American Journal of Public Health: This articles looks at the association between traumatic events and mental health among victims of sexual trafficking. Girls and women that had experienced sexual violence had higher instances of post traumatic stress disorder, and higher rates of depression and anxiety the longer they were exploited.
"We used subscales of the Brief Symptom Inventory and Harvard Trauma Questionnaire to interview 204 trafficked girls and women in 7 posttrafficking service settings. Multivariate logistic regression models based on interview data were fitted for depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) separately and adjusted for pretrafficking abuse to determine impact of trafficking-related trauma exposures.
Injuries and sexual violence during trafficking were associated with higher levels of PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Sexual violence was associated with higher levels of PTSD (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 5.6; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.3, 25.4). More time in trafficking was associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety (AOR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.1, 4.5). More time since trafficking was associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety but not of PTSD."
Psychiatric Services: A new study shows females with past military service were more likely to complete suicide than female non-veterans.
"Prospective analyses of National Health Interview Survey and National Death Index data found an adjusted risk of suicide among male veterans twice that of nonveteran males (1). That study also examined data for 11 female veterans and 246 female nonveterans who completed suicide and found that women with past military service were more likely to complete suicide (adjusted hazard ratio=3.62, 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.95–6.73).
This cross-sectional study used 2004–2007 data for 5,948 women (ages 18 to 64) who completed suicide in the 16 states that constitute the National Violent Death Reporting System. Denominators were from 2004–2007 veteran population data and American Community Surveys. We examined rates for female nonveterans and veterans, whose rates were computed using two denominators—female veterans and the broader military service population of veterans plus active duty, reserve, and National Guard."
Ms. Foundation for Women: The Domestic Workers Bill of Rights went into effect on November 29th in New York City. This bill guarantees basic work standards and protections for the nannies, caregivers, and housekeepers who work in the city and provides protection against workers vulnerability to abuse and mistreatment.
"As of November 29, 2010, nannies, housekeepers and other domestic workers in the State of New York will, at long last, be afforded the employment protections they deserve under the law. There is no doubt this is long-overdue: For more than 75 years, domestic workers have been explicitly excluded from federal laws meant to protect nearly every other worker in the country.
The result of years of hard work by Ms. Foundation grantee Domestic Workers United (DWU), the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights provides basic labor protections -- including overtime pay, one day of rest per week, paid leave and protection from discrimination and harassment -- to the more than 200,000 individuals who make up New York's domestic workforce. The legislation is the first of its kind in the nation, and was signed into law by outgoing Governor David Paterson on August 31, 2010."
International Women's Health Coalition: Today the U.S. Senate passed an important bill called the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act. This bill seeks to eliminate unlawful child marriages which not only violate human rights but threaten the health of child brides. Worldwide, more than 60 million girls are married before the age of 18 and often die in childbirth.
"This bill seeks to eliminate child marriage - which is often unlawful and in violation of human rights - by expanding investments at the community level to empower girls, promoting community understanding about the harmful impact of child marriage, and requiring the U.S. government to develop a strategy to prevent child marriage.
The State Department will also be required to report on the issue of child marriage in its annual Human Rights Report. Child marriage undermines U.S. investments in foreign assistance to improve women's and girls' education, health, economic and legal status. The bill will provide such sums as necessary for five years to support child marriage prevention programs in high incident countries."
RH Reality Check: Latinas aged 18-34 are struggling economically to pay rent and put food on the table. As a result, many make the difficult choice to sacrifice birth control for other necessities.
"In the United States, Latinas are the group that would most benefit from the push to provide no-cost birth control to all women – because they are among the ones least able to afford birth control. According to a recent survey commissioned by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Latinas in their prime childbearing years, ages 18 – 34, are more likely than all other young women to use prescription birth control methods – like the Pill – inconsistently because they cannot afford the insurance co-payments. Inconsistent use of birth control lowers its effectiveness.
As the economic downturn drags on without relief for low-income women, this precarious financial juggling act has become increasingly harmful to women’s health. The doctors and nurses who staff Planned Parenthood health centers have seen a growing number of patients who must choose between basics like rent and health care costs such as monthly health insurance premiums and prescription co-payments. Despite their best efforts, many Latinas who struggle to afford birth control are facing unintended pregnancies as a result."
Los Angeles Times: The FDA is warning against women sharing breast milk due to contamination and bacteria. However, since breast milk banks carry limited product, and the breast milk is often expensive, women will probably continue to seek out others to share the precious resource with.
"U.S. health officials are cautioning new parents about sharing breast milk as a growing number of women are using social networking and other websites to share their milk instead of turning to infant formula. Health experts have long promoted breast-feeding as the "perfect food" to provide babies with needed nutrients as well as ward off illness, but the Food and Drug Administration is worried about the practice.
In a statement Tuesday, the agency urged parents not to casually use breast milk from other, unscreened mothers because of the risk of disease or contamination from bacteria, drugs or chemicals. 'FDA recommends against feeding your baby breast milk acquired directly from individuals or through the Internet,' the agency wrote. Instead, parents should talk to their doctors and use breast milk from special human milk banks, it said.
The move comes ahead of a public FDA meeting Monday to discuss breast milk donations and banking. The agency is poised to release documents related to the meeting Thursday. It also follows some concern in recent years with the $2.8 billion infant formula market that has seen controversy over chemicals in can linings as well as various recalls."
Women's Media Center: Congress is considering new tax legislation which will affect women and families in important ways. Among other things, the legislation would extend tax credits that would directly benefit girls and women who are struggling with poverty.
"As new tax legislation makes its way through Congress, the media storm surrounded it can be overwhelming. Here are some key issues to understand about how the proposed agreement will affect women, mothers, and working families.
The agreement as it currently stands would extend the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), the Child Tax Credit (CTC), and Unemployment Insurance. These are three out of seven policies in the Recovery Act that have kept 3.3 million girls and women above the poverty line. It also includes the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC).
The Earned Income Tax Credit supplements the wages of low income workers. Working mothers are particularly assisted by this policy. The range of workers eligible for the EITC was expanded under the Recovery Act, and now gives larger families up to $1,040 more per year than it did before. The EITC lifts more children out of poverty than any other single program."
Center for American Progress: A new report details how the Hyde Amendment targets poor women of color by restricting federal funding for abortion. The Amendment has also spread to many other government health programs.
"Abortion policy in this country does not treat all women equally. Even before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, affluent women were usually able to access abortion safely through a network of private doctors or by traveling to other states or countries where it was legal, while poor women risked their health, fertility, and often their lives to end a pregnancy. Unfortunately, because of a policy known as the Hyde Amendment, similar disparities and injustices still exist today—nearly 40 years after the Supreme Court declared that all women have a constitutional right to abortion.
The Hyde Amendment prohibits Medicaid, the joint federal-state health care program for the poor and indigent, from covering abortion care in almost all circumstances. Most people think of abortion as a “woman’s issue,” which of course it is. But the Hyde Amendment intentionally discriminates against poor women, who are disproportionately women of color. In this way, the Hyde Amendment is a policy that not only violates reproductive rights and principles of gender equity but one that undermines racial and economic justice as well."
RH Reality Check: Despite a new law banning the practice, 120 women were forced to undergo female genital mutilation in Uganda.
"Late last week, an estimated 120 young women of the Sabiny ethnic group in Uganda were forced to undergo severe forms of genital mutilation despite a new law banning the practice. The mass "circumcision" involving the removal of the clitoris and other parts of their genitalia took place in public with crowds looking on. The fact that leaders of the Sabiny carried out the genital mutilation despite the new law--in fact in open defiance of it--has sparked public debate about the limitations of legal strategies operating in a vacuum."
BBC: In the United Kingdom, many young adults are not saving enough for retirement. Young women in particular are struggling with debt, and not able to start saving until much too late.
"Young people are facing poverty in old age by turning their backs on saving for a pension. Official figures show that the number of women aged 22 to 29 in the UK who are signing up for a workplace pension has fallen for four years in a row, marking the most rapid decline of any age group.
And it is workers aged under 30 who are the least likely to have signed up for a workplace pension scheme - generally the most generous pension policies. Fewer than 40% of men and women aged 22 to 29 contribute to a scheme offered by their employer."