted Jewish feminist Paula Hyman, who served as the first female dean of the Seminary College of Jewish Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, passed away at the age of 65 reported JTA Dec. 15. Hyman published extensively on topics including Jewish gender issues, modern European and American Jewish history and Jewish women’s history and feminism.

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