The Egyptian parliament passed a law Sunday adding 64 seats reserved for women to the lower house of the legislature. The quota creates 32 new constituencies with two seats each for women candidates only. It will take effect during next year's elections and raises the number of seats in the People's Assembly from 454 to 518.
Egypt's Minister of Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Mufid Shehab stated that the law "ensures parity for women and promotes their role in society, as stipulated by the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which Egypt has signed," reported Agence France Presse. Shehab also indicated the law will be effective for just two five-year parliamentary sessions in hopes that after that period, the number of women in parliament will increase without affirmative action.
While many Eqyptian women praise the law as a step forward, others believe it is only a superficial attempt at empowering women or are suspicious of governmental motives. Nagla Mohammed, a homemaker, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur,
"It is good that women should play a role in politics...But I can only judge the impact of their presence in parliament after I see their practical contribution. It is not a matter of having women in parliament - the question is what they will do."
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
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. . . .