Credit: Official Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga
Ireland’s prime minister, Enda Kenny, issued a state apology Feb. 19 to the thousands of Irish women who spent years working without pay in a defunct network of prison-style laundries run by Catholic nuns, the Associated Press reported. Former residents of the so-called Magdalene Laundries have campaigned for the past decade for the government to apologize and pay compensation to an estimated 1,000 survivors of the workhouses.
The apology was accompanied by the announcement of a fresh compensation package, include counseling services, health care and individual payments, for women still alive who were held in the laundries across Ireland, the Guardian reported Feb. 19. A senior Irish judge would be appointed to oversee how the survivors are looked after.
Two weeks ago, the Irish government published an investigation into the state’s role in overseeing the laundries. It found that more than 10,000 women worked in 10 laundries run by former orders of nuns from 1922 to 1996, when the last Dublin facility closed.
More News to Cheer This Week:
Female-led private technology companies are more capital-efficient, achieve 35 percent higher return on investment and, when venture-backed, bring in 12 percent higher revenue than male-owned tech companies, according to new research, Businessweek reported Feb. 20.
Melanne Verveer called on the U.S. to ratify the Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women, Politico reported Feb. 19. More than 180 countries have ratified the 30-year-old United Nations treaty, which sets an international standard for defining gender bias, but it has been resisted by congressional conservatives in the U.S. because of its stand on abortion.
This year for the first time a woman will compete in the NFL regional scouting combine, the NFL reported Feb. 19. Lauren Silberman of New York City will participate as a kicker.
Lebanese women are taking to the streets to demand that the government take domestic violence seriously, by introducing laws to protect women from abusive partners, CNN reported Feb.17.
Tzipi Livni, Israel’s former foreign minister, has been named as justice minister after joining an emerging coalition headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of the ruling Likud Party, Al Jazeera reported Feb. 19. Livni, who heads the centrist HaTnuah Party, will also be Israel’s negotiator in any peace talks with the Palestinians, the prime minister’s bloc said Feb. 19.
Members of the Saudi Shura Council, including 30 women for the first time in history, were sworn in Feb. 19 in the presence of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, Al Arabiya reported.
Duke University’s Women’s Center is launching a new media activism program called Write(H)ers that will help “create a community of feminist-oriented writers,” Jezebel reported Feb. 18.
In an historic event, the next mayor of Paris is likely to be a woman after the current mayor, Bertrand Delanoe, steps down, as all of the big names lined up to replace him are women, The Local reported Feb. 18.
David Cameron has admitted he has not appointed enough women to his cabinet and revealed that his wife urges him to promote female talent, The Telegraph reported Feb.18. The British prime minister said governments and big companies alike must do much more to encourage and promote women.
The use of online games to promote awareness of societal problems has been growing, The New York Times reported Feb. 17. On March 4, a new game on Facebook, inspired by the book “Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide,” will be introduced. The game will focus on raising awareness of issues like female genital mutilation and child prostitution.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand called for leaders in the House to renew the Violence Against Women Act–that passed in the Senate last week–which funds programs for domestic violence victims, including LGBT and Native American victims, NY Daily News reported Feb.17.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is putting the finishing touches on legislation that would guarantee women in New York the right to late-term abortions when their health is in danger or the fetus is not viable, The New York Times reported Feb. 16.
Rebelling against the porn aesthetic, women are taking to the Internet baring all, to benefit womankind, Salon reported Feb. 16. Women submit “crotch shots” on a website with the aim to publicly catalog normal genital diversity — the kind you won’t find in mainstream porn — so that women no longer judge themselves by an unrealistic standard.
Afghan women and girls are increasingly victims of violence, with a 20 percent increase last year in the number killed or injured, even though the number of civilian casualties in the war in Afghanistan fell for the first time in years, says the United Nations, Reuters reported Feb. 19. More than 300 Afghan women and girls were killed and more than 560 injured in 2012. The U.N. said the country faced a growing threat from the return of armed groups.
More News to Jeer This Week:
The Egyptian Female Lawyers Initiative submitted a complaint to the public prosecution in Cairo Feb. 19 against the owner of the satellite TV channel al-Umma for insulting female protesters on air by claiming that their goal when going to protests was to be sexually harassed, Egypt Independent reported Feb. 19.
The South Dakota state House passed a bill that could extend the time women seeking an abortion must wait before having the procedure, Feminist Majority Foundation reported Feb. 21.
A Colorado school has caused a stir with an advisory that suggested women could urinate or vomit to deter a rape, CNN reported Feb. 20.
France has overtaken the United States’ lead role as the country with the highest percentage of female directors among the 200 largest companies in the world, according to a Corporate Women Directors International study, said a Feb. 22 press statement.
As the debate over gun control heats up, a rising number of women are buying guns, MSNBC reported Feb. 20. A Gallup poll found that 13 percent of all women owned a gun in 2005 compared to 23 percent now.
Employing women as cashiers is a form of human trafficking like sexual exploitation, forced labor and organ trafficking, according to a recent study conducted in Saudi Arabia, Al Arabiya reported Feb. 18. The study’s author writes that Muslim scholars consider it human trafficking if the goal of hiring women as cashiers is to use their looks to attract customers.
Julian Assange expects that his new WikiLeaks Party in Australia will attract female voters despite his facing sex crime allegations in Sweden, arguing that women are braver than men, Hollywood Reported reported Feb. 18.
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