Re:Gender works to end gender inequity and discrimination against girls and women by exposing root causes and advancing research-informed action. Working with multiple sectors and disciplines, we are shaping a world that demands fairness across difference.
The Basic Economic Security Tables™ Index (BEST) is a measure of the basic needs and assets workers require for economic security throughout a lifetime and across generations. The BEST addresses the several pieces of the larger basic economic security picture—basic needs, savings and employment-based benefits—and allows a broad and complete view of worker needs and families’ prospects for achieving the economic security so critical to their futures and to their communities.BEST values have been calculated for the United States and Alabama, the District of Columbia, Michigan, and New Mexico.
The report finds that single workers need $30,012 a year – nearly twice the federal minimum wage – to cover basic expenses. Single-parents require nearly twice the income ($57,756) to support two children, while dual-income households with children require $67,920.The largest expense for most BEST families is rent and utilities. Other large expenses include transportation, child care and taxes.
Dr. Seham Sergewa had been working with children traumatized by the fighting in Libya but, after being approached by mothers who reported that they had been raped, added a question about rape to the survey she was distributing to Libyans living in refugee camps. 259 women said they had been raped by militiamen loyal to Muammar Qaddafi.
From the article:
Dr. Sergewa's questionnaire was distributed to 70,000 families and drew 59,000 responses.
"We found 10,000 people with PTSD, 4,000 children suffering psychological problems and 259 raped women," she said, adding that she believes the number of rape victims is many times higher but that woman are afraid to report the attacks.
The women said they had been raped by Qaddafi's militias in numerous cities and towns: Benghazi, Tobruk, Brega, Bayda and Ajdabiya (where the initial three mothers hail from) and Saloum in the east; and Misrata in the west.
Some just said they had been raped. Some did not sign their names; some just used their initials. But some felt compelled to share the horrific details of their ordeals on the back of the questionnaire.
In March 2011, Amnesty International reported that the Egyptian military had subjected female protesters to "virginity tests." The women told Amnesty that they had been handcuffed and beaten, stripped searched and photographed by male soldiers, then restrained by female soldiers while a man in a white coat performed a virginity check. The military initially denied the accusations, but an anonymous senior general has confirmed to CNN that the virginity tests did in fact happen, saying that these women "were not like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters."
From the article:
The general went on to insist that the tests were necessary because "we didn't want (the women) to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove they weren't virgins in the first place."
What are virginity tests? They are a controversial but relatively common practice in Egypt -- so much so that hymenoplasty (hymen restoration) is often sought by Egyptian brides to protect their reputation on their wedding night. But their use as an intimidation factor by security forces seems to be a new twist.
And based on the outrage across Egypt over this abuse, it seems that the military's attempt to intimidate and smear the women protesters has backfired. Human rights groups are demanding a full investigation and several demonstrations are planned in coming days in support of the women.
Egyptian security forces have a long and troubling history of abusing and torturing citizens for political ends. They have engaged in widespread intimidation tactics since the upsurge in political violence and Islamic militancy in the early 1990s, including the detention of women, children, and the elderly. In the last two decades, the practice of arrest and detention without trial has expanded to anyone considered a threat to the military or the former regime of Hosni Mubarak, especially those advocating political reform.
Women suffer special mistreatment. For example, Esraa Abdel Fattah -- better known as the "Facebook Girl" who in 2008 mobilized thousands of young people to march for political change -- was arrested for her leadership role in those protests. Egypt's security forces tried to destroy her reputation by accusing her of being a prostitute, but her Facebook compatriots saw through that ploy and several young men even proposed marriage to her while she was detained.
According to a survey of the new partner class of 2011 released by the Project for Attorney Retention (PAR), law firms slid two percentage points in promotions of their women attorneys since last year, 32% compared to 34% in 2010.
From the press release:
In 2010, the National Association of Women Lawyers reported that while women comprise about 60% of staff attorneys, only 15% of equity partners are women. This is not good news for firms. As a recent MCCA study found, law firms with proportionate representation of women from staff attorneys through equity partner levels outperformed disproportionate firms by $20 million.
The report also lists all the firms included in the survey and their percentage of female new partners.
Project for Attorney Retention at UC Hastings College of the Law
The Accounting MOVE Project is produced by strategic communication firm Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., in partnership with the American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) and the American Woman’s Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA). The report finds that over half of today's accounting graduates are women and that firms are going to have to adapt to the new face of the profession.
From the report:
2011 Key Findings and Recommendations
Millennials want to invest in their careers at firms — on their own terms.
Male millennials expect women to be business leaders and change agents.
Women millennials expect male peers to be equitably included in all development and work-life programs
Women have made incremental gains at the top level.
Business development programs should be customized for all professional employees, including new associates.
Business development programs should pay for themselves — right away.
Build on Transparency
Open, clear reporting about the progress of a firm's women builds credibility.
The “self deselection” dynamic is disarmed by open communication.
Millennials expect honest dialogue about all MOVE topics, including compensation structures.
Small is Strong
Women expect to gain partner-track skills more quickly at regional and local firms.
Local and small regional firms should use association-sponsored programs as the nucleus for women's initiatives and business development programs.
Some of the most powerful advancement and retention tools cost nothing.
About 6.6 million people were receiving antiretroviral therapy in low- and middle-income countries at the end of 2010, a nearly 22-fold increase since 2001, according to a new report AIDS at 30: Nations at the crossroads, released today by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
A record 1.4 million people started lifesaving treatment in 2010—more than any year before. According to the report, at least 420 000 children were receiving antiretroviral therapy at the end of 2010, a more than 50% increase since 2008, when 275 000 children were on treatment.
According to the report, the global rate of new HIV infections declined by nearly 25% between 2001 and 2009. In India, the rate of new HIV infections fell by more than 50% and in South Africa by more than 35%; both countries have the largest number of people living with HIV on their continents.
The report found that in the third decade of the epidemic, people were starting to adopt safer sexual behaviors, reflecting the impact of HIV prevention and awareness efforts. However, there are still important gaps. Young men are more likely to be informed about HIV prevention than young women. Recent Demographic Health Surveys found that an estimated 74% of young men know that condoms are effective in preventing HIV infection, compared to just 49% of young women.
In recent years, there has been significant progress in preventing new HIV infections among children as increasing numbers of pregnant women living with HIV have gained access to antiretroviral prophylaxis during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding. The number of children newly infected with HIV in 2009 was 26% lower than in 2001.
According to the latest estimates from UNAIDS, 34 million [30.9 million–36.9 million] people were living with HIV at the end of 2010 and nearly 30 million [25 million–33 million] have died from AIDS-related causes since AIDS was first reported 30 years ago.
Despite expanded access to antiretroviral therapy, a major treatment gap remains. At the end of 2010, 9 million people who were eligible for treatment did not have access. Treatment access for children is lower than for adults—only 28% of eligible children were receiving antiretroviral therapy in 2009, compared to 36% coverage for people of all ages.
While the rate of new HIV infections has declined globally, the total number of HIV infections remains high, at about 7000 per day. The global reduction in the rate of new HIV infections hides regional variations. According to the report, above-average declines in new HIV infections were recorded in sub-Saharan Africa and in South-East Asia, while Latin America and the Caribbean experienced more modest reductions of less than 25%. There has been an increase in the rate of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East and North Africa.
In virtually all countries, HIV prevalence among populations at increased risk of HIV infection—men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers and their clients, and transgender people—is higher than among other populations. Access to HIV prevention and treatment for populations at higher risk of infection is generally lower due to punitive and discriminatory laws, and stigma and discrimination. As of April 2011, 79 countries, territories and areas criminalize consensual same-sex relations; 116 countries, territories and areas criminalize some aspect of sex work; and 32 countries have laws that allow for the death penalty for drug-related offences.
According to the report, gender inequalities remain a major barrier to effective HIV responses. HIV is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age, and more than a quarter (26%) of all new global HIV infections are among young women aged 15-24.
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
In an article published in the June 2011 issue of the American Sociological Review, researchers report that that unwed mothers face poorer health at midlife than do women who have children after marriage.
From the press release:
Researchers found that women who had their first child outside of marriage described their health as poorer at age 40 than did other moms.
About 40 percent of all births in the United States now occur to unmarried women, compared to less than 10 percent in 1960, Williams said. That suggests there will soon be a population boom in the United States of single mothers suffering middle-aged health problems.
Moreover, the study suggests that later marriage does not generally help reverse the negative health consequences of having a first birth outside of marriage. This calls into question the value of government efforts to promote marriage, among low-income, single mothers, at least in terms of their consequences for these women’s health.
In one analysis, Williams and her co-authors used a subset of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth on 3,391 women and a second analysis involved data on 1,150 women. By 2008, they had data on marriages and other unions for a 29-year period, and measures of health and well-being taken when the women were 40.
In general, the results showed that unwed mothers reported poorer health at age 40 than did other mothers. But there were several notable differences between racial and ethnic groups.
Most notably, Hispanic women who had a first child outside marriage did not have the same negative health consequences at age 40 that white and black women did. The researchers suspect that it has to do with the fact that when Hispanic women have a child out of wedlock, it is more likely to occur in a long-term cohabiting relationship that resembles marriage.
Hispanic single mothers may also be a part of larger and more close-knit family networks than single moms from other racial and ethnic groups, which can provide support that protects their health and helps them cope.
It was beyond the scope of this study to determine why unwed mothers in general had poorer health than others. But other research suggests it may be related to the high levels of stress and the poor economic conditions faced by single moms.
Despite high rates of nonmarital childbearing in the United States, little is known about the health of women who have nonmarital births. We use data from the NLSY79 to examine differences in age 40 self-assessed health between women who had a premarital birth and those whose first birth occurred within marriage. We then differentiate women with a premarital first birth according to their subsequent union histories and estimate the effect of marrying or cohabiting versus remaining never-married on midlife self-assessed health. We pay particular attention to the paternity status of a mother’s partner and the stability of marital unions. To partially address selection bias, we employ multivariate propensity score techniques. Results suggest that premarital childbearing is negatively associated with midlife health for white and black women, but not for Hispanic women. We find no evidence that the negative health consequences of nonmarital childbearing are mitigated by either marriage or cohabitation for black women. For other women, only enduring marriage to the child’s biological father is associated with better health than remaining unpartnered.
University of Colorado at Boulder researchers who conducted a chemical analysis of australopithecine fossils ranging between roughly 1.8 million and 2.2 million years old from two South African caves found that teeth thought to belong to females are more likely to have incorporated minerals from a distant region during formation than those from males. This leads researchers to believe that the females joined new social groups once they reached maturity.
From Nature News:
Fossilized teeth of early human ancestors bear signs that females left their families when they came of age, whereas males stayed close to home.
A chemical analysis of australopithecine fossils ranging between roughly 1.8 million and 2.2 million years old from two South African caves finds that teeth thought to belong to females are more likely to have incorporated minerals from a distant region during formation than those from males.
The shape of ancient human families has been the subject of speculation, based mainly on differences in the relative size of male and female fossils, and the behavioural patterns of our primate relatives. Female chimpanzees, for instance, typically leave their social group once they hit maturity. Among gorilla groups, which are dominated by one large male 'silverback', both males and females tend to strike out.
Modern humans, who are influenced by relatively recent cultural practices such as marriage and property ownership, are difficult to compare to our early ancestors, lead author Sandi Copeland of the University of Colorado at Boulder said in a press briefing.
According to an opinion poll published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, more than eight out of 10 women say new guidelines recommending against routine breast cancer screening of women under 50 are "unsafe."
More than eight out of 10 women say new guidelines recommending against routine breast cancer screening of women under 50 are "unsafe," according to an opinion poll.
The controversy over screening mammography flared up in late 2009, when a government-funded group of independent experts decided to change its recommendations.
Instead of advising annual mammograms in all women age 40 and above, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) said women shouldn't routinely get screened until they hit 50, and those between 50 and 74 should only have mammograms every two years.
What the group didn't say, though, is that no women under 50 should be screened -- it left that up to the individual woman and her doctor to decide, based on her personal risk factors and preferences.
To assess womens' attitudes toward 2009 USPSTF mammography screening guideline changes, and evaluate the role of media in shaping opinions.
247 women, aged 39-49, presenting for annual exams randomized to read one of two articles, and survey completion.
88% overestimated lifetime Breast cancer (BrCa) risk. 89% want yearly mammograms in forties. 86% felt changes were ‘unsafe’, and even if doctor-recommended, 85% would not delay screening until age 50. Those with a friend/relative with BrCa were more likely to want annual mammography in their forties (92% vs 77% P=0.001), and feel changes unsafe (92% vs 69% P=<0.0001). Participants with previous false-positive mammograms were less likely to accept doctor-recommended screening delay until age 50 (8% vs 20%) P=0.01.
Women overestimate BrCa risk. Skepticism of new mammogram guidelines exists, and is increased by exposure to negative media. Those with prior false-positive mammograms are less likely to accept changes.
Researchers in Georgia and South Carolina report that new mothers who take a longer maternity leave are more likely to begin and continue breastfeeding their babies.
Objective: We investigated the effect of maternity leave length and time of first return to work on breastfeeding.
Methods: Data were from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort. Restricting our sample to singletons whose biological mothers were the respondents at the 9-month interview and worked in the 12 months before delivery (N = 6150), we classified the length of total maternity leave (weeks) as 1 to 6, 7 to 12, ≥13, and did not take; paid maternity leave (weeks) as 0, 1 to 6, ≥7, and did not take; and time of return to work postpartum (weeks) as 1 to 6, 7 to 12, ≥13, and not yet returned. Analyses included χ2 tests and multiple logistic regressions.
Results: In our study population, 69.4% initiated breastfeeding with positive variation by both total and paid maternity leave length, and time of return to work. In adjusted analyses, neither total nor paid maternity leave length had any impact on breastfeeding initiation or duration. Compared with those returning to work within 1 to 6 weeks, women who had not yet returned to work had a greater odds of initiating breastfeeding (odds ratio [OR]: 1.46 [1.08–1.97]; risk ratios [RR]: 1.13 [1.03–1.22]), continuing any breastfeeding beyond 6 months (OR: 1.41 [0.87–2.27]; RR: 1.25 [0.91–1.61]), and predominant breastfeeding beyond 3 months (OR: 2.01 [1.06–3.80]; RR: 1.70 [1.05–2.53]). Women who returned to work at or after 13 weeks postpartum had higher odds of predominantly breastfeeding beyond 3 months (OR: 2.54 [1.51–4.27]; RR: 1.99 [1.38–2.69]).
Conclusion: If new mothers delay their time of return to work, then duration of breastfeeding among US mothers may lengthen.