a bus in Delhi


Credit: Shawn Allen on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).



The United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution Dec. 21 banning the practice of female genital mutilation, UN Women reported Dec. 21. This is a significant milestone towards ending the harmful practice, known as FGM, which constitutes a serious threat to the health of women and girls.

FGM affects about 100-140 million women and girls worldwide, and each year it is estimated that an additional 3 million girls are at risk of being subjected to the practice.

More News to Cheer This Week:

On Dec. 20, hundreds of former retail employees of Mystique Boutique, a clothing store in New York, received $925,000 in a wage-theft victory as part of a campaign to clean up illegal labor practices in retail chains on Broadway in SoHo, Retail Action Project, an advocacy group, said in a press statement Dec. 19. Workers from seven stores will receive settlement checks from representatives of NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.

Martha Nelson will be the first female editor in chief of Time magazine in the 70-plus years that the weekly has existed, IndieWire reported Dec. 19.

HIV infections among black women in the U.S. declined for the first time since U.S. health officials began reporting numbers of new cases from 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, reported Bloomberg News Dec. 19.

Amnesty International in a Dec. 19 press statement called for the immediate release of Yorm Bopha and Tim Sakmony, two female Cambodian human rights defenders arrested during their struggle against the forced eviction of their communities.

The EU Gender Directive passed Dec. 21, making it a law that insurance companies can no longer use a driver’s gender as a factor when calculating their annual premium, London’s The Telegraph reported Dec. 21.

Toy company Hasbro will release a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven at the Toy Fair in

February after meeting with a 13-year-old girl who sparked an Internet outrage over the toy, Ms. Magazine reported Dec. 18.

Conservative candidate Park Geun-hye claimed victory Dec. 18 in South Korea’s presidential election, making her the country’s first female president, CNN reported Dec. 19.


Outrage and anger sparked across India Dec. 19 after the gang-rape and near-fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi, The Associated Press reported. Indians demanded action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women. Dec. 21, officials responded, promising a broad campaign to protect women on buses, Fox News reported. Home Secretary R.K. Singh said that bus drivers would be required to display their identification prominently, buses would be forced to remove tinting from their windows and plainclothes police would be placed on buses to protect female passengers.

Reported rapes in India have increased by about 25 percent over the past six years, but there are no reported figures for gang rape, The New York Times reported Dec. 19.

More News to Jeer This Week:

A year after the war officially ended in Iraq, continuing sectarian violence and a struggling economy have hit women hardest, The Guardian reported Dec. 18.

Starting on Dec. 31, Texas’ Health Department will require doctors to submit “abortion reports,” as well as to verify that the doctor followed every step of the complex Texas abortion law, Think Progress reported Dec. 18. And, as the Dallas Observer reports, the state will crack down on doctors who don’t follow the new reporting requirements.

Gunmen killed five Pakistani women working on a U.N.-backed polio vaccination campaign in two different cities Dec. 18, ABC News reported.

Most pregnant women are not warned about chemicals in food, consumer products or the environment that could endanger their fetuses, a new University of California San Francisco survey of 2,600 obstetricians and gynecologists nationwide found, The San Francisco Gate reported Dec. 17.


Democratic senators urged House Republicans to take up and pass a version of the

Violence Against Women Act ahead of the holidays. On Twitter, Democratic female lawmakers are pushing GOP women to join their efforts to pass a bill with language that would offer protection to all victims of domestic violence. “This AM, Dem women Senators sent a letter to GOP women House Reps urging them to work w/leadership to pass,” tweeted Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., while Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., tweeted that she is “calling on House GOP women to work w/ their leadership and put safety of all women ahead of partisan politics.” –Hajer Naili, WeNews Correspondent

New pressure to appoint a woman to one of President Barack Obama’s top three cabinet posts is mounting, Buzzfeed reported Dec. 18. Feminist groups are now pushing the White House to appoint Michèle Flournoy, the former under secretary of defense for policy.

In the aftermath of one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, women’s rights groups are joining forces with gun control advocates to lend some major political muscle to the effort to regulate assault weapons, The Huffington Post reported Dec. 18. Read more: MomsRising Leads Push for Gun-Stopping Action.

Ireland, Australia, Luxembourg and the Netherlands are four countries where women without children report higher wages than men, according to new research from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, The Atlantic The Atlantic reported Dec. 18.

Moira Gaul, 42, the former director of women’s and reproductive health at the Family Research Council, a prominent Christian conservative advocacy group, is suing the organization after being fired for filing a sexual harassment complaint against her boss, prominent anti-abortion lawyer William Saunders, who now works at the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life. Saunders allegedly referred to the use of birth control pills as “whoring around,” The Huffington Post reported Dec. 18.

Egypt’s National Council for Women on Dec. 17 asked for the elections committee to respond to the complaints of women regarding violations in the constitutional referendum, AllAfrica.com reported.

Figures in Britain show that there are now 300,000 fewer mothers at home than previously estimated and those who decide to sacrifice their career in order to look after their children at home are now considered in the minority, according to returns in the United Kingdom’s 2011 Census, London’s The Telegraph Dec. 17.

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