Girls in classroom
Girls in classroom

Credit: World Bank Photo Collection on Flickr under Creative Commons 2.0



Female genital mutilation is declining in Somalia, reported , citing a survey by UNICEF and the governments of Somaliland and Puntland. The survey found that 25 percent of girls ages 1 to 14 have undergone the practice, compared to 99 percent of women. A UNICEF spokeswoman credited changing attitudes among religious leaders and better public awareness of the health risks. The same survey also found that female literacy is rising.

More News to Cheer This Week:

A federal judge in Mississippi blocked part of a state law that would have forced the closing of the state’s only abortion clinic, reported . A decision on the law’s constitutionality is pending.

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal issued an economic argument for ending the ban on female driving in the kingdom, reported . “The question of allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia will save more than 500,000 jobs in addition to the social and economic benefits,” the prince wrote April 14 on his Twitter account.

In another sign of shifting times in Saudi Arabia, female news reporters are beginning to cover the Shura Council sessions, reported . Hayat Al-Ghamdi, a reporter from Al-Hayat, broke the barrier. She said her newspaper contacted the council to allow her to cover the session and permission was granted after persistent requests for approval.


A 5-year-old Indian girl was battling for her life in a hospital in New Delhi after being kidnapped and brutally raped in the latest incident of sexual violence which has triggered nationwide protests, the reported . The attack occurred inside a locked room over a 48-hour period, police said. The child was admitted to the intensive care unit of a city hospital on April 17. Doctors said the girl’s genital area had been mutilated and that objects had been inserted inside her, causing serious internal injuries and infection.

The United Nations is sending its special envoy to India to investigate the rising number of cases of violence against women, four months after the fatal gang rape of a student sparked public outrage over the treatment of females in the country, reported .

More News to Jeer This Week:

A Palestinian woman said she was assaulted while taking a late morning stroll with her baby daughter and friend by a man who accused her of being a terrorist in Boston, the reported.

The Vatican says Pope Francis supports the Holy See’s crackdown on the largest umbrella group of U.S. nuns, who were faulted for focusing too much on social justice instead of issues such as abortion, reported .

An Irish jury has found that poor medical care led to the hospital death of an Indian woman who was denied an abortion, the reported .

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, has signed a bill into law to block tax breaks for abortion providers and ban abortions performed solely because of the baby’s sex, reported . The measure declares that life begins at fertilization and prohibits abortion providers from being involved in public school sex education classes. The changes take effect in July.

Rep. Paul Ryan said the Republican Party should hold its strong anti-abortion stance and ignore those who say it’s hurting the GOP, reported .

Women in Arab countries have emerged as the main victims of a festering unemployment problem in the region mainly because of poor investment and social barriers, according to the World Bank, reported . Three of every four women in the Arab region are jobless while unemployment among the youth ranges between 15 and 25 percent in many countries of the Middle East.

New Hampshire State Rep. Peter Hansen, a Republican, referred to women as “vaginas” in an email to colleagues on the official legislative electronic mailing list earlier this month, drawing outrage from his own party, reported . He has apologized.

Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s coalition rebuffed an opposition move to set binding quotas for women on German company boards, blocking a parliamentary motion that threatened to split her party in an election year, reported .

Former British racing driver Sir Stirling Moss doubts women have the mental skill to race competitively in Formula 1, reported . “I think they have the strength, but I don’t know if they’ve got the mental aptitude to race hard, wheel-to-wheel.” F1 hopeful Susie Wolff, 30, responded: “It makes me cringe hearing that.”


Doctors should talk about breast cancer-reducing drugs with women and offer tamoxifen or raloxifene to those who have a high risk of cancer and aren’t likely to suffer side effects, a government-backed panel said, reported .

The family of a girl who committed suicide after she was sexually battered and then cyberbullied with a humiliating photo planned to file a civil action against the suspects Monday and also speak publicly about the case, reported .

Occidental College has hired two former sex crimes prosecutors to complete an extensive review of the university’s handling of sex abuse cases amid allegations that officials don’t take such cases seriously, reported . Swarthmore has also taken steps to change how the college responds to sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations.

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