Sunday, March 7, 2010

News flashes

Study finds women's rights improve in the Middle East

From Yahoo News

According to study by self-described watchdog group Freedom House, women's rights have improved in 15 out of 18 countries in the Middle East and North Africa during the last five years.

Yet, violence against women is still widespread in that part of the world.

Tunisia and Jordan provide women with the most rights - along with legal protection against domestic violence.

Yemen and Saudi Arabia are significantly behind in women's rights.

And, due to internal conflict and a rise in extremism, women in Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine are now worse off, according to the study.

Slayings, rapes and kidnappings of women "significantly escalated" in Iraq last year. Sometimes these are classified as "honor crimes" committed by a male relative to protect family reputation.

Women made significant political gains in Kuwait, where they have the same political rights as men. Four women were elected to Kuwait's parliament last May for the first time in that country's history.

Queen's tomb found in Egypt

From Yahoo News

What was described as a "very rare" find, French archaeologists unearthed a 4,0000-year-old, 8.5-foot pink granite sarcophagus in the Saqqara necropolis south of Cairo in Egypt.

The sarcophagus belonged to Bahnou, one of the queens of the Sixth Dynasty which ruled Egypt from 2374 to 2192 BC.

Very little is known about Bahnou. She thought to be the wife of Pharaoh Pepi II.

C-sections on the rise -- but are they necessary?

From the Detroit Free Press

A major medical conference taking place this week is expected to produce new guidelines for women and their doctors involving Cesarean birth.

At issue, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press, is whether vaginal birth is safe following a Cesarean birth.

The Freep says C-section rates are rising and nearly one in three babies are born by C-section nationwide -- the highest rate ever.

But, there's more to the story, according to Dr. Richard Smith of Henry Ford Hospital. He says women are choosing to have C-sections because it gives them more control over delivery and labor. It is possible to schedule a C-section delivery and thus avoid prolonged labor.

Other factors include doctor's fear of lawsuits due to complications of labor, and fewer training opportunities for doctors to learn how to deliver babies in difficult circumstances.

Additionally, some small- and medium-sized hospitals have policies against natural delivery of a baby after a prior C-section because of a 2004 recommendation that hospitals without anesthesiologists and obstetricians available round-the-clock not attempt natural delivery after a prior C-section.

Michigan's rate of C-section deliveries has risen from 21% in 1999 to 31% in 2008.

Japanese women are thinner -- but perceive themselves as fat

From The Washington Post

Social pressure and media images are part of a complicated, competitive, and subtle equation that's making Japanese women too skinny for their own good according to an article from The Washington Post.

Since 1984, according to Japanese government data, all age categories of women from 20-59 have become thinner with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 18.5

Not so for Japanese men. Sedentary workplaces, processed foods, and lack of exercise are causing them to gain weight. Currently, 32% of Japanese men over 50 are overweight -- up 20% over the last 25 years.

Hisako Watanabe, a child psychiatrist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo says Japanese women are outstandingly tense and critical of each other and have a habit of monitoring each other's "slimness"

Sakiko Ohno, 40, thinks she's "very fat." She has a BMI of 19.5.

"Japanese women want to be thin so that they can look at themselves in the the mirror and compare themselves to other women," she says.

Japanese women also believe that Japanese men prefer petite women and that fashionable clothes are sized for thin women.

As a result of the pressure to be thin, Japanese women who are cutting calories are facing slower metabolisms, lower birth weights for babies, and a higher risk of death in case of serious illness.

Utah bill makes miscarriage a crime?

From The Political Carnival

A bill passed by the Utah House and Senate will make it a crime for a woman to have a miscarriage or an induced abortion if signed into law by the state's governor.

The bill does not affect legally-obtained abortions, but makes women legally responsible for miscarriages caused by "reckless behavior."

Read all about it at The Political Carnival website

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