Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

May-13-99

Progress in Afghanistan?

Capricious and selective enforcement of the Taliban’s brutal gender apartheid edicts
is a far cry from restoration of women’s rights."

-- Eleanor Smeal


WASHINGTON, DC In light of a May 11, 1999 Washington Post story on the status of gender apartheid in Afghanistan, the Feminist Majority Foundation -- the organization spearheading the nationwide and worldwide Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid (chaired by Mavis Leno) -- reviewed the status of basic human rights under continued Taliban oppression of women and girls.

"Recent stories show some indications that the Taliban regime is responding to international pressure either by taking small steps to selectively ease some of their draconian restrictions or by trying to create the impression that they are easing the restrictions." said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

"Since the reports show evidence of the Taliban orchestrating, limiting or controlling information available to observers and reporters, we must question the viability of any real improvements in women’s daily lives," said Smeal. "And it is no coincidence that these reports and public relations efforts come to us just as other reports show the Taliban losing ground in the civil war with the Northern Alliance to win control of Afghanistan."

A CALL FOR ACTION

The Feminist Majority Foundation, with the support of more than 130 U.S. organizations, has been urging the United States and the United Nations to withhold recognition of the Taliban until girls’ and women’s human rights are fully and permanently restored. (Currently only three nations recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.)

Smeal also called on the United States to take a prominent role in helping the three million Afghan refugees. "The U.S. must open doors for Afghan women and girls, especially widows and their children and female students," she said, noting that in 1996 and 1997 no Afghan refugees were admitted, and only 88 were allowed to enter the U.S. in 1998. "We also need to provide more humanitarian aid for refugees and for women and girls in Afghanistan," she added.

"The international community must hold the Taliban accountable for their gross violations of women’s human rights by intensifying their supervision of the situation," Smeal said. "We need an independent, international team of human rights monitors to be able to travel freely throughout the country, so we will have access to unbiased reports on the treatment of women and girls and can prevent further human rights atrocities," she said.

EDUCATION

Before the Taliban took over Kabul, education had been gender integrated for decades in Afghanistan’s major cities, and both girls and women had educational opportunities. The current system denies women any education and severely limits girls’ education and teachers for both girls and boys.

In Kabul, for example, all women teachers (who made up about 70 percent of the education workforce) have been fired, leaving both boys and girls without instructors. And despite new claims of educational opportunities for girls, the Taliban militia cannot cover-up that, even according to their most recently announced policies, there is no formal education for young girls in Kabul, outside of very limited religious education, which is allowed for about two hours every day. While boys attend regular education classes, girls are sent .

HEALTH CARE

After initially denying all health care to women, by banning them from seeing male doctors and prohibiting female doctors and nurses from practicing medicine, a few hospitals now have separate wards where women are allowed some medical care. Recent Taliban announcements also say they have eased other health care restrictions, and indicate some male doctors may operate on women patients when necessary.

"If this is true, perhaps some women’s and girls’ lives, that would otherwise be lost,

Media Resources:


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

9/22/2014 Under the Affordable Care Act, More Women Then Ever Have Free Access to Contraception - Two-thirds of American woman now have access to free birth control, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Guttmacher Institute released a study Thursday showing steep increases in the number of women who were able to take full advantage of the ACA birth control benefit. . . .
 
9/22/2014 Climate Change Activists Take Over Manhattan to Demand Action - An estimated 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan over the weekend to demand world leaders take action on climate change. The People's Climate March, which some are calling the single largest call for climate action ever, took place ahead of Tuesday's emergency UN Climate Summit. Joining the march were several labor unions, former Vice President Al Gore, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton. . . .
 
9/22/2014 New President and National Unity Government Announced in Afghanistan - The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced yesterday that the Afghan people have elected Dr. . . .