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oD 50.50 Editorial highlights 2016

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What has Hindu law ever done for women?

India’s long overdue Uniform Civil Code, a set of common personal laws for all citizens, guaranteed by its constitution, is under renewed debate. It should not be based on Hindu law.

Failing a generation of children: choose to see

If we want to eradicate child slavery we must take a global approach to what is clearly a global issue and the scourge of our times. Education is the starting point.

The human costs of 'fast-fashion': the power to change is in your hands

A living wage is a human right, and it is crucial that consumers are fully aware of the power in their hands. We’ll be on the right track only when we will see a £5 dress as a red flag, and not as a bargain.

The right to feel safe in public: addressing the root cause of sexual harassment

A new poll reveals that 19% of women in London have been physically abused and 32% have been verbally harassed on public transport. The behaviour of perpetrators should be tackled, rather than the freedom of women curtailed. It's time to involve women in designing safe transport.

Human trafficking: from outrage to action

If we are to have any chance of addressing trafficking, we should work towards the elimination of labour recruitment fees; advocate for a global minimum wage; and look at ways of criminalizing the knowing or reckless use of the services of a victim of trafficking.

Abortion rights: victory for women in Spain

As the political analysts get into their stride over the Spanish Government's decision to back down over mediaeval reforms to the current abortion law, citing everything from conspiracy theories to a feminist victory, the Catholic Church has taken a beating and is busy churning out hate messages.

Litigating for equality in South Africa: Muslim marriages

While South Africa’s legal provisions around equality are some of the best in the world, do they adequately protect women in Muslim marriages? Hoodah Abrahams-Fayker reflects on the case law and feminist legal activism.

The politics of defining 'armed conflict' in Northern Ireland

It is hard to see the British Government's resistance to implementing UNSCR 1325 as anything other than denying women and girls their rightful place in post-conflict Northern Ireland. Women in Northern Ireland argue that their full participation at all levels of decision-making is crucial to peacebuilding.

Rape, marriage, and rights

While the proliferation of domestic violence legislation worldwide is a positive and much-needed development, the explicit criminalisation of marital rape needs to be central to these legal reform initiatives - ensuring that women’s rights are fully protected. Even within marriage.

UK: Will proposed legislation mean deporting trafficking victims ?

As young girls, Saima and Linda were trafficked from Zimbabwe to London. It took them ten years to escape from forced prostitution and child labour. Yet Saima is exactly the kind of 'foreign criminal' the proposed UK Immigration Bill aims to deport. Is this what we want? 

Problematic protection: the law on Elimination of Violence against Women in Afghanistan

The attempt to get the Afghan parliament to ratify a key law on violence against women ended in a fiasco and has been angrily dismissed as the politicking of a single ambitious female politician. But the controversies around the EVAW law show that there are no perfect strategies available to women activists in Afghanistan.

Longing for Spring: The revolution that betrayed Arab women

Revolutions take time. The French Revolution was followed by years of terror and conflict before stability. Arab women have discovered through their revolutions that they can have a voice, and this, says Monique Villa, is the seed of hope for the future.

Patriarchy and militarism in Egypt: from the street to the government

The lack of institutional concern for epidemic levels of sexual harassment and assault in Egypt is part of the larger neglect of the issue of gender equality by the post-revolutionary powers, says Heather McRobie. 

The framework of democracy is human rights law

Democracy is more of a culture than a way of governing or a political system. It is a historical process that must go through its evolution. No country can be a quasi democracy. It is in fact democratic people that make a society democratic, says Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi

How to challenge the patriarchal ethics of Muslim legal tradition

One lesson from the 1979 Iranian revolution and the 2011 Arab revolutions is that activists seeking to promote women’s rights, human rights and the transition to democracy must challenge patriarchy from within the Muslim legal tradition. 

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 ,

A French debate on prostitution

Back from Paris where she has been interviewing prostitutes, politicians, police, and feminists who argue both for and against legalising prostitution, Valeria Costa-Kostritsky asks whether legalising it would benefit both those who want to leave prostitution, and those who feel it is their only way to earn a living.

Yes to ending violence against women, but no to the ‘zero tolerance’ route

The problem with the use of 'zero tolerance' in public discourse is that it makes for good populist politics and rhetoric which generally translates into regressive and ill-informed public policy, especially in the area of criminal justice, says Vijay Nagaraj.

A problematic discourse: who speaks for Arab women?

Placed between the First Lady and the Diplomat at the recent Trust Women conference on the 'Arab spring', Ala'a Shehabi argues that in order to foster constructive engagement with the global south, the media, international donors and policy makers should recognise the radical social shifts towards unorganised local groupings and informal collectives

Silencing women's rights activists in Turkey

Leading Turkish women’s rights activist and lawyer Canan Arin was unlawfully detained on 23 June 2012 for speaking out against child marriages. While her trial continues, she is living under permanent threat, but refuses to be silent. Bingul Durbas spoke to her.

Capitalism's bright 'Third Billion' future?

Management consultants have their eye on women as growth drivers and change agents for multi-national companies, and activists and politicians campaigning for women's rights are being advised to stop talking about trafficking and rights. Marion Bowman, reporting from the Trust Women conference, tells a Christmas story of 'The Third Billion' and Bedford Falls

The mind of the traffickers

Consumer campaigns, self-help methodology and those who risk their lives to defend others cannot match the power of the trafficking industry. Jennifer Allsopp, reporting on the Trust Women conference, looks for the core strategic thread that would take seriously the question of where power, and hence obligation lies.

Women’s rights and the rule of law: education and implementation

Legislative victories are important in changing society to eradicate injustices like forced child marriage, but such change is delivered because of and not without daring, challenging, transformative processes of education and action whether led by state, religious, familiar or civic actors. Trusting women, and trusting ourselves, can often be a moment of defiance

The Circumcision

A story by Fatin Abbas. Part of a series of of poems and short stories by African feminist writers for 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

'Culture' clash: the law, women's rights and real-world solutions

When culture trumps law to undermine women's rights, new forms of culture can help women in the struggle for equality. Marion Bowman reports from the first day of the Trust Women conference in London  

Men: time to stand up

For too long the absence of men and boys, as well as the missing component of youth ingenuity and passion, has been an impediment to lasting progress in achieving gender equality and the prevention of violence against women and girls, says Jimmie Briggs.

موت أمينة الفيلالي: قصة الزواج من مغتصب

لعدة سنوات ’ طالبت منضمات حقوقية و جمعيات نسائية لتعديل المادة 475 من القانون الجنائي المغربي الذي يعفي المغتصب من العقاب عند زواجه من الضحية. حان الوقت لتغيير هذا القانون الغير المنصف للمرأة و كسر جدار الصمت حول أعراف أصبحت من ضرب الماضي

A long road ahead for Yemeni women

Women led many of the protests, and were vital in the sustainability of the movement during the Yemeni revolution, but as preparations for the national dialogue to be held under the transitional unity government go ahead, many women fear that the rival political parties will only unite around one matter: excluding women’s issues.

وما يزال الطريق طويلا – بقلم أطياف زيد الوزير

 في ثورة الشاب اليمنية شاركت العديد من النساء في الثورة فقادت المظاهرات، وشاركن في القرارات، وكن بالفعل جزءا مهما في استدامة حركة التغيير، والان نحن على مشارف التحضير للحوار الوطني في ظل حكومة وحدة وطنية انتقالية، ويخشى العديد من النساء أن الأطراف المتنافسة السياسية ستتوحد حول شيء واحد فقط :اقصاء قضايا المرأة.

India: breaking the supply chain of human beings

There are more than one million prostituted girls in India. "Only when the buyers of sex are arrested will the brothels close down; and only when the brothels are closed will we be safe,” Uma Das, speaking to Hillary Clinton in India

Revolution is female: the uprising of women in the Arab world

The Arabic word for revolution, thawra, has a female gender. So does the word ’huriya (freedom), and so does the word intifada (uprising). Sara Abbas talks to the social media revolutionaries behind The Uprising of Women in the Arab World, a facebook group that is taking patriarchy head-on

16 Days: from demystification to denunciation

Violence against women is a public plague no one can live with and early and forced marriage remains the main challenge in Cameroon. The road ahead is a long one but with the force of women’s activism we can get there, says Aîssa Ngatansou Doumara.

16 jours: de la démystification à la dénonciation

La violence faite aux femmes est une épidémie que nous ne pouvons pas accepter. Le mariage précoce et forcé reste le principal défi au Cameroun et la route sera longue, mais avec la force de l’activisme des femmes nous pouvons y arriver, dit Aîssa Ngatansou Doumara.

A victory against modern day slavery

The ILO Domestic Workers Convention was unthinkable just a few years ago. It represents the culmination of years of effort by domestic workers, advocates, and officials to shine a spotlight on a long-ignored but significant sector of the workforce, says Nisha Varia

Challenging the merchants of human slavery

We need to remind people that the sex industry has created a structured system of merchandising humans. We should not horrify people, but teach them ways to understand the problem and inspire them to be part of the solution, says Lydia Cacho

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