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Entries in women's rights (123)


America's New Mothers More Educated Than Ever | Heritage Foundation's Jason Richwine Resigns

1. Federal judge Edward R. Korman slammed the Obama administration on Friday, denied the government’s request that he suspend his ruling making the morning-after emergency contraceptive pill available to women and girls of every age and without a prescription.

The Ronald Reagan appointed judge called efforts to delay distribution of the pill based on “frivolous” and “silly” arguments and not scientific evidence. Korman is so angry over the efforts by secretary of health and human services Kathleen Sebelius to deny full implementation of the pill that he questioned her credibility and integrity.

Judge Korman postponed the enforcement of his order until today, allowing lawyers for the Justice Department to take their case to the appeals court. via NYT

2. In an attention-getting opening line, celebrity interviewer Lynn Hirschberg writes “The only thing that worried Michael Douglas about playing Liberace, the flamboyant Las Vegas superstar, was the fourteen-inch penis.”

Who knew!! Douglas opens up on playing Lee, as Liberace was known to friends, in HBO’s Behind the Candelabra’. The focus is the famed entertainer’s life with Scott Thorson, played by Matt Damon, who was Liberace’s live-in boyfriend for five years.

The movie represents a return to public eye for Douglas, who reveals more of himself in questions about his battle with stage four cancer and his son’s imprisonment.

See graph larger

3. New mothers are more educated than ever, writes PEW Research. In 2011, 66% of new mothers had some college education, with 34% having a high school diploma and 14% not having finished high school.

The trend reflects a continuous rise in educational levels of all American women, as well as a decline in births set in motion with the Great Recession in late 2007. Between 2008 to 2011, the number of new mothers with no high school degree dropped 17%, as the number with only a high school diploma dropped 15%.

4. Co-author of the Heritage Foundation’s disputed immigration study Jason Richwine resigned on Friday, as questions mounted about the racially-charged conclusions in his previous work. Richwine as hired by the ultra-conservative think tank in 2010, and his departure comes less than five weeks after former Republican senator Jim DeMint assumed leadership of Heritage.

To date, the organization defends its methodology, one rejected by libertarian groups like the Cato Institute. The report argues that low-skilled immigrants have less education and lower IQs, making them likely to earn less money and need more taxpayer-supplied benefits.

In 2007, a similar Heritage report helped derail immigration reform, arguing that the plan would cost $2.7 trillion, instead of last week’s $6 trillion.

5. PEW Research reports that Hispanic high school graduates have passed whites in their rate of college enrollment. In post recession America, a record 69% of Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college. As the rates of Hispanic college enrollment have risen from 49% in 2000 to 69% in 2012, the rate of college enrollment has dropped among white high school grads to 67%.

In 2011 only 14% of Hispanic 16-24-year-olds were high school dropouts, 50% less than the 2000 level of 28%. PEW suggests that some educational growth may be driven by declining employment among young Latino youths, where unemployment has risen by 7 points, compared to 5 points among whites.

Hispanics are less likely to be in a four-year college, be enrolled full time, and complete a bachelor’s degree.


Reported Sexual Assaults in Military Skyrocket As Air Force Chief of Ending Assault Charged With Sexual Battery

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Esmeralda Garcia, a health care assistant at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Edinburg, speaks with a client, Adriana Olvera. Eddie Seal for The New York Times

Great news for the poor women of Texas! The New York Times reports that legislators on both sides of the aisle are quietly working to restore financing for women’s health services in the state.The story reports that Dems aren’t falling on their sword for Planned Parenthood — a statement we find misleading, because the PP issue is already taken care of through the recent funding of a Texas women’s health coalition, of which Planned Parenthood is a key member.

“The major difference is we’re not fighting about it. We’re just doing what’s right for women and the state,” State Representative Sarah Davis, Republican of West University Place, said last month at a Texas Tribune symposium on health care.

While Davis is opposed to abortion, she is even more opposed to politicians interfering with the doctor/patient relationship. The Republican woman has emerged as the chief architect of a plan to restore the devastating cuts to poor women’s health services, including access to contraception.

As poor women in particular have suffered at the hands of the Republican War on Women in Texas, the tide may be turning. Further denying women abortion rights is in a holding pattern, with NONE of the 24 abortion-related bills filed reaching the House or Senate floor.

Military Assault Skyrocket

Responding angrily Tuesday to a new report on the steep rise of sexual assault in the military, New York Democrat Senator Kirsten Gillibrand cold barely contain her anger at Air Force Secretary Michael Conley. The Pentagon says that in 2012 alone, 26,000 members of the military were sexually assaulted, a 35 percent rise since 2011.

Next week Gillibrand will introduce a bill that removes decision-making on sexual assault cases from the chain of command, says Glen Caplin, the senator’s communications director.

“You have an enormous gap between the number of sex assaults that are occurring and the number of sex assaults that are being reported,” Caplin said. According to the Department of Defense, 47 percent of servicemembers said they didn’t report sexual assaults and harassment for fear of retaliation.

Presently, the military operates under a code called “convening authority”, giving military commanders the power to overturn court-martial decisions, including those dealing with rape.

Gillibrand’s bill would apply Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel’s recent suggestion that “convening authority” be eliminated, by amending the Uniform Military Code of Justice’s Article 60 so so that “convening authorities” cannot set aside convictions or change guilty ones. Her bill would also add independent prosecutors who decide whether a case warrants a court-martial, but reserve commanders’ convening authority for the cases that aren’t moved forward in this new process.

Sens. Patty Murray D-Wash and Kelly Ayotte R-NH introduced legislation to amend Pentagon policies while creating new laws to help victims.

“Murray and Ayotte’s bill, the Combating Military Sexual Assault Act, would guarantee victims access to an advocacy lawyer to guide them through the reporting, investigation and criminal law process following an allegation,” writes the Air Force Times.

Air Force Chief Charged

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, charged with sexual battery.The Air Force officer in charge of the the branch’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit was charged with a misdemeanor offence of groping a woman in a parking lot on May 6, 2013. The misdemeanor sexual battery charge alleges that Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was drunk and grabbed a woman’s breast and buttocks. The woman fought back before calling police.

Responding to the news, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said “We’re all outraged and disgusted over these very troubling allegations.”

Hagel said he would hold military commanders accountable “at every level,” improve the treatment of assault victims and conduct regular inspections of military workplaces to guard against “materials that create a degrading and offensive work environment,” writes Bloomberg.

The Air Force is “still reeling” from the convictions of at least five military instructors in sexual assault or unprofessional relationships with trainees or students at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base.

Krusinski, who has served in his post since February, posted a $5,000 bond and was removed from his job pending an investigation.


Maria Shriver Returns to NBC News As Editor At Large For Women's Issue | Yahoo Changes Maternity Leave Policy

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Anne is reading …

Model Kendra Spears is engaged to Prince Rahim Aga Khan, the eldest son of His Highness Aga Khan, the global community leader of the Shia Ismaili Muslims.

The couple will be married in a Muslim ceremony, and Spears will reportedly convert to Islam and most likely become a Princess. Marrying American women is a tradition in the family. Spears’ betrothed is the product of his father’s marriage to British model Sarah ‘Sally’ Croker-Poole, who was once considered one of the 12 most beautiful women in the world, while his grandfather, Prince Aly Khan, was once married to Rita Hayworth, writes The Telegraph.

Prince Rahim Aga Khan holds a BA from Brown University and an executive management degree from the Navarra Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He is involved in the poverty reduction efforts, notably micro-credit activities, of the Aga Khan Development Network – one of the largest private systems of agencies fostering social, cultural and economic development in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Maria Shriver to NBC

Can Maria Shriver work some Kennedy magic for NBC News? Shriver will join her beloved alma mater employer as a “special anchor” covering “the shifting roles, emerging power and evolving needs of women in modern life.” Shriver will be an editor at large for women’s issues across NBC’s digital platorms.

“Welcome back to the family,” Today co-host Matt Lauer, who is deeply mired in his own woes at the Today Show. Trying to work her Kennedy magic and solid credentials as California’s former first lady and founder of the California Women’s Conference, Shriver’s first interview is with playwright and women’s rights activist Eve Ensler about her battle with cancer.

It’s said that Shriver never wanted to leave NBC in the first place, but was forced to resign when her husband ran for governor in 2003 and won. Her divorce with Schwarzenegger, who admitted fathering a child with their housekeeper, is still pending.

Shriver will be based in Los Angeles, where she lives with her four children with the former bodybuilder.

Yahoo Expands Maternity Leave

Two months after Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer created an uproar over banning telecommuting, the company is now offering employees generous new family leave benefits.

Under the new policy, mothers can take 16 weeks of paid leave with benefits, and fathers can take up to eight weeks, each time they have a new child via childbirth. Both parents receive eight weeks off for new children via adoption, foster child placement or surrogacy.

Previously, moms received eight weeks paid leave after pregnancy, or 10 weeks if they had a C-section.

Yahoo is breaking the mold of giving new parents $500 to spend on such things as groceries, house cleaning and babysitters.

The new benefits policy brings Yahoo closer in line with Silicon Valley’s Google and Facebook.

Mayer herself was pregnant when she joined Yahoo as CEO last summer. When she gave birth in September to her first child, she took only two weeks of maternity leave.

“The baby’s been way easier than everyone made it out to be. I think I’ve been really lucky that way but I had a very easy, healthy pregnancy, he’s been easy.”

Critics griped that Mayer brought her child to work, installing him in a nursery she built in her office at her own expense.

Google gives mothers five months off and seven weeks for maternity leave. Facebook gives both mothers and fathers four months of paid leave.