In Bonn, A Call for Afghan Women’s Rights and Government Participation
“We are not waiting any longer to be invited to sit at these tables where peace is being discussed and the reconstruction of our economy,” said Sima Wali, a feminist delegate to the United Nations talks on Afghanistan in Bonn and Vice President of Sisterhood is Global. Three Afghan women are now participating as delegates in the Bonn talks, and three women are participating as senior advisors. Wali and many other delegates are pushing for the restoration and enforcement of women’s rights as well as leadership roles for women in any new Afghan government. “We have not been destroyers in the war,” said Wali. “We are builders and creators and we need to play a part in rebuilding.”
Women members of the European Union attended part of the talks to lend their support for Afghan women’s political participation. “We ask the delegations in Bonn to take the opportunity of this new framework to open doors for women’s rights as part of the best way to build a peaceful and developed Afghanistan,” said Anne-Marie Lizin from the Belgian Women’s Council. Male delegates, however, were speechless when Britt Theorin of Sweden suggested that women should hold forty percent of seats in the new Afghan government. Wali is also pushing for significant numbers.
Emma Bonino, another member of the European Union from Italy, is further showing her support of Afghan women by organizing a World Day of Fast & Nonviolence for Women in the Provisional Afghan Government. More than 5000 people, including nearly 200 dignitaries, from over 100 countries will participate in the fast tomorrow. Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, spoke via phone at a press conference in Rome giving her support for the day of fasting.
Media Resources: Reuters, 11/29/01; New York Times, 11/30/01; World Day of Fast Press Release, 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. . . .