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women's rights

Maggie Humphreys is president of the National Women's Political Caucus of Washington.
KUOW Photos / Megan Farmer

The next mayor of Seattle will be a woman, the first in nearly a hundred years. But Maggie Humphreys says sexism is still a big factor in the race.  

Humphreys is president of the National Women's Political Caucus of Washington. She spoke with David Hyde of KUOW’s politics team about this year's contest between former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan and urban planner Cary Moon.  

Marlene Schiappa was barely into her teens when she realized that Paris, the City of Light, could be a dark place for women.

Whenever she and her sister walked anywhere — to school, to the supermarket, to hang out with friends — men followed them, catcalling, harassing, even groping.

"We took alternative routes, out of our way," she says, "to avoid the bands of boys."

When three-time Grammy-winning singer Angelique Kidjo was a 12-year-old schoolgirl in her native Benin, her best friend suddenly disappeared from school. Kidjo went to her friend's house and asked her father what had happened. The reason shocked Kidjo: Her friend Awaawou had become a child bride, and that meant that her friend's education — and her girlhood — were at an end.

Jacinta Morales learned she was pregnant after she was processed into ICE detention. She said she was happy to be pregnant.
KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

She wears a yellow uniform, loose, with a sweatshirt underneath. Her long hair, braided in tight cornrows near her temples. Her handshake, timid.

We talk in a small meeting room at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, with her attorney and an interpreter.


This is why I nursed my baby on the Seattle bus

Jun 10, 2017
The author with her son at their home in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
Krista Welch for KUOW

At the back of the Metro bus, we did something unusual: We talked to one another. Among us was a woman who had her toddler son with her — we smiled and waved at him as he asked his mom 20 questions about the world. Then, unexpectedly, he moved close to her, pulled on the collar of her shirt and pulled her boob out for a quick snack.

This year, 25 states and the District of Columbia are considering measures that would bar employers from asking job candidates about their prior salary. Last year, two states — California and Massachusetts — adopted similar policies, aimed at trying to narrow the pay gap for women and minorities.

For the first time in the U.S., two physicians and a medical office manager were indicted on charges stemming from the alleged female genital mutilation of two young girls, about six to eight years old, according to a Michigan U.S. Attorney's Office. Dr. Jumana Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar and Attar's wife, Farida, were indicted on April 26 for FGM, which has been illegal in the U.S. since 1996. The AP reported that Nagarwala's attorney, Shannon Smith, has denied the allegation, saying the doctor was performing a religious custom that didn't involve cutting.

Two weeks ago, a hashtag began going viral in India: #LahuKaLagaan. It literally means the tax on blood.

That would be India's tax on sanitary napkins — 12 to 15 percent on top of the 40 to 80 rupees (.60 cents to $1.25) for a package of eight. (Typically sold in an unmarked black plastic bag because India is not big on talking about menstrual topics.)

The U.S. women's national soccer team has agreed to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement with U.S. Soccer, concluding a protracted dispute over their union contract.

Donna Dean-Wright holds a sign at the Seattle women's march on Saturday, January 21, 2017.
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

Editor's note: Some protest signs may be a little too, er, brazen for some.

“There will be hell toupée.”

“Hell yes, we’re ovary-reacting.”

“Golden rule not golden showers.”


Dear Mom. Get your boa. It's time to f**king march

Jan 20, 2017
David Schmader wrote The Stranger's "Last Days" column for 15 years.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

Hello Mom!

By the time you read this, I’ll be en route from Seattle to Norfolk, where you and I will meet up, load up your car, and drive to D.C. for Saturday’s Women’s March. As you know, we’ll be staying at cousin John’s place in the D.C. suburb of Olney — a half-hour train ride to D.C.’s Union Station and the march site. (As you may not know or precisely remember because I sure did not, John and Katie’s kids are Maddie and Patrick, John’s siblings are Beth, Diane and Amy, and I’m guessing a third of these people have spouses who also have names? I’m bringing flash cards. We can run them on the road.)

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.

Brian Wahlberg gives daughter Luciena a good view of the proceedings as the crowd sings at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle.
KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

In the liberal bastion that is Seattle, the response to the election was acute. People cried openly on buses and in cafes. Some took time off work to mourn in bed. It wasn't that their candidate had lost, we heard again and again, it was that they feared for the future.

Mona Lee Locke in the KUOW studios
KUOW Photo/Jason Pagano

Mona Lee Locke wrote this essay on Facebook:  

I am appalled that this election has become the biggest reality show of our country's recent history. In fact, I am so sick to my stomach that I have to speak out.

Elizabeth Allen was at a happy hour for a San Francisco tech firm a couple of years ago, when a co-worker started forcing himself on her and the few other women at the party — again and again.

He was "giving us lots of hugs," Allen says, "trying to kiss me a few times; he grabbed my butt a couple of times." The women were outnumbered by men, some of whom looked on, bemused, as the women tried to signal their distress.

It has been a season for firsts in Saudi Arabia: During the run-up to the country's third-ever elections, the absolute monarchy decided to to give women the vote and to also allow them the right to seek positions on the country's municipal councils.

Today, the government announced that several of the 979 women who ran had been elected to the council.

Saying America's military must draw from "the broadest possible pool of talent," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Thursday that women in the U.S. military — including the Army and Marines — can now serve in combat posts.

The formal process to open combat jobs to women began in January of 2013; in finishing that process, Carter acknowledged that in recent years, U.S. women have fought — and sometimes given their lives — in combat posts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Exercising the constitutional right to vote in Pakistan can sometimes come at a painful price. Fouzia Talib says she has become a social outcast overnight. People are abusing her with such ferocity that she has temporarily left home to seek refuge elsewhere.

In the new Meryl Streep period movie Suffragette, Englishwomen march on the streets, smash shop windows and stage sit-ins to demand the vote. Less well-known is that across the pond, a less cinematic resistance was being staged via that most humble vehicle: the cookbook.

Between 1886, when the first American suffragist cookbook was published, and 1920, when the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted women the right to vote, there were at least a half-dozen cookbooks published by suffragette associations in the country.

On Sept. 4, 1995, delegates and activists from 189 countries came to China to discuss and finalize the momentous Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a roadmap to raise the status of women.

One big part of the plan was a pledge to “revoke any remaining laws that discriminate on the basis of sex.” How’s that going?

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. People who work at Amazon refer to themselves as Amazonians.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND: http://bit.ly/1MUXs0y

After a New York Times' expose on exacting worker conditions at Amazon, CEO Jeff Bezos said he was shocked -- and then asked for direct feedback from workers. 

Julia Cheiffetz, an executive editor at HarperCollins, took Bezos at his word. 

She fights for the rights of women by telling stories about heroic men.

"The struggle to end violence against women has always been carried out by women activists," says Samar Minallah Khan, who makes documentaries about gender-based violence in her native Pakistan.

Susan Landmann

The dozens of women piling into roller coasters together at Six Flags amusement park in New Jersey one recent spring day didn't all speak the same language. But they shared another bond — each one had found the courage to escape an arranged marriage. The women were celebrating their independence and their new community with the local group that had made their leap possible, a legal services non-profit called Unchained At Last. 

It's a recent morning out in California's Mojave Desert, and Marine Lance Cpls. Paula Pineda and Julia Carroll are struggling to pick up and maneuver Carl. He's a 220-pound dummy, and a stand-in for a wounded Marine.

Carroll's knees buckle for a moment, but as a dusty wind picks up, the two women pull Carl off their light armored vehicle. They carry him to safety, careful not to let his head drag on the rocky ground.

Both women are out of breath.

Pineda is 5 foot 2. On the back of her helmet is a piece of masking tape with the words "Mad Max."

Months after a girl took the company to task for its female toy figures, Lego has released the Research Institute, a play set created by a "real-life geophysicist, Ellen Kooijman," the company says.

In a little over a year, the number of clinics that provide abortions in Texas fell to 20 from 41, and watchdogs say that as few as six may be left by September.

Many clinics closed because of a requirement that doctors at those clinics obtain hospital admitting privileges within a certain radius of the clinic, and many doctors couldn't comply. The requirement took effect last November. This week marks the first anniversary of the state law that started it all.

Oregon voters will get to decide whether to grant equal rights to women this fall. If that sounds like a blast from the past, it's because the proposed amendment to the state constitution is nearly identical to the version that failed nationally in the 1970s.

KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

David Hyde speaks with former President Jimmy Carter about growing up in Georgia, politics and his new book, "A Call To Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power."