At today's Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on the $87 billion supplemental for Iraq and Afghanistan, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) raised concerns about vulnerable populations in Afghanistan and Iraq, including women. She pointed to a Human Rights Watch Report and threats against girls going to school as examples of the deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan.
At the hearing today, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld pointed out that 75 percent of the $87 billion for Afghanistan and Iraq will go to the troops "who are risking their lives in this struggle" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Only $1.2 billion is included for Afghanistan, out of which only $300 million is designated for the construction of roads, school and clinics.
Even though Rumsfeld stated that what the international peacekeeping troops (ISAF) are "doing is important for Afghanistan" and the commander of the United States Central Command, General John Abizaid, acknowledged that Al Qaeda and Taliban forces "are conducting low-level guerilla and terrorist attacks" in Afghanistan "to obstruct reconstruction efforts and incite chaos," neither made any mention of the desperate need to expand the international peacekeeping troops (ISAF) beyond Kabul.
Meanwhile, according to the New York Times, 45 women presented President Hamid Karzai with their own Afghan Women's Bill of Rights in Kandahar. This document guarantees an education, health care, personal security, and support for widows with the freedom to vote, to speech, and with a guarantee of right to orphans, disabled women and widows.
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. . . .