Double Dose: International Women’s Day; Annual State of Black America Report; Legislation on Drive-By Mastectomies Stuck in Neutral; Maternal Instinct Wired?

By Christine |

Celebrate International Women’s Day: Happy IWD to everyone! Here’s the 100-year history and hundreds of events taking place in more than 50 countries.

Lucinda Marshall has reflections on the importance of IWD — and plenty more at Feminist Peace Network. Women’s eNews’ weekly Cheers & Jeers focuses on equality gains and disappointments around the world. Carolyn Byerly writes about the lack of U.S. media coverage.

State of Black America: The State of Black America report was issued this week by the National Urban League. The 2008 edition is subtitled “In the Black Woman’s Voice” and includes essays on the economic, social, psychological and medical challenges that black women face. An executive summary, abstracts and order form can be found in the Urban League’s publication section.

This AP story describes some of the essays. Julianne Malveaux’s “The Status of African-American Women” was republished in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

Legislation on Drive-By Mastectomies Stuck in Neutral: “Despite an online petition with 20 million signatures supporting federal legislation that could prevent insurance companies from covering only these so-called drive-through — or outpatient — mastectomies, Congress has been slow to act,” reports the Chicago Tribune. “But after more than 10 years of proposing similar legislation, proponents of the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act are hoping that with Democrats controlling Congress, the measure might finally be approved.”

Conflict of Interest Much?: “A dispute over food industry influence has resulted in the resignation of the incoming president of the Obesity Society,” reports The New York Times. It seems that Dr. David B. Allison came under fire after the society, which represents obesity doctors and researchers, learned Allison had written an affidavit “as a paid consultant on behalf of the restaurant industry, which is trying to block new rules in New York City that at the end of March will require fast-food and other restaurant chains to list the calories of menu items.”

Plus: “According to some experts whose views are public health heresy, the jury is still out on how dangerous it is to be fat. ‘The obesity epidemic has absolutely been exaggerated,’ said Dr. Vincent Marks, emeritus professor of clinical biochemistry at the University of Surrey,” reports the AP.

Maternal Instinct Wired into the Brain: That’s the headline, anyway, on this incomplete New York Times summary of a study that appeared in Biological Psychiatry. On the upside, it’s a great example of the added-value of commenters, who smartly question the lack of context and potential implications.

Texas Twofer: Rachel points to two Texas stories — the first about a woman kicked out of a mall’s salon for breastfeeding (a violation of company policy and a state statute), and the other about a mother pushing for a policy change after the teenager who raped her now 12-year-daughter was allowed to return to school.

What’s in a Name?: Last month, the Rape Crisis & Abuse Center in Ohio switched back to its old name – Women Helping Women, with the added tagline “Serving Women & Men Who are Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault & Stalking.”

The change was originally made because the agency also helped male victims of domestic violence, but the new name was considered too off-putting and fundraising dropped, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It was the word,” said Executive Director Ann McDonald. “The word rape scares people.”

An editorial in support of the agency’s decision reads in part:

Besides clouding the fact that the center also works heavily with victims of domestic violence, the old name created distance – the very thing a victims’ advocacy group can’t afford. “We need people to hear us,” McDonald says.

Critics may say the center should have maintained its name on principle, that refusing to back off the word is one way to shatter the stigma. But in this case, a challenge to semantics isn’t as important as keeping a vital service viable and alive.

Call for Abstracts: The Black Women’s Health Imperative invites abstracts from individuals interested in presenting a workshop at the national black women’s health conference, June 20, 2008. The abstract must address topics within one of the three conference tracks: mental health, HIV/AIDS and overweight and obesity. The deadline is March 28.

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One Comment

  1. Margie says:

    maternal brain hardwired? I really wonder if it is human nature to feel empathy. I feel the same way when my dog is upset that these women felt when their babies were upset.