Opening the National Center for Women and Policing’s (NCWP) 7th Annual Conference, Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, warned of the growing backlash to women in policing. The number of women in police agencies of 100 or more sworn officers decreased from 14.3 percent in 1999 to 12.7 percent in 2001, according to the latest survey conducted by NCWP. “The cut back in affirmative action and the loss of consent decrees mandating the hiring and/or promotion of women and minorities has begun to reverse the very modest gains women have made in law enforcement over the last thirty years,” said Smeal, who also predicted that “Without the willingness of the Department of Justice to bring lawsuits and negotiate consent decrees to remedy discriminatory hiring practices by law enforcement agencies, the percentage of women in law enforcement will likely decrease further.”
In her remarks, Smeal also highlighted the striking similarities between the backlash US women are experiencing in the fight for equality and the backlash Afghan women faced under the Taliban. “In both cases, you see male-dominated power structures that are afraid to allow women for fear that they will clean them [the institution] up,” said Smeal.
The National Center for Women and Policing, a division of the Feminist Majority Foundation, promotes increasing the numbers of women at all ranks of law enforcement as a strategy to improve police response to violence against women, reduce police brutality, and strengthen community policing reforms.
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. . . .