Taliban militia bombings, burnings of girls' schools, and the killing of teachers are increasing at an alarming rate as the Taliban resurgence continues to gain strength. Ahmed Rashid, a well known author and expert on the Taliban recently wrote in the Washington Post that "...every single day somewhere in Afghanistan a girls' school is burned down or a female teacher killed by the Taliban." Under the Taliban regime, education for Afghan women and girls was banned. Attacks on girls' schools began immediately following the reopening of the schools by the new Afghan government in 2002, but the current situation has reached crisis proportions undermining the rights that Afghan women and girls were just beginning to enjoy.
Many children, especially girls are kept home out of fear. Lack of resources has also been a major problem in rebuilding the education system which was completely destroyed after decades of war. In Lessons in Terror: Attacks on Education in Afghanistan, a report just released by Human Rights Watch (HRW), it states that there are some areas where the majority of primary-school-age girls do not attend school at all and only five percent of girls compared to 20 percent of boys attend secondary schools. Human Rights Watch (HRW), has called for the international community and the Afghan government to create a concrete strategy for addressing the security problems.
The United Nations (UN) has also repeatedly condemned the attacks. The World Food Program, which provides programs to school children, recently issued a report raising concerns about the increases in threats and attacks on girls' schools. Munoz Villalobs, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education said in a recent statement "I am deeply concerned that schools, especially girls' schools seem to be systematically targeted by terrorist groups with the apparent objective of forcing parents to refrain from sending their children to school and thus forcing the authorities to close the schools."
The Feminist Majority has waged a campaign urging the U.S. to increase security in Afghanistan, to protect the rights of women and girls and to increase funding for organizations working to advance women's rights in Afghanistan and Afghan women-led non-profits. Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation/Feminist Majority, which has waged a campaign urging the U.S. to increase peacekeeping troops throughout Afghanistan said, "As the bombings and burning of girls' schools continue unabated and the situation for women and girls continues to deteriorate, the Bush Administration remains silent."
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .