Cameroonian girls
Two young women braiding their hair in Cameroon.

Credit: Carsten ten Brink/10b travelling on Flickr, under Creative Commons.



Lloyd’s of London, the oldest insurance market in the world, has appointed Inga Beale as its first ever female chief executive, The Telegraph reported . Beale, an industry veteran with 30 years of experience, will replace Richard Ward who is stepping down in July.

More News to Cheer This Week:

A Cairo theater group is breaking taboos with a daring series of sketches that tackle dating, sex and sexual harassment in Egypt, reported .

An bill to keep better track of domestic violence offenders will go before New Hampshire lawmakers next year, and advocates expect it to bring about a debate over gun rights, the reported .

Germany’s new government will feature the country’s first female defense minister, the reported . Ursula von der Leyen, 55 and mother of seven, inherits the job of modernizing the military.

Socialist Michelle Bachelet, who was Chile’s president from 2006 to 2010, cruised to victory in the country’s presidential runoff, reported . With more than 93 percent of votes counted, she won 62.3 percent of votes, election officials said.


In Cameroon, many mothers use hot iron or stone to flatten the daughters’ breasts and thus, ward off men, reported . New government research shows that "breast ironing," as the harmful custom is known, has seen a 50 percent decline since it was first accidentally uncovered in 2005. However, 1.3 million girls are still victims of the brutal practice today. Mothers say they do it to try to protect their daughters from premarital sex, early pregnancy and rape.

More News to Jeer This Week:

An Afghan woman has been flown to Turkey for emergency surgery after her husband sliced off her nose and lips in punishment for refusing to sell her jewelry, reported .

Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford claimed women are happy as long as they have money, reported . He made his statement on his weekly appearance on the Washington, D.C., sports radio show, "The Sports Junkies," saying: "Women love money. Give ’em a couple thousand bucks and they are happy."

Women in India will never be safe until society changes its attitudes, the father of the Delhi gang-rape victim said on the anniversary of the assault which killed her last year, reported .


The Supreme Court of Canada has struck down the country’s major prostitution laws, saying that bans on street soliciting, brothels and people living off the avails of prostitution create severe dangers for vulnerable women and thus violate Canadians’ basic values, reported . Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin stressed that the ruling is not about whether prostitution should be legal, but about whether Parliament’s means of controlling it infringe on the constitutional rights of prostitutes.

The singer Robin Thicke topped the voting in a poll conducted by the End Violence against Women Coalition and has been named sexist of the year, reported .

U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi demanded the release of leading Syrian women’s rights campaigner Razan Zeitouneh and three fellow activists, abducted on Dec. 10, reported .

One in every 200 young American women says she became pregnant while still a virgin, reported . According to the , published in the British Medical Journal, out of 7,870 women who took part in the confidential research, 45 — 0.5 percent — said they had become pregnant without ever having had vaginal intercourse or going through in-vitro fertilization.

Pregnant women, babies and kids should not drink raw or unpasteurized milk, a group of pediatricians said, reported .

A special committee in the Knesset is expected to vote this week on the controversial proposal that would extend compulsory military service for Israeli women, from 24 months to 28 months, the reported .

Archaeologists in China have unearthed the skulls of more than 80 young women who may have been sacrificed more than 4,000 years ago, Singapore’s reported . The women’s bodies were not present.

In Memoriam:

Margaret M. Adams, who held executive positions with a number of publishing companies and who was also an important force in the international women’s movement, died Nov. 8, the website reported . She was 89.

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