START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
Aug 1, 2010

Give Women Access to Credit
Give Women Access to Credit - The Petition Site 
...Women comprise 70% of the world's poor, even though an increasing number are the primary breadwinners in their families.
...Because they are poor, women have less access to credit and thus can't invest in ways to increase their income to better provide for their children. Microfinance programs combat poverty, especially for women, by providing financial services for the poor. Raising women's incomes have incredible effects. Their children get a healthier diet, and a chance to go to school, expanding their lifetime opportunities.
Enabling women to earn a better income is the first step to breaking the viscous cycle of poverty. Tell Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to focus on programs that lift women out of poverty.
My thoughts: Women are very often left raising children alone, trying to provide good, safe homes, food, clothing, education. The majority of farmers of the world are women. Too little support, including financial, goes to women.
Men very often have other agendas, no matter what country you examine. The negative effect of providing predominately men with loans means promoting war, power games, gambling, drinking and the toys of men's egoes (e.g. cars, guns).

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Posted: Aug 1, 2010 4:53pm
Apr 20, 2010

From an article by Robin Marty: Saudi Arabian Women May Soon Have Right To Be Lawyers:

"Like any child, when I read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and other such books, I became excited at the thought of being a lawyer one day," Hejailan said in an e-mail interview. "I do see myself arguing cases on child custody, divorce and other family-related issues, once women are allowed to do so."

For so long it seemed like the news that came out of Saudi Arabia for women was all bad. First there was the woman who was imprisoned for having coffee with a man, then the woman who was whipped for being seen in public without a guardian, and the Canadian woman who was being held in the country against her will... 
The rules against women in the country are by far some of the most extreme in the world, but finally there is a glimmer of hope that some of this may be changing.
   Critics point out that the King of Saudi Arabia had recommended adapting rules as far back as 2004, in an effort to comply with the 2000 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) rules, and that very little progress has been made in spite of his alleged encouragement.
   But should new a new law pass, something that many women in the legal field feel might be more likely based on multiple law schools now allowing women students, it could mean a turn around in the way the society has used courts to subjugate and punish women. 
   Currently, a woman can only go to court with her guardian present, a rule that would change should women be allowed to become full lawyers.  The female lawyer would then be able to act in lieu of guardian for the female client, allowing her more freedom to access the court or, especially in the case of the woman who was lashed for being in public without a guardian, to be able to go to police or file complaints if the legal issue involves her incarcerated spouse.
Tala Hejailan, a 25-year-old Saudi, is the only female lawyer in a commercial law practice in Riyadh. She sits in her own area, separate from colleagues and superiors, only meeting with them for pressing legal matters.
Since she is restricted from acting on behalf of clients in court because she is a woman, she--like other female law graduates--serves as a legal consultant.
   But the promise of a new law offers the hope of fulfilling her childhood dream of becoming a "real lawyer." 
In February, Saudi Arabia's
justice minister announced that
the government is planning to
draft a law allowing female
lawyers to try family law cases
in court
The law is far from a done deal, however, as it would then need to survive various ministerial approvals and be signed into law by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. The king can also unilaterally adopt a law without ministerial approvals.
   Female lawyers and law students say the Saudi government has been talking about this proposal for several years and they hope the February announcement signifies that passage will be coming soon.
   "Like any child, when I read 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and other such books, I became excited at the thought of being a lawyer one day," Hejailan said in an e-mail interview. "I do see myself arguing cases on child custody, divorce and other family-related issues, once women are allowed to do so."
   The ability to represent women, she says, will likely help many women who currently go to court without any legal representative and argue their own cases.
   "Being represented by a professional female lawyer with whom these women can speak to freely will help achieve the required outcomes," Hejailan said.
It is a small step, but, should it
occur, it is a very important one
in the process to allowing
women the same rights as a
man in the country.  

Read more: womens rights, saudi arabia, sharia law 
Robin Marty's article click here (add comments!) 
C2NN article click here 

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Posted: Apr 20, 2010 3:28am
Apr 18, 2010

One evening, 88 year old Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital.
Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold's care from the first moment.
Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital.
Adapted from Elderly Gay Couple Separated by Sonoma County Officials, Ignoring Couple's Express Wishes: written by Steve Williams
The following story documents [an] incident of discrimination against a same-sex couple from Sonoma, California, who took all the required legal steps to establish their health care directives and power of attorney rights, but whose preparations were allegedly ignored by county officials that, despite the couple's 20 year relationship, considered them nothing more than "roommates" and kept them apart when, after an accident, one of them was hospitalized in 2008.
From the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) case summary:
   Clay and Harold did not take advantage of California's domestic partnership law and obviously weren't married in the brief time between California's marriage bans.
   Instead, and like many older gay and lesbian couples, they relied on having drafted all the other appropriate legal documents naming each other as beneficiaries of their respective estates and agents for medical decisions and the like, so as to protect their wishes and assets in case of an emergency. This should have been enough. Apparently, it wasn't.
The next part of this story is truly heartbreaking and is taken from a separate, more detailed post from the NCLR:

... [While] Harold was hospitalized, Deputy Public Guardians went to the men’s home, took photographs, and commented on the desirability and quality of the furnishings, artwork, and collectibles that the men had collected over their lifetimes.
Ignoring Clay entirely, the County focused on Harold, going so far as to petition the Court for conservatorship of his estate. Outrageously referring to Clay only as a “roommate” and failing to disclose their true relationship, the County continued to treat Harold as if he had no family. The County sought immediate temporary authority to revoke Harold’s powers of attorney, to act without further notice, and to liquidate an investment account to pay for his care.

The court, however, chose to deny that motion, but did grant county officials what the NCLR calls "limited access" to Harold's finances in order to pay for his care. This, it seems, was insufficient. The NCLR goes on:

Then, despite being granted only limited powers and with undue haste, the County arranged for the sale of the men’s personal property, cleaned out their home, terminated their lease, confiscated their truck, and eventually disposed of all of the men’s worldly possessions, including family heirlooms, at a fraction of their value and without any proper inventory or determination of whose property was being sold.

Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from their home and confined him to a nursing home against his will—a different placement from his partner. Clay was kept from seeing Harold during this time, and his telephone calls were limited.

Three months later, Harold died in the nursing home he had been placed in, and Clay, because of the County's actions, could not be at his partner's bedside during those final months.
With the exception of but one photo album that Harold had painstakingly put together for Clay during his declining weeks of life, Clay has been left without any of his personal possessions to remind him of the 20-year relationship he shared with Harold as, to date, he has not been able to recover any of the items that were auctioned off.
Clay has reportedly now been released from the nursing home following an appeal by his court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis. Now, Ms. Dennis along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, will be representing Clay in legal action against the County, the auction company and the nursing home, with technical assistance being provided by the NCLR.
A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.
It is perhaps pertinent to note that Sonoma County voted against Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, by 66.1 percent in 2008, and that it is largely considered to be a progressive area where LGBT issues are concerned. As such, the emergence of this story serves to highlight the need for Thursday's memorandum, as it demonstrates that instances of discrimination can occur mostly anywhere.
However, President Obama's memorandum grazes only one of the 1138 rights that marriage affords heterosexual couples that are currently denied their same-sex counterparts. As such, the need to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is also brought into stark focus if we are to ensure that same-sex couples are not left vulnerable beyond the narrow focus of Thursday's memorandum.
For more information on end-of-life issues and the legal problems facing older LGBT people, please click here.
the related C2NN story to help raise awareness of this tragedy.

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Posted: Apr 18, 2010 7:37pm
Apr 11, 2010

PETITION: Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill Threatens Human Rights
If passed, Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill would start a witch-hunt for homosexuals in the country. Its punishments include:
* A 7 year jail sentence for consenting adults who have LGBT sex
* A life sentence for people in same-sex marriages
* Extradition and prosecution of LGBT Ugandans living abroad
* The death penalty for adults who have LGBT sex with minors or who communicate HIV via LGBT sex, regardless of condom usage
* Jail for anyone who doesn't report suspected LGBT activity within 24 hours
The bill also endangers HIV/AIDS programs, and may be exploited by those wanting to abolish these programs.
This proposed legislation is anti-ethical, anti-equality and anti-human rights. Tell Uganda's President Museveni that this bill is unacceptable, and that people should not be criminalized for sexual orientation or gender identity.
Already signed the petition?
Thank you! Please consider forwarding it to your friends to spread the word.
To find out more on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, links to our continued coverage of this story are provided below:
President Obama Condemns Uganda's 'Odious' Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Rick Warren Speaks Out
Ugandan Gay Death Penalty Bill: Sweden Threatens to Withdraw Aid, Should the USA?
Uganda's Gay Death Penalty Bill is 'Morally Repugnant' Says United Reform Church
Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' Bill on the Backburner?
Add comments; follow up; blog; newsify; add to facebook; email; tweet and retweet! 
My thanks to Steve Williams for caring enough to make a difference.

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Posted: Apr 11, 2010 6:19pm


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Jenny Dooley
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