Senate Committee Approves Funding Earmarks for Afghan Women
The Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved an $18.2 billion FY 2004 Foreign Operations package, which included $600 million for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in Afghanistan. The bill includes earmarks of $4.5 million for the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, $10 million for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, and $2.5 million for the Judicial Reform Commission. The House Foreign Operations package also contains $600 million for Afghanistan, and in its report language supports earmarks for the Ministry of Womenıs Affairs and the Independent Human Rights Commission.
The Feminist Majority has been leading efforts to win higher levels of funding for the Ministry of Women's Affairs, the Independent Human Rights Commission, and Afghan women-led NGOs.
In other news, Hamid Karzai, the Transitional Administration Chairman of Afghanistan, has established the procedures for choosing delegates for the October Loya Jirga that will adopt a new Constitution. The 500-member loya jirga will will include 70 women. Some additional women may be elected through the regular delegate selection process.
Women's rights advocates expressed disappointment that the number of women delegates would not be much higher than at the 2002 Loya Jirga, when women comprised 13 percent of the delegates. "We hope the low representation of women in the United States Congress is not providing a quota ceiling for women in other countries," said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal, citing that women are also only 12 percent of the 25-member Iraq Council.
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. . . .
8/25/2015 Fraternity Signs Promote Rape Culture, Elicit Outrage - Old Dominion University (ODU) in Virginia is receiving national attention for a fraternity's vulgar and offensive signs that were on display as first-year students moved into their dorms.
The signs, which were hung on fraternity Sigma Nu and displayed derogatory messages for incoming female students- and their mothers- have since been removed, and the University has promised disciplinary action. . . .