Breathing room

1. Sarah may get her new lungs

Ten-year old Sarah Murnaghan is is near death with her end-stage cystic fibrosis. According to the Huffington Post, she's spent the last three months attached to a ventilator, which is only a temporary solution to her grave health issues. Now, thanks to a disctrict court ruling, she's finally on the list for a pair of donor lungs. Currently, children under 12 are automatically placed at the end of organ waitlists, regardless of the severity of their condition. But with the clock ticking on Sarah's survival, the Murnaghan family won an exception. Sarah is the only young recipient to jump in the lists thus far, though there will be a hearing to discuss whether the under-12 rule should be wiped from the books completely.

Read it at The Huffington Post

June 7, 2013 2:50 PM

Leading Lady

2. China’s first lady is visible—and controversial

A recent photograph of China's President and First Lady is causing a stir, according to ABC News. Peng Liyuan, the wife of Xi Jinping and a former singer, is an unusually high-profile woman in what is a typically “faceless” role in Chinese politics, even garnering a spot on Time's most influential people in the world list. The photo in question shows the couple walking together, Xi holding an umbrella to protect his wife and himself from the rain. Though the photo is seemingly innocous, some Chinese citizens see it as a prominent display of gender equality in a society where women are often considered subservient to men, with potential to impact national mentality.

Read it at ABC News

June 7, 2013 2:46 PM


3. New group therapy sees success in Congo

An adjusted form of what's known as 'cognitive processing therapy' is helping women in the Democratic Republic of Congo overcome assault-related trauma, which can produce crippling depression, anxiety, and PTSD-related side effects. A team comprised of participants from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Washington in Seattle and the International Rescue Committee took the structured treatment, which helps dispell the stigma of victim-blaming and other irrational, anxienty- or shame-inducing behaviors, and simplified it for use with the mostly-illiterate popuation. In their recently published study, the researchers reveal that group therapy helped erase over 90% of participants' PTSD symptoms, while a group given individual attention. They also taught the treatment to local counselors who lack advanced education, bolstering hopes that it can be effectively used in nearly any setting. 

Read it at The New York Times

June 6, 2013 11:10 AM

The memo's in the mail

4. Promised free maternity in Kenya patchy at best

A directive from Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, meant to take effect June 1st, has yet to gel. The leader announced that the government had adequately arranged the budget to afford free care for new mothers, but some hospitals are still asking patients to pony up the normal fee. These hospitals say they're still waiting on an official circular from the ministry, after which they'll respect the waived cost. Births, which generate the largest chunk of most hospitals' revenue, can run from 7,000 to 15,000 shillings ($82-$176 USD). However, other hospitals have begun the process without official documentation, to the relief of citizens who cannot afford the previous rates and would otherwise resort to unhygenic home births.

Read it at AllAfrica

June 6, 2013 10:41 AM

Good Neighbors

5. U.S. & Colombia teach Haitian women police tactics

Ten Haitian women were selected to participate in a new, ongoing program which aims to increase the number of women in the police force, which is currently only seven percent female. The recruits are training with women from the Colombian national police, and were narrowed down from a selective pool to earn scholarships from the U.S. International Narcotics and Law Enforcement agency based on various aspects such as intelligence and health,. A general in Haiti's police force said that in addition to leveling the genders, it's hoped that an effect of female officers is to make more women comfortable with reporting wrongdoing. The island nation has the lowest over crime rates in the Carribean, but what crime does occur is inordinately skewed towards rape, assualt, domestic violence, and murder. Colombia has its own incentive to participate: one general said he hoped the program would help Haiti to “avoid the scourge of violence that our country lived through for over 30 years.”

Read it at the Miami Herald

June 6, 2013 10:21 AM

Mrs. President

6. Myanmar’s Suu Kyi states presidential aspirations

This morning at Myanmar's World Economic Forum, Aung San Suu Kyi was blunt about her goals: “I want to run for president and I'm quite frank about it,” she said. Suu Kyi, the chairperson of the National League for Democracy,  has been subjected years of house arrest for her participation in the now-dominant opposition group. Her work also won her the Nobel Peace Prize medal in 1991. Looking forward, she says a constitutional change is necessary for progress, insisting that though conditions may have improved in parts of Myanmar, the vast majority of people have yet to benefit. "If you talk to the man on the street, if you talk to people in villages, the great majority of them would say that their lives have not changed since 2010," Suu Kyi said.

Read it at CNN

June 6, 2013 10:19 AM

Moving on up

7. Susan Rice moves from UN to White House job

Though it has yet to be formally announced, an anonymous White House official confirmed to media outlets that President Obama will appoint Susan Rice to the position of national security adviser, filling the shoes of retiring Tom Donilon. Rice drew controversy after remarks she made in an interview shortly after the attack on Benghazi, possibly costing her the Secretary of State position that instead went to John Kerry, according to USA Today. As Rice vacates her post as a UN ambassador, National Security Council aide Samantha Power will move to replace her. The announcement is expected to come Wednesday afternoon, and the position change is slated to occur in July, after Donilon completes planned trips to Europe and Africa with Obama.

Read it at USA Today

June 5, 2013 2:29 PM

Project Redlight

8. “I’m happy to be a prostitute.”

Despite an attempt to refurbish the image of prostitutes in Brazil, a now-shuttered health campaign has failed, reports CBS. In anticipation of the heavy tourism waves expected to hit Brazil with the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, the Brazilian Health Ministry began the "I'm happy to be a prostitute" website and ad campaign, intended to remove stigma and increase safe sex practices among the country's sex workers (prostitution is legal in Brazil). Critics were outraged, however, pointing to Brazil's problems with underage sex workers.  In response, the ministry has decided to keep the "not ashamed of using a condom"  ads, but remove the "happy to be a prostitute ones," which are perceived by some as promoting prostitution. 

Read it at CBS News

June 5, 2013 2:26 PM

Acid Test

9. Acid attackers are facing new heat in India, Pakistan

New laws throughout India seek justice for victims of acid attacks—and just months after their passage are generating lots of public support.  Acid attack victim Preeti Rathi died of her injuries on June 2, and already her death is drawing unprecedented outrage, writes The New York Times. The attacks, perpetrated with cheap and easy-to-come-by acid, are frequently the result of gender discrimination, and result in disfiguration and death for the victims. There are fears that the measures will not have a huge impact on the prevalence of the attacks, but for now, victims' families say they are happy that the laws (which stipulate fines and lengthy jail time) will serve justice.

Read it at The New York Times

June 5, 2013 2:22 PM

Little Deductibles

10. Getting insurance for your baby’s baby

The National Women's Law Center claims there's a gaping hole in health coverage: the lack of maternity coverage for dependents of the insurance holder.  Now, in a complaint against five private and public companies which the NWLC says fail to live up to gender-equal standards, the organization takes aim at the issue. Though some of the organizations named say they do provide the coverage, the debate is increasingly important in the harsh post-graduate job market. Thanks to recent legislation, children can now be claimed as dependents until the age of 26—including after marriage or other traditional leaving-the-nest benchmarks.

Read it at Kaiser Health News

June 5, 2013 2:15 PM


11. Norway: Progressive, But…

To most outsiders, Norway and Scandinavia are beacons of progress in women's empowerment, in encouraging fathers as well as mothers to rear children and on social welfare in general. But recently, a group of Norwegian women got together for lunch and all had a surprisingly similar message: We may be pioneers, but there is still a long way to go. Most interestingly, they concurred that the 2003 boardroom law — which required more women on boards — as having limited impact. "It hasn't had the ripple effect," said Mai-Lill Ibsen, one of a handful of powerful women known as "golden skirts" because they now sit on several boards. More females on boards has not bred more female success at the top of business. As Mari Teigen, research director and professor for Social Research in Norway explains, "there is [still] huge resistance to the idea that the decisions of private enterprises should be subject to regulation."

Read it at New York Times

June 4, 2013 5:25 PM


12. American Woman Gang-Raped in India

A 30-year-old American tourist was gang-raped in India, police said on Tuesday. No arrests have been made. The woman reportedly was attacked in Manali, a tourist destination in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, after she accepted a ride from a truck driver and two other men. Police inspector Abhimanyu Kumar told the AFP that medical tests have confirmed that she was raped, and every truck driver in Manali has been told to report to the police station. The increasing reports of rape in India—especially of foreigners—has caused the number of foreign women tourists to drop, according to a survey by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India.

Read it at Associated Foreign Press

June 4, 2013 4:38 PM


13. How TV is Changing Ethiopian Education

"Ethiopia counts one of the largest populations of orphans in the world: 13 per cent of children throughout the country are missing one or both parents. This represents an estimated 4.6 million children – 800,000 of whom were orphaned by HIV/AIDS," said United Nations agency UNICEF in 2006. As an elementary school teacher working in Ethiopia's capital city of Addis Adaba in 2004, children’s rights activist Bruktawit Tigabu had an idea that would revolutionize the way children, who often face life conditions without parents, can learn. Using television as the medium for education Tigabu began a program in 2005 that began to work by reaching long-range goals to bring Ethiopia’s orphaned kids more opportunity through pre-school education. Today, ‘The Whiz Kids Workshop' teaches and reaches over 3 million Ethiopian children. It’s also offered children a chance to learn visually at their own pace in their local language of Amharic, with some episodes dubbed to also reach a diverse Ethiopian kid audience who speak Tigrinya & Sudanese Arabic.

Read it at Women News Network

June 4, 2013 4:36 PM


14. LED Lamps Aid Child Birth in Kenya

Traveling to the nearest hospital from the remote Sankuri village in eastern Kenya can be life threatening. The journey can take up to seven days. Often, women choose to give birth in their village, both for cultural and practical reasons. Unfortunately, midwives and trained birth attendants (TBA) often work without electricity. At night, this can be particularly dangerous: kerosene lamps used cause respiratory disease and birthing outside using the moonlight leaves women susceptible to snake bits and pregnancy complications.

Now, traditional birth attendants in the region have a little less to worry about. Thirty traditional birth attendants have received solar LED lamps from Afri-Ireland, an advocacy NGO – Non Governmental Organization to help introduce solar lamps into the region. The solar lamps enable the birth attendants to conduct birth deliveries with portable bright light. Local TBA Hasna explained, "I have used the solar lamp given to me to attend to 185 deliveries in Sankuri village and offering women education without cost implication."

Read it at Women News Network

June 4, 2013 4:33 PM


15. The Porno-Sex Slave Link

"It is estimated that 200,000 Bangladeshi children have been trafficked for sexual exploitation through the borders of [India's] West Bengal and Assam States," says a report from ECPAT International, which is working to end child prostitution, child pornography and trafficking of children for sexual purposes. "India is also used as a transit country for children trafficked from Nepal and Bangladesh to Pakistan," continues the report. In a country that has, according to the BBC news, over 3 million sex-workers throughout the region, there is very little chance that one young girl coming from poverty trapped inside the industry of sex-trafficking could ever find rescue.

While the issue of pornography and its possible link to violence against women and girls brings with it a wide range of pro and con debates, there is a growing international concern that some of the production of global pornography may be rising from video recordings made inside brothels located in India.

Read it at Women News Network

June 4, 2013 4:32 PM


16. Iran Bars Women from Presidential Race

Last week, Iran's Guardian Council, a 12-member body of theologians and jurists which vets presidential candidates, approved only eight individuals out of the 686 people registered for the 14 June election. The 30 female candidates that applied were disqualified, as well as other key political figures, raising concerns about the fairness and transparency of the vetting procedures. A group of United Nations experts today warned that measures preventing women and other citizens from running for presidential office in Iran constitute a serious violation of rights guaranteed by international law. "This mass disqualification including that of women wishing to stand in the presidential elections is discriminatory and violates fundamental right to political participation, and runs contrary to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which Iran has ratified," said the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed.

Read it at UN News

May 30, 2013 12:04 PM


17. A Lone Rape Victim Seeks Justice

On February 2012, a woman was gang-raped in a moving car after she was offered a lift from outside a nightclub on Kolkata's Park Street. Unlike the majority of rape victims in India, she decided to report the crime. 

Since the gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi last year shocked the nation, the central government has passed stronger laws on sex crimes and harassment of women, and the suspects are being tried in a fast-track court that was set up for sexual assault cases, which usually take years to conclude. The Kolkata woman's case is also in a fast-track court, where three of the five men she accused of raping her began their trial in March. However, the Kolkata police are still looking for the other two men, including the main suspect.

Read it at New York Times

May 30, 2013 11:58 AM


18. Can Men Worry About “Having It All” Too?

The raging debate prompted by Anne-Marie Slaughter's article in The Atlantic, "Why Women Still Can't Have It All" and Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In has engulfed men, too, who are now weighing in on how the work-life struggle affects them. Kurt Soller at New York magazine notes that at a time when women are on the rise in the workplace and men are "constantly told [they]'re legitimately becoming obsolete," questions about child care, paternity leave, affording a house, retirement, and healthcare continue to loom over the heads of men. Arguing that men do not have the same support networks as women, Soller writes, "I can't be the only guy worried about these issues even as women seem to be the only ones talking about them." The conclusion is that "having it all" is an "aspirational myth," and that these questions should be answered in a non-gendered context.

Read it at New York Magazine

May 30, 2013 11:54 AM


19. Facebook to Remove Anti-Women Hate Speech

Facebook Inc. said it would make a greater effort to identify and remove hate speech after a group of protesters convinced more than a dozen advertisers to boycott the giant social network unless it cracked down on content that encourages violence against women. Facebook said it would review how it evaluates reports of hate speech and improve training for online moderators. The company said it would also pay closer attention to "cruel or insensitive" content even if it does not technically qualify as hate speech. The protest was led by Jaclyn Friedman of Women, Action, and the Media, Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism Project, and US writer Soraya Chemaly. People sent more than 60,000 tweets and 5,000 emails and the coalition grew to more than 100 women and social justice organizations. In addition, 15 companies including Nissan UK pulled their advertising.

Read it at Los Angeles Times

May 29, 2013 6:00 PM


20. Paris to Have First Female Leader

One thing is certain in the race to lead France's cultural and political center: A woman will be mayor of Paris for the first time in the city's 2,000-year history. Though the outcome of the conservative primary has not yet been determined, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, or NKM as she is often known, is widely considered the conservative candidate with a realistic chance. Her Socialist opponent in the March 2014 election will be Anne Hidalgo, the current mayor's designated heir. The race also includes other female candidates from smaller parties who are considered unlikely to win. After a debate, Hidalgo said, "I'm happy there are a lot of women in this Parisian battle – it's proof that Paris has evolved as a city. At least, those criticisms we often hear about the credibility or competence of women won't be an issue."

Read it at Huffington Post

May 29, 2013 1:54 PM


21. Melinda Gates on Family Planning

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, talks about the push to make family planning and access to birth control a centerpiece of its work for the next decade. Critically, the bottom-up demand for contraceptives—by women themselves—makes the foundation’s push fundamentally different from the family planning campaigns of old. Already, nations are following the Gates Foundation's lead and massive changes are underway, indicating that the current approach is new and innovative. "Women are at the center of everything we are doing," Gates said in Kuala Lumpur. "It means we have to look at access [to birth control] not just from our point of view, as a metric we can track from the central office. We also have to look at access from her point of view...We are here because we know that women who have the power to decide when to get pregnant also have the power to make a better future."

Read it at The Daily Beast

May 29, 2013 1:54 PM


22. Italy Rages After Murder of Fabiana Luzzi

The gruesome murder of 15-year-old Fabiana Luzzi marks her as the youngest known victim of femicide in Italy and the 41st victim of gender-based violence in Italy so far in 2013. The Italian average for domestic violence and femicide is the highest per capita in Europe. In addition, more than 90 percent of Italian women believe that domestic violence is an accepted, common occurrence in the country and that there is nothing they can do to stop it.

On Tuesday, Italy’s lower house of parliament ratified the Istanbul Convention, which aims to prevent and combat violence against women. A day earlier, Italy’s speaker of the house Laura Boldrini called for a moment of silence for Fabiana and said that even though the topic of discussion was well publicized, that it is time to change the mentality of the nation when it comes to the acceptance of violence against women. On the same day, Fabiana’s friends and classmates held a silent funeral procession through the tiny village of Corigliano Calabro in honor of their lost friend. It was a poignant procession and display, and the first of its kind in the country staged by adolescents.

Read it at The Daily Beast

May 29, 2013 1:52 PM


23. Nearly 40 Percent of Mothers are Family Breadwinners

In a trend accelerated by the recent recession and an increase in births to single mothers, nearly four in 10 families with children under the age of 18 are now headed by women who are the sole or primary breadwinners for their families, according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center. The report reveals a sweeping change in traditional gender roles and family life over a few short decades: The number of married mothers who out-earn their husbands has nearly quadrupled, from 4 percent in 1960 to 15 percent in 2011. Single mothers, who are sole providers for their families, have tripled in number, from 7 to 25 percent in the same period.

Read it at The Washington Post

May 29, 2013 1:51 PM


24. Pollution Affects Women the Most

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.

Read it at Women's eNews

May 24, 2013 11:54 AM


25. Birth Control on the High School Curriculum

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.

Read it at Gawker

May 24, 2013 11:53 AM

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