Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday reported that in Afghanistan’s Herat province, new restrictions on female education have been introduced, prohibiting men from teaching girls and women in private and imposing strict gender segregation in all schools. Mohammad Deen Fahim, deputy head of Herat’s educational department, last Friday justified the changes, saying that the current methods of teaching that include men teaching women and girls are “in contradiction with Islamic law,” according to HRW. Over the last several months, women and girls have been trying to make up for the lost years of schooling under the Taliban. Until last week, many in Herat attended private courses—in addition to their public schooling—in areas like foreign language and computers. Almost all of the private educational courses are taught by men.
Herat is currently under the control of the local warlord Ismail Khan, who has stifled political dissent and independent media in the province while imposing Taliban-like restrictions on women and girls. A recent HRW report entitled “We Want to Live as Humans: Repression of Women and Girls in Western Afghanistan,” found that in the Herat province, women’s rights to work, free speech, and free association continue to be curtailed. The group says situations are similar in other regions of the country.
President Bush recently signed the Afghan Freedom Support Act of 2002, which authorizes $2.3 billion in aid to Afghanistan over four years and $1 billion to expand international peacekeeping troops. The Act also includes language by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that makes Afghan women a funding priority, earmarking $15 million each year for the Ministry of Women's Affairs and $5 million each year for the Independent Human Rights Commission. However, the Bush Administration’s 2003 budget forwarded to Congress does not include any funding for Afghan reconstruction or expansion of ISAF. This authorization is a major step in securing the funding necessary for Afghan reconstruction and security. The funds must still be appropriated by Congress.
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .