Long Tours Extend Heartaches for Military Moms

Thirty-eight percent of active-duty military women are mothers. Many are deployed abroad but have children at home in the U.S. A congressional report says these military moms lack child care support and services to help ease the separations.

Astronauts Honored; Tobias Gone

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersThirteen female astronauts will be honored by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh May 12 with honorary doctoral science degrees. The women of the 1961 Mercury 13 project secretly completed extensive physical and psychological training for NASA only to receive telegrams telling them not to come.”The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh is proud to recognize the accomplishments of the Mercury 13 women, whose drive and determination paved the way for the generations that followed,” said University Chancellor Richard H. Wells in a press release. Wells said the women’s pioneering spirit gelled with the university’s history of innovation and protecting women’s rights.The women are now in their late-60s to mid-80s. It will be the first time they have been honored as a group. The women never made it into space, and instead Sally K. Ride was the first U.S. woman to make the trip in 1983 as a crew member on the Challenger space shuttle.More News to Cheer This Week:The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill May 3 that will expand the federal hate crime categories to include violent attacks against people targeted because of gender.

Finnish Women Rule; Abstinence-Only Ed Fails

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersFinland now has the most female-dominated government in the world, with 60 percent of the nation’s Cabinet positions occupied by women, the Independent reported April 19. Following national elections in March women now have 84 of the 200 seats in Parliament, which is a Finnish record.President Tarja Halonen, the country’s first female head of state, was elected in 2000. Halonen formally appointed her Cabinet April 19, and now women hold 12 of the 20 advisory posts.”Some governments have been 50-50, but a 60-percent majority of women is internationally very high,” said Jaana Kuusipalo, a University of Tampere political scientist.Men still hold the top ministerial posts of finance, defense and foreign affairs, the Associated Press reported April 17. Tuija Brax was the only women chosen for a top Cabinet post as head of the Justice Ministry. In 1906, Finland became the first European nation to grant female suffrage.More News to Cheer This Week:Segolene Royal is attempting to connect with female voters in her campaign to become the first woman elected president of France, the International Herald Tribune reported April 18.

CBS Axes Imus; Good Care Rare for NYC Rape Victims

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersA widespread outcry spurred the firing of radio host Don Imus after he slurred members of a women’s college athletetic team on his “Imus in the Morning” radio show and simulcast.CBS and MSNBC pulled Imus from the schedule after he referred to female Rutgers basketball players as “nappy-headed hos.” The comments caused a wave of advertisers to withdraw support and angry letters demanding stronger action than the initial two-week-long suspension Imus received.CBS chief Leslie Moonves, in a memo announcing the firing, said Imus flourished in a culture that permits demeaning speech. “In taking him off the air, I believe we take an important and necessary step not just in solving a unique problem, but in changing that culture, which extends far beyond the walls of our company.”The National Congress of Black Women and other prominent African American advocacy organizations held a press conference in Washington, D.C., April 13 to discuss the denigration of women in media and entertainment.”That these ad hominem attacks occur repeatedly–from the mouths of Imus, rappers, some entertainers and other racists and sexists–can be attributed to the low esteem in which women and blacks too often are held,” Yvonne Scruggs, executive director of Sojourner Truth Center for Interactive Justice, wrote in a an e-mail to Women’s eNews.Imus received word of his firing shortly before he met with the Rutgers basketball players April 12 for several hours.More News to Cheer This Week:More states are turning down sex education funding that focuses on abstinence without permitting funds to teach condom or contraceptive use, the Los Angles Times reported April 8. Ohio, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Montana, New Jersey and California all refuse to participate in the controversial State Abstinence Education Program, under the Department of Health and Human Services umbrella. Abstinence-only groups say shunning the funding will hurt nonprofit sex education groups and inhibit progress against teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.Maryland is the first state to pass a living wage law that would require companies with state service contracts to pay workers a set pay, the Baltimore Sun reported April 10.