From U.S.A. Today: As 1600 Afghan leaders prepare for a peace conference (known as a jirga), women such as U.S.Rep. Donna Edwards,D-Md., wants to ensure that women's rights aren't set aside during the conference. During the Taliban's rule of Afghanistan, women lived under severe restrictions. Edwards, who is in Afghanistan with a congressional delegation said that Afghan officials have confirmed that 20% of the participants in the jirga will be women, who would play a meaningful role in the conference, and lead half of the breakout meetings.
From the NY TImes: Two girls--age 13 and 14, escaped their illegal, arranged marriages, only to be returned home by police. The girls were punished by being flogged. Poverty and tribal customs are the push behind many child bride marriages. There are few resources for the girls, although Women for Afghan Women does run shelters in Kabul and other cities. They have taken in 108 child brides.
From Reuters: In a plan to end the nine year conflict with the Taliban, political leaders, tribal elders and civil servant leaders will meet at a peace jirga--an assembly of leaders. The leaders will discuss reopening talks with the Taliban, which concerns many Afghan women, who fear a return to the days of being banned from schools, the work place and public life.
From CNN: The American Academy of Pediatrics rescinded a controversial policy statement made in April. The statement condemned the practice of female gential cutting but also included a section stating that physicians in some communities could use a "clitoral pricking" procedure as a substitute for female genital cutting.
From The Guardian: In Rwanda, women hold much political power, and make up 56% of the country's parliamentarians, including the speaker. By law, at least 30% of the seats in government (including local government) must be held by women. With more women in office, big changes have been made. Violence against women is decreasing, and more girls are going to school. In addition, women now have the right to own land and property, and to separate their economic assets from their husbands.
From Human Rights Watch: Human Rights Watch has been fighting for the rights of domestic workers such as nannies and housekeepers in Lebanon as well as other areas of the Middle East and Asia. Many of these domestic workers do not get a day off, work up to 18 hours a day, and often have their wages withheld. In addition, many suffer abuse at the hands of those that they work for.
You're coming, aren't you? Just two weeks left to register for the NCRW/USNC UNIFEM conference, Strategic Imperatives for Ending Violence against Women: Linkages to Education, Economic Security and Health. Click here to register TODAY! After all, you wouldn't want to miss Abby Disney (of Pray the Devil Back to Hell fame), Zainab Salbi (Founder of Women for Women International) and Nancy Dorsinville (Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of the UN Special Envoy to Haiti) discussing violence against women in the global hot spots, now would you? These amazing human rights activists are coming together for the conference keynote panel to address policies in place that address the multiple linkages between the socio-economic and cultural standings of women and their connections to gender-based violence.
From Reuters: A new exhibit in Philadelphia at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University hopes to draw attention to the killings and violence perpetuated against women in Juarez, Mexico. Over 700 women have been murdered since the 1990's, and much of the violence is sexual in nature. Curators hope that the exhibit will "encourage others to action and to open their eyes, and their minds and their hearts to this poignant situation in Juarez." The exhibit runs until July 16.
Join the National Council for Research on Women and the U.S. National Committee for UNIFEM June 11-12th at Hunter College for Strategic Imperatives to End Violence Against Women: Linkages to Education, Economic Security and Health. Register today!