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Women’s rights groups in Ecuador are claiming victory. Bowing to pressure, the government is shutting down underground clinics that the groups say used torture techniques to try to "cure" lesbians, reported MSNBC Jan. 25. Many women claimed they were physically, psychologically and sexually abused in attempts to make them straight.

Ecuador’s president has appointed Carina Vance, a lesbian and gay-rights activist, as the new health minister. Before the appointment, the previous minister announced last week that the government would investigate and close all such clinics in the country, launch a national advertising and awareness campaign against homophobia and develop a crisis hotline for victims, according to Change.org.

More News to Cheer This Week:

  • The World Economic Forum anticipates an increase in the number of female leaders at its annual meeting in Alpine Village of Davos. This comes after the forum introduced a minimum quota for female executives last year, reported the Financial Times Jan. 25. This year, about 17 percent of the 2,600 attendees will be women, 1 percentage point above last year’s.
  • Brazil says it will fine private health plans that refuse to pay for the removal and replacement of faulty breast implants sold by two European companies, reported the Associated Press Jan. 26.
  • Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen has become the so-called 25th vote to ensure passage of a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the state of Washington, according to CNN Jan. 23. In a statement, Haugen said, "I don’t see where my believing marriage is between a man and a woman gives me the right to decide that for everyone else."
  • The Sundance Institute and Women In Film are working together to track female filmmakers who are showing their work at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and plan to use the data to increase women’s presence in all areas of filmmaking, reported CBS Jan. 24. Women remained vastly underrepresented behind the camera in the movie business in 2011, Reuters reported Jan. 24. Last year, women comprised 18 percent of directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers and editors working on the 250 top-grossing domestic films, according to "The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2011."
  • Women’s rights groups in Britain, speaking at the Leveson Inquiry, have called for more accurate reporting of violence against women and a ban on naked or semi-naked images of women in newspapers, reported The Guardian Jan. 24.
  • The International Museum of Women opened its 2012 global online exhibition MAMA: Motherhood Around the Globe, which explores emerging issues, unique challenges and changing perspectives of motherhood throughout the world, reported PRWeb Jan. 24.
  • President Barack Obama marked the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court‘s landmark Roe v. Wade decision by saying that the ruling was more than just about establishing a woman’s right to an abortion, the AP reported Jan. 23. Obama said in a statement that the court’s decision also makes clear that the government "should not intrude on private family matters."


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Most of the biggest Egyptian political parties have committed to delivering ambitious human rights reform in the country’s transition, but have either given mixed signals or flatly refused to sign up for ending discrimination, protecting women’s rights and abolishing the death penalty, Amnesty International said Jan. 24. Amnesty sought meetings with 15 major political parties in Egypt, asking them to sign a human rights manifesto. A number of them had reservations over a pledge for women’s rights to be protected, including for women to be given equal rights in marriage, divorce, child custody and inheritance. Several parties invoked Islamic law to explain why they would not commit to this.

More News to Jeer This Week:

  • Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., introduced a bill that would ban women in Washington, D.C., from having abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, reported the Huffington Post Jan. 25. Five other states passed 20-week bans in 2011, none of which include exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
  • Women’s rights advocates say it’s unacceptable that a majority of nominations for Order of Australia honors are for men, reported the Sydney Morning Herald Jan. 26. In the nominations list released, 599 men but only 234 women were nominated.
  • Haiti, still struggling to recover from the devastating 2010 earthquake, is trying to cope for the third time in five years with the sexual abuse of minors by United Nations peacekeepers, reported the Inter Press Service Jan. 23.
  • The Pakistani legal system presents insurmountable barriers to justice for victims of sexual violence and particularly incest, according to the report "A Struggle for Justice: Incest Victims in Pakistan," released Jan. 24 by Equality Now. There is no specific law against incest in Pakistan and issues such as sexual violence, including rape and incest, are surrounded by stigma.
  • New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s newsman son, Greg, is being investigated for allegedly raping a woman, law-enforcement sources told The Post Jan. 26.


  • The Center for Women Policy Studies published their first three Reproductive Laws for the 21st Century papers on their website Jan. 24. The reports cover the success of and future threats to contraceptive coverage in the U.S., abortion in Ireland and the Hyde Amendment, which bars Medicaid from paying for abortions.
  • Most employed mothers would work even if they didn’t have to, but they’re also looking for new ways to negotiate the demands of mothering and the pressures to be an "ideal" employee, a study published Jan. 23 in Gender and Society found.
  • Catalyst, a nonprofit that researches women and business, announced that initiatives from Sodexo and Commonwealth Bank of Australia are the recipients of the 2012 Catalyst Award, the annual award honoring exceptional business initiatives that advance women in the workplace, reported PRNewswire Jan. 24.
  • While 28 percent of all households in the U.S. consist of just one person, women are more likely than men to live alone, reported Fortune Jan. 25. Eighteen million women in the country live alone; 14 million men do. Unmarried women also purchase more homes than unmarried men. Of house buyers in the U.S., 10 percent are unmarried men and 21 percent are unmarried women.
  • Rep. Gabrielle Giffords submitted her resignation to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, just more than a year after a shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left six people dead and Giffords critically wounded, reported Talking Points Memo Jan. 26. Since that time, Giffords has made significant progress, but she is resigning to continue focusing on her recovery.
  • Consumers may now want to know not only how the animals they eat are raised but whether they are male or female, reported The Globe and Mail Jan. 25. Sam Gundy, co-owner of the Toronto high-end butchery Olliffe, Purveyors of the Finest Meats, says that while he can’t distinguish between male and female chickens in taste, the mouth-feel is different.
  • Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann announced Jan. 25 she will seek a fourth term in the U.S. House following her failed presidential bid, reported the Associated Press.
  • Lego has introduced a new range of pink and pastel colored bricks in a bid to appeal to girls, reported The Telegraph Jan. 25. Lego’s marketing director David Buxbaum said, "I would argue we are giving girls what they are asking for." Freelance writer Bailey Richards, however, has found the new toys offensive and has launched an online petition against them, reported NPR Jan. 24.
  • An Oklahoma hospital that failed to build a women’s health center in honor of Garth Brooks’ late mother must pay the country singer $1 million, the Associated Press reported. The hospital, Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital in Yukon, must return Brooks’ $500,000 donation plus pay him $500,000 in punitive damages, a jury decided Jan. 23.
  • Eighty percent of African American women surveyed believe that sexism is a problem in society today, compared with 71 percent of white women, 78 percent of black men and just 58 percent of white men, according to a survey conducted by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation, released Jan. 22.
  • A Stanford University study challenges the cliche about women having a higher tolerance for pain than men, SF Gate reports. In an examination of tens of thousands of electronic patient records, women tended to report much more severe pain than men, no matter the source of the pain.
  • Democratic North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue, the first woman elected governor in the state, said Jan. 26 she would not seek re-election this year, reported the Associated Press. Her departure creates a wide-open gubernatorial primary in a state that is key to the presidential race.
  • About 10 percent of men but only 3.6 percent of women age 14 to 69 are orally infected with the human papillomavirus, or HPV, reported MSNBC Jan. 26. It was unclear why, though scientists theorized that transmission through oral sex on women is more likely than on men or that hormonal differences between men and women may be a factor.