Caitlyn Jenner, the 1976 Olympic Decathlon champion, was given the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, Fox News reported July 16. During her acceptance speech, she advocated for the transgender community.
Jenner, 65, was introduced by World Cup-winning U.S. women’s soccer star Abby Wambach, who reported statistics about how transgender people experience bullying, assault and suicide at a higher rate than the general public.
“Trans people deserve something vital. They deserve your respect,” Jenner said. “From that respect comes a more compassionate community, a more empathetic society and a better world for all of us.”
In that context, the Pentagon is now moving to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military by early next year. Pentagon officials are to spend the coming months working out the administrative and legal changes needed to remove one of the final barriers to all Americans serving in the military, the New York Times reported.
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The Boy Scouts of America executive committee voted to end the ban on gay Scout leaders, the Christian Science Monitor reported July 14. “This resolution will allow chartered organizations to select adult leaders without regard to sexual orientation…” the BSA said in a statement released on July 13 after the vote.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton laid out July 13 her economic agenda at the New School, a university in New York, Reuters reported. The democratic candidate for the White House is making the fight for higher wages for everyday Americans a priority. Clinton said the U.S. economy will only run at full steam when middle-class wages rise steadily along with executive salaries and company profits. She also talked tough about Wall Street, promising to go beyond the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that imposed stronger regulations on the financial industry.
Two Moroccan women have been acquitted of indecency charges after they went on trial for wearing short skirts, their lawyer said, BBC News reported July 13. They were arrested on June 16 in a market near Agadir after being heckled by market traders. Their case sparked a national outcry and an Internet petition that called the arrest an attack on personal freedom and attracted thousands of signatures.
California and Oregon will be the first states in the nation to allow women to get birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives directly from their pharmacists–without a doctor’s prescription, USA Today reported July 12. The two measures were hailed by women’s health advocates. They noted that men have long had an easier time getting birth control, simply purchasing condoms over the counter.
A federal court ruled that nonprofit employees must be able to access contraceptive coverage despite their employer’s religious beliefs, the ACLU reported in a press release July 14. This accommodation allows nonprofits that refuse to follow the law to have their insurer ultimately arrange and pay for the employee’s contraceptive coverage separately.
Days after a black woman from suburban Chicago was found dead in a Texas jail cell, her friends and family are contesting police statements that she killed herself, The New York Times reported July 16. Sandra Bland, 28, was arrested in Waller County by an officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety on a charge of assaulting a public servant. Her encounter with the police reportedly began when she was pulled over for changing lanes without signaling. Bland was found not breathing in a cell on the morning of July 13. The statement said the cause of her death appeared to be from self-inflicted asphyxiation. An autopsy classified her death as suicide by hanging, according to The Chicago Tribune.
Friends, family and supporters of Bland are not satisfied with the autopsy results, and are calling for federal authorities to look into her death. Since July 14, more than 31,000 people have tweeted using the hashtag #SandraBland, according to Topsy, a social media measurement tool. An online petition calling for the Justice Department to take over the investigation has been started.
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The average total income of women over age 65 is just 55 percent of older men’s income, and those women are nearly twice as likely as men to live in poverty, according to a report Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., released July 15. Women’s median retirement income is about $16,000 a year, while men’s is nearly $30,000, The Huffington Post reported. And while more women depend on Social Security benefits than men, men 65 and older receive an average of $18,000 a year in benefits, compared with $14,000 for women.
British Police believe 43 women and girls have travelled to Syria from Britain in the last year, The Guardian reported July 14. The missing adults and children are “all feared to have travelled to Syria, putting them in serious danger and leaving their families devastated,” Scotland Yard said. Police disclosed the numbers as a radio advertising campaign was launched to encourage mothers to talk to their daughters about the dangers of traveling to the war-torn country.
Almost 40 percent of servicewomen in the British Army have received unwanted comments about their looks or sexuality in the past year, a new survey has found. The report, which polled 7,000 soldiers, found that more than 1-in-10 (13 percent) of the women had suffered a “particularly upsetting experience,” The Telegraph reported July 13. A third (33 percent) of women said someone had made unwelcome attempts to talk to them about sexual matters while 12 percent said a colleague had made unwelcome attempts to touch them.
An anti-abortion group released an undercover video of an executive at Planned Parenthood sipping red wine while discussing how to abort a fetus to preserve its organs for medical research, as well as the costs associated with sharing that tissue with scientists, the Washington Post reported July 14. The video was filmed by a group called the Center for Medical Progress, and threatens to reignite a long-standing debate over the use of fetal tissue harvested through abortions. In a statement, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood said the video misrepresents the organization’s work. Planned Parenthood clinics, with a patient’s permission, may sometimes donate fetal tissue for use in stem-cell research, said the spokesperson, who added that the group’s affiliates, which operate independently, do not profit from these donations.
A study that tracked hundreds of women who had abortions found that more than 95 percent of the participants reported that ending a pregnancy was the right decision for them, Think Progress reported July 13. Feelings of relief outweighed any negative emotions, even three years after the procedure. The findings contradict the notion that women experience negative mental health effects after ending a pregnancy, as well as the idea that later abortions are more psychologically traumatic.
Emmy-winning television journalist Marlene Sanders died July 15 at the age of 84, Time reported. The cause of her death was cancer. Her son, the New Yorker staff writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, announced the news on Facebook. “She informed and inspired a generation,” he wrote. “Above all, though, she was a great Mom.” Sanders was the former board chair of Women’s eNews and a dear friend. Additionally, she was the first female journalist to anchor a primetime newscast in 1966 when she filled in for ABC’s Ron Cochran. She was also the first female journalist to report from Vietnam for network TV in 1966. A decade later, she became the first female vice president of a news division.
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