Military Improves Child Care; Ugandan Detainees Strike

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersDespite facing new demands in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States military has continued to improve its child care system, according to a release issued Wednesday by the National Women’s Law Center, an advocacy group in Washington, D.C.The center, which has studied the topic since 2000, noted that the military has strengthened accreditation requirements, integrated programs for teenagers, lowered the cost child care for low-income families and increased the number of military child care spaces.Other News to Cheer About This Week:Rallies broke out in Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, and other Asian cities on Wednesday to pressure the Japanese government into providing apologies and compensation for World War II-era women who were forced into roles of “comfort women” (military sex slaves) by the government, reported Reuters.While the government has issued apologies and a private fund for the 70- and 80-year-old women, the efforts have been called insincere and government officials criticized for making demeaning remarks and for approving textbooks that omit “comfort women” from history, Reuters reported.Women involved in small-scale, community banks in Niger have been more equipped to survive their nation’s ongoing food crisis, reported Reuters on Wednesday. The London-based nongovernmental organization CARE International, focused on eradicating poverty, organized the women into pooling money and food into savings over the last few years. Members can take loans from the savings, to start small business endeavors for example, and once profits are earned, the money goes back into the pool for others. The number of 20- to 24-year-old Canadian women who smoke dropped 5 percent in 2004, according to the Canadian Tobacco Use and Monitoring Survey, reported CBC News on Thursday. Men have continued smoking at the same rate, around 31 percent, while 25 percent of women smoke.The California Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of a supervisor at L’Oreal, the French cosmetics and perfume company, who resisted her boss’ order to fire a woman because she was not “good-looking enough” and replace her with someone who was “hot,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Iraq Constitutional Push; Darfur Rapes Continue

CheersA group of female Iraqi leaders met with a U.S. ambassador in an attempt to urge drafters of Iraq’s new constitution to protect women’s rights, reported Reuters on Thursday. The women say the current draft of the constitution could roll back many of the rights, such as property inheritance and divorce laws that women had under Saddam Hussein’s secular Arab nationalist rule.Meanwhile, A bipartisan group of U.S. female senators wrote a letter to President Bush urging him to demand that Iraqi officials withstand pressure to weaken a provision in the nation’s current, temporary law that sets the goal of giving Iraqi women 25 percent of the seats in the transitional assembly, according to a release issued Thursday by Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland. The National Assembly is scheduled to approve a draft of Iraq’s constitution by Aug. 15, with a vote on the document by Oct. 15.Other News to Cheer This Week:For the first time, a woman will run in Egypt’s presidential elections, reported Arabic News on Wednesday.

Wie Scores a First; Afghan Girls Married Off

(WOMENSENEWS)Cheer:Michelle Wie, 15 years old, was the first female to qualify to compete in a national men’sU.S. Golf Association event. Wie chose to compete in the men’s Amateur Public Links becausethe winner is customarily invited to the Masters tournament, one of men’s golf’s four majors.The Masters is held each year at Augusta National, site of much controversy in recent yearsdue to the club’s all-male membership.Although Wie did not win the event, she was among the final eight competitors in single-eliminationmatch play. Upcoming events for Wie include the Evian in France, followed by the Women’s British Open,according to combined press reports.Other news to cheer about this week:A poll shows that most Americans would like to see Justice Sandra Day O’Connor replaced by a woman, reported the Gallup News Service on Friday. The poll also shows that Americans have a simultaneous preference for a more conservative court and one that would uphold the Roe vs. Wade, keeping abortion legal nationwide.A Web site to educate women about healthcare policies and contraception is now offered by Patti Blagojevich, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s wife, the governor’s office said Wednesday in a press release.

Pre-Roe Doctors Speak Up; Health Care Erodes

(WOMENSENEWS)Cheer:A group of doctors is sharing first-hand memories of either performing or playing some role in providing illegal abortions back in the days before the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortions legal, Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health said Friday in a press release. With the future of legal abortion uncertain, the group wants to stress the dangers of returning to a time when women are forced to undergo unsafe procedures.”This Supreme Court nomination may be the most important one in our lifetimes. We’re speaking out because we know what’s at stake,” said one of the physicians in the statement. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s surprise retirement announcement last week has led many pro-choice groups to quickly mobilize to protect legal abortion.