Credit: @rescueourgirls on Twitter


Nigerian public health officials are preparing to give medical support to schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram for the effects of rape, such as treatment for transmitted infections and abortions,Buzzfeed reported May 29. “There’s no way that those men [Boko Haram] are using protection; we don’t know how many will get HIV [or other sexually transmitted infections]. It’s a crisis on our hands,” said Dr. Valerie Obote, the national president of National Women’s Association of Nigeria. Abortion is illegal in Nigeria with the exception of saving the life of the mother, while other African countries allow abortions in the case of rape. The schoolgirls were abducted by the militant group six weeks ago. Four of the schoolgirls escaped on May 28,  Reuters reported.

More News to Cheer This Week:

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review board says transgender people receiving Medicare may no longer be automatically denied coverage for sex reassignment surgeries, The Associated Press reported May 30. The decision came in response to an administrative challenge brought last year by Denee Mallon, a 74-year-old Army veteran in New Mexico who in 2012 sought to have Medicare pay for her genital reconstruction surgery and was denied.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the Forbes’list  of the 100 most powerful women of 2014 released on May 28. Janet Yellen, the first female chair of the Federal Reserve, is second. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde is fifth followed by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. First Lady Michelle Obama is eighth on the list.
The Houston City Council approved an ordinance that expands anti-bias protections for gay and transgender residents, ABC News  reported May 28. The debate about the measure has been focused mostly around rights for gay and transgender residents even though it will offer protections against all forms of discrimination in housing, employment and services provided by private businesses.
The birth rate among U.S. female teens and young women dropped to a record low while the rate among older women increased in 2013, according to government statistics,  Reuters reported May 29. The birth rate for female teens dropped 10 percent to 26.6 births per 1,000 while the birthrate among women in their 30s and 40s was the highest since 1963.
This year’s White House Science Fair included a special focus on girls and women who have excelled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, CBS News reported on May 27. The Obama administration is looking to boost interest in those areas as well as change the gender ratios of the students who are studying them. According to the Commerce Department, women make up less than a quarter of jobs in the science and technology fields.
Sweden’s Feminist Initiative Party has entered the European Parliament for the first time, according to exit polls, The Daily Mail reported May 25. The party wants to boost the rights of women and minorities in the European Union.


A Texas woman claims she was forced to give birth alone in jail during a horrific night in solitary confinement nearly two years ago, and that her infant died as a result, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week,CNN reported May 24. Nicole Guerrero alleges in legal documents that “Wichita County denied (her) access to reasonable medical care … ignored her obvious signs of labor and constant requests for medical assistance, failed to conduct a physical examination … when she began to display obvious signs of labor, left (her) unattended in a solitary cell while she was obviously in labor, failed to transport (her) to the hospital for safe delivery, which ultimately caused (her) to deliver her baby alone in the solitary cell and resulted in (her) suffering severe and likely permanent, physical and psychological injuries.”

More News to Jeer This Week:

A police officer and two other people have been arrested after two female teens were gang-raped and left hanging from the branches of a mango tree in a northern Indian village, CNN reported May 30. The attack — two cousins aged 14 and 16–sparked outrage in the village of Katra Sadatganj and beyond. Against that backdrop, the mother of one of the victims was beaten after she refused to withdraw her complaint, according to an official, The Associated Press reported.
A study called “Economic Issues for Women in Texas” and released May 27 found the average Texas woman lives in a city, is younger than 35 and is a woman of color. She is also 1.2 percent more likely to live in poverty than a man, and generally makes $9,158 less per year than her male counterpart, Dallas Business Journal reported May 30.
A mass grave has been located near a former home for unmarried mothers and infants in Ireland, IrishCentral reported May 26. The grave is believed to contain the bodies of up to 800 infants. The causes of death listed for the children included malnutrition, tuberculosis and pneumonia.
A Sudanese woman awaiting the death penalty for abandoning Islam gave birth to a daughter in jail, the BBC reported May 27. Meriam Yehya Ibrahim will be allowed to nurse her daughter for two years before the sentence is carried out. Ibraham’s lawyers lodged an appeal on May 22.
A 25-year-old woman was stoned to death by her family outside of a courthouse in Pakistan in an “honor” killing for marrying the man she loved, Reuters reported May 27. Farzana Parveen Iqbal’s father, her two brothers, and her former fiancé were among the attackers. In an interview reported by CNN on May 29, the husband of the woman stoned to death said he killed his first wife so he could marry Parveen Iqbal.
A 16-year-old transgender female teen, Jane Doe, has been held in solitary confinement for five weeks in an adult prison in Connecticut, Salon reported May 23. The Connecticut Department of Children and Families became her legal guardian when she was 11 years old because her relatives were physically and sexually abusive to her. Doe was transferred to the adult prison after allegedly attacking a staff member at a juvenile facility.
Just a couple days after the killing spree in Isla Vista, Calif., a man in Stockton, Calif., allegedly fired eight rounds from a 9mm handgun at three women who refused to have sex with him and his friends,  Raw Story reported May 26. None of the women were hit.
Oklahoma, soon to be followed by Louisiana, has joined other socially conservative states in adopting laws that place new restrictions on abortion, measures that critics say are aimed at shutting down abortion clinics, Reuters reported May 28. Legislation in both states requires physicians who provide abortion services to have admitting privileges to hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics. Anti-abortion legislation in states such as Alabama, Mississippi and Wisconsin are facing court challenges. Abortion providers in Wisconsin have given testimony about the state’s abortion law, The Washington Post reported May 27.
A Utah high school is being criticized for secretly photoshopping some of their female students’ yearbook pictures so that they showed less skin, the New York Daily News reported May 29. Some female students had sleeves added to their yearbook picture so that their bare shoulders were covered. Wasatch County School District Superintendent Terry E. Shoemaker defended the school’s decision and said that the students had been warned that their pictures might be altered.
An employee demographic report released by Google reveals that the company consists of a workforce that is primarily white and male, the Los Angeles Daily News reported May 29. Out of Google’s employees 2 percent are black, 3 percent are Hispanic and 30 percent are women. “Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” Google Inc. Senior Vice President Laszlo Block said.


Somaly Mam, head of the anti-trafficking non-profit Somaly Mam Foundation, resigned on May 28 amid accusations that her personal story of being trafficked was fabricated. Mam is a well-known anti-trafficking activist who has amassed a list of high profile supporters such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Times Pulitzer-prize winning columnist Nicholas Kristof, Newsweekreported May 21.

In Memoriam:

Maya Angelou, author of the ground-breaking novel “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” died at the age of 86 at her home in N.C., CNN reported May 28. She was a renowned poet, novelist, actress and professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. In 2011, President Barack Obama awarded Angelou the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian award.
American Federation of Government Employees today announced that Augusta Thomas, national vice president for Women’s and Fair Practices, has been elected to the executive council of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists.

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