army women

Credit: Minnesota National Guard on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-ND 2.0).



The Senate unanimously passed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 on Dec. 4 including four provisions that, if included in the final version of the law, could help women in the military, Mother Jones reported Dec. 5.

Provisions include, military women who are raped would be able to use their government health benefits to get an abortion, thanks to Sen. Jeanne Shaheen; the military would be forced to improve how it handles reports of sexual assaults provision, from Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Olympia Snowe; convicted sex offenders would be discharged, a provision from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; and finally, it would require the Department of Defense to review its policy of excluding women from combat roles, this measure also from Gillibrand.

More News to Cheer This Week:

The ACLU filed complaints with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights against single-sex education programs in an Idaho elementary school and a middle school in Alabama, suggesting that these schools are violating Title IX and the Constitution, the organization said in a Dec. 7 press release.

The Sentencing Council in England and Wales is looking to change the guidelines and create tougher sentences for sex offenders, the BBC reported Dec. 6.

Mexico’s Supreme Court has ruled that a law in southern Oaxaca state that bans same-sex marriages is unconstitutional, paving the way for same-sex couples to marry in that state and possibly in the rest of Mexico, The Huffington Post reported Dec. 5.

Anti-abortion advocates were struck with a double setback Dec. 4 when the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled two state laws are unconstitutional, NewsOk reported Dec. 4.

All Commonwealth nations have agreed to press ahead with a bill ending discrimination against women in the succession to the British throne, BBC News reported Dec. 4.

Elizabeth Warren, the new elected senator from Massachusetts, will be tapped to serve on the Banking Committee, according to sources familiar with the situation, reported The Huffington Post  Dec. 4.

A majority of Irish people want new legislation on abortion in Ireland, according to a new opinion poll, BBC News reported Dec. 1. The survey suggests 8 out 10 people would support laws that allow abortion when the woman’s life is at risk, including by suicide.

Sosan Firooz, a 23-year-old Afghan woman who raps about female oppression, her experience as a refugee in Iran and against child abuse, won’t give up her career in spite of death threats, CBS News reported Dec. 1.

Sanctuary for Families called on the National Football League to address domestic violence perpetrated by athletes after the Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher’s suicide. Belcher killed himself shortly after he murdered his partner Kasandra Perkins.


Muslim Brotherhood supporters of President Mohammed Morsi and opposition activists clashed this week in Cairo, Egypt, in violence that left five people dead and 644 injured, the BBC reported Dec. 6.

Protests between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood factions burst out a few days after Morsi issued a constitutional decree and the approval of a draft constitution written by an Islamist-dominated assembly. The draft was approved by the 85-member assembly; down from 100 due to resignations of those who opposed Islamist domination of the council. Only four women were present for the vote, all of whom belong to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Women’s rights activists see the draft constitution as a huge blow because it removed a clause that specifically guaranteed equality for women. The draft simply states "citizens are equal before the law and equal in rights and obligations without discrimination," with no mention of specifics.

Amnesty International expressed concern this week over the text that "fails to provide protection for human rights and ignores the rights of women."

Also, Egypt’s ruling party is paying gangs of thugs to sexually assault women protesting in Cairo’s Tahrir Square against Morsi, The Daily Mail reported Dec. 1.

–Hajer Naili

More News to Jeer This Week:

The National Women’s Council of Ireland and other charities are among the organizations describing Ireland’s new budget 2013 as an attack on women, reported The Irish Examiner Dec. 5.

The national men’s magazine FHM has experienced a Twitter backlash after making jokey remarks about violence against women in its January issue, The Huffington Post reported Dec. 5.

Bristol University’s Christian society has banned women from speaking at events and teaching at meetings, unless they are accompanied by their husband, The Huffington Post reported Dec. 4.

A village council in the state of Bihar, India, this week prohibited unmarried women and girls from using mobile phones, saying they promote extramarital affairs and unsanctioned marriages and erode the moral fabric of society, The New York Times reported Dec. 4.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private employer, plans to begin denying health insurance to newly hired employees who work fewer than 30 hours a week, according to a copy of the company’s documents obtained by The Huffington Post and reported on Dec. 1.


A poll released Dec. 5 confirms that women’s health issues were a decisive factor in helping voters decide between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, reported Think Progress Dec. 5.

Amid worries that the Arab Spring may give way to political Islam and set back the cause of women’s rights, Queen Noor of Jordan said Dec. 4 at a conference sponsored by the Reuters Foundation that it was too soon to give up hope that revolutions in the region would ultimately yield social progress, The New York Times reported.

Irish Catholic bishops have issued an initial statement criticizing the government for not asking the expert group on abortion to consider an option to ban abortion or to reverse the 1992 Supreme Court ruling in the X-Case.

Jailed Iranian human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has halted her hunger strike after the Iranian judiciary agreed to drop a travel ban against her daughter, her husband said, The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 4. Sotoudeh had endured nearly seven weeks without food, drinking salt and sugar solutions, to protest her 12-year-old daughter being banned from leaving the country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she’s losing patience with the failure of corporate boards to increase the participation of women, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 4.

More than 200 women’s rights groups are calling for laws to make paying for sex a crime across the European Union, BBC News reported Dec. 4.

For the first time in Barbie’s more than 50-year history, Mattel is introducing a Barbie construction set that underscores a huge shift in the marketplace, The New York Times reported Dec. 3.

The number of British students using their bodies to pay their tuition has doubled in the past year, according to new research, The Independent reported Dec. 3.

A study published Dec. 3 on the connections between race and gender–a phenomenon called gendered race–indicates some of the unexpected ways in which stereotypes affect personal and professional decisions.

British pop star Leona Lewis says female pop stars who make sexually provocative videos need to "have some self respect," The Daily Mail reported Dec. 3. The pop star attacked women in the music industry for acts that "verge on porn" and for allowing themselves to be "sexually objectified."

Women would be prohibited from having abortions based on whether they want a boy or a girl under legislation proposed by a Utah lawmaker, the Associated Press reported Dec. 2.

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