Afghan Girls Return to School for First Time Since '96
For the first time since the Taliban took power in 1996, Afghan girls and female teachers returned to Afghanistan's public schools on March 23. While the schools remain understaffed, overcrowded, and under funded, Afghans expressed exuberance at the new freedom found there. Hamid Karzai, head of
Afghanistan’s interim government, gave an emotional address to Amani High School students and staff, saying, "Today, we cry from happiness." Many girls find themselves well behind, having been banned from school for more than five years. Nonetheless, they are entering at whatever grade they are accepted into, happy for the opportunity to begin to catch up. Those who can afford it are taking "cram" courses to make up grades. Girls who managed to sneak some home schooling during Taliban rule are in better shape than others to return; many young girls were married off to older men by desperately poor parents and will never get that chance. The illiteracy rate is now 80 percent for women and 60 percent for men. Welcoming girls and women teachers back to school may be the first and most important step towards rebuilding a viable and stable democracy in Afghanistan.
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defundÂ Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).Â Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell asÂ out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of twoÂ heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .