United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced today that former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet will be the first head of the new UN agency, UN Women. Bachelet was elected the first woman president of Chile in 2006. As President, she fulfilled a campaign promise to institute a gender-balanced cabinet. She first gained visibility and popularity in Chile as minister of health in 2000, when she revamped Chile's public health system by instituting 24-hour health care to cut waiting times that had previously been as long as three months. In 2002, she was appointed Chile's Defense Minister and was the first woman in a Latin American country to hold the post.
Charlotte Bunch of the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers University, told the Canadian Press, Bachelet "has shown an ability to bring women's rights and gender perspectives onto mainstream agendas, which is one of the challenges that we've been working for since the last U.N. women's conference in Beijing in 1995."
The UN voted unanimously in July to create a new office on women to be called the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Official operations of UN Women will commence in January 2011. UN Women consolidates four formerly separate entities within the UN that work for the advancement of women: the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). The UN has estimated that UN Women will have a minimum budget of $500 million, which is twice the budget of all four former organizations combined.
6/30/2015 Supreme Court Ruling Prevents Gerrymandering in Arizona - In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Ginsburg this morning, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, allowing the use of independent state commissions that draw federal congressional districts, taking that power away from the state legislature.
This gives states an opportunity to deal with partisan gerrymandering by giving an independent commission power to draw federal congressional districts.
In 2000, Arizona voters amended their constitution, shifting the responsibility of drawing congressional districts, previously held by the state legislature, to a panel called the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. . . .
6/29/2015 The Supreme Court Just Saved Texas Abortion Clinics - The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 today to put a temporary hold on a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that would have closed all but 9 of the state's abortion clinics in Texas.
The order from the Supreme Court comes in response to an emergency request filed by women's health care providers on the behalf of Texas women earlier this month asking the Court to stay House Bill 2, which would have taken effect as law on Wednesday. . . .