Bill to Support Afghan Women May be Reintroduced - Report

A member of the U.S. House of Representatives is reportedly gearing up to reintroduce a reform proposal that would make funding available to Afghan institutions working on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

The proposal, dubbed the “Afghan Women Empowerment Act,” was introduced in April 2009 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) but was not passed and was cleared from Congressional records. All proposed bills and resolutions that were not passed in a session of Congress are cleared from the books at the end of that session.

Maloney, however, said she does not intend to give up on what she describes as an obligation of the United States “to ensure that women and girls have the opportunist that they were denied under the Taliban,” IPS News reports.

The proposal seeks to provide $45 million to the Afghan president to be distributed to the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs ($5 million), the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission ($10 million) and various grassroots women-led organizations ($30 million).

“The funding that would be made available under this bill would be directed toward important needs including medical care, education, vocational training, legal assistance, protection against trafficking, and civil participation,” Maloney told IPS.

Meantime, some observers have argued that while funding is necessary, it would not help as long as fighting continues in Afghanistan.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.