According to a February 16 article published in The Economist, increasing numbers of men in Bangladesh are burning their wives and other women with acid.
Sixteen young women were treated for severe acid burns within a period of just a few days early this year, and the Dhaka Medical College Hospital has seen the average number of victims increase from two to three per week. Some believe the annual number of attacks may be in the hundreds, given that rural attacks are likely to go unreported.
Officials believe that the increase in attacks is due to a male backlash against women who are becoming increasingly confident and independent. Many women have been provided with loans to launch small businesses and have gained financial power and increased social standing in their communities.
21-year-old Asma Begum's story is a typical one. Begum returned home late from work one night and her husband became irate because his dinner was not prepared. He obtained some sulphuric acid and threw it on her later, while she was sleeping, injuring her and four other women who shared her bed. Begum's face, chest, and arm were burned.
Chemical burns horribly disfigure victims and often blind them. Most women in Bangladesh can not obtain any plastic or reconstructive surgery.
Government officials in Bangladesh and the U.S. must take steps to restrict the sale of the destructive acids used in these attacks. Sulphuric and other harmful acids are currently very easy to obtain from tanneries, jewelers, and car-battery sellers and others.
Media Resources: The Economist - February 16, 1998
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. . . .