Philippine President Benigno Aquino successfully threw his weight behind a health bill promoting state-funded contraception on Aug. 6. Reuters reported Aquino is pushing reforms in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church and his late mother’s policies. His mother, Corazon Aquino, a pillar of democracy in the Philippines, was put in power in 1986 in a popular revolt strongly supported by the church’s leadership.

The president addressed a multi-party group of at least 180 lawmakers at the presidential palace, saying debates that have delayed the reform over the last 17 months needed to end. Lawmakers agreed and said they would move on to discussing content. Discussions will center on four issues — state funding for contraceptives, mandatory sex education in schools, abortion and the distribution of contraceptives that could induce abortions.

The Philippines, with a rapidly growing population of around 95 million, is the only predominantly Catholic country in the region apart from East Timor.

More News to Cheer This Week:

A charter school in Louisiana that wouldn’t allow pregnant students to come to school and instead required them to be home-schooled has changed its policy after the ACLU threatened to sue, reported the Huffington Post Aug. 9. Read more about teen pregnancy discrimination: Education Rules for Pregnant Moms Widely Ignored.

U.S. Olympian Claressa Shields won the gold medal in women’s boxing in the 75-kilogram division, the first boxing gold medal for the U.S. since 2004, reported the Los Angeles Times Aug. 9. It is the first year that women’s boxing has been an Olympic sport. Read more: Olympic Boxing Firsts, U.S. Women Outmedal Men

After years of officiating at the college level, Shannon Eastin made history as the first woman to officiate an NFL football game, Time reported Aug. 7.

American Bar Association President Laurel Bellows praised efforts by 28 states to add human trafficking laws to the books this year in response to the 2012 state-by-state human trafficking ratings from the Polaris Project, released Aug. 7. On the other hand, Bellows also called on four states to act quickly to protect victims of this crime and to penalize those who exploit victims, according to a press release by the bar association.

Famed British luxury department store, Harrods, opened the doors to its first gender-neutral toy department last week, reported Smart Planet Aug. 2.


An Aug. 10 headline on the Washington Post’s front page read, “Drama queens earn their crown” after the U.S. women’s soccer team won gold at the London Olympics. The lede read: “The U.S. women’s soccer team members are not only fabulous drama queens, they also are a lusty singing group judging by the way they fairly shouted the national anthem that has become their personal soundtrack.” The gender stereotyping is especially notable in light of recent criticisms of other American athletes, such as hurdler Lolo Jones and gymnast Gabby Douglas, about their looks.

More News to Jeer This Week:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit found on Aug. 7 that Quinnipiac University in Connecticut violated Title IX by dropping its women’s volleyball team and creating a new varsity competitive cheer team. The court held that competitive cheer did not meet the Department of Education’s criteria for qualifying as a sport, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

Ultra-orthodox Jewish ‘modesty patrols’ in Israel are selling glasses that blur anything farther than a few meters away so that men will not have to look at women, reported the Associated Press/New York Daily News Aug. 10. Men who have to venture past their own communities can also buy hoods and shields that block their peripheral vision.

Four Pakistani policemen have been suspended after allegedly parading a man and two women naked in a town, police officials said on Aug. 5. Reuters reported it was unclear clear why the three were naked while being escorted to the police station in the southern town of Gambat on July 28. A senior local police officer said all three were part of a prostitution ring.

Few Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries have reliable statistical data on the prevalence of violence against women although the association’s 2004 declaration underscored the need for statistics to assess the prevalence of the problem and monitor changes, a senior United Nations Population Fund official said, the Jakarta Post reported Aug. 6.


The Republican initiative “Young Guns,” part of the Republican National Congressional Committee, will have a “women’s pavilion” at this year’s party convention in Tampa, Fla., reported the Washington Post Aug. 10.

Britain’s Louise Mensch, possibly the most well known Conservative backbencher, has resigned as MP for Corby and East Northamptonshire, citing the difficulties of trying to balance her family life with political commitments, The Guardian reported Aug. 6.

An Ohio congressional candidate, Marisha Agana, isn’t backing down from a controversial tweet in which she put President Barack Obama in the company of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, Politico reported Aug. 6.

Sandra Fluke introduced President Barack Obama when he traveled to Denver Aug. 8, according to the Denver Post. Obama’s campaign speech in Colorado appealed specifically to women, as he outlined the benefits they will or already are receiving under the Affordable Care Act, reported Politico Aug. 8.

Nepal has banned women under 30 years of age from working in countries in the Persian Gulf amidst reports of exploitation and abuse, reported CNN Aug. 9.

The top two leaders of Susan G. Komen for the Cure will be leaving their positions, the organization said in a statement on Aug. 8, reported CNN. Nancy Brinker will leave her position as CEO and take on a new role within the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and Elizabeth Thompson will leave her role as the organization’s president in September, the foundation said.

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