Sep 262007

Let’s keep in mind we’re talking about taking medical boards here:

“A Harvard student must be allowed extra break time during her nine-hour medical licensing exam so she can pump breast milk to feed her 4-month-old daughter, a Massachusetts appeals court judge ruled Wednesday.

Sophie Currier, 33, sued after the National Board of Medical Examiners turned down her request to take more than the standard 45 minutes in breaks during the exam.

Currier said she risks medical complications if she does not nurse her daughter, Lea, or pump breast milk every two to three hours.

A Superior Court judge last week rejected Currier’s request to order the board to give her an additional 60 minutes of break time. Appeals Court Judge Gary Katzmann overturned that ruling, finding that Currier needs the extra break time to put her on “equal footing” with the men and non-lactating women who take the exam.

The board had cited a need to be consistent in the amount of break time given and said other nursing mothers who have taken the exam found 45 minutes sufficient.

But Katzmann said that amount of break time was “insufficient” for Currier to nurse her baby, properly express breast milk, eat, drink and use the restroom over the course of the nine-hour exam.

Without extra break time, Currier would have to choose between pumping breast milk and ignoring her bodily functions or foregoing pumping and causing herself significant pain, the judge said.”

We believe Currier will be a fine physician not to mention a great mom, the members of the board however are way overdue to retire.

 September 26, 2007  Posted by on September 26, 2007 1 Response »
Sep 262007

The other day while investigating why there was a huge surge in traffic on the Feminist Peace Network blog, I discovered that Time Magazine’s Middle East Blog had posted a link to our site. Finding it rather amazing that such a mainstream publication had taken notice of a site that proudly exists somewhere out on the left fringe of the blogosphere, I went to take a look-see and discovered that surprise, surprise, it was written by 3 white guys and just more of the same stuff that the MSM dishes out every day. I was irritated enough to write and point out to them that 3 white guys writing about Iraq was really not all that informative, so far no reply.

The good news is that there is one mainstream outfit that does get it. Be sure to read this brilliant, poignant explanation of what has happened to women’s rights in Iraq that is posted on the McClatchy Inside Iraq Blog:

“For what have we been pushed back into the dark ages?

How can this be liberation if my daughter has fewer rights than I did at her age? If she has less control over her life than I did? Fewer choices than even her grandmother had?

Why have we been forgotten?? Neither our Parliament nor our Government cares. They are up there for their own interests.

But what about the powers that crossed the high seas to liberate us?? They poured out their billions; they sacrificed their sons … to “liberate” us … but what we, the women of Iraq got, is article 41.

Go to your cleric – he is sure to solve all your issues.”

The McClatchy blog also has a blogroll that led me to other blogs with blogrolls that led me to several blogs written by Iraqi women that give us yet more insight about what life is like for women in Iraq:


“I also feel so worried as schools will start and the fear and worry about my daughters will start too.

I heard about a relative murder, and so many sad stories about Iraqi families from the resident dentists ,I also read many experiences about families abroad from the network sites ……….

Ah, I really feel exhausted, I also had a difficult personal sympathy experience at work that made me lose my equipoise, I really want a brake before I explode. I had many crying moments this week…”

An Arab Woman Blues:

“It was time for me to leave. I had a funeral visit to go to, I gave one last long look…

The sun was slowly disappearing into the sea. The water took on a blue silvery color and shined as if a thousand diamonds were floating on its surface. All was gently enveloped in a hue of pink, red, yellow and indigo.

And in a few hours, at sunrise, the sea and its shore will be witnessing a brand new day of…Occupation.”

Baghdad Girl:

“This is the army that the American government and the Iraqi government are helping to build, they brought every criminal, thief, and looser gave him a gun and send him to the streets, the new army together with the armed militias with the help of Iran, are destroying the country.

If the people who suppose to protect the country, are the ones who are destroying it. What future does Iraq still have???”

One wonders what would happen if Time or MSNBC or NPR (ok, in all fairness, in 2003 NPR did have one post from a young woman who was an Iraqi refugee) suddenly gained enlightenment and started making an effort to give these voices a hearing. Who knows, maybe then we would start to understand what is really happening in Iraq. And on that note, please read Relief Web‘s urgent appeal for help for the Iraqi refugees in Syria, Jordan and Egypt, as well as the Amnesty report on the crisis facing these millions of displaced people.

 September 26, 2007  Posted by on September 26, 2007 1 Response »
Sep 252007

A new report from the American Cancer Society has a bevy of interesting stats about breast  cancer, mostly encouraging, but it certainly raises some questions:

“The death rate from breast cancer continues to drop steadily by about 2 percent a year, but black women are not seeing the same benefits as whites, the American Cancer Society said on Tuesday.

The group found that during 2001 through 2004, breast cancer diagnoses fell by an average of 3.7 percent a year — in part because women stopped taking hormone replacement therapy and in part because fewer got mammograms and therefore were not diagnosed.

Death rates fell by 2 percent during that period.

For women over the age of 50, breast cancer rates fell more sharply, by 4.8 percent a year since 2001, the group said. Breast cancer rates were stable among black women and younger women, the group said.”

So–really good news if you happen to be a white woman over the age of 50.  Not so hot if you happen to be black.  Interesting note that death rates still fell despite  women getting fewer mammograms, presumably because they can’t afford them.  Economic realities no doubt play a role in the stats being worse for black women who are not only less able to pay for mammograms but also for basic healthcare.

As the report makes clear, a significant chunk of the improved stats is due to women quitting hormone replacement therapy.  Here’s hoping one major mama of a class action suit is soon in the offing.

 September 25, 2007  Posted by on September 25, 2007 1 Response »
Sep 252007

WILPF Statement on the situation in Burma:

“The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom sends greetings,
solidarity and support to citizens of Burma, who courageously and
non-violently stand up for peace and freedom in their country.

A reign of terror has prevailed in Burma since 1962, the population being
brutally repressed by a military dictatorship; women have suffered in
terrible and specific ways.

The international community has tolerated this military junta far too long.
Its silence has protected a culpable economic exploitation by actors who
must be made to cease their profiteering and deal-making with the regime,
currently headed by General Than Shwe. The current culture of impunity must come to an end, and those who have committed grave violations of
international humanitarian law must be justly prosecuted.

WILPF calls on all Member States of the United Nations to:
Continue reading »

 September 25, 2007  Posted by on September 25, 2007 Comments Off on WILPF Statement on the Situation in Burma
Sep 252007

Amnesty International has issued a report on the Iraqi refugee crisis that makes all too clear the need for immediate action. The report confirms the particularly dire situation being faced by women and children who are being forced into prostitution in order to survive, something that has been mentioned on this blog repeatedly in recent weeks:

“Syrian officials have expressed concern, however, that a growing number of Iraqi refugees are becoming involved in the sex trade as prostitutes or workers in sex clubs. Amnesty International was told that some Iraqi girls and women have been forced by their families to engage in prostitution to earn money to enable them to meet their daily needs, and there is concern that child prostitution and trafficking of Iraqi children is growing. The Syrian government has acknowledged the seriousness of this matter and is drafting new legislation in response with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).”

For more on this, see also my article: September 11: the Epitome of American Arrogance

 September 25, 2007  Posted by on September 25, 2007 Comments Off on Amnesty Report on the Iraqi Refugee Crisis