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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

October-12-01

Feminist Majority Raising Awareness of Afghan Women’s Rights


As the nation’s attention turns to what will happen in a possible post-Taliban Afghanistan, the Feminist Majority has been conducting a media blitz to call attention to the role Afghan women must play in reconstructing Afghan government and civil society. Appearing on major network TV shows, including Larry King Live, Hardball with Chris Matthews, Rivera Live, Entertainment Tonight, the Today Show, and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal and Feminist Majority Chair of the Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan Mavis Leno, have been urging that Afghan women have a voice in the process of rebuilding the nation and ending terrorism.

“A democratic, civil society cannot exist in Afghanistan if women – a large portion of its healthcare workers and educators are not utilized,” said Smeal. “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.” The Feminist Majority has urged that the U.S. government declare the Taliban a terrorist organization as it has hijacked the people of Afghanistan and robbed them of their fundamental rights, threatening global security.

Before the Taliban rose to power, Afghan women were over 70 percent of teachers, 40 percent of doctors, the vast majority of healthcare workers, and over half of the university students. Under the Taliban’s system of gender apartheid, women are prohibited from working, banned from school, and forbidden to leave their homes without a close male relative and without wearing the head-to-toe burqa shroud. Afghan women and children now make up 75 percent of the over 5 million Afghan refugees living in neighboring countries in substandard conditions with little food and virtually no clean water or sanitation. One woman dies every thirty minutes in childbirth, and one in four children die before the age of five.

Learn how you can help Afghan women by sending a message to the President urging that the U.S. do everything in its power to restore Afghan women’s rights, include women in the rebuilding of Afghanistan, and increase humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of millions of refugees, mostly women and children. Log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.

Media Resources: Feminist Majority


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

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