In yet another attempt to enforce its brutal system of gender apartheid, the Taliban militia ordered the United Nations to close down bakeries run by Afghan women in Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul. The bakeries employ a number of Afghan women and provide bread at subsidized prices for 7,000 of Kabul's poorest women and their families. When the Taliban militia took power in Kabul in 1996, they banned all women from working, forcing widows to rely on begging and charity in order to survive. Only a few women are allowed to work in the health and state sectors, and the UN had hoped that Kabul's bakeries would be exempt from a recent edict forbidding Afghan women from working for relief and aid organizations.
The closing of the bakeries will affect women who were employed in the bakeries, as well as widows who relied on the subsidized bread for survival. Currently, there are tens of thousands of widows in Kabul as a result of two decades of war, many of whom are not sure what they will do now that bread is no longer available. This new decree comes at a particularly difficult time as the drought in Afghanistan is causing many Afghans to face extreme hunger. Feminist Majority Foundation president Eleanor Smeal stated, "we condemn the Taliban's latest atrocity denying women their livelihood as well as denying food to a nation that is literally starving to death."
Since 1996, when the Taliban militia took control of Kabul, women in areas under Taliban rule have been oppressed by a strict system of gender apartheid, under which they have been stripped of their visibility, voice and mobility. The edicts imposed by the Taliban, which have been brutally enforced, banished most women from the work force, closed schools to girls in cities and expelled women from universities, and prohibited women from leaving their homes unless accompanied by a close male relative. The Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan works to fully and permanently restore the human rights of Afghan women and girls.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .