Women Worldwide, September-October 2013

From the September-October 2013 issue of News & Letters:

Women Worldwide

by Artemis

In Turkey, demonstrations were held against an Islamist fundamentalist religious commentator who asserted that it was shameful for pregnant women to be seen on the streets or on TV. Protesters from all walks of life included pregnant women and their husbands and both women and men feigning pregnancy. Demonstrators considered the remarks as evidence of creeping fundamentalism under Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party.

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In May, a report stating that 99.3% of women in Egypt had experienced some form of sexual violence while only 19% reported it to the police, was published by the UN Entity for Gender Equity. One of several feminist groups responding to this increase in violence, Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment, stated, “These attacks aim to exclude women from public life and punish them for participating in political activism and demonstrations.”

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California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that would have allowed women to sell their eggs for medical research due to “philosophical” reasons and unknown long-term health risks. Health concerns were echoed by the non-profit Center for Genetics and Society, which is in favor of contraception and abortion rights. However, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) stated, “There’s a deeper level in his veto statement that questions the ability of a woman to engage in informed consent and assess the risks for herself of this procedure.” But “informed consent” is only possible when all the facts are available, something the in-vitro fertilization industry has refused to do.

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Rather than allowing women to drive and move about freely by themselves, or educating men to stop harassing them, Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, will spend billions by 2019 for a metro “public” transportation system that will create segregated compartments for women and children. The all-female Princess Nora bin Abdulraham University will also soon get its own rail line so no one on the street will have to view a female university student.

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