Earlier this month, Hamas released a new set of restrictions that will sex segregate co-ed classrooms in Gaza. The law passed by Hamas, the Islamic group that rules the Palestinian territory, states that classes must be divided by gender beginning at age nine and also bans male teachers from girls' schools. Government run schools within Gaza have previously been separated by gender. The law will take effect with the new academic year in September and is expected to mostly effect private institutions, including the few Christian and international schools in Gaza.
A member of the education committee and Hamas lawmaker, Yousef Al-Sherafi, said in an interview: "This law is a safety valve for our national principles... One male staffer among 20 female teachers in a girls' school would not allow our sisters to feel comfortable."
The Center for Women's Legal Research and Consulting, the only legal-aid organization for women in Gaza, warned that the law is "based on a culture of discrimination against women, by reinforcing gender separation which takes our society back to ancient times when there was no respect for women's rights and women were eliminated from public life."
Media Resources: Associated Press 4/3/2013; New York Times 4/1/2013; Reuters 4/1/2013
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. . . .