The Taliban increased their harsh restrictions on Afghan women today with new rules regarding buses. The latest decree is intended to prevent women from being seen while traveling on buses. Drivers are ordered to put up curtains on their buses, preventing men from seeing the women in the buses also denying women the opportunity to see out of bus windows.
The new rule, announced in a Taliban-run radio broadcast, also requires bus drivers to attach a curtain between themselves and the women passengers. All bus drivers are male because the Taliban has banned women from driving.
Drivers, as well as the young boys hired to collect the passengers' bus fare, are not allowed to speak or interact with the women at all, according to deputy head of the religious police, Maulvi Mohammed Sharif Haqqani.
The Taliban now controls over 90 percent of Afghanistan with their own extremist interpretation of Islamic law. Under the Taliban's repressive decrees, women and girls have been restricted from going to school, working, or leaving their homes without a male relative. When they do leave their houses with a chaperone, they are forced to wear a burqa, a cumbersome garment which greatly restricts sight and movement.
The windows of houses where women live must be painted opaque, and now bus windows will also be obstructed. A bus driver identifying himself as Mushtaq told the Associated Press, "...it is like a cage. . .no one can see the driver and no one can see the women."
The bus depots in Kabul are being patrolled by Religious police in order to assure the new rules are being followed.
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. . . .