Three hundred women in Afghanistan gathered Tuesday at the Afghan Women’s Broad and Comprehensive Conference in Kabul, urging equal rights for women in all spheres, reported Reuters. Organized by the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the local weekly Women’s Mirror, the event provided an open forum where representatives discussed the continued harassment and abuse faced by women, following the Taliban’s removal from power over one year ago. In their final declaration, the attendees called for wider participation in political, economic, and social areas as well as the inclusion of women’s rights in the new constitution. A first draft of the new constitution is expected later this month. The women are calling for a panel of women’s groups to approve the constitution before it is ratified. “We want to ensure that all government policies and programs clearly and fully observe women’s rights,” said Minister of Women’s Affairs Habiba Suhrabi , according to NNI.
Despite the Taliban’s fall from power, fundamentalists persist among members of the current Afghan government. In Herat province last month, new restrictions on female education were introduced, prohibiting men from teaching girls and women in private and imposing strict gender segregation in all schools, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report.
The Feminist Majority Foundation’s Campaign for Afghan Women and Girls is working to increase funding, expand peacekeeping troops, and provide resources for the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Human Rights Commission in order to restore the rights of Afghan women and girls.
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. . . .