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Women's rights 'under attack' around the world — Biden

By AFP - Mar 09,2023 - Last updated at Mar 09,2023

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden warned on Wednesday that the rights of women and girls are under attack "around the world," specifically pointing to actions from Afghanistan, Iran and Russia in a statement on International Women's Day.

The March 8 holiday "honours a truth we live every day — that women and girls are essential to success and progress in every aspect of our society", Biden said.

But "despite decades of progress, in far too many places around the world, the rights of women and girls are still under attack", the 80-year-old warned.

He specifically noted the conditions in Afghanistan, where, since taking power in 2021, the Taliban have banned "women and girls from attending school and pursuing employment".

Russia, Biden claimed, has also used "rape as a weapon of war" during its invasion of Ukraine, where "countless stories of women bravely fighting for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Ukrainians" have emerged.

He also accused Iranian leadership of "brutally repressing the voices of women who are courageously standing up for their freedom".

Secretary of State Antony Blinken later announced that the United States would be sanctioning several Iranian security officials and companies as punishment for the "brutal crackdown on protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini."

When discussing the status of women in the United States, Biden did not mention last year’s Supreme Court decision to revoke the nationwide right to abortion or the Republican-led states which have moved to severely restrict access to the procedure.

Just one day earlier, lawmakers in Florida introduced a bill that would follow multiple other states in banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

Instead, in his Wednesday statement Biden touted the “landmark investments” his administration has made to benefit families and working women, as well as the reauthorisation of a law to combat domestic violence.

“We are focused on lifting up the rights of women and girls through every aspect of both our foreign and domestic policy,” he said.

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