Special Event on CEDAW and Women's Rights Held Yesterday
Yesterday, the World Bank, the Nordic Trust Fund, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, and the United Nations Foundation held an event on the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in anticipation of International Women's Day on March 8. Dr. Sima Samar, Chairwoman of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Former Minister of Women's Affairs in Afghanistan delivered the keynote address.
Dr. Samar stated, "Serious discrimination against women continues to exist. Such discrimination violates the prinviple of equality and respect for human dignity. Women's rights are clearly a political issue, related to power and control. Discrimination against women is a global problem...CEDAW acknowledges the existence of women as half of humanity in this world, insists on inclusion of women in all spheres of life, and obliges the state parties to support all of their citizens, both women and men."
Otavanio Canuto, Vice President of the World Bank Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network, Kathy Calvin, CEO of the United Nations Foundation, and Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues at the US Department of State also made remarks.
CEDAW was first signed by Jimmy Carter in 1980 and has been approved by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations twice, but the United States has never ratified the treaty. The treaty has been ratified by 186 of the 193 member nations of the United Nations. The other six nations that have not signed the treaty are Iran, the Republic of the Sudan, and Syria, as well as the three small Pacific Island nations of Palau, Tonga and Nauru.
Media Resources: CEDAW Event Materials 3/6/12; Statement of Dr. Sima Samar 3/6/12
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. . . .