Security Imperils Voter Registration, Women Make Up 22% of Voters
The number of women registering to vote in Afghanistan's upcoming elections has increased. However, according to the UN News Service, overall registration is still low. The Chairman of the Join Electoral Management Body, Zakim Shah, stated, "To achieve a representative government in Afghanistan, we have to work together as a whole nation, one in which women are an essential part of society."
The latest figures show that 22 percent of the 320,770 Afghans registered are women. In mid-December only 70,000 people were registered of which 13 percent were women. According to the UN News Service, the number of women registered in Kabul is 20 percent, Bamiyan is 43 percent, Jalabad is 15 percent, Mazar is 24 percent, Kunduz is 17 percent, Kandahar is 21 percent, Gardez is 11 percent, and Herat is 30 percent. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) stated that once security conditions improve registration will be extended other areas of the country.
Lakhdar Brahimi, the outgoing United Nations Envoy in Afghanistan, recently stated that the lack of security in Afghanistan is a major challenge to implementing the agreement calling for elections in June. The Feminist Majority and other leading women's rights and human rights organizations are calling for an expansion of ISAF in order to make enforcement of the constitution, womenıs rights, human rights, and democracy possible.
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. . . .