Taliban Allows Women to Work on World Food Program Survey
After a year of strained negotiations and rejections, the Taliban finally agrees to allow the World Food Program (WFP) to employ Afghan women in its survey of the food needs of the most vulnerable households in the country. The survey will allow the Program to assess the need in the region and adjust aid and aid delivery, which has been complicated in recent years by the Talibanís edicts prohibiting contact between men and women. The Taliban announced this weekend that it will allow the World Food Program to hire and train women from a list of potential employees drawn up by the Ministry of Health.
The World Food Program has emphasized from the beginning the importance of hiring women for this effort, as the Talibanís edicts prevent males from speaking with females. In this survey, local Afghan women will be able to survey women in the household to assess the householdís needs, allowing the Program to analyze and adjust its aid distribution. The WFP already feeds an estimated 3.8 million Afghans, but recent reports show that 5 million Afghans have little or no access to food because of the regionís severe drought. Increased aid is desperately needed.
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. . . .