Bombing in Kabul Sparks Women-Led Protests
A suicide attack at the Kaaj education center in Kabul left fifty-three dead, including forty-six girls and women, according to the United Nations. The private school predominantly serves Hazara students, a minority Shia sect that has been frequently persecuted by the Islamic State and the Taliban. Young women took to the streets over the weekend to call for justice, defying the Taliban’s ban on protesting. Protestors chanted, "Security is our right! Education is our right! Stop genocide!" State security forces responded with violence, including locking female students in their dormitories to prevent them from joining protests. In the Dasht-e-Barchi neighborhood where the bombing took place, families of two female victims hung a banner in their honor. “Both dreamed of studying engineering to build, but their dreams remained unfulfilled,” it read.
Young Women on the Front Lines in Iran Protests
Protests in Iran have stretched into their third week with young women at the helm. In recent days, the average age of detained protestors has been fifteen-years-old. The death of sixteen-year-old protestor Nika Shakarami, who activists believe died in detention, has become another rallying point. Girls in secondary schools are removing and burning their headscarves, chanting “death to the dictator,” and stomping on pictures of regime leaders. Security forces cornered students at Tehran’s elite Sharif University after they refused to attend classes. Reports indicate that students were shot with paintballs and rubber bullets, and that at least fifty students were detained. Students at Shahid Beheshti University chanted, “Don’t call it a protest, it’s a revolution now.” These students, most born after the 1979 Iranian revolution, have never known Iran without the Islamic Republic.
Report Finds “Systemic” Abuse in U.S. Women’s Soccer
On Monday, a report was released detailing deep-rooted, systemic abuse in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the top women’s soccer league in the United States. It identified widespread sexual misconduct, verbal and emotional abuse, and warned that abuse also exists in youth soccer. The report resulted from an independent investigation initiated in response to hundreds of players demanding change following allegations of sexual abuse and harassment. It found that many owners, as well as NWSL and U.S. Soccer officials, were aware of the abuse but did little to address the problem. Instead, coaches found to be abusing players were often moved from team to team with no public acknowledgment of their behavior. “Abuse in the N.W.S.L. is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players,” said Sally Q. Yates, the lead investigator and former acting U.S. Attorney General.
WHO Announces Survivor-Focused Care Initiative
The World Health Organization (WHO) is bolstering its response to gender-based violence in Ukraine to address staggering findings of rampant conflict-related sexual violence in Russia’s war against Ukraine. The initiative is aimed at improving the ability of healthcare workers and facilities to provide survivor-centered care. Training has been administered to over sixty healthcare workers to help them recognize the signs of sexual violence, deliver care—including psychological support—and provide appropriate social and legal referrals. “The health sector plays a critical role in responding to gender-based violence, including physical, sexual and emotional violence, all of which can have serious consequences for physical, psychological and reproductive health,” said Dr Jarno Habicht, WHO representative in Ukraine.
Caroline Kapp is a research associate working with the Women and Foreign Policy program at the Council on Foreign Relations.