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Copts of Egypt: more than political pawns for ISIS and el-Sisi

Recent attacks on Copts cannot be understood exclusively as militant resistance to authoritarianism in Egypt. - free thinking for the world

oD 50.50 Editorial highlights 2016

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My Beijing diary

Jane Esuantsiwa Goldsmith was a member of the UK delegation to Beijing in 1995, extracts from her diary capture the ‘mood, the madness and the magnificence’ of that event - on the eve of this year’s CSW which meets to review what’s happened since then

Brazilian feminists on the alert

Brazilian feminists have made steady progress at both national and regional levels with establishing sexual and reproductive rights, and they have an important stake in the discussions at this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Cecilia Sardenberg calls on them to be alert against retrogressive steps

Challenging ourselves at Beijing +15

Sunila Abeysekera lists the achievements of Beijing’95, and argues now that the priority for women’s movements worldwide should be to build a cohesive platform for action to confront and combat the common challenges as we move forward from the CSW Beijing +15.

Equality between women and men is not a ‘women’s issue’

As the 54th UN Commission on the Status of Women meets to review action on the promises made in Beijing’95, will the creation of a new women’s agency at the UN finally give the CSW the teeth it needs to advance women’s human rights?

Holding up half the sky: not for ourselves alone

As the UN Commission on the Status of Women meets to review the implementation of the radical Beijing Platform for Action ’95, Kavita Ramdas reflects on the excitement felt by women then – and the sobering reality of the struggle today for women’s human rights.

What’s wrong with a democratic world with justice, equality, development and peace?

As Cora Weiss reflects on the Beijing ’95 conference on women her dream is that we do not make war safe for women, but that we make women safe by ending the scourge of war

Reconceptualising war

What if defeating the enemy was the justification for war, but not its real goal? What if its goal was a certain kind of power-brokerage?

Gender, war and conflict transformation

As Shelley Anderson suggests, war and gender are intimately related. Gender lies at war’s heart and the conduct and impact of war are equally gendered. Although conflict transformation is based on values traditionally regarded as ‘feminine,’ it struggles to implement them in a world shaped by masculinity.

Vital peace constituencies

The last decade has seen much more detailed attention to the many, sometimes contradictory, roles women play in conflict situations. But women remain a vital peace constituency

Iran protests: what went wrong ?

In the wake of 22 Bahman and in the doldrums of anti-climax, the Iranian blogosphere is asking itself one question: what happened?

Thinly veiled misogyny

As French President Nicolas Sarkozy attempts to drive through a ban on the niqab and burqa, Laurie Penny describes how the Islamic veil has become yet another item of women’s clothing for men to fight over for their own ends

Guinea-Conakry: the price of political rape

The transition to democracy in Guinea-Conakry is both a lesson and a warning to those who would wield rape as an instrument of terror - whether in war or in peace.

Radical Homemakers

Rediscovering and reshaping a world in which husbands were house-bound and families were free, what are the skills and virtues needed for a life of radical voluntary domestic simplicity?

Schools and sex abuse in Sierra Leone

Humu Tavawallie went to school for an education, but was forced into sex with her teacher to pay for her exams. This is an all too common problem in Sierra Leone, and entrenched social attitudes make it difficult to tackle, writes Annabel Symington

Meeting in monochrome: women and the Afghanistan conference

The picture said it all; an expanse of suits broken only by Hillary's blonde bob floating in their midst. The London Conference on Afghanistan gave birth to sweeping statements and soaring ambitions. But were they, in the end, as flat as those grey rows of suits?

Negotiating with the Taliban: the view from below

While the only official woman delegate in the Afghan mission to the London Conference pleaded that women’s rights must not be sacrificed on the altar of security concerns, women’s rights activists who had also travelled to London brought their own message

Britain and genocide

The official annual commemoration of a century of genocide and its victims should be accompanied by a responsible awareness of Britain’s own historical record, says Martin Shaw. (This article was first published on 27 January 2009)

CEDAW: designed to be used

CEDAW is not just a wish list from which politicians in the UK can ‘pick-n-mix’ when drawing up their shopping lists of “things to do about women”. Jane Esuantsiwa Goldsmith argues that in the run up to the general election it is an instrument we can use to call our politicians to account.

Politics, race and the recession

During a recession British politicians need to listen to civil society and think carefully about how they debate race.

Violence and democracy in Bolivia

Dr Ana Maria Encina’s election earlier this month as mayor of Santa Cruz is a sign that Bolivian women are not going to be deterred by the increasing levels of violence directed at them as they run for public office.

War: justifiable or simply catastrophic?

The global phenomenon of war distorts our ongoing attempts to build peace in conflict after conflict and in many different ways. Diana Francis looks at some of the evidence and asks if war can be justified

Bosnia's error of othering

Bosnia is saddled with a peace settlement for a constitution, and that is getting in the way of building a functioning state

Is gender a universal category? The double edged sword of identity politics.

Jameen Kaur reports on the three day conference on ‘Women Deepening Democracy: Transforming Gender Equality. From Groucho Marx to a Revolution Fund – and beyond.

Deepening democracy by building gender equality

The conference on 'Women deepening democracy' held in New Delhi last week examined what can be done to tackle the gender-specific double standard encoded into the DNA of political liberalism

Stress, quarrels and neglect: the 'normal' polygamous family

A large-scale study currently underway across Malaysia uncovers proof that polygamy harms everyone involved: from emotionally scarred children, to wives who think they’d be better off as single-parent households, and even husbands who admit “I wouldn’t recommend it for my son; it’s quite stressful.”

Peace process in Mindanao

How does conflict transformation work? Peace advisers have a particular range of skills which must be adapted and applied to circumstances that are always unique. But even where local, national and international ngo’s are involved, the transformation has to be brought about by the people themselves

Beyond stalemate: replacing the vicious with the virtuous circle

What is conflict transformation? How do you begin to approach the mutual hurt of conflict embedded in systems and culture? There are many strands to a challenging and delicate process. Here are some of them

The challenge of moving from war to peace

One of the challenges in this set of unseen and unsung practices is how to make it visible and strengthen its advocacy without destroying its impact. Conflict transformation work not only deserves but needs a wider audience

Nuanced agency in local-international peacebuilding:

In attempting to secure nonviolent transformation as a bottom-up mechanism, ‘uncomfortable voices’ may be ignored in favour of those more palatable to the peacebuilders. This is at the least a missed opportunity

A Welcome to Diana Francis’ reflections: Conflict Transformed

This new generation missed out on the US civil rights movement, where nonviolent direct action was employed brilliantly and strategically in the service of change. Now it’s time for all of us to respond to the ultimate challenge of how warfare dominates our discourse

Last but not least: CEDAW and family law

When injustice in marriage and the family is such a pervasive experience for women and girls, why is family law largely invisible as a global policy issue? What are the prospects for last to no longer remain least?

What will it take to realise our vision of a just and equal world?

After thirty years of CEDAW, gender equality is at a vital juncture. How can we progress towards a just and equal world through such tumultuous times? Emily Esplen calls for a radical democratisation of political spaces, and the fashioning of new, inclusive alliances for justice

Making human rights for women a reality

There has been a critical shift from CEDAW being an aspirational international document, to its gender equality standards becoming entrenched in national constitutions, laws and policies around the world. Lee Waldorf reflects on how and why this has happened.

NVDA lessons: for Copenhagen from Seattle

Seattle was a turning point for the developing nations, an exemplar of how major concessions can be won.
 But to bring the spirit of Seattle to Copenhagen, polar bear ice sculptures alone won’t cut it.

The wedding dress with attitude

Malians do a good line in combining fashion and public relations for the causes they care about. Fatoumata and Moussa didn’t just decide to get married under Mali’s new family code, they got married in it – literally
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