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Forced Sterilization of Roma Women Continues

Despite a report confirming the continued use of coercive sterilization on Roma (Gypsy) women, women's advocates charge that the Czech government has failed to take action to stop these atrocities. In December of 2005, Czech ombudsman, Otakar Motejl, released a report that cites dozens of cases of sterilization of Roma women between the years 1979 and 2001 in which “no consent for sterilization was given that would be free of error and fully unrestrained,” reports the Associated Press. Motejl recommends that the Czech government mandate informed consent, improve methods of providing accurate information to Roma women, and develop a plan to provide compensation to victims.

Despite the release of Motejl’s detailed report six months ago, coercive sterilization of Roma women is still taking place and the Czech government has taken only token steps to address the problem, according to The Czech Health Ministry acknowledges sterilization procedures were not followed properly, but refuses to provide compensation to victims, according to the Associated Press. Furthermore, many hospitals continue to deny that their actions were illegal, claiming medical reasons for sterilization. Advocates for the victims’ say that the real reason for the practice is racism, reports the Associated Press.

In response to their unjust treatment, many Roma women are now taking their cases to court. In 2005, Helena Ferencikova became the first Roma woman to sue the hospital that sterilized her. The District Court of Ostrava in Czech Republic ruled that the hospital should acknowledge malpractice and must issue her a formal apology. The hospital denied Ferencikova’s demand for compensation, and both parties are appealing.

from the Feminist Daily News Wire, June 23, 2006

More Lawsuits Against Morgan Stanley

Two federal lawsuits claiming sex discrimination have been filed against Morgan Stanley, the world's second- biggest securities firm.

One suit was filed June 22 in Washington, DC, as a class action on behalf of ``all female financial advisors'' working at Morgan Stanley since August 2003.

Another suit was filed in San Francisco by Daisy Jaffe, 51, for age and sex discrimination. She claims she was ``denied business opportunities and account referrals that were provided to men in her office with no greater qualifications or lesser qualifications than she had.” She is seeking back pay and damages for discrimination that ``pervades the corporate culture'' of Morgan Stanley.

According to the Washington suit, Morgan Stanley ``systematically denied equal employment opportunities to its female financial advisers'' and discriminated against women in granting compensation and promotions.. The suit also claims that Morgan Stanley discriminated against women in the firms's training, mentoring and partnership assignments, and assigned the most lucrative accounts and leads to male brokers.

Morgan Stanley has been the subject of several lawsuits and regulatory investigations in recent years. In July 2004, Morgan Stanley paid $54 million to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges the firm denied pay raises and promotions to female investment bankers, paid them less than men, excluded them from company events and subjected them to lewd behavior. Of the $54 million, $2 million was supposed to go toward programs to support women at the company.

Morgan Stanley issued a statement that the company expects to announce gender-discrimination reforms later this year.

info from Bloomberg News, and USA Today

U.S. May Need Outside Intervention to Guarantee Political Parity for Women

U.S. ranks 68th in the world for female representation in national politics, and has never had a female president.

Other countries including Chile, Liberia, Israel, and Britain have elected women to their highest political office.

No woman has ever led the presidential ticket of a major political party in the United States. Only one -- Democrat Geraldine Ferraro in 1984 -- has been nominated for vice president by either the Republicans or the Democrats.

In Washington today, 85 percent of Congress is male. As of mid-May, six months before the November elections, 175 women were considered candidates for the House and 18 for the Senate. In 1992, a record 222 women filed for House seats and 29 for the Senate.

Female representation in Congress has been between 13 percent and 15 percent for the past five years. Even the new democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan now have a greater percentage of female representatives than does Congress, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international group based in Geneva, which ranked 188 countries according to their female representatives.

The U.S. has gotten further and further behind as other countries have adopted quotas and other mechanisms to assure women greater representation.

The Inter-Parliamentary Union found that the average ratio of female parliamentarians in countries that used quotas in 2005 elections was nearly twice that of those without such special measures: 26.9 percent versus 13.6 percent.

Other factors helping female politicians outside the U.S. include financial support, women-focused reforms within individual political parties, and an organized effort by the media and the general public to champion greater parity.

info from Associated Press, June 25

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