As protests continue over Iran's presidential election results, women are playing a major role in the public uprising. Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum argues that the large scale of demonstrations is due in part to years of organizing by women's rights groups. Though many pundits are crediting the election of Barack Obama and the use of Twitter and Facebook for the protestor turnout, Applebaum writes that brewing discontent among women is a major factor in the current political climate.
"At the heart of the ideology of the Islamic Republic is its claim to divine inspiration: Its leadership is legitimate, as is its harsh repression of women, because God has decreed it is so. The outright rejection of this creed by tens of thousands of women, not just over the past weekend but over the past decade, has to weaken the Islamic Republic's claim to invincibility," Applebaum writes. She cites the One Million Signatures Campaign, an online petition launched in 2006 that calls for women's equality in Iran, as one indication of the growing movement for gender equality.
Journalist Diane Tucker also wrote in the Huffington Post that the strong support among women for reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi illustrates an urgent desire for change. Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, played an especially visible role in her husband's campaign and continues to speak out, calling for protesters to chant from the rooftops in a show of solidarity.
In a press conference yesterday, President Obama acknowledged the role of women in the Iranian protests. "We have seen courageous women stand up to brutality and threats, and we have experienced the searing image of a woman bleeding to death on the streets," Obama said. He referred to the now-famous videotaped death of young woman Neda Agha Soltan, who was gunned down at a rally and is now being marked by some as the face of the protest movement.
Media Resources: Washington Post 6/23/09; Huffington Post 6/23/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 6/11/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .