Mexican women's groups and lawmakers are outraged over increasing violence against women in Juarez, Mexico and city officials' indifference. At least 70 women have been raped and murdered, their bodies left in the Chihuahua desert, in the last five years. Women's groups cite 118 women murdered in the city over the same period.
Young women are attracted to the city from rural villages because of its 400 maquiladora plants and its promise of an independent life. Maquiladora companies help foreign corporations set up production operations in developing countries so that they can exploit the lower labor costs and weaker laws. The women are often mistreated in factories that operate under sweatshop conditions and are paid around $3-a-day.
Protest leader Esther Chavez Cano, who has put together a list of murder victims so that victim's families can monitor the investigations, commented, "A patriarchal backlash has accompanied these murders."
City authorities arrested nightclub security guard Sergio Armendariz and members of a gang he led in 1996 and charged them with the murders of 17 women. The bodies of nine more women who had been raped and murdered have been found in the desert since Armendariz' detention.
Although several Mexican federal congresswomen arrived in Juarez in February on a fact-finding mission to investigate the increasing violence, the governor of Chihuahua, Francisco Barrior Terrazas, supported city authorities' declaration that the murders had been solved. He said, "It's been very well handled."
Barrior said that there is no evidence that the murder rate for women is any higher than in other Mexican cities.
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. . . .