Women'S Rights

The Takeaway

Afghanistan: A Woman Parliamentarian Looks Ahead

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Dr. Roshanak Wardak has a lot of ideas for repairing Afghanistan. She was a practicing physician for thirty years, then traded her stethoscope for a role as a member of Afghanistan's parliament. As one of 68 women in the lower house, she works for women's rights and to rebuild the beleaguered nation's infrastructure, especially schools and hospitals. She just testified before the U.S. Congress about her vision for her country and her work with

Here is Dr. Wardak and others involved in RethinkAfghanistan


The Takeaway

On the Frontlines of Abortion Clinics' Battles

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Just two weeks after President Obama called for "fair-minded words" to be used in the debate over abortion rights, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down at his church. The accused killer is Scott Roeder, a 51-year-old Kansas resident with a long history of anti-government and anti-abortion actions who was involved with the leaders of the anti-choice movement. It's been ten years since a doctor was killed for performing the procedure, and Dr. Tiller's death is sending shock waves through the tight-knit community. How will doctors act now — and what affect will the killing have on women seeking abortions? To hear reactions from the frontlines, The Takeaway talks to "Jeffrey," a clinic manager in Kansas City, Kansas and to Dr. Bill Harrison, an OB/Gyn in Fayatteville, Arkansas.

The poem Dr. Bill Harrison reads is called "Where are you?," and is by Dr. B. J. Issacson. Read it here:

Where are you?
For over 16 years we have provided
you with choices
Painful choices
I remember—
I sometimes cried with you.
Choices, nevertheless, when you were desperate.

Remember how we protected you privacy
and treated you with dignity and respect
when you
were famous
had been brought to us in shackles
with an armed guard, or
were terrified
that you would run into
one of your students?
I remember each of you.

Continue reading...


The Takeaway

In fight for democracy in Afghanistan, rights of women take back seat

Monday, April 20, 2009

Last week, hundreds of women marched in the streets of Afghanistan to condemn a new law that critics say legalizes marital rape. Outrage from both Afghan women and the international community over the passing of this law has been well-documented and President Karzai is reconsidering signing the law. But what does this indicate about the push to democratize Afghanistan? Are we seeing growing signs that some Afghan women have finally had enough of restrictive laws? The Takeaway talks to Gretchen Peters, former Afghanistan and Pakistan correspondent for ABC news and author of the forthcoming book, Seeds of Terror: How Heroin is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda.
"Many women in Afghanistan itself object to this type of legislation and want to see change in their country."
—ABC News correspondent Gretchen Peters on the protests in Afghanistan

Our partners at the New York Times have footage of the protests in Kabul:

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The Takeaway

This woman will be great: Lynn Sherr on Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Friday, March 27, 2009

In the last five years, Liberia has made the transition from Charles Taylor, a warlord accused of hate crimes, to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman democratically elected to lead an African nation. It's a change that has made Liberia a focal point for the advancement of women in Africa and worldwide. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is now coming to the U.S, and releasing a book about her life, This Child Will Be Great. She's also just been interviewed by Lynn Sherr, special correspondent for World Focus on PBS.

"This is a country that is war-torn. There are bullet holes everywhere. It's hot. It's humid. It's steamy. But I have to tell you it is inspiring because they are really trying to come back."
—Lynn Sherr, special correspondent for World Focus on PBS, on Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

For more, head to

Here is a 2007 tribute to President Sirleaf created when she was honored at the Africare Bishop Walker Dinner and received the 2007 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Award.

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The Takeaway

Fight for your right to buy underwear privately

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Women are prohibited from doing many things in Saudi Arabia, among them driving and being alone with a man they are not related to. How do women there decide what freedoms are worth fighting for? Reem Asaad, a finance lecturer at Dar al-Hikma Women's College in Jeddah joins The Takeaway with the story of an unusual campaign she is leading to defend the right of women to buy their lingerie from other women, because currently only men can sell women's underwear. Ms. Asaad joins us now from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

"This industry is living off the pockets of these women."
— Reem Asaad of Dar al-Hikma Women's College on the lingerie industry in Saudi Arabia

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