BBC: The Sisters in Islam (SIS feminist group welcomed the decision by the Malaysian government to appoint two new women judges to the Islamic courts. SIS has campaigned for years for inclusion of women in the court system, which it argues does not administer and implement Islamic law fairly and properly in cases involving women.
The decision by the Malaysian government to appoint women judges to its Islamic courts has been welcomed by Muslim feminist groups. The Sisters in Islam (SIS) group based in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, told the BBC it had been pressing for this for many years. The group has long campaigned for reform of the Islamic legal system. It argues that Islam does provide legal protection for women, but that it is not always administered and implemented properly and fairly.
The government announced the two new judges as Suraya Ramli, 31, in the Federal Territory of Putrajaya court and Rafidah Abdul Razak, 39, in Kuala Lumpur. "The appointments were made to enhance justice in cases involving families and women's rights and to meet current needs," said Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Malaysia runs two parallel legal systems - the civil courts for its non-Muslim citizens and the Islamic system.The civil judiciary has long had female judges, covering a range of major cases.The Islamic legal system focuses on family law, frequently tackling issues such as divorce, polygamy and custody battles.
Los Angeles Times: A new study posits the plight faced by widows as a human rights issue, many of whom suffer discrimination and abuse,and are trapped in poverty. The report found at least 245 million widows worldwide, almost half living in poverty, with the highest number of widows in China with 43 million, India with 42.4 million, the United States with 13.6 million, Indonesia with 9.4 million, Japan with 7.4 million, Russia with 7.1 million, Brazil with 5.6 million, Germany with 5.1 million, and Bangladesh and Vietnam with about 4.7 million each.
"At least 245 million women around the world have been widowed and more than 115 million of them live in devastating poverty, according to a new study released Tuesday by Cherie Blair, wife of the former British prime minister.
The most dire consequences are faced by 2 million Afghan widows and at least 740,000 Iraqi women who lost their husbands as a result of the conflicts in their nations; by widows and their children evicted from their family homes in sub-Saharan Africa; by elderly widows caring for grandchildren orphaned by the HIV/AIDS crisis; and by child widows ages 7 to 17 in developing countries, the report said."
From BBC: In the 40 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act, women in Scotland working full time earn significantly less than male colleagues--about 12% less. Women in management find even more of disparity, earning 55% less than their male counterparts. Researchers think that some of the reasons for the pay gap are stereotyping, discrimination and inequalities in reproductive labor.
From Inter Press Service: Kamla Persad-Bissessar is the first female head of state of Trinidad and Tobago. The 58 year old attorney hopes to build a more inclusive government and has promised the an end to the nation's divisive ethnic politics, saying, "We will all rise. Every creed and race will find an equal space and place."
From the NY Times: At a conference in Beijing, businesswomen discussed how to work effectively with men, and how to increase their ranks in the boardroom. A report released at the conference titled "Accelerating Board Diversity" revealed the "dismal reality of women's lack of access to board appointments." The anomaly was Norway, which, thanks to 2008 quotas, now boast women in over 40% of board appointments. The trend seems to be catching on in Europe as well.
From San Francisco Chronicle: Compensation for female CEOs at the biggest U.S. companies is at a higher rate than ever before. Sixteen women heading companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index averaged earnings of $14.2 million in their latest fiscal years, and women CEO's received a 19% raise in 2009, while men took a 5% pay cut.
From Time: Each of the large banks employs a small handful of women in senior positions and only 3% of Fortune 500 companies have a female CEO. These figures show that the current financial recession is primarily the responsibility of the men in charge. Three women who challenge the status quo demonstrate through their action how women will be shaping the policies and laws that will protect consumers in the future. The article interviews Sheila Blair, the Chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Mary Schapiro, the first woman to hold the post of Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Elizabeth Warren, chair of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) band the chief advocate for new consumer-finance regulations.
Kathryn Bigelow is "Queen of the Film World," becoming the first woman to receive the "Best Director" Oscar for The Hurt Locker. She is the fourth woman -- and second American woman -- to be nominated in the Academy's 82 years.
Beverly Wettenstein writes: "As a populist women's historian, journalist, advocate and spokesperson, my mission is to popularize women's history and to record, report and remember women's accomplishments, notably "first female" facts. The point that we still have "first female" records to make proves that we have challenges ahead. Ideally, I hope we have "first female fervor" to empower girls and women to continue to break barriers. My message is: Make more milestones!"
Michelle Bachelet’s presidency comes to a tumultuous end less than two weeks after her country withstood an 8.8 magnitude earthquake. Here, the author assesses what her term in office has meant for women in Chile and what lies ahead.