The U.S. Senate will consider the Afghan Women and Children Relief Act of 2001. The bill, introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) and co-sponsored by every woman Senator, would authorize the use of funds for educational and healthcare assistance for Afghan women and children living inside Afghanistan or as refugees in neighboring countries. Acknowledging the efforts of Afghan women to resist the Taliban and its draconian decrees, the bill calls on the President to ensure that assistance is provided through “indigenous institutions and nongovernmental organizations, especially women’s organizations, to the extent possible.”
Under the Taliban, women have been subject to a brutal system of gender apartheid. Women are banned from school, prohibited from working, and forbidden to leave their homes without a close male relative and without wearing the head-to-toe burqa shroud. The Taliban’s decrees have caused a virtual collapse of the educational and healthcare systems in Afghanistan, as women were the vast majority of educators and healthcare workers before the Taliban’s rise. Afghanistan now has one of the highest infant, child, and maternal mortality rates in the world.
The Feminist Majority is leading a massive campaign aimed at increasing humanitarian aid, the restoration of Afghan women’s rights, and the re-establishment of a constitutional democracy in Afghanistan. Find out how you can join the Feminist Majority’s campaign to help Afghan women. Log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
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