Pollution harms everyone, but in the developing world, where the industrialization process lags, toxic chemicals present real danger. This particularly harms women, as they are “especially sensitive” to pollutants, according to Women’s eNews. They’re more likely to develop disease (breast cancer in particular is on the rise) and to pass chemicals on to fetuses through the umbilical cord. The biggest threats are to women who work in industrial settings, where safety standards for workers are often “shoddy or nonexistent.” To fix this, governments will need to work together with environmental and health organizations, with an eye to the special needs of women.
May 24, 2013 11:54 AM
BIRDS AND BEES
Many states continue to emphasize abstinence over contraception, sometimes presenting abstinence as the only option. But on May 22d, the Illinois Senate approved a measure requiring sex ed classes in state public schools to provide information about birth control to students. Previously, schools had three options when it came to sex ed: abstinence-only classes, comprehensive classes covering both abstinence and safe sex, or no sex ed classes at all.
May 24, 2013 11:53 AM
Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah saw rates fall by 30 percent or more. In 22 states, teen Hispanic birth rates plunged at least 40 percent, which was described as "just amazing," by the report's lead author, Brady Hamilton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No one can say exactly what is driving the declines; experts believe the explanation is complicated and probably varies a bit from state to state. The CDC announced the overall improvement in teen births: a record low of 31 births per 1,000 teens ages 15 to 19. That compares with 42 births per 1,000 five years earlier. "Geography, politics, or policy alone simply cannot explain the widespread declines," said Bill Albert CPO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "Credit goes to teens themselves who are clearly making better decisions about sex, contraception, and their future."
May 24, 2013 11:51 AM
WOMAN ON TOP
Ever since Marissa Mayer’s new job as CEO of Yahoo and her pregnancy were announced nearly simultaneously last July, every one of her personal and executive decisions has been picked over by a million rubberneckers, says Daily Beast writer Jessica Grose, who adds that: Whatever one thinks about Mayer, it’s undeniable that no other current CEO, male or female, is scrutinized in the same nitpicky, ad hominem way. It is Mayer’s job to do what she believes is best for her company and her board, not what the peanut gallery thinks is best. So is this kind of obsessive tracking of Mayer’s decisions going to affect her tenure as CEO? And, worse, is it also bad for the women who hope to follow in her footsteps?
May 20, 2013 11:01 AM
A debate by Afghan members of parliament about beefing up a law to prevent violence against women has been halted amid angry scenes, says the BBC website. Parliament's speaker ended the debate after 15 minutes after traditionalists called for the law to be scrapped. A law banning violence against women, child marriages and forced marriages was passed by presidential decree in 2009, but did not gain MPs' approval. Hundreds of people have been jailed under the current law, introduced by President Hamid Karzai.
May 20, 2013 11:00 AM
According to the Washington Post, four key team members from Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign likely will not sign on for a 2016 run—if the former secretary of state does indeed decide to go for the presidency. The four are: Howard Wolfson, the 2008 communications director; Neera Tanden, the campaign’s policy director; Mark Penn, the chief strategist; and Patti Solis Doyle, the campaign manager. The article goes on to ask: With the former core team apparently intent on staying out, can Clinton rebuild an inner circle capable of running and winning a presidential campaign? Will she reach into the tightknit Obama machine for talent, again borrow from her husband’s brain trust or elevate the understudies?
May 20, 2013 10:57 AM
BURQA'D LIKE ME
A male actor dressed himself as a woman to understand what women face in contemporary Cairo, according to the Christian Science Monitor. He learned that “simply walking on the street, for a woman, is such a huge effort, a psychological effort and a bodily effort. It’s like women are besieged,” said actor Waleed Hammad. His effort was part of a seven-episode TV series aimed at covering longstanding socio-political and economic problems and recently aired on Egyptian TV.
May 20, 2013 10:56 AM
UNSAFE AT WORK
Part of a shoe factory has collapsed in Cambodia, leaving at least two people dead, says a BBC report.
The concrete roof at the factory in Kampong Speu province, west of Phnom Penh, crashed on to employees as they were working, a police spokesman said. At least six people were injured, police said. Rescue workers combed through the rubble for several hours before finishing operations.
The garment industry is Cambodia's biggest employer and export earner.
May 16, 2013 1:29 PM
On its surface, the recommendation seems simple: reduce the legal limit for blood-alcohol content (BAC), and drunken-driving fatalities will fall, too. But nearly as soon as the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) made that proposal Tuesday, a chorus of dissent began, says the Christian Science Monitor. Lower the BAC limit, critics argued, and you criminalize responsible social drinkers – and do little to make the roads safer. "As a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, the most important thing to me is that we save as many lives as we can as soon as possible," says Jan Withers, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). "The issue with lowering the legal limit is that it will take a lot of effort for a potential result that is many, many years down the line."
While MADD doesn't oppose the idea of lowering the legal limit in principle, it's the wrong place for the government to focus its efforts against drunken driving now, she says.
May 16, 2013 1:27 PM
BREAST CASE SCENARIO
A physician herself, Daniela Drake was told that her chances of developing cancer were 80 percent. But wary of our country's cavalier attitude toward surgery, and having seen the results of too many botched operations, she started looking at other options.
May 16, 2013 1:22 PM
Lee-Roy Chetty, a guest blogger for the Christian Science Monitor, writes that despite Africa's exponential economic growth and development over the past decade and additional support from the international donor community, progress towards many of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been slow. In addition, a number of challenges still face the vast majority of the continent, including insufficient resources allocated to achieving the MDGs, inadequate human resources, weak institutional capacity, persistent inequities in access to proven interventions, inadequate statistical health data, and weak monitoring and evaluation capacity. In the piece, Chetty includes his recommendations to improve the continent's health care.
May 16, 2013 11:32 AM
Angelina Jolie underwent a double mastectomy because she had an 87 percent chance of developing breast cancer, she writes in a powerful op-ed in Monday's New York Times. Jolie's mother died of breast cancer at age 56, and the actress writes that her children had "asked if the same thing could happen to me." She carries a "faulty" gene, or BRCA1, which means she not only had an 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer, but also has a 50 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer. "Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and minimize the risk as much as I could," Jolie writes. On April 27 she had the last medical procedure as part of the mastectomies—and her chance of developing breast cancer dropped to under 5 percent.
May 15, 2013 2:54 PM
Jezebel's Laura Beck notes that, "While Fox is bro-ing down with its fall line-up, ABC picked up three women created pilots. In addition to Trophy Wife, they've got Super Fun Night starring (and written and EP'ed by) Rebel Wilson as a junior lawyer who goes all Ronald Donald on her lifelong nerd bffs when she ditches them to hang with the cool kid lawyers, and Killer Women, about a badass, tits-out lady Texas Ranger."
May 15, 2013 2:45 PM
This week's television premiere of The Invisible War, an Oscar-nominated documentary, offers some remarkable timing. Depending on your perspective, says The Daily Beast, it is either a stroke of very good luck, or an unfortunate embarrassment. The film, which will be broadcast on PBS’s Independent Lens, is a searing examination of military sexual assault, an issue so endemic within the armed forces that a female soldier is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than she is to be killed in combat. Its television premiere comes just as the problem has been receiving more attention from the media and politicians—all the way up to President Obama himself—than perhaps ever before.
It started last Sunday, with the arrest of Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, the head of the Air Force's sexual assault prevention program, on charges of sexual battery after he allegedly groped a woman in a Washington, DC, parking lot. Two days later, the Department of Defense released its annual report on sexual assaults within the ranks, announcing that there were nearly 3,400 reported incidents of sexual assault in 2012 alone, up six percent from 2011. But the report also included the results of a survey—conducted every two years—which found that the actual number of assaults was far greater: an estimated 26,000, up from 19,000 in 2010. By Thursday, outrage over the skyrocketing figures had reached such a fever pitch that the White House convened a group of lawmakers to meet with senior level staffers, including Valerie Jarrett and the First Lady's Chief of Staff, who reportedly asked for immediate executive-level changes that could be made to address the ongoing problem.
May 13, 2013 2:20 PM
AFTER THE COLLAPSE
According to BBC.com, Bangladesh has set up a panel to raise the minimum wage for more than three million garment workers, the minister for textiles has said.
The government is under pressure to improve conditions after last month's collapse of a Dhaka garment factory which left more than 1,000 people dead.
A series of disasters has highlighted the problem, leading to protests.
The news came as a survivor pulled from the Rana Plaza 17 days after it collapsed told the BBC of her ordeal.
May 13, 2013 2:18 PM
Did Cleveland authorities miss the chance to arrest Ariel Castro on domestic violence charges years ago? And if they had apprehended him, could they have prevented the crime he is alleged to have committed: kidnapping and holding captive three young women?
That's the question posed by the Christian Science Monitor as it explores the tension-filled relationship between Castro and Grimilda Figueroa, who had four children with him. The situation is also a reminder of how difficult it can be to make charges of domestic violence stick, or to win court orders of protection against potential abuse.
May 13, 2013 2:17 PM
YOU GROPE, YOU'RE GONE
President Park Geun-hye of South Korea struggled to control the biggest setback to her three-month-old government on Monday, offering her apology over a scandal in which her main spokesman was accused of sexual abuse and indecent exposure in a Washington hotel during a state visit there, says The New York Times.
The case proved inflammatory partly because South Korean society is increasingly frustrated by a widespread tendency among men, especially those in positions of power, to trivialize the harassment of young women. Although government agencies and businesses have begun educating their employees on sexual misconduct, tales still abound of male bosses who grope young women during drinking sessions after hours and later say they were drunk, an excuse no longer as accepted as it once was.
May 13, 2013 2:15 PM
Members of both the House and Senate are pushing for changes in how the U.S. military handles cases of reported sexual assault amid fresh data showing a sharp increase in the number of reported incidents, says an article in the Washington Post.
This week the Pentagon released data showing 3,374 recorded reports of sexual assault in 2012, compared with 3,192 the previous year, part of a 35 percent jump in related crimes over the past two years.
May 9, 2013 10:29 AM
THANKS FOR SHARING
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg ignited a firestorm of interest—and controversy—with the publication of her book, Lean In. Now her same-named nonprofit, LeanIn.Org, aims to spark some candid discussions of its own, as part of its mission to foster female leadership, says an article in the Christian Science Monitor.
Leanin.Org plans to put the advice and research in Ms. Sandberg’s book to practical use through three main components:
- Lean In Community, an online space where participants are encouraged to discuss and exchange ideas.
- Lean In Education, which provides free online educational programs from researchers and experts.
- Lean In Circles, which operate like a book club: Small groups meet monthly, share experiences, and work through the educational content Lean In provides.
May 9, 2013 10:26 AM
THE FLIP SIDE
A few months ago, international news about Pakistan was dominated by the chilling and inspiring story of Malala Yousafzai, a courageous 14-year-old who spoke out about girls' education, faced down the Taliban to go to school in the Swat Valley, and was nearly murdered for her efforts.
However, there is simultaneously a different, more hopeful story for Pakistani women, says The Daily Beast. For instance, Pakistan's parliament is 21.2 percent female—22.4 percent in the lower house and 16.4 percent in the upper house. This is significantly higher than 18.3, the percentage of women in the U.S. Congress. In the May 11 elections, more than 200 women are running for National Assembly seats.
May 9, 2013 10:25 AM
The lack of curvier women in most major magazines inspired Diana Di Poce, a 22-year-old student at Ryerson University in Toronto, to create a new fashion magazine, Dare. Although DiPoce applauds the efforts of some designers and retailers to include plus-sized women, she wants to see an even more robust effort. "I think it's important for them to do that, but it's still seen as special. This is the average woman, so why aren't we seeing these (women) on newsstands? Why aren't we seeing that more?" said the fashion communications student.
May 8, 2013 2:53 PM
Indian women’s activists are receiving hostile comments on Twitter. Televison anchor for CNN’s Indian Broadcasting Network, Sagarika Ghose, said recently that the comments are making her consider leaving the social media platform. A young blogger claims she encounters, on average, 30 to 50 gender abusive tweets when active on Twitter. The vicious comments online are said to be a mere reflection of a broader social problem facing social activists in India.
May 8, 2013 2:50 PM
According to a new study done by the Pentagon, there has been an increase in sexual assault in the ranks. Last year, there were 3,374 reports of unwanted contact, which can range from groping to rape. These stats prove to be even more problematic as men and women will be even closer in the coming years, since President Obama has lifted the ban on women participating in on-the-ground combat
May 8, 2013 2:47 PM
Billionaire Warren Buffett highlighted career advice for young women in a recent Fortune magazine article. Some key points were for women to stop holding themselves back, demand equal pay by negotiating their salary, make themselves known by speaking up and raising their hands, and to know the power of their potential.
May 8, 2013 2:41 PM
The Polar Music Prize—previously awarded to Elton John, Bjork, Paul McCartney, Yo-Yo Ma, Patti Smith and Bob Dylan—goes this year to Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Saariaho, who has written chamber music, orchestral works and operas, was praised as "a modern maestro who opens up our ears and causes their anvils and stirrups to fall in love." The prize—Sweden's top musical honor--was founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, the manager of pop group ABBA.
May 7, 2013 10:55 AM