USAID Provides for Reconstruction of Afghan Women’s Ministry Building
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) made two grants last week totaling $64,000 to the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs. These grants will be used to reconstruct the ministry’s building complex, the former site of the Afghan Women’s Institute in Kabul. The auditorium building in the complex was burned during Taliban rule in Kabul, and the roof has collapsed. Rubble is throughout the complex. The USAID grants will help the ministry to renovate the complex, create offices, and establish programs.
The USAID grants are the first received by the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs. The ministry, however, is in desperate need of funding, as it is the only ministry in the Afghan interim government without pre-existing resources. The Feminist Majority is calling for increased funding for the women’s ministry. Significant immediate funding is crucial if the ministry is to succeed in combating the effects of gender apartheid implemented by the Taliban and helping the women and girls of Afghanistan regain their rights and participate fully in the rebuilding of the country.
Last week, USAID also awarded $13,000 to Ariana, a national Afghan women’s nongovernmental organization (NGO) that provides educational training to women and girls. The Feminist Majority has been calling on U.S. agencies to provide money directly to Afghan women’s NGOs as a means of ensuring education and healthcare services for women and girls. Founded in 1993, Ariana was shut down by the Taliban’s Police for the Prevention of Vice and the Protection of Virtue by 1997. The organization continued to provide services, however, and will hold a graduation ceremony for women who attended its clandestine schools during the Taliban’s reign. Dr. Sima Samar, Minister of Women’s Affairs, will award the graduates with certificates on International Women’s Day, March 8. Samar will also host an International Women’s Day Conference held in Kabul.
The Feminist Majority has been calling for immediate U.S. support for the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and for Afghan women-led NGOs. Join the Feminist Majority’s Campaign to Help Afghan Women and Girls. Visit www.HelpAfghanWomen.com.
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. . . .