New Survey Shows Gains, Losses in Women's Representation in Parliaments
A survey of women elected to parliaments by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) reveals that women currently hold a record 16.3 percent of parliamentary seats, a small number but one that has increased from 11.3 percent in 1995. Anders Johnsson, Secretary-General of IPU, stated, “Women account for roughly half of the world’s population. They remain dramatically underrepresented in national parliaments and other levels of government,” reports the New York Times .
According to the report, in nine countries, including Rwanda, Sweden, and New Zealand, women hold at least 30 percent of parliamentary seats, and women have increased their representation as presiding officers in parliaments from 7.2 percent in January 2005 to 10.7 percent in January 2006. Other positive gains for women include the decision in Kuwait to grant women both the right to vote and to run for elected office. Four other countries that have recently suffered from conflict increased the number of women elected to their parliaments, including Liberia, where President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf became the first democratically elected female head of state in Africa in January.
Less positively, there are fewer elected female parliamentarians in eight countries this year, including Kyrgyzstan, which dropped to zero women in its parliament. There was an increase in parliaments that have no elected women from the previous year – currently at nine countries.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .