Long waits to use women's restroom facilities are a familiar, if not uncomfortable and exasperating reality for many women in public buildings, sports arenas, theaters and airports across the country.
But it's also an experience some women describe as gender discrimination -- a remnant of inequality from decades past that's due to be overturned.If a bipartisan group of congressional members have their way, the path to restroom gender parity -- and shorter waits for women -- will soon begin with all new federal buildings.
In 1970, 46 women filed a landmark gender-discrimination case; their employer was NEWSWEEK. Forty years later, their contemporary counterparts question how much has actually changed.
Forty years after NEWSWEEK's women rose up, there's no denying our cohort of young women is unlike even the half-generation before us.
Yet the more we talked to our friends and colleagues, the more we heard the same stories of disillusionment, regardless of profession. No one would dare say today that "women don't write here," as the NEWSWEEK women were told 40 years ago. But men wrote all but six of NEWSWEEK's 49 cover stories last year—and two of those used the headline "The Thinking Man." In 1970, 25 percent of NEWSWEEK's editorial masthead was female; today that number is 39 percent. Better? Yes. But it's hardly equality. (Overall, 49 percent of the entire company, the business and editorial sides, is female.) "Contemporary young women enter the workplace full of enthusiasm, only to see their hopes dashed," says historian Barbara J. Berg. "Because for the first time they're slammed up against gender bias."
Egypt's Constitutional Court backed the right of women judges to sit on the bench in the state's administrative courts, despite opposition from conservatives.
The ruling follows a dispute within the State Council, the top administrative court, over whether women should be appointed.
The body's general assembly voted overwhelmingly against female judges, reigniting a debate within the country over women holding senior government posts, particularly in the judiciary.
Despite seeing the beginning of the women's emanicipation movement in the Middle East and being the birthplace of several historic activists for women's rights, Egypt has lagged behind other Arab countries like Tunisia in appointing women judges.
A judge in Sierra Leone has ruled for the first time that a woman's bid to become a paramount chief is lawful. Women's rights activists hailed the ruling as a landmark decision and vowed to fight similar bans in other regions.
The French parliament is to vote on a proposal to ban the face covering known as the niqab or burqa. BBC Wales reporter Selma Chalabi looks at what is happening in France and finds out how Muslims in Wales are responding.
France has already banned the hijab (head scarf) in schools in line with its policy on all religious symbols, but this ruling would take things further by singling out the niqab and burqa, and banning it in all public places including transport, libraries and banks.
In the Muslim world, Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia have already banned the face cover in an effort to crack down on the growing influence of Islamic party politics.
Advanced new legislation and constitutional reforms on women's rights are paving the way for equal opportunities for women in Latin America and the Caribbean. But application and enforcement remain a distant goal.
In Latin America today, the constitutions of nearly every country recognise the international or regional treaties and conventions that require the adoption of equality and non-discrimination provisions. And all countries in the region have institutions dedicated to promoting gender equality.
But while the laws stipulate the design of plans and programmes by different state agencies, they provide little clear direction with respect to the material support needed to translate the good intentions into reality.
Furthermore, governments put only relative importance on the issue, as shown by the weak influence and limited budgets of the women's agencies responsible for applying the laws, says the report, which warns that in the face of the slightest oversight, the progress made could be rolled back.
One way to increase the number of women on boards is to ensure that more women gain the right experience further down the corporate hierarchy. That may be a slower process than imposing a quota, but it is also likely to be a more meaningful and effective one.
What most prevents women from reaching the boardroom, say bosses and headhunters, is lack of hands-on experience of a firm’s core business. Too many women go into functional roles such as accounting, marketing or human resources early in their careers rather than staying in the mainstream, driving profits. Some do so by choice, but others fear they will not get ahead in more chauvinist parts of a business.