An Afghan rapper. The founder of the first primary school for girls in a Kenyan village. A trailblazing member of Congress who fights to create an AIDS-free generation. An advocate for women's and children's rights and empowerment.
Tonight in Los Angeles, the Feminist Majority Foundation (publisher of Ms.) will award these four women with its 8th annual Global Women's Rights Awards, celebrating their hard-fought accomplishments for girls and women on the world stage.
The rapper--considered to be Afghanistan's first woman at the mic--is Soosan Firooz. Though facing death threats, she continues to use music to speak out against the injustices and violence faced by women and girls in Afghanistan. Through her performance and bravery, Soosan has brought attention to the need for peace-building in Afghanistan. Check out a video report on her.
The school founder is Kakenya Ntaiya, a tireless advocate for the education and empowerment of girls. The first woman in her Kenyan village of Enoosaen to leave and attend college in the U.S., she returned to her homeland in 2009 to establish The Kakenya Center for Excellence, which finally allowed girls in her village to attend primary school there. National Geographic has honored Kakenya as an Emerging Explorer and CNN named her one of its CNN Heroes. Check out her wonderful TEDX talk.
And the advocate for women's and children's human rights is Cheryl Saban, who was recently a member of the U.S. delegation to the 57th U.N. Commission on the Status of Women and was appointed by President Obama to be the U.S. representative to the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Saban--a psychologist, author and philanthropist--has just announced a groundbreaking partnership between UN Women and her Women's Self Worth Foundation to work for women's empowerment and gender equality.
We'll be live-tweeting from the event tonight @msmagazine under the hashtag #fmfgala. Join us for a discussion with these amazing women and FMF president Eleanor Smeal!
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. . . .