Lenos Announce $100,000 Contribution to Raise Awareness of Gender Apartheid in Afganistan
Mavis and Jay Leno today presented a gift of $100,000 to the Feminist Majority Foundation to expand its Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and to restore women's rights to work, education, healthcare and freedom of movement. Mavis Leno will chair the national effort.
"Our contribution kicks-off an expanded organizing drive to mobilize public support and increase visibility for our Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid," said Mavis Leno. "We are determined that every American know about what is happening to women and girls in Afghanistan. We must not remain silent. Jay and I are challenging others to lend their help and support."
"Two years ago women in Afghanistan could work, be educated, and move about freely," explained Leno. "Then the Taliban seized power. Today women are prohibited from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative and are forced to wear the burqa - a head-to-toe shroud. Girls and women are banned from schooling. . .even home schooling. Male doctors are forbidden to examine women. Women doctors are no longer allowed to practice. No healthcare. . .no education. . .no freedom of movement. This nightmare is reality for 11.5 million women and girls in Afghanistan."
"Women are not safe anywhere as long as any government can carry out this tyranny of gender apartheid with impunity," explained Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. "The Leno's contribution makes it possible for us to immediately expand our public education campaign to reach more people and expose the brutal treatment of women under the Taliban," continued Smeal.
Smeal reviewed the early successes and outlined the major components of the Feminist Majority Foundation's expanded Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid: A heightened public awareness campaign to educate Americans and galvanize them to action to combat gender apartheid; a nationwide college organizing drive; exposing U.S. corporate business relations with the Taliban, urging consumers to demand a moratorium on corporate business investment until women's human rights have been restored; and organizing internationally with women's and human rights groups to bring more pressure on the Taliban to restore women's human rights.
Smeal and Leno were joined at today's the press conference by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) who has been leading efforts in Congress to stop gender apartheid, Zohra Rasekh, MPH of Physicians for Human Rights which has just completed an important study of the condition of women living under the Taliban, Jan Goodwin who has traveled extensively in Afghanistan and written on gender apartheid, and Sima Wali, an Afghan woman working in the U.S. to end gender apartheid.
"The Taliban government has virtually made targets of women. They have not only taken away women's rights to work and to education, but in the process are denying the entire country the right to quality teachers, nurses, doctors, and many other professional areas where women were making contributions," remarked Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney. "The international community must be strong in their opposition. They must make clear that denial of a woman's basic rights - to the extent that their very lives are often threatened - will not be tolerated."
Smeal and Leno introduced the new symbol for the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid - a swatch of material representing the mesh-covered opening in the burqa. "The burqa is like a prison - a poisonous shroud that can cause or aggravate respiratory conditions and loss of vision - both of which can cause death. This swatch of mesh represents the obstructed view of the world for an entire nation of women who were once free," Smeal explained. "We are asking everyone to wear it in remembrance so that we do not forget the women and girls of Afghanistan until they are free once again."
"Whenever someone hears about what is happening, they want to help." Leno explained. "There are four things
Media Resources: Feminist Majority - October 21, 1998
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. . . .