BlogsByWomen Blog Moves to it's new home at BlogsByWomen.org

The import of this blogger blog was a bit of a nightmare as we did it pre Wordpress 2.2 with the new Blogger import feature, so we had to import to wordpress.com then export and import to the new blog @ blogsbywomen.org.

Such is technology.

So, we've moved. There may be occasional posts here but all the new stuff is going to the new wordpress blog - categories... yay! Now we just have to get that theme tweaked.

Go to the new

Blogs By Women Blog


Calcium and Vitamin D Supplements May Help Postmenopausal Women Regulate Their Weight

According to recent research, vitamin D and calcium supplementation can help postmenopausal women with avoiding weight gain. The study indicates that all women will benefit from adding more vitamin D and calcium to their diets, but those that are receiving less than 1,200 mg of calcium per day will enjoy the greatest benefits. In addition, postmenopausal women should still strive to consume 1,200 mg of calcium per day through the foods they eat rather than rely solely on supplements.

The report looked followed 36,282 postmenopausal women ranging from 50 to 79 years of age for a five year period. Some of the women were placed on a dose of 1,000 mg elemental calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D while the other women were provided with a placebo. A greater portion of the women taking the calcium and vitamin D supplements experienced a slight weight loss when compared to those on the placebo.

Despite the findings of this report, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in the May 14 issue, the role calcium plays in helping to maintain a healthy body weight is still controversial. Biologically, it appears that calcium and 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D work together to better regular lipid metabolism in the adipose cells. This is accomplished mostly by stimulating the fatty acid oxidation and by suppressing lipogenesis. Whether this is accurate or truly the reason for the connection between calcium and weight regulation, however, remains to be proven.


Most Women Do Not Have Adequate Life Insurance Coverage

According to a survey put out by COUNTRY Insurance & Financial Services, 76% of women recognize that life insurance is either very or somewhat important compared to 69% of their male counterparts that feel the same way. Nonetheless, only 14% of these same women reported having life insurance coverage that is equal to three years of their current income.

“The good news is Americans recognize that life insurance is important. However, it is troubling that women continue to be underinsured despite their contribution to their families, whether they are breadwinners or stay at home parents. Men and women, equally, should take steps to ensure they can preserve their families’ financial security in case of unforeseen events.” – Keith Brannan, director of the financial security office at COUNTRY

As a country, 73% of Americans report believing that life insurance is either very or somewhat important. Yet, 30% are not insured at all. In addition, 69% of those surveyed stated that it was important for both parents to be covered by life insurance, whether both work or one stays home with the kids. Nonetheless, only 7% have coverage for both parents.

The survey also found that certain ethnicities placed more importance on life insurance than others. African-Americans, for example, reported a higher importance than white and Hispanic groups, with 86% stating it was very or somewhat important. At the same time, African-Americans were the least likely to actually have coverage with only 13% having coverage equal to three years of their current income.


Women Astronauts Receive Long Awaited Recognition

The University of Wisconsin finally gave 13 women the recognition they earned nearly 50 years ago. On Saturday, the university bestowed these women, known as the Mercury 13, with honorary degrees in recognition of the advancements they helped the NASA program make in the 1960s.

The Mercury 13 consisted of 13 women who, along with seven men known as the Mercury 7, underwent a series of rigorous tests. The tests were designed to determine whether or not humans could withstand the conditions they would face in space. Although these 13 women proved that women could also successfully make it in space, they did not receive the same level of attention as the men of the Mercury 7. In fact, these men became household names while the women remained virtually unknown.

The reason for the discrepancies between the fame of the two groups is quite simple: at the time, society did not consider it a woman’s place to be in space. Despite the fact that the female trainees proved their worth, they never had the chance to go to space.

“The social attitude of the time was that women should be hostesses, not pilots.” – Martha Ackmann, author.

Many of the tests the women of Mercury 13 endured are not even used on today’s astronaut trainees. For example, one test involved using electric shock on their forearms in order to test their ulnar nerve. In addition, ice water was shot into their ears in order to induce vertigo and the inner ear was frozen so doctors could time how long it took for them to recover. The women also used weighted stationary bicycles until they were completely exhausted in order to test their respiration. This is only a small sampling of what these women allowed themselves to be put through in the name of space travel.

The ceremony at the University of Wisconsin is the first to gather all of these women and to honor them for their sacrifice. The ceremony also follows hot on the heals of a book that is now being published about these women entitled The Mercury 13: The True Story of Thirteen Women and the Dream of Space Flight authored by Martha Ackmann.


New Jersey Proposes New HIV Testing Law for Pregnant Women and Newborns

New Jersey’s Senate president, Richard J. Codey, is proposing a new bill that is the first of its kind. Under this proposed bill. All pregnant women and their newborn children will be required to be tested for HIV. Under this new bill, women will be required to get an HIV test early in their pregnancies as well as during the third trimester. In addition, all birthing facilities would be required to test newborns that are within their care.

Current, New Jersey law only requires offering testing to pregnant women. With the new proposal, the test would automatically be given unless the woman requests in writing that it not be.

The inspiration behind this new bill proposal comes from a report made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that medical treatment for the disease during pregnancy can decrease the likelihood of passing it on to a newborn dramatically.

Currently, four states require testing mothers for HIV unless the mother specifically requests that she not be. These states are Arkansas, Michigan, Texas, and Tennessee. Two states, New York and Connecticut, require testing of newborns. No state, however, currently requires testing mothers and their children.

“The key in the fight against HIV and AIDS is early detection and treatment. For newborns this can be a lifesaving measure.” - Richard J. Codey, New Jersey Senate president

Women’s rights groups, particularly The Center for Women Policy Studies in Washington D.C., opposes the bill because it violates the woman’s right to make her own medical treatment and childbearing decisions. In New Jersey, however, which has some of the highest rates of AIDS cases in the nation, it appears to be the only answer to Codey.

The new bill proposals will be scheduled for a hearing within a few weeks. In order to become state law, it must first pass through both the Senate and the Assembly. Then, it must be signed by the governor.


Women More Likely to Survive Early Stages of Breast Cancer Than Men

Breast cancer is typically associated with men – and for good reason; only 1% of breast cancer cases affect men. Nonetheless, a recent study revealed that men are more likely to die from breast cancer in its early stages than women. In fact, men with small tumors that had yet to spread had a shorter survival rate than women.

Researchers are unclear of the reason for the difference in mortality rate between men and women, though it is clear that there are biological differences between the sexes that cause this difference. The fact that breast cancer is so rare in men, however, has resulted in limited research in the area.

Whether a man or a woman, the symptoms of breast cancer remain the same. These include:

  • One breast that is larger than the other
  • Swelling in the breast
  • Pink or red skin
  • Rashes in small patches or covering the entire breast
  • Skin on the breast feels hot to the touch
  • The breast feels painful or itchy
  • The skin develops an orange-like texture
  • Unexplained nipple discharge
  • Thickened areas develop on the breast
  • Nipples appear flattened or inverted
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the neck or the armpit

It is important for a person – man or woman – to consult with a physician if experiencing any of these symptoms. As with any form of cancer, the earlier treatment is received, the better the chances of survival.


BlogsByWomen Redesign Finally Takes Flight

We've been talking about a redesign for a while, something more up to date, more "web 2.0". Unfortunately, we could never find a good designer to do the job at a reasonable price, or create a design of our own that we liked. But we persevered and finally have something we could agree on.

The new Directory Of Women Bloggers design went live today and contains many updates and improvements, with hooks and places for more features. We're still checking for bugs so excuse us if anything weird happens.

The first new addition is a "featured blogs" section, right on the home page and at the top of each category that allows new and currently listed bloggers to gain increased traffic and a valuable pagerank link to their blog. Adding your already listed blog to this featured section will be available later this week - login to see more.

Find out more about the benefits of being listed in the Blogs By Women directory.


French Women Finding a Way to Be Born Again Virgins

An increasing number of women in France are undergoing a form of surgery known as hymenoplasty. As the name suggests, this outpatient surgical procedure involves reconstructing the hymen in order to make it appear as if she is still a virgin.

The majority of women undergoing this procedure are Muslim and are from both France and North Africa. The main draw to this procedure is that, for many of these women, religion dictates that they be virgins at the time they are married. Yet, religious doctrine does not provide a stance on whether or not this surgical procedure is considered acceptable. In fact, all that the head of the Union of French Islamic Organisations will say on the matter is, “If someone committed a sin, the essential thing is to repent.”

“The surgery is an attack on women’s dignity. We will not take part in a market that places value on the quality of a woman – if she’s good or not. It is an attack on women’s liberty.” - Professor Jacque Lansac, President of The National College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians in of France

Many women are also deciding to undergo the procedure for cultural reasons, with many coming from families that believe strongly in remaining a virgin until married. This procedure, which costs anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000, allows them to effectively become virgins again and to avoid disappointing their fianc├ęs and their families.

Several doctors and activists view this procedure as a slap in the face of women’s rights and liberty. In addition, there is much debate surrounding the procedure being done in state hospitals since France has laws in place that separate church and state.


The Gap Between Women Versus Men Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis Continues to Grow

Recent research has shown that women are four times as likely as their male counterparts to develop multiple sclerosis. Researchers are baffled as to why there appears to be a gender discrepancy with the disease. Yet, over the past 60 years, the number ratio of women suffering from the disorder as compared to men has nearly doubled.

Although MS has always been more prevalent in females than in males, the gap between the two sexes has been steadily growing. In 1940, the number of women afflicted as compared to men was two to one. In the year 2000, on the other hand, the ratio grew to four to one.

"The results of this study are intriguing. MS is most frequently diagnosed in pre-menopausal women and this research reinforces questions surrounding the role of hormones in multiple sclerosis. The idea that lifestyle changes in women over the decades may play a part in multiple sclerosis is interesting, but further research is needed to explore this level of influence and its bearing on the prevalence of MS." - Chris Bentley, spokesman for Multiple Sclerosis Society

Researchers hope that this information will help them to better pinpoint potential causes of the disorder. More specifically, if researchers can identify what has changed in the lifestyles of women over the past 60 decades, they may very well be able to determine what triggers the disorder. Areas that are receiving a great deal of attention include birth control methods, changes in menstruation, increasing obesity rates, having children later in life, and smoking. Researchers will also take a closer look at those things that women tend to do more frequently than men, such as using cosmetics and hair dyes that may cause vitamin D absorption to be blocked.

Another oddity linked to the disorder is the fact that Scotland has proportionally more cases of MS than any other country in the world – another phenomenon that has yet to be explained.


Women Still Earning Less than Men

A study recently released by the American Association of University Women found that women are still earning less than their male counterparts – despite the fact that women are pursuing higher education opportunities. According to the study, women that graduated in the 1999-2000 school year were earning 80% of the wages as men graduating during that same year. This isn’t much growth when compared to those that graduated in 1992-1993 and earned 69% of what men did.

Although this fact is discouraging, the study found that part of the reason for the discrepancy is the choices women make when choosing their majors. According to the study, women tended to select professions that pay lower wages. These career paths include working for non-profit organizations and in the education and psychology feels. On the other hand, men tend to select jobs within the business and engineering fields, both of which traditionally bring in a higher wage.

“The research asked a basic but important question: If a woman made the same choices as a man, would she earn the same pay? The answer is no.” - Catherine Hill, Co-author of study

Despite this fact, the study still found discrepancies in the amount of money women make versus the amount men make. In fact, the study found that, when taking occupation, education, children, and hours out of the equation, women were still paid less than 5% than men one year after graduating from college. After working for ten years, they earned 12% less than men. Over the lifetime of a woman, this amounts to losing out on $500,000. – as well as earning les in social security.

The study found that career paths in which women dominate, such as in education, the discrepancy is smaller than in other professions – though men still earn more pay. According to the researchers, there was always a discrepancy between the pay of women and men, no matter how they tried to look at the numbers. For this reason, Catherine Hill, co-author of the study, took her findings to a congressional committee.