(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersWomen are on track to triple their political giving in 2008 compared to 2000, a jump spurred by three decades’ of income gains, which have fattened their pay checks by 60 percent, the Women’s Campaign Forum Foundation reported Sept. 23.So far women have given $109 million in political contributions over $200. Women have donated $75 million to Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama and $34 million to his GOP opponent Sen. John McCain.Women also donated $120 million to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s bid for the Democratic nomination.With all that, women still represent just 27 percent of all campaign contributions. But in other categories of civic generosity–philanthropy and donations–women have surpassed men for the first time, U.S. News and World Report reported Sept. 23, citing federal tax data from 2005 that pegged women’s gifts at $21.7 billion and men’s at $16.8 billion.More News to Cheer This Week:Diane Schroer won her sex discrimination case against the Library of Congress, the Advocate reported Sept.
(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersRwanda is the first nation in the world where women outnumber men in parliament after legislative elections Sept. 18. Women now account for at least 55 percent of the lower chamber in Rwanda, according to provisional results. Previously, they held 48 percent of seats.”The role of the elected females is double: They must on the one hand concern themselves with the implementation of government decisions, and on the other be a voice for the grassroots,” said Bellancilla Nyonawankusi, a Kigali election official.Female lawmakers earned 20 seats in direct elections, Reuters reported. Another 24 were already secured in an indirect vote.
U.S. women now face the smallest wage gap in history, the Census Bureau announced Aug. 26 in an analysis of 2007 data, narrowing the gap by one penny over the previous year. Women now earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns for equal work. In 1980, women earned 60 percent of men’s pay.
The California Supreme Court ruled that lesbian and gay couples have a right to marry under the state’s constitution on May 15, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Same-sex couples will have the right to marry and "form a family relationship" in 30 days. The 4-3 court decision strikes down a 1977 law banning same-sex marriages.
(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersA royal decree in Saudi Arabia gave women the right to check in to hotels without a male guardian, Al Watan reported Jan. 21. Currently, women cannot move about in public unless they are covered head-to-toe in Islamic dress and are accompanied by a male guardian, but the easing of the hotel rules will benefit businesswomen who must travel.Another decree allowing women to drive is expected by the end of the year, the Daily Telegraph reported Jan. 21. Saudi women’s rights activists have mounted growing protests over the driving ban and sent the king multiple petitions to allow them to drive without male chauffeurs.
(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersPregnant teens and counselors in Denver are calling for maternity leaves in the public school system, the Denver Post reported Jan 7. The school board at Denver’s East High School fielded requests at a Dec. 20 public hearing to give new mothers one month off from school to recover from delivery and bond with their newborns. The students also want to prevent penalties for excessive absences caused by giving birth.District officials are reviewing school policies. Michelle Moss, a member of the school board, said it was critical that new mothers be allowed to bond with their infants.
(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersNew Hampshire became the fourth state to allow civil unions of same-sex couples on Jan 2. Ceremonies began shortly after midnight and over 40 couples said vows at the Portsmouth State House, the Boston Globe reported. At the South Church Unitarian Universalist Church in Portsmouth 11 same-sex couples made their commitments by the end of the afternoon.The legalization of civil unions comes as a huge victory for lesbian and gay rights activists in New Hampshire. Local politicians, however, warned that it could become a contentious issue during this year’s presidential elections and that couples will need to fight to preserve these rights.Meanwhile, in Havana, Cuba, a lesbian couple had a symbolical and politically charged wedding celebration in a state facility, the Inter Press Service reported Dec. 26.
(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersA coalition of Saudi women will petition King Abdullah for the right to drive on Sept. 23, the Saudi National Day. The petition, with over 200 signatures, demands that the king return “that which has been stolen from women,” the right of free movement through the use of cars.Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that bans women from driving. After a group of women drove publicly in 1990, the Council of Grand Ulamas issued a fatwa–a religious decree–stipulating that women who drive violate Islam. Saudi women now walk, or depend on hired drivers or male relatives for transportation.Wajeha al-Huwaider, a prominent Aramco oil analyst and co-founder of the League of Demanders of Women’s Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia, told the Wall Street Journal Sept.
(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersJordan’s Queen Rania launched a $1 million project to fight violence against women, the Associated Press reported Sept. 10. It aims to provide medical assistance and counseling to abused women and to raise public awareness. Eighty-seven percent of Jordanian women believe their husbands are justified in using physical or verbal abuse, according to a 2002 demographic and health survey.”What’s important now is that we’re moving from theory to action,” said Asma Khader, head of the Jordanian National Commission for Women. “The main obstacle is changing people’s perceptions.