UN Pledges Millions to Fight Violence Against Women
The United Nations announced Tuesday $10.5 million in new grants to bolster international efforts to end violence against women.
The funds, which were announced in honor of the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women today, will assist 13 initiatives in 18 countries and territories. The UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women, overseen by the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), will disperse the grants.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments and international organizations to strengthen their work on gender-based violence, and emphasized the prevalence of such violence:
"Some 70 percent of women experience in their lifetime some form of physical or sexual violence from men -- the majority from husbands, intimate partners or someone they know. This is unacceptable," he said.
The UN also launched on Tuesday the Network of Men Leaders, a coalition of public and private leaders working to stop violence against women. Prominent members of the Network include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, and Brazilian novelist and UN Messenger of Peace Paulo Coelho.
US Vice President Joseph Biden called on Americans to join international efforts to stop violence against women, in a statement released today. "Violence against women is found in every culture around the world. It is one of our most pervasive global problems," he said.
The US is leading UN efforts to end the use of rape as a tactic of war, according to Susan Rice, the US Ambassador to the UN. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is working with the UN Security Council to increase prevention efforts against sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable, she said.
Media Resources: United Nations 11/24/09; United Nations 11/24/09; White House 11/25/09; United States Mission to the United Nations 11/25/09
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. . . .