Iraqi Women Council Members and Officers Face Discrimination
Iraqi women continue to face discrimination in the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq. Only three Iraqi women were appointed to Iraq's Governing Council and none serve on the constitutional committee. Dr. Raja Khuzai, a female member of the Governing Council, states that men avert their eyes when she talks and the leaders ignore her reports. They even wait until the female council members have left the room to make important votes, reports the Rocky Mountain News. In addition, one of the three female members of the council who was a champion of women's rights was killed this past fall. She was replaced when the two remaining female members were out of the country. The replacement, Salama Khufaji, is described by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) as being "ultra-conservative," angering women's rights advocates.
According to Rocky Mountain News, when the adviser on human rights issues for the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority, Salwa Ali, tried to be a part of the local elections in Baghdad she found that the neighborhood was plastered with fliers stating that women were not allowed.
Female Iraqi officers working at the Bashma border crossing are also facing discrimination. According to the Washington Post, female officers are told that they are shameful and that "women were created for being in the house" while they patrol the border crossing. The women serve alongside a men's unit and their duties include searching people, for the most part women, and helping the men's unit search vehicles.
The Bush Administration pledged support for the inclusion of women in decision-making bodies in Iraq. However, with only three women currently on the Iraqi Governing Council, only one woman on the Iraqi cabinet, and no women appointed to the 24-member constitutional committee, advocates for Iraqi women argue they are not being included in the building of a civil society in their country.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .