Schoolgirls in Monrovia, Liberia.
Schoolgirls in Monrovia, Liberia.

Credit: EC/ECHO/Anouk Delafortrie, European Commission DG ECHO on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).



International Women’s Day in Afghanistan was celebrated this year with what organizers are billing as the first women’s film festival in the country’s history, reported . The festival celebrates films from female directors and those that spotlight women’s issues. The festival, running from March 7 to 9, received more than 100 film submissions from around the world, 30 of which will be shown.

More News to Cheer This Week:

President Barack Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act into law March 7, expanding protections for victims of domestic violence, renewing a measure credited with curbing violence against women a year and a half after it lapsed amid partisan bickering, reported the . The revitalized VAWA marked an important win for gay rights advocates and Native Americans, who will see new protections under the law.

More women have joined the ranks of the world’s wealthiest, reported , but they still hold a small sliver of the total 10-figure fortunes. Of the 1,426 people on the 2013 Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, just 138 are women, but this is still up from 104 women last year.

President Obama nominated Maj. Gen. Michelle Johnson for the appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment to serve as the Air Force Academy‘s 19th superintendent, the U.S. Air Force announced in a March 4.

Women in the Balkans are increasingly taking top leadership posts, the reported . The traditional rules are changing as Balkan countries shake off their war pasts and move toward membership in the European Union.

In Somalia, a Mogadishu court freed jailed alleged rape victim Lul Hassan Ali, who was found guilty of “defaming the government” by alleging that Somali forces raped her, and sentenced to a year in prison, via Garowe Online reported .

Idaho has become the first state to have its so-called fetal pain law banning abortions after 20 weeks struck down by the federal courts, reported .


In Liberia, 85 percent of female students had been sexually harassed or involved in transactional sex in order to get good grades, according to a , reported . Some women said they were forced to keep repeating classes if they refused to have sex with their male lecturers. If a woman reported her lecturer and he was fired, the teacher would often simply move to another institution, the survey found.

More News to Jeer This Week:

The Vatican, Iran and other religious states are resisting efforts by a U.N. conference, which started March 4 in New York City, to demand tougher global standards to prevent violence against women and children, reported . U.N. Women head, Michelle Bachelet, prepared to compromise on wording of a Commission on the Status of Women gender violence document to gain agreement of conservative members, reported .

The Arkansas Senate voted March 5 to override Gov. Mike Beebe‘s veto of legislation that would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward and give the state the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, the reported .

Eighteen for-profit companies have filed lawsuits to avoid complying with the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act, which requires that all insurance policies cover birth control without a co-pay as part of preventive care, reported .

FIFA has written to the Nigerian Football Federation to seek clarification over reports that lesbians have been banned from playing in the West Africa nation, reported .

A study offers more compelling evidence that life expectancy for some U.S. women is actually falling; a disturbing trend that experts can’t explain, the reported .

The U.N. agency which organizes Gaza’s marathon has cancelled the event, blaming the refusal of the territory’s governing Islamist Hamas movement to allow women to run, reported . The marathon was scheduled for March 10 and would have been Gaza’s third.

A large-scale HIV prevention trial among African women, known as VOICE, has yielded disappointing results; however the results lend new urgency and direction to the search for additional safe and effective HIV prevention options for women, according to a PR Newswire .

Amazon faced criticism March 1 after customers pointed out that offensive T-shirts with slogans that seemed to promote domestic abuse, such as “Keep Calm and Rape a Lot,” were allowed to be sold by a clothing company for several hours, the reported .


Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the Wal-Mart Foundation, will be named President Obama‘s new budget chief, the reported .

The U.N. special investigator on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, said empowering women would help reduce hunger and malnutrition, reported .

Would you like to Comment but not sure how? Visit our help page at

Would you like to Send Along a Link of This Story?