At least ten schools in Afghanistan have been attacked since school began on March 23. These attacks are ten more in a long line of attacks; the Afghan Ministry of Education told IRIN, a United Nations (UN) humanitarian news service, that there were 2,450 terrorist attacks on schools from March 2006 to February of 2008.
According to UNICEF, the UN children's rights organization, six million children attended school during the first week it was opened. IRIN reports that 35 percent of these students are female. Organizations like UNICEF have been fighting the gender disparity in Afghanistan's education system. Only 18 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 24 can read, compared to 51 percent of men.
After the attacks on schools last year, Catherine Mbengue, UNICEF Representative to Afghanistan, said, "We are saddened by these tragic events. UNICEF is concerned by these incidents and the intimidation in some communities aimed at stopping families from sending children to school. Schools of course are a visible sign of reconstruction and progress, and there are those who perhaps fear such progress. What I do know is that communities want to see their children get an education, they recognize the value of learning � and that is underlined by the millions of children who are now enrolled in schools."
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. . . .