Girls in southern Afghanistan, a former stronghold of the extremist Taliban, are facing stiff opposition to returning to school, according to the Boston Globe. Afghan officials and educators say that the enrollment of girls has generally been poor despite an aggressive door-to-door campaign to convince parents to enroll their children in school, according to the Globe. “I want my girls to get an education, but my husband won’t allow it,” said Bibi Jan, a mother of nine who is herself illiterate and who still wears the burqa. “I will never allow my girls to go to school. Islam says women should not be allowed outside. The boys need an education so they can work or serve the country but the girls will be married soon. They don’t need it,” said Mohibullah Zawuddin, a 30-year-old shopkeeper in Panjwai and father of two girls.
Under the repressive Taliban regime, girls were not allowed to attend school and women were prohibited from teaching - Afghan schools were reopened to women and girls in April. The number of students – male and female – has increased nationwide, a UNICEF survey released last month shows that 1.25 million children were already attending schools in 20 of Afghanistan’s 32 provinces. However, in the five southern provinces in Afghanistan only 16,604 girls are enrolled in classes out of a total of 159,159 students, according to UNICEF. In contrast, about 45 percent of school age girls in Kabul are enrolled in school, according to the Globe.
Media Resources: Boston Globe, 8/7/2002; Feminist News 7/22/02
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. . . .