V-Day Spotlights Congolese Women Torn by War

For its 11th year, V-Day is focusing on women in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo whose bodies have been torn apart by armed men’s sexual violence. Beneficiaries include Panza Hospital and UNICEF.

Courage Shines in Zimbabwe, Even as Hope Fades

Since Zimbabwe’s disputed elections last year, many women have been bravely protesting their country’s political and economic free-fall. Now, one of them is awaiting trial and Mugabe preparing to govern alone. Hope is fading fast.

Morocco Accepts CEDAW; U.S. Denies Women Asylum

(WOMENSENEWS)–Cheers King Mohammed VI of Morocco formally banned discrimination against women during a speech to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Afrique en Ligne, a North African Internet news site, reported Dec. 12.Officially, the king lifted Morocco’s “reservations” to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the 1979 treaty guaranteeing women’s equality known as CEDAW. Morocco signed the treaty in 1993, but like many other Arab nations, did so only with reservations to clauses that contradicted national or Islamic laws.Moroccan women’s rights groups hailed the speech, Maghreb Arab Press reported Dec. 12. The king said the reservations were no longer necessary since Morocco passed an updated national family law in 2003 increasing women’s legal rights.

Global Gender Gaps Shrink; Women 60% of World Poor

(WOMENSENEWS)–CheersThe economic, political and educational gender gaps have shrunk globally, with equality between women and men improving in more than two-thirds of 130 countries analyzed in the annual Global Gender Gap Index. The Nov. 12 index was released by the World Economic Forum, a Geneva-based development think tank.Worldwide, women’s health and life expectancy, however, keep worsening.The report measures the size of the gender gap in four critical areas of inequality between men and women, including economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, political representation, and health and survival.The United States–ranked 27th overall–made progress in politics, hitting a record for the number of women in political decision-making positions. The gender wage gap is still strong, with women’s estimated average annual earnings at $25,000 and $40,000 for men.Scandinavian countries (Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland) were ranked best in terms of gender equity, with Norway ranked highest in the world. Yemen was ranked at the bottom, just behind Chad, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.More News to Cheer This Week:Taiwan has called on Japan to apologize to the so-called comfort women, about 2,000 former sexual slaves held by the Japanese army during World War II, Radio Taiwan International reported Nov.