Julia Gillard is Australia's First Woman Prime Minister
Julia Gillard became Australia's first woman prime minister yesterday, after former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd abruptly stepped down from his position. Gillard, who has been the deputy prime minister for nearly three years, was unanimously selected by the Labor Party. As prime minister, Rudd had low approval ratings and faced opposition from within the party. He stepped down from his position in order to avoid a party vote on his leadership that would have undoubtedly resulted in his removal from office.
Gillard, 48, was originally born in Wales but moved to Australia at the age of 4, according to the Associated Press. Her interest in politics developed while she was studying law at University. She was first elected to the Australia parliament in 1998.
Upon being elected, Gillard said, "My values and beliefs have driven me to step forward to take this position as prime minister. I will lead a strong and responsible government that will take control of our future," according to the New York Times. While in office, Gillard plans to continue stimulus policies and intends to keep Australian troops in Afghanistan, reported the Associated Press.
The once popular Rudd began to lose support in February, when aspects of his Economic Stimulus Package were shrouded by claims of mismanagement and corruption. His unpopularity grew when he enacted a controversial mining tax. Gillard is seen as more personable than Rudd and Labor Party Officials hope she will be able to regain public support for the party, reported the New York Times.
According to the Associated Press, Gillard has said that she looks up to women who are able to balance having a job and a family. When asked if she sees significance in being Australia's first female prime minister, she responded by saying: "First woman, maybe first redhead - I'll allow you to contemplate which was more unlikely in the modern age." According to CNN, having a female prime minister is seen as long overdue in Australia.
Media Resources: New York Times 6/24/10; CNN 6/24/10; Associated Press 6/24/10; Guardian 6/24/10
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. . . .