King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia named Norah Al-Fayez to be the new Deputy Minister for Women's Education and replaced a number of high-ranking government officials last week. Al-Fayez is the first woman to be named to a ministerial post in the country. Advocate Wajeha al-Huwaider told CNN that "I think it's going to be the first step toward the reform that he promised," but that she is skeptical that Al-Fayez will have real power, in part because the country's guardianship system continues to paralyze women.
Al-Fayez said that her appointment "is an honor not only for me but for all Saudi women. In the presence of a comprehensive operational team, I believe I'll be able to face challenges and create positive change," according to the Guardian
Women's rights in Saudi Arabia are currently limited on a number of fronts including marriage rights, freedom to travel, property ownership, education, and work. According to Human Rights Watch, although some human rights laws have been introduced in Saudi Arabia, little implementation or enforcement of these laws has occurred. At a meeting earlier this month, members of the United Nations Human Rights Council urged Saudi Arabia to actively work to end pervasive human rights violations in the country, particularly those against women and children.
Media Resources: The Guardian 2/16/09; Feminist Daily Newswire 2/9/09; Human Rights Watch 2/4/09; CNN 2/15/09
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .