As wages continue to stagnate and tuition costs rise, college education has become out of reach for many women and low-income families. Increasing student aid to fill the gap between rising college costs and decreasing median family income is critical to ensuring that higher education is affordable to low-income students.
New Jersey Institute of Technology: A new project funded by the National Science Foundation used social network mapping to expose collaborations between colleagues and how or whether this led to career advancement. Researchers concluded that women faculty in STEM careers are often excluded from the information flow, and that male faculty with male mentors tended to advance more quickly.
"Long before Facebook introduced its hot new Social Graph app, researchers in the ADVANCE project at NJIT were pioneering the use of social network mapping to help women scientists and engineers supercharge their career.
Beginning in 2006 with an NSF "proof of concept" Institutional Transformation grant, the project mined the Internet for information about who at NJIT collaborates with whom, constructing an interactive database containing over 7,200 publications produced between 2000 and 2008 by NJIT faculty. Statistical modeling and visual mapping of this data established a strong correlation between collaboration and career advancement. It also revealed hidden gender patterns, some of them predictable, others surprising. Predictably, male faculty tended to collaborate with other male faculty far more than with female faculty. Surprisingly, for women faculty, network structure --in particular, being connected to well-connected colleagues -- was a more reliable predictor of career success than number of publications.
'A new NSF-funded study shows that the ability of groups to come up with innovative solutions to problems increases with the proportion of women in the group. The purpose of the NSF ADVANCE program is to bring about institutional change so that women scientists and engineers will be in the room when the crucial decisions are made," she said. "The new network mapping tools we are developing at NJIT make an important contribution to that process, allowing researchers across the country to actually see institutional transformation as it occurs.'"
New York Times: On Tuesday, Sudanese police arrested women who were protesting a public flogging that took place earlier in the week. Under Islamic law, crimes can be punished by flogging but are carried out disproportionately against women, and often without reason or cause.
"Dozens of women were arrested in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, on Tuesday, at a protest sparked by graphic video that appeared to show a Sudanese woman being flogged by laughing police officers.
Sudan’s judiciary announced on Sunday that it would investigate the flogging recorded on video, but 52 women were arrested as they protested outside the country’s justice ministry. The women, part of the “No to Subjugating Women Initiative,” were sitting down and holding banners when they were arrested, Reuters reported. They shouted, “Humiliating your women is humiliating all your people,” as the police dragged them away.
As the news agency explained, 'Floggings carried out under Islamic law are almost a daily punishment in Sudan for crimes ranging from drinking alcohol to adultery. But vague laws on women’s dress and behavior are implemented inconsistently.'"
Human Rights Watch: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a new bipartisan bill called the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) which aims to reduce violence against women in twenty countries. IVAWA would complement the Violence Against Women Act, which offers protections to women in the United States.
"Congressional leaders should ensure passage this session of a bipartisan bill that sets out a new US strategy for ending violence against women worldwide, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill was approved on December 14, 2010, by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
The draft International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) would require the State Department to adopt a five-year plan to reduce violence against women in up to 20 target countries. The approach calls for increased legal and judicial protection for women, strengthened health services to respond to violence, increased educational and economic opportunities for women, and efforts to change social norms that perpetuate violence against women. Special attention would be given to responding to violence against women during humanitarian disasters and armed conflict."
ACLU: Rape, sexual harassment, and sexual assault take place twice as often in the military as they do in civilian ranks. Along with the ACLU, the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs, seeking government records documenting incidents of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military.
"The Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Connecticut filed a lawsuit today with the U.S. District Court in New Haven, Connecticut against the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs for their failure to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests seeking government records documenting incidents of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military. Tens of thousands of service members each year are estimated to have experienced some form of military sexual trauma (MST). These acts occur nearly twice as often within military ranks as they do within civilian society.
"The government's refusal to even take the first step of providing comprehensive and accurate information about the sexual trauma inflicted upon our women and men in uniform, and the treatment and benefits MST survivors receive after service, is all too telling," said Anuradha Bhagwati, a former Marine captain and Executive Director of SWAN. 'The DOD and VA should put the interests of service members first and expose information on the extent of sexual trauma in the military to the sanitizing light of day.'"
Yesterday, we got some excting news from Women Thrive and the I-VAWA Coalition: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) passed the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA, S. 2982). Senator Kerry, one of I-VAWA's lead sponsors and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stated:
Salon: In Idaho, advocates are pushing for the "rape by fraud" law to be revised. Currently, it only applies to married women, but a new law would apply to unmarried victims as well.
"In Idaho, if a man gets a woman to have sex with him by impersonating her husband, it's considered "rape by fraud." (It's a strange scenario, but it happens: Maybe the room is especially dark, or she is especially intoxicated.) But if that woman is unmarried and the man instead poses as her boyfriend to get her to submit to sex, it isn't rape under current state law. All that could change, though, thanks to a recent case that exposed this legal flaw, the Associated Press reports.
Last month, a judge dismissed rape charges in a case where a woman was allegedly tricked by her boyfriend into having sex with a stranger. If her boyfriend had instead been her husband, the case could have gone forward, no problem. But the statute specifically limits the charge to cases where a woman "submits under the belief that the person committing the act is her husband, and the belief is induced by artifice, pretense or concealment practiced by the accused, with intent to induce such belief."
New York Times: In Sweden, female empowerment and the involvement of men in the gender-equality debate have resulted in more sexual assault crimes being reported and prosecuted.
"When Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, asked two Swedish women out on dates in August, he may not have known that Swedish laws protecting women in their sexual encounters include wide-ranging definitions of sexual assault and rape.
Swedish criminal laws regarding sex offenses are not necessarily all that much stricter than the laws in many other European countries, Mr. Borgstrom said.
But Swedish women, backed by a strong consciousness of women’s rights and a history of a very public discussion of the scourge of sexual violence, may be more willing than most to look to the law for help.
The number of reported rapes in Sweden is by far the highest in the European Union, according to the European Sourcebook of Crime and Criminal Justice Statistics, which cites 53 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. Britain has the next highest rate, at 24 per 100,000."
International Journal of Comparative Sociology: A new study examines physical intimate partner violence in 40 developed and less developed countriesand analyzes what causes increases and decreases in the violence.
"This study investigates the cross-national correlates of intimate partner violence against women with a sample of 40 developed and less developed countries. Specifically, we analyze physical intimate partner violence against women during the 12 months prior to data collection, using data from nationally representative surveys. In the process, we examine the evidence for three explanations we discern from the literature: empowerment of women, cultural context (i.e. religion, institutions), and globalization. The results of our analyses provide strong support for the empowerment of women explanation, which draws from feminist concerns regarding socio-economic status of women, and reveal some effect of cultural context and globalization. Female labor force participation in non-agricultural sectors and women’s secondary school enrollment decrease the likelihood of intimate partner violence while increasing total fertility rate signals more partner violence. Religious fractionalization and dependence on high-income countries as export partners also increase the likelihood of intimate partner violence against women."