There has been outrage since the Nigerian Senate votedon July 16th to allow girls to marry without age restrictions. Social justice and women's rights advocates have decried the decision, arguing that instead of child marriage protections there need to be advancements in girls' education. The United Nations Population Fund notes that 20% of Nigerian girls get married before 15 and 27% of married girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are in polygamous marriages. They also note that "only two per cent of 15-19-year-old married girls are in school." According to Maryan Wais, chairperson of the Isa Wali Empowerment Initiative, "Child marriage, from available statistics, ultimately happens the efforts of these young adolescents from acquiring an education, as sooner than later, they find it difficult to combine the onerous responsibilities of being a wife and mother, with schooling." Bisi Fayemi, the wife of the Ekiti State Governor, called for support from feminist groups stating, "I am not only disappointed in the decision by the Senate. As a mother, I am ashamed, I am unhappy and I am pained that our senators, who also have female children, will vote for child marriage."
Media Resources: All Africa 7/25/13; Daily Post 7/24/13; All Africa 7/22/13
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. . . .