International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Today marks the United Nations' (UN) International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. According to the UN, at least one in three women worldwide "has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime." The economic costs of domestic violence in the United States alone exceed more than $5.8 million each year.
Ines Alberdi, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) outlined in her statement today the key measures that the UN seeks to put in place to combat violence against women worldwide: "prompt police response, health and legal services, free of charge, for poor women and girls; shelter and safe options for women surviving or fleeing life-threatening situations; national hotlines available 24-hours a day to report abuse and seek protection; basic front-line services for emergency and immediate care for women and girls who have suffered abuse and rape; and accountable judiciary and national action plans to end discrimination and promote equality." UNIFEM announced yesterday that they will award $19 million in grants for 23 projects in 29 countries that aim to reduce gender-based violence.
Earlier this year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon launched a campaign during the UN's 52nd Commission on the Status of Women that seeks an to end violence against women through implementing the aforementioned measures. The campaign, called UNite to End Violence against Women, will run until 2015 and calls for the cooperation of the UN, national governments, and society in general to end global violence against women.
Media Resources: Feminist Newswire 3/4/08; UNIFEM Statement 11/21/08, 11/24/08; UN Facts and Figures on Violence Against Women
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. . . .