At his last press conference of the year, President Obama called only on female reporters, a move move that delivered holiday cheer to the female members of the White House Press Corp. Those called on were: two Politico staffers, Jennifer Epstein and Carrie Budoff Brown, BloombergBNA’s Cheryl Bolen, Associated Press correspondent Julie Pace, McClatchy Newspapers’ Lesley Clark, Reuters’ Roberta Rampton. Wall Street Journal correspondent and Washington Post White House reporter Juliet Eilperin.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Walmart to pay $188 million to employees who had sued the retailer for failing to compensate them for rest breaks and all hours worked, Reuters reported Dec. 16. Walmart may appeal the decision, which upheld lower court rulings, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Elsewhere this week, three legal organizations that brought a class action complaint against Walmart earlier this year for discrimination against pregnant workers have filed a new EEOC charge against the superstore. The suit involves a former Walmart worker whose job responsibilities–including cleaning bathrooms with toxic chemicals–caused her to become ill while she was pregnant. The woman was denied temporary relief of those duties and was eventually fired.
More News to Cheer This Week:
The Rev. Libby Lane, a parish priest from Crewe, has become the first female bishop for the Church of England, The Guardian reported Dec. 17. Her appointment brings to an end 22 years of resistance to the promotion of female priests.
The U.S. Supreme Court has temporarily blocked enforcement of an Arizona law aimed at limiting use of the increasingly popular abortion pill, NPR reported Dec. 15.
In New York City, State Senator Jeffrey Klein, a Bronx Democrat, will introduce legislation next year that would make it easier for domestic violence victims to secure public housing, New York Observer reported Dec. 15.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg are backing an effort to bridge data gaps about women and girls around the world, the Associated Press reported Dec. 15. The initiative is called "Data 2x."
ISIS militants attacked women in the western Iraqi province of Al-Anbar before burying them in mass graves in Fallujah, The Independent reported Dec. 17. Some of the women who were killed were pregnant at the time, according to the Anadolu Agency. In a related development, Francis Carolina Peña Orellana was arrested in Spain on suspicion of recruiting young women to join ISIS and become life partners of the fighters, The Daily News reported Dec.17.
More News to Jeer This Week:
At least 100 women and children were reportedly kidnapped and 35 people killed when Boko Haram extremists attacked a remote village in north-east Nigeria, The Guardian reported Dec.18. There are conflicting reports about the date of the attack. Two witnesses said it occurred on Dec.12, while other reports said it took place on Dec.14.
A Missouri Republican lawmaker is pushing a bill that would allow a man who gets a woman pregnant to stop her from having an abortion, Mother Jones reported Dec. 17. The measure would force a woman who wants an abortion to obtain written permission from the father first–unless she was the victim of "legitimate rape." Rick Brattin, a state representative from outside Kansas City, filed the bill on Dec. 3 for next year’s legislative session.
A 46-year-old Boston Uber driver, identified as Alejandro Done, has been arrested on charges of kidnapping and raping of a woman who had requested a ride home, Bostlnoo reported Dec.17. His arraignment came just hours after Uber posted a statement promising new safety standards following a string of incidents involving its drivers, NewYork Post reported Dec.18. The driver has pleaded not guilty to his charges, which include rape and kidnapping, Fox News reported Dec.17. Another Uber driver was accused earlier this month of raping a woman in New Delhi, Bloomberg reported Dec.18. An Uber driver was also charged in San Francisco this month for killing a 6-year-old girl crossing a city street last New Year’s Eve.
Stephen Collins, star of the "7th Heaven" TV series, admitted to inappropriate sexual contact with three female minors from 1973 to 199, in a statement to People. Collins said "I have not had an impulse to act out in any such way" in the past 20 years. After the news broke, Collins was dropped from various projects, including the film "Ted 2," and he also resigned from SAG AFTRA, ABC News reported Dec. 17.
An audit of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the United States on programs designed to benefit Afghan women found the success of the efforts cannot be comprehensively assessed because the U.S. agencies involved could not track their spending and results, Al Jazeera America reported.
Human rights researchers concerned about the rise of child marriage in conflicts have gained data from Valeria Cetorelli, a PhD candidate in Demography at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Her study in the December 2014 issue of Population and Development Review, quantifies that between 2003 and 2010, marriage in Iraq increased sharply among females in the youngest age groups, but little among older females.
Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who shared this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for her education campaign work, said she was "heartbroken" by the news that at least 126 people, mostly children, had been killed in a Taliban attack on a school in northwest Pakistan on Dec. 16, Reuters reported. Malala, 17, was shot in the head on a school bus by the Taliban in 2012 and won global acclaim for her passionate advocacy of women’s right to education.
A Saudi woman was arrested for attending a football game, The Guardian reported Dec. 15. The woman claims that she did not know women were prohibited from going to the male-only stadiums. The newspaper Okaz, which first reported the news, described the woman as being in her twenties and who tried to "impersonate" a man by wearing pants, a long-sleeve top, hat and sunglasses.
The number of women in leadership roles is no better now in major national Jewish federations, service and advocacy groups and religious and educational institutions than five years ago, the Jewish Daily Forward publication reported Dec.15. When the Forward compiled its first list of executive salaries in communal institutions there were 11 women in 2009; the same number as today.
The Irish Family Planning Association says migrant women are facing "insurmountable" obstacles in trying to travel abroad for abortion, Newstalk reported Dec. 15.
Women’s advocates want more female police officers hired since they display less violence than male counterparts during arrests, MPR News reported Dec. 14. Women’s advocates say that the gender of police officers needs to be part of the discussion that is occurring in many cities following the recent deaths of two unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in Missouri and New York. In 2002 study conducted by the National Center for Women in Policing, researchers found that in several big city police departments, female officers were several times less likely than male officers to be named in excessive force complaints and lawsuits.
The alleged rape of a female passenger by a Uber taxi driver once again spotlights the risks of India’s transport system. One solution could be taxis by women for women. Last year, the southern state of Kerala launched "She Taxis," a fleet of 40 pink taxis run by women, Reuters reported Dec. 15.