Microsoft launched a new program in India to encourage more girls to take up careers in technology, the Times of India reports. "India DigiGirlz" aims to drive high school girls towards science and engineering fields by giving them the opportunity to participate in workshops and connect with Microsoft's employees. Microsoft's DigiGirlz program was founded in 2000 to address the issue of girls and science in the United States.
"The students are aware of technology more than ever before. Almost 100% of them have Facebook accounts, but the idea is to make them think of technology as a career," Jacky Wright, Vice President of Microsoft IT, said. She added that the company is focusing on increasing awareness about the lack of girls in the technology field.
Girls make up less than 20% of students at the Indian Institute of Technology, and about 30% of employees in the IT Business Processing Outsourcing Sectors. Microsoft plans to expand the programs across India and Brazil, the company's two focus countries.
"These economies are growing and we need the program in these countries," said Wright. "Girls need to see role models. If they see it can be done, they will do it."
Media Resources: Times of India 2/26/2013; Microsoft News Center 5/4/2010
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .