Germany’s Merkel Polls High; Bolton Deletes Goals

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersAs the first woman runs for Germany’s highest office on Sept. 18, results from state elections suggest that Angela Merkel, chair of the conservative Christian Democrat party, may become the next chancellor, The Associated Press reported Friday.Such a victory would signal a change in German voting patterns that traditionally reflect support for a party, not a candidate. Outcomes from recent elections in Germany have demonstrated that female voters are inclined to support female candidates regardless of party affiliation.Alice Schwartzer, a leading women’s rights advocate in Germany, said women had reason to brush aside political differences to support a female candidate. “For the first time in the history of Germany a woman is campaigning for the office of chancellor. And that is not supposed to play a role for us women?”

Aid Reaches Katrina Victims; Rape Reports in Dome

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersThe Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced Tuesday that local chapters would provide a free one-month supply of birth control pills or an emergency contraception kit to women displaced from their homes by Hurricane Katrina. “Women and families escaped the storm with their lives, leaving behind birth control and other items critical to their well-being,” read a statement on the Planned Parenthood Web site.Other News to Cheer This Week:The American Civil Liberties Union on Tuesday sent a formal request to the Department of Justice for information regarding the removal of references to emergency contraception from a sexual assault victim treatment protocol, according to an ACLU release. The Department of Justice released its first national protocol for treating the victims late last year but did not mention emergency contraception or recommend its use among survivors of sexual assault victims, the release said.Women campaigning for the upcoming Afghan elections have found ways to circumvent discriminatory laws, The Associated Press reported Thursday. Afghan law prevents women from talking to men alone unless they are related, making it difficult for the candidates to talk to male voters and gain their support. But, female politicians say, many are getting around the problem by working through wives of potential male voters, befriending and informing them of their campaign.

Silver Ring Tossed; Niger Famine Hits Women Hardest

(WOMENSENEWS)–Cheers:Federal funding for the Pittsburgh-based abstinence-only educational ministry, the Silver Ring Thing, has been withdrawn by the Department of Health and Human Services, according to a press release from the American Civil Liberties Union on Monday. The ministry has been found to be improperly using government funding to promote religious activities.”As we have said all along, it is improper for the federal government to underwrite efforts to convert teenagers to a particular faith,” said Julie Steinberg, attorney for the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project in the release.Other News to Cheer this Week:As of Friday, women have had the right to vote for 85 years. The anniversary of the 19th Amendment is celebrated on Aug. 26 as Women’s Equality Day. The Library of Congress has decorated its halls with images of the suffrage movement and the women who led it, The Associated Press reported on Wednesday.

Georgia Pardons Baker; Health Care Bias Worsens

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersLena Baker, an African American woman who was executed by electric chair in 1945 for killing E.B. Knight, a white man who enslaved and abused her, will be pardoned by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles, reported The Associated Press on Tuesday. Baker, the first and only woman to be killed by the state’s electric chair, is still considered guilty for the crime, but should have been granted clemency, said the board’s spokesperson, Scheree Lipscomb. Baker’s great nephew went to a prison rights group directed by John Cole Vodicka seeking justice for his great aunt who, in an act of self defense, shot Knight with his own gun while he was beating her.”Although in some ways it’s 60 years too late, it’s gratifying to see that this blatant instance of injustice has finally been recognized for what it was–a legal lynching,” said Vodicka, of the Georgia-based Prison and Jail Project. The pardon will occur in a presentation to Baker’s successors on Aug. 30.Other News to Cheer this Week:First Lady Laura Bush hired the first woman ever to serve as head chef of the White House, Reuters reported Sunday.

Women’s Bookstores Dwindle to Stalwart Few

New York’s Bluestockings bookstore reopened a few years ago and Minneapolis’ famous Amazon Bookstore is still going after 35 years. But overall, the number of women’s bookstores has dropped dramatically.