The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released its 2006 State of the World Population report yesterday in a morning briefing in Washington, DC, emphasizing the importance of women's issues and international migration. According to the report, women migrants typically leave their native countries to escape the oppression they face and to gain freedom in a new country. However, while half of all migrants are women, they often face double discrimination because of their gender and their foreign-born status. Approximately one-third of households headed by foreign-born women are at or below the poverty line. Often the sole or primary providers, women also tend to contribute the majority of the $232 billion that migrants send back to their families in their home countries every year, said Maria Jose Alcala, principal author of the report.
The panel of speakers releasing the report also focused on trafficking, to which migrant women are often susceptible. Luring migrants to a new country through false promises of legitimate jobs and protection, traffickers expose victims to violence and unsafe conditions, according to Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY). Women are disproportionately targeted: of the 2.5 million people who are trafficked each year, 80 percent are women, and of these women, 11 percent are forced into sex trafficking, which involves being forced to have sex while enduring violence, rape, and threats of being sent back to their home countries.
The panel’s promotion of more gender specific laws include the “Pimp Tax” law, a current project of Maloney’s. Because federal, state, and local mechanisms to prosecute sex traffickers are weak and difficult to enforce, Maloney proposes that the law investigate and arrest traffickers on tax evasion. Because “pimps” do not pay taxes on the money they make off of trafficked women, Maloney’s law would enable the IRS to become involved. In 2005, Maloney also helped pass the Trafficking Victims Reauthorization Act which better equips US law enforcement officials to study trafficking and enforce laws against traffickers.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority Foundation; Office of Carolyn Maloney
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. . . .