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Gender and Sexual Norms

"Traditional Values" vs Human Rights at the UN

February 18, 2013

A dangerous process is taking place in the UN system that threatens the universality of human rights by seeking to make them contingent on subjective ‘traditional values’ such as ‘responsible behaviour’.

USA: Modesty in Ultra-Orthodox Brooklyn Is Enforced by Secret Squads

January 29, 2013

The Brooklyn shopkeeper was already home for the night when her phone rang: a man who said he was from a neighborhood “modesty committee” was concerned that the mannequins in her store’s window, used to display women’s clothing, might inadvertently arouse passing men and boys.


“The man said, ‘Do the neighborhood a favor and take it out of the window,’ ” the store’s manager recalled. “ ‘We’re trying to safeguard our community.’ ”

Saudi Arabia: King Invites Women To Join The Debate ... From Another Room

January 14, 2013

King Abdullah kept a promise to Saudi Arabia's women last week, when he appointed 30 of them to four-year terms in the new Consultative Assembly, the pseudo-legislature that advises the monarch on laws and regulations.

As usual with such developments in Saudi Arabia, there is a catch: The women will have to meet in a room separate from the men.

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.

Delhi is different from Steubenville

January 14, 2013

Nicholas Kristof has a recent op-ed titled, “Is Delhi so different from Steubenville?” which makes the case that sexual assault is an international and universal epidemic. He writes,

America’s Rape Problem: We Refuse to Admit That There Is One

January 4, 2013

It’s time to acknowledge that the rape epidemic in the United States is not just about the crimes themselves, but our own cultural and political willful ignorance. Rape is as American as apple pie—until we own that, nothing will change.

A problematic discourse: who speaks for Arab women?

December 17, 2012

Placed between the First Lady and the Diplomat at the recent Trust Women conference on the 'Arab spring', Ala'a Shehabi argues that in order to foster constructive engagement with the global south, the media, international donors and policy makers should recognise the radical social shifts towards unorganised local groupings and informal collectives

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.

Lesbians, Sexuality And Islam

December, 2012

The most recent issue of the Journal of Lesbian Studies focuses on the theme of lesbians, sexuality and Islam. To see a detailed list of contents and find out about accessing the journal, click here.