A new exhibit celebrating the life of feminist Mary Baker Eddy will open on March 7, as one of the “untold stories” at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park. The exhibit is part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the First Women’s Rights Convention, held in Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848.
Eddy, who was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, was an author, a founder and president of a teaching college, a publisher and editor of a weekly and monthly magazine and of a Pulitzer-prize winning newspaper.
Eddy is best known for her book, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, described as “one of the 75 books by women whose words have changed the world,” by the National Women’s Book Association.
Authorities have charged members of a Mexican family with smuggling women as young as 13 into the United States to work as sex slaves. The women were transported across the border at Brownsville, Texas. Although some women knew they would have to work off a $2,000 smuggling fee in brothels as prostitutes, most were unaware. The women were then moved to Florida, where some were locked in windowless rooms.
The brothels opened in 1996, and catered to Hispanic immigrants.
The Peruvian government has announced intentions to end the targeting of poor women for sterilization. The government had previously been charged with offering rewards to health care workers for sterilizing a minimum number of poor women. The health workers often offered food, clothing and supplies to the women, in exchange for obtaining a tubal ligation. Although tubal ligation is normally a safe procedure, unclean medical conditions and untrained workers often caused death or illness. AP - February 26, 1998
Federal Bureau of Investigation agents announced that they found nails in a storage shed rented by Eric Robert Rudolph in Murphy, N.C. The nails match shrapnel from a bomb used in an explosive device found at one of three sites in Atlanta over the past year and a half. CBS news reported that the FBI may add Rudolph to its “Ten Most Wanted” list.
Officials believe that the matching nails could be the clue to figuring out if a single person caused the bombings of the Birmingham, Alabama abortion clinic, a gay nightclub, an Atlanta abortion clinic and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Authorities have issued a warrant for Rudolph’s arrest, and are offering a $100,000 reward. Rudolph is wanted for the bombing of the New Women, All Women health clinic which killed off-duty police officer Robert Sanderson and seriously injured clinic nurse Emily Lyons.
call 1-888-ATF-BOMB with information regarding the bombing.
Pictures of Eric Robert Rudolph
Feminist News Stories on Clinic Violence
Mary Vincent testified against the man who raped and mutilated her 20 years ago. Vincent provided 10 minutes of testimony in the penalty phase of a trial charging Lawrence Singleton with the murder of Roxanne Hayes in Tampa, Florida.
Singleton was convicted of raping Vincent, then a 15-year-old runaway, and chopping off her forearms. Vincent told reporters that she looked him in the eye when she identified him as her assailant. “I had to. I had to identify him,” she said.
Singleton was let out on parole 10 years ago after serving time in prison for his actions against Vincent. He denies ever attacking Mary Vincent, but admits to murdering Roxanne Hayes.
Military Judge Col. Ferdinand D. Clervi rejected defense pleas to drop 9 of the 19 charges brought against former Sgt. Maj. McKinney. The judge offered no explanation for his ruling, and the defense proceeded directly with the testimony of McKinney’s wife of 26 years, Wilhemina McKinney.
Defense attorneys had expected Wilhemina McKinney to claim that she and her husband had a strong marriage. Instead, she admitted that their relationship was strained after the death of their 19-year-old son, but that they are closer now. Ms. McKinney did not contradict the testimony of her husband’s accusers.
Defense lawyers plan to call 82 witnesses to the stand in support of Sgt. Maj. McKinney. If convicted, McKinney faces 55 1/2 years in prison, loss of rank and retirement benefits.
Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military
The United Nation’s Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded its $25,000 World Press Freedom Prize to Nigerian journalist Christina Anyanwu. Anyanwu has faced brutal conditions in prison for the past three years.
The former editor-in-chief of Nigeria’s The Sunday Magazine, Anyanwu “was arrested following the publication of an article about an attempted coup against the Nigerian government on March 1, 1995 and was condemned to life imprisonment by a special military tribunal in a trial held behind closed doors on July 4, 1995,” said a UNESCO spokesperson.
2/25/1998 - Stay-at-Home Paid in Norway
Legislators in Norway are proposing to pay parents to stay at home with their children. Norway provides subsidized child care centers, but there is only room for 40 percent of the nation’s children under age 3. Caring for one child costs the government approximately $400 per month, the same amount Norway is willing to pay parents for making due without a public day-care center.
With 70 percent of Norway’s mothers working outside the home and a lack of workers in health care and service jobs normally held by women, critics worry that the new proposal will injure Norway’s job market and send women back to more traditional roles.
Kristin Mile, Norway’s deputy equality ombudswoman, said “We are afraid that women will be the ones that end up staying home. We’re worried that it will be a move back to more traditional family roles and back to the kitchen for women.”
Other critics have voiced concern that the plan will increase the already-increasing income gap. Poorer parents might opt to stay home to care for their children in order to collect the income, while higher-income families would be willing to pay for private child-care.
A study issued by the International Labor Organization (ILO) reports a decrease in maternity benefits in Eastern European countries due to economic restructuring. ILO researchers investigated the treatment of women of child-bearing age in 152 countries, including maternity protection at work, maternity leave, cash and medical benefits and employment protection.
Researchers found that, although 120 countries now offer maternity leave by law, women in Eastern and Central Europe face increasing violations of their rights. Many of the countries are encouraging women to stay home and tout “traditional family values.”
In markets where women easily lose their jobs, they no longer qualify for some benefits, while women are often fired when they become pregnant or are on maternity leave. The report said, “most working women at some point in their lives, face unequal treatment in employment due to their reproductive role.”
Countries providing the most paid maternity leave include the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy and Canada.
2/24/1998 - "Welfare Reform" Hurting, Not Helping
A study released by the Tufts University’s Center on Hunger and Poverty reports that the enactment of "welfare reform" policies in two-thirds of the states may push the poor into greater poverty. The Center surveyed all 50 states on their implementation of the 1996 federal welfare overhaul, concluding that only 14 states have passed reforms that are likely to improve the economic conditions of the poor, while the “majority are failing and failing badly.”
Researchers assessed 34 policy decisions that the federal government left up to the states in the 1996 welfare reform bill, including child care, health coverage and job and education training.
Director of research John T. Cook commented, “I think a part of what we hope the report will accomplish is to send a wake-up call to the nation, to those states ... [that] are not, in fact, using the new prerogatives that they were given to actually accomplish the central promise of welfare reform -- and that is to improve the lives of the people.”
States in the South and Midwest scored the poorest. Idaho scored lowest, while Vermont scored the highest. Welfare recipients in Vermont can lose cash benefits, but they continue to receive healthcare, housing and other necessities without exception. If the recipient cannot find a job, they are required to work in a nonprofit setting.
2/24/1998 - Prosecutors Rest in McKinney Case
Prosecutors have rested their case after 10 days of testimony from 27 witnesses charging former Sgt. Maj. Gene McKinney with sexual misconduct. Witnesses included six female officers who claim that McKinney propositioned, assaulted or threatened them.
A military judge will rule today whether to dismiss nine of 19 charges. If convicted, McKinney faces loss of rank, retirement benefits and 55 1/2 years in prison.
Feminist News Stories on Sexual Harassment, Assault and Discrimination in the Military
2/24/1998 - Rabbis Set Curfew for Married Israeli Women
A rabbinical court in Haifa, Israel ruled that married women must obey a midnight curfew. The panel of rabbis declared that married women must be home by midnight after hearing a divorce case in which the husband accused his wife of staying out late in nightclubs.
Married couples in Israel must apply to a rabbinical court for a divorce.
2/24/1998 - First Ladies Web Site Up and Running
The National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio launched its website earlier this week. The site, www.firstladies.org, is “devoted to the history and legacy of America’s first ladies,” and contains a virtual library of more than 40,000 books, manuscripts, journals, newspaper articles and other materials related to the first ladies.
Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first to access the site during a White House ceremony. She stated, “Today’s ceremony will help us change forever our understanding of the roles of women who have been here before us.”
The U.S. Supreme Court turned away an appeal from a Maine anti-abortion group that would allow corporations to disregard campaign spending rules except when they explicitly advocate the election or defeat of a candidate. The Main Right to Life Committee Inc. sued the Federal Election Commission over regulations that prohibited the publication of voter records and guides. FEC laws banned corporations from contacting the candidate during formation of a guide publication and required equal space to all candidates in the publication.
Although U.S. District Judge Borck Hornby ruled in favor of the Committee in Clifton vs. FEC, declaring the FEC could not enforce the regulations, the anti-abortion group appealed on the grounds that the judge did not rule on all limitations put in place by the FEC.
2/24/1998 - U.S. Supreme Court Lets “Megan’s Law” Stand
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear arguments against “Megan’s Law,” the New Jersey legislation that requires public notification of names and addresses of sex offenders. Petitioners argued that the law violates the double jeopardy and ex post facto clauses of the U.S. Constitution. The clauses provide protection from double punishment for the same crime and infliction of greater punishment, respectively.
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that sex offenders must be allowed to challenge their own classification with “clear and convincing” evidence. Higher classifications denote a higher risk to the community, allowing a greater segment of the public to be notified of the offenders’ whereabouts.
All 50 states have passed sex offender registration laws. Thirty-seven states require some level of community notification if a sex offender is living in the area.
A judge will soon rule on damages up to $1 million in a case of “unintentional sex discrimination” by Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant. The Miami establishment, slated as one of the top 10 grossing restaurants in the U.S., was charged by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of discriminatory hiring practices against women.
The EEOC claimed that between 1986 and 1991, the restaurant’s owners hired 108 male waiters, and no women. The EEOC offered evidence that 44 percent of the servers in Miami Beach were female. In July of 1997, U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley ruled that Joe’s employment practices had a “disproportionate impact on women.”
Although federal law allows companies to refuse to hire people based on age and sex when the position requires, the co-owners of Joe’s, Grace Weiss and Jo Ann Bass, claim that they simply hired the best-qualified applicants. The restaurant’s owners, known for their stands on social justice and feminist issues, are astonished by the ruling. Bass said that the low numbers of female applicants for server positions never seemed like a problem, “We had women working in all other parts of the restaurant. And there was always a preponderance of women in management.”
While no woman had accused the restaurant of discrimination, the EEOC initiated the case on its own. At present, 18 of the 80 restaurant servers at Joe’s are women.
Feminist News Stories on Affirmative Action
2/23/1998 - Female Doctors Increasingly Harassed
A survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine reports that more than one-third of female doctors age 30-70 have been sexually harassed, while close to half have suffered from gender-based harassment. Out of 4,501 women surveyed, 36.9% reported sexual harassment while 47.7% reported gender-based harassment stemming from being a female in a traditionally male environment.
Younger women doctors reported higher rates of sexual harassment than older ones. Researchers reported that sexual harassment is “primarily a manifestation of power, rather than sexual attraction.”
The survey results indicate an increase in harassment in medical schools. Janet Bickel of the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington said, “Many of us hoped that the increasing numbers of women -- now 42% in medical schools -- and the fact that virtually all medical schools and hospitals now have sexual-harassment policies, which we could not say 10 years ago ... would [cause the problem to] be going down faster. This shows that it’s still an issue.”
Chairwoman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Brooksley Born, accused the futures industry of lacking sufficient minority and women members. “For too long many of these jobs have been filled based on friendships and family relationships, and an incidental characteristic of these relationships has been that they usually did not include persons of color,” said Born. “Likewise,” said Born, “there are very few Asian Americans or Hispanic Americans in these positions and few women.”
Born singled out the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) during a speech at the Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago, noting that out of 6,000 CBOT and CME members, only 30 are black.
Born called for a “proactive recruitment” of minorities and women. She claimed that “the industry will do itself a disservice if it fails to seek out people from the broadest possible base of participation -- eliminating race, ethnicity and gender barriers.”
2/23/1998 - New Contraception for Women in 2000
The vaginal ring, a new form of contraception for women, is expected to be out on the market by 2000. The ring, developed by Organon Pharmaceuticals, releases hormones similar to those contained in birth control pills.
The ring is inserted into the vaginal vault, is comfortable and can be easily removed. Studies have shown that the ring is as reliable as the pill in preventing pregnancy.
The Population Council is also currently working on a new form of contraception for women that would release hormones through a device similar to a nicotine patch.
“In real life, I think both the patch and the ring will be more effective because the compliance will be higher. It will be easier for women to use it in an effective way,” said Dr. Elof Johnasson of the Population Council.
A Turkish commission is recommending that laws giving men a dominant role as pasha, or commander of the family, be thrown out. The commission, led by law professor Turgut Akinturk, wants to revise Turkey’s civil code, eliminating provisions that decree the husband as the head of the family, allow men to decide were the family should live, grant men final say over the raising of the children and force women to obtain permission from their husbands before working outside the home.
The commission is also suggesting a revision of marriage laws, raising the minimum age of marriage from 14 to 18 for girls, and from 14 to 18 for boys. The commission also hopes to reform divorce laws.
The proposals must be approved by the Parliament. If approved, the old laws will be replaced by provisions emphasizing equal rights and duties of both the man and woman.
2/23/1998 - Pro-Choice House Candidate Stands Firm
California Democratic US House candidate Lois Capps is appearing in an ad declaring her stance as a pro-choice candidate. In the ad, Capps claims, “outside interest groups are now attacking me ... So let’s be clear: I am strongly pro-choice. My opponent opposes a woman’s right to choose.” The commercial, now airing, is a direct rebuttal to attacks by a right-wing, Washington DC-based group.
The conservative Campaign for Working Families launched its own commercials, degrading Capps for her pro-choice views. Republican candidate Todd Harris is not running commercials due to a lack of campaign funds.
2/23/1998 - Promise Keepers Fires Staff
The Promise Keepers, a male-only, right-wing Christian group, announced that it will fire its entire staff due to a financial crisis. “Promise Keepers today gave its staff six weeks notice that they will be paid until March 31 and no further. As stable and sufficient donations are received, re-staffing will occur,” said a statement from the group.
The group previously charged a $60 attendance fee to its events, which contributed to 72 percent of its income. Last year Promise Keepers officials decided to stop charging admission to the rallies, counting on donations alone.
British officials are putting pressure on the Caribbean colonies to eradicate laws criminalizing homosexuality. The request comes after Cayman Islands authorities refused to let a cruise ship carrying gay vacationers to land because they “could not be counted on to uphold the standards of appropriate behavior expected of visitors.”
Anguilla’s chief minister Hubert Hughes said, “We are a simple Christian society. That is the foundation of our society. People say homosexuality is sinful.” Britain has threatened to use its powers in Parliament to intervene and overturn the laws.
2/20/1998 - Cambodian Media Upholds Degradation of Women
A study conducted by the Women’s Media Centre of Cambodia found that the Cambodian media consistently degrade women through stereotypes. Researchers found that women are the focus of only seven percent of the stories in newspapers, but are featured in 20 percent of the photographs and 92 percent of the cartoons and drawings. Eighty percent of the drawings were deemed “obscene,” while more than 50 percent of the cartoons portrayed women as sex objects.
The study also reported that 63 percent of the scenes in Cambodian entertainment portray women in traditional roles, such as wife, mother, lover or daughter.
Tive Sarayeth of the Women’s Media Centre said, according to the media “it looks like the Cambodia woman is concerned mainly with one thing: to find a man and keep him through her feminine charms so she can dedicate herself to suffering for her husband and children for the rest of her life .... It would appear that the media threatens women who do not behave in the way tradition dictates.”
2/20/1998 - British Elections Will Focus on Single Issues
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of allowing British campaign groups to spend unrestricted sums on leafleting and broadcasting before an election. Unlimited spending on propaganda will enable groups to support a specific candidate or deprecate a rival for their views on issues such as abortion and gay and lesbian rights.
Previously, the Representation of the Peoples Act passed in 1983 ordered a 5- pound (8 US dollars) limit on unauthorized campaign spending. Anti-abortion activist Phyllis Bowman brought the case to court after being prosecuted for spending 10,000 pounds (16,000 US dollars) while distributing 25,000 leaflets that condemned a local candidate for pro-choice views.
Amanda Callaghan, a member of the pro-choice Birth Control Trust, is not worried about the ruling. Callaghan said, “We have never shied away from a free and frank exchange of views on this subject.”