Women in Herat, Afghanistan
Women in Herat, Afghanistan

Credit: UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein



At a conference last week, Taliban representatives did not insist on total power in Afghanistan and pledged to grant rights to women, The Washington Post reported Dec. 23. In a speech emailed from Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid, the group promised that women would be allowed to choose husbands, own property, attend school and seek work, rights denied them during Taliban rule, which ended with the 2001 U.S. invasion.

More News to Cheer This Week:

Florida state Rep. Lori Berman filed legislation to have Florida be the 36th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to offer protection to women’s rights and equality, Ms. Magazine reported Dec. 28.

Israel is looking for ways to make the Western Wall more accommodating to all Jews, particularly women, after outrage over recent arrests of women seeking to pray at the Western Wall with ritual garments, in defiance of Israeli law, The New York Times reported Dec. 25.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has acknowledged how the rejection of female bishops has damaged the church, BBC News reported Dec. 25.

A state judge suspended a Georgia law banning abortions for women who are more than 20 weeks pregnant, the Associated Press reported Dec. 24. The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed a lawsuit on behalf of three obstetricians challenging the law’s constitutionality.

Corporate India is upping the safety for female employees by providing tools such as pepper spray, karate classes and 24-7 help lines, FirstPost reported Dec. 21.


An Italian priest provoked outrage after posting an article that said women were partly to blame for encouraging domestic violence by failing to clean their houses, cook properly and for wearing tight and provocative clothing, Reuters reported Dec. 27.

Piero Corsi said that women should engage in “healthy self criticism” over the issue of femicide, or men murdering women, according to Italian media. Domestic violence against women is a serious problem in Italy although a report by a United Nations mission in June said it was “largely invisible and underreported.”

More News to Jeer This Week:

Women in Swaziland risk arrest if they wear miniskirts or tops that expose part of their stomach, violating moral standards, Al Jazeera reported Dec. 24. Offenders face a six-month jail term under the ban, which invokes a colonial criminal act dating back to 1889.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dismissed Marzieh Vahid-Dastjerdi, his health minister, the only woman to serve in the cabinet since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, after she publicly criticized the government’s response to acute shortages of medicine imports, an indirect consequence of the Western sanctions imposed on the country, The New York Times reported Dec. 27.


Almost a dozen girls gathered near Cairo’s Tahrir Square to cut locks of their hair in protest against Egypt’s new constitution, The Daily News Egypt reported Dec. 25.

The head of Ireland’s Catholic Church urged followers in his Christmas Day message to lobby against government plans to legalize abortion, Yahoo News reported Dec. 24. The death last month of an Indian woman who was denied an abortion and later died of blood poisoning has intensified the debate around abortion in the country.

A female student gang-raped on a bus in India’s capital New Delhi has died at a Singapore hospital, doctors say, reported the BBC.

The 23-year-old had arrived in Singapore on Thursday after undergoing three operations in a Delhi hospital.

The attack earlier this month triggered violent public protests in India that left one police officer dead.

Six men have been arrested and two police officers have been suspended following the December 16 attack.

In response to the public outcry, India’s government is coming up with a series of rapid-fire measures to attempt to quell some of the outrage, The Washington Post reported Dec. 28. Most recently, authorities have offered to “name and shame” convicted rapists by listing their photos, names and addresses on official Web sites.

Minister of state for home affairs Ratanjit Pratap Narain Singh said the database would start in New Delhi, where the gang rape occurred, and then expand to other parts of India.

The hospital’s statement said the assault victim “had suffered from severe organ failure following serious injuries to her body and brain. She was courageous in fighting for her life for so long against the odds but the trauma to her body was too severe for her to overcome.”

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