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Prior to a book signing in San Francisco, retired Gen. Colin Powell spoke out in favor of affirmative action programs, saying it is necessary for society to provide corrections for racist practices. Powell also warned that candidates should not use the issue as a "political football." Rather, Americans should come together and talk the issue through to come up with fair solutions for everyone.
Powell commented that, "I'm a great believer in affirmative action and equal opportunity. I've seen it work in the military." Unfortunately, men are the primary beneficiaries of the military affirmative action programs Powell used as an example. Women make up only eleven percent of the armed forces, due in part to quota systems which limit, rather than expand, their involvement. The military closes many job opportunities and promotions to women who otherwise meet the necessary qualifications. The Clinton administration opened a record number of positions for women in the military, but women still do not have the same opportunities men enjoy to succeed in and benefit from full active service.
Hours before the Senate welfare vote, which in effect cuts benefits to millions of poor American families by giving states block grants, House Speaker Newt Gingrinch suggested block granting the Medicaid program. Medicaid provides health care coverage for 36 million poor Americans, the vast majority of whom are single women with children. His proposal would eliminate a thirty year-old safety net which guarantees certain groups automatic health care coverage. Furthermore, block grants could give the states a vast amount of leeway to save on their current Medicaid spending, thus increasingly cutting back benefits to the poor. Destitute mothers and their children, who make up the majority of current recipients, stand to lose the most from these, in President Clinton's words, "Draconian Cuts."
G.O.P. leaders in the House also issued a 60-page report yesterday regarding the overhaul of Medicare. In discussing Medicare, G.O.P. leaders have announced that their plan would gradually double health insurance premiums for the elderly. Already, approximately fifteen percent of an elderly personís income goes towards health care. This plan would drive up that percentage thus causing grave financial and medical hardship for many elderly persons struggling with reduced social security benefits and increasing life spans. This negatively affects millions of Americans and it disproportionately harms women, who compromise the majority of the elderly population. And, because women receive significantly smaller pension payments and on average only 2/3rds of the amount men receive in Social Security payments, they also make up a disproportionate number of the elderly poor.
9/22/1995 - Wells Fargo Opens Credit Line for Businesswomen
Wells Fargo Banks has announced plans to open a one billion dollar credit line for women who have run profitable businesses for at least two years. Bank officials said they hoped to tap into an important resource within the economy. Annually, women-o wned firms in the United States generate $1.4 trillion and employ 15.5 million workers.
9/22/1995 - Helms Amendment Fails
The Senate voted yesterday against an amendment proposed by Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) which would ban U.S. aid to the United Nations Population Fund. By a vote of 91 to 9 the Senate passed a foreign aid bill which would provide $12.3 billion, $2.4 bi llion less than what President Clinton had requested, for international programs. On a vote of 57 to 43 rejecting Helm's proposed ban, the Senate appropriated $35 million of that amount to the U.N. agency responsible for family planning. Although the bi ll prohibits any of the funding from being used to pay for abortions, the Senate did delete anti-abortion language within the bill that the House had earlier passed.
9/21/1995 - New Study Published on Mammogram Testing
A study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that it's cost-effective for women to begin yearly mammograms at the age of forty and then have bi-annual tests after the age of fifty. Dr. John Rosenquist and Dr. Karen Lindfors, co-authors of the recently published study, found that it costs $2,972 for women to receive mammograms every year from the ages of 40 to 79. The outcome is generally an addition of forty days to a woman's life. However, yearly mammog rams from the age of forty to forty nine and bi-annual tests after fifty would cost $1,915 and add an average of thirty-five days to a woman's life. The averages generally mean that for women who don't have breast cancer, the lifespan remains the same. But, Rosenquist indicates that for women who do have breast cancer could add years to their lives.
9/21/1995 - Welfare Reform: The Senate and House Versions
Now that the Senate has passed its version of the Welfare bill, it goes to a conference committee so that both houses can reach a consenus. Below is a description of the similarities and differences between the House and Senate bills.
Both versions abolish the Federal entitlement program, thereby eliminating any guarantee that all poor families who qualify will receive benefits. Instead, the Federal government will give states block grants with which they can design their own welfare programs. Both bills also require recipients to work after two years.
The House bill does not have any requirements on what states must spend, prohibits teen-age, single mothers from receiving benefits and prohibits women who have more children while on welfare from receiving additional benefits. The Senate bill requires that for five years states spend at least eighty percent of the block grants on welfare. The Senate bill allows the states to decide whether or not to give teenage, single mothers and mothers who have additional children aid.
9/20/1995 - Senate Votes to Eliminate Welfare Entitlements
In a bi-partisan assault on the federal welfare system, the Sente voted to pass its version of the Welfare Reform Bill. The following twelve Senators voted against the bill: Akaka (D-HI), Bradley (D-NJ), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerrey (D-NB), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Moseley-Braun (D-IL), Moynihan (D-NY), Sarbanes (D-MD), Simon (D- IL), Wellstone (D-MN), and Faircloth (R-NC).
9/20/1995 - Study Supports Use of Breast Cancer Drug
A study appearing today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finds that the drug tamoxifen helps prevent breast cancer from spreading to the second breast. The study, conducted by Linda Cook a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Rese arch Center in Seattle, found that treatment with the drug reduced the risk of for cancer in the second breast by up to sixty percent. Contrary to some speculation, the study also finds that no association exists between the use of Tamoxifen and the deve lopment uterine or ovarian cancer. That finding clears the way for doctors to conduct clinical trials to test Tamoxifen as a preventive measure for women in high risk categories of developing breast cancer.
A group of female agents have negotiated with officials for nine months in an attempt to bring to light and eradicate widespread discrimination and bias against women agents. The women claim that they are often assigned to lower prestige jobs, passed over for promotion, and denied assignments in the violent and organized crimes divisions -- which often lead to high-profile careers. They implicate the F.B.I. hierarchy of existing as an "old-boys network" where women are not given opportunities to suc ceed and advance in their fields. F.B.I. Director Louis Freech formally acknowledged the negotiations last week in a letter he sent to all female agents, stating that the Bureau is committed to equal opportunity. Those talks, however, are now at a stand still as both sides complete statistical evaluations of disputed practices. Lawyers for the female agents are now considering filing a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission as a first step towards a class action civil lawsuit.
9/19/1995 - STATEMENT OF CHIEF PENNY E. HARRINGTON, DIRECTOR
I am the director of the National Center for Women and Policing. I spent 23 years in policing and became the first woman Chief of Police of a major city in the United States. For the past three years, I have volunteered hundreds of hours of my time a s a member of the Women's Advisory Council to the Los Angeles Police Commission to assist in bringing about reform in Los Angeles Police Department through the hiring of more women officers.
Sadly, little progress has been made, and nothing or no one so clearly demonstrates the need for hiring more women officers than the shocking testimony in the O.J. Simpson trial about Detective Mark Fuhrman.
The world has learned what we have been reporting over the past four years -- that there are still police officers in the LAPD who lie, falsify evidence, and take pride in their racist and sexist beliefs. These rogue officers have jeopardized what lit tle faith the citizens of Los Angeles have in their police department. They have severely damaged the reputation of the good people in the LAPD who are trying to provide quality police services.
I am calling today on the City Council, the Major, the Police Commission and the Chief of Police to not delay one day longer in implementing the City Council's 1994 directive to gender balance the ranks of the LAPD. Increasing the numbers of women police will change the culture of the LAPD.
The Christopher Commission found overwhelming evidence that the women of the LAPD do not resort to the use of excessive force. Women officers use a style of policing that is the basis of community policing techniques and are problem solvers. It has c ome as no surprise to us that here has not been one woman officer implicated in the incidents o police abuse bragged about by Detective Fuhrman. Not one woman is among the officers now under investigation for falsifying evidence.
And yet, within the LAPD, women are denigrated, harassed and subjected to many forms of discrimination in employment. Fuhrman literally rages with disdain for women officers who won't give a suspect a shot in the stomach with her baton'.
I am further calling for an an immediate, independent investigation into whether the anti-women, clandestine organization, "Men Against Women" continues to operate inside the LAPD. The LAPD culture that supports men such as Mark Fuhrman, allows them to remain as police officers and regards their behavior by promoting them must be eliminated.
Until women officers can sit in roll call and know they are valued members of the group -- until women officers are no longer subjected to derogatory remarks about the abilities of women police -- and until the commanders, supervisors and peers in t he LAPD take immediate action to stop the gender harassment they witness, there is no meaningful "zero tolerance policy" toward discrimination and harassment in the LAPD.
Women leaders in this community are proud of the women who have dedicated their lives to service in their community by becoming LAPD officers. We want the women in the LAPD to know that we are here to support them and that we will not tolerate any fur ther mistreatment of the courageous women officers in the Los Angeles Police Department.
I will be appearing at the City Council hearings this morning to present a FIVE POINT PLAN OF ACTION FOR REFORM
The Mayor and the City Council must demand that unless the Los Angeles Police Department hires 43.4% women, they will not be allowed to fill the positions gained through the crime bill. In other words, half of the police officers hired with crime bill money must be women.
The City Council must immediately implement the Bias Investigation Unit designed by the Police Commission.
The Public Safety and Personnel Committees of the City Council should immediately convene and Implementation Task Force to assist the LAPD in implementing the Christopher Commission reforms and the recommendations of the Women's Advisory Counci l to the Los Angeles Police Commission. This Task Force should consist of the Chief and command level members of the LAPD, Police Commissioners, members of the Public Safety and Personnel Subcommittees of the City Council, City Personnel Department, the Police League and members of the public who have knowledge and expertise in these areas.
The Mayor and the City Council must provide the necessary funds to implement the programs that will bring about reform in the LAPD. No matter what the cost of these reforms, it will be cheaper than continuing to pay out tax payer dollars on police ex cessive force and sex and race harassment lawsuits brought about by the "Mark Fuhrmans" and the officers involved in the Rodney King beating and in the falsifying of evidence.
The Mayor and the City Council must make it clear to Chief Williams that he will be held responsible for any continuing discrimination or harassment against women and the failure to gender balance all future academy classes. It is not enough to issue statements proclaiming a "zero tolerance" policy toward discrimination and harassment. Women officers in LAPD are still subjected to daily harassment and devaluation of their abilities and contributions to policing.
9/19/1995 - Senate Expected to Vote on Welfare Reform
The Senate is expected to vote, and pass, today a compromise welfare proposal which puts an end to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the federal government's main cash welfare program. Currently, fourteen million Americans, ten million of whom are children, receive benefits from the program. The welfare reform plan eliminates entitlements completely and instead gives states set sums, known as block grants, with which to create and maintain their own welfare systems. States must limit benefits to five years, require beneficiaries to work after two years and actually spend 80% of the block grant on welfare for at least five years. The Senate proposal also includes $1 billion in backup funds should an emergency require states to receive additio nal funding and additional funds for day-care.
The Senate proposal differs in significant ways to the House welfare bill passed earlier this year. The Senate cut House-endorsed provisions which would deny welfare benefits to unwed teen-age mothers and to welfare mothers who have additional childre n. The Senate version would allow the states to decide individually whether or not to make such provisions. After the Senate passes its welfare bill, the two houses must come together to hammer out a compromise bill to send to the President. Though Pre sident Clinton supports the Senate version over the House version, it is still unclear whether or not he will sign or veto a compromise bill.
Dr. Michelle Bloch, Chairwoman of the American Medical Women's Association, reported at a conference last week that women are dying of lung cancer at increasing rates and will soon die of it in greater number than men. At a conference entitled, "Women & Tobacco...There's Nothing Glamorous About It," Block reported that second-hand smoke, especially in the workplace, is endangering women's health. Numerous women work in bars, hotels and restaurants which allow smoking and they are thus inevitably expo sed to its side-effects. Block also pointed out that, in 1993, roughly one third of all women who lacked high school diplomas smoked while only twelve percent of women with college degrees did.
9/19/1995 - Anti-Abortion Activists Follow Powell
Retired General Colin Powell began his twenty-six city, four week book tour on Monday with a new group of followers -- anti-abortion activists who protest his pro-choice stance. The protesters plan to follow him on the tour and urge him not to run for president. Powell will announce his decision to run, or not run, at the end of the book tour.
Work on the Platform for the Fourth World Conference on Women continued all night on Thursday, as exhausted delegates struggled with the final thorny issues. Friday's closing events lifted the delegates' spirits, particularly Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland's stirring speech, and Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's bold rejection of Vatican attacks on family planning programs.
Brundtland delivered a ringing call to action on behalf of women. Topping her now legendary address to the Population Conference at Cairo last year, she urged activism at every level.
"We now need a tidal change - Women will no longer accept the role as second-rate citizens."
Referring to the crushing attempts of Chinese security to control the Beijing conference and its feisty women, Brundtland asked what the ultimate meaning of the Beijing Conference would be.
"The views expressed here - and the news which escaped from here - will irrevocably shape world opinion. The story of Beijing cannot be untold. What will be remembered? Zealous security? . . .Yes, but such practices cannot, and will not, long endure.
"Let us count our strategic victories, not the tactical defeats. What we have achieved is to unbracket the lives of girls and women.
"We cannot maintain the illusion that someone else is going to do the job and establish equality with men. Women, and men working with us, men who understand, we all must fight for that freedom.
"All history of liberation struggles tells us that life, freedom, equality and opportunity have never been given. They have always been taken."
The President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, also addressed the closing sessions. Voicing strong support for the advancement of women, President Fujimori agreed the "trustworthy studies state that investing in women is the most rational and profitable way to reduce poverty and improve social conditions.
"I believe that when designing state policies women must be included as a main agent of development."
Referring to the conflict between the Peruvian government's family planning programs and the Catholic Church, Fujimori condemned the Catholic hierarchy as "reacting in a disproportionate manner."
Responding to the charges that Peruvian family planning programs which allow voluntary vasectomies and tubal ligations constitute "mutilations" and represent the "powers of darkness", Fujimori defended his government's policies.
"There are institutions and forces that resist open and rational discussions on this issue. Of course, this is not a call to create blocs of nations or States to rise against the Vatican. In this time and age, an open debate cannot be interpreted as a declaration of war.
"Peruvian women are not going to remain confined or constrained by the intransigence of ultraconservative mentalities that pretend to turn into a dogma their incapacity to accept social change."
9/15/1995 - Faulkner May Try Again
Shannon Faulkner announced in a court affidavit that she still wishes to graduate from the Citadel. However, so as to avoid the emotional pain and isolation she felt earlier, she would like other women to join her if she re-enters. The Citadel is now fighting a plaintiff motion to add Nancy Mellette, a senior at a North Carolina military prep academy who also wishes to attend the Citadel, to Faulkner's suit. The Court plans to rule on that motion, Faulkner's request for re-admittance and the Constitutionality of a Citadel-like program set up at Converse College in November.
9/13/1995 - Summary Report On Conference Activities
Women scored an historic victory today as the international community agreed to count women’s unpaid work in their economic studies and valuations of the economies. Unpaid work performed by women has been estimated by a recent UNDP Human Development Report to amount to $11 trillion annually.
Although the language will not directly affect actual wages or pensions for women, it will count women’s unpaid work in measuring and valuation of labor. In a major coup, women’s advocates were successful in including the valuation of unpaid work in satellite and other official accounts in section 209 (f) (iii).
This issue is critical for women who labor in the home, performing unpaid and undervalued housework and child care services. It is also crucially important for rural women, particularly in poverty stricken areas of the globe, whose unpaid farm work is not valued in national and international statistics upon which aid and development policies rely.
Women’s advocates have worked for more than fifteen years to require economic analysis to include women’s unpaid labor.
Tensions rose at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing today, as negotiators maneuvered to recover positions lost in earlier rounds. A surprise revolt by the G77/China group derailed adoption of the mission statement, upsetting the proceedings.
Claiming that the Platform for Action ignores economic issues while stressing only the human rights aspects, the G77/China, led by the Philippines, sought to introduce new language into the already approved text. The Chair of the Main Committee, Patricia Licuanan, also of the Philippines, was clearly stunned. Other G77 nations did not appear to know in advance of the plan.
The G77 group pressured Licuanan to refer the issue to a new group of "Friends of the Chair", consisting of people at the ambassador or minister level. The Friends had been organized earlier in the day to assist with the portions of the text still unresolved, such as the footnote on deferring to national law, religious and cultural customs.
After a tense recess and consultations, Licuanan held firm on the procedure. Explaining that language agreed on in the working groups could not be reopened at the eleventh hour as the Conference draws to a close, she clarified the role of the Friends of the Chair.
"This is not an appeals group. This group is organized only to assist the chair with language which has not yet been agreed upon in the working committees. It will not reopen agreed language."
The Main Committee agreed to defer accepting the Mission Statement until Thursday.
In other developments, the Vatican attempted to recover lost ground on the key issues of "foeticide," discrimination against females "from the moment of conception" and other anti-choice language. arguing that compromise language agreed in the health section should not apply to the same issues in the human rights section, the Vatican and its allies pressured the working group to accept weaker language. Chair Irene Freudenschuss of Austria held firm, and the sections were approved.
On the key issue of inheritance rights for women and girls, compromise language was reached which recognizes females’ "equal right to inheritance and succession." This language steers a middle course between "equal inheritance" for boys and girls sought by Zambia and sub-Saharan Africa, and the "equal access to inheritance" proposed by Egypt and Islamic countries.
The language recognizes the principle that girls must be included in inheritance and may not be totally excluded in favor of boys. It leaves the question of amount open, however, thus accommodating Islamic countries which only require daughters to receive 1/2 of the amount left to sons.
Nils Daulaire of the U.S. Delegation emphasized the importance of this issue for girls and women. It is probably the single greatest factor contributing to women’s poverty around the globe, because without the capac
9/12/1995 - US Delegates Discuss Violence, Families, Race
At the regularly scheduled U.S. Delegation Press briefing, U.S. Violence against Women Office Director Bonnie Campbell discussed what the U.S. is currently doing in the area of violence against women and how programs already in place will coincide with U.S. commitments to the UN Fourth World Conference On Women Platform for Action.
During the question and answer period of the briefing, the panel of three U.S. official government delegates, including Campbell and Melind Kinble, Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Organization Affairs of the Department of state and Mary Curtain, Human rights Officer of the department of State, discussed other portions of the draft Platform for Action.
Answering a question on the use of the word family vs. families, Kimble noted that former vice-presidential candidate Geraldie Ferraro negotiated language stating "family takes many different forms in different cultures and societies."
The question of language about racial and ethnic minorities within the document came up ad was answered by Curtain who stated that race and ethnicity language was still a part of the "Declaration" section of the Draft Platform for action and that the U.S. had made a full commitment to retaining the language.
The U.S. Women of Color Coalition has been circulating a statement throughout the Conference stating that "the convergence of racial and ethnic discrimination with gender inequality makes us particularly vulnerable and overrepresented among the world's poor and poorly educated. These multiple barriers have been recognized in some of the language under discussion in the drafting of the Declaration and in some parts of the Draft Platform for Action."
The final votes on language for these portions of the Draft Platform are expected late Tuesday or during continued negotiations on Wednesday, September 13.
9/12/1995 - Gender Statistics as Feminist Strategy
As an INSTRAW-sponsored panel on gender statistics, feminist leaders from Italy and New Zealand urged collaboration between statistics produces and users as a strategy to improve the status of women.
By improving research methodology and shaping areas of data collection, feminists can influence policy priorities and resource allocation related to women, according to Daniela Colombo of Italy Colombo called for more quantitative and qualitative research in the areas of credit access, genital mutilation, unpaid work, and the contribution of women to family and national welfare.
Judy Lawrence, Chief Executive of New Zealands' Ministry of Women, stressed the importance of gender impact analysis as feminist strategy. She also urged the training of women's rights activists in statistics in order to make sure data is collected in important areas and to maximize the use of gender statistics.
Colombo and Lawrence commended INSTRAW's pioneering role in conducting and disseminating research on women worldwide and applauded platform language preserving the agency's autonomy.
Saying that the "Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women is laced with provisions that would take control of the mental, moral, emotional and physical well-being of children away from the family -- the basic unit of society -- and transfer it to national and multinational bureaucracies," spokeswomen of several "Family Life" groups protested the Platform for Action at a late afternoon press conference.
In her statement, Dale O' Leary, who lists herself as a freelance writer for Catholic World Report and a radio newscaster, called the proposed Platform for Action a "war on motherhood...lead by Bella Abzug and the girls from WEDO."
O'Leary also asserted in her statement that the "gender feminists" want "statistical equality requiring all women to work outside the home...and, according to gender feminists, womanhood, heterosexuality, and motherhood are not natural, but socially constructed roles and women should be free to choose their gender, their sexual orientation, their lifestyle, and even their sexual identity."
Anette Moran, spokesperson and director of education for Family Life International based in New Zealand said that her group would take the children's rights sections f the Platform and "create a firestorm of opposition from conservatives," in the coming year in New Zealand.
Coming to the conference at the age of fourteen, I really had no idea what to expect. This is the first international work I have ever done and my first trip to Asia. So when people ask "Is it what you expected?," I have no real answer.
Working with the Feminist Majority Foundation was also a first for me, although my mother has worked with them before, and I think that working with the delegation and getting to know them was one of the points of the trip. It was wonderful working with a delegation of women of different ages (from 14 to 50) and nationalities (U.S., Kenya, and France).
Before the conference, my mother and I toured China for 22 days with a tour group, so when the delegation got here we were slightly more oriented than they were. The day before the NGO conference started, Jennifer, Colleen, Barbara and I went out to Huairou to "case the joint", and we were overwhelmed. No one spoke enough English to tell us where we were, and the map was useless, but after wandering around we finally figured out where we were, and began to prepare for the week's upcoming activities.
By the end of the first day, everyone was exhausted, drained, and dejected. But after a few more days, even in the rain, spirits lifted and things were actually happening. I only got to a few of the workshops, but the ones I went to were wonderful. There was open discussion, suggestions, and speakers as a lot of information was passed on to us.
The workshop which stands out most in my mind was the one my mother and I attended together on the African girl-child. Many of the facts they gave us were shocking. They gave us an example of a fifteen-year old girl's daily schedule which began at 5 a.m. by preparing breakfast and her father's lunch, taking care of siblings all day, and ending the day at 11 p.m. by cleaning up after dinner and massaging her father's feet before he went to sleep. Even if you knew a problem already existed, there was surprising difference between her life and mine, and I feel that I really learned a lot from that.
I also felt that the NGO conference was wonderful for networking, and meeting women from all over the world. I know that I was overwhelmed by the number of women I met. By the end of the conference I was enjoying myself, and I am fairly sure that other people were too, although there were still many complaints. I was sad to see the NGO Forum end.
Overall, I was impressed by a number of things. First, at the number of women who came to the conference, and the power that we have. Second, by the amount of information given out to whoever cared to listen. And finally, the passion these women had about the issues discussed, and the emotion that made the whole event seem real and made me realize that I am more interested in feminism than I believed. I feel lucky to have been included in something of this importance and power.
A panel of experts addressed members of the press as well as NGO and government delegates today about the role of women in global television. Panelists Barbara Pyle of CNN, Anita Anand of Women's Feature Service, Jenny Richards of the UN funded Television Trust for the Environment (TVE), and others, discussed the need for more worldwide coverage of women's issues and more women in decision making positions in broadcasting.
In her remarks, Pyle described a new, not-for-profit television series produced by TBS/CNN Environmental Policy Unit called "People Count." She noted that this series and the international CNN series "World Report," have already been taking on the task of educating viewers globally about the concerns of women.
Richards discussed TVE's attempt to "raise public awareness of the links between poverty, social inequity, unfair trade terms, resource depletion, population and human rights issues." They've made more than 200 programs that have reached prime time audiences in over 140 countries including Peru, South Africa, India, Finland and the United Kingdom.
In India, according to Anita Anand, a television show about the life of a woman police officer which began about three years ago has been very influential in encouraging young women to become police officers themselves. An estimates that the weekly show is responsible for about two thirds of the new women recruits entering the police academies.
During the question and answer section of the symposium, some reporters asked questions about the lack of substance in the remarks of the panel as it did not address the real lack of women in decision making positions in broadcasting. Several panelists responded that the one hour symposium did not allow for any in depth debate on the subject and that they were giving glimpses into some of the programs and projects trying to address this and other problems for women in television.
9/12/1995 - U.S. Women Still Face Discrimination
In a poll of three-thousand women, eighty-four percent stated that they still face more restrictions than men. Seventy-seven percent of the women stated that they still face sexual discrimination. The women went on to say that the discrimination was less open, but nonetheless a serious problem. Seventy-six percent also claimed that sexual harassment existed in the workplace. Roper Starch Worldwide Inc., who conducts the poll every five years for Virginia Slims, found that a still prevalent old boys ' network and lack of role models, among other factors, keep women from achieving full equality. Forty percent of the one-thousand men polled stated that they received great satisfaction from their work life -- up from thirty-five percent in 1990. Only thirty-one percent of the women, however, claimed the same --down from thirty-seven percent in 1990.
A Los Angeles Times review of California found that women and minorities receive a very small percentage of public contracts. Even though women represent one-half of state citizens, they received a mere six percent of three-billion in contracts in 1993-94. And, minorities, who make up one-third of the state's population, received only nine percent in contracts during the same time period. The reported percentages may actually be too high because the tally apparently omitted one-billion dollar s in awards. In the final analysis, white men continue to receive a highly disproportionate number of the state's public contracts.
The study also found that government agencies fail to adequately monitor affirmative action practices. Last year, state audits of seven hundred contracts found that nearly one-third of them involved fronts or other practices used to subvert affirmativ e action. Fronts entail white male business owners claiming that women or minorities own their businesses. Of the numbers, Senator Richard G. Polanco (D-Los Angeles) commented that women and minorities receive, "...crumbs. Absolutely crumbs."
A federal appeals court struck down a Louisiana law on Monday which prevented Medicaid payments for abortions in case of rape or incest. The court found that the physical and emotional toll of rape and incest can make the abortion medically necessary. T he state had argued that its interest in promoting childbirth allowed it the right to withhold the Medicaid payments, but the federal court disagreed. The court ruled that, because Louisiana receives federal money for its Medicaid program, it must abide by federal mandates concerning the program. Those mandates include funding for abortions in cases of rape and incest.