Boxer, Reid Demand Women Be Involved in Iraq Reconstruction
Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) have called upon the Bush administration to include women in leadership roles in the reconstruction of Iraq.
In a speech on the Senate floor yesterday Reid called on the Bush administration to ensure that women are full participants in the new Iraqi government and to improve and expand our security mission in Afghanistan so that women there also are full participants. Women in Afghanistan continue to suffer from violence and Taliban-era extremism in the absence of US action on expansion of the International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF), increased reconstruction funding, and for more resources to support the work of the Ministry of Women's Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.
“We cannot allow a lack of security to destroy women’s rights in Iraq as they have done and continue to do in Afghanistan,” Reid said. “We have won the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, but we are in jeopardy of losing the peace. Women in Afghanistan and Iraq – indeed the citizens of these nations – and the world community will not be able to sustain this loss.”
At a meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Boxer today introduced an amendment to the 2004 Foreign Assistance Authorization Act stating that women in Iraq must be included in all levels of government, the planning and distribution of assistance, and job promotion and training programs. The Boxer amendment was adopted unanimously.
Women in Iraq have thus far not only been excluded from the reconstruction process – out of 250 delegates to a constitutional committee only six are women - but looting, violence and threats of extremism have kept them in their homes. “Already there have been calls by some religious leaders for bans on women wearing makeup and for taking up the head-to-toe covering of the burqua. Afghanistan under the Taliban is a short memory away,” wrote Laura Liswood in the Christian Science Monitor. Some are looking to the Kurdish model in the north where women have pushed through legislation granting them unprecedented rights and protecting them from honor killings. Others are joining demands that the US must do a better job of reaching out to women.
“If we want to have a sustainable peace, women should be allowed to participate fully in the planning stage and not afterwards as cosmetic extras. This is what happened in Afghanistan,” Elisabeth Rehn, author of a report for the United Nations called Women, War and Peace told BBC News.
Media Resources: Senator Reid Statement 5/20/03; Christian Science Monitor 5/15/03; BBC News 5/21/03; Associated Press 5/21/03
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. . . .