The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) have released a report that examines the effects of economic transitions from state socialism to free markets on women in 18 Eastern European countries.
According to the report, titled "The Story Behind the Numbers: Women and Employment in Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Commonwealth of Independent States," Eastern European women have suffered because of the collapse of state socialism, with high rates of long-term unemployment. Those that find work frequently fill underpaid, governmental positions. Though women are statistically better educated than their male counterparts, they are paid less. Men too, though, have been negatively affected and also have high rates of unemployment and poverty.
However, the report notes that while both men and women face difficulties in the labor market, women are disproportionately negatively affected by their role as caregivers. A UNIFEM press release points out that, "State policies no longer try to assist women to balance work and family. Instead, they have reinforced the tradition of women’s sole responsibility for reproductive work and have cut (or allowed for the devaluation of state subsidies for child-care institutions, maternity leave, and parental sick leave."
Media Resources: UNIFEM press release 6/13/06; UNIFEM report overview 6/13/06
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. . . .