Forbes Top 100 Websites For Women 2012

85 Broads: A members-only international network of 20,000 inspired, empowered and connected women started by female staffers at Goldman Sachs. Nice offering of blogs from members on work-life issues.

Alexandra Levit: A career blog by author and journalist Levit that regularly dispenses wisdom on all things work.

Babble: A community for new parents with advice, recipes, news and resources, plus a witty blog called Strollerderby.

Birds On the Blog: This London blog features career advice and breaking women’s-interest news from 11 resident bloggers (known as “the birds.”) All ad revenue from the site is used to fund the education of 5-year-old Ugandan twin girls, Princess and Perfect.

BlogHer: The premier women’s blog platform is celebrating its sixth year this year–and it’s still going and growing.

TheBloggess: Jenny Lawson blogs about sex, love and motherhood, and whatever else comes to mind.

The Boss Network: A community of entrepreneurial women who support each other through conversation, online and event-based networking.

The Bump: The Bump, from TheKnot, is a community website for expecting and trying-to-conceive couples that offers support, advice and features to women and their partners.

Brazen Careerist: Serial entrepreneur Penelope Trunk writes about work and life for over 40,000 subscribers. Her top piece of advice? Control your professional identity to stay employable.

CafeMom: An online community for moms that hosts parenting forums, games and blogs. Continue reading


“What she said was offensive,” said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.” – regarding Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown’s use of the word “vagina.”

"What she said was offensive," said Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville. "It was so offensive, I don't even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company." - regarding Michigan Rep. Lisa Brown's use of the word "vagina" while arguing against the state's extreme abortion regulations bill. Continue reading

Amnesty International Applauds Re-Introduction of International Violence Against Women Act

Amnesty International

(Amnesty USA, Washington, D.C.) Cristina Finch, policy director for women’s human rights at Amnesty International USA, made the following comments today in response to the re-introduction in the U.S. House of the International Violence Against Women Act:

“Women and girls around the world deserve to live free from fear and harm. This legislation is key to achieving that goal. The International Violence Against Women Act would coordinate and improve the U.S. government’s efforts to stop this global scourge by making it a priority in diplomatic and foreign assistance initiatives. This will help to ensure that the United States lives up to its international responsibility to end violence against women and girls. We applaud reintroduction of the legislation and urge Congress to show its commitment to the human rights of women and girls by passing the bill.”

IVAWA would create a comprehensive, integrated approach to protect and support survivors of violence, hold perpetrators accountable, and support efforts to change public attitudes that condone violence. The bill would create a five-year strategy and fund programs to prevent and combat violence and incorporate new ways to combat violence in programs that currently exist. The bill would enable the U.S. government to develop a faster and more efficient response to violence against women in humanitarian emergencies and conflict-related situations.

Living free from violence is a human right, yet millions of women and girls suffer disproportionately from violence, both in times of peace and in times of war, at the hands of the state and in their communities and homes. Around the world at least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime; often with impunity. States have the obligation to prevent, protect against and punish violence against women. Yet such violence is often ignored and rarely punished. Too often no one is held accountable for these crimes.

Whether combating sexual violence against Indigenous women in the United States or supporting the right of girls in Afghanistan to be educated free from violence, Amnesty International works to hold all states and perpetrators accountable and put an end to violence against women.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. Continue reading

United Nations adopts landmark resolution on adolescents and youth

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Late Friday at the 45th Session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD), member states issued a bold resolution in support of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and human rights.

This victory comes on the heels of a UNICEF report released this week highlighting the challenges the largest-ever generation of young people face — including HIV/AIDS, violence and unintended pregnancy — and reaffirms international agreements including the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD).

“This CPD is one of the most important events to take place – to talk about young people, for young people and with young people,” said Kgomotso Papo, speaking on behalf of the South African Delegation during the closing plenary. “We must remove all barriers that compromise the health, well-being and development of youth; and ensure the right of every individual to autonomous decision making in regards to their bodies, their health and their sexual relationships. On these points, there can be no compromise.”

Key points of the final resolution include:

• The right of young people to decide on all matters related to their sexuality
• Access to sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion where legal, that respect confidentiality and do not discriminate
• The right of youth to comprehensive sexuality education
• Protection and promotion of young people’s right to control their sexuality free from violence, discrimination and coercion

Much has changed since the landmark ICPD conference. Shifting global health funding, a maturing HIV epidemic, and the rise of the largest-ever generation of youth have all impacted the current sexual and reproductive health and rights landscape. Similarly, several key global processes—a twenty year review of global sustainable development goals (Rio +20), a twenty-year review of progress towards achieving the Cairo Programme of Action (ICPD+20), and a review of the Millennium Development Goals—are happening within the next few years, all with implications on the future of the global sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda.

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) supported youth advocates from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe to attend the CPD and advocate with their governments for supportive policies and programs, and helped facilitate a pre-conference strategy session. During the CPD, IPPF also held several educational events in conjunction with colleague organizations and governments, including panels on the importance of comprehensive sexuality education and youth rights.

“At this time of global uncertainty, there is no more important investment to be made,” said IPPF Director-General Tewodros Melesse. “Only healthy young people whose human rights are protected can be fully productive workers and effective participants in their country’s political processes. Only when young people are healthy and empowered can they contribute to building strong communities and vibrant nations. At IPPF, we are committed to working at the individual, community, regional and international levels to secure the health and rights of the largest-ever generation of youth.”

In closing the session, Commission Chairperson Ambassador Hasan Kleib (Indonesia) called on member states to realize these agreements at the national level, stating that “we now have to walk the walk.” Continue reading

Do Black Women Really Want to Be Fat?

Hawaiian woman

Are 4 out of 5 black women obese simply because they want to be? According to an opinion piece by novelist Alice Randall that recently appeared in the New York Times, the answer is yes. Randall says that in addition to fatty foods and poor eating habits, the music and poetry in black culture lionizes a larger body type, which can lead to obesity. She recounts tales of black women with black husbands who worry about their wives dieting and losing their voluptuous shape. Randall even discloses that her own mate is one such man. Nonetheless, she ends by vowing to buck the trends and become the “last fat black woman in my family.” She also calls upon every black woman to commit to getting under 200 lbs.

While I certainly wish Randall luck in her quest and fully understand how difficult it is to lose weight, it is important to put her characterizations and generalizations about black women and obesity in a context larger than her own personal health journey. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one-third of all Americans are currently obese, and another third are seriously overweight. This phenomenon cuts across race, class and gender. Obesity is not just an issue for black women, nor is it only found in black culture.

For black women, poverty, as well as lack of education, can often predict obesity risks. For example, CDC research shows that among all women, the prevalence of obesity grows higher as income decreases. This is particularly true for black and Latino women. As a result, it’s clear that obesity is a symptom of an ill greater than itself. This is a point that Randall seems to miss. However, the same isn’t true with men, whose weight tends to increase with rises in income.

The same basic phenomenon holds true with education levels. Among men, there is no significant relationship between education and obesity, while the less education a woman is the more likely she is to be obese. This is true for white, black and Latino women. In other words, for black women, even more so than black men, social factors influence obesity rates. Saying that high numbers of black women are fat simply because they want to be doesn’t do justice to this complex issue, nor does limiting the definition of black culture to music and poetry. The culture of a neighborhood can be just as — if not more — meaningful than anything else.

By way of an example, last year, my husband and I moved from the decidedly upper-middle class, Princeton, N.J., to a lower-income area in the South Bronx. When we lived in Princeton, we were a five-minute drive and a 15-minute walk from a number of gyms and roughly the same distance from supermarkets and health-food stores. While walking or driving to work, the supermarket or the gym, we would often see residents out walking, jogging or riding bikes. We had the time, access and opportunity to make exercise and healthy eating a consistent part of our lives.

Compare this with the area of the Bronx where we currently live. There are no gyms. And even though there is a supermarket up the street, much of the food readily available there is highly processed. We rarely see anyone out jogging, and the most accessible form of exercise is hiking up the stairs from the subway. As a result, I know firsthand the difference income and neighborhoods make in trying to stay at a healthy weight.

That said, three years ago, my niece Deborah made a commitment to lose 180 lbs. Mostly, she did it for health reasons. In our family, many of the women are overweight and some have begun to suffer health consequences. Deborah decided she wanted something different for herself, and this past month she reached her goal. In the process, she shrank from a size 28 down to a size 12. She didn’t have surgery or take pills. She ate well, sweated and ran her way to better health and a lower weight. The key here is that she had the educational level, financial stability and community support to reach her goal. If we want to fully address the problem of obesity in America, we need to first make sure that all women, no matter their education level, income, race or location, have access to the same levels of support, security, education and knowledge that my niece had. Continue reading

Report Ranks Niger as the Worst Country in the World to be a Mother

What are the world’s best and worst places to be a mother? Save the Children’s State of The World’s 13th annual Mothers’ Index analyzes health, education and economic conditions for women and children in 165 countries.

Norway ranks #1 this year, topping the more developed countries and Niger ranks last, at the very bottom of the least developed countries.
Nigeria ranks #80, last in the less developed countries category. Cuba leads this category, with South Africa and Ghana  holding spots #33 and #67 respectively.
The United States comes in #25 out of 43 more developed countries.

2012 Mothers’ Index Rankings

1 Norway 156 DR Congo
2 Iceland 156 South Sudan
3 Sweden 156 Sudan
4 New Zealand 159 Chad
5 Denmark 160 Eritrea
6 Finland 161 Mali
7 Australia 162 Guinea-Bissau
8 Belgium 163 Yemen
9 Ireland 164 Afghanistan
10 Netherlands/United Kingdom 165 Niger

The report shows how low cost solutions like breastfeeding and basic hygiene can save more than 1 million children’s lives each year. Read the interactive report, watch the videos and share info graphics. You can also sign a petition to urge World Leaders to support child survival solutions.

Download in PDF format the full report by clicking here, the Executive Summary by clicking here, and the complete list of rankings by clicking here. Continue reading

AWID Forum 2012

This year’s AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development) Forum will be holding at Halic (Golden Horn) Congress Centre in Istanbul. GPI will be represented by Grace Osakue and Toyin Okungbowa Bakare.

The Forum provides an opportunity for people working in women’s rights around the world to gather, share experiences, recharge their batteries and gain practical skills and knowledge that they can take back to work. Participants include activists, academics, program implementers, funders, and staff of international organisations. there have been eleven AWID forums prior to 2012.

GPI’s attendance at the forum is being sponsored by the Foundation for a Just Society. Continue reading

From darkness, dignity: Why sexualized violence must move from the shadows

From darkness, dignity: Why sexualized violence must move from the shadows | Women Under Siege Project.

Picture of CBS News correspondent Lara Logan o...

Lara Logan on duty in Iraq.

Lara Logan is a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” and CBS News’ chief foreign affairs correspondent, a position she has held since June 2008.

When I was overwhelmed by a mob of men in Tahrir Square in Egypt last February, I was filled with the certainty that I would die there. In my mind, I could see an image of my body lying discarded in the dirt.

It struck me that it would be a truly meaningless death.

And yet I was so shocked by the sexual assault, that instead of fighting for my life, I was at first fighting for my dignity. I kept appealing for mercy, begging them to stop in the midst of the violence and the chaos, as they tore my clothes from my body and raped me with their hands. Hundreds of them. Continue reading

Myth: A woman can’t get pregnant during her period.

cicle menstrual

While a woman is unlikely to conceive during menstruation, “nothing, when it comes to pregnancy, is impossible,” said Aaron Carroll of Indiana University and co-author of “Don’t Swallow Your Gum: Myths, Half-truths and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health” (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2009).

Once inside a woman, sperm can wait for an egg for up to a week. Ovulation can occur soon after, or even during, the bleeding phase of a woman’s menstrual cycle, giving patient sperm the chance to get lucky. Continue reading

Third Annual Women in the World Summit

Women in the World describes itself as being “centered on first-person storytelling by trailblazing women from a broad spectrum of cultures. Over the course of three days, we showcase these fearless pioneers, inspire you to become involved, and encourage creative solutions to all the challenges that women face across the globe.”

The summit is taking place March 8-10 2012 at the David H. Koch Theater (Lincoln Center), Broadway and 63rd Street, New York. Continue reading