Top military officials are calling to lift the military's ban on women serving on submarines. Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the top military officer in the US, said in congressional testimony on Friday that he believes the US should "broaden opportunities for women" and that "one policy [he] would like to see changed is the one barring [women's] service aboard submarines," according to Reuters.
Navy Secretary Ray Mubus said in a statement Friday, "we are moving out aggressively on this. I believe women should have every opportunity to serve at sea, and that includes aboard submarines...This is something the CNO (chief of naval operations) and I have been working on since I came into office," reported Agence France Presse.
Due to the lifting of some combat bans in the 1990s, women in the Navy are able to serve on surface combat ships and combat aircrafts. However, they have not been not allowed to serve on submarines in part due to living space issues. According to the Washington Post, submarines would need to be slightly modified to provide privacy in the living quarters of both enlisted women and men, and bathrooms would need to be accessed in a time-sharing arrangement. Naval officers told the Washington Post that women's lower retention rates (15 percent compared to more than 30 percent for men) lead to the military's concern that integration could result in gaps in the submarine force.
Media Resources: The Washington Post 9/26/09; Reuters 9/26/09; AFP 9/26/09
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. . . .