ThinkAboutIt April 2011 ThinkAboutIt: A doer and a shaker, equal pay day ... and other things to think about
A doer and a shaker
"Development and peace are not possible without putting an end to the widespread subjugation of women that is occurring in the world today." -Cheryl Thomas
In its March 14 edition, Newsweek magazine named Cheryl Thomas one of 150 "Women Who Shake the World." Thomas is director of the Women's Human Rights Program at the Minneapolis-based The Advocates for Human Rights. Newsweek recognized her for her work with local partners around the world writing laws that better protect women and girls.
She was honored as a 2005 Changemaker by the Minnesota Women's Press. Source: www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org
Nepal's abortion decision
The Supreme Court of Nepal has issued a groundbreaking decision on women's reproductive rights. The ruling recognizes a woman's right to abortion as a crucial component of her reproductive rights that cannot be denied by the government without violating a broad range of her human rights.
Here are highlights from the decision:
It states that just as the law does not force a man to use his body in certain ways, a woman cannot be forced to allow her body be used in ways that she does not want.
It affirms the importance of making sure that women are not unjustly denied access to legal abortion services because of the cost and makes it obligatory for the government to provide free services to women who cannot pay.
It establishes that the fetus cannot be prioritized over the protection of a woman's physical and mental health and well-being as, without the mother, there would be no fetus.
The decision also briefly mentions Roe v. Wade, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court does not recognize the fetus as a human life. Source: www.rhrealitycheck.org
The price of prevention
One injection to prevent premature labor in high-risk pregnant women has just gone from $10 to $1,500 per dose. And the shot is supposed to be administered weekly. The progesterone drug, called Makena, has been made cheaply for years, until now. It's all because KV Pharmaceutical in Missouri has just won government approval to sell the drug exclusively. Many obstetricians supported the switch for the sake of consistent quality, but no one (they say) anticipated the dramatic price hike. Source: www.twincities.com
Equal pay day
April 22 is Equal Pay Day. This is the annual symbolic day on which women's average wages catch up to men's from the previous year. The Census Bureau reports that, on average, a woman earns 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. In Minnesota the average is 79 cents. Source: www.oesw.leg.mn
Women in government work
The state of Wisconsin's decision to strip most government workers of collective-bargaining rights affects more women than men.
The numbers of women in the public sector, nationally, by level of government:
At the federal level: 43 percent of the workers are women;
at the state level it's 52 percent
and at the local level, 61 percent. Source: www.iwpr.org
Business women figures & facts Women-owned firms spur the economy: 10.1 million firms are owned by women $1.9 trillion sales are generated by women-owned businesses 13 million are employed by women-owned businesses. Source: Center for Women's Business Research, 2008-2009, www.diversityinc.com
Shelter or prison?
A law has been drafted in Afghanistan that would turn over control of women's shelters to the government.
A copy of the draft law says that any woman trying to enter a shelter would first need the approval of a committee from eight government offices. She would be subject to a medical exam that might include a virginity test and essentially be confined to the shelter. The facilities would be run by the Ministry of Women's Affairs.
"Taking over the shelters means more support to women who run away due to family problems," said Hussan Ghazanfar, acting minister of women's affairs.
But women's advocates in Kabul are concerned that government control will mean government interference. Shelter administrators say they already get pressure from high-ranking government officials on behalf of families who want the women back in their communities-even when it's likely that the women or girls will be killed when they return.
"We are a civil society, we can say no to them, 'I don't want this girl to go back, her life is at risk,'" said Huma Safi, program director at Women for Afghan Women, which runs several shelters. "If it is under the control of the government, [the shelter] will not say no." Source: www.npr.org