Afghan women candidates in the upcoming September 18 parliamentary elections are running despite threatening letters and phone calls demanding that they withdraw from the election. In Logar province, one female candidate’s door was set on fire, while in Helmand province, letters offering a US $4,000 reward for killing female candidates were given out, according to The Washington Post. Mahmoud Shah, a cousin of and campaigner for candidate Noorzia Charkhi, received a death threat letter at his home. Commenting on the incident, Charkhi said, “I’m not going to quit, because I want to show people that a woman should be able to do these things. But definitely I fear for my life…,” reports The Washington Post.
Female candidates also face limited access to resources to pay for registration, lack of information about nomination criteria and process, and restricted mobility, as well as cultural norms not supportive of women in public role, according to the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC) elections report. As a result of these problems, 50 female candidates have resigned their candidacy, and in some conservative provinces such as Uruzgan, no women are signed up to run at all.
Some 237 women are running for seats on provincial councils, which will then appoint one-third of the seats in the upper house of parliament. Only 12 percent of candidates for the lower house of parliament are women, though 27 percent of seats in that body are reserved for women.
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. . . .