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feminist news round-up 26.08.12

first female nz soldier killed in afghanistan

Lance Corporal Jacinda Barker, a 26 year old medic with the New Zealand Army, became the first female Anzac to die in Afghanistan when her vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device as she travelled through the Bamiyan Province. New Zealand is just one of the 11 countries to allow women to fight alongside men in combat and while there is technically no “front line” in Afghanistan, the incident will no doubt reignite debate about women’s roles in warzones and whether or not they belong there. However former Army Major James Brown said that the debate about women in combat was over and people are prepared for female casualties. He added that New Zealand was well ahead of Australia on the issue of women in combat.

“legitimate rape” blocks pregnancies, claims senator

A Kansas City, Missouri Senator has landed himself in political hot water this week when he claimed that in cases of ‘legitimate rape’, women’s bodies are capable of “blocking” pregnancy. Speaking on television about his opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape, Todd Akin said: ‘It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, [pregnancies from rape are] really rare. If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.’ He then went on to say that the rapist ought to be punished, but not the child that is the product of that rape. Akin later retracted his statements, saying he ‘misspoke’.

tony abbott has a problem with women

According to federal government frontbencher Tanya Plibersek, opposition leader Tony Abbott doesn’t like women telling him what to do. She made the comment in reference to an incident during question time on Monday where Deputy Speaker Anna Burke suspended Abbott and told him to leave the lower house after he defied her direction to withdraw an interjection without qualification. Later, Abbott told reporters that he was a modern man who takes directions from women every day.

hillary clinton and angela merkel named world’s most powerful women

According to Forbes magazine’s annual survey, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are the world’s most powerful women. Also included on the top 100 list, which covers women in politics, business, media and entertainment, is our very own Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as well as Gina Reinhart, Queen Elizabeth II, and Lady Gaga.

helen gurley brown dies

Helen Gurley Brown, former Cosmopolitan editor and author of ‘Sex and the Single Girl’ has died at age 90. She, along with famous feminists Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem represented the second wave of feminism post-World War II.

feminists, abortion and homosexuals to blame for violence in south africa

A conservative Christian South African minister has blamed recent violence at the Marikana platinum mine, where 34 people were killed and 78 wounded, on feminists, homosexuals and abortion. Pastor Errol Naidoo, who has in the past declared his hatred for “gays”, published a newsletter in which he claimed that a ‘culture of death’ has been created and driven by ‘abortion-on-demand’ and the ‘homosexual agenda’. It’s unsurprising that his comments have been met with strong criticism.

facebook page rating women lands victorian man in prison

Twenty-two year old Bendigo man, David McRory, has been jailed for four months for creating a facebook page used to rate women’s sexual performance. While his lawyer said that he did not intend to cause long-term harm, the magistrate said that the jail term was necessary to send a strong message to the public. McRory is appealing his sentence.

long work days lead to weight gain in women

A Monash University study has found that the more hours women spend in the office, the more susceptible they are to weight gain. Researcher Dr Nicole Au suggested that extended work hours may reduce the time spent preparing healthy home-cooked meals, exercising and sleeping, which are all factors that influence obesity.

iran bans women from universities

Female students in Iran have been banned from participating in certain university degree courses, with 36 universities across the country officially announcing that 77 BA and BSc courses will be ‘single gender’ and exclusive to men in the upcoming academic year. Under the new policy, women undergraduates will be banned from participating in a broad range of studies including English literature, English translation, nuclear physics and computer science amid fears that rising educational standards among women will contribute to declining birth and marriage rates in the country. The policy has been slammed by Iranian parliamentarians and human rights activists.

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