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USA Today: Wal-Mart is facing a class action lawsuit stemming from charges that it pays women less than men, and that women have fewer opportunities and wait longer for promotions.
"Wal-Mart(WMT) asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to throw out a class-action lawsuit against it that the retailer says is the largest employment suit ever.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in April that Wal-Mart should face charges in court that it pays women less than men for the same jobs. The lawsuit, which covers all female workers at Wal-Mart since 1998, could cost the company billions if it loses.
"It's an extremely significant case," says former Equal Employment Opportunity Commission general counsel Eric Dreiband, who is not involved in the lawsuit. "The rights of millions of women are at stake."
Wal-Mart, the world's largest private employer, says the case raises serious issues about procedures governing class-action lawsuits.
"The class is larger than the active-duty personnel in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard combined — making it the largest employment class action in history by several orders of magnitude," Wal-Mart argued in its petition to the Supreme Court.
The company also insists there is no disparity in pay based on gender.
Seven female Wal-Mart employees filed the lawsuit in 2001. In addition to contesting women's pay, they allege that female workers are promoted less and wait longer for those promotions."
The rapid and misguided condemnation—and subsequent resignation—of Shirley Sherrod has reignited a lot of questions about the role of race in America's political landscape. As Nation columnist Melissa Harris-Lacewell explained last night on Countdown, American politicians have long been assigning blame to black women—and "the mythical welfare queen" in particular—for a whole host of problems.
"The villification of black women for sport and political gain has been sort of a basic part of the American political strategy for both the Republican and Democratic parties for a couple of decades now," Harris-Lacewell says. And the fact that the NAACP, the organization that should have come to Sherrod's defense, lacked the basic understanding of her background that would have helped them correct the problem is the worst of it. "To say her last name alone should have prompted, for the head of the NAACP, an immediate moment of pausing," Harris-Lacewell says"
Working America and the AFL-CIO recently launched the 2010 Ask a Working Woman survey. A similar survey has been done every 2 years, and in 2008, the survey illicited 12,000 responses - a number Working America and AFL-CIO would like to match this year.
Last week, the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) launched a new global index and ranking of women’s economic opportunity. The pilot report builds on the United Nations Development Programme’s Gender-Related Development Index and the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Index. According to EIU,
BBC: The Sisters in Islam (SIS feminist group welcomed the decision by the Malaysian government to appoint two new women judges to the Islamic courts. SIS has campaigned for years for inclusion of women in the court system, which it argues does not administer and implement Islamic law fairly and properly in cases involving women.
The decision by the Malaysian government to appoint women judges to its Islamic courts has been welcomed by Muslim feminist groups. The Sisters in Islam (SIS) group based in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, told the BBC it had been pressing for this for many years. The group has long campaigned for reform of the Islamic legal system. It argues that Islam does provide legal protection for women, but that it is not always administered and implemented properly and fairly.
The government announced the two new judges as Suraya Ramli, 31, in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya court and Rafidah Abdul Razak, 39, in Kuala Lumpur. "The appointments were made to enhance justice in cases involving families and women's rights and to meet current needs," said Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Malaysia runs two parallel legal systems - the civil courts for its non-Muslim citizens and the Islamic system.The civil judiciary has long had female judges, covering a range of major cases.The Islamic legal system focuses on family law, frequently tackling issues such as divorce, polygamy and custody battles.
Washington Post: Japan's civil code currently requires married couples to register under the same surname. The country remains divided, with many hoping that one of the political parties will spearhead changing the civil code, so that women can legally keep their maiden names and still inherit their husband's property.
The civil code in Japan requires married couples to register under the same surname. Recently, the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), which advocates letting married couples keep separate names if they wish, took power last year and fanned expectations that the government would submit a bill to amend the civil code.
In a 2006 government survey, 36.6 percent said the law should change so that married couples can keep their maiden names if they wish, down 6 points from a 2001 poll but 4 points higher than a 1996 poll. But 35 percent said married couples should have the same last name and there is no need to change the law.
Japan is the only country in the Group of Eight major industrialized nations that requires married couples to register under the same surname. The rule is tied to Japan's traditional concept of the family institution which in the past ensured properties, businesses, and surnames were passed on to men within the family unit."
The United States remains one of only seven countries that have not ratified CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). CEDAW is an international agreement on basic human rights for women and the most broadly endorsed human rights treaty within the United Nations, having been ratified by over 90% of UN member states. CEDAW outlines human rights such as the right to live free from violence, the ability to go to school, and access to the political system.