On August 25, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and Mavis Leno, chair of the Foundation’s Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan, unveiled the Back to School Campaign – a new initiative to raise public awareness of the brutal treatment of women under the Taliban, which has banned women and girls from attending schools, working, or leaving their homes unaccompanied by a close male relative. The Back to School Campaign includes an Adopt-A-School Project, Afghan Women’ s Scholarship Project, and a petition drive urging the U.S. government to do more to help Afghan women and girls. “We must do more to restore the rights of women and girls in Afghanistan. We want to help the heroic women who are running schools for girls in Afghanistan despite the ban and desperately-needed schools for Afghan refugee girls in Pakistan,” stated Smeal. The Feminist Majority Foundation has gathered over 210,000 petitions urging more U.S. action for Afghan women. Smeal and Leno will present the petitions to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to coincide with the launching of the Back to School Campaign.
Visit http://www.feminist.org/afghan/back2school.html to learn more about FMF's Back to School Campaign and to find out how you can participate in this new program.
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. . . .