Italian Feminists Outraged by Berlusconi's Sexist Remark
Nearly 100,000 Italians have signed a petition entitled "Women Offended by the Premier" that went into circulation after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi insulted rival leftist politician Rosy Bindi on live television three weeks ago. Berlusconi told Bindi that she was "more beautiful than intelligent," according to BBC News. Bindi replied, "I am not a woman at your disposal.
"We protest against this cretinization of women, democracy and politics," academics Michela Marzano, Nadia Urbinati and writer Barbara Spinelli wrote in the petition. "This man offends women and democracy. Let's stop him." Since the incident, thousands have joined Facebook groups in support of Bindi. Several thousand people have sent their photographs decorated with phrases like "Women offended by a man wearing foundation cream" or "We are not your concubines," to La Repubblica, an Italian newspaper that has been publishing a selection of the submissions daily, reported Reuters.
Bindi has interpreted the current activity against Berlusconi as the emergence of a new feminism in Italy, but the long-term political impact of the remarks is uncertain. Maurizio Pessato of SWG polling told Reuters, "Berlusconi has not changed his approach to women and it's not the first time he has made such comments about women. It's likely that some of the women already against him were spurred into action since the remark was so harsh, but others are used to this. We're in the phase where those supporting him continue to do so, and those against him are markedly so."
Media Resources: BBC News 10/20/09; Reuters 10/20/09
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. . . .