Women in the News
Eyes on Kennedy, Women Tell Supreme Court Why Abortion Was Right for Them//The New York Times
Amy Brenneman, an actress, wants Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to know about her abortion. Taking a page from the movement for same-sex marriage, Ms. Brenneman and more than 100 other women have filed several supporting briefs in a major Supreme Court abortion case to be argued on Wednesday. The briefs tell the stories of women who say their abortions allowed them to control their bodies, plan for the future and welcome children into their lives when their careers were established and their personal lives were on solid ground. The briefs are aimed largely at Justice Kennedy, who holds the crucial vote in abortion cases. They use language and concepts from his four major gay rights decisions, notably his invocation of “equal dignity” in June’s ruling establishing a constitutional right to same-sex marriage.
One Million Thumbprints: Women Reaching New Heights for Victims of Sexual Assault in War-Torn Countries//NBC Los Angeles
A group of women are binding together after incomprehensible violence: Sexual assault in the name of war. More than a dozen women were on their way Sunday to leave their mark in a way they never imagined. This group began connecting over a year ago as each one made a vow to attack those who attack women. Kim Yim said there's something spiritual about climbing to the top of a mountain and offering prayers. In this case, the trip to the top will take place on Mount Kilimanjaro. "It's doing something hard and really big in hopes that in some ways it is aligning ourselves with the suffering of the women we're advocating for," Yim, of One Million Thumbprints, said. "In many cases, rape is cheaper than using a bullet so it's a strategy of war. It's a way of undermining a whole community, coming in and systematically raping women and girls." This Orange County mother connected with the story of Esperance: A woman from Congo who was attacked and left for dead. She became the inspiration for this campaign. Esperance asked for help. But she cannot read or write. "It was a blank piece of paper and she had stamped her thumbprint," Belinda Bauman said. Underneath her thumbprint, she had someone else write: "Please tell my story to the world." The campaign is called One Million Thumbprints because of Esperance. The goal is to carry those personal marks to one of the world's highest peaks in a show of solidarity. They hope to raise money for programs to bring peace to war-torn nations like Iraq and Sudan.
Women in Architecture's 2016 Survey Finds Widened Gender Disparities//ArchDaily
The Architectural Review has released the results of the fifth annual Women in Architecture survey, providing insights into the experiences of over 1,000 women worldwide. One out of five women responding to the survey said that they would not encourage a woman to start a career in architecture, and a similar proportion said they were unsure—only six out of ten overall would recommend an architectural career to another woman. In the UK, where the majority of the respondents are based, the figure is worse, with a quarter of the women surveyed saying that they would not recommend their career to another woman, a proportion that grows with age. “While almost 80% of women in their early twenties would recommend their career choice, among those in their late thirties this proportion has fallen to just 44%, and a third state that they would not recommend a career in architecture.” A contributing factor to this attitude seems to be inequalities and perceived inequalities in pay between men and women. Nearly 40% of women in the UK, and over 40% of those asked elsewhere responded that they thought that they would be paid more if they were a man.
Former Sony chief says Hollywood is 'geared for women to fail'//the guardian
The high-profile, at times controversial former head of Sony Pictures, Amy Pascal, has promised to help plug the Hollywood gender gap after claiming the current studio system is “geared for women to fail”. Speaking to the Sunday Times in her new role as head of production company Pascal Pictures, which has a four-year deal with Sony, Pascal said she was determined to help talented women find work behind the camera and in front of it. Female-dominated production company launches to tackle Hollywood gender gap. “The lack of female directors is a travesty,” she said. “For a woman to make a movie in Hollywood, you have to go through so much rejection. There is this mountain to climb with the whole system geared for women to fail in films. “In music, female singers dominate. They also do extremely well in the books world, as writers of novels in particular. TV drama is more character-led, but it is also an industry more open to women than the movies is. Hiring women has long been the problem in Hollywood, because it is the men who have mostly done it.” A major talking point in Hollywood over the past years has been the failure of many Hollywood productions to pass the so-called Bechdel test, which requires movies to feature at least two named women having a conversation with each other about something or somebody other than a man. Pascal said studios had a history of sidelining women on the big screen.
The Oscar-Winning Movie That's Actually Making Things Better for Women//The Muse
On Sunday night, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Short for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. This was notable for several reasons: Obaid-Chinoy already won in 2012 for her movie Saving Face, about Pakistani women who are the victims of acid attacks, becoming the first Pakistani to ever win an Oscar. But her second win is even more exciting, because the movie she’s being praised for has a legitimate chance to change things for women in Pakistan, and potentially the world. During a night that was infamously lacking in diversity, A Girl in the River was a rare highlight. It tells the story of Saba, an 18-year-old girl whose father and uncle attempt to kill her in a so-called “honor killing” after she marries a man from a poorer family than theirs that they do not approve of. Saba miraculously survives the shooting, and vows to bring her father and uncle to justice. What she struggles with is the law in Pakistan, which says that if a victim decides to forgive the perpetuators who attempted to kill them, those almost-murderers can walk free.
Leap Day love: once every four years, women are allowed to propose marriage to men//NewStatesman
You know the trouble with heterosexual relationships? One party desperately wants marriage and babies while the other doesn’t, and the lengths to which the former will go to tie down the latter are frankly staggering. We all know, for instance, that straight marriage doesn’t offer women as much as it offers men. Getting married boosts men’s health and income, while the only thing boosted for women is the number of pants to wash. Women are more likely to initiate divorce and less likely to suffer ill-health as a result. Recent research has suggested that single, childless men want babies more than their female counterparts, hardly surprising given who pays the highest price in health risks, workplace discrimination and domestic drudgery. So is it any wonder that poor, needy men have been forced to come up with elaborate schemes in order to snare independent, commitment-phobic women? Otherwise what straight woman in her right mind would ever end up walking down the aisle?
Iran set to elect record number of women into parliament//the guardian
With reformist-backed candidates securing a sweeping victory in Tehran, and moderates leading in provinces, a record number of women are set to enter the next Iranian parliament. Estimates based on the latest results show that as many as 20 women are likely to enter the 290-seat legislature known as the Majlis, the most ever. The previous record was set nearly 20 years ago during the fifth parliament after the 1979 revolution, when 14 women held seats. There are nine women in the current Iranian parliament. Eight of the women elected this time were on a reformist-backed list of 30 candidates standing in the Tehran constituency known as “the list of hope”. Among them is Parvaneh Salahshori, a 51-year-old sociologist and university professor originally from Masjed Soleyman, south of Tehran. Her husband, Barat Ghobadian, also a university professor, was disqualified from running. As the results were being counted, an interview surfaced online showing Salahshori speaking out about discrimination against women in Iran, pleasing many women’s rights advocates. She also said women should choose whether or not to wear the hijab, a taboo subject in the Islamic Republic.
Energy Ministry Refusing to Include Women in Gas Deal Implementation Panel//Haaretz
The National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Ministry is refusing to include women on the team that will implement the country’s natural gas policy even though it is required to do so by law. The ministry is basing its decision on the grounds that the team “does not set policy,” but the move contravenes equal opportunity law and rulings by the High Court of Justice. Only the team’s coordinator is a woman. “The team’s job is not to formulate policy but to implement the framework and government policy that has already been set on the issue,” the ministry’s director general, Shaul Meridor, said in an internal memo obtained by Haaretz. “Given this, while we believe that it is worthy and desirable to include the proper representation of women in any significant government forum, our position is that under these circumstances, the makeup of the team in question meets legal requirements.” Only two years ago, the Sheshinski Committee, which also dealt with the gas plan, added four women to the panel – a response to a petition to the High Court of Justice. Since the new team was set up two months ago with seven men and no women, social justice groups and the Israel Women’s Network have asked the ministry to change the roster.
6 in 10 Women Now Subjected to Abortion Waiting Period Laws//The Daily Beast
Florida women will now have to wait 24 hours before getting an abortion after an appeals court allowed a once-blocked 2015 state law to go into effect last Friday. In so doing, Florida has become the second most populous state, behind Texas, to impose a legally mandated waiting period on women seeking abortion. But Florida’s waiting period law also marks a significant tipping point in a nationwide trend of abortion restrictions: Six out of ten women in the U.S. now live in a state where an abortion waiting period law is currently in effect.
This Is How March Became Women’s History Month//Time
Many things have come to womankind surprisingly recently: The right to vote. The right to own property. And, perhaps less surprisingly, the existence of Women’s History Month. Before women had the whole month, the U.S. recognized Women’s History Week; before that, a single International Women’s Day. Dedicating the whole month of March in honor of women’s achievements may seem irrelevant today. But at the time of the conception of Women’s History Week, activists saw the designation as a way to revise a written and social American history that had largely ignored women’s contributions.
2016 was the best year for women at the Oscars in ages. But that’s not saying much//Vox
Racial diversity was definitely the biggest story of the 2016 Academy Awards. #OscarsSoWhite started trending again because no black actors or actresses were nominated for awards, and host Chris Rock never let the audience forget it. But as badly as 2016 failed on racial diversity — and as very, very far as Hollywood still has to go on gender diversity — 2016 was a surprisingly good year for women at the Oscars.
Portland Is Literally the Worst Place in the US for Women in Tech//Willamete Week
Portland is great for women who love bespoke ice cream, whimsical stockings and urban farming. It is not, however, a great place for women who want to work in tech. According to a report produced by SmartAsset, written up in a post on Tech.co, a study which looked at the 58 "cities where the tech workforce was large enough to be statistically significant," determined that Portland is the worst place to be a woman in tech.Not second worst, not somewhere in the middle of the pack. Dead worst.
Government Meets Goal Set in 1994 for Women’s Business Contracts//The New York Times
After more than 20 years of effort, the federal government has, for the first time, met its goal of awarding 5 percent of the money it spent on contractors to businesses owned by women. Small companies captured 25.8 percent of the government’s contracting dollars last year, representing $90.7 billion, the Small Business Administration plans to announce on Wednesday. About $17.8 billion of that total went to businesses owned by women during the fiscal year, which ended in September. The news comes on the heels of a Commerce Department analysis showing that businesses owned by women are 21 percent less likely to win government contracts than otherwise similar companies. Companies owned by women tend to be younger and smaller than other businesses, but even accounting for those differences, the disparity remains, the agency found. The government set its 5 percent target in 1994 for spending on women-owned businesses, which are defined as those that are at least 51 percent controlled by women. It repeatedly fell short.
More women on boards would reduce gender equity gap//The Sidney Morning Herald
As the owner of an in-home health care company her mother started, Anna Shepherd has never had to battle the gender pay gap. "I haven't seen it in my world," the chief executive of Regal Home Health says. "I have found that people want to work with good people." But the average top-tier female manager earns $100,000 less per year than male counterparts, with the gender pay gap widening the higher they climb, a new report has found. Curtin University researchers and the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, who produced the study, also found the gender pay gap narrowed if the number of women on corporate boards increased. Increasing the share of women on boards from zero to half reduced the gender pay gap by 6.3 percentage points. The report also found that gender pay gaps for managers were smaller in male-dominated industries than ones that were female-dominated. But differences in the gap emerge across various professions and among part time and casual workers. When it comes to part-time workers, the pay gap is marginally in favour of women. But for casual workers, it swings in favour of men. Women in casual work can expect to earn a full-time equivalent salary of $5666 a year less than men.
Women soldiers could soon be fighting on the frontline as longstanding ban is set to be lifted//Daily Mail
A ban on women soldiers fighting on the frontline is likely to be lifted this summer.
Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt and General Sir Nicholas Carter, the head of the Army, are due to give speeches that will celebrate the role played by women in the Armed Forces. They will mark International Women’s Day next Tuesday and indicate that the Ministry of Defence is moving closer towards the historic change. It follows a six-month review into whether women should be able to serve in infantry and tank regiments. The review quashed doubts within the MoD that allowing females to serve in frontline roles would damage the ‘cohesion’ of the Armed Forces on the battlefield. However, the review said there needed to be further research into the ‘physiological demands’ placed on those in close combat roles. During the speeches, Miss Mordaunt and General Carter are expected to refer to research on the impact frontline infantry duty would have on the female body, which is due to be concluded in June. It will help inform discussion about opening up the full range of combat jobs in the Army to women and allow for a final decision to be made within months. David Cameron has spoken out in support of allowing female soldiers to take on infantry combat roles. But some senior officers have mounted concerns that it will lead to a drop in standards in the Armed Forces.
Older woman 80% more likely than men to be impoverished//MarketWatch
Women must stretch fewer dollars over more years than men, leaving them 80% more likely to wind up in poverty at age 65 and older, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Institute on Retirement Security. Some 9% of U.S. women age 65 and older – and 5% of men – live at or below the federal poverty level, which is just $11,880 for individuals and $16,020 for a family of two. Many more have trouble meeting their basic living expenses, according to the report. “Women have complicated math problems to solve for,” said Kim Mustin, co-head of global distribution for BNY Mellon Investment Management, who participated in an advisory committee for the report. These include their increased longevity, time spent out of the paid workforce, and wages that still lagged behind men’s by 21 cents per dollar in 2014, according to the report.
The Richest Self-Made Women In The World 2016//Forbes
A tiny subset of women among the world’s richest people built billion-dollar fortunes from scratch, using great ideas and hard work, despite the gender discrimination that often prevails in the global business world. These 33 self-made women make up only 2% of the world’s billionaires (another 8 women co-founded businesses with their husbands and therefore share their billion-dollar fortunes). For some context, altogether there are 190 women among the 1,810 billionaires on the 2016 Forbes Billionaires list. Most of the 190 inherited their fortunes from their husband or father; some, like Abigail Johnson of Fidelity Investments, are actively working to run the company they have inherited. So the 33 women who built their own fortunes are really quite exceptional. These self-made superrich entrepreneurs hail from just 8 countries, but span the globe from China and Hong Kong to Germany, Italy, Russia, Nigeria, the U.K. and the U.S. Their areas of expertise include software, blood testing, construction and more, and they deserve credit for the success of brand names like eBay (Meg Whitman), Gap (Doris Fisher), and Spanx (Sara Blakely).
Jailed Afghan Women Are Often Subjected to Virginity Tests, Report Says//The New York Times
Women and girls in Afghan jails are frequently subjected to forced virginity tests, advocates from Afghanistan’s human rights commission said on Tuesday, calling for an end to a discredited practice that is both invasive and degrading. A report by Afghanistan’s Independent Human Rights Commission, based on interviews with 53 female detainees across 12 of the country’s 34 provinces, found that 48 of them, including girls as young as 13, had been sent for virginity tests. The procedure, which has widely been found to be scientifically invalid, is frequently conducted in the presence of many people and in an invasive manner that could amount to rape or torture, the report said. President Ashraf Ghani, who has not been briefed on the findings, was “deeply saddened” by reports of the practice, and had asked the human rights commission for a full review, said Sayed Zafar Hashemi, a spokesman for Mr. Ghani. “The president expects the reformist chief justice to abolish the practice,” Mr. Hashemi said.
The Women Take Over // Slate
When the Supreme Court last heard oral arguments in a landmark abortion case, it was April 1992, the case was Planned Parenthood v Casey, and Sandra Day O’Connor was the lone female justice. Twenty-four years later, there are three women on the court. And if you count Justice Stephen Breyer as one of history’s great feminists—and I do—then you can view the arguments in this term’s landmark abortion case, Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, as creating a neat 4–4 split. On one side, you have a group of testy male justices needling a female lawyer for Texas clinics about whether it was even appropriate for them to hear this appeal. On the other, you’ve got four absolutely smoking hot feminists pounding on Texas’ solicitor general for passing abortion regulations that have no plausible health purpose and also seem pretty stupid.
Forty years of women at the U.S. Naval Academy//The Washington Post
Midshipman 1st Class Megan Musilli was recently selected as one of only 32 Americans — and the only service academy student — for a 2016 Rhodes Scholarship. Musilli is a mathematics major training to become a Navy physician. Her remarkable academic achievements reflect her hard work and character, and they are appropriately timed as we celebrate 40 years of women at the U.S. Naval Academy. To mark this 40th anniversary of the integration of women in the Brigade, I’d like to highlight how far we’ve come and look ahead in anticipation of a bright future. On July 6, 1976, the Class of 1980 arrived on Induction Day. Fifty-five women from that class graduated and became plank owners of gender integration at this great institution. Last May, 204 of our 1,070 graduates were women, with the numbers growing. More women have applied for admission this year than ever before, with more than 4,300 applications for the Class of 2020. The Class of 2019 boasts the largest number of women in academy history – at ANY of our service academies – with 324 inducted last July.
Medicare Is Leaving Elderly Women Behind//The Atlantic
Medicare is America’s gold health standard, right? It is a shining example of success, eclipsing its fraternal twin, Medicaid, to the extent that health-care proposals not clearly related to either are rather successfully branded as “Medicare-for-all.” However, elderly women might be the first to question that characterization. Medicare alone has proved inadequate for the needs of many elderly people, especially in the ranks of the “oldest old,” or those over 85 years of age. And given the drastic gender imbalance in life expectancy and a range of health and economic factors that hit women harder, the gulf in elderly health care becomes a women’s health issue as well. First of all, the good. In just over 50 years of existence, Medicare has been the key force behind America’s health-care modernization, changing not only the way the country delivers health but also dramatically reducing poverty rates by providing a cushion between retired seniors and the ever-widening abyss of health-care costs.
5 women file suite to end New York “tampon tax”//CBS News
NEW YORK -- A group of women have filed a class-action lawsuit urging New York lawmakers to put an end to taxes on tampons and other feminine hygiene products, CBS New York reported. The suit alleges that a state tax on tampons creates an unfair standard when it comes to defining medical devices that are specifically designed for women. "Rogaine, foot powder, dandruff shampoo, Chapstick, facial wash, adult diapers, and incontinence pads are not taxed. Tampons and sanitary pads are," the group said in a statement. Since New York provides tax exemptions on medical devices, not classifying tampons as a medical device creates an unfair double standard which slights women, the groups said. "Tampons and sanitary pads are a necessity for women, not a luxury. There is no way these products would be taxed if men had to use them," said Zoe Salzman, a lawyer for the women, said in a statement.
This Mother’s Day, give women what they really want: marriage equality//the guardian
As Mother’s Day approaches, children across the country are looking forward to showing their appreciation to the women who gave them everything. Indeed, recent exchanges at prime minister’s questions (PMQ) have seen both party leaders use the platform to champion their mothers. Whether it’s the need for a posh suit and tie, or protesting against cuts to his own local services – it would seem that the prime minister still clings to the motherly advice he has received over the years. This makes it all the more surprising that David Cameron has not yet fulfilled his promise to recognise mothers in the documents marking seminal moments of our lives. Despite a petition signed by 70,000 people, debates led by his own party’s backbenchers and a positive response when I raised the matter at PMQs, the Victorian-era exemption of mothers’ names from marriage certificates in England and Wales remains. Back in 2014, with a general election looming, the prime minister pledged to end this inequality in a speech given to the Relationships Alliance summit. He agreed that the centuries-old anachronism “clearly doesn’t reflect modern Britain” and that “it’s high time the system was updated”. In light of the stark language he used, it is utterly perplexing that the Home Office has spent the past two years delaying a simple administrative reform that enjoys such broad consensus.
Dunn scores in 72nd minute, US women beat England 1-0//The Charlotte Observer
Second-half substitution Crystal Dunn scored in the 72nd minute, Hope Solo got her 96th career shutout and the United States beat England 1-0 in the SheBelieves Cup on Thursday night. Dunn entered in the 67th minute and made it 1-0 with a shot into the upper corner of the net five minutes later. "A lot of people were like, did you mean to put it there?" Dunn said. "And of course, initially you say yes. But no. In my head, I was like I saw the goal, aimed for it, and it just happened to go in." U.S. coach Jill Ellis called it a "world class" goal. "She's done well, she deserves to be in here," Ellis said. "This is what she can pull out, these exceptional efforts." The U.S is 7-0-0 in 2016, outscoring opponents 29-0. Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia were among a group of New York Yankees at the match, which drew an announced crowd of 13,027. The Yankees are holding spring training in Tampa for the 21st consecutive year. Solo made a diving save on Toni Duggan in the second half en route to her 145th international victory. "We're disappointed with the result," England coach Mark Sampson said. "We'll get there. We wanted to come here and win. It was a tight game. Credit to America."