UNFPA Urges Women’s Needs Must Be Addressed in Peace Process
Leaders from world governments, the United Nations, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) concluded a three-day meeting on “The Impact of Conflict on Women and Girls,” finding that addressing women’s needs must be incorporated into any global response to post-conflict situations. The meeting, organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), also found that protecting women’s rights should become a standard priority. Participants focused on issuing a set of recommendations to ensure that peace-building efforts include provisions for meeting reproductive health needs, combating gender-based violence, and supporting local women’s NGOs. Some of the proposed steps included giving space for reproductive health equipment and supplies on relief convoys, increasing the representation of women in security and police forces, the creation of special police units on gender-based violence, and improving coordination between international agencies and local NGOs. Participants also recommended that the United Nations appoint gender advisers for each peacekeeping operation and increase women’s participation at every level of individual missions.
Women’s NGOs were highly regarded in the meeting as participants acknowledged that these NGOs “with their strong community ties and flexibility, are uniquely positioned to carry forward a more gender-sensitive approach to providing services in conflict and post-conflict situations.” The meeting emphasized the need for the UNFPA as well as other organizations to work even more closely with women-led NGOs and to increase their funding. A UNFPA representative assured the public that these recommendations would be incorporated into all efforts in Afghanistan.
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. . . .