Activists pushing for women’s right-to-drive in Saudi Arabia declared their online campaign a success, The Business Insider reported Oct. 26. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive cars. The campaign that began last year and revved up again since the beginning of the month encouraged women to post online images of themselves driving. Dozens of women have driven and posted during the latest campaign, one activist said, although she knew of only two who hit the streets during the weekend.
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An Irish MP will take an abortion pill in Dublin to defy the continued ban on most terminations in the Republic, The Guardian reported Oct. 28. The Socialist party’s TD Ruth Coppinger travelled to Northern Ireland along with 30 other pro-choice activists to buy abortion pills from the Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast. Despite recent reforms that allowed for limited abortions in which a woman’s life is in danger, most Irish women seeking terminations still have to go abroad. Women who are raped and those whose babies will be stillborn are not entitled in law to have abortions in Irish hospitals.
Construction contractor Vamco Sheet Metals of Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., will pay $215,000 as part of the settlement of a sex discrimination lawsuit brought by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency announced Oct. 29. Legal Momentum, a women’s rights nonprofit organization (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), joined the EEOC’s suit on behalf of four discrimination victims. The lawsuit challenged the treatment of female sheet metal workers on the massive John Jay College of Criminal Justice expansion in Manhattan from 2009 through 2011. According to the lawsuit, female sheet metal workers were fired for pretextual reasons, some after just a few days of work. The suit also alleged that the women were treated unfavorably compared to men, including being assigned menial tasks like fetching coffee and having their breaks monitored. One new mother was denied a clean private place to pump breast milk. "The company now has a policy that expressly entitles nursing employees to an accommodation," Carol Robles-Roman, Legal Momentum’s president and CEO, is quoted in the release. "We intend to work with other employers who operate in non-traditional work settings to help them follow Vamco’s lead."
Ultraviolet, a national women’s advocacy organization, demanded Friday an immediate investigation into accusations of rape and sexual assault of women at the Kames Detention Center in Texas. Citing what Ultraviolet characterized as numerous lawsuit files, large numbers of women report similar stories of abuse – guards who call the detainees their "girlfriends" and enter their cells late at night to rape them. Women at Karnes Detention Center, many of whom are mothers detained with their children, have also reported being groped and assaulted in front of other detainees, including their children.
Shoshana B. Roberts was harassed 108 times while walking around for 10 hours in New York City, according to the anti-street harassment advocacy group, Hollaback! The 24-year-old volunteer drew repeated comments about her body during strolls around Manhattan in a simple black t-shirt and jeans. She followed filmmaker Rob Bliss, who had a camera hidden in his backpack to record the harassment, The Washington Post reported Oct. 29. One in three women has experienced what they call "noncontact unwanted sexual experiences," which include street harassment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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ISIS has kidnapped more than 2,500 Yazidi women, according to research, CNN reported Oct. 30. A young Yazidi woman said ISIS jihadis kidnapped her and other women, tried to force them to convert to Islam from their minority Yazidi religion and then raped them. A Yazidi activist in Iraqi Kurdistan has compiled the names of at least 4,601 Yazidi women currently missing, suggesting mass abductions.
Nine women from across Canada accused former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi of abusive behavior ranging from allegations of beating and choking without consent to workplace sexual harassment, the Toronto Star reported Oct 29. Canadian television actress Lucy DeCoutere, best-known for playing Lucy on the Canadian series "Trailer Park Boys," told the Toronto Star Ghomeshi attacked her in 2003, the Washington Post reported Oct. 30. She told the newspaper he "without warning or consent, choked her to the point she could not breathe and then slapped her hard three times on the side of her head."
Thomson Reuters Foundation says 6-in-10 women in major Latin American cities report having been physically harassed while using transport systems, CNN reported Oct. 29. Bogota, Colombia was found to have the most unsafe public transport followed by Mexico City and Lima. The poll was conducted in 15 of the world’s largest capitals, New York City included, in collaboration with British polling company YouGov.
The U.S. is 65th in the world in the wage equality. In addition, in no country do women earn as much as a man for doing the same job. And it’s going to take another 81 years for the gender gap to close, according to a report by the World Economic Forum, CNN Money reported Oct. 28. Although, the gap is narrowing it is happening at a slow pace. The U.S., for instance, narrowed its wage gap by one percentage point to 66 percent in one year "meaning that women earn about two-thirds of what men earn for similar work according to the perception of business leaders," WEF’s economist Saadia Zahidi said. The U.S. also ranked 65th in wage equality among 142 countries in the report.
In related news, the gender gap in India is widening according to the new Gender Gap Index from the World Economic Forum and women are no closer to escaping poor treatment, CNN reported Oct. 28. In India, a woman reports an assault every ten minutes and every 21 minutes, a rape. Due to a culture of women being considered burdens, 43 percent of those crimes were committed by the women’s own families. Family assault cases increased 25 percent during over the last five years–the numbers of unreported cases are said to be even higher. The number of silent victims alongside outspoken victims ranks the health and survival status of India’s women as 141st in the world (out of 142 countries).
About 1-in-6 female undergraduates at MIT who responded to an anonymous survey said they had been sexually assaulted while enrolled at the university, The Boston Globe reported Oct. 28. Only 5 percent of these women reported the incidents. With its comprehensive survey, MIT becomes the highest-profile college to put such a specific estimate on the prevalence of sexual violence on campus amid heightened national attention on the issue.
David Perdue, Georgia’s Republican candidate for Senate, defended himself Sunday night against charges that he paid female managers less than male ones when he was CEO of Dollar General, saying "it was less than 2,000 people" who brought the lawsuit against the company, The Huffington Post reported Oct. 27. In a debate against Democrat Michelle Nunn, Perdue said "that lawsuit or that claim or that complaint was settled five years after I was there. She knows that. And it was less than 2,000 people. We had upwards of 70,000 employees at that company." Nunn jumped on Perdue’s statement. "You know, 2,000 women, that actually seems like quite a lot to me who say that they were discriminated against. And federal investigators — public knowledge — found that that was true. And it was during your tenure."
The Army football team lured high school recruits this year with alcohol, cash from boosters and a dinner date with female cadets, NBC News reported Oct. 27 citing an article from The Gazette of Colorado Springs. West Point acknowledged misconduct. The newspaper reported that 20 cadets were disciplined and two officers and two coaches reprimanded but the punishment stopped short of dismissal or court-martial for the officers.
Women and girls abducted by extremist militant group Boko Haram in Nigeria were used in combat operations, forced to lure men into ambush and forced to marry their captors, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Oct. 27 and quoted by Reuters. The report follows renewed attacks and abductions by suspected Boko Haram insurgents despite government reports that it had reached a ceasefire with the rebels to secure the release of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in April.
A new hashtag called #BeenRapedNeverReported made powerful messages and voices heard when it started trending on Twitter Thursday night, The Huffington Post reported Oct. 31. People who have suffered sexual assault but were afraid to report it fill the hashtag with stories both enraging and heartbreaking. The Hashtag was started by Antonia Zerbisias, a writer for The Toronto Star who has been on Twitter supporting actress Lucy DeCoutere and her sexual violence accusations against former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi.
In a speech at the Observatory of Secularism, French Minister of Education, Najet Vallaud-Belkacem expressed the wish to allow again Muslim mothers who wear the veil to accompany their children for school outings, French TV News BFM TV reported Oct. 28. Since March 2012, mothers who wear the hijab are not allowed in school outings.
Reyhaneh Jabbari, the 26-year-old Iranian woman who was hanged Oct. 25 for killing her alleged rapist tells her mother to donate her organs after her execution, MSNBC reported Oct. 27. Jabbari, 26, was hanged in a Tehran prison on Saturday morning despite the international campaign urging a reprieve. She had been convicted of killing a man she said was trying to sexually abuse her.
"I don’t want to rot under the soil," Jabbari said in the English translation of a voice message left for her mother in April and released Saturday by Iranian activists. "I don’t want my eye or my young heart to turn into dust. Beg so that it is arranged that as soon as I am hanged my heart, kidney, eye, bones, and anything that can be transplanted be taken away from my body and given to someone who needs them as a gift."
Iran’s judiciary chief has appointed his deputy with leading a probe into several acid attacks on women that have sown fear across the Islamic republic and provoked rare protests in cities, Al Jazeera reported Oct. 27. At least four women had acid hurled at them earlier this month. According to reports on social media, the victims were targeted on the face and body because they were not properly veiled, but Iranian authorities have denied that.
The investigator who led the Department of Homeland Security’s internal review of the Secret Service’s 2012 prostitution scandal quietly resigned in August after he was implicated in his own incident involving a prostitute, The New York Times reported Oct. 28. Sheriff’s deputies in Broward County, Fla. claimed to witness David Nieland, the investigator, entering and leaving a building they had under surveillance as part of a prostitution investigation. They later interviewed a prostitute who identified Nieland in a photograph and said he had paid her for sex. Nieland resigned after he refused to answer a series of questions from the Department of Homeland Security inspector general about the incident, officials said.