Man known for girls’ education activism arrested by Taliban in Afghanistan

A prominent Afghan campaigner for female education has been arrested by the Taliban, even as teenage girls and women remain barred from classrooms. Matiullah Wesa, 30, had often received threats – he has spent years travelling across Afghanistan trying to improve access to education for all children. The Taliban did not say why Mr Wesa is in custody. His house was also raided. His arrest follows the detention of a number of other activists who have been campaigning for women’s education. In February Prof Ismail Mashal, an outspoken critic of the Taliban government’s ban on education for women, was¬†arrested in … Continue reading Man known for girls’ education activism arrested by Taliban in Afghanistan

Five women sue Texas over abortion access

Five women who say they were denied abortions in Texas despite facing life-threatening health risks have sued the state over its abortion ban. Texas bars abortions except for medical emergencies, with doctors facing punishment of up to 99 years in jail. According to the lawsuit, doctors are refusing the procedure even in extreme cases out of fear of prosecution. In a statement, the office of Attorney General Ken Paxton said he would “enforce the laws” of the state. Mr Paxton “is committed to doing everything in his power to protect mothers, families, and unborn children”, the statement said. The Center … Continue reading Five women sue Texas over abortion access

Gunmen kill former Afghan MP Mursal Nabizada at her home in Kabul

A former Afghan MP and her bodyguard have been shot dead at her home in the capital Kabul, Afghan police have said. Mursal Nabizada, 32, was one of the few female MPs who stayed in Kabul after the Taliban seized power in August 2021. Her brother and a second security guard were wounded in the attack on Sunday. Former colleagues praised Ms Nabizada as a “fearless champion for Afghanistan” who turned down a chance to leave the country. Since the Taliban returned to power in 2021, women have been removed from nearly all areas of public life. Kabul police spokesman … Continue reading Gunmen kill former Afghan MP Mursal Nabizada at her home in Kabul

Sad: Taliban bans women from universities amid condemnation

The Taliban has banned women from universities in Afghanistan, sparking international condemnation and despair among young people in the country. The higher education minister made the announcement on Tuesday, saying it would take immediate effect. The ban further restricts women’s education – girls have already been excluded from secondary schools since the Taliban returned last year. The US on Tuesday roundly condemned the Taliban’s actions “in the strongest terms” and said such a move “will come with consequences for the Taliban”. “The Taliban cannot expect to be a legitimate member of the international community until they respect the rights of … Continue reading Sad: Taliban bans women from universities amid condemnation

Update: Indian man who ‘sold’ Muslim women online to be tried

Police in India say they will prosecute a man who allegedly created an app that put up photos of more than 80 Muslim women for “sale” online last year. The announcement came after Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor VK Saxena granted permission to try Aumkareshwar Thakur, 25, in court. The open source app – Sulli Deals – had been hosted on web platform GitHub in July 2021. Mr Thakur had been arrested in January, but was granted bail in March. Mr Thakur, who holds a degree is computer applications, had been arrested from Indore city in the central state of Madhya Pradesh by … Continue reading Update: Indian man who ‘sold’ Muslim women online to be tried

Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin dismiss claim they met due to ‘similar age’

The leaders of New Zealand and Finland have dismissed a journalist’s suggestion that they arranged a meeting because they are “similar in age”. At a press conference in Auckland, Finland’s Sanna Marin and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern said they met because they are prime ministers, not because they are both young, female leaders. Ms Ardern questioned if male leaders would have faced the same question. “Because two women meet is not simply because of their gender,” she said. A male journalist from New Zealand radio network Newstalk ZB asked about the reason for the talks, saying: “A lot of people … Continue reading Jacinda Ardern and Sanna Marin dismiss claim they met due to ‘similar age’

Malta moves to ease EU’s last total ban on abortion

Malta’s government is to propose a change in the law to allow doctors to terminate a pregnancy if a mother’s life or health is at risk. The small Mediterranean state has the only total abortion ban in the EU. Ministers promised to review the law when a US tourist was denied an abortion after she began to miscarry. Maltese Health Minister Chris Fearne said a legal amendment would go before parliament in the coming days to ensure doctors were now legally protected in cases of medical complication that left a mother’s life at risk or her health in grave jeopardy … Continue reading Malta moves to ease EU’s last total ban on abortion

Historic: Slovenia elects lawyer as first female president

Slovenia has elected a lawyer linked to former US first lady Melania Trump as its first-ever female head of state. Natasa Pirc Musar is a journalist and lawyer who ran as an independent with the backing of Slovenia’s centre-left government. She defeated former foreign minister Anze Logar, a veteran of conservative politics. Ms Pirc Musar won almost 54% of the vote, ahead of Mr Logar who got just over 46%, the election commission said. Turnout among the population of around two million was 49.9%, the commission said. “Slovenia has elected a president who believes in the European Union, in the … Continue reading Historic: Slovenia elects lawyer as first female president

Famous Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti poses without headscarf

A top Iranian actress has posted an image of herself on Instagram without a headscarf to signal solidarity with anti-government demonstrations. Taraneh Alidoosti, best known for her role in the Oscar-winning film The Salesman – also held a sign reading “Woman, Life, Freedom” in Kurdish. The slogan has become a common rallying cry among protesters. Demonstrations sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody are entering their seventh week. The 22-year-old died after she was arrested by morality police in Tehran for allegedly violating Iran’s strict rules requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab, or Islamic … Continue reading Famous Iranian actress Taraneh Alidoosti poses without headscarf

India launch an inquiry after men crash women’s college event

Indian police have opened an investigation after a viral video showed some men scaling the walls of a women’s college in capital city Delhi. The incident occurred during an event organised by students of Miranda House college. A student who posted the video alleged that men entered the campus and did “cat-calling, groping, sexist sloganeering and more”. The Delhi police have¬†registered a case against “unknown students”. Other videos shared on social media seemed to show groups of men climbing over a gate in the presence of a security guard and raising slogans on the campus. The incident has sparked outrage … Continue reading India launch an inquiry after men crash women’s college event

High incidence of sexual harassment reported at Australia’s Antarctica research stations

Women working at Australia’s research camps in Antarctica have endured widespread sexual harassment, a report has found. It described evidence of uninvited touching, requests for sex, and a predatory culture which condoned pornography on walls and sexual taunts. Woman also felt they had to hide their menstruation, and ration tampons and pads because they were so limited. Officials have condemned the findings and vowed to bring on cultural change. Australia’s Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said she was “gobsmacked” by the independent review of Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) sites. It was instigated after individuals made complaints. “As a minister, I take … Continue reading High incidence of sexual harassment reported at Australia’s Antarctica research stations

India Supreme Court rules in favour of single women over abortion rights

India’s Supreme Court has said that all women, including those not married, could get an abortion up to 24 weeks. The court ruling came on a plea seeking clarity on the amended 2021 abortion law which listed several groups that did not include single women. The court said all women, regardless of their marital status, were entitled to safe and legal abortion. It said that excluding single women in consensual relationships would be “unconstitutional”. Abortions have been legal in India since 1971, but over the years authorities have made strict rules for who can terminate a pregnancy because of abortions … Continue reading India Supreme Court rules in favour of single women over abortion rights