At a time when twelve states have legalized same-sex marriage, it appears that LGBTQ rights are moving in a positive direction, even politically. Republican politicians are becoming more vocal in their support of same-sex unions, despite the costs to their careers. Top WNBA pick Brittany Griner was joined in her out-and-proud status by NBA center Jason Collins.
As 25,000 global experts descend on Washington, D.C., this week for the first International AIDS Conference in the United States in 22 years, they face some sobering statistics: 3 percent of all residents in the nation's capital are infected with the HIV virus.
And with 7 percent of all black males HIV-positive, the city has a higher infection rate than African countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria and Rwanda.
The world might be winning the war on AIDS -- 2.7 million had HIV in 2010, down from 3.2 million a decade earlier -- according to UNAIDS, but the United States, alongside Eastern Europe, still sees new infections.
There's no question that 2011 was a truly seismic year for reproductive rights in the U.S. More than 60 laws damaging women's access to reproductive health care passed in 24 states, an unprecedented assault on women's health care. And this year, the powerful aftershock has further strained women's reproductive autonomy. As of July, 15 states had already passed around 40 harmful laws—marking another year of unbridled animosity toward women.
When the comedian Daniel Tosh reportedly singled out a woman in his audience and suggested, according to a blog post that recounted the incident, it would be "funny" if she "got raped by, like, five guys, right now," the online reaction was swift, heated and often split down gender lines. Many men wanted to explain free speech or heckling etiquette. Many women (and virtually all feminists) said these topics were distractions, at best, from the sheer offensiveness of Tosh's attack.
Quite a few of the women who shared our post said they were doing so in hopes that a husband or boyfriend would "finally understand why I won't watch Tosh's show with him." Some even tagged their husbands or boyfriends, to be sure the message would reach its destination.
The story in the pan-Arab daily newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat – an important media tool for Saudi rulers – said Saudi male athletes have qualified to compete in track, equestrian and weightlifting at the games that start in less than three weeks.
There is no "female team taking part in the three fields," the report said Sunday, quoting an unidentified Saudi official. He said no female athlete had taken part in qualifying events in Saudi Arabia, which severely restricts women in public life.
Saudi leaders have been under pressure to end the practice of sending all-male teams to international competitions. They could face IOC sanctions after the London Games if women are excluded from the country's Olympic team.
The Saudi Embassy in London said two weeks ago that women who qualify will be allowed to compete. Last week, IOC President Jacques Rogge said he remains optimistic the Gulf kingdom will send women to the games for the first time.
In 2008, 355,000 women died while giving birth or from illegal or dangerous abortions, a study published by The Lancet said.
But more than 250,000 deaths were averted that year because contraception reduced unwanted pregnancies, it said.
"If all women in developing countries who want to avoid pregnancy use an effective contraceptive method, the number of maternal deaths would fall by a further 30 percent," according to the research.
The paper, led by John Cleland, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, appears in The Lancet on the eve of a "London Summit on Family Planning," promoted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It is campaigning for the rights of 120 million women and girls to have access to family planning.
"Increasing contraceptive use in developing countries has cut the number of maternal deaths by 40 percent over the past 20 years," said the paper.
Most people killed or wounded in stray-bullet shootings were unaware of events leading to the gunfire that caused their injuries, and nearly one-third of the victims were children and nearly half were female.
The study by Garen Wintemute, professor of emergency medicine and director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center, examines mortality rates and other epidemiological aspects of stray-bullet shootings over a one-year period. It is published in the July issue of the Journal of Trauma and Acute CareSurgery.
"Stray-bullet shootings alter the nature of life in many American neighborhoods, creating fear and anxiety and prompting parents to keep children indoors and take other precautions," Wintemute said. "When we think about gun violence, we think about high-profile and tragic events like Virginia Tech or the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. But stray-bullet shootings affect entire communities every day, and there has been almost no research exploring them."
Unlike the risk pattern for violence in general, which typically affects young males, most victims of stray bullets were outside the 15-34 age range, and nearly half (44.8 percent) were females, the study found. Many of the people shot (40.7 percent) were at home at the time of the incident, and of these, most (68.2 percent) were indoors.
Women in countries with great gender inequality are more likely than men to support authoritarian values, according to a new study of 54 countries. The shift away from beliefs in independence and freedom is the result, social psychologists say, of authoritarianism helping such women cope with a threatening environment.
"If a person is authoritarian, they are more likely to follow what group leaders ask them to do, and to follow the crowd more generally," says Mark Brandt of DePaul University in Chicago, a co-author of the paper just published online in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Prior research has found that adopting authoritarian beliefs gives people a sense of connection to others and protection against threats. "It might be one way to compensate for the social devaluing that is associated with being a member of a disadvantaged group."
Brandt and his co-author P.J. Henry thus predicted that the greater thegender inequality in a country, the greater the endorsement of authoritarianism by women compared to men. They investigated this relationship by analyzing survey data from 54 countries, from Argentina to Vietnam. They used the publicly available World Values Survey, which asks participants about their beliefs in authoritarian (e.g. "good manners" and "obedience") values versus autonomous ("independence" and "imagination") ones. They gathered gender inequality data from the United Nations Human Development Report, which has tracked gender inequality around the world for more than 10 years.
As predicted, they found a link between high gender inequality and a support of authoritarian values among women. "I think many people will be surprised to find out that women can be more authoritarian than men," Brandt says. Most past research on authoritarianism has failed to showgender differences, perhaps, Brandt says, because these data were collected in the United States and other developed nations with lower levels of gender inequality. "Step outside that cultural zone to locations of greater gender inequality, and you will find greater gender differences."
A new working paper by Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland for the Peterson Institute for International Economics suggests that Kim Jong-un's early economic policy moves in the economic sphere “were focused on re-enforcing controls.”
Most surprising of all this, writes my colleague Jane Perlez, is “how Mr. Kim has thumbed his nose at China, whose economic largess keeps the government afloat.” When a senior Chinese diplomat went to North Korea and warned Mr. Kim against a ballistic missile test, Jane says, “the new leader went ahead anyway.”
Mr. Kim, not yet 30, seems to have deftly consolidated his hold on state power since his father’s death in December. He appears fully in command of the political, military and diplomatic levers.
And some of his regime’s first policy moves in the economic sphere “were focused on re-enforcing controls” from the central government, according to a new paper by Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland for the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
They suggest that the regime could impose a return to a more centrally planned economy, as we have seen before. Such a trend, which might well include a crackdown on the private, shadow-economy markets that are predominantly run by women, “could have the effect of once again marginalizing North Korea’s women.”
Mr. Haggard and Mr. Noland report that disproportionate numbers of women are now being laid off from jobs at North Korea’s state-owned enterprises because “working for the state is considered more politically advanced ‘man’s work.’ ”
As a result, women have moved into the markets, which are closed to men and operate quasi-legally in North Korea’s grudgingly hybrid economy. The regime views these markets — and the women who run them — with “an ambivalent if not actively hostile posture,” Mr. Haggard and Mr. Noland write.
“In other settings, this newfound freedom might be empowering,” they say, but the women traders have frequent run-ins with the police and, therefore, the North’s harsh penal system. Corruption is rife. Bribing police officers and state officials is common. “In short, the increasingly male-dominated state preys on the increasingly female-dominated market.”
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking. It is also the world’s most comprehensive resource of governmental anti-human trafficking efforts and reflects the U.S. Government’s commitment to global leadership on this key human rights and law enforcement issue. It represents an updated, global look at the nature and scope of trafficking in persons and the broad range of government actions to confront and eliminate it. The U.S. Government uses the TIP Report to engage foreign governments in dialogues to advance anti-trafficking reforms and to combat trafficking and to target resources on prevention, protection and prosecution programs. Worldwide, the report is used by international organizations, foreign governments, and nongovernmental organizations alike as a tool to examine where resources are most needed.