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News and Views: Resistance

MEET A DEFENDER: DR ISATOU TOURAY

March 21, 2014

An unwavering commitment to ‘drop the knife’ in The Gambia

WHRDIC supports many women human rights defenders who fight for women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights, including the right to be free from female genital mutilation (FGM).

Despite being banned by the United Nations, this harmful practice continues to affect over 100 million women worldwide.

Egypt protests: Nearly 100 women sexually assaulted, raped in Cairo

July 3, 2013

Shocking reports have emerged from anti-harassment factions of nearly 100 women having fallen victim to “rampant” sexual assaults and in some instances being raped by mobs in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, over four days of Egyptian protests against Islamist President Mohamed Morsi.

Pakistan: Opponents of girls’ right to education violate Islam, ambassador tells United Nations

March 7, 2013

UNITED NATIONS: “Those who deny women and girls their right to education, violate Islam,” Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Masood Khan told an audience at the world body on Monday. He said the religion was for all men and women without discrimination.

He observed that the terrorist attack on Malala Yousufzai showed that “the forces of darkness” were afraid of the education that gave courage to girls to stand up for their rights.

‘Prostitutes’: Saudi cleric insults recently-appointed female Shura members

February 24, 2013

A controversial Saudi cleric used Twitter to publicly insult the recently-appointed female members of the Shura Council.

Afghanistan: Women march against violence

February 14, 2013

KABUL, Afghanistan — Dozens of Afghan activists and supporters marked Valentine’s Day by marching in Kabul on Thursday to denounce violence against women amid reports that domestic abuse is on the rise.

Afghan women have made great strides in education and official circles since the days under Taliban rule, when they had to wear all-encompassing burqas and were not allowed to go to school or leave their homes without a male relative as an escort. But they still face widespread domestic violence, forced marriages and other problems.

Double Bind: tied up in knots on the left

February 5, 2013

Instead of sanitizing the Muslim right as a way of fighting racism in the North, Meredith Tax argues that the left should develop a strategy of solidarity with democrats, trade unionists, religious and sexual minorities, and feminists struggling in the Global South against both neo-liberalism and fundamentalism.

 

Afghanistan: Female artist beats the odds to invigorate Kandahar’s art scene

February 2, 2013

Charred bodies lie scattered against blood-stained walls and debris covers the ground. The unusual thing in this gruesome scene is that the “blood” is red paint, and part of an art installation.

It’s a work by 23-year-old Afghan artist Malina Suliman. She risks her life, Suliman says, sometimes working by flashlight after dark, to create art in southern Kandahar province, still one of the most dangerous areas in the country.

Iraqi Women Seek a New Liberation

January 16, 2013

An interview with Hanaa Edwar, general secretary of Iraqi Al Amal Association and head of the Iraqi Women Network.

LGBT Uganda Fights Back: The Case Against Scott Lively

January 7, 2013

The U.S. evangelist and anti-gay crusader's trial begins January 7 in Massachusetts. Lively is being sued for crimes against humanity by the organization Sexual Minorities of Uganda, represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR).

India: Teenager invents anti-molestation device for women

January 20, 2012

A young inventor, Manu Chopra, may soon change the way women travel in the country. He has invented an anti-molestation device for women, which can be worn as a wrist watch.

Six Charged With Murder in India as Rape Victim Dies

December 29, 2012

As protests grew in India on Saturday over the death of a young woman who was raped in New Delhi this month by several men in a moving bus, the police said six men accused of attacking her had been charged with murder.

The Politics of Killing Women in Colonized Contexts

December 17, 2012

As therapists, activists, and scholars who have worked with abused women, and conducted social anthropological studies on the killing of women in Palestinian society, we decided to respond to the article by Lila Abu-Lughod and Maya Mikdashi, “Tradition and the Anti-Politics Machine: DAM Seduced by the ‘Honor Crime.’” They reiterate—as our own interventions, activism, and studies have found—that the killing of women cannot be divorced from the realm of the political.

Women’s rights and the rule of law: education and implementation

December 5, 2012

Legislative victories are important in changing society to eradicate injustices like forced child marriage, but such change is delivered because of and not without daring, challenging, transformative processes of education and action whether led by state, religious, familiar or civic actors. Trusting women, and trusting ourselves, can often be a moment of defiance

Kenya: Women Create Their Own 'Geek Culture'

December 24, 2012

When a collective of female computer programmers in Kenya needed a name for their ladies-only club, they took their inspiration from the Japanese cult film Akira.

"So akira is a Japanese word. It means energy and intelligence. And we are energetic and intelligent chicks," says Judith Owigar, the president of Akirachix.

USA: SPLC Files Groundbreaking Lawsuit Accusing Conversion Therapy Organization Of Fraud

November 27, 2012

The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a first-of-its-kind lawsuit today accusing a New Jersey organization of consumer fraud for offering conversion therapy services – a dangerous and discredited practice that claims to convert people from gay to straight.

WLUML share stories at the '16 Days Campaign'

December 10, 2012

n order to shine a spotlight on the work of activists worldwide. Every day, for sixteen days, WLUML shared short stories of and about networkers, brave women and girls who against all odds, survive and carry on with the struggle for social justice and equality.

Malian Women Demand Voice In Negotiations

December 14, 2012

As Mali pursues peace talks and also prepares for war, Malian women insist they should be at the table for both. They argue women are the primary victims of rebel and terrorist groups occupying the north.

Nigeria: The Sexual Minority And Legislative Zealotry

December 23, 2012

LET us go back a little, nearly a year ago, to that earlier attempt to interfere in, and legislate on sexual conduct between consenting adults. Profiting from that experience, I would like to caution – yet again - that it is high time we learnt to ignore what we conveniently designate and react to as ‘foreign interference’.  By now, we should be able to restrict ourselves to the a priori  position that, as rational beings, we make pronouncements on choices of ethical directions from our own collective and/or majority will, independent of what is described as ‘external dictation’.

UK: Forced marriage phone app launched to help youngsters

December 18, 2012

A new smartphone app to help young people who may be at risk of being forced into marriage has been launched by a London charity.

It has been designed by the Metropolitan Police together with the Freedom Charity, which works to prevent honour-related violence.

The Freedom app provides young victims with essential access to help and all the information they may need on the issue at the touch of a button.

UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Circumcision

December 20, 2012

The U.N. General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution Thursday calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation, a centuries-old practice stemming from the belief that circumcising girls controls women's sexuality and enhances fertility.

It has also been linked to religious and cultural practices, although Muslim and Christian leaders have spoken out against it.

Although not legally binding, General Assembly resolutions reflect international concerns and carry moral and political weight.

Islamic feminism: fighting discrimination, inspired by faith

November 29, 2012

Islamic feminists embrace their faith, culture and tradition while fiercely advocating for legislative reforms and interpretations that reflect a more modern understanding of women's role in society.

Activism, fundraising and security online: facets of the feminist cyborg

December 4, 2012

On December 3 and 5, a webinar on ‘Feminist Cyborgs: Activism, Fundraising and Security Online’ took place, hosted by the African Feminist Forum (AFF) and the Association for Progressive Communications (APC).

"The Malala Effect" - Statement by UNHCHR on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

November 23, 2012

“Ensuring women’s and girls’ rights, eliminating discrimination and achieving gender equality lie at the heart of the international human rights system, starting with article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states unequivocally: ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights…’

Feminist voices in Islam: promise and potential

November 19, 2012

By Ziba Mir Hosseini

Religion is back in public space, and the thesis that modernization means the privatization of religion has been seriously questioned. Some religious and feminist dogmas need re-examination. What do ‘secular’ or ‘religious’ or ‘feminist’ mean in today’s contexts?

Islam and feminism are often perceived and portrayed as incompatible. There is a plethora of literature and a host of arguments, both in the media and in academia, to show this is the case.

Honneur Aux Dissidents

October 16, 2012

Au cours de ces dernières semaines, et dans plusieurs pays, des groupes de citoyens ont ouvertement pris position contre les fondamentalistes musulmans, y compris leurs groupes armés.

Honour the Dissenters

October 16, 2012

In the past few weeks, in several countries, groups of citizens have openly taken a stand against Muslim fundamentalists, including armed ones.

Saudi Arabia: Morality Policy New Guidelines to Not Harass Women

October 26, 2012

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—The cleric who heads the Saudi morality police said he is taking steps to rein in the force, the latest move by authorities aimed at improving the position of women in Saudi society amid a public outcry in social media.

Sheik Abdulatif al-Sheikh, appointed by King Abdullah in January to head the religious police, told The Wall Street Journal that he plans to distribute guidelines to all members of his force making clear that they don't have the power to arrest or interrogate Saudi citizens, or to attend trials.

Facebook tente de faire taire la voix du soulèvement des femmes dans le monde Arabe

November 7, 2012

7 Novembre, 2012 - Le matin du 7 Novembre 2012, les 5 admins de la page “The Uprising of Women in the Arab World” se connectent à Facebook pour découvrir que le compte de l’une a été bloqué pour 30 jours, de l’autre pour 3 jours, de 2 autres pour 24 heures et enfin la dernière reçoit un avertissement comme quoi son compte sera bloqué de même.

 

Facebook attempts to shut down the voice of The Uprising of Women in the Arab World

November 7, 2012

On the morning of November 7, 2012, the 5 admins of The Uprising of Women in the Arab World log into Facebook, to find out that one’s account has been blocked for 30 days, another for 3 days, 2 others for 24 hours, and 1 other received a warning notification.

 

UPR of Pakistan: ongoing concerns include violence against women and blasphemy laws

October 31, 2012

Pakistan’s second review under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) took place on the 30 October 2012, and was attended by a large delegation led by Ms Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and including the Advisor on Human Rights and the Advisor on Minorities.

 

South Sudan: Contraceptives give women the right to choose

November 14, 2012

JUBA - Cut off from development by five decades of civil war, South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world and high levels of infant mortality and morbidity. Large families struggle to get by in the war-ravaged new nation.

With the help of aid agencies providing family planning services to bolster a fledgling healthcare system, women and families are starting to choose life for the first time.

Gambia: Justice prevails in a two year-long judicial harassment case against two women human rights defenders

November 15, 2012

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), welcomes the vindication of two women humanrights defenders in The Gambia following two years of judicial harassment.

Rwanda: Preventing Violence Against Women

October 22, 2012

A multi-country study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that up to 71 percent of women aged 15 to 49 reported physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Violence against women commonly becomes a vicious cycle in families thus creating generational dysfunction and disease. The complete social framework of society is at risk when we let violence happen in our homes.

Northern Africa: Democracy in Development

October 26, 2012

Women have played an important role in spurring reform throughout the Middle East and North Africa. But as elections take place and constitutions are drafted, their rights are at risk of being sidelined.

India: Violence Against Women Surging in India

October 19, 2012

As gender-based violence across India becomes more frequent, and more savage, increasing numbers of women are speaking out against the cruelty.

On Oct. 6, a 14-year-old girl from the Sacha Khera village in the Jind district of northern India’s Haryana state set herself on fire after a brutal gang rape.

In her statement to the police, the girl claimed that two male youngsters dragged her into a house, while the sister-in-law of one of the culprits stood guard on the terrace.

Egypt: Battle Harassment on the Streets

September 20, 2012

Women's groups call on President Morsy to help combat increasing incidents of sexual harassment against women.

Egyptian woman protests in Cairo

Afghanistan: Dickinson College student works to end violence against women in Afghanistan

September 25, 2012

It’s hard to listen to Noorjahan Akbar.

Her English — which is one of the handful of languages she speaks fluently — is not the problem. The 21-year-old crafts eloquent sentences. Her voice rises and dips with emotion as she describes a passionate commitment to end physical abuse and economic oppression of her sister Afghanis.

No, it is the barriers Akbar confronts in seeking her goals that cause a listener to wince.

Her goals are simple to understand, at least in the Western world.

 

Lebanon: Media coverage of child sexual abuse is on the rise

September 30, 2012

Stories about child sexual abuse, and to a lesser degree sexual harassment of women in workplace, are finding their ways more and more into the Lebanese media.

The shocking story last June of the school teacher who was accused of sexually harassing 11 female students - aged between six and eight - in one of the most prestigious Catholic schools in Mount Lebanon, could have been the main driver behind the widening coverage on this subject.

In Lebanon, like in most Middle Eastern societies, sexual harassment is a taboo. 

Afghanistan: Life under the burqa inspired struggle for democracy

September 10, 2012

Living conditions have improved in Afghanistan, especially for women. But many wonder what will happen when NATO troops leave in 2014. That year, Afghans also vote for their next president - who just might be a woman.

Under the Taliban, she dreamed of being out in the streets of Kabul without a burqa.

Life then was reduced to "looking at the huge world from the small window - that's how life was for a woman," Fawzia Koofi, a leading Afghan women's rights champion and lawmaker told Deutsche Welle.

Egypt: Woman bids for leadership of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Islamist party

October 6, 2012

For the first time, a woman is running for the leadership of the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's most powerful Islamist group. Sabah el-Saqari says she wants to increase female participation in politics and even defends a woman's right to run for president, a stance her organization rejects.

But liberals who fear Islamist rule will set back women's rights say her candidacy is just an attempt by the Brotherhood to improve its image.

Afghanistan: Fear doesn't keep Afghan girls away from schools

September 18, 2012

Gaining an education is still difficult for women in Afghanistan. The greatest opponent is fear. Cases of death threats, poisoning, acid attacks, and bombings by extremists groups, such as the Taliban, still continue. It is enough that any person would want to remain home. Threats from home are also as affective in keeping girls from school. However, there has been a recent change that shows women fighting to get their education.

Egypt: Constitution draft article raises fears for women's rights

September 23, 2012

Following publication of Article 36 of the 'Rights and Duties' section of Egypt's draft constitution, a number of political parties, coalitions and public figures have issued a joint statement expressing their "deep concern" for the draft article's wording, which, they say, could compromise women's historical rights.

Libya: Libyans 'exploiting Syrian women' with marriage offers

September 20, 2012

Hard living conditions for Syrian refugees in Libya are forcing some families to marry off their daughters to wealthy local men. Syrians say Libyans often knock at their doors asking for especially underage girls, as BBC Arabic's Ahmed Maher reports from Benghazi.

Ahmed Atrash is among hundreds of Syrian refugees in the country's second largest city, Benghazi. He and his family have fled the raging war back home.

Egypt: Women Insist on their Rights

September 21, 2012

Egypt's women played a crucial role in the country's 'Arab Spring' revolution. But, in the post-Mubarak era, they are finding that they have to keep fighting for their rights.

Syria: International inaction provokes Syrian women to hunger strike

October 15, 2012

Coming out of the Sadat Metro station exit to the Arab League building, you will witness an interesting scene; the Syrian Revolution tent. With its signs, labels, flags and horrifying pictures of the dead and injured children, you would think that people would be packed inside inquiring about how to help the situation in Syria. Shockingly, the tent is completely empty except for three young men sitting ready for someone inquisitive enough to ask about anything.

Libya: The Fight For Women’s Rights Goes On

September 4, 2012

Following the Libyan revolution, in which women played a crucial part, and the participation of large numbers of female citizens in the July 2012 elections, Libyan women are now looking forward to a partnership and full equality with their male counterparts."Libyan women were instrumental in the country choosing a liberal and progressive government in the recent elections as many of them voted for the winning National Forces Alliance (NFA) of Mahmoud Jibril," said Nadine Nasrat, from the Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA).

Israel: Israeli Women Fight to Be Seen and Heard

September 6, 2012

Some of Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jewish women say they have a problem: their community, which makes up about 10 percent of the Israeli population, wants to pretend they don't exist. So Kolech, the first Orthodox Jewish feminist organization in Israel, is filing Israel's first-ever gender segregation class-action lawsuit. Mazel!

Somalia: a call for sisterhood

September 4, 2012

In the run up to next week's Presidential election in Somalia, Zainab M. Hassan writes an open letter to new women parliamentarians asking them to demonstrate collective leadership in their choice of someone to lead a ruined country.

Egypt: The shape of the second republic

August 21, 2012

Most Egyptians will come to remember 13 August 2012 as more than just another long hot day of the holy month of Ramadan. Just a few hours before sunset when millions waited eagerly to break their fast, news broke out of a major development in the ongoing power struggle between two main power houses: the generals representing the country's military past, and the political faction seeking to control its future.

Saudi Arabia: Breakthrough feature film "Wadjda" narrates the story of a 10 year old girl breaking social barriers

October 11, 2012

“Wadjda” is not only one of the first films to come out of Saudi Arabia, even more significantly it is the first feature written and directed by a Saudi Arabian woman, the talented Haifaa Al Mansour.
Saudi Arabia’s first female director has made her debut at the Venice film festival, exploring the limitations placed on women in the conservative Islamic kingdom through the tale of a strong-willed 10-year-old girl living in Riyadh.

UN: First International Day of the Girl Child - 11 October 2012

October 11, 2012
Forced Child Marriage, Slavery Like Reality in Every Region of the World
Joint Statement* by a group of UN human rights experts to mark the first International Day of the Girl Child, Thursday 11 October 2012

 

Pakistan: Malala Yousafzai's surgery successful

October 11, 2012

CNN Interview with Malala Yousafzai in 2011

Surgeons in Pakistan say they have removed a bullet from a 14-year-old girl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen in the Swat Valley.

Malala Yousafzai, a campaigner for girls' rights, is reported to be in a stable condition after the operation.

Pakistan: Malala Yousafzai, 14 year old activist on girls education, shot in Swat

October 9, 2012

Gunmen have wounded a 14-year-old rights activist who has campaigned for girls' education in the Swat Valley in north-west Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai was attacked on her way home from school in Mingora, the region's main town.

She came to public attention in 2009 by writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under Taliban militants who had taken control of the valley.

A Pakistani Taliban spokesman told the BBC they carried out the attack.

Returning to school after escaping child marriage

October 10, 2012

In recent years, the international community has begun to place increased attention on girls’ education generating a better understanding of the underlying causes and consequences of the disparities, and an international consensus on the need to address the issue. Much has been done to create awareness and demonstrate that change is not only necessary but also possible.

Palestine: World's youngest mayor goes back to school

September 20, 2012

Fifteen-year-old Palestinian girl served as mayor of Allar in West Bank after town leaders gave their jobs to teenagers.

Egypt: New hotline to report sexual harassment

September 18, 2012

Egypt's National Council for Women announced on Tuesday a new hotline dedicated to receiving reports of sexual harassment: 08008883888.

The council issued a statement on their Facebook page stating that they are working with the interior ministry to swiftly reinforce the sexual harassment law on thugs and offenders.

Ambassador Mervat Talawy, head of the council, stressed on the importance of reinforcing the law, considering the council a representation of all women in Egypt and pointing to its keenness to preserve the dignity of women.

Congolese women stitching community back together

September 5, 2012

As documented in a new report from the Enough Project, which ranks electronics firms on their progress in cleaning up their supply chains of conflict minerals, there are glimmers of hope for eastern Congo despite ongoing violence there, which is driven partly by conflict minerals.

Palestine: All-female party to run in elections

September 16, 2012

A new group running for municipal elections in Hebron is offering residents an alternative to politics as usual in the conservative West Bank city: Women at the helm, instead of men.

The all-female list, which is called “By Participating, We Can,” is gearing up for next month’s vote with a campaign that aims both to win at the polls and to convince voters that women can lead just as well as men.

Afghanistan: A New Powerpoint

September 7, 2012

Bearing the name of Sahar Gul, a young girl subjected to unspeakable horrors by her own relatives, a café in Kabul might not be expected to be a place of hope and calm. Yet Afghanistan’s first women-only internet centre launches a new forum for empowerment of half the population.

Afghanistan: End trend of Women Jailed for ‘Running Away’

September 18, 2012

(Kabul) – High-level Afghan government officials have for the first time publicly confirmed that it is not a criminal offense for women and girls to “run away” from home, Human Rights Watch said today. The officials also confirmed fleeing violence or running away was not a basis for women’s detention or prosecution.

Yemen: Women Athletes Strive to Make it

August 27, 2012

Although obstacles and restrictions are many, Yemeni woman can now barely enter the sports world after sports for Yemenis were exclusive to men.

There are multiple recent female sports achievements both locally and internationally. However, these achievements remain limited due to social attitudes—particularly in rural areas—toward women’s participation in athletics.

In this year’s Olympics, held in London, Yemen’s Fatima Al-Dahman, 19, participated in the 100 meter sprint race.

TOGO: Women Push Sex Strike to Unseat President

August 26, 2012

The female wing of a civil rights group is urging women in Togo to stage a week-long sex strike to demand the resignation of the country's president.

Women are being asked to start withholding sex from their husbands or partners as of Monday, said Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the women's wing of the group Let's Save Togo. She said the strike will put pressure on Togo's men to take action against President Faure Gnassingbe.

Iran: Attempts to weaken feminist movement

August 23, 2012

Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi issued a letter to the United Nations Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet, last Friday calling for an investigation into women’s rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prompted by recent bans on women’s education, the letter outlines an increasingly deteriorating situation for women’s rights and women’s rights defenders in Iran.

Global: My Story: Standing Up

August 29, 2012

We've all faced situations that beg us to take a stand, to take a risk for a long range reward. World Pulse asked grassroots women leaders to write about their "Standing Up" moments. What emerged is a testament to the rising leadership of women across the world.

Rabia

Sudan: Free Layla Ibrahim Issa! Stop Stoning!

August 18, 2012

Dear friends, 

Layla’s life is still in danger. We need you to take action to save her.

Layla Ibrahim Issa is a 23-year old mother who was sentenced to death by stoning by the Mayo court in Khartoum, Sudan. We put out an action alert to support Layla earlier this month, and we extend our thanks to those of you who raised their voices; but Layla is still in prison with her 6-month old child. 

The authorities have not yet responded to our demands to immediately repeal the verdict, and stop the planned execution. 

Egypt: Challenging a Women's place through Street Art

August 9, 2012

Merna Thomas, a twenty-four-year-old activist, heads out for another day of revolution. Armed with brushes and small buckets of paint, her goal today is not the overthrow of a regime, but something perhaps even more daring: to change Egyptian attitudes toward women. On the side of a downtown building, she puts her graffiti skills to work with an illustration of Samira Ibrahim—hailed for bravely speaking out after becoming one of the victims of the infamous virginity tests that Egyptian security forces performed on detained female protesters in 2011. Passersby mumble streams of complaints.

Afghanistan: One woman's determination to educate young girls despite acid attacks and poison

August 2, 2012

Terrorists will stop at nothing to keep Afghan girls from receiving an education.

"People are crazy," said Razia Jan, founder of a girls' school outside Kabul. "The day we opened the school, (on) the other side of town, they threw hand grenades in a girls' school, and 100 girls were killed.

Syria: 5 ways the Syrians resist creatively

July 7, 2012

On July 3, Human Rights Watch released a report exposing at least 27 Syrian torture centers.

Colombia Tightening Laws Against Acid Attacks

July 11, 2012

Nobody will ever know if Jhon Jairo Echenique decided to take his own life out of remorse, fear or mental illness. But the suicide followed his arrest for the stabbing and burning with acid of his 19-year-old former girlfriend Angélica Gutiérrez.

A law student, Gutiérrez was attacked at home. Neighbours took her to hospital where she died. Echenique, the prime suspect, was arrested in the Caribbean city of Cartagena de Indias in northern Colombia. Hours later, he used his shirt to hang himself in his cell.

لیلا موری کارشناس مسائل زنان و روزنامه نگار است

July 24, 2012

اگرچه این روزها بحث مخالفت با حجاب اجباری در فضای مجازی داغ است و کمپینهای مختلف سایبری با انتشار عکسها، مصاحبه ها و شرح احوالات زنان و مردان ایرانی در خصوص حجاب اجباری سعی در نقد و اعتراض به سیاستهای ۳۳ساله جمهوری اسلامی در خصوص تحمیل یک نوع پوشش خاص و متحد الشکل به زنان ایرانی دارند. ولی بحث حجاب اگر از منظر بین المللی آن نیز مورد توجه قرار گیرد شاید برخورد با مسئله حجاب و اعتراض به اجباری بودن آن را قابل تاملتر کند.

Leila Mouri -- Compulsory Hijab in Iran: There Is No Room for Appeasement

July 24, 2012

Depriving women of their basic rights is not a new subject. But when these rights are ignored by social activists in the name of culture or religion we must be alarmed. Now is the time to stop justifying mandatory hijab in the name of religion, nation, country, or culture. It is time to remind ourselves, as women and human rights activists, that when it comes to women's rights, there is no room for appeasement.

Sudan: The new Kandakas and Sudanese women at the frontline of the revolution

July 27, 2012

Some 2,000 years ago, during the Nubian period, North Sudan was ruled by women, including Queen Kandaka, famous for her strength. Today, a new generation of Kandakas is taking back the streets and fighting at the frontline of the revolution. 


السودان: ينبغي وضع حد لعقوبة الرجم، وإصلاح القانون الجنائي

July 30, 2012

 

تدين منظمة العفو الدولية الحكم بالرجم حتى الموت الذي صدر بحق ليلى إبراهيم عيسى جمول، وتدعو الحكومة السودانية إلى وقف تنفيذ الحكم وإصلاح قانونها الجنائي بلا تأخير، بهدف إلغاء عقوبة الإعدام إلغاءً تاماً.

Sudan: End stoning, reform the criminal law

July 30, 2012

Amnesty International condemns the sentencing of Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul to death by stoning and calls on the Sudanese government to halt the execution and to reform its criminal law without delay, with the aim to abolish corporal punishment.

Layla Ibrahim Issa Jumul, a 23-year old Sudanese woman, was sentenced to death by stoning for adultery on 10 July 2012 by the Criminal Court of Mayo, in Khartoum, under Article 146 of Sudan’s 1991 Criminal Code.

Lebanon: Activists slam government inaction over women’s rights

July 17, 2012

Women’s rights campaigners voiced Monday their frustration over the government’s inaction over key issues, namely equal citizenship rights and protection from domestic violence. At a news conference held jointly by the “My Nationality is a Right for Me and My Family” and the “National Alliance for Legalizing the Protection of Women from Family Violence” campaigns, organizers spoke of what they called the systematic neglect of citizens’ rights.

Morocco: Moroccan women build land rights movement

July 18, 2012

RABAT, Morocco — When Rkia Bellot’s family sold their communal land in 2004, each of her eight brothers received a share of the proceeds. But Bellot, a single woman, got nothing.

That’s because Bellot’s family land was part of the 37 million acres in Morocco governed by the orf, or tribal law. When this type of family land is sold, the unmarried or widowed women in the family, collectively called the Soulaliyate, often become destitute.

Russia: Protestor shows support for feminist punk band facing 7-years in prison for dissenting views on religion

July 13, 2012

A 22-year old woman spent almost an hour on a cross outside a central St. Petersburg church in protest against the prosecution of Pussy Riot, the punk band being tried over an anti-Putin performance inside Moscow's main cathedral.

Afghan Women & Poetry as Resistance

April 27, 2012

In a private house in a quiet university neighborhood of Kabul, Ogai Amail waited for the phone to ring. Through a plate-glass window, she watched the sinking sun turn the courtyard the color of eggplant. The electricity wasn’t working and the room was unheated, a few floor cushions the only furnishings. Amail tucked her bare feet underneath her and pulled up the collar of her puffy black coat. Her dark hair was tied in a ponytail, and her eyelids were coated in metallic blue powder. In the green glare of the mobile phone’s screen, her face looked wan and worried.

UN: Harmful Traditional Practices - statement by Rashida Manjoo, UNSRVAW

June 27, 2012

Throughout the world, there are practices that are violent towards women and girls and harmful to their well-being overall. Young girls are circumcised, bound by severe dress codes, denied property rights or killed for the sake of honour in the family. Although these and other practices constitute a form of violence, they have often avoided national and international scrutiny because they are seen as traditional practices that deserve tolerance and respect. This highlights how the universality of human rights is often denied when it comes to the rights of women and girls, and how cultural relativism can be wrongly used to allow for inhumane and discriminatory practices against women.

South Africa: Bride abductions 'a distortion' of South Africa's culture

July 12, 2012

When cows are traded for an unwilling bride, rural Zulu women lose their freedom, and more. Called thwala, the practice is often abused, activists say.

 NORTHWEST OF HOWICK, South Africa —

— She was named Democracy in Zulu, at a time when her country had none.

A few years later, the constitution born of the historic South African election that ended apartheid made Nonkululeko "free" and "equal." But the eight cows paid for her as a bride price mean that she is neither.

Afghanistan: Execution of Afghan Woman Causes Outraged Activists to Mobilize

July 11, 2012

Women’s rights activists marched in Kabul to protest the videotaped execution of a young woman, apparently by the Taliban.

Protesters say the killing shows the Taliban has not changed—and is a harbinger of what’s to come if they return to power.

Sudan: Media and bloggers censored as protests spread across Sudan

July 2, 2012

On 17 June, when a number of female students led a peaceful protest marching from the female dormitories to the male ones at the University of Khartoum, they did not know that they would inspire protests across the country. Many inside Sudan are calling the ongoing protests an “Intifada” —  an Arabic word for  rebellion or resistance — and there is much truth in that.

Sudan: A Story of the Lives Affected When One Country Became Two

July 9, 2012

On 9 July 2011, when South Sudan became an independent country, Rose Michael, a South Sudanese woman who had lived most of her life in Khartoum, decided to stay in the city where she had a great job and owned a house. But in April 2012, Rose had to leave for Juba after her employer let her go. She planned to return to Khartoum. But then she lost her Sudanese passport and now she can't return because the war has escalated and flights are cancelled.

Lebanon: What the World Does Not Know about Us

June 20, 2012

In 2010, the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism made a series of ads to encourage people to come to Lebanon as tourists. One of these ads shows a man remembering his time in Lebanon with flashbacks of girls wearing bikinis, dancing and enjoying summer, the beach, and the partying. I did not start by telling you this small story at random— I am telling it to make a point.

UN: Stop Stoning Globally - Statement by Special Rapporteur on Independence of Judges and Lawyers

June 26, 2012

Remarks by United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers – Gabriela Knaul -- at the June 26, 2012 panel "Stop Stoning Globally" at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland.

UN: Stop Stoning Globally - opening remarks by UNSRVAW Rashida Manjoo

May 26, 2012

At the outset, I would like to thank the Worldwide Organization for Women, Justice for Iran and the Women’s UN Report Network, for inviting me to address this panel on the stoning of women. This event is very timely as this year I devoted my annual thematic report to the issue of gender related killings of women, among which death by stoning is a severe and cruel manifestation.

UN: Sierra Leone’s health minister to serve as UN envoy on sexual violence in conflict

June 22, 2012

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Zainab Hawa Bangura, currently the Minister of Health and Sanitation of Sierra Leone, as his new Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

She will replace Margot Wallström, a Swedish politician with a long history of defending women’s rights, who had served in the position since it was created two years ago.

Pakistan: Policy Dialogue on "Monitoring Implementation of MDG5 in Pakistan"

June 21, 2012

Thursday, 21st June 2012, Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre organized a Punjab provincial Policy Dialogue on Monitoring Implementation of Millennium Development Goal 5 in Pakistan. The event was attended by Begum Zakia Shahnawaz, Advisor to Chief Minister on Women Development; MPA Rai Aslam Khan Kharal, Chairman Standing Committee on Population; Dr. Nisar Ahmed Cheema, Director General Health; Dr. Akhter Rasheed, Provincial Coordinator Lady Health Worker Programme; Dr.

International: Fatou Bensouda takes Reigns as New Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court

June 14, 2012

(Brussels) - The swearing in of the new International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, comes at a time when expectations for international justice are growing, Human Rights Watch said today. Bensouda will be sworn into office on June 15, 2012, as the current prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, reaches the end of his nine-year term.

Lebanon: Boys do cry

June 21, 2012

“Feeling stressed, agitated, over the edge?” These are the slogans you read on billboards across the country. These expressions aren’t new to Lebanon’s urban dictionary – however it may be the first time they are being used constructively. The banners depict men mostly from the working class in aggravating circumstances. One billboard shows a taxi driver, raising his arm in disdain at the traffic (or so it seems), the slogan heading the picture reads: “feeling like you’ve reached the end of your line? Don’t vent out your anger on others, or your family. Call us, we are ready to listen.”

Arab states: Plan to Increase Judges' Education on Women's Rights

June 24, 2012

Plans are underway to educate more Bahraini and Arab judges on women's social and humanitarian rights.

Arab Women Organisation (AWO) director-general Dr Wadooda Badran said efforts were being made to bridge the gap between realising women's rights and enforcing them in the Arab world.

They include amending legislation, conducting awareness campaigns, sponsoring studies, speaking to young students and possibly setting up a women's studies research centre in the region.

Sudan: Activists face rape, one fights back

June 14, 2012

In many regards, Safiya Ishaq is an unremarkable 25-year-old. She is excellent at braiding hair but terrible at being on time. She studied fine arts at Khartoum University in Sudan. Not unusual for a student, Ishaq became involved with politics. She joined Girifna, a pro-democracy movement formed in 2009 on the eve of Sudan’s first multiparty elections in more than two decades aimed at mobilizing citizens to vote. Conducting mass voter registration drives, it quickly evolved into a socio-political movement demanding change in Sudan.

Lebanon: A culture of blame

June 18, 2012

Just over a week ago, female Al-Jadeed reporter Ghadi Francis was brutally beaten outside a hotel in Dhour Choueir, where an event for the Syrian Social Nationalist Party elections was being held. A day prior to the attack, she reportedly posed a question in a news report that sent a wave of intense criticism in her direction from the SSNP leadership.

Sierra Leone: Fighting for women’s right to land

June 22, 2012

FREETOWN - Shortly after her father died, Sia Bona’s husband’s family took over her father’s oil-palm plantation and rice paddies, and drove her and her mother from their home. “I came from riches, but now I am poor,” said the 45-year-old teacher from Koidu town in eastern Sierra Leone. 

Greece: Crisis hits women especially hard

June 15, 2012

Disproportionately affected by public sector cuts and expected to step into caring roles, women also face rising domestic violence.

Algeria: A new trailblazer for women in politics

May 13, 2012

Now that Algeria has the largest proportion of women lawmakers in the Arab world, workmen at the national assembly building have some urgent modifications to make.

While the men's washroom just outside the debating chamber is clearly marked with the silhouette of a man, there are so far no signs for the women's. On the opening session of the new parliament on May 26, two of the newly elected female members had to ask for directions to the rest-room.

Togo: Délivrer les enfants handicapés des traditions paralysantes

June 21, 2012

LOMÉ - Au nom de la peur, de la honte et de croyances anciennes bien ancrées, les enfants handicapés du Togo sont souvent la cible de railleries, ils vivent cachés dans leur maison pendant des années et sont négligés, mis à l'écart de la vie de la communauté, ce qui aggrave leur situation.

« On m'a dit que j'étais une bonne à rien. Même mes frères et sours m'ont dit que j'étais inférieure à eux, et ils se sont moqués de moi », a dit Sofia Adama*, 18 ans, qui a contracté un handicap suite à une injection mal faite lorsqu'elle était bébé.

Pakistan: Opening remarks by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay during her mission

June 7, 2012

Islamabad, 7 June 2012

Good afternoon, and thank you for coming.

Before giving a brief overview of my impressions during my four-day visit here, I would like to thank the Government for inviting me to Pakistan.

Egypt: Campaign in response to potential lowering of marriage age for girls

May 3, 2012

Plan is deeply concerned at new proposals by the Egyptian parliament to reduce the legal age for girls to marry to 14 – just 4 years after a successful campaign increased the age limit to 18.

Early marriage can have a devastating impact on girls’ lives – they are more likely to be forced out of school, live in poverty, have early pregnancies and endure health complications or die during childbirth.

Legal protection

USA: The Truth About Religious Freedom

June 7, 2012

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) rarely lets the facts get in the way of their story.

Egypt: Women Refuse To Be Silenced By Assaults

June 10, 2012

Violence against women demonstrators in Egypt erupted again on Tuesday when a frenzied mob of 200 men sexually assaulted a female protester in Tahrir Square. Then, during a rally on Friday to protest the incident, about 50 women and their male allies were themselves brutalized and chased away by another mob.

Uganda: Changing attitudes to widespread early marriage

June 7, 2012

I’ve been working to defend children’s rights since way back. Growing up in rural Uganda I was always aware that many of my friends were denied the chance to fulfil their potential.

Eventually you find that very few friends you started school with complete it with you, and when you look back and think why, you realise it is often because their rights weren’t fulfilled – or protected.

Morocco: Rural education offers Morocco's women promise of a quiet revolution

May 21, 2012

Women in remote parts of Morocco are benefiting from a literacy scheme that also teaches civil rights, numeracy and beekeeping.

In a tiny classroom at the Maison de Citoyenneté support centre for the education of rural girls and women in Beni Zuli, an isolated village in Zagora, deep in south-eastern Morocco's Draa Valley, Fatima Kadmire is describing how learning to read and write is transforming her life.

USA: Chicago Islamic leader uses education as weapon against terrorism and discrimination

May 30, 2012

Education is the weapon of choice for an area Islamic leader in his fight against the radicalization of Islamic youth and the discrimination of American Muslims.

Dr. Sabeel Ahmed, 36, is the director of the Gain Peace project, an Islamic outreach program based in Chicago. Ahmed blames misinterpretations of the Quran and Islam for the dual extremes of Islamophobia and violent Islamist radicalism. He sees education as the way forward to both break down stereotypes and counter terrorist groups looking to recruit Muslim-Americans to commit acts of violence.

United Kingdom: Pressures and Resistance to Polygamy

May 31, 2012

When Dr Zabina Shahian married Pervez Choudhry she thought he would be the man with whom she would settle down for the rest of her life and start a family.

But she did not know the former Conservative party leader on Slough Borough Council was still married.

Choudhry, 54, who claimed he did not realise the marriage in Pakistan was legally valid in the UK, was given a community order after admitting bigamy.

Afghanistan: First female village chief defies gender roles and strengthens community

May 29, 2012

In a male-dominated society that has for years been controlled by the ultra-conservative Taliban, the emergence of the first female village chief took everyone by surprise.

After being ridiculed by male villagers for wanting to occupy political office, Zarifa Qazizadah, the mother of 15 children, managed to become the mayor of Naw Abad, a village in the northern Balkh province.

Qazizadah’s political ambition started in 2004 when she told her mocking fellow villagers that she wanted to represent them and promised to supply Naw Abad with electricity.

South Africa: Campaign tackles myth of girl brides as fabled HIV cure

May 27, 2012

KwaCele, South Africa - The landscape of the rural Eastern Cape in South Africa has a haunting beauty. A myriad of round turquoise huts scatter across the land in a series of endless villages.

Yet these villages are also home to a terrible and devastating traditional practice that destroys children's lives and tears families apart.

In these villages, girls as young as 12 are kidnapped by older men and forced to 'marry.' It is accepted as part of the Xhosa people's culture. It has continued unabated for decades.

Jordan: Woman Is Fired After Refusing to Cover Her Free-Flowing Hair

May 27, 2012

A Christian Jordanian woman named Vivian Salameh is suing her former employer, the Dubai Islamic Bank, for arbitrary dismissal after she was fired a week ago for refusing to comply with her company's dress code, which required her to wear a headscarf that would cover all her hair except for her hairline. Salameh, who had been an assistant manager of corporate operations with the bank, objected to wearing the headscarf on the grounds that a) she never had before and b) doing so would violate her religious beliefs.

NÉPAL: Les femmes réclament la fin du harcèlement sexuel

May 23, 2012

KATMANDOU - Pour les Népalaises, le harcèlement sexuel est une réalité quotidienne, en particulier dans les zones urbaines. Bien qu’ils ne disposent pas de chiffres précis, les activistes indiquent que ce phénomène est en augmentation constante et qu’il faut agir.

Nepal: Women demand end to sexual harassment

May 23, 2012

KATHMANDU - Sexual harassment is an everyday issue for women in Nepal, particularly in urban areas. Although exact numbers are unavailable, activists say the problem is on the rise and are demanding change.

Why the obsession with Muslims and sex?

May 22, 2012

Muslims today are young, sexually and politically frustrated. This isn't the strapline of a new reality show, but the conclusions of stereotype-laden analysis from the Daily Beast. Data from Google Trends showed that six of the ten countries most frequently searching for the word "sex" on the search engine have a Muslim majority.

Saudi Arabia: Manal al-Sharif - 'They just messed with the wrong woman'

May 23, 2012

She is the Saudi woman who became a symbol of female emancipation when she was filmed behind the wheel of a car. In a rare interview, she tells Guy Adams of the persecution she has endured in her fight for equality – and why she will not be silenced.

Indonesia: Women's rights activists push back against threats to gender equality

May 11, 2012

JAKARTA: New legislation being proposed in Indonesia has created a stir of antagonism, especially from conservative Islamist groups in the country, who demand that Islamic law, or Sharia, is implemented and followed in the country.

But women’s groups are lashing out against the push by the Islamic organizations to curtail the bill’s progression in government, saying that “all women and men in Indonesia deserve equal access under the law.”

India: Imams meet to 'introspect' on giving women their due

May 16, 2012

The biggest group of imams in the country, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind, is taking the first tentative steps towards addressing issues faced by Muslim women.

At its two-day conference beginning here tomorrow, one of the resolutions before the thousands of imam delegates who are expected to participate is “introspection” on how the community treats its women folk and on giving “women their due”.

Pakistan: Pakistani Women Writers Denounce Islamic Clerics' Fatwas Against Women's Use Of Cell Phones And Access To Secular Education

May 20, 2012

Former Pakistani lawmaker and cleric Maulana Abdul Haleem recently issued a fatwa (Islamic degree) against secular education and justifying honor killings of women.[1] The fatwa was issued in a sermon during a weekly Friday prayer in Kohistan district in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Haleem also threatened that women from secular NGOs who visit Kohistan district may be married off forcibly to local men.

Egypt: Call for sexual harassment law

May 14, 2012

Egypt’s liberal Free Egyptians Party (FEP) declared its support for the calls by women’s rights organizations and NGOs , which called for anti-harassment laws, an Egyptian online news website reported on Monday.

The party said it stands against “the phenomenon of sexual harassment” and called for the passing of a law criminalizing the act, Egypt’s Bikyamasr news website reported.

Afghanistan: Women push for rights behind the wheel

May 15, 2012

(Reuters) - The morning after the Taliban fell Shakila Naderi shed her head-to-toe burqa, sat behind the wheel of a car for the first time and asked her husband to teach her how to drive.

Now Kabul's only female driving instructor, she teaches women a rare skill that confronts harsh opposition in ultra-conservative, Muslim Afghanistan.

Sudan: Women on frontline risking all to call for reform

May 15, 2012

In Sudan’s conservative society where many believe a woman’s reputation and honor doesn’t belong to her alone, young female activists who are increasingly choosing to be on the frontline in the fight for democracy and human rights. But not without a cost! They have faced more direct physical and sexual assault to deter them from standing up for their rights. “The rape of Safia Ishaq made our female members scared and reluctant to work, they are strong, but this crossed a red line,” said Sarah Faisal, who is affiliated with the youth movement, Girifna that is an Arabic word for “We are Fed Up”. She was referring to the rape ordeal of one the movement’s members last year. Girifna aims at using civil resistance to overthrow the current Sudanese government.

Egypt: New Al-Azhar document to safeguard women's rights

May 13, 2012

“Al-Azhar, the country’s highest religious institution, intends to prepare a new document to safeguard women’s rights, as enshrined in the Islamic Sharia,” said Ahmed el-Tayyeb, the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar.

Pakistan: Helping Women with Career Building and Empowerment

May 14, 2012

Saima Anwar lives in the Swat area of northern Pakistan. Her family was poor and couldn't pay for her education, so she worked a part-time job to get through school. But when she wanted to become a lawyer -- a profession she's "crazy about" -- she had to find a different way.

Egypt: Brotherhood mobile FGM convoys condemned by women’s group

May 14, 2012

CAIRO: A number of Egyptian human rights groups have submitted a communication to the Attorney General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud against the Muslim Brotherhood`s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) to investigate the complaints of people in the village of Abu Aziz in the Minya governorate, south of Cairo, over the existence of a large medical convoy organized by the party that wanders streets and does medical examination on people, including female circumcision, or female genital mutilation, in violation of Egyptian law, conventions and treaties signed by Egypt.

Is There Ever a Good Reason for Child Marriage?

May 7, 2012

As activists and researchers who have worked for many years to support and protect girls across India, we were dismayed to read a recent DoubleX article describing a mass wedding and betrothal ceremony of underage girls and boys as a “welcome event.” The article went on to compare child marriage to the prostitution of girls, describing child marriage as “the lesser of two evils." What a shameful rationalization!

Annual Updates from Shirkat Gah Women's Resource Centre

May 8, 2012

Welcome to Shirkat Gah’s 2nd E-Newsletter! This covers most of the happenings at Shirkat Gah and elsewhere that we have been a part of during July 2011 - March 2012. It also highlights our efforts at national, regional, and international levels. We hope you will enjoy this snapshot of our work towards accomplishing women’s empowerment.

UN: Mme Farida Shaheed, Rapporteure spéciale dans le domaine des droits culturels

May 4, 2012

Mme Farida Shaheed (Pakistan) a commencé ses fonctions comme Experte indépendante dans le domaine des droits culturels en 2009, et les a continuées, à la suite de la résolution 19/6 du Conseil des droits de l’homme de 2012, en tant que Rapporteuse spéciale sur la même question.

UN: Farida Shaheed's mandate expanded to Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights

May 4, 2012

Ms. Farida Shaheed (Pakistan) took up her functions as Independent Expert in the field of cultural rights in 2009 and continued as a Special Rapporteur on the same issue, following Human Rights Council Resolution 19/6.

Ms. Shaheed is a Pakistani sociologist. She works as a Director at Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratization, an international programme strengthening and promoting citizenship in Asia, the Middle East and Africa and as a Director Research at Shirkat Gah-Women’s Resource Centre in Pakistan.

Talk is Cheap: Addressing Sexual Harassment in Tunisia

April 14, 2012

With a progressive Code of Personal Status, Tunisia is commonly regarded as the Arab world’s most advanced country in terms of women’s rights. Yet sexual harassment exists in Tunisia, too. Unlike in Egypt, sexual harassment has not entered the arena of public discourse in Tunisia, and is often dismissed as a non-issue.

United States: United Against the War on Women

May 1, 2012

We are not going back to the days of wide-scale domestic violence, even if 31 Republican men in the Senate recently voted against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act because it expanded coverage to the gay community and Native Americans.

Israeli Conservative Movement approves ordination of gay rabbis

April 30, 2012

Israel's Masorti (Conservative) Movement decided to approve the ordination of homosexual rabbis, in a dramatic vote on Thursday. The Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, affiliated with the movement, will admit gay and lesbian students for training as spiritual leaders as of the upcoming school year. 'A very important development in Jewish law,' says President of the Israeli Conservative Movement Rabbinical Assembly.

Not victims of tradition: Women speak out and advocate for girls facing abusive fates

May 2, 2012

The two women met for the first time last week at a sleek Georgetown hotel, where they were speakers at a glittering charity dinner. They shook hands and hugged across a vast gulf of culture, geography and faith: one a devout Muslim from West Africa with her hair carefully hidden under a tight scarf, the other a gregarious South Asian in a stylish sari and costume earrings.

Zainah Anwar: Arab Spring opens window of opportunity for women in Mideast

April 29, 2012
In many countries of the Middle East, women are wondering what the Arab Spring means for them. Some observers are concerned that the power vacuum will leave the door open for Islamist groups to take power and force changes opposing women’s rights.

 Zainah Anwar, a leading Malaysian social activist and intellectual, is not one of them. She is even excited about the prospects that the Arab Spring could have for women.

UK: Female British Muslims are finding their voice

April 28, 2012

Anyone who has worked in British Muslim communities will tell you the very notion of women's rights is still considered a taboo subject. Like many women who have spent years challenging gender-based discrimination, I know how much resistance there is to equality.

Why do they hate us? - Mona Eltahawy

April 23, 2012

In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to depriv

Saudi Arabia: Binding Women to Restrictions is about Control, not Religion

April 22, 2012

Binding women to restrictions. Many in Saudi Arabia point out, quoting scholars, that it is not an Islamic issue but one of control.

Culture versus Rights Dualism: a myth or a reality?

April 25, 2012

Women’s human rights discourse and movements have become entangled within a culture-versus-rights dualism. Yakin Ertürk argues that this is a false dualism which serves both private patriarchy and public patriarchy of neo-liberal globalisation. Yakin Ertürk serves on the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture ↑ .She was the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its causes and consequences, from 2003 -2009, and until recently Professor of Sociology at Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey.

Malaysia: Kedah’s law on fatwas un-Islamic, says Perlis mufti

April 19, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR — Kedah’s new legislative provision which bans the challenge of religious edicts (fatwa) in the courts goes against Islamic principles, Perlis Mufti Dr Juanda Jaya has said.

The religious scholar asked if Kedah PAS-led administration wanted to become a theocratic government instead of forming Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) often-promoted progressive, welfare state.

“The new fatwa enactment shows they are actually heading towards theocracy and intend on imposing beliefs (on others),” he told The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

“This is against Islam,” he said.

Join VNC for 2 events April 21st at the AWID Forum in Istanbul, Turkey

April 8, 2012

Join VNC for two events on 21 April 2012, at the AWID Forum in Istanbul, Turkey. We'll be hosting a talk show on "The Nexus between Culture, Gender and Other Identities: Resisting Discrimination and Reclaiming Space", as well as a workshop on "Visioning Cultures Free from Violence: Transnational Advocacy and Communications using Visual Arts and Digital Media". Full details below.

Sudan: Rainbow Sudan shines a light on gay and lesbian life in a country where homosexuality is still punishable by death

March 30, 2012

A new online lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender magazine in Sudan, north Africa, is a first for the country where homosexuality is still punished by death and an opportunity for gay people to start discussing their lives and hopes for the future.

Rainbow Sudan published articles discussing topics including being gay in Sudan, the history of homosexuality in the country, Islam and sexuality, being lesbian and Muslim, poetry and more.

Pakistan: Pro-women laws take hold

March 26, 2012

Women in Pakistan have faced formidable challenges in their efforts to achieve gender equality and address gender-based violence in their country, with particular problems posed by elements among customary norms and practices.

Yet throughout the past few years, breakthroughs in pro-women legislation have shown that both the efforts of Pakistan’s government, and the advocacy of groups working toward women’s empowerment in the country, are taking effect.

UK: Violence against women is an issue for men too

March 26, 2012

For too long women have stood alone. When it comes to violence against women, too many of us still think it's "just" a women's issue. In particular, it is about time MPs took this seriously. Here's why.

Sexual and physical violence at the hands of a man affects a staggering 45% of women in England and Wales sometime in their lives. That's one-quarter of British voters. Voters. People who give our politicians their jobs.

International Women's Day and Women's Rights in Pakistan: Interview with Farida Shaheed

March 6, 2012

Farida Shaheed is a sociologist with over 25 years’ research experience on women’s issues (including rural development, women and labour and legal rights), especially in Pakistan and South Asia. She is a long-time UNRISD collaborator, and joins us with an interview on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Her article on politics, religion and gender in Pakistan has been published in a special issue of Cahier du Genre entitled “Religion et politique: Les femmes prises au piège”.

USA: Bishop urges change in 'church teaching concerning all sexual relationships'

March 16, 2012

BALTIMORE -- At the Seventh National Symposium on Catholicism and Homosexuality, retired Australian Bishop Geoffrey Robinson called Friday for "a new study of everything to do with sexuality" -- a kind of study that he predicted "would have a profound influence on church teaching concerning all sexual relationships, both heterosexual and homosexual."

"If [church] teaching on homosexual acts is ever to change, the basic teaching governing all sexual acts must change," he said.

2012 International Women's Day: Connecting Girls, Inspiring futures

March 8, 2012

The 8th of March of every year is a day set aside by the United Nations as International Women’s Day (IWD). It is a day to recognise, celebrate and honour women’s struggles and achievements in the past years and to call attention to other areas of concerns that are critical to women’s life in particular and the society in general.

Ugandan LGBT Activists File Case Against Anti-Gay U.S. Evangelical in Federal Court

March 14, 2012

Lawsuit Charges Abiding Truth Ministries President Scott Lively with Persecution. Lively Also Connected to New Anti-Gay Bill Passed in Russia
 

The "End of Stoning": Islamic Republic Style

March 12, 2012

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran in his latest report, published on March 7th, welcomed the omission of stoning as a punishment in the newly ratified Islamic Penal Code, but expressed his concern that severe punishments may still be issued at a judge's discretion in accordance with sharia law or fatwas.

Dreaming on a Mountain: from Women's Day to Women's Power

March 8, 2012

What is the point of International Women's Day on March 8? It was first established for working women's rights in 1911 and for decades was barely observed outside the Soviet bloc, where its origins in women's struggles were suffocated in rituals of men giving flowers and chocolates to female family members and employees. Such belated Valentine's gestures may be enjoyed by some, but they hardly make up for the high levels of alcohol-fuelled violence and the post-Cold War erosion of women's rights in Putin's Russia, including access to jobs, training and equal pay.

Nigeria: Women call for greater representation in government

February 29, 2012

The Nigerian government has been called upon to tackle issues of gender inequality in the country with a view to giving a greater voice to women and enhance their contribution to good governance.

The call was made at the just concluded 1st National Retreat on Women Development and National Transformation which took place in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom capital.

Iranian responses to the “Arab spring”: appropriation and contestation

February 29, 2012

While the Iranian government authorities attempted to appropriate the Arab spring, claiming it was a continuation of the Iranian revolution of 1979, the events revived popular longing for democratic change in Iran. Ziba Mir-Hosseini tells Deniz Kandiyoti that no movement for change in Iran can afford to ignore women’s aspiration for equality – a lesson that some of the successful elements in the Arab spring may yet have to learn.

Pakistan: Senate Unanimously Passes Domestic Violence Bill

February 20, 2012

VNC sends a warm congratulations to our partners Baidarie Sialkot and Shirkat Gah, along with all other civil society groups and women's human rights activists who have been campaigning over the past few years to pass this bill!

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Senate on Monday passed a bill that makes violence against women and children an offence carrying jail terms and fines, state media said.

India: Madrassas to fight for women’s talaq power

February 20, 2012

Leading Islamic scholars fromreputed 250 ‘madrassas’ around the country will deliberate on the dissolution of marriage and other issues related to Muslim Personal Law at an international seminar in the Madhya Pradesh (MP) city of Mhow from March 2-5.

South Asia: Focus of Global Activism Against Child Marriage

February 10, 2012

NEW DELHI, Feb 10 - Scores of South Asian charities struggling to curb high child-marriage rates are backing a global movement spearheaded by South African peace icon Archbishop Desmond Tutu to end the practice affecting millions of girls and women worldwide.

Representatives from charities in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka gathered in New Delhi last week at the regional launch of the "Girls Not Brides" alliance – created by Tutu, 80, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for speaking out against white minority rule in South Africa.

Egypt's feminists prepare for a long battle

February 7, 2012

Women in the country say their struggle for equal rights is universal, whether the Islamists or military are in charge.

With a tumultuous year behind it, Egypt is bracing for a fresh start - but this new democracy carries some old baggage, including the classic challenge of the marginalisation of the country's women. 

Lebanon: Activists can't use "rape" in billboards

February 8, 2012

You’ll soon seen billboards across Lebanon in support of a demonstration on February 18 to raise awareness about a draft law on domestic violence against women.

But get this: the billboards have already been censored.

Activists originally submitted the image (pictured above) to General Security for approval (all billboards are subject to censorship by the government body). But officials came back and rejected the use of the word “rape” in the graphic.

From Malabo to New York: Support the UNGA Resolution Banning FGM Worldwide

February 6, 2012

WELCOME REMARKS BY

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GAMCOTRAP

ON THE OCCASION OF THE CELEBRATION OF

ZERO TOLERANCE TO FEMALE GENITAL MUTILATION:

FROM MALABO TO NEW YORK: SUPPORT THE RESOLUTION OF THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY BANNING FGM WORLDWIDE.

 

February 6th 2012

Honorable Minister of Health and Social Welfare

The National Assembly Members

Her Excellency the U S Ambassador to the Republic of the Gambia

India: How one religious scholar fought for women's rights and won

February 6, 2012

Oxford, United Kingdom - "Tradition" is usually taken to be an obstacle to reform. "Traditional societies" are assumed to be reluctant to change, or worse, harbour nostalgic notions of going back to some mythical golden age. Gandhi was criticised for imagining an India of ancient "village republics" for which no historical evidence could be found. In the Islamic world, traditionalists are often assumed to wish to return to medieval times, in a pejorative sense. In many contexts the term "traditional" is actually used to mean "backward".

Saudi Women, Shifting Gears, Sue for Right to Drive

February 7, 2012

RIYADH - A court in Saudi Arabia agreed to hear the first lawsuits by Saudi women challenging the kingdom's de facto ban on women driving, a lawyer for one of the women said.

Malawi: Street Vendors Lose Customers after Stripping Women Naked

January 25, 2012

LILONGWE - A campaign to stop people buying merchandise from street vendors is gaining momentum in Malawi’s main cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu after the small-scale traders went on a rampage undressing women and girls wearing trousers, leggings, shorts and mini-skirts.

India & Pakistan: Women Expose Genital Cutting Rite

January 30, 2012

KARACHI - "It was a dark and dingy room, where an elderly woman asked me to take off my panties, made me sit on a low wooden stool with my legs parted and then did something…I screamed out in pain," recalls Alefia Mustansir, 40, of her childhood experience.

Her friend, Sakina Haider, remembers "putting up a good fight" before she succumbed. "I was told by my grandmother that I was being taken to the doctor to address burning in the genital area when soap went there while bathing!"

Men Can Stop Rape Launches “Where Do You Stand?” Campaign

February 2, 2012

Yesterday, Men Can Stop Rape launched their new bystander intervention campaign geared towards addressing sexual violence on college campuses. “Where Do You Stand?” uses a number of tools such as trainings, posters, and media materials to encourage young men to become active bystanders to end sexual violence.

Violence Against Women in Lebanon: A Debate That’s Not Going Away

January 13, 2012

On the surface, it would seem that passing a law that criminalizes violence perpetrated against women by family members would be straightforward in a diverse, and seemingly progressive country such as Lebanon. But the country’s diversity is one of the main hindrances to bringing it in line with international norms regarding women’s rights.

Guatemalans scale volcano to protest domestic violence

January 23, 2012

Thousands of people, one after the other, climbed to the top of a dormant volcano in Guatemala over the weekend, ascending the 12,352-foot slope of the Volcan de Agua (Volcano of Water).

They weren’t on an adventure excursion though. It was a mega protest against domestic violence, which included 12,000 women, children, and men (including Guatemala’s new president Otto Perez Molina).

Look at the photos here. 

Iran: Women's Bodies Are Still the Subject of Dispute

January 19, 2012

The Iranian actress Goshifteh Farahani has recently posed naked in a French short film alongside a few up-and-coming French artists. In the film, Corps et Âmes (Body and Soul), the actors undressed as a symbol of emancipation from social restrictions. Screenshots from the film were also published on Madame website in which Golshifteh poses topless, with her hands covering her breasts. The photo was removed just one day after being posted; it's likely that the onslaught of negative reactions forced the website to re-think its original decision.

Egypt: Concerns as Brotherhood Ignores Abuse of Women

January 19, 2012

A group of men gathered around Amira El Bakry in Tahrir Square as she brandished a newspaper photo that shocked many Egyptians. It showed troops dragging a female protester along the street, her robe ripped open to reveal a blue bra and bare midriff.

Saudi Arabia: Women Resist Male Guardianship Laws

January 18, 2012

Mona Hamid left Saudi Arabia 8 years ago for a career in marketing in Dubai. Now, the mother of two and a career woman is fighting back against what she calls the archaic practice of male guardianship in her home country.

“When I wanted to leave Saudi Arabia after university, I had to get permission from my father, and that took a lot of convincing,” she told Bikyamasr.com. “I had to explain why this was a good idea and how I would still be able to find a husband.”

Lebanon: Hundreds of women and men march against rape

January 16, 2012

BEIRUT: Women and men from across Lebanon marched together over the weekend to call for changing the law governing rape crimes and support for victims of such acts.

The march, which began at noon in the Beirut district of Sanayeh, and ended in Parliament Square, drew over 600 people Saturday. Marchers held signs reading, “It is time to hear the screams of all the mothers and daughters the law has silenced,” “Change the laws against marital rape,” and “Skirt length is not an invitation.”

Mauritania: Muslim imams initiate rare ban on female circumcision

January 21, 2010

DAKAR - Human rights campaigners who have been struggling for years to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM) in West Africa got a boost this week as news emerged that a group of Muslim clerics and scholars in Mauritania had declared a fatwa, or religious decree, against the practice.

Trinidad: Hinduism Rejects Violence Against Women

January 1, 2012

UN Women in the Caribbean recently funded a three-phase programme aimed at promoting the role of faith-based organisations in “increasing awareness to change attitudes and influence behaviour amongst people from all walks of life, as essential to preventing and ending violence against women.” The collaboration established a partnership between UN Women and the Hindu Women’s Organisation of T&T. One of the outcomes was the publication of a booklet entitled Hinduism—An Overview & Rejecting Violence Against Women.

USA: The Burning of an Abortion Clinic on New Years Day and a Call to Action on Abortion Rights

January 5, 2012

On January 1st, at 1:00 in the morning, an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida was engulfed in flames. By all accounts thus far, this was a case of arson.

But chances are you have heard nothing about this.

The fact that there has not been a single politician commenting on this violent assault on an institution that is essential to women's freedom and that this act of terror has not been picked up on in the national or mainstream media should only serve as a further wake-up call to those who care about women's rights.

Tunisia: ATDF wins Simone de Beauvoir Prize

December 24, 2011

The Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD) won the 2011 Simone de Beauvoir Prize for Women’s Freedom - a French award honoring women’s rights advocates worldwide.

The ATFD was recgonized for their accomplishments in the realm of feminist activism. The jury for the Simone de Beauvoir Prize chose the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women for their important role during the Tunisian uprisings in defending women’s rights and freedoms.

Political Transitions Provide Opportunities to Promote Women’s Human Rights

December 26, 2011

26 December 2011 - This year, millions of women have taken to the streets in the Arab world to demand change. 

“This year has been eventful in terms of democratisation, the recognition of freedom of expression and people’s empowerment,” said UN Human Rights chief Navi Pillay. “The courage and determination of women involved in the Arab spring should be a source of inspiration for all of us.”

Egypt: Samira Ibrahim is the woman behind Egypt’s ban of virginity tests

December 27, 2011

An Egyptian court has banned virginity tests for female detainees, many months after women arrested in Tahrir Square in March said they had been forced to take examinations.

Egypt: Mass March by Cairo Women in Protest Over Soldiers’ Abuse

December 20, 2011

Thousands of women massed in Tahrir Square here on Tuesday afternoon and marched to a journalists’ syndicate and back in a demonstration that grew by the minute into an extraordinary expression of anger at the treatment of women by the military police as they protested against continued military rule.

Canada: Imams Show Leadership in Speaking out against Violence Against Women

December 18, 2011

A group of Canadian imams is right to use a high-profile trial as a timely opportunity to condemn violence and abuse committed in the name of family honour.

While there is no honour in killing, honour-based violence does exist. It is a manifestation not of religion, but of culture, and is more prevalent in countries with patriarchal traditions where adultery is punishable by law such as Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Canada is not immune from such influences.

Israel: Women Fight Back Against Jerusalem Billboard Vandals

December 2, 2011

Jewish women in the Britain and the US are being urged to send photographs of themselves holding signs saying "women should be seen and heard" in a campaign against efforts by the ultra-orthodox to remove female images from advertising billboards in Jerusalem.

Pakistan Crime Bills Must be Springboard for Better Women's Rights

December 13, 2011

Pakistan authorities must take concrete steps to end violence against women, Amnesty International said today after the country's Senate unanimously passed two landmark women's rights bills. 

The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Bill 2010 and The Prevention of Anti-Women Practices (Criminal Law Amendment) Bill 2008 aim to empower and protect women and increase penalties for perpetrators of gender-based violence. 

Pakistan: Senate Unanimously Passes Two Bills Protecting Against Forced Marriage and Acid Attacks

December 12, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The Upper House of the Parliament on Monday unanimously passed two landmark pro-women bills aimed at protecting women from the negative customs and traditions and seeking severe punishments for the violators.

Can Turkey Make Its Mosques Feminist?

December 11, 2011

"This is about mosques being a space for women," declared Kadriye Avci Erdemli, Istanbul's deputy mufti, the city's second most powerful administrator of the Islamic faith. "When a woman enters a mosque, she is entering the house of God and she should experience the same sacred treatment. In front of God, men and women are equal; they have the same rights to practice their religion."

تاریخ سرکوب شدگان، میراث مشترک بشریت*/ شادی صدر

November 5, 2011

بدون شک، ما در برهه ای تاریخی به سر می بریم؛ انقلابهای مردمی در شمال آفریقا و خاورمیانه همه ما را سرشار از امید کرده است. دیکتاتورهایی که سالیان سال، حقوق مردم را به شکلی گسترده و شدید نقض کرده اند، یکی یکی سرنگون می شوند و ما در شادی مردمی شریک می شویم که به خیابانها آمده اند تا حق خود را طلب کنند. تصاویری بسیار تاثیرگذار و قدرتمند است از خوشحالی و امید. اما برای من، و فکر می کنم برای خیلی از ما، فعالان حقوق بشر در سراسر جهان، در کنار این خوشحالی و امید، نگرانی های عمیقی وجود دارد.

Pakistan: New Bill Passed to Protect Women's Rights

November 24, 2011

Women's rights groups in Pakistan have welcomed the passing of a bill which will punish those who force women into marriages, or deny them inheritance.

Shadi Sadr: History of the Oppressed, Humankind’s Common Heritage

November 5, 2011

There is no doubt that we are experiencing history in the making! Popular movements in North Africa and the Middle East have filled the rest of us with hope and optimism. One after another, dictators who for years violated the rights of the people in a widespread and sever manner are being toppled and we join the jubilation of the people who have stormed the streets to demand their just rights. The images of such moments are powerful and impressive; filled with happiness and hope. And yet for me, and certainly I am not alone in this, so in fact for many of us human rights activists across the world, such happiness and hope are accompanied with deep concerns.

Pakistan: Girls Defy Taliban School Bombings

November 16, 2011

Seven-year-old Marwa cried and shook uncontrollably at the sight of the rubble and shattered glass remnants of her classroom. The Taliban had bombed yet another girls' school in Pakistan.

India: An App to Fight Violence Against Women

November 8, 2011

Having mapped out Delhi’s most dangerous sites from reports supplied by more than 50,000 citizens who shared women’s experiences of harassment or violence, this month Whypoll is releasing India’s first women’s emergency mobile phone app. The FightBack app aims to give women the ability to report crimes and call for help across a variety of platforms, using social networks like Twitter and Facebook, as well as Whypoll’s own site.

Argentina: Campaign - Men Fighting 'Machismo'

November 10, 2011

An original campaign led by men is getting thousands of men in Argentina to reflect on the abuse of power and commit themselves to helping eradicate violence against women.

Somalia: Women Lobby for Law Against FGM/C

November 3, 2011

Women's groups in the Somali town of Galkayo are lobbying the authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland to enact a law banning female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), saying the practice was becoming widespread. Activists say FGM/C causes serious health problems to the women and is against their religion.

Mexico: Women Reject Normalisation of Gender Violence

November 24, 2011

Ninety percent of the non-governmental organisations in Mexico are founded and run by women, says journalist and women's rights activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, even as crimes against women remain cloaked in impunity.

Yemen: Women Burn Veils To Stop Crackdown On Protest

October 16, 2011

Hundreds of Yemeni women on Wednesday set fire to traditional female veils to protest the government's brutal crackdown against the country's popular uprising, as overnight clashes in the capital and another city killed 25 people, officials said.

Yemen: Tawakkul Karman as Cause and Effect

October 21, 2011

Political activist Tawakkul Karman has brought Yemen’s revolution to New York, speaking directly on October 20 with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and organizing rallies at the United Nations headquarters in lower Manhattan, the largest of which is slated for the afternoon of October 21. The

Tunisia's Election Through the Eyes of Women

October 23, 2011

Al Jazeera speaks to Tunisian women from across the political spectrum about their hopes and fears for Sunday's poll.

Iran: 280 Activists Condemn Flogging Sentence for Marzieh Vafamehr

October 21, 2011

A statement issued on behalf of 280 Iranian cultural and social activists is expressing their support for Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr, who has been sentenced to flogging for her role in “My Tehran for Sale.”

Germany: Support & Counselling for Muslim Women in Germany

March 30, 2008

Cologne (WeNews\WFS) – Most of Louise Becker's 12-hour workdays are hidden behind a bright orange door in suburban Cologne, Germany. There she counsels Muslim women through family and marriage problems. The meetings are secret to prevent harassment from the women's husbands, fathers and brothers.

Senegal: Progress in Movement to End Genital Cutting

October 16, 2011

SARE HAROUNA, Senegal — When Aissatou Kande was a little girl, her family followed a tradition considered essential to her suitability to marry. Her clitoris was sliced off with nothing to dull the pain.

Yemen: Women Attacked During Peace Prize Celebrations

October 11, 2011

Dozens of women were reportedly injured in Yemen’s second-largest city on Sunday after government supporters attacked an anti-government rally celebrating Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkul Karman.

According to reports, pro-government “thugs” threw stones at women who were taking part in a peaceful women’s march in the south-western city of Ta’izz.

Lebanon: Engaging Men in Ending Violence Against Women

October 11, 2011

“Ending violence against women and having a society that truly espouses the principles of gender equality can only be done when men and women work together, side by side, as partners in achieving that goal.”

Statement of the Gender Dynamic Coalition at the UN Internet Governance Forum 2011

September 30, 2011

The 6th UN Internet Governance Forum (IGF) was held in Nairobi between 27-30 September 2011, and was attended by a representative of the VNC Campaign / WLUML. This year, the VNC represenative joined the Dynamic Coalition on Gender and contributed to the statement issued on the last day of the Forum.

Chad: Women Activists Against Gender-Based Violence

September 7, 2011

LAI, Chad, 7 September 2011 – A brave mother, Hadjara Oumarou, sat under a tree with her estranged husband, Oumar Sidik, outside their local village courthouse here in Chad’s Tandjilé District. Their 10-year-old daughter Amira (not her real name) sat between them.

They were at the courthouse because Mr. Sidik had sold Amira for the equivalent of $120. When the man who ‘bought’ her visited Ms. Oumarou to demand his bride, she refused to give her up, insisting that she attend school before she marries.

In the same district, a shocking number of young girls have been raped.

Yemen: Women Toppling 'Tradition'

October 14, 2011

The leading participation of Yemeni women in their country’s revolt is raising hopes that regime change may bring along a mini revolution in the public and political role of women

Taiz — Yemeni women did not merely challenge the taboos surrounding their blackchadors, and break away from the isolation of their homes as they marched to the various liberation squares across the country. They may be precipitating a minor revolution against Yemen’s conservative customs and traditions. 

Malaysia: Sisters in Islam Remains Firmly Opposed to the Implementation of Hudud Law

October 4, 2011

Sisters in Islam (SIS) is unequivocally opposed to the adoption and implementation of Hudud law in Malaysia. This has been our considered position since 1993. Our stand on Hudud law is based on the following reasons:

Malaysia: Women Seizing the Political Agenda

September 29, 2011

Women are claiming a leading role the political reform movement in Malaysia. In July this year, around 50,000 Malaysians braved a massive state-sponsored onslaught against freedom of expression and freedom of assembly to gather in the nation's capital to demand electoral reform. It was the second time that Malaysians gathered in a mass rally to demand these reforms, but the first time that the call was led by a woman, Ambiga Sreenevasan, and where the lead organisation was a women's rights NGO, Empower. This put gender directly in the spotlight of the Bersih movement.

Malaysia: Hudud Laws - Between the Implicit and the Explicit

September 27, 2011

The hudud controversy has now returned to the eyes of the media after it was discussed at the National Syariah Seminar sponsored by the Department of Islamic Affairs of Kelantan.

PAS indeed had taken a step forward in their comprehensive proposals for a welfare state but their preoccupation with the hudud issue clearly shows that they are still stuck in the framework of antiquarian politics.

Iran: Activist Narges Mohammadi Jailed for 11 Years

September 28, 2011

A prominent Iranian human rights activist who was taken seriously ill after being detained by the authorities has been sentenced to 11 years in jail.

Afghanistan: Women's Groups Secure Independence of Shelters

September 26, 2011

In Afghanistan, women's groups are claiming a rare victory. Last winter, the government was planning to bring battered women's shelters under government control.

Women's rights advocates sprang into action, complaining that the new rules would turn shelters into virtual prisons for women who had run away from home because of abuse. But after a flurry of media attention, the Afghan government agreed to re-examine the issue. And this month, President Hamid Karzai's Cabinet quietly approved a new draft that has support from women's groups.

Iran: 500 activists condemn escalation of violence against women

July 26, 2011

Physical and sexual violence against women in Iran, including violence perpetrated by state security forces, is rapidly increasing.

News releases in official media, which usually censor such topics, have surprisingly reported on incidents of gang rape and assaults against women.

Examples include incidents in the provinces of Isfahan (where 10 women were gang raped by 14 men), Golestan (where a village doctor was raped and assaulted by 4 men and a young girl was murdered by 2 men), and Khorasan.

Pakistan: “Reclaiming Space: from victimhood to agency: State and civil society response to VAW”

September 26, 2011

Islamabad—Speakers at a conference here on Thursday urged for collective struggle and structural reforms to challenge Violence Against Women (VAW) in South Asian countries particularly. The three-day South Asian conference on “Reclaiming Space: from victimhood to agency: State and civil society response to VAW” organized by Rozan in Islamabad was widely attended by women activists from all over Pakistan who were joined by delegates from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Women's 'sex strike' a global phenomena

September 16, 2011

A collective "sex strike" launched by women in Dado, Maguindanao, to bring peace to the troubled village and nearby communities is not the first of its kind in the world.

It has its roots in Greek playwright Aristophanes' "Lysistrata."

Nepal Looks Set To Officially Recognize Third Gender

September 9, 2011

FRIDAY FILE: Almost four years after Nepal’s Supreme Court recognized the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, the South Asian country may get a new constitution that secures their rights.[i] By Kathambi Kinoti

Gay Rights: A World of Inequality

September 15, 2011

Gay people still live in fear in many countries around the world – prejudice, torture and execution are common. Can two new legal and diplomatic campaigns change attitudes?

Kenya: Law passed against FGM

September 8, 2011

Kenya has become the latest African country to ban female genital mutilation, with the passing of a law making it illegal to practice or procure it or take somebody abroad for cutting. The law even prohibits derogatory remarks about women who have not undergone FGM. Offenders may be jailed or fined or both.

Members of the Kenyan Women Parliamentary Association said it was a historic day. Linah Kilimo, its chairperson, said the move would improve school attendance. And Sophia Abdi Noor said:

Burkina Faso: Free Legal Aid for Women Accused of being Witches

November 19, 2010

PARIS (TrustLaw) - What links a British-based law firm to an initiative aimed at protecting women in Burkina Faso from accusations of witchcraft?

The answer's global pro bono work.

Earlier this year, a charity caring for older people, HelpAge International, asked Advocates for International Development (A4ID) to help with its work in, among others, Burkina Faso where it's been trying to raise awareness about the plight of women who've fallen victim to witchcraft allegations.

Afghanistan: Women in Media Reveal Risks & Challenges

July 5, 2011

KABUL (Reuters) - Farida Nekzad has faced threats of kidnapping, acid attacks and a plot to blow up her apartment since she founded her first news agency in Afghanistan seven years ago.

Members of the Taliban e-mailed some of the warnings; others arrived over the phone. One caller warned she would be murdered and disfigured so horrendously that her family would not be able to recognize her body.

Libya: Women active force in revolution

August 19, 2011

Last year, during the holy month of Ramadan, I was in Tripoli researching the status of women in Libya's society, along with Journalist and Author Natalie Moore. We interviewed women across the spectrum: artists, housewives, teachers, government officials, university students and businesswomen. The stories were later aired on Chicago Public Radio.

Egypt: Women seek to establish themselves during transitional period

August 15, 2011

CAIRO: Six months on, women say they are yet to reap the benefits of a revolution that explicitly called for equality and social justice, with women missing from key positions that are helping shape the country in its transitional phase.

Tanzania - Villages Program to End Witchcraft Accusations

June 30, 2011

Imagine living in a community your whole life. Then suddenly, you are accused of witchcraft and told to leave. Or you are sent threatening letters saying you have bewitched a neighbour's child. Or you are attacked and slashed with a machete during the night.

UN report: Achievements of Muslim women's rights groups

July 25, 2011

The United Nations recently established UN Women to champion gender equality and empowerment of women. In its first major report “Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice,” UN Women highlights both the global plight of women seeking justice and the amazing progress women have made in the past century.

Afghanistan: Demanding Dignity on Kabul’s Streets, Afghan Women March Against Sexual Harassment

July 25, 2011

Holding signs that read “This street belongs to me too”; “We won’t tolerate insults anymore”; and a banner with a verse from the Koran emphasizing the wrongness of abusing women, around 30 young Afghan women and men marched in the sweltering afternoon heat to protest the rampant and often violent sexual harassment of women and girls on Kabul’s streets.

Tunisia: Sit-in against 'fundamentalism, extremism, and violence' in centre of Tunis

July 2, 2011

Dozens of people participated Saturday in a sit-in in the center of Tunis to warn against "fundamentalism, extremism and violence", AFP noted. 

Gathered on the steps of the City Theatre, the participants came following calls on social networks, waving placards saying "no to violence, yes to tolerance," "against any religious extremism", "No to Algeria of the 90s."

The event turned into impromptu happening, dozens of passers-by sit down to discuss the place of Islam in society, freedom of expression or the defense of the Revolution’s gains.

Afghanistan: Making Peace With The Taliban At The Cost of Women’s Rights

October 8, 2010

Massouda Jalal is a psychiatrist and paediatrician based in Afghanistan. After the fall of Taliban in 2001, she emerged as a powerful voice of Afghan women and later contested the 2004 elections as a presidential candidate. Jalal was minister for women's affairs in the Hamid Karzai government for a brief while. As director of Jalal Foundation, she travels across Afghanistan to champion women's empowerment and rights. She spoke to Ashima Kaul.

Indonesia: Using religion to strengthen gender equality

May 12, 2011

DENPASAR, Indonesia, May 12, 2009 (IPS) - ‘My husband rapes me repeatedly. I asked the ulama (religious leader) for help, but he sided with him, saying that according to Islam, a woman has to obey her husband. I have nowhere else to go. I have no tears left to shed. I no longer scream.’

It was while recording stories like this that staff at Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence against Women (Komnas Perempuan), a branch of the country’s Human Rights Commission, decided in 2007 that they needed to focus on religious leaders if they wanted to protect women. 

Yanar Mohammed: Iraqi Women’s Vigilant Champion

June 28, 2011

The democratic spirit of the Arab Spring uprisings is alive and well in the determination of women protesters in Iraq, who are seeing their rights slip away under the current administration.

Fiji: Police Shut down Fiji Women's Rights Movement birthday retreat

July 20, 2011

Police closed down the Fiji’s Women’s Rights Movement’s (FWRM) retreat and planning at the Pearl resort in Pacific harbor this morning. At around 9.30am, a police officer, known as Tomu, from the Central Investigation Department asked the hotel event coordinator whether FWRM had a permit. The information was relayed to the FWRM Executive Director, Virisila Buadromo, who informed him that the event was an internal FWRM planning.

Saudi Arabia: Women challenging male guardianship laws

June 29, 2011

When she was a little girl, Samia* would practice medical procedures on watermelons. Back then, her dream was to become a successful surgeon and to marry a good man.

"I started to dream of the [wedding] gown when I was 10 or 11 years old. I dreamed of forming a small family - having a kid like my mum and to be a surgeon at the same time".

More than 30 years on, Samia is a fully-qualified doctor.

Women from Around the World Condemn Attack on Peaceful Protesters in Iraq and Call for an End to Sexual Assault of Women Protesters

July 18, 2011

The global campaign Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) joins our sisters at MADRE and feminist activists around the world in calling for full security of our sisters and brothers in Bagdhad's Tahrir Square, protesting peacefully for basic rights.

A Conversation With Saudi Women's Rights Campaigner Wajeha Al-Huwaider

June 8, 2011


Wajeha al-Huwaider is perhaps the best-known Saudi campaigner for women’s rights, human rights and democracy. She has protested energetically against the kingdom’s lack of formal laws (the Koran is it) and basic freedoms and in particular against the guardianship system, under which every female, from birth to death, needs the permission of a male relative to make decisions in all important areas of life—education, travel, marriage, employment, finances, even surgery. Katha Pollitt

Iran: Incarcerated Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh - "I Object to these Sentences, With or Without a License to Practice the Law"

May 29, 2011

Feminist School: At the request of the judicial authorities, Nasrin Sotoudeh was summoned from Evin prison today May 29th, 2011 to attend a court hearing at the Iranian Bar Association concerning the revocation of her license to practice the law. According to reports received by the Feminist School, however, her court hearing was rescheduled.

While awaiting her court hearing, Sotoudeh wrote a letter to her husband Reza Khandan. The content of Sotoudeh’s letter is as follows:My dear Reza,

Uganda: Gay activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera granted Martin Ennals award

May 4, 2011


Ugandan gay activist Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera has been given the prestigious Martin Ennals rights award.

The 10 organisations which make up the award jury said she was courageous and faced harassment because of her work. Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, and can be punished by long jail terms.

In January, her colleague David Kato was murdered not long after suing a paper that outed them both as gay. Police denied the killing was because of his sexuality.

Yemen: Women of the Revolts are Catalysts for Change

March 8, 2011


Representing all age groups and various backgrounds, they have proved to be the catalysts for change.

Dubai: The words of a mother whose son was killed by the Tunisian police in Al Qasreen area last December still ring in the ears of Hedia Belhaj Al Sebai.

"I have given my son as a martyr to Tunisia, and I still have four more sons whom I am also willing to sacrifice for the sake of my country," said the mother after her son was shot dead by the police during a protest, according to Hedia, a woman activist in her late 40s.

Sierra Leone government to ban female circumcision

February 4, 2008

The new government in Sierra Leone has vowed to outlaw female circumcision, a common practice in the West African country, the social welfare minister said Monday.

The Price of Abuse

December 2, 2007

Shame, violence, abuse, shame - the circle is complete for women of the East as they face a recurring nightmare of the denial of rights and justice.In most cases of violence against women, the role of society and how it perceives these unfortunate women is a crucial factor in the kind of justice they ultimately receive.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Pledges System-Wide UN Campaign to Fight Violence Against Women

November 25, 2007

Denouncing violence against women as “one of the most heinous, systematic and prevalent human rights abuses in the world,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has vowed to lead a campaign against the scourge.

Middle east: the terrorized half of our society

February 22, 2008

The undeclared war on women continues to victimize women worldwide on a daily basis; the Middle East is no exception. Women in our region are amongst the most oppressed and terrorized in the world. The Islamic law upheld in many Middle Eastern countries has turned women into slaves with invisible chains.