In celebration of Women’s Equality Day, Ellen Goodman announced the "Equal Rites Awards" in her national column – a satirical spoof meant to honor those who have "set back the cause of women." Among Goodman’s honorees are President Bush for the "Mixed Message Award"—Goodman describes Bush as "the world leader who bragged about liberating women of the world [who] now hedges, hems and haws about supporting the United Nations treaty for women’s equality (CEDAW)." Others include the "Blind Justice Award" to the Pakistani tribal council that sentenced a young woman to gang rape, the "International Ayatollah Award" to the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Saudi Arabia—who wouldn’t let 15 girls out of a burning school because their hair wasn’t covered, and the "Our Make War, Not Love" prize for the 200 US soldiers who used their government credit cards at strip clubs to pay for lap dances.
In 1971, Representative Bella Abzug (D-NY) introduced the bill that established August 26 as "Women's Equality Day." The day is designed to commemorate the day in 1920 when the 19th amendment was ratified and afforded women the right to vote. While women have come a long way in the 82 years since suffrage won, there is still a long way to go to equality – women still earn 73 cents to the dollar and have no paid family leave, women make up more than 50 percent of the US population but there are only 13 women Senators in Congress and the Equal Rights Amendment has yet to be ratified as part of our Constitution – to name a few of the battles for women in this country alone.
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. . . .