This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

HIV: Violations or investments in women’s rights?

In the context of widespread sexual violence and its reciprocal links to HIV, Alice Welbourn reports on how the formal scientific evidence base alone is beginning to be recognized as not fit-for-purpose to safeguard women’s rights.

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.

A call to action in memory of the woman I never knew

At least 20 people have died in immigration detention in the UK: how many more must die before the UK changes its detention policy? The public must shout louder, says Eiri Ohtani. 

Death at Yarl’s Wood: Women in mourning, women in fear

On Sunday morning a 40 year old woman died at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre in Bedfordshire, England. Jennifer Allsopp spoke, via telephone, to a woman in Yarl’s Wood who knew her.

Refugee women in the UK: Pushing a stone into the sea

From personal experience I know that arrival in the UK for asylum seekers does not signal safety, but reform is a ‘chaser game’: refugee women are pressuring the Home Office to improve decision making and end detention, says Beatrice Botomani.

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.

Still 'Our Man in Havana': foreign policy reporting's elitism problem

Foreign policy reporting in the British media is dominated by an elite and a false neutrality presenting a particular ideology simply as authoritative.  What is used as an argument for diversity is also a sign of Britain’s colonial hangover, and the unexamined question of who is positioned as the voice of reason. 

The invisible war: Sexual assault in the American military

Thousands of soldiers, mostly women, have been the victims of rape and sexual assault in the American military. Politicians and the Pentagon are worried about the growing epidemic of this behaviour. All twenty women Senators decided “enough was enough”

CSW: Arguments for reducing the intense time burden of women's unpaid care work

Unpaid care work is one of the major barriers to women's rights, economic empowerment and poverty reduction. Will the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty, and the frantic efforts of women's rights advocates at the CSW in New York this week, get unpaid care work on to the post-2015 agenda ?

A choir of lost voices: the murder of Loretta Saunders and Canada's missing women

The murder of Loretta Saunders, a talented young scholar who researched missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada, brought into sharp focus the structural violence that compounds violence against women, and the stinging injustice of Canada’s 825 lost Aboriginal women.  Women who deserved to be honoured with more than the government’s sluggish and half-hearted gestures.

South Africa: Gender equality and morality as citizenship

Twenty years after South Africa's first democratic elections, Chantelle de Nobrega explores what we can we learn about sex, gender and morality in democratic transitions

Troop withdrawals and women’s rights in Afghanistan

The ‘liberation of Afghan women’ was part of the dominant rhetoric used by international forces to justify military intervention and the ‘war on terror’ in post- 2001 Afghanistan. Yet, Afghanistan’s struggle for women’s rights did not begin with the arrival of troops, nor will it end upon their withdrawal

Gender violence, Narendra Modi and the Indian elections

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a good chance of winning the forthcoming general election in India. Amrit Wilson reports on discussions about what life has been like for women in the states where the BJP has been in power, and what may lie ahead

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?

US: why Women's History Month?

Every generation of little girls and women needs to learn its past so that it can imagine a future in which gender equality is the norm and not the exception. As part of openDemocracy's International Women's Day series, Ruth Rosen argues that it is still necessary to have a token month every year devoted to women's lives

CSW weather vane: fault lines and prospects for women's human rights

As battles over women’s human rights rage on around the world, governments have gathered in New York this week to set some definitive agreements at the UN’s annual Commission on the Status of Women

Gender violence in the media: elusive reality

The death of Reeva Steenkamp has highlighted the problematic way in which the media treat the issue of domestic violence.  We need a better way to transmit and therefore tackle the reality – how violence is built into our lives and how space is gendered, says Heather McRobie.

No sex, some lies and a video: Pakistan's Taliban impasse

It was not an act of violence against women but a macabre video that led to the abortion of this round of peace talks with the Taliban in Pakistan

African cyberfeminism in the 21st century

How are African feminist activists navigating the potential and the power dynamics of communication in the digital age? Jennifer Radloff surveys the field in her introduction to Feminist Africa’s latest edition, “e-spaces : e-politics”.

Plotting for a woman-shaped peace: Syrian and Bosnian women confer

Bosnian women live with the malign consequences of a peace agreement engineered by internationals between male war leaders. Syrian peace negotiations are heading the same way. Recently Syrian women met with Bosnian counterparts to strategize for a peace that delivers on the interests of women and civil society.  

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.

Trojan Women in the twenty first century: women in war from Euripides to Syria

Last December, a small group of volunteers organised a production of ‘Trojan Women’ with female Syrian refugees now living in Jordan.  Heather McRobie speaks to two of the organisers about how art speaks to those who have survived conflict, and the significance of ‘Trojan Women’ in a modern context of women’s experiences of war.

The anti-women gag law in Afghanistan: the pitfalls of hasty conclusions

Does the new criminal procedure code in Afghanistan really signal the definitive demise of all efforts to curb violence against women? An accurate reading of the law, and a more nuanced understanding of post-NATO developments and their impact on women’s rights tells a different story.

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.

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