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Pathways is a partnership linking academics, activists and practitioners analysing what works to empower women. openDemocracy brings you the analysis and views of women working around the world. Earlier articles in this dialogue included contributions by Srilatha Batliwala, Andrea Cornwall, Mulki Al-Sharmani, Cecilia Sardenberg, Takyiwaa Manuh (you can also listen to Takyiwaa's interview here), Firdous Azim, Naila Kabeer, Emily Esplen, Ana Alice Alcântara and Rosalind Eyben. See also the related blog.

We would like to thank The Barrow Cadbury Trust and IDS,Sussex University, for supporting this project.

Reclaiming feminist visions of empowerment

Glib and glossy visions of women’s empowerment, designed to avoid actual power structures, are being avidly promoted by corporations and the development industry alike. A new book by Srilatha Batliwala reminds us of what lies at the heart of feminist empowerment work.

Egypt: a space that isn't our own

Last month a young woman was mob attacked on Cairo University campus. Socially and culturally constructed circles that control our lives seem to be tightening at a time when individuals are trying their hardest to crack them open. Zainab Magdy explores whether women will ever find a space that is their own.

Contesting patriarchy-as-governance: lessons from youth-led activism

Youth-led mobilisation has mocked and exposed patriarchal power by unmasking its politics of social control. Are we on the threshold of a new politics of gender creating cross-gender alliances around struggles against autocracy?

Gender-based censorship

Gender-based censorship, which takes many forms, can be seen in attempts to stifle women’s public voice - from the suppression of Taslima Nasrin’s series for Indian TV to death and rape threats against US feminist bloggers

What will it take to end violence against women?

Twenty years after the United Nations declared violence against women to be a violation of their human rights, we are still a long way from gender violence becoming unacceptable in a society 

Grief and rage in India: making violence against women history?

There was uproar in India at the brutal gang rape of a 23 year old student on her way home from the cinema. Can we harness the international attention to this case to demand that the world's leaders commit themselves to a policy of zero tolerance of violence against women in the post-Millennium Development Goals agenda?

Political motherhood vs violence against mothers

The Activist Mothers of Xalapa have united their individual power as mothers to create a collective political motherhood that has resisted many patriarchal institutions in the past, and could well be the driving force of a new society based on nurturing life instead of selling it, says Alda Facio.

Gender and development debates: overlooking diversity

Twenty five years after Gita Sen and Caren Grown made an appeal for development practitioners to use the diversity of feminisms as a starting point to work towards achieving more just societies, Anastasia Chung asks why this appeal is overlooked in gender and development paradigms today

Afghanistan: fundamentalism, education, and the minds of the people

Women can only hope for a better future if the next generation of Afghans is taught to unlearn religious, cultural, and gender prejudices that are instrumental in their oppression. Education is pivotal to this vision, and it is the single attainable factor that keeps the hope of our women alive

Iran: a small window of hope

Will president-elect Hassan Rowhani listen to human rights activists? Will he respond to Pegah Ahangarani's simple demand that he appoints qualified, non-corrupt, competent and accountable people to management and administration positions ? Nayereh Tohidi asks whether he will reset Iran's political course in a hopeful direction.

The politics of women’s rights promotion in Jordan

The promotion of women’s rights through the introduction of gender quotas in Jordan is being used to score points on ‘democratization’ and to present a ‘modern’ face to the world. What are the prospects for women’s empowerment?

Women in post-earthquake Haiti: moving beyond survival

Haitian women who are living and organising in the displacement camps, together with international partners, have produced an essential blueprint for addressing rape. If adopted by the Haitian Parliament as revisions to the Haitian legal code, this would be a major advancement in legislation addressing gender-based violence and discrimination, says Yifat Susskind.

Sexual violence, access to justice, and human rights

The patriarchal framework of justice which reflects gendered stereotypes, cultural and traditional prejudice has to change. Whilst there is slow progress in implementation, international law is drifting inexorably into recognising the integrated role of human rights in addressing sexual violence, Madeleine Rees analyses how this can be done

Italy's inconvenient women: in praise of Laura Boldrini and Cecile Kyenge

As the renewed threats against politician Cecile Kyenge show, the problem of the abuse of women in Italy's public sphere persists. This cannot be dismissed as just a debate about censorship. Italy’s gender question is a wound left unhealed. 

Beyond war: women transforming militarism, building a nonviolent world

If we want to ensure that humanity is not doomed to repeat its bloodiest century, the logical move would be to mount an international campaign to see that competent women are swiftly accepted into policy-making positions in all conflict countries, says Scilla Elworthy

Legacy of a feminist revolutionary

American radical feminist Shulamith Firestone was a leading theorist of 70s feminism who died a lonely death last summer. Responding to Susan Faludi’s psychological profile of Firestone in The New Yorker last month, Kathleen B. Jones examines Firestone’s contribution to women’s liberation

Zimbabwe: women debunking the myth of 'merit'

In preparation for Zimbabwe's forthcoming general election, the use of quotas to increase women’s occupation of political office remains one of the most effective tools for countering the patriarchal barrier to women of ‘merit’, says opposition MP Jessie Fungayi Majome.

The future is ‘smart’ but is it equal? African women’s digital agency

As mobile and smartphone use expands across Africa, Fatimah Kelleher asks what role African women play in digital futures, and how we build a more egalitarian digital present where African women can fully use and become more active in technological innovation.

Hope of a migrant

'Domestic work is the beginning of all labour; it is central to our lives and is at the heart of our economy and society.' Three years on from her award-winning article 'Cry of a migrant', Marissa Begonia reflects on the ongoing fight for the rights of migrant domestic workers in Britain. 

A call to engender Turkey’s peace process

Turkey’s agenda for peace aims to overcome the decades-old Kurdish question and raise democratic standards. While welcoming this initiative, Yakin Ertürk questions whether the end of conflict will bring peace to women if gender equality issues are not adequately addressed

India's anti-rape movement: redefining solidarity outside the colonial frame

The horrific rape of a student sparked a remarkable movement against sexual violence in India which has forced the government to change the laws on gender violence. While the struggle continues, a new organisation in Britain, the Freedom Without Fear Platform, redefines the notion of solidarity.

1% Feminism

Since Sheryl Sandberg has taken it upon herself to jump-start the stalled feminist revolution it’s worth taking a look at the brand of feminism she espouses, says Linda Burnham 

The politics of sexual harassment in Spain

A scandal related to women’s rights and the socialist party in Spain, PSOE, broke out last month on International Women’s Day. Liz Cooper looks at a case of sexual harassment by politicians at work that is at the heart of the current row in the PSOE.

A war against women: The CSW declaration and the Muslim Brotherhood riposte

The statement issued by the Muslim Brotherhood in response to the UN Commission on the Status of Women draft Agreed Conclusions on violence against women, is nothing short of an assault on their most basic rights as citizens and human beings, says Hoda Elsadda ,

Will academia ever graduate from sexism?

From the sexism of fresher’s week to under-employment after they graduate, to the closed walls of the highest echelons of academic institutions, Britain is failing its female students - even as their grades continue to rise

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