Ella Maillart, Writer, Sportswoman and World Traveler and Photographer Dies at Age 94
Ella Maillart died at her mountain chalet in Chandolin, Switzerland on March 27th at the age of 94. Maillart founded Switzerland’s first women’s field hockey club and was a member of the Swiss sailing team in the 1924 Olympics. In 1935 she authored Forbidden Journey, an account of her trek into the closed city of Sinkiang in Chinese Turkestan. In the 1930s, Maillart also had a brief film career in Berlin; traveled to Moscow; walked across the Caucasus Mountains; and attempted to put together a Russian female field hockey team. Her travels in the 1930s led to two other books Turkestan Solo and Among Russian Youth: From Moscow to the Caucaus. Maillart’s travel credo was, "Nobody can go? Than I shall go," and she lived up to every word of it.
On her 7-month, 3500-mile trek from Beijing to Kashmir through Chinese Turkestan, she left with only two pounds of marmalade, a rifle a bottle of Worcestershire sauce, writing paper, a Leica camera and Peter Fleming. Though she often traveled alone, she thought it best to have a companion on this trip in case she landed in prison for traveling in forbidden territory. In 1947 she traveled again with a companion, this time a sick, morphine-addicted friend; of that trip, she wrote the book The Cruel Way: Two Women and a Ford in Afghanistan. During the course of her life, Maillart also worked as a French teacher in Wales, a secretary, a traveling saleswoman, a competitive skier, a sculptor’s model and a movie stuntwoman.
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. . . .