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9/12/1995 - Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Restrictive Abortion Law

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.


9/12/1995 - Powell Supports Abortion Rights and Affirmative Action

In an interview with Barbara Walters, which airs Friday September 15, Colin Powell said he supports a woman's right to choose and affirmative action. Starting off a book tour, and quite possibly a presidential bid, Powell labeled himself pro-choice, s tating that if a woman decides to have an abortion, "it's a matter between her, her doctors, her family and her conscience and her God." Powell also said that he had benefited from affirmative action in the army and asked, "Why shouldn't a group of senio r officials in a university take a look at the total background of these youngsters....They claim they just don't let them in on the basis of the SAT scores. ..."

Powell also came out in support of silent prayer in schools, gun control and capital punishment. In the interview Powell did not disclose whether or not he would run for President in '96. Nor did he state which party he would run as if he did make t he bid for the presidency.


9/11/1995 - Beijing Women's Conference Makes Significant Headway

A committee of the U.N. Fourth World Women's Conference passed an agreement Sunday night which acknowledges women's right to control their sexuality and sexual relations. The committee's wording added that women should enjoy this right, "free of coercion, discrimination and violence." The passage of the resolution represents a victory for women activists and the most significant resolution passed thus far at the conference. All 189 nations present at the conference must now approve the agreement; but, because most countries were already represented in the committee, its passage is virtually assured.


9/11/1995 - Anti-abortion "Terrorist" Sentenced to Twenty Years

A Federal judge sentenced Shelley Shannon to twenty years in prison Friday. Shannon had earlier pled guilty to charges of attacking six abortion clinics. She begins serving the term after she finishes a previous ten year term which she received for shooting and wounding a doctor outside a Wichita abortion clinic in 1993. Judge Redden commented during sentencing, "Though I am loath to call anyone a terrorist, you are a terrorist."


9/11/1995 - Commitment to Implementing Platform for Action

As of September 11, 1995, 109 governments have addressed the official meeting at the Fourth World Conference about the commitments they will take home with them. Of these, 47 have made specific commitments to implement the conference recommendations.

Australia will introduce a new health program for indigenous women. Cambodia will ensure gender parity in peace negotiations and conflict resolution bodies. Fiji will ensure 50% participation of women in all government appointments. India will increase national investment in education to 6% of its Gross National Product, and will focus on girls' education. Turkey will extend compulsory primary education from 5 to 8 years. The Ukraine will create a national family planning program, and the US will launch a six year initiative against domestic violence.

An advisory about the commitments by the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) found that the majority of commitments made were in the areas of economic empowerment, women's advancement and in health. Areas in which commitments were lacking were in media, the environment and armed conflict.


9/11/1995 - WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVOCATES ADVANCE PLATFORM FOR ACTION

Women's advocates claimed victory today as two measures that had faced stiff opposition from anti-abortion and conservative delegations were approved. The Working Group I, which deals with health issues and other matters, approved paragraph 107 (k) which addresses women's freedom from sexual violence and coercion; and urges nations to review laws which punish women who undergo illegal abortions.

Paragraph 97 had been negotiated in closed committee meetings for nearly three days over the weekend. Conservative delegations had opposed any recognition of women's "right" to sexual autonomy. The compromise language was developed under the leadership of the contact group chair from Barbados. It substitutes the phrase "sexuality" for the more controversial phrase "sexual rights".

All delegations in the closed committee meeting were reported to be in agreement on the questions of women's freedom from rape, incest, sexual coercion, sexual harassment. The problems arose over questions of whether the phrase sexual rights included sexual relations outside of marriage, and lesbian sexual relationships. The European Union (EU) raised objections and suggested additional language which would have strengthened the language on women's sexual rights.

Upset by this last minute development, other delegations pressured EU to compromise, but the EU insisted it could not support the more conservative language on women's sexual rights. Iran then noted that if EU disrupted the orderly flow of proceeding, it too had additional language the Islamic countries would like to propose.

During a tense fifteen minute recess, EU consulted within its delegation. Several EU member states were reported to object to anything which did not include the phrase sexual rights. Suggestions that inserting the phrase "individual" into the document would accomplish the same purpose were rejected.

After the recess, the Chair gaveled the paragraph through as originally proposed by the Barbados-chaired committee, ending the tense Sunday night session.

The final language which was adopted by Working Group I Monday morning is: "The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between women and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction including full respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behavior and its consequences."

Women's rights advocates saw the language as an advance over the Cairo platform, which did not include any mention of sexual rights. At the Social Summit in Copenhagen, no platform language adopted mention sexual health.

A number of members noted their intention to take reservations on paragraph 97 including Libya, Iraq, the Vatican, Malta, Equador, and the Philippines.

On abortion, the same working group considered language which addresses the problems of women who have health complication following illegal abortions. In many countries, criminal laws prevent hospitals and doctors from providing medical services to women suffering complications from illegal abortions, and require the woman to be charged with criminal violations if she seeks medical attention.

Paragraph 107 (k) urges countries to consider reviewing laws which contain punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions. A key Cairo platform provision declaring unsafe abortion a public health concern was adopted as well. Only a very few delegations who traditionally follow the Vatican's hard line on all family planning and women's health measures objected to the language.



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9/10/1995 - Notes on Progress of Platform for Action: Unwaged Work Issue is Contentious

Unwaged work continues to be a contentious issue at the Fourth World Conference On Women. The European Union is seeking a return to language from the Social Summit held by the UN in Copenhagen this past summer. Language at that conference did not contain provisions urging countries to count women's unwaged work in their national accounting systems.

Proposed Fourth World Conference On Women language urges countries to count women's unwaged work in a national satellite count separate from the Gross National Product of those countries.



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9/10/1995 - Notes on Progress of Platform for Action

Unwaged work continues to be a contentious issue at the Fourth World Conference On Women. The European Union is seeking a return to language from the Social Summit held by the UN in Copenhagen this past summer. Language at that conference did not contain provisions urging countries to count women's unwaged work in their national accounting systems.

Proposed Fourth World Conference On Women language urges countries to count women's unwaged work in a national satellite count separate from the Gross National Product of those countries.


9/10/1995 - NGO'S Participate in Unprecedented Numbers at FWCW

At a press conference at the official government meeting at the Fourth World Conference On Women (FWCW), the UN Conference Secretariat for the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's), Kristen Timothy announced that 3000 NGO's represented by over 4000 individuals, were participating in the FWCW.

Timothy said NGO participation in the FWCW has included involvement in prior world conferences on population and social issues as well as earlier world conferences on women. She attributed this increase to the growth in the last 10 years of the number of NGO's advocating for women and the number of NGO's involved in the UN process. The number of NGO's not exclusively devoted to women's issues but who have added women's concerns to their agendas has also contributed to the growth in NGO participation.


9/9/1995 - Huariou Forum Ends With Ceremony and Final Press Conference

The final day in Huairou was, again, wet and muddy, as NGO participants conducted their last day of work and workshops. The number of participants ended at over 31,000 compared to the 1985 Third World Conference On Women in Nairobi where only 300 NGO's were represented by 10,000 participants.

The program led with young feminists from around the world presenting their hopes and plans to contribute to the efforts of the NGO's, acknowledging the work that has been done by women active in NGO's for many years and asking that their own contributions be accepted. Chinese dancers and gymnasts also braved the rain and wind to perform.

Supatra Masdit, Convenor of the NGO Forum, concluded the historic event with a 6pm press conference held with representatives of the the China Organizing Committee (COC).

"Throughout the ten days of meetings, the NGO Forum has brought together women from almost every country and from almost every sector of political and community work, engaging in over 5,000 activities. These outstanding women came here with a commitment to advance the cause of all women and they shared their expertise, achievements and concerns," said Masdit.

The China Organizing Committee, which came under attack by a number of the feminists attending the NGO Forum because of reports of harassment by Chinese authorities, transportation hassles and difficulties faced by differently-abled participants, defended itself at the final press conference.

According to officials of the COC, over 7,000 motor vehicles were used to transport participants and the over 3,000 Chinese volunteers who helped Forum participants with everything from logistics to workshop room set-up. The official spokesperson for the COC expressed surprise at the idea that some Forum participants had changed their COC assigned hotels upon arrival in China and he was especially frustrated that COC workers could not easily find participants with special needs.

Masdit concluded her portion of the press conference by saying, "the NGO Forum marks a turning point in the women's movement from all walks of life. The exchanges have sometimes been spirited, and sometimes heated. Upon returning home, the participants of the Forum will tell others about the outstanding women who came to Huairou, China."


9/8/1995 - NGOs Criticize Media for Poor Forum Coverage

On the final day of the NGO Forum in Huairou, Western women's NGOs held a press conference to confront Western media about their poor coverage of Forum activities.

Representatives from NGOs in Spain, Norway, and the United States decried the media's almost exclusive focus on the logistical difficulties of the conference and on criticism of Chinese surveillance of Forum participants. Substantive plenaries, panels, and workshops covering a wide range of issues of importance to women worldwide for the most part were ignored by the media, according to the NGOs.

At the same time, some NGOs circulated a letter signed by conference participants thanking the people of China for their hospitality during the conference and attacking media for exaggerated reports of security concerns and the negative portrayal of China and the Forum.


9/8/1995 - Counting Women's Work as Political Leverage

The International Wages for Housework Campaign at an NGO Forum panel called upon delegates at the Fourth World Conference on Women to accept Platform language urging governments to measure and value women's unwaged work. The provision suggests that governments include unwaged work in their national accounting, but does not go so far as to require inclusion of these accounts in the GNP.

According to campaign organizers, the measure is opposed by the European Union which fears that measuring women's unwaged work will result in a demand for wages for housework. The developing nations, represented by the G-77, support valuing the unwaged work of women as a strategy to increase their countries GNP and to pay the Third World debt.

'Quantification and valuing of women's work is a key lever of power for women, according to the International Wages for Housework Campaign. Panelists restated International Labor Organization figures that women do 2/3 of the work of the world, but make only 5% of the world's wages and hold only 1% of the assets.

Universal standards must be developed to include the wide range of work that women do without financial renumeration, said the panelists. Current methods for measuring women's unwaged work are inconsistent, minimize the content of their work, and ignore women's simultaneous responsibilities that if properly accounted would result in work days exceeding 24 hours. In addition, most strategies to calculate lost wages are embedded with the same gender bias found in the paid labor force.


9/8/1995 - Women From Around Globe Shared Strategies, Says NGO Forum Director Irene Santiago

At the final press conference for the NGO Forum, Irene Santiago, Executive Director, said the Forum had been an extraordinary gathering where women "shared their strategies, research, their knowledge of technology, information and connected the local to the global."

Over 30,000 women registered and participated in the Forum where 4,500 workshops, panels and plenaries were conducted. Santiago said that women also demonstrated they had not just one "plan for action," but instead introduced "many plans" for women to enter politics in unprecedented numbers, to use computer technology to communicate as never before and to form global alliances to help each other.

"The difference between the women's conference in 1975 and this conference in 1995 is that in 1975 women just tried to make their voices heard. Now, in 1995 we are putting our issues on the public agenda. And the women's issues are not isolated, single problem issues. Women's issues are the whole global agenda," concluded Santiago.




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9/7/1995 - Feminist Majority Joins Call For Strong Women In Political Decision-Making Platform Language

A second provision urges the review of the "differential impact of electoral systems on the political representation of women in elected bodies" and asks governments to consider the adjustment or reform of systems to enhance women's representation.

Other organizations working for the adoption of strong language on women in political-decision-making include International Alliance of Women, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Liberal International, European Network of Police Women, International Association of Business and Professional Women, The Education Centre for Women in Democracy in Kenya, Australian Federation of Business and Professional Women, The Expertise Cenre for Women in Enterprise, Chatisgarh Mahila Jagriti/India, Sanchetana/India, Dilara Choudhury/Bangladesh, and International Council of Women.


9/7/1995 - Feminists Strategize to Achieve Gender Balance in Politics

Beatrice Bakojja, Member of Parliament from Uganda, expressed that Uganda has very few women in politics at all levels of government. She identified the main obstacles to womenÕs political participation as being mainly cultural, educational and financial. Ugandan society is traditional and stigmatizes women politicians. In addition, few women possess the financial resources to run political campaigns and Ugandan society chastises women who engage in fundraising for any purpose, including for financing political campaigns.

Bakojja credits affirmative action for the few women officeholders in Uganda. She also praises an informal system of women' s counsels that extends from village level government to parliament as being instrumental in facilitating communication between women politicians and ordinary Ugandan women.

Virginia Pinto, a representative from the National Association of Nongovernmental Organizations in Zimbabwe and the first woman to run for City Council in her town since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980, echoed Bakojja's concern regarding the small number of women in elected office. Less than 10% of Zimbabwean politicians are women.

Pinto is running as an independent candidate because none of Zimbabwe's political parties had an agenda she could support as a feminist. She spoke of her own experience of chairing a nongovernmental organization whose members encouraged her to run for office. As a feminist political activist, she has experienced much harassment from the male political establishment, included being followed and having her telephone bugged.

Switzerland's women have only had the right to vote since 1971 and are woefully under-represented at all level of government, according to Stella Jegher of the Feminist Independent List Party. Jegher is running for a national office, hoping to join the 8 other women in her party who have been elected to local (5), county (2) and national (1) level.

Jegher described how her party developed through the realization that women candidates were unable to support a feminist agenda when a party platform did not support feminist ideals. "With a feminist election list, we can be sure that our vote goes for a feminist agenda," said Jegher. Jegher also pointed to the need for collaboration and coordination among feminist politicians from different political parties.

Dr. Jennifer Jackman of the Feminist Majority Foundation described how the U.S. feminist movement first identified the "gender gap" between male and female political attitudes. According to Jackman, American women vote differently from men on issues such as social welfare, equal rights, defense spending and abortion. Jackman described examples of how the visibility of these issues in candidate campaigns has shaped election outcomes. She also attributed the Republican takeover of the U.S. Congress in 1994 to the fact that Democrats attempted to appeal to male voters by taking conservative stances on issues such as immigration and social welfare, alienating their women constituents.

The panel and participants agreed on the following effective strategies for increasing women's political participation:


* A vertical structure, as described from the Ugandan experience, for constant communication among women politicians and women voters at all levels of government;
*A horizontal structure,or worldwide caucus of women parliamentarians using electronic communication strategies such as Feminist Majority On-line, the World Wide Web site of the Feminist Majority;
*Exchange visits between groups of women politicians from different countries that would serve as political education and information sharing;
*Changes in campaign financing laws including creating public financing for candidates that would facilitate women candidates' fundraising;
*Women's organizations and women candidates forming alliances with women-owned businesses to improve resource access; and
*Make the promotion of women's


9/7/1995 - Packwood Expulsion Vote -- They Finally Get It!

Commentary by Eleanor Smeal

The Senate Ethic Committee's stunning recommendation to expel Senator Packwood sends a strong message to the Senate and the Nation that women have at last been heard. Sexual harassment is a serious offense which won't be ignored. Senator Boxer and the courageous women from Oregon, who have led the fight, have made the workplace safer for all American women.

Tragically, Senator Packwood still does not seem to understand the seriousness of the charges against him. In a press conference, he dismissed the accusations as nothing more than "overeagerly kissing women." Sexual harassment of an employee or an intern violates the victim and it violates the law.

At a press conference immediately following the vote, Packwood focused on procedural questions and the fact that he had not received public hearings. For nearly three years women have tried to be heard by the Senate. Women's leaders and women's organizations have, from the beginning, repeatedly requested public hearings. At Senator Packwood's own request and with his vigorous debate, the Senate voted not to hold public hearings. The time for procedural questions has passed. Women and men of both parties on the Senate Ethics Committee have voted to recommend expulsion. Clearly the Senate has finally received the message from women that sexual harassment cannot be tolerated in the Senate or the workplace.





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9/6/1995 - Nancy Mellette Joins Fight to Allow Women into the Citadel

At a press conference yesterday, Nancy Mellete, a second lieutenant in the Oak Ridge Military Academy corps of cadets, announced that she planned to join the legal proceedings seeking to allow women into the Citadel. Mellette, who is a member of her a cademy's cross-country, track, basketball and softball teams and who can run two miles in thirteen minutes, said she felt mentally and physically ready to enter and succeed at the Citadel. She also stated that she could endure the legal battles and milit ary rigors the Citadel presented her with.

Both sides are now awaiting a court ruling on whether a new leadership program, set up at Converse College as a woman's alternative to the Citadel, meets constitutional requirements. If the court rules that it does stand up to constitutional scrutiny, the publicly funded Citadel could remain all-male. Mellette commented that the program at Converse could not adequately fit her needs, citing its lack of electrical engineering courses and rigorous military instruction.

Val Vojdik, a lawyer challenging the all-male policy, commented that if a judge doesn't allow Mellette to join Shannon Faulkner's lawsuit, she would most likely file a separate suit. He also stated that roughly two-hundred other women have expressed i nterest in joining the Citadel.


9/6/1995 - World Bank Utilizes Crucial Resource

Commentary by Eleanor Smeal

When he addresses the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing next week, World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn is expected to argue that women bring a necessary resource to economic strategizing. Indeed the bank is expected to take to Beijing the long-time feminist message that discrimination against women hurts financial institutions.

In 1988, the World Bank employed women in only three percent of its senior management positions. And the bank employed only eight women, out of 143 men, in its top four grades. Then-President Lewis T. Preston reported that, "With this record, we cannot claim to have tapped the largest possible population for excellence" (The Washington Post, E1, 9/10/95). At the urging of feminists and economists, the World Bank began to increase the amount of women in its upper-managerial positions.

Though undergoing a time of large downsizing, the bank did increase the number of top female executives. Now women represent eight percent of senior management positions, though the bank still has only one female vice-president and no female managing directors. In 1995, women make-up thirty percent of the professional staff and roughly twenty-three percent of advanced professional staff, up five percent and eight percent respectively since 1988. This increase due to the World Bank's concerted efforts to hire more women, still does not reflect true equality. The World Bank along with other institutions must continue, indeed step up, its efforts to promote women into upper-management positions.


9/6/1995 - First Global Congress of Women in Politics Agrees on Overall Strategy

Following a series of regional strategy meetings held over the course of the past week, the First Global Congress of Women in Politics has agreed on an overall strategy that calls on governments assembled here in Beijing to commit to gender balance in political decision-making at all levels and in all the world's countries.

While individual regional reports identified some obstacles to women's political advancement that were culture specific, women meeting here to organize a global political network nonetheless discovered that they had many key problems in common: money, access to party nominating structures, and significant party support when they did manage to become candidates.

Ironically, the various reports revealed that despite long traditions of democracy and democratic institutions, a majority of countries in North America and Western Europe lag behind many other countries across the world in the percentages of women holding political office at both the local and national levels.

Led by NGO leaders from the United States, Sweden, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the North American/Western European Congress agreed on a 5-point strategy for the immediate future:

To press for affirmative action policies and strategies within each country that would put more women in the political pipeline;

To work for campaign finance reform that would both change how political campaigns are funded and that would put a ceiling on the amount of money that could be spent on campaigns;

To conduct nationwide political education programs in each country for young women and girls that stress that importance of political participation -- as both voters and as potential office holders -- by making the links between politics and situations that affect our everyday lives;

To create a mentorship program in each country in which seasoned women office holders would mentor women who are holding their first political offices in order to help them avoid pitfalls;

To teach women interested in running for political office how to effectively use the media to get their messages out .
As the First Global Congress was concluding, plans were being made for follow-up activities to expand and advance the emerging network.




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9/6/1995 - From Cairo to Beijing Workshop

Approximately 40 people braved the rain to attend today's Feminist Majority workshop, From Cairo to Beijing. Panelists spoke from Asia, Africa, and the United States about the successes and problems with the implementation of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo last year.

All three panelists stressed the important role of NGOs in developing new ways to solve problems, monitoring governments, and serving as a bridge between the people of the country and their governments. They also discussed the great impact that the political climate in countries has on the degree to which the decisions made at international conferences are implemented.

A representative of the Environment and Population Center in Zambia discussed the positive impacts of the ICPD, including development of a program that making medical care available free to all pregnant women and children under age five. A national commission was also formed to look at the best ways to transfer the Cairo agreements to national policies.

However, because many of the NGOs in Zambia and the rest of Sub-saharan Africa are poorly funded, many have not adopted a long-term perspective on attempting to implement the Plan of Action. In addition, information dissemination about the implications of the decisions made at the conference to the grassroots and to the people of Zambia has been difficult.

Karen Rindge, from Planned Parenthood, spoke on the U.S. perspective of the ICPD. She had very little good news to tell. The lack of financial support from foundations for NGOs working on implementation of Cairo and the shift in control of the U.S. Congress to conservative Republicans have undermined implementation of the Cairo document in the U.S. The Republican-controlled House and the Senate are attempting to both dismantle domestic social programs in the U.S. and to slash international family planning assistance, cutting the funding entirely for organizations working on reproductive rights issues.

A panelist from Bangladesh told the audience about problems with implementation of the agreements in her country. The UNFPA has translated the platform into Bangla, which is the language that 80% of the people speak and formed an advisory panel for follow-up of the conference. However, while the only organizations really interested in implementing the decisions from the Cairo conference in Bangladesh have been women, these very organizations have been excluded from the governmental process.

The panelists reminded the audience that despite some setbacks in implemenation of the Cairo Plan of Action in the first year, the document sets forth a ten-year implementation strategy.


9/5/1995 - Lesbians March In Huairou

Huairou, China, Sept. 5 - I joined several hundred other people to march for lesbian rights on Tuesday, September 5th. The march spanned nearly the entire NGO forum site, beginning at the main entrance and ending at the lesbian tent at the other end of the site.

Demonstrating the international nature of the movement, slogans were chanted in French, Swahili, Spanish, and English, and there were signs in several different languages as well. Chants included a call and response: "What do we want?": "Lesbian rights!"; "When do we want them?": "Now!" as well as "Lesbian Rights are Women's Rights!" and "Women united will never be divided!" In both French and English, over thirty banners and signs were displayed, most reading "Lesbian Rights are Human Rights."

Onlookers were generally very supportive, and many either joined in the chants or clapped. At the end of the march, we were exhausted and hoarse after marching and chanting for nearly an hour and a half but exhilarated by the solidarity displayed both by participants and onlookers.


9/5/1995 - World Bank Utilizes Crucial Resource

Commentary by Eleanor Smeal

When he addresses the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing next week, World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn is expected to argue that women bring a necessary resource to economic strategizing. Indeed the bank is expected to take to Beijing the long-time feminist message that discrimination against women hurts financial institutions.

In 1988, the World Bank employed women in only three percent of its senior management positions. And the bank employed only eight women, out of 143 men, in its top four grades. Then-President Lewis T. Preston reported that, "With this record, we cannot claim to have tapped the largest possible population for excellence" (The Washington Post, E1, 9/10/95). At the urging of feminists and economists, the World Bank began to increase the amount of women in its upper-managerial positions.

Though undergoing a time of large downsizing, the bank did increase the number of top female executives. Now women represent eight percent of senior management positions, though the bank still has only one female vice-president and no female managing directors. In 1995, women make-up thirty percent of the professional staff and roughly twenty-three percent of advanced professional staff, up five percent and eight percent respectively since 1988. This increase due to the World Bank's concerted efforts to hire more women, still does not reflect true equality. The World Bank along with other institutions must continue, indeed step up, its efforts to promote women into upper-management positions.



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9/5/1995 - Teachers' Unions On the Defensive

The conservative political climate now endangers teachers' unions, which face attack from both federal and state governments. New measures, threaten to limit teachers' abilities to strike, raise money, and bargain. The measures also limit tenure and a unions' abilities to negotiate issues such as privatization of schools. A new Michigan law, for example, which teachers are now fighting in the courts, allows teachers to be fined if they strike and Republican Wisconsin Governor Tommy G. Thompson proposes allowing school boards to decide on merit-pay plans without agreement from teachers' unions. For the first time, Indiana's State Teachers' Association will not have the ability to bargain for "fair share" agreements, which allow the Union to assess fees to nonmember teachers. This law came about after a Republican Congress overruled the Democratic Governor's, Evan Bayh, veto. Republican leaders have targeted the National Education Association, which, with 2.2 million members, is America's largest Union. They have also targeted the American Federation of Teachers, which maintains 875,000 members.


9/5/1995 - Legal Cutbacks for the Poor

The Republican Congress has significantly decreased the amount of funding for Legal Aid Programs designed to help the poor. Congress has reduced the budgets of sixteen national organizations, which provide legal advice to lawyers in neighborhood offices, by twenty-four percent this year alone. Due to budget cuts, the National Housing Law Project in Oakland, California had to lay off four of its eight attorneys this past summer and the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law, which has handled a dozen welfare related Supreme Court Cases, is closing its branch offices in D.C. Further lay-offs have occurred at the National Consumer Law Center in Boston, the National Center for Youth Law and Legal Services of Greater Miami. The House also voted to prohibit legal aid lawyers from lobbying or participating in litigation in any way concerning the reform of state or federal welfare systems. These measures come at a time when radical welfare changes increase poor persons' need for legal advocates.


9/1/1995 - New England Journal of Medicine Steps Up Security

After receiving an angry fax from Operation Rescue activist Terry Randall, the New England Journal of Medicine has tightened security at its Boston-based offices. Randall sent the fax in response to a study published in the Journal and written by Dr. Richard Hausknecht which found that a combination of two commonly available medicines can induce abortions. In the fax, Randall claimed that the study was "Nazi-like" and warned the doctors involved that, "when abortion is made illegal again, you will be hunted down and tried for genocide" (Reuter 9/1). The Massachusetts Medical Society, which owns the journal, and Hausknecht have also hired more security.