Women all over the world will celebrate International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8, by taking action for their social, political, and economic equality. The United Nations’ official IWD theme for this year is “equality for women is progress for all,” and we couldn’t agree more! This International Women’s Day, celebrate with us by speaking out for women’s rights – eight times.
CEDAW has been ratified by 187 of the 193 member states of the UN, the United States is one of only seven nations that has not yet approved it, putting us in the company of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran and two small Pacific islands. As a leading advocate for human rights, the US has a compelling interest to improve conditions for women. Yet, the United Sates has compromised its credibility as a world leader in both human rights and women’s rights in its failure to ratify CEDAW.
For many victims of war, resources provided by US humanitarian aid eases their suffering; but for victims of war rape care is limited. Survivors of war rape are denied access to comprehensive medical care that includes the option of abortion, largely because of US policy that is wrongly interpreted to place anti-abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid in conflict zones – in direct violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions. Girls and women systematically raped during conflict face increased rates of maternal mortality, permanent reproductive damage, and obstetric fistula, in addition to isolation and trauma. Without access to the option of abortion care, victims are forced to risk their health – either by carrying unwanted pregnancies to term, seeking dangerous methods of abortion or, in many tragic cases, taking their own lives.
Take action with Feminist Majority and the Global Justice Center to urge President Obama to issue an executive order lifting the ban on abortion restrictions in conflict zones, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
The Affordable Care Act guarantees that all new health insurance plans cover FDA approved contraceptives, including the pill and IUDs, without co-pays or deductibles. But over 40 profit-making companies have filed lawsuits against this ACA requirement saying that they have a right to deny this coverage to their employees because of the companies’ so-called religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments March 25 regarding whether companies can take away this important birth control benefit from women. Send a clear message to the Supreme Court that companies should not be able to use religion as cover to discriminate against women.
Folks will be meeting on Tuesday, March 25 outside of the Supreme Court building to make their voices heard in this important debate – and you should be there! Come around 8:30 AM and bring your own signs!
Take a pledge with us to support Afghan women and Afghan women’s organizations. Let them know that we are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in the fight for women’s and girls’ equality. We will do all we can to ensure that the US continue to support Afghan women’s organizations and empowerment. In this crucial transition period, you can count on our strong support.
The BSA provides that the U.S. will continue to offer assistance to strengthen security, provide humanitarian aid, and support economic and civic development. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai has indicated that he will not sign the BSA until after the April 2014 elections – a decision that could potentially disrupt the relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan and place Afghan women at grave risk.
Urge President Karzai to sign this agreement. Without this agreement, the tremendous gains made by Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban will be in jeopardy.
Every minute, a young woman becomes newly infected with HIV, and the vast majority of HIV infections are sexually transmitted. Women need reproductive health programs to be integrated with HIV/AIDS services, and vice-versa, for improved efficiency and effectiveness in preventing AIDS infection and unplanned pregnancy and improving maternal and child health.
You can make a difference. Take action to urge decision makers to integrate comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services with HIV/AIDS treatment for women globally.
The Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) S.1752, introduced by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), will take the decision of whether to prosecute sexual assault cases out of the chain of command and give it to independent, objective, trained military prosecutors. Reports of sexual assault in the military increased by a whopping 36% in fiscal year 2012. The vast majority of victims – 89 percent according to the Pentagon itself – do not report sex crimes at all. And one-half of female victims indicate not reporting sexual assault because they do not believe anything will be done by their commanders.
We must act now. Email your Senators to tell them that we must change the current system of handling sexual assault cases. It is simply not working.