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4/22/1996 - Women Face Tough Fight for Superintendent Jobs
Although almost 75 percent of elementary and secondary teachers are women and the number of women qualified to be public school superintendents is increasing, women still make up only 10 percent of all superintendents nationwide. When applying for superintendent positions, women have been asked questions regarding how their husbands feel about the job and about relocating. According to Elizabeth Morie, associate professor at James Madison University and former Lexington, Va. superintendent, women still have difficulty seeing themselves as principals and need encouragement to seek the job of superintendent. Morie’s research confirms two other studies which found that male teachers move into administration from the classroom earlier than women and are more likely to skip several steps, such as going from middle school principal to superintendent. Patricia Dignan, superintendent of Falls Church, Va. schools, said that once women move into higher positions, they still face greater scrutiny than men and have a harder time establishing credibility.
Morie indicated that girls need to see more women in top positions in order to envision higher possibilities for themselves. The younger I think they see those role models, the less they are inhibited,” Morie said. Jackie DeFazio, president of the American Association of University Women and a high school principal, agreed. She said that it is very important that kids see us modeling what the possibilities are -- that not only for us, but in their minds, women can do any kind of job.”
4/22/1996 - FDA Approval Likely for Ovarian Cancer Drug
On Friday (4-19), a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee unanimously approved a new cancer drug to combat ovarian cancer. If approved by the FDA, Topotecan, manufactured by SmithKine Beecham Pharmaceutical, will be used to treat women with ovarian cancer after other treatments and chemotherapy have failed. The drug, which will be marketed as Hycamtin,” inhibits an enzyme that tumors need to grow and works inside the cancer cell to interrupt DNA replication. Hycamtin was shown to delay progression of ovarian cancer in late-stage patients for about 23 weeks -- nine weeks longer than Taxol, a similar drug manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Taxol is already approved in 64 countries, including the U.S., where it is also approved for treating breast cancer.
4/22/1996 - Judge Won’t Promote Tailhook Pilot
.S. District Judge Albert Bryan, Jr. dismissed a suit brought by Cmdr. Robert E. Stumpf, a Navy pilot involved in the 1991 Tailhook scandal in which Navy pilots sexually harassed and assaulted female officers at the annual convention. Stumpf, who the Navy cleared of misconduct, was not promoted because of his presence at the convention. Judge Bryan ruled he did not have the power to promote Stumpf.
4/22/1996 - Texas Universities Resume Affirmative Action
Public universities in Texas will resume affirmative action programs designed to increase minority enrollment. Last month a federal appeals court banned the admissions policies, but the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals granted a stay on Friday (4-19), effective until May 13. The earlier ruling was wrecking havoc on admissions officials scrambling to redesign admissions policies. After Texas files its expected appeal to the Supreme Court, the stay will remain in effect until the Court rules on the case. If the Court refuses to hear the case, the stay would be lifted. Texas Attorney General Dan Morales said he expects the Supreme Court to hear the case, which could affect admissions policies across the nation. The Justice Department has denounced the earlier ruling and has said it will support the affirmative action programs.
One year after Shannon Faulkner successfully opened the doors to women at The Citadel, one of the nation's most prestigious old boys clubs, another woman is challenging the courts for her admission. Nancy Mellette, 18, is actively challenging The Citadel's all-male admissions policy with cases pending in the South Carolina District Court and the Supreme Court. While she waits for a decision from the courts, she has decided to attend a one year program at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School in Fort Monmouth , N.J., this fall
Alexis Herman, Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Office of Public Liason, will lead a delegation of female business leaders to Mexico. The April 22 mission seeks to assist women-owned businesses in finding new ways to expand trade opportunities and will explore trade prospects in the region.
Ken Behring, owner of the professional football team the Seattle Seahawks, is being sued by a former employee for general and punitive damages on charges of sexual assault and battery. The plaintiff, Patricia Parker, served as Behring's chief financial officer from October 1993 until March 1996, where she oversaw Behring's multi-million dollar investment portfolio. Parker alleges that she faced two years of sexual innuendo, verbal sexual assault, and was assaulted by Behring in January 1996. Behring has denied the charges.
The first online voter registration effort has been launched by MCI and Rock The Vote. Users access the site at either of the two locations, the MCI Net Vote'96 site or the Rock The Vote site, then fill out an on-screen registration form and hit "submit." One week before the elections the new voters will be reminded to go to the polls. The project is directed at the country's 25 million 18-to-24 -year-olds, 58 percent of whom are not registered to vote. The Congressional Internet Caucus and Sheryl Crow have endorsed the effort and they are convinced that by making the process easy and via a medium which is very popular for the young age group, there will be a high success rate.
4/19/1996 - Evidence Mounts in New York Rape Case
Kerry Kotler was arrested for rape on April 8, four years after being freed from jail after DNA evidence cleared him of another rape. According to prosecutor Randy Hinrichs, five unique DNA markers from semen found on the victim matched markers from Kotler's blood; the odds against the semen being from someone other than Kotler are 1 in 7.5 million. The victim's clothing also contained dog hairs matching hairs from Kotler's German shepherd. The victim, raped August 20, described her attacker's car and gave police a partial license plate number, which led to the discovery that the vehicle belonged to Kotler's girlfriend.
If convicted, Kotler could be sentenced to 50 years for rape and kidnapping but is currently free on $25,000 bail
Of the 3.66 million workers in the U.S. who are paid the minimum wage of $4.25 an hour, 63 percent are women. The debate to raise the minimum wage 90 cents over a two year period is currently dividing Congress by party lines. Republicans have generally opposed an increase, fearful that it will contribute to a loss of jobs, but have recently expressed a willingness to compromise with the Democrats, who have been hoping to pass an increase this year. A poll conducted by The New York Times and CBS News shows that 84 percent of Americans support an increase in the minimum wage. Since the last time the minimum wage was raised, in 1991, its buying value has dropped by 50 cents.
4/19/1996 - AIDS Rates Increased For Women in 1995
In 1995, the number of women diagnosed with AIDS increased to its highest percentage yet: 19 percent of all adult and adolescent cases. Nationwide, the AIDS rate has declined. Last year the number of people diagnosed with the disease dropped seven percent. There have been over half a million AIDS cases reported since 1981.
On April 13, a group of 60 members from the Concerned Parishioners of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington gathered outside of the National Cathedral to protest the local appearances of Jane Holmes Dixon, one of six female assistant Episcopal bishops in the U.S. The protesters oppose the Church's liberal policy towards ordaining women, and gay men and lesbians. The group claims the Church is more concerned with political theology than adhering to a traditional belief of the Holy Scriptures.
4/18/1996 - Adult Men Responsible for Teen Pregnancies
According to a study in Thursday's (4-18) American Journal of Public Health, adult men are responsible for two thirds of the babies born to teenage mothers in California in 1993. The men averaged four to six years older than the girls they impregnated. The study by Mike Males of UC Irvine concurs with findings from a 1995 study by the Alan Guttmacher Institute which combined birth certificates with the results of an overlooked 1998 federal survey of 10,000 women. School-age male peers fathered only 34.5 percent of the babies born to California girls aged 10 to 19 in 1993. About 27 percent of the births to 10 to 14 year-old girls were fathered by men aged 20 to 24. Males commented that the men at fault are not in schools or targeted for programs to combat teen pregnancy but said that California is airing public service announcements to target such men and has started an effort to prosecute more men for statutory rape.
A ruling by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission has found the American Legion's California division guilty of discriminating against gay men and lesbians. The city commission concluded that the division of the largest veterans' organization in the United States distributed homophobic literature opposing gays in the military, lied to a gay veteran's group, and deliberately prevented gay veterans from expressing their point of view. A city law in San Francisco prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but state law supersedes the ordinance in this case, inhibiting the commission to order the Legion to make changes
Concord City Manager Rita Hardin won her sexual harassment suit against Concord and its former mayor, Byron Campbell. A federal court jury in San Francisco heard the seven-week retrial and awarded Hardin $1.3 million, concluding that Campbell had sexually harassed Hardin and forced her to resign in retaliation for her pursuing an investigation into his behavior. The jury also ruled against the city of Concord, who Hardin said tolerated Campbell's alleged behavior and made her work conditions unbearable when she spoke out against it.
In an amended federal complaint filed Wednesday (4-17) with the U.S. District Court in Peoria, Ill., attorneys for the women suing Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing claim that male management and union workers at the plant organized and promoted sex parties several times since 1994, circulating throughout the plant pictures of male employees involved in sex acts with women they had hired.
The company, who is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission for the sexual harassment of some 500 women employees, has warned employees that they could lose their jobs if the allegations cause a decrease in sale. The company is providing free buses, a day of full pay and a free lunch for employees who attend a rally outside the Chicago EEOC planned for Monday (4-22) to deny the allegations. Lawyers for the women in the original suit filed in December 1994 say that women have been threatened for suing. A Mitsubishi attorney has asked the court for personal documents on the women, including gynecological records, information on abortions, divorce records, credit card records, and the names and addresses of people with whom they have lived, with the plan to make the documents available to 13 of Mitsubishi's top executives.
A group of 15 lawyers' groups called the Join Bar Coalition planned a news conference for Thursday to announce its efforts to defeat the anti-affirmative action measure on the California November ballot, the self-titled "California Civil Rights Initiative." California Secretary of State Bill Jones announced Tuesday that the Initiative, filed on February 21, had collected 770,484 valid signatures, just 12,000 more than the required number. Responding to claims by Initiative chair and UC regent Ward Connerly, president of the National Lawyers Guild Cynthia Anderson-Baker said, "The measure (CCRI) is not going to bring anyone together...It is programs like affirmative action that have helped bring diversity to groups like bar associations."
On Monday (4-15), the California Supreme Court ruled that a parent with child custody can relocate despite objections from the other parent and without having to prove that the move is essential for a new job. Michael Maroko, lawyer for mother Wendy Burgess, said, "Women are now free at last to relocate with their children as long as the move does not prejudice the rights or the welfare of the children."
Burgess' ex-husband had objected to her desire to move 40 miles for a career-advancing position. Burgess had to go to court to prove the move was necessary, and a Court of Appeal had overturned a decision of a trial court that had ruled in her favor. In light of the Monday decision, a parent with primary custody will only have to prove that relocation is in good faith, and an objecting parent will have to prove that the relocation will severely injure the child. Dorothy Jonas, a Feminist Majority board member, played a key role in bringing this case to trial
After the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a huge sexual harassment case against Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America, top officials at the company's Normal, Illinois plant called a meeting of employees to warn them that they could lose their jobs if sales drop as a result of the allegations. Officials also said phones would be installed at the plant so that employees could call Congress and the President for free to tell them the charges are false. Also planned is an employee march on the Chicago offices of the EEOC who the plant says "affects their job security."
Mistubishi denies the claims of the 30 women who filed a suit against the company in December 1994 as well as the EEOC's claim at least 300 women were subjected to sexual harassment and intimidation at the 4,000-person plant. One man, who admitted he himself sexually harassed women at the plant, reported seeing numerous photos handed out at the plant of naked men and women having sex at a party. Patricia Benassi, attorney for the women in the original suit, said women at the plant are being threatened for suing and that the wall of a men's locker room reportedly has a warning that a man will "go hunting" for women if he loses his job.
4/17/1996 - Women's Age, Genes Affect Ovarian Cancer
Research appearing in the Wednesday (4-17) Journal of the National Cancer Institute links the gene BRCA1 with ovarian cancer in ten to 20 percent of the cases involving women under 50. The gene, also linked to breast cancer in young women, tells the body how to build a protein that blocks cancer, unless the gene mutates. A patient's age at the onset of ovarian cancer is a key factor in determining whether she inherited the faulty gene, the report states. According to Johnathan Lancaster, researcher at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, women who have the gene mutation have a 90 percent chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer. The findings, which Lancaster said need more study, could change the way doctors treat and counsel women with ovarian cancer.
4/17/1996 - Cardinals Push for Override of Abortion Ban Veto
Eight Roman Catholic cardinals have written a three-page letter to President Clinton condemning his decision to veto a bill banning an abortion procedure used to save the life, health, or future fertility of a woman. The cardinals pledged to make their concern a public issue on the same day House Republicans postponed a vote to override the veto. The override would likely pass easily in the House but is short of the needed two-thirds in the Senate. There was no indication of when the measure, sent to the Judiciary Committee, would be voted on
4/17/1996 - Texas Suspends Minority Scholarships
University officials in Texas, worried about the legality of affirmative action programs after recent blows, have suspended a statewide scholarship program for minority students. A recent decision by a federal court forbids affirmative action programs for people of color in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Higher education officials feel the ruling might have implications far beyond the three-state region. The University of Texas has filed an appeal.
The scholarship program now being dismantled was created to combat federal criticism of the low rates of minority enrollment. Its $1.5 million benefit about 1,300 minority students in Texas
4/16/1996 - Women in Few Front Page Stories
According to a survey sponsored by Women, Men and Media, women are only involved in 15 percent of front-page news stories. The figure decreased from last year’s 19 percent. The survey looked at twenty newspapers in February for references to and photos of women and for bylines by women on front pages, opinion pages, and the first pages of business and local sections. Of the small number of women covered, over half were either victims or perpetrators of crimes or misconduct. Women in power received little coverage overall, and women made up less than one percent of references in front-page political stories.
As in 1995, women were in 33 percent of the photos, and women’s bylines increased slightly to 35 percent. Stories about the economy included very little coverage of Laura Tyson, President Clinton’s top economic advisor, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, or other leading female economists and analysts. Women, Men and the Media, co-chaired by Betty Friedan and Nancy Woodhul,l is financed primarily by the Arlington-based Freedom Forum.
4/16/1996 - Suit Against UC Regents, Gov. Wilson Proceeds
On Monday (4-15), San Francisco Superior Court Judge William Cahill allowed a lawsuit to proceed against California Gov. Pete Wilson and University of California regents. The defendants allegedly violated the state’s meeting law when they voted last July to dismantle affirmative action in the UC system. Lawyers for the UC Santa Barbara Daily Nexus claim that Wilson secretly gathered "yes" votes over the telephone prior to the vote at the July 20 meeting, which leads groups such as the ACLU to charge that the meeting’s decision should be nullified. A state law, the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act, requires public officials, including UC regents, to conduct most meetings in public.
Judge Cahill rejected Wilson’s claim that the lawsuit was not filed in time, noting that the 30-day time period cannot hold if the government conceals its action from the public.
4/16/1996 - Soy Protein Diet Could Prevent Breast Cancer
On Tuesday (4-16), British scientists announced that a bioactive substance found in soy protein could block estrogen from causing breast cancer. Isoflavonoids may work like the popular breast cancer drug Tomoxifen, indicating that women eating a diet high in soy proteins could reduce their risk of breast cancer. Announcing the findings in remarks for a meeting of the Biochemical Society at Liverpool University, Dr. Helen Wiseman of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at King’s College in London said studies were being done to enhance the anti-cancer properties of soy proteins.