The Pakistani parliament will consider and likely approve a bill that would ease overly strict restrictions applied under Islamic law that make it nearly impossible to prove a woman has been raped. Under the Hadood Ordinance, developed by the former dictator Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1979, rape victims are convicted of adultery unless they have four male witnesses, which human rights groups say makes a rape conviction impossible.
The amendment, if passed, will erase that onerous requirement and require instead that anyone who accuses a woman of adultery produce four witnesses, according to . In addition, forced marriage and kidnapping, as well as trafficking women for prostitution, will be more thoroughly addressed. Those convicted of gang-rape will be sentenced to death and it will be a crime to publish the address of a rape victim, reports Reuters.
Mahnaz Rafi, chairwoman of the Pakistani Parliament’s special committee for women's development, said, “This will be a historic change and it will end decades of miseries for women,” reports the Associated Press. Naeem Mizra, director of the non-profit Aurat Foundation, added, “The amendments proposed by the government shatter a myth held for 27 years that Hudood laws are divine laws,” according to Reuters.
Media Resources: All Headline News 8/1/06; Associated Press 8/1/06; Feminist Daily News Wire 7/11/06; Reuters 8/2/06
3/7/2014 Study Finds Continuing Gender Gap in Medical Research - Although 20 years have passed since the government instituted legislation requiring adequate female representation in medical studies, a recent study finds that a significant sex and gender gap still persists in medical research.
"Sex-Specific Medical Research: Why Women's Health Can't Wait" by researchers at the Connors Center for Women's Health and Gender Biology at Brigham and Women's Hospital and the Jacobs Institute at George Washington University Hospital finds that scientists still fail to account for differences between males and females. . . .