Women to be Included in Planning New Afghan Government
Afghan delegations representing the Northern Alliance, former king Zahir Shah, the Peshawar Convention, and the Cyprus group, will meet next week in Berlin to discuss the future of Afghanistan, including the development of a new broad-based representative government. Among the delegations, will be Afghan women. The former king, declaring “Women have always played an important part in Afghan Society,” has already invited at least one woman to go to Berlin as part of his delegation. Lakhdar Brahimi, the United Nations’ Special Representative for Afghanistan has encouraged all of the delegations to include women, but each group will determine their actual representatives.
Brahimi also expressed the United Nations’ “hope that [the meeting] will be the beginning we’ve been looking for to end the conflict in Afghanistan and start building new institutions in the country.” To build these institutions, according to UN Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women Angela King, women must be “full partners in the decision-making process around the peace table, in humanitarian efforts, and in reconstruction of the country.” The inclusion of women in the Berlin talks is a promising step in that direction.
Media Resources: United Nations News Centre, 11/20/01; Reuters, 11/21/01; Feminist Majority
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. . . .