MSNBC may be reaching record lows in viewership, but when Wisconsin Democratic State Senator Lena Taylor says something outrageous it still garners some national attention.
On Ed Schultz's weekend show, Sen. Taylor joined fellow panelists to discuss the passage by the Wisconsin state legislature of an ultrasound bill and she outrageously compared her Republican colleagues to the Taliban.
The Republican president of the Wisconsin senate called for order when a vote over a recent bill was interrupted by protests. "We were silenced that day . . . the women in the gallery in the assembly were escorted out," said State Senator Lena Taylor.
Taylor went further, saying: "This is no different than what I experienced when I went to Turkey and heard of what the women in the Middle East are experiencing with the Taliban, trying to silence them for being at the table," she told MSNBC on Saturday.
Perhaps before comparing the treatment of Republican lawmakers to the Taliban, Sen. Taylor should review the treatment of women by the Taliban.
The assault on the status of women began immediately after the Taliban took power in Kabul. The Taliban closed the women's university and forced nearly all women to quit their jobs, closing down an important source of talent and expertise for the country. It restricted access to medical care for women, brutally enforced a restrictive dress code, and limited the ability of women to move about the city.
The Taliban perpetrated egregious acts of violence against women, including rape, abduction, and forced marriage. Some families resorted to sending their daughters to Pakistan or Iran to protect them.
Afghan women living under the Taliban virtually had the world of work closed to them. Forced to quit their jobs as teachers, doctors, nurses, and clerical workers when the Taliban took over, women could work only in very limited circumstances. A tremendous asset was lost to a society that desperately needed trained professionals.
As many as 50,000 women, who had lost husbands and other male relatives during Afghanistan's long civil war, had no source of income. Many were reduced to selling all of their possessions and begging in the streets, or worse, to feed their families.