Nigeria’s military says it has agreed to a truce with the Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the schoolgirls it has abducted will be released, BBC News reported Oct. 17. The Islamist militant group sparked global outrage six months ago by abducting more than 200 girls from the town of Chibok.
Members of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign said in a tweet on Oct. 17: “We are monitoring the news with huge expectations.”
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Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, and Melinda Gates launched an initiative on Oct. 14 called “L’Appel de Paris” or the Appeal of Paris, French media reported. The initiative aims to “combat maternal and infant mortality across the world and to make it a priority.” The appeal has been signed by the two women along with other female figures in France. On Twitter, the conversation is taking place under the hashtag #appeldeparis.
— Hajer Naili
A federal judge has cleared the way for legally recognized same-sex marriages in Arizona by ruling that the state’s ban on these unions is unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported Oct. 17. The ruling by U.S. District Judge John Sedwick bars state officials from enforcing a 1996 state law and a 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment that outlawed same-sex marriage. Meanwhile in Alaska, a U.S. federal judge ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, Reuters reported Oct. 12. Judge Timothy Burgess of the U.S. District Court for Alaska made the ruling after hearing oral arguments challenging the state’s 16-year-old ban.
Apple and Facebook will pay for employees to freeze their eggs, NBC News reported Oct. 14. Facebook recently began covering egg freezing, and Apple will start in January, according to spokespeople for the companies. The firms appear to be the first major employers to offer this coverage for non-medical reasons. It will allow women to delay pregnancy until they are ready to be mothers while also allowing them to pursue their careers.
The Supreme Court blocked a federal appeals court ruling that was forcing many abortion clinics in Texas to close, the New York Times reported Oct. 14. The Court’s order, which was five sentences long, will allow the clinics to remain open while appeals proceed.
Media critic and feminist blogger Anita Sarkeesian was forced to cancel an Oct. 15 talk at Utah State University, The Washington Post reported Oct.15. The university received a terror threat from someone claiming they would commit “the deadliest school shooting in American history” if Sarkeesian gave her lecture. The feminist media critic was scheduled to give a presentation on the portrayal of women in videogames.
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ISIS is justifying its kidnapping of women as sex slaves citing Islamic theology, an interpretation that is rejected by the Muslim world at large as a perversion of Islam, CNN reported Oct.13. “ISIL now proudly takes credit for the abduction, enslavement, rape, forced marriage, and sale of several thousand Yazidi and other minority women and girls–some as young as 12 years old,” John Kerry said in a press statement released Oct. 14. Hundreds of Yazidis, an Iraqi minority group, are being held captive in makeshift detention facilities in Iraq and Syria by the armed group Islamic, Human Rights Watch reported Oct. 12. The Islamic State boasted in its online publication that it had enslaved these women in order to use them as concubines, The Washington Post reported Oct. 12. It was the first confirmation from the group of widespread allegations of detention and sexual abuse against Yazidi women.
Rabbi Barry Freundel secretly videotaped at least six women changing clothes at a ritual cleansing bath affiliated with his District of Columbia synagogue, The Washington Post reported Oct. 15. A document filed in D.C. Superior Court says Freundel set up a recording device disguised as a digital clock radio in the changing and showering area of the National Capital Mikvah. Following his arrest, the Rabbinical Council of America suspended him from all duty, I24 News reported Oct. 16.
Twelve adults and five children suspected of child sex crimes and human trafficking have been arrested in Colombia, Agence France-Presse reported Oct. 15. Authorities said they have also arrested 43 female victims, 23 of whom are minors.
Ten survivors of domestic violence are quoting the people who attacked them in the exhibit Unbreakable Project, Buzzfeed reported Oct. 15. The project has strived to “increase awareness of the issues surrounding sexual assault” since its launch in 2011.
The U.S. team won its first women’s volleyball title in Milan, Italy, the Associated Press reported Oct. 12. The U.S. women’s team beat China’s team. It is the first U.S. women’s volleyball team to win the world championship.
Norway voted to extend military service to women, saying the step was meant to expand the talent pool for its armed forces, I24 News reported Oct.14. The new policy will come into effect in 2016.
For the second consecutive year, a wide survey found people in Latin America are the least likely to say they live in countries where women are treated with respect and dignity, ranking below the Middle East and North Africa, NPR reported Oct. 14. The Gallup survey found a wide range of opinions within Latin America: while 63 percent of respondents in Ecuador said women get respect, only 20 percent said the same in Peru and Colombia. Asia ranked highest in the survey, with 76 percent saying women are respected. Europe wasn’t far behind in second place with 72 percent.
A court in India has convicted five men of the November 2010 abduction and gang rape of a call center worker, BBC News reported Oct. 14. The 30-year-old woman was attacked in the early hours after an office cab dropped her off near her home. Her attackers abducted and raped her in a pick-up truck.
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