INDIA: Gender Bias Drives Abortion Boom

Up to a million Indian mothers illegally abort their female fetuses every year in India, and police are discovering the remains in toilets or gutters. Effects on the sex ratio have been dire, with 817 females to every 1,000 males in Punjab. The procedure has become a moneymaker for thousands of private doctors, who allegedly use ultrasounds to determine the sex of the child and encourage women to abort if it is a girl. Officials are trying to educate people about the issue, and gain control of private hospitals and clinics where such procedures are performed. Sources:
“Foeticide issue continues to rock Rajasthan”
Indo Asian News Service, March 23, 2007
“A cry to save the girl child”
Indo Asian News Service, March 20, 2007

Women: Rights & Welfare

Progress in Yemen, Zimbabwe
A Western-educated Yemeni woman said she would break a law against women in politics by forming a party dedicated to gender equality. reports that Sumaya Ali Raja, who was invited to deliver her message to a traditionally all-male council, got a mixed reception from conservatives, but was welcomed by the Socialist Party and others. Legislators in Zimbabwe finally passed a bill protecting women from domestic abuse … ten years after it was introduced. Activists say that one in four women there are victims of abuse, and linked domestic violence with high rates of murder and HIV infection.

FOCUS: Women in Iraq

By Jodi Wynn, intern
As democracy takes a step in Iraq, traditional gender roles and the strong ties between religion and government are major obstacles for women. According to a recent report by Amnesty International, women are more confined and limited since the U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2003. Although the report acknowledged that women faced institutionalized violence prior to Saddam’s fall, it also noted that since the occupation they wear headscarves more often, and avoid school and work due to fears of fundamentalist reprisals. The report also raised concerns of gender-based intimidation and sexual threats by U.S. soldiers, including against female political detainees. Washington said it would review the findings.

Women & Politics

Article research by Allison Bloch, Intern 
Simply having the right to vote does not guarantee civic enfranchisement or equal status. A short survey of women’s issues at home and abroad finds wage disparities, lack of political involvement, and, of course, conflict over abortion rights and wrongs. Some articles listed below may move to paid archives over time. To further your own research, we’ve provided links to keyword searches on the topics we cover. -Blue State Blues
-Women Abroad
-Status: Quo?