NEWS BULLETIN [Nov 7-21, 2014]
Violence Against Women & Public Health
New Global Study Calls Violence Against Women Epidemic
Charlotte Alter, Time Magazine (November 21, 2014)
The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journals, recently published a five-part series of studies entitled “Violence Against Women And Girls.” This series discusses many of the horrors that women face every day and calls these human rights abuses a “a problem of epidemic proportions.” It also lists concrete, research-based recommendations for governments to decrease violence against women.
See this series from The Lancet medical journal:
Violence against women and girls
Barbara Bush on the Impact of Ebola on Women’s Health
Lucy Westcott, Newsweek (November 17, 2014)
Barbara Bush and Melinda Gates are working to address the repercussions that the ebola outbreak has had on women’s health. Women in countries overwhelmed by ebola may be too afraid to go to the hospital, leading to increasing maternal mortality and a lack of contraception. Bush and Gates believe generally improving health systems in countries under threat of ebola will help fight the disease and minimize its effects. Organizations such as Bush’s Global Health Corps are working to combat such issues.
Do Long Winter Nights Impact Women's Health?
Katherine M. Sharkey, Huffington Post (November 18, 2014)
Recent studies indicate that women are more impacted by “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD) otherwise known as “Winter Depression” than men. Studies show that by adulthood, women are about four times more likely to suffer from SAD symptoms than men. More research is needed to uncover the basis of these sex differences, and studies of disease must be sure to enroll enough women for gender comparisons to be made.
Female Genital Mutilation / Cutting
Egypt’s first female genital mutilation trial ends in not guilty verdict
Patrick Kingsley, The Guardian (November 20, 2014)
The doctor responsible for the death of 12-year-old Sohair al Bata during a June 2013 female genital mutilation (FGM) procedure has been found not guilty of manslaughter. Dr. Raslan Fadl was the first doctor put on trial for this crime, and human rights activists and the international community condemning FGM are furious and saddened by the decision. However, a number of activists believe that the best way to end such atrocities is not through court cases, but by going into villages and discussing the issue on personal level with villagers, doctors, and midwives.
Fighting Female Genital Mutilation (Op-ed)
Mona Eltahaway, The New York Times (November 16, 2014)
In this powerful op-ed on female genital mutilation around the world, Mona Eltahaway spotlights Egypt, her country of origin, and the history of FGM there. She also points to international efforts to eradicate FGM and several methods she believes must be implemented in order to truly combat this human rights violation. Eltahway wrote this poignant article a week before the trial of the doctor and father of Soheir al Batea, a young Egyptian girl who died during a FGM procedure.
Africa Strives for Gender Equality by 2030
Rutendo Nyamuda, CNBC Africa (November 20, 2014)
African ministers met in Ethiopia to discuss gender equality at the 9th Africa Regional Conference on Women. They decided to re-adopt the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action calling governments to provide “necessary resources for gender equality.” According to UN Women deputy executive director Lakshmi Puri, the deadline to achieve gender equality on the continent, in all spheres of life, is 2030. The African ministers reaffirmed their governments’ commitment to this goal.
IGNITE: Technology is a Women’s Rights Issue (Op-Ed)
Musimbi Kanyoro, The Huffington Post (November 20 2014)
Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro, the President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women, highlights the important role technology serves in empowering women. Kanyoro argues that without equal distribution of technology between men and women, it will be impossible for women to gain equality. The Global Fund for Women’s IGNITE project empowers different nonprofits across the world working to provide women with access to technology.
Law and Advocacy
Nicaragua: Decree to Implement Law on Violence Against Women—A Setback for Women’s Rights
Gabby De Cicco, AWID (November 14, 2014)
Nicaragua's new Law 779 "Comprehensive Law on Violence Against Women" ostensibly values "protection of the family," but there are major concerns that as worded, the law sanctions violence against women for the supposed good of the family, particularly in the context of feminicide.
Indonesia: ‘ Virginity Tests’ for Female Police
Human Rights Watch (November 18, 2014)
Activists are outraged by the Indonesian National Police’s use of “virginity tests.” Although failed candidates are not necessarily expelled from the force, it is a degrading and painful practice that many policewomen in Indonesia have protested to senior police officials in vain. Nisha Varia, associate women’s rights director at Human Rights Watch, calls for “immediate and unequivocal abolishment” of the test.
Young Indigenous Activists In Global Advocacy Spaces
Gabby De Cicco, AWID (November 21, 2014)
Interview with a participant of the first-ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Dali Angel is a member of the Central American and Mexican Indigenous Youth Women’s Network and discusses successes and challenges of empowering youth to bring about change.
—This news brief was prepared by Ashley Jowell & Kevin Hsu
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A roundup of stories related to women's health, development, law, culture and human rights from around the world.