The Most Dangerous Countries for Women: News Roundup

In the news this week: the Thompson Reuters Foundation lists the most dangerous countries for women, the City of Francisco issues its first response to the proposed circumcision ban, and other news.

Forbes reported on countries that the Thompson Reuters Foundation listed as the five most dangerous for women. Experts ranked the countries on six high-risk categories and found Somalia, India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Afghanistan to be the most dangerous. The categories were “health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, harmful practices rooted in culture, tradition and/or religion, lack of access to economic resources and human trafficking.”

The City of San Francisco has issued its first response to the proposed circumcision ban. The city’s attorney’s office argued that the proposed law would be unconstitutional if it applies to religious figures, but not medical professionals. This is relevant because opponents of the ban have brought a lawsuit at the state level asserting that local governments do not have the authority to restrict medical procedures. If the state agrees, then medical professionals would be exempt from the ban. According to the city, if medical professionals are exempt, then prohibiting religious figures from performing circumcisions would be unconstitutional. San Jose Mercury News is reporting that, “The Sikh Coalition testified in support of a proposed law that would significantly enhance religion-based protections for New York City employees. The proposed law, introduced by Council Member Mark Weprin (D-Queens), would significantly increase the obligations of city employers to respect the right of Sikhs to maintain their articles of faith in the workplace without discrimination.”

Santa Rosa County School District became a battle ground between the American Civil Liberty Union and Liberty Counsel, a conservative Christian legal group, three years ago. The two groups have finally come to an agreement. The ACLU and the school originally signed a consent decree that ensured school employees would not promote religion, but the Liberty Counsel saw the decree as too stringent. After years of litigation and negotiation, the two organizations have agreed to language that satisfies both parties.

In New Zealand, a Saudi Arabian student was refused boarding on a public bus because of her Muslim attire. Just two days earlier, another woman was told to remove her veil by a different driver. "Both drivers … claim it's not religious … but they genuinely have a phobia of people wearing masks, hence why we have not dismissed them," general manager Jon Calder said. Both drivers have been sent to counseling programs (The Dominion Post). Meanwhile, the New South Whales (Australia’s most populous state) Premier has announced that police will soon be able to demand removal of any head covering, regardless of religious significance. The Premier was quoted as saying, "I have every respect for various religions and beliefs, but when it comes to enforcing the law the police should be given adequate powers to make a clear identification." The Australian

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