This week's guest editors

Refugee women in the UK: fighting back from behind bars

The experience of female asylum seekers is distinct to their gender, particularly when survivors of rape and torture, perpetrated by male state officials, are imprisoned and guarded by men here in the UK. Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi reports on the campaign to set them free.

The war against contraception: “Women need to be liberated from their libidos."

The new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires all health plans to pay for contraception. Some religious organizations and corporations are so angry that they have taken their case to the US Supreme Court.

Embracing shame: turning honour on its head

The challenge that embracing shame poses to the longstanding perversion of honour, is the struggle for women’s human rights -  the realisation of which will result in the entire community’s advancement and healing.

The Liberty Train: "Because I Decide"

A women’s group on the northern coast of Spain devised a plan to fill a train full of protestors against Government proposals to reform the abortion law by destroying a woman’s right to decide. “El Tren de la Libertad” - destination Madrid - was the result. Liz Cooper got on board at Valladolid.

Forced sterilization and impunity in Peru

Between 1995-2000, 300,000 women in Peru, mostly poor indigenous peasants who did not speak Spanish, were forcibly sterilized by the Fujimori government. The Peruvian feminist movement has been trying to bring Fujimori and his officials to trial for this crime against humanity ever since. Last month the case was thrown out for a second time.

Acid attacks: showing my face, raising my voice

Women who have survived acid attacks are speaking out and refusing to have their identity destroyed. Samira Shackle spoke to some of the survivors in Islamabad who are campaigning to strengthen legislation against this most brutal form of gender based violence.

Why are women in Kenya still dying from unsafe abortions?

Kenya’s Constitution permits access to safe abortion, yet Kenyan women still resort to unsafe methods of termination with countless women dying as a consequence. Saoyo Tabitha Griffith analyses what the Kenyan government needs to do to affirm women’s rights to life and health.

Criminalising forced marriage in the UK: why it will not help women

New proposals to criminalise forced marriage are due for their penultimate reading in the House of Lords this month. Amrit Wilson reports on one of the most strongly contested pieces of legislation relating to gender to go through Parliament in recent years

US Republicans and their “Female Troubles”

As the 2014 midterm elections loom on the horizon, American Republicans fear they may lose a sizable female vote because they have spent the last eight years vilifying women and voting against their major concerns.

The rape victims prosecuted for "false" rape allegations

Gail Sherwood was raped three times by a stalker, forced to retract her allegations and sentenced to two years in prison. Lisa Longstaff argues that her case is one example of a police witch-hunt against women wrongly accused of lying about rape that is undermining 35 years of campaigning for justice

Preventing abuse in the UK: a matter of education

A new campaign by the UK Government’s Home Office, This Is Abuse, is a critical step to preventing violence against women and girls, but the Department for Education’s failure to support it is baffling, says Holly Dustin

Seeking safety in Algeria: Syrian refugee women’s resilience

For many Syrian women in Algeria, the gendered experience of violence and displacement has been compounded by the discrimination they now face as women refugees, says Latefa Guemar.

Ending the stark choice: domestic violence or destitution in the UK

The introduction of the Destitution Domestic Violence concession in 2012 giving some migrant victims access to public funds was widely welcomed. However, while many have long waits for benefits, others still do not have a safety net to escape violence.  

Austerity and domestic violence: mapping the damage

Austerity has taken its toll on domestic violence provisions, in a fracturing that cuts across institutions, sectors and lives in the UK

The politics and culture of skin bleaching in Sudan

The past 25 years have witnessed fundamental sociopolitical and cultural changes in Sudan.  Women have been the terrain of many of the uneasy shifts in the country, even down to their skin, which they are now being encouraged to bleach.

An end to AIDS?: Not through medication alone

In the world of HIV, the allure of the bio-medical techno-fix still attracts many policy makers. Meanwhile a parallel world of care, support, community spirit and women’s resilience still beats quietly. On World AIDS Day Alice Welbourn considers the future of the AIDS pandemic

Migration and craft: reimagining the city

Through creative social enterprise, migrant and refugee women in Britain's second largest city have found a way to celebrate diversity and speak above and beyond the 'hostile' headlines, says Emma Daker.

A feminist defence of sex workers’ rights

In the international row over decriminalizing sex work, Geetanjali Misra takes issue with the on-line petition launched by the women's human rights organisation, Equality Now. 

The Duma and Russian Orthodox Church vs feminism

While the prosecution of Pussy Riot and recent laws censoring discussion of homosexuality have received media attention and popular condemnation, the assault on reproductive rights being led by the Russian Orthodox Church is taking place under the radar

Gender, mental health, and intersectionality

Last month a pilot project was launched to add mental health nurses to police call-outs in parts of the UK.  This step will be most effective if the scheme is sensitive to the interplay between gender and identity in mental health issues.

Domestic violence: on the frontline of intersectionality

Provisions for those affected by domestic violence are in decline in the UK, but work in the area of domestic violence continues to be integral to the development of approaches to intersectional justice.  

The future of abortion rights in Islam

There is no explicit reference to abortion in the Qur'an, and classical jurisprudence and modern-day religious scholarship highlight the diversity of Islamic thought on this subject. Naureen Shameen asks what the new antipathy to family planning by some of the Muslim majority countries means for the future of abortion rights.

Poverty: a human rights abuse in the UK

Internationally poverty has been recognised as a violation of human dignity and, when a consequence of government policy, a violation of human rights. What does this mean for women seeking asylum who are forced into poverty in the UK, asks Amanda Gray.

Why the relentless assault on abortion in the United States?

Americans have grown more supportive of same-sex marriages, gun control, immigration reform and even taxes on the wealthiest individuals.  Why, then, have the cultural and political wars over abortion accelerated?

Challenging neoliberal population control

Racist and patriarchal ideas underpin the new ‘family planning’ initiatives promoted by DfID, USAID and the Gates Foundation which deny women in the global South real control over their bodies. The appropriation of the notion of ‘women’s right to choose’ for neoliberal population control must be challenged, argues Kalpana Wilson

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