Afghanistan: Women Dying and Torture Run Amuck

Jeffrey Kaye

Two reports coming out of Afghanistan illustrate the depth of hypocrisy and subterfuge characterizing the US/NATO intervention in that country. One could cite a myriad of such examples, so immoral and wrong is the US war there.

In the first report, a 2009 human rights assessment prepared by Canada’s Foreign Affairs Department, obtained by The Canadian Press and reported at CBC News, revealed a skyrocketing suicide rate among Afghan women:

"Self-immolation is being used by increasing numbers of Afghan women to escape their dire circumstances and women constitute the majority of Afghan suicides," said the report, completed in November 2009….

The director of a burn unit at a hospital in the relatively peaceful province of Herat reported that in 2008 more than 80 women attempted suicide by setting themselves on fire, many of them in the early 20s.

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New Restrictions on Abortion: Protecting Irrational Women Everywhere (in Arizona, Anyway)

Kate Sheese

az_capitolEarlier this month, the Arizona state House voted to impose new restrictions on abortion, including a mandatory 24-hour waiting period during which a woman is required to receive information – in person – regarding the anatomical characteristics of the foetus at its particular stage of development and the apparent abundance of available support options if she decides against having an abortion.

There are a number of problematic assumptions that underlie these kinds of restrictions and these assumptions need to be made apparent in order to have any kind of productive and meaningful discussion on abortion and reproductive rights. These assumptions should be of particular concern to psychologists and psychological researchers who have been given a unique role in the debate over abortion as women’s psychological well-being is consistently invoked on both sides to prove either the necessity or harm of restricting access to abortion.

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The U.S. Ratification of CEDAW: The Natural Next Step Forward for Women’s Rights

Kayleigh Wettstein

cedawFor well over a year, the world has heard the same single word from the Democratic Party: change.

I believe we should thank President Obama for sticking to that promise in one significant area. In just a few short weeks since he has taken office, change not only in health care and economy but also for the better protection of women has occurred.

Undoubtedly, the next step in establishing equality for women across the world is the ratification of the United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

A number of students at Northwestern have already written President Obama and our U.S. Senators, urging them to help in the ratification of this Convention. Being one of the only nations avoiding ratification is disturbing, placing us in the same category as Afghanistan, Iran and Sudan concerning women’s rights. As a start, President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law. By doing so he is finally allowing American women and others who have been unjustly discriminated against in the workplace challenge their employers for the same pay as their coworkers, even if they do not find out about this disparity immediately.

This was a step in the right direction.

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