A Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) report entitled, “Mapping Progress: Assessing Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action,” documents that 70% of countries have drawn up plans for implementing the platform of the Fourth World Conference on Women. Despite these plans governments enacted policies that have impeded women’s access to employment, health care, education, property, credit and housing. Susan Davis, WEDO’s executive director, said “On balance, women are still the shock absorbers for structural change.”
WEDO received surveys from non-governmental organizations concerning the progress of 88 of the countries that were represented at the conference.
The report indicates that 45 percent of the countries have passed legislation that has decreased women’s employment levels and 28 percent have reduced education programs for females. Women living in the countries that are moving toward free-market economies have been hit the hardest, the report said.
Women’s unemployment averages about 70 percent in Armenia, Russia, Bulgaria and Croatia and is up to 80 percent in the Ukraine. Other countries export large quantities of merchandise are employing more and more women in factories, demanding “cheap and docile labor that can be used in low-skill, repetitive jobs in unsafe and insecure conditions without minimum guarantees.”
The report also detailed inhumane working conditions, as women migrant workers routinely “suffer gross violations of their human rights, ranging from inhuman working conditions to physical violence, and even rape and murder.”
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. . . .