Guatemalan Women Suffer Discrimination from Companies with U.S Ties
Guatemalan women face continual discrimination in maquilas, clothing factories, which routinely prevent women’s access to health care. A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report, “From the Household to the Factory: Sex Discrimination in the Guatemalan Labor Force” chronicles how these maquilas target pregnant women for discrimination and deny them maternity benefits dictated by Guatemalan law. According to HRW, 80 percent of maquila workers are women. Their access to reproductive health care is being compromised by unlawful ?maquila practices.
Several U.S. companies have contracts with maquilas that enforce discriminatory practices inlcuding Target, The Limited, Wal-Mart, GEAR for Sports, Liz Claiborne, and Lee Jeans, all cited by HRW. While these U.S. companies all have policies against discrimination, the reality of the maquila workers, as documented by HRW, shows that discrimination is “persistent” there. According to HRW, “In an era of increased globalization, corporations have a critical role to play in promoting and protecting universally recognized human rights generally, and labor rights in particular.”
Human Rights Watch is also calling on the Guatemalan government to do more to protect women workers, especially domestic workers. HRW contends that domestic workers, many of whom are adolescent girls, are frequently victims of sexual abuse and assault. These workers are also not entitled to a minimum wage, an eight-hour workday, or employee-paid health care.
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. . . .