What better way to start a new century than to attend the Feminist Expo 2000 (March 31-April 2 in Baltimore). From Afghanistan's Taliban to the U.S.'s religious right, there were plenty of challenges for the 7,000 attendees to confront and even more causes to champion.
The Feminist Majority Foundation, organizers of the Expo, sought to gather a diverse band of feminists. Participants came from 45 countries and hundreds of organizations—from Central American women's artisan groups to local abortion rights coalitions. The presence of more than 2,000 college students upped the energy.
In addition to general sessions exploring the current state of feminism, winning women's economic empowerment and political equality, and envisioning the future, there were more than 200 exhibition booths and 106 symposia, roundtables, and training sessions. You could talk funding strategies for women's initiatives, learn about "Global Perspectives on Fighting Poverty" and "The True Costs of Free Trade," discuss the "Grrl Thing" with teen activists, or take part in training sessions geared to campus activism. There were indigenous women's crafts, book signings by a slew of famous and lesser known writers, a career center, and a surprising number of law enforcement officers looking to bring more women in to their ranks.
From letter-writing campaigns to forming global alliances, the mission was to get women together and work for change. The thrust of the gathering seemed to be by-the-book activism, empowering women to work within the system—not every femme's shtick. But for others the Expo was a great place to jump-start their activism.
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. . . .