After negotiations with U.S. and other global officials, the Northern Alliance has postponed its plans to stage a takeover of the Afghan capital, Kabul. Pakistan and the United Nations have been urging that the U.S. not support a military offensive by the Northern Alliance to gain Kabul, fearing that the Alliance will assume control of the country and establish its own government. Northern Alliance leaders have reportedly agreed not to carry out an attempt to seize power and will instead participate in the creation of an interim government. Former Afghan king, Mohammed Zahir Shah, will host a supreme council, which may then call a loya jirga, or grand assembly, to establish a Post-Taliban government if the Taliban regime is ousted. The supreme council will be made up of 120 delegates, one of which will be from the Northern Alliance.
Under the current Taliban regime, Afghan women have been subject to a brutal system of gender apartheid. Under this system, women are banned from employment, prohibited from attending school, and are forbidden from leaving their homes without a close male relative and without wearing a head-to-toe burqa shroud. Before the Taliban came to power, women were over 70 percent of the teachers, 40 percent of doctors, the vast majority of health care workers, and over half of the university students. The Feminist Majority has called for the restoration of Afghan women’s rights and for the establishment of constitutional democracy where women have full representation and a voice in the creation of this new government. Eleanor Smeal, Feminist Majority President, cautioned that “The United States would be repeating a tragic mistake if it again turns to another set of extremists as it did to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and chooses a dictatorship as the most expedient strategy to replace the Taliban. The restoration of a broad-based democracy, representative of both ethnic minorities and women, with women at the table, is necessary to break the back of a terrorist and a war-torn existence. “
To learn more about the Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and find out how you can help, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: Washington Post, 10/11/01; Feminist Majority
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. . . .