United Nations (UN) officials fear that the Taliban’s ban on women working with international aid organizations may bring an end to aid programs in the region. Stephanie Bunker, spokesperson for the UN office for humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, stated that, while the UN “respects the principles and culture” of Afghanitan, they view the ban on working women as a “stumbling block” that seriously impares the ability of the UN to provide assistance. The UN and the World Food Programme have urged the Taliban to lift their ban on women working for aid organizations, and suggest that women supervise programs intended to benefit women, to monitor the aid and assure that services are reaching the population.
The Taliban’s bans on education, work and mobility for women have no basis in Afghan culture. Before the Taliban took power, women were 50 percent of the students and 60 percent of the teachers at Kabul University, and 70 percent of school teachers, 50 percent of civilian government workers, and 40 percent of doctors in Kabul were women.
Media Resources: NNI – September 18, 2000 and Feminist Majority Foundation
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. . . .