Sportswomen Win in Court; Canada Teen Killed

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersIt’s been a fruitful fall for the advancement of women’s sports equality.This week, the New York Knicks agreed to pay $11.5 million to Anucha Browne Sanders, a former executive who sued both the team and its coach, Isaiah Thomas, for sexual harassment. A jury awarded Sanders $11.6 million earlier this fall, and hearings on compensatory damages were due to begin this week when the two sides settled.Other major suits have been resolved recently at California universities where female employees sued under Title IX. Within the past five months, three women’s coaches and athletic directors won three separate Fresno, Calif., cases. A volleyball coach won $5.85 million, a basketball coach won $19.1 million and a former athletic director won $3.5 million.More News to Cheer This Week:Over 1,000 Afghan women held peace prayers across six provinces to protest violence spreading across their country, the BBC reported Dec. 12.In Kentucky, 21 women convicted for killing or trying to kill men–who they say abused them–have received clemency, pardons or partial pardons from Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

Immigration Policy Eased; Camel No. 9 Targeted

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersThe U.S. government changed its immigration detention policy on Nov. 16 to address the needs of breastfeeding mothers, the Associated Press reported. The policy follows the Oct. 26 arrest of undocumented immigrant Sayda Umanzor, who was separated from her breastfeeding infant and detained for 11 days after she was seized for deportation.The new policy requires agents to take humanitarian needs such as breastfeeding or care-giving responsibilities into consideration and to coordinate with social service agencies.As immigration enforcement has been stepped up in the past year, activists have raised concerns about the impact to children of undocumented immigrants seized in raids. Approximately 5 million U.S. children have at least one undocumented parent, according to a report conducted for the National Council of La Raza, a leading Latino rights group.

Dems Laud Privacy; Muslim Women Under Assault

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersDuring Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, all seven of the candidates vigorously stated their support for Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, and all but one couched their support in terms of protecting a woman’s “right to privacy.”A question came from the audience member about the qualities each candidate would seek in a Supreme Court justice, while reporter Suzanne Malveux added what she called a “hook” about whether the candidates would only support abortion rights proponents for the high court.”I would not appoint anyone who did not understand that Section 5 of the 14th Amendment and the ‘Liberty Clause’ of the 14th Amendment provided a right to privacy,” -Sen. Joseph Biden said. His use of the word “privacy” was echoed down the line as other candidates answered. Sen. Hillary Clinton noted that the right to free speech, freedom of worship and reproductive rights are part of “the right to be left alone,” echoing the words of a Supreme Court decision by Justice Louis Brandeis in 1928.Earlier in the evening, Clinton, who is leading in the polls, shot down a series of questions about whether she played the “gender card” in reaction to the last Democratic debate; as front-runner, she was strongly challenged by the rest of the field.”Here in Las Vegas, I’m trying to play the winning card,” she joked. “People are not attacking me because I’m a woman. They’re attacking me because I’m ahead.”

Women Gain in Elections; Dems Fund Abstinence Ed

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersIn the Nov. 6 off-year elections, women and pro-choice candidates gained victories while a new study showed that female voters’ involvement is growing more crucial in the 2008 presidential race.In New Jersey, a record number of women were elected in the State Assembly and Senate, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The state’s legislative branch is now 28 percent female with nine women in the Senate and 25 in the Assembly. The state has vaulted from 43rd in the country in terms of female representation to being tied with California and Connecticut in 15th place.The activist group Republican Majority for Choice was also pleased with the election results, which included the victories of six moderate, pro-choice Republicans in New Jersey.In Virginia, 84 percent of the candidates endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia were victorious, the abortion rights group said, ending a 10-year period of dominance for anti-abortion legislators.Eighty-two percent of 1,003 women surveyed for cable network Lifetime’s Every Woman Counts campaign said they are definitely or most likely voting in the presidential election and 25 percent said they are “paying more attention” to the race due to the candidacy of Sen. Hillary Clinton. Seventy-seven percent of female voters are undecided in the race, but nearly 40 percent said that the 2008 election is more important than previous ones.More News to Cheer This Week:The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act on Nov.

Poverty Push in Campaign; Teen Drop-Out Rate Rises

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersThe Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity initiative has been launched by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore and the Eos Foundation in Boston to move the issue of poverty to the forefront of the presidential race and to ensure that the next administration continues to focus on it in 2009 and beyond.Women comprise 56 percent of those living below the poverty line in the United States, a trend which intensifies for older women and women of color. Women also head over half of poor households, according to census data.”At this important time, reducing poverty should be moved from the back burner of policy discussions,” said Douglas Nelson of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.The spotlight initiative has launched a nonpartisan Web site to compare the candidates’ positions and statements on poverty issues. A poll found that 54 percent of voters don’t think that “political candidates have spent an adequate amount of time discussing hunger and poverty issues.””The new polling confirms that it’s not just advocacy organizations and foundations that are focusing on these issues, but individual voters as well,” said Andrea Silbert of the Eos Foundation. “Voters are clearly frustrated with government progress and want practical, innovative, bipartisan solutions that involve governments, nonprofits and the private sector.”More News to Cheer This Week:The Department of Veterans Affairs on Nov. 5 will open its first treatment center exclusively designed to assist female veterans affected by sexual trauma, Newhouse News Service reported.

Child-Care Workers Unionize; Women’s Effort Stalls

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersTwenty-eight thousand child-care and day-care workers voted to join New York City’s teachers’ union, the New York Sun reported Oct. 23. The United Federation of Teachers, the New York branch of the national teachers’ union, has been courting the day-care workers, who are predominantly women of color, non-college educated and live in housing projects, for two years.Union leadership says the victory will professionalize day-care workers by opening the door for higher wages, benefits and extra training. Day-care workers make about $19,000 a year, which is just above the federal poverty level.Union president Randi Weingarten said that any pensions or health care awarded to these government-employed workers will pay off in the long term. The addition of the day-care workers makes the teachers’ union the largest union in New York City.More News to Cheer This Week:University of Tennessee basketball coach Pat Summitt will become the first woman to receive the John R. Wooden Award’s ‘Legends of Coaching’ honor.

Pols on Women’s Stump; U.S. Flunks Health Report

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersWomen’s issues have surged to the forefront of the 2008 presidential campaign.During a week of events themed to women, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton proposed extending family leave policies to smaller companies and granting $1 billion to states as incentives to implement their own family leave policies. The current law applies to businesses with over 50 employees, which Clinton would expand to businesses with 25 employees or more providing new coverage to 13 million people.When asked on Oct. 10 to contemplate a victory by abortion rights supporter and Republican front-runner Rudolph Giuliani, NARAL Pro-Choice America political director Elizabeth Shipp told the Huffington Post that it would benefit the pro-choice movement by softening anti-abortion dogma. Giuliani also was endorsed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a notable social conservative whose administration has worked to dampen abortion rights in his state.Republican Mitt Romney also touched on women’s issues in campaign appearances in Iowa, saying “marriage comes first” and that he planned to tackle the issue of single motherhood, the Boston Globe reported Oct. 17.More News to Cheer This Week:Women’s rights activists flooded foreign embassies in Myanmar with female underwear to protest the lack of diplomatic pressure on the military regime.

Knicks Knocked on Harassment; Nicaragua Risks Lives

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersA federal Jury awarded $11.6 million to a former executive for the Knicks, Anucha Browne Sanders, who charged Knicks coach and former NBA star Isaiah Thomas with harassing and insulting her. She said Madison Square Garden–the corporate entity that owns the team–fired her after she spoke up.Lawyers for Sanders also cited a sexual relationship between a player, Stephen Marbury, and a team intern, as evidence of the team’s boys’ club mentality and the hostile environment faced by Sanders, the Associated Press reported Oct. 2.The jury of four women and three men could not reach a decision on whether Thomas himself should pay damages to Sanders; her settlement will be paid by the parent company’s CEO, James Dolan, and by Madison Square Garden. “What I did here, I did for every working woman in America,” Brown Sanders told reporters.More News to Cheer This Week: The Supreme Court on Oct. 1 refused to hear a challenge by Catholic Charities of a law requiring them to cover employees’ contraceptives.

Missouri Clinics Win Ruling; Myanmar Cracks Down

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersA federal judge in Missouri suspended regulations that make it more difficult for clinics and doctors who perform more than five abortions a month to operate. The rules–dubbed TRAP laws by opponents–require extensive upgrades to facilities that provide surgical or medical abortion services and govern everything from hallway width to landscaping. Doctor’s offices that only prescribe the abortion pill RU-486 are also required to conform and provide surgical suites even when surgeries are not performed. Similar regulations are in place in 28 states and typically receive little public attention, reported Sept. 24.