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women

For the first time in Japanese history three women of different political persuasions are in positions that could be stepping stones to the prime minister's office.

It's especially notable in Japan, where women's labor force participation remains among the lowest among developed nations, and gender roles are traditionally-defined.

"Women have not really been coached or mentored or encouraged to take on leadership roles," Kyoto University diplomacy professor Nancy Snow explains. "Also, women aren't allowed [culturally] to often show ambition, to sort of telegraph that."

Jessica Bennett at Town Hall Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

Author Jessica Bennett and a group of fellow female professionals were facing man’s world issues, like male colleagues taking credit for their ideas and work. The women started a monthly meeting to share stories and look for solutions. Their gatherings explored workplace discrimination and social research on how to combat it. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan announced Thursday that Republicans will — once again — vote to cut off federal tax dollars for Planned Parenthood. They are planning to include the measure as part of a bigger upcoming bill to repeal pillars of Obamacare. This isn't the first time that they have tried to pass this type of legislation — President Obama vetoed a similar bill last January.

Senator Patty Murray in the KUOW offices, Jan. 2016.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Just days into Congress' new session, major topics are on the table.

Washington Democratic Senator Patty Murray says she will fight back against a Republican plan to defund Planned Parenthood. This week House Speaker Paul Ryan said he wants to cut off federal financial support to the health organization.

Charity Hines didn’t have her ‘Go Bag.’

When she went into Kings County Hospital for a Week 40 checkup, she wasn’t in labor and did not expect to deliver a baby that day. During what she thought was a routine pelvic examination, the doctor kept going deeper. It was uncomfortable and confusing; when she hit what she figured was 10 on the 1-to-10 pain scale, she cried out, “What’s happening?”

As she recalled it, only then did the doctor explain she was probing the cervix to stimulate labor.

I
Frank Hessenland 

It’s just a bus stop in a city in northern Germany.

But for some of the migrant women who’ve escaped violent and abusive relationships, it’s also a second birthplace. 

“The emotional connection to this place is so deep,” says Irina Bedavi, who works with a network of activists helping women in Germany escape abusive situations.

“This [is] where they start over again,” Bedavi tells me, standing under the bus shelter. “The start of a new life and safe existence.”  

"Difficult woman" is a loaded term, but writer Roxane Gay isn't afraid of taking on ideas with baggage. (A few years ago, she wrote a book of essays called Bad Feminist.) Her new short story collection, Difficult Women, explores women's lives and issues of race, class and sex.

KUOW general manager Caryn Mathes
KUOW Photo

Journalism is so white.

That’s a criticism of newsrooms in America, and the numbers show that it’s true: In radio, just 9.4 percent of journalists are people of color.

Dixy Lee Ray, Washington state's first female governor. She was a Democrat who wore knee-high white socks and men's shirts and who refused to pull punches.
Washington State Archives/Harold (Scotty) Sapiro

Dixy Lee Ray wore white knee-high socks and men's shirts.

And when she ran for governor of Washington state, her motto was "Little lady takes on big boys."

She was blunt and brash, an outsider who didn't play well with others, but there was never any doubt where she stood. Seattle historian Knute Berger spoke with KUOW's Bill Radke  that Dixy Lee Ray was a little like President-elect Donald Trump.

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Carolyn Beeler

A main road through the district of Sedahan Jaya in western Borneo is just a ribbon of brown dirt. But that’s better than the muddy mess it used to turn into after heavy rains.

"The road was so bad when kids went to school, they came back with their legs covered in mud,” says a resident named Hamisah. “This was really sad to me.”

Hamisah, 43, has two sons and lives in one of the small houses nestled along that dirt road. From her yard, you can see some of the hills of the roughly 400-square-mile Gunung Palung national park rising in the distance.

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Rawan Elbaba/Handout via Reuters

Rana Abdelhamid was just 15, walking to a volunteer job in Queens, New York, when a man came up behind her and tried to yank off her headscarf, or hijab. 

“I just remember he was taller than me because I remember him hovering over me,” she says, “and he was wearing almost like a bomber jacket.”

What he couldn’t have known was that his 5-foot-1 target was a black belt in Shotokan karate. Abdelhamid pivoted to face her attacker, deflected his grab, and was able to escape unharmed — physically at least.

Talking publicly about women's menstruation has long been a taboo. But in 2016 the world made big strides getting over the squeamishness. There was the Chinese swimmer at the Rio Olympics who had no qualms explaining that she was on her period after she finished a race grimacing in pain.

President-elect Donald Trump's transition team has asked the State Department to list its workers who focus on gender equality and ending violence against women, in what's being seen as an echo of an earlier request for the Energy Department to list employees who work on climate change.

This story was reported by Latino USA in collaboration with All Tech Considered. The audio version of this story aired earlier on Latino USA; it is embedded below.

Micaela Honorato is looking from the sidelines as boys from her after-school program take turns racing their hand-made hovercraft on a dirt field in a city park.

Jeannie Yandel talks with Jessica Bennett, author of "Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual For A Sexist Workplace," about dealing with sexism at work, and why men need to be members of the Feminist Fight Club, too. 

In a study that is sure to rile male doctors, Harvard researchers have found that female doctors who care for elderly hospitalized patients get better results. Patients cared for by women were less likely to die or return to the hospital after discharge.

Previous research has shown that female doctors are more likely to follow recommendations about prevention counseling and to order preventive tests like Pap smears and mammograms.

Judy Maggiore remembers looking in the mirror in college, perplexed by her body's disproportion.

"I was skinny. I was a stick. The upper part of my body was really, really thin. You could see my ribs!" exclaims Maggiore. "But from the waist down, it was like there were two of me or something."

Tree-trunk-like legs and a slim upper body are the signature characteristic of a lipedema patient. You can starve yourself and exercise for hours a day and the fat will not regress. But Maggiore didn't know that at the time. She swore off bathing suits and hit the gym fanatically.

Washington state presidential elector Levi Guerra from Grant County in rural Washington state.
Courtesy of Levi Guerra

“Not Trump.”

The Democrats caucusing in Moses Lake, in rural Washington state, could agree on that.


Oregon lawmakers are delaying a decision on whether to open a second women's prison. A legislative panel voted Wednesday to deny a funding request from the Oregon Department of Corrections.

Could vaccinating cattle get more girls into high school?

That's the intriguing prospect suggested by a new study of Kenyan cattle herding families in the journal Science Advances. But even more significant than the actual results of the study is the fact the researchers would even think to investigate whether there's a link between cattle vaccination rates and girls' high school attendance.

Seven KUOW women participated in creating Lucia Neare's wail in Seattle on election night.
KUOW Photo/Robert Jacobs-Springer

Last week on KUOW, you heard the beautiful and heartbreaking story of Lucia Neare.

Neare was an orphan who became an artist who specializes in large-scale public performances. After learning the election results last month, she became despondent. 

A ribbon of resistance by Ellen Sollod.
www.sollodstudio.com

After the November election, many people started wearing safety pins on their lapels.

It’s a visible sign of their support for people who might feel threatened by the Trump administration.

Dear Sugar Radio is a weekly podcast from member station WBUR. Hosts Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed offer "radical empathy" and advice on everything from relationships and parenthood to dealing with drug problems or anxiety.

Milo Yiannopoulos in 2013.
Flickr Photo/OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS (CC BY 2.0) http://bit.ly/2gSSOpS

At the University of Washington, the College Republicans club is being accused of inflaming tensions by inviting a right-wing speaker for Jan. 20, Inauguration Day.

Those Republicans, however, say the timing of the appearance of Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor at Breitbart News, is accidental. Breitbart News publishes pieces that criticize and ridicule working women, Muslims and people of color.

There's no shortage of speculation about how the incoming Trump administration, whose appointees so far are staunch abortion opponents, might crack down on access to the procedure.

But reproductive rights groups say the big picture is getting lost: Women in large parts of the country already have limited access to abortion, due to hundreds of Republican-backed laws passed by state legislatures over the past half-decade.

In the two weeks since the election, Planned Parenthood Federation of America has seen a huge increase in volunteers and donations – over 200,000 donations in a single week. But this surge in support hasn't reached many other reproductive health organizations. And many of these centers are already struggling to meet a spike in demand for long-acting contraception after the election of Donald Trump.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson arrived at the International Space Station this weekend, making her the oldest woman in space at age 56. On the mission, she's projected to once again become the U.S. astronaut with the most time spent in orbit.

This is Whitson's third mission on the space station; she'll soon become its commander for the second time. Collectively, she's spent more than a year of her life in space.

Iesha Gray, 20, resigned from her job at the U.S. Postal Service because she felt she wasn't given time or space she found acceptable to pump.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Iesha Gray called it the drought.

One month back from maternity leave, her breasts were empty. No more milk. Her baby girl at home was drinking her way through the freezer stash.

It's not just national organizations like Planned Parenthood getting a boost in donations over worries about access to reproductive health care.

So is the grassroots Seattle-based CAIR Project. It helps people across the Northwest pay for abortion services and connects them with the closest provider that offers abortion services.


Courtesy of Barbara Frailey

The results of the presidential election have stunned people across the country. Trump's win has had a particularly emotional effect on some women and  girls. 

Seattle Girls' School is an all girl middle school in the Central District. And the first day after the presidential election was a time for sharing. Many teachers canceled their regular lesson plans and allowed their students to express their feelings about Trump's victory.

Art teacher Janet Miller said many girls were upset.

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