The Feminist Majority has received reports indicating that five women will attend the United Nations sponsored meeting of Afghan factions in Bonn, Germany tomorrow to discuss the political future of Afghanistan. Two women are going as part of the Northern Alliance delegation, two from the former king’s delegation, and one from the Cyprus group. The Peshawar Convention will also send a delegation to the meeting, but so far, no women have been included in that group. The United Nations Special Representative on Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, has encouraged all of the delegations to include women, but each group must determine their own representatives. Safi-Afzali, an Afghan woman in the Northern Alliance delegation, hopes the meeting will “permit Afghan women to find their place in the heart of society.” A total of thirty-two Afghan leaders will be in attendance in Bonn.
Women members of Congress continue to take the lead in pressing for the inclusion of women in the planning of post-Taliban Afghanistan. On Wednesday, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent letters to all four groups meeting in Bonn, along with an amendment to the Foreign Operations Act urging the inclusion of women in the reconstruction and in the government of Afghanistan. Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA), co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Women’s Issues, during the Democratic response to the President’s weekly radio address urged, “After years of being subjugated and brutally repressed, it is time for [Afghan women] to return to the level of government and participation they once enjoyed and were guaranteed by the Afghan constitution.” “We can be certain any future government of Afghanistan will not be sustainable unless all elements of Afghan society are included, especially its women, in determining a lasting settlement and political framework for the future,” said Millender-McDonald.
The United States is continuing to support the inclusion of women in the planning of post-Taliban government in Afghanistan. The Bush Administration has already announced its strong support of fully restoring Afghan women’s rights and creating a broad-based representative government that includes women.
Find out what you can do to encourage the restoration of Afghan women’s rights and their full participation in planning a new Afghan government, log on to www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority; Reuters, 11/24/01; Agence France-Press, 11/25/01
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. . . .