Rula Ghani: Afghanistan’s First Lady Fighting For Women’s Rights

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Rula Ghani: Afghanistan’s First Lady Fighting For Women’s Rights

The Taliban and the United States are having peace talks, and women are included in the final negotiations. Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be woman (the Taliban ban girls from pursuing an education or work), but it has advanced in the past few decades in human rights. The fear is that things might return to abysmal for women in negotiating with the Taliban. "The peace talks might return the Taliban to power, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s government has so far been excluded from the dialogue, but his wife, first lady Rula Ghani, has emerged as a powerful voice on the talks and women’s role in them. She is working to become, as she says, ‘the little stone you put under the urn so it will not fall. This is what I do for Afghan women.’ […] With women in government, women at universities, thriving rights groups and a capital city abuzz with young men and women in its cafes, the country has dramatically changed from the time of the Taliban in the late 1990s. The first lady wants women’s voices in the peace process to be heard, pushing the dialogue beyond the unheeded calls by the United States and Nato for women to be at the table. ‘We are not seeing any kind of real work being done to understand what women really want. What are their thoughts? What are their priorities? What do they see as obstacles to peace?’” Writes Amie Ferris-Rotman for the Independent.

2020 Elections: Women Getting Less Media Coverage

Why do men presently running in the #2020 get more election coverage than women? Asks Heather Timmons on Quartz. Last week came the startling news from an analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce of data from the General Social Survey. The analysis showed 1 in 8 Americans believed that men were better suited temperamentally to run for office than women. Men, to be sure, since the beginning of the republic have had an outsize media influence.

The three B’s—Biden, Beto and Buttigeig—are all covered by the mainstream media with more brio than the women running, despite the fact that, in many cases, the policy experience gap favors the females. An investigation by the Women’s Media Center found that male bylines prevailed. "69 percent of news wire bylines (AP and Reuters) are snagged by men—by far the biggest gender gap in news media; 31 percent by women.” Further, according to the study, which investigated 29 news outlets, 60 percent of online news is written by men; 40 percent by women and while 59 percent of print news is written by men; 41 percent is by women. Of the 28 American news outlets in late 2017, men received 63% of bylines as well as TV credits.

Are the Sudanese protests feminist?

Not nearly enough has been said of the role of women in the protests in Sudan, where reports say that they make up close to 60% of the protesters. Many of the protesters are women—strikingly so—and their protest is a backlash against the political conservatism of the newly ousted strongman. "Under Bashir, a quarter of parliamentary seats were reserved for women, who were mostly stand-ins for their husbands, many political analysts said,” Max Bearak writes in the Washington Post. “Laws in Sudan compel women to get a male relative’s approval to marry or divorce and govern how they can dress.” Though Sudan was less restrictive of the human rights of women than its ally Saudi Arabia, it was behind the times and looks to be now upon the dustheap of history.

Women’s Empowerment Leading To Spain Extremism

Thomas Graham for the World Politics Review argues one of the reasons Spain has moved so far to the right so suddenly that elections were in doubt is in "relation to the social gains of women. "During Franco’s dictatorship, a married woman required her husband’s permission to open a bank account or get a passport," he writes. "The 1978 constitution legally enshrined women’s right to equality. Today, Spain has the European Union’s most feminist Cabinet, with women filling two-thirds of senior ministerial posts."

Supermajority: An Organization Building Women’s Collective Power

Supermajority is a new organization dedicated to mobilizing up to two million voters to influence elections. The three principles of the site—Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood; Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance; and Alicia Garza, a cofounder of Black Lives Matter—are serious players in Washington with decades between them of grassroots activism. “Women are marching, running for office, donating to and advocating for causes and campaigns, and voting in record numbers. We can be the most powerful force in America—if we do the work together,” Supermajority's website states. “One woman can be ignored, two can be dismissed, but together, we’re a Supermajority, and we’re unstoppable."

South Africa: Tertiary Education Percentage Doubled for Women

It is not surprising that women have advanced markedly in post authoritarian South Africa. But now we have actual solid metrics documenting the actual social progress. “While in 1993, a year before the end of apartheid, women in low-paying jobs such as domestic work or unskilled farm labor were paid 21 percent less than men in equivalent positions, the wage gap narrowed to 7 percent in 2014," Jacqueline Mosomi, a researcher at the University of Cape Town, told Bloomberg's Anthony Sguazzin. "Across the workforce, the proportion of women with tertiary education doubled to 20 percent in 2015 from 10 percent in 1993, compared with a more modest rise to 15 percent from 11 percent for men.”

cover photo via Fortune