January 17, 2007

Early Double Dose

So much in the news this week — here’s an early round-up:

Afghanistan’s Efforts to Boost Women Falter: Ministry created to right wrongs has upped awareness, but achieved little else, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Spanish Minister Cancels Speech at Saudi University Because of Ban on Women Reporters. How much do we admire Prime Minister José Luis Rodríquez Zapatero? Let us continue to count the ways … (p.s. Feministing readers suggest sending flowers.)

War Zone Midwives Deliver: More on Iraqi maternal and infant health: “As gunmen increasingly target hospitals and clinics in Iraq’s deepening civil war, expectant mothers rely on the country’s 2,000 midwives, or qabilas, and 3,000 lower-skilled rural ‘birth attendants’ — all of whom the state no longer licenses or trains, in an effort to steer women to government clinics,” writes Molly Hennessy-Fiske at the Los Angeles Times. Midwives now deliver half the country’s babies, though Iraq’s Health Ministry stopped licensing midwives and training birth assistants in 2003.

51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse: “For what experts say is probably the first time, more American women are living without a husband than with one, according to a New York Times analysis of census results,” writes Sam Roberts. “Coupled with the fact that in 2005 married couples became a minority of all American households for the first time, the trend could ultimately shape social and workplace policies, including the ways government and employers distribute benefits.”

How We Talk About Women: “There’s a term for the way the media deals with women in powerful positions: ‘skirtiny,’ a severe scrutiny harsher than what men experience — one that focuses on hair, hemlines, and husbands and lies in wait for mistakes,” writes Betty Spence, founder and president of Equal Voice. Here’s her assessment of Chris Matthew’s comments regarding Sen. Hillary Rodam Clinton not yet announcing whether she’ll run for her party’s presidential nomination:

Cut back to Matthews, who asked, “When is a politician like Hillary Clinton or anyone else going to admit they have the ‘A’ word, ambition, and stop with this coy thing … and just like a strip tease … saying she’s flattered by all the attention?”

Strip tease?

This is how people talk about women. With lightning speed, Matthews had sexualized the conversation via an out-of-context image. Why? It doesn’t take an analyst to figure it out: a woman in the world’s most powerful position — now that’s scary; but a stripper, well, we can handle that.

Pap Test, a Mainstay Against Cervical Cancer, May Be Fading: “It will not disappear for many more years, if ever,” writes Andrew Pollack. “But a newer genetic test that detects human papillomavirus, or HPV, which causes cervical cancer, is starting to play a bigger role in screening. And other genetic tests are being developed. At the least, some experts say, women will no longer need Pap smears as often.”


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