On Feb. 21, Russian police detained two middle-aged women wearing balaclavas and placing flowers on the altar of Christ the Savior Church in Moscow in support of the feminist activist punk band Pussy Riot. It was the anniversary of the band members’ performance of a “punk prayer” protest song at that church. Two band members received a two-year sentence, and another was released on appeal with a suspended sentence for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred,” although they were really protesting the union of church and state.
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In 2009, the Israeli feminist organization Isha L’Isha released a report stating healthcare workers were giving Ethiopian Jewish women in refugee camps, the three-month birth control drug Depo-Provera without their consent. A December 2012 TV documentary prompted the Health Ministry Director in January to forbid health workers from continuing this practice unless the women wanted the drug. There is controversy among journalists over the government’s role in this practice, and whether the women themselves chose to use this form of contraception.
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In February, in the first race of her first full season on the NASCAR Sprint Cup racing circuit, Danica Patrick became the first woman to win the coveted pole position for the Daytona 500 race, in which she won eighth place. She is enormously popular with female as well as male fans in this male-dominated sport. Feminists have noted that race car driving is a sport in which a woman can compete with men on an equal footing.