Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) successfully won passage of an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill calling for the inclusion of Afghan women in the reconstruction of Afghanistan, giving women a voice in the establishment of a new Afghan government. Under the Taliban, women have been subject to a horrific system of gender apartheid whereby they are prohibited from working, attending school, and leaving their homes without a male relative and without wearing the head-to-toe burqa shroud. Before the rise of the Taliban, women in Afghanistan enjoyed equal rights with men under the Afghan Constitution, adopted in 1964. Boxer called the U.S.-led war on terrorism, “an opportunity to return women to their rightful place in Afghan society.”
Boxer also joined on the Senate floor Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX), who have introduced new legislation aimed at helping to alleviate the healthcare and educational crisis facing Afghan women and girl refugees. Senator Hutchinson emphasized lack of educational opportunity and the substandard conditions faced by many Afghans, noting that forty-two percent of deaths were due to contaminated food and water and were easily preventable. Other women Senators also gave Mikulski and Hutchinson their support, including Susan Collins (R-ME) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). Senator Stabenow called the Taliban an “extremist, perverted group of people,” and went on to demand that women and children not be left out of a new government, as that would place Afghanistan once again “in jeopardy.”
Media Resources: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Press Release, 10/24/01; Feminist Majority
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