A sold-out crowd in Madison Square Garden of 18,000 gathered to witness V-DAY 2001: Take Back the Garden, the smashing success of an especially courageous, innovative and funny performance of the Vagina Monologues. Eve Ensler, the creator of the Vagina Monologues and V-DAY, calls the event “a vision of human life where girls and women live free, safe, equal and with dignity.” Held just days before Valentine’s Day, V-DAY’s purpose was to show that while the world celebrates love, women suffer daily from violence in every hemisphere of the globe.
All-star performers in the V-DAY 2001 included, among others: Jane Fonda, Sharon Gless, Glenn Close, Queen Latifah, Calista Flockhart, Gloria Steinem, Claire Danes, Kathy Najiamy, Nell Carter, Brooke Shields, and Oprah Winfrey, who performed “Under the Burqa” a special tribute to the women of Afghanistan.
“Under the Burqa” was a heart-wrenching, spine-tingling story written by Ensler to personify the daily terror and misery of women’s lives in Afghanistan under the Taliban’s harsh gender apartheid rule. Oprah Winfrey gave an “Oscar-winning” performance to the piece as she described women in Afghanistan crying out in pain with no one to hear or acknowledge their suffering, because in Afghanistan life for women under the brutal Taliban hardly exists. An Afghan woman wearing the all-inhibiting burqa appeared as vocal sounds of pain and agony filled Madison Square Garden.
The Feminist Majority Director of Global Outreach, Cherreka Montgomery, served as the V-DAY North America Regional Coordinator, overseeing more than 220 entries in the V-DAY Stop Rape Contest. One of the five North America Stop Rape finalists was Angela Caswell, a member of the Feminist Majority’s Leadership Alliance at the University of Delaware.
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. . . .