After months of delay, the Senate approved Loretta E. Lynch as U.S. attorney general, The New York Times reported April 23. She is the first African American woman to hold the position. Lynch, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was confirmed 56 to 43, with 10 Republicans voting for her. Her confirmation was held up for months as Republicans found themselves in a quandary. They wanted to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., and they agreed that Lynch was qualified. But they opposed her because Lynch defended President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. In the midst of the conflict, Republicans began to link her approval to including an abortion ban in the use of fines generated by a proposed anti-sex trafficking bill. In the end, the bill was passed with a ban on using federal funds for abortions other than in the case of rape, incest and risk to the health of the mother.
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While attending the Women in the World Summit, Hillary Clinton gave a speech outlining her main talking points regarding women and minorities that she will use on the campaign trail, Cosmopolitan reported April 23. During her speech, Clinton spoke about issues such equal pay, health care and sexual assault. Clinton did not address the recent allegations surrounding the Clinton Foundation and its relationship with various governments while Clinton was secretary of state.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., has reintroduced the Robin Danielson Act, Jezebel reported April 21. The act would require the National Institutes of Health to set money aside for research on feminine hygiene products and any potential negative side effects. While products such as tampons and sanitary pads need to be tested, other products do not have to be.
The Writers Lab was announced at the Tribeca Film Festival and it will mentor eight female screenwriters over the age of 40 at a retreat in upstate New York, The Guardian reported April 20. The initiative aims to develop and hone the selected writers’ scripts. It comes following a study last year that found the number of female screenwriters in the U.S. was falling, from 17 percent of the sector in 2009 to 15 percent in 2014. They were also found to be paid less than their male counterparts. Meryl Streep has made a "significant" contribution to the project; she continues to be a vocal proponent of equality in the arts and beyond.
Nationwide, 40 percent of heavily minority schools have large athletics gaps for female students, compared to only 16 percent in heavily white schools, states a report by the National Women’s Law Center released April 21. "Finishing Last: Girls of Color and School Sports Opportunities" shows that at both the state and national level heavily minority schools typically provide fewer sports opportunities–defined as spots on teams–compared to heavily white schools. Heavily minority schools also allocate these spots less equally between boys and girls, leaving girls of color especially shortchanged.
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Three more women have come forward with allegations of sexual assault by Bill Cosby, The New York Times reported April 24. The article reports that with these latest allegations, the number of women who have accused Cosby is more than three dozen, even though he has yet to be charged.
Physicians for Human Rights released a press statement on April 22 about Burma’s recently introduced "population control" bill. (The nation is officially known as the Union of Myanmar.) The New York-based human rights organization said in the statement that they believe the bill, introducing the practice of birth spacing, would be a setback for maternal health if not done properly.
Female golfer Paula Creamer has said she would like to see the sport have a sixth major tournament, a female Masters Tournament, CBSSports.com reported April 22. Creamer has stated that because of the popularity of women’s golf, fans would appreciate watching the tournament. However, Billy Payne, the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, has said because of the short season at the club, having another tournament is not possible. Augusta was the subject of numerous protests for its refusal to admit women, a policy that changed in 2012.
The wives of the missing and disappeared in Lebanon continue to suffer serious social, psychological, legal and financial effects on their lives, says a report released on April 20. The 46-page report, "Living with the Shadows of the Past: The Impact of Disappearance on Wives of the Missing in Lebanon," was released by the International Center for Transitional Justice and the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World at Lebanese American University. It reveals that the women continue to search for answers and relief from the government decades after their husbands went missing during the war.
One hundred percent of women have been victims of sexual harassment on public transport in and around Paris according to a survey, The Telegraph reported April 17. The survey polled 600 women, all of whom had been a victim of either gender harassment or sexual assault and many had their first experience with harassment before the age of 18. The results have led to calls for a national campaign to combat the issue.
A Kickstarter campaign has been launched by the anti-street harassment organization Hollaback to combat online harassment, Cosmopolitan reported April 21. The Kickstarter is to fund HeartMob, a tool people can use to report online harassment and make their report public or private; if the report is made public, people can chose the option of engaging bystanders in dealing with harassment.
The five-year anniversary of Arizona’s anti-immigrant law, SB1070, and almost five-year-old We Belong Together campaign, was launched with a women’s delegation to Arizona to hear from women facing the devastation of the state’s immigration enforcement machine. Next week women from various organizations will return to Arizona to join women on the frontlines as they march in Phoenix to launch the "ICE Free AZ" campaign to end federal deportation agents’ collaboration with profiling local law enforcement.
Paul Nungesser, who has been accused of raping Emma Sulkowicz, also known as "Mattress Girl," has sued Columbia University, The Associated Press reported April 24. Nungesser claims the university didn’t protect him against any gender-based harassment or defamation that occurred as a result of Sulkowicz’s actions regarding the incident, including carrying a mattress on her back every day to protest how Columbia deals with rape accusations.
Carly Fiorina is expected to launch her presidential campaign on May 4, CNBC reported April 22. The former Hewlett-Packard CEO would be the fourth Republican to officially enter the race. Fiorina does not plan to focus her campaign on her gender, but rather she will emphasize her experience in business.
Data provided by Hillary Clinton’s campaign proves that the average salaries for both genders in Clinton’s office were identical, FactCheck.org reported April 22. This news contradicts claims made by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who previously said that during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, women in full-time positions were paid 72 cents for every dollar a man was paid.
When Natalie Caula Hauff received news that she was part of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service, Hauff had already left the journalism world for a job in PR, the Columbia Journalism Review reported April 21. She said she had recently gotten married and wanted to have a family. "I kind of pictured myself at a crime scene pregnant, or with a brand new baby," she said. "You want to be so dedicated to your job, but … I don’t think I can picture myself doing that."
Feminist economist and author Barbara Bergmann died on April 5 in Bethesda, Md., at 87, The Washington Post reported April 13. Bergmann taught economics at various universities and raised awareness about women’s issues within the discipline.
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