The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has recently announced several programs aimed at empowering women and girls in Afghanistan.
The three-year women's empowerment project launched last week aims to strengthen the Ministry of Women's Affairs' (MoWA) capacity to support women. The Ministry of Women's Affairs Organizational Restructuring and Empowerment Project (MORE), which will be implemented in partnership with The Asia Foundation, will support the delivery of key components of MoWA's National Priority Program: institutional reform and organizational capacity building, public awareness and education, outreach, and news-media relations. Institutional reform will be achieved through employee trainings on policy leadership and advocacy, human resource management, financial management, and other areas, as well as a scholarship program for MoWA employees. Outreach will be supported through door-to-door campaigns, workshops, and seminars, and there will be a special grant to fund outreach in the provinces. The project will also strengthen ties between MoWA and other Afghan ministries to encourage other ministries to incorporate gender into their own policy development.
Another USAID program, aimed at increasing literacy of Afghan women and girls, will provide 840 women with literacy classes and establish 40 community libraries. The two-year project, called Afghanistan Reads, aims to improve the educational status of women and girls by strengthening reading comprehension and increasing access to reading materials. Currently, out of about 146,000 students in medical, technical, and vocational higher education institutes, 17 percent are female. USAID partnered with the Linda Norgrove Foundation and Canadian Women for Women Afghanistan to fund the program.
In a press release, USAID said, "The United States applauds the progress Afghan women and girls have made over the past 10 years. We will continue to stand with and work closely with Afghan women."
10/13/2015 EEOC Launches Hollywood Gender Discrimination Probe - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has contacted several women directors in Hollywood in an effort to determine whether legal intervention is necessary to disrupt the industry's discriminatory hiring practices.
In a letter sent to some 50 women filmmakers, the EEOC - which is responsible for protecting individuals from employment discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion and national origin through enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - requested interviews with them to "learn more about the gender-related issues" women behind the camera face in both the film and television industries.
In May, following the release of a study by the San Diego State University Center for the Study of Women in Television in Film revealing only 7 percent of 2014's 250 top-grossing movies were helmed by women, the ACLU of Southern California and the national ACLU Women's Rights Project urged state and federal rights agencies to investigate Hollywood's failure to hire equal numbers of women. . . .
10/12/2015 Report Finds Texas' HB2 Increases Abortion Wait Times - A new report released by the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Policy Evaluation Project found patients seeking abortions in Texas have experienced an increase in wait times since the passage of HB2, the 2013 Texas omnibus anti-abortion bill that attempts to cut off abortion access by requiring abortion providers in the state to fulfill medically unnecessary ambulatory surgical center requirements and secure hospital admitting privileges.
More than half of 42 clinics providing abortion in Texas have been forced to shut their doors since HB2 passed two years ago, leading Texas women to wait up to 20 days for a first consult at one of the surviving 18 reproductive health clinics operating in the state, the second most populous in the nation. . . .
10/9/2015 Federal Judge Orders Anti-Abortion Group to Cede Footage to NAF - On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) and its leader David Daleidan must turn over all previously unreleased "sting" videos and outtakes of National Abortion Federation (NAF) meetings the group obtained surreptitiously as part of a smear campaign against the abortion provider.
U.S. . . .