Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held on to her title as Most Admired Woman in America this year but only barely managed to keep it out of the grasp of Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska. In a Gallup poll of 1,025 national adults Clinton was mentioned 16% of the time as a woman that was most admired compared to 15% for Palin. They were the only two women who broke 10%. Since becoming First Lady in 1993, Clinton has held one of the top two spots for the past 17 years and 14 times at the top of the list. Oprah Winfrey, Michelle Obama, Condoleezza Rice, Queen Elizabeth II, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, poet Maya Angelou, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Elin Woods rounded out the top 10. Merkel and Woods are new to the list, but the remaining contenders appear regularly. Among men President Barack Obama was the landslide winner again this year, with 30% of Americans naming him the Most Admired Man this year. For more information to to http://www.gallup.com/poll/124895/Clinton-Edges-Palin-Admired-Woman.aspx.
Seven women on a 562-mile Antarctic ski trek reached the South Pole, 38 days after they began their adventure to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth. The 53-nation Commonwealth links together mainly former colonies of Britain. Skiing six to 10 hours a day, the Commonwealth Women's Antarctic Expedition trekked an average of 15 miles a day, each hauling a 176-pound sled of provisions and shelter to reach the United States-operated Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station science base. The expedition comprised women from Brunei, Cyprus, Ghana, India, New Zealand, Singapore and Britain. Frostbite blackened the fingers of one of the original team of eight, Kim-Marie Spence, from Kingston, Jamaica, just three days into the journey which began Nov. 23, forcing her to leave the expedition. The group faced blinding blizzards, winds in excess of 80 miles an hour, hidden crevasses and temperatures that plummeted to minus 42 degrees Fahrenheit. After the tough trek the team will be airlifted from the pole back to their starting point, a commercial expedition base at Patriot Hills in east Antarctica, near the bottom of South America, and then to fly back to London via Chile. On the return journey the women will take their first showers since November. Fact of the Day on the Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition website: Antarctica is one and a half times the size of United States. For more information go to http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2009/12/30/women-reach-south-pole-mile-ski-trek/?test=latestnews.
Along with greater social equality, better pay and more positions of power, women are gaining on men in another, less desirable measure: arrests for drunken driving. Arrests of men who drive under the influence still greatly outpace those of women. But while the number of arrests of men is declining, the number of arrests of women is gradually rising. Nationally, the number of women arrested for DUI increased by 28.8% between 1998 and 2007, while the number of men arrested for DUI dropped by 7.5%, according to U.S. Department of Justice crime statistics. The reasons for this shift are diverse, according to academics, insurance experts and law enforcement officials. More binge drinking among younger women and strict enforcement applied more often to women drivers might be contributing to the trend, along with a cultural change that has put more women on the road and brought them into more roles of responsibility, experts said. For more information go to http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-tc-nw-drunkdriving-1231-0101jan01,0,1341799.story.
It is widely known that women tend to gain weight after giving birth, but now a large study has found evidence that even among childless women, those who live with a mate put on more pounds than those who live without one. After adjusting for other variables, the 10-year weight gain for an average 140-pound woman was 20 pounds if she had a baby and a partner, 15 if she had a partner but no baby, and only 11 pounds if she was childless with no partner. The number of women with a baby but no partner was too small to draw statistically significant conclusions. There is no reason to believe that having a partner causes metabolic changes, so the weight gain among childless women with partners was almost surely caused by altered behavior. The lead author, Annette J. Dobson, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Queensland in Australia, suggested that physiological changes might help explain the still larger weight gain in women who became pregnant. The study covered more than 6,000 Australian women over a 10-year period ending in 2006. At the start, the women ranged in age from 18 to 23. For more information go to http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/05/health/05weight.html.
A shopping centre in China's Hebei province has built a car park with wider spaces that it says is designed especially for women drivers: extra wide parking bays outlined with pink and purple paint. The women-only car park in Shijiazhuang city is painted in pink and light purple to appeal to female tastes. Official Wang Zheng told AFP news agency the car park was meant to cater to women's "strong sense of color and different sense of distance". The parking bays are 3 feet wider than normal spaces, he said. The Wanxiang-Tiancheng shopping centre had also "installed signs and security monitoring equipment that corresponded more to women's needs", he said. The Global Times website says female parking attendants have been trained to help guide women drivers into their parking spaces. The bays also have extra lighting. Driving in China is a dangerous activity, with more than 200 deaths in road accidents each day last year, AFP reports, citing police statistics. For more information go to http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8432887.stm.