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Armed Conflict and Militarism

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

Libya: A ban on religious political parties

April 25, 2012

Libyan authorities have banned the formation of political parties based on religious principles ahead of elections scheduled to take place in June.

Parties based on faith, tribe or ethnicity will not be eligible to take part, a government spokesman said.

The National Transitional Council said the law, passed on Tuesday, was designed to preserve "national unity".

But analysts say it is likely to infuriate religious parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Crisis in Mali: Fundamentalism, Women's Rights, and Cultural Resistance

April 15, 2012

In conversation with Jessica Horn, a leading Malian women's rights activist identifies the roots of the crisis in Mali, and the opportunistic use of the crisis by Malian and international Islamic fundamentalists to gain a popular foothold in the north of the country.

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”.

Afghan Clerics' Conservative Blueprint for Women

March 7, 2012

As Afghanistan prepares to mark International Women’s Day on March 8, rights groups have expressed concern at a set of restrictive measures proposed by the country’s Council of Religious Scholars. Other commentators suspect the Islamic clerics of trying to win over insurgent groups like the Taleban by publicly espousing conservative views.

The 150-member council issued a “code of conduct” last week calling for segregation of the sexes in the workplace and in education, and barring women from travelling unless accompanied by a close male relative.

[Film] From Fear to Freedom: Ending Violence Against Women

March, 2012

In WLP’s new film, leading experts and activists from across the globe discuss the root causes of gender-based violence, share strategies to combat it, and provide inspiring accounts of the important milestones already achieved through the international women’s movement. Film runs 35 minutes.

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.

Afghanistan: "Baad" Abduction of Girls for Elders' Misdeeds

February 16, 2012

ASADABAD, Afghanistan — Shakila, 8 at the time, was drifting off to sleep when a group of men carrying AK-47s barged in through the door. She recalls that they complained, as they dragged her off into the darkness, about how their family had been dishonored and about how they had not been paid.

It turns out that Shakila, who was abducted along with her cousin as part of a traditional Afghan form of justice known as “baad,” was the payment.

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. 

Open Letter to Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch

February 9, 2012

Dear Kenneth Roth, In your Introduction to Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2012, “Time to Abandon the Autocrats and Embrace Rights,” you urge support for the newly elected governments that have brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Tunisia and Egypt. In your desire to “constructively engage” with the new governments, you ask states to stop supporting autocrats. But you are not a state; you are the head of an international human rights organization whose role is to report on human rights violations, an honorable and necessary task which your essay largely neglects.

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