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oD 50.50 Editorial highlights 2015

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Our Africa - women's critical analysis and resistanceWhile policy frameworks lay out a broad-brush vision for equality, justice and prosperity in the African region, OUR AFRICA engages the detail. With its ear to the ground, the platform profiles fresh thinking, critical analysis and activist initiatives by African women in response to the many forces shaping Africa’s present and future


Stay Woke: sustaining feminist organising in an uncertain world

Autonomous feminist spaces must be guarded jealously. They are an important lifeline for feminists to re-charge and breath in a world that remains hostile to women’s freedom. We must stay woke.

Tanzanian pastoralist women: HIV and health rights

Vertical health service provision alone will not solve the gender-based violence and HIV challenges facing pastoralist women in Tanzania. More holistic, rights-based policies are required.

Oscar Pistorius: shooting to kill

Can a white man be morally absolved if it is decided that he meant to shoot an ‘imaginary black intruder’ rather than his girlfriend? Apartheid and patriarchy underpin Pistorius' trial. Part one. Part two. Part three.

Disembodying honour and exposing the politics behind it

The reaction to the public stripping of a Coptic grandmother in Upper Egypt reminds us of the power of popular campaigns to shame those who use embodied concepts of honour politically.

The back way to Europe: Gambia’s forgotten refugees

The distinction between a refugee and other irregular migrants coming from the Gambia is hard to maintain in a country where a lack of democracy is accompanied by failures of economic and political governance. 

Furthering freedom of religion and belief in Muslim-majority countries

Ballot boxes before a culture of toleration for diversity of beliefs takes root in the minds of people can make things worse. Secularization and freedom of religion are a precondition of democracy.

Will the sky fall when big NGOs move south?

INGOs moving their HQs to the Global South will not alter the management problems with international development and human rights work, manifest in elitist decision-making and unequal resource distribution.

Stability Sandwiches: the control of street entrepreneurs in Sisi’s Cairo

The post-Sisi drive to restore and sanitize public space in Cairo is as much about keeping disadvantaged and vulnerable groups ‘in their place’ within the social order as about restoring stability.

The Day You Catch the Fish: speaking out on domestic abuse

Violence is manifested in so many ways, yet it is always the violence that comes within the domestic space that leaves many women silenced, especially when the violence leaves no physical scars.

COP21: forget 'the future', we need a more radical present

As COP21 meets, people around the world already realise the devastating impacts of climate change. Instead of acting for 'the future', we need to reimagine a better here and now.

Ghana: women at war in a country at peace

The absence of war does not necessarily imply peace for women. The binary opposites of war and peace obscure the continuum of violence women experience as a result of patriarchal gender structures.

South Africa: white fear, black anger and student protests

Student protests across South Africa have heralded a new generation of political activists. ‘Born free’ into democracy, they are frustrated at the slow pace of transformation in higher education.

Refugee or economic migrant? Join the dots Theresa May

The compartmentalisation of individuals into the categories of economic migrants or refugees obscures the fundamental ways in which these two groups are intimately related through remittance economies. 

AIDS targets: the fear factor

HIV is not just a health issue but a multi-sectoral issue that requires many different players. Is the UNAIDS HIV '90-90-90' fast-track initiative in Uganda achievable?

Doing gender justice in northern Uganda

The efforts of NGOs and international organisations to gradually nudge post-war northern Uganda towards a ‘gender just society’ ignore the fact that gender equality also has real enemies.

Those who believe in freedom: Yara Sallam

Yara Sallam is starting the second year of her sentence in Qanater Women's prison outside Cairo. She says, "I do not feel any regret or self-defeat, the prison is not inside me." 

Addressing global taxation and gender equality

The increased call on countries to maximise local revenue in order to finance their own development agenda adds to the urgency of  making sure that domestic resources are tailored towards achieving gender equality.

In celebration of African literature: Africa Writes 2015

For the past 6,000 years, Africans have been writing. Africa Writes 2015, a three-day festival in London, explored the continuation of this tradition in all its contemporary forms.

The sexual and reproductive health issue you’ve probably never heard of….

Why is one of the most common gynaecological conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, schistosomiasis, misunderstood, under-researched and under-reported?

Hope's song: my companion in life's journey

On my way from Zimbabwe to Amsterdam I shared a seat with a man called Musi. He was curious about how I became a feminist and wondered if I was not borrowing western ideology...

Libya: "Rejoicing at our bloody democracy"

For sustainable peace, the UN must refuse to sanction militarism as the default response to unwanted migration and invest in grassroots women and youth human rights defenders.

A tribute to Joan Kagezi: the murder of a human rights defender

Joan Kagezi was a lead prosecutor in high profile cases in Uganda, including against a former LRA commander and those accused of terrorism. She was shot dead in front of her children last month.

At the margins of visibility: recognising women human rights defenders

Every small act that stands up to patriarchy or to inequality, whether it is asking to go to school, or refusing to marry the man her father chooses, is an act of women's human rights defense.

Lampedusa: Never again

The terrible migrant deaths off the Italian island have evoked horror across the continent. In a small camp in France, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi talks to fellow countrymen and women who have survived: their hopes, dreams, and learning to feel unwelcome in Europe. (First published in October 2013)

Opposing political Islam in Tunisia: Mohamed Brahmi's widow speaks out

On the first anniversary of Mohamed Brahmi’s assassination, his widow, Mbarka Brahmi, denounces fundamentalism and terrorism in Tunisia.  This article is republished following the murderous attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

Tunisia's fight against fundamentalism: an interview with Amel Grami

In conversations with Karima Bennoune, Tunisian intellectual Amel Grami shares her analysis of the political crisis in Tunisia during the rule of the Ennahda party, and the strategies needed to defeat fundamentalism.

Awake to the challenge: African women's leadership at Beijing+20

If you randomly pick a person on the street in a remote part of any African country and ask them what they know about women’s rights, whatever the tone of voice - angry or excited, they are likely to mention “Beijing”.

The madame's story: renegotiating Cairo’s informal service sector

The Egyptian Government’s anti-terrorism measures are causing subtle but significant shifts in Cairo’s vibrant informal service sector - illustrated through the experiences of one middle-class resident and her long-serving part-time cleaner. Read part one of this two-part article: The maid's story.

The maid's story: renegotiating Cairo’s informal service sector

The Egyptian Government’s anti-terrorism measures are causing subtle but significant shifts in Cairo’s vibrant informal service sector- illustrated through the experiences of one middle-class resident and her long-serving part-time cleaner. Read part two of this two-part article: The madame's story.

Egyptian women's rights: no time for dissent

The act of dissent should match the need for equality, rather than the time for equality. In the fight for a right, there are no divisions.

Remembering, contesting and forgetting: the aftermath of the Cairo massacres

The Egyptian Government’s anti-terrorism measures in the wake of the Rab'aa mosque massacre continue to colour people’s daily lives with the suppressed trauma and memory of these events.

Ebola: exposing the failure of international development

The Ebola crisis has revealed the consequences of deep-seated, unequal global social and economic relations that international development, as practised in recent decades, has had a role in creating.

Report thy neighbour: policing Sisi’s Egypt

A regime bereft of legitimacy, save for its promise to guarantee national security, turns citizens into active players in a new culture of surveillance and reporting.

Are we all beheaded Copts?: outrage in Libya

Is the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS in Libya associated with a broader political project of cleansing the region of religious minorities? Would this not deserve demonstrations of solidarity?

Rest in power, Assia Djebar

Why is it that the homeland always rejects its most erudite children? Latefa Guemar pays tribute to the feminist writer remembered for her intellectual honesty and unflinching stance against Algerian patriarchy, even from beyond its borders.

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