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A fatwa against sexual violence: the story of a historic congress of female Islamic scholars

MIRJAM KüNKLER and EVA NISA

Can women interpret Islamic law? Scholars who think so recently gathered in Indonesia, where fatwas were also issued against child marriage and environmental degradation.

openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

Too many Afghan women in London face racism, sexism – and unwanted pregnancies

RITU MAHENDRU
openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

Recent research on Afghan immigrant women living in London has revealed a multi-layered crisis. What can be done?

Women as wartime rapists: a new book explores 'the impossible'

LARA WHYTE
openDemocracy.net - free thinking for the world

Laura Sjoberg argues that our gendered assumptions about sexual violence in conflict limit our understanding of these crimes.

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Bridging the academic-activist gap

Collaboration between academics and activists is essential to the promotion of pluralism in practice.

The Catholic church’s scandal: modern crisis, ancient roots

The sexual violation of young people within the Catholic church is the poisonous legacy of a long tradition of contempt for human sexuality in an institution which has privileged secrecy and unaccountable power over transparency and participation. But the silence and darkness revealed by the scandal must not be allowed to define the majority of Catholics who are the living church, says Tina Beattie.

Gender justice and the ICC: turning a miracle into reality

Ahead of the first global review meeting of the Rome Statue and International Criminal Court, women from around the world are meeting in Mexico next week to develop a clear global agenda for advancing gender justice through advocacy and engagement with the International Criminal Court.

Surveillance + detention = £Billions: How Labour’s friends are ‘securing your world’

The rapid rise of the security industry with its close links to government has disturbing implications for our freedom.

But look what the current system has produced...could I do worse? Suzanne Moore stands for parliament

Without the prospect of real change, one of the UK leading left-wing commentators decides to stand as an independent in East London

Feminists need to get smart over the sale of sex

As feminism begins a much needed comeback divisions over the sale of sex damage the larger cause but shouldn't, a survey from the blogger Penny Red.

The exodus of women from the UK television industry

In the past three years 5,000 women have left the industry compared to 750 men. The quality of our television affects the very nature of our democracy, society and culture. It really matters who our media workers are: the workforce must be as pluralist as our politics needs to be.

India’s Women’s Reservation Bill

Can the bill for reserved seats for women as passed by India’s upper house be anything other than a cause for rejoicing? Rakesh Mani says it is far from serving the interests of all women

Hitler and the challenge of non-violence

What was done to counter the ’rise and rise’ of Adolf Hitler, fascist German leader, in the 1930’s? What could have been done?

Women seeking asylum: shame and isolation

“I'd prefer, rather than going to a detention centre ... to be in prison for the rest of my life,” said Cecilia. Debora Singer works with women seeking asylum in the UK and argues that it is high time that the gender sensitive culture developed for women in the criminal justice system is transferred into the asylum system.

Eat or be eaten: courting disaster

Two very different ways of viewing the world result in radically different ways of approaching conflict. When we come from the viewpoint of ‘eat or be eaten’, the whole of life is a contest for control; when we ground ourselves in the notion of interdependence we work to a very different agenda.

Can migration work for Britain? Not like this

Government policy of 'managed migration' has backfired and produced public mistrust related to a vicious circle, of the assurance of control and the reality of failure. With the major parties set to continue this system, Ruth Grove White argues that there is ample scope to challenge the principles behind managed migration. We just need to be brave enough to make the case.

Cry of a migrant

"I may able to give my children whatever they may need and ask for but the sacrifices in exchange of all these is far cruel, I was not there to take care of them when they were sick, I never see them grow.....migrant or second class citizen I may be, I am one of the migrants who cry for any injustices and abuse in job, labour law and fellow mankind."

Life on a knife edge: migrant domestic workers in the UK

At what point do the rights of migrant domestic workers as human beings and as workers start to take precedence over their status as migrants?

From a culture of war to a culture of peace

The time has run out for traditional military answers. Ours is a culture of war, but cultures can change. We need education in peace and in international understanding, as so much more

Zero tolerance or zero consequence?

Laudable yet formalistic plans, committees and laws have been put in place to address violence against women, yet impunity remains rampant. Should the measure of progress be more mechanisms or less violence ?

Guns: the unending cycle of violence

The words of the women paralleled each other as they described how armed violence in the home and community, armed conflict, and the availability and misuse of guns feed each other in an unending cycle. These are not simple issues with easy solutions, but Sarah Masters says that this cannot justify apathy, silence, and inaction

Putting money where our mouths are

Lyric Thompson, in her last report from New York, writes that as we close the 54th UN Commission on the Status of Women, there’s no mystery as to what it takes to close the tremendous gap between policy and practice: money. Best-laid plans are moot if not resourced. Invest in women. As the UN motto reminds us, it's our world.

Haven't we said so already?

If the actions recommended by the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action on Equality, Development and Peace were honoured, Roberta Clarke argues that the Millennium Development Goals could be met.

Keeping hope alive in New York

Will the government representatives at the CSW remember their commitments when they are back in their home countries? After all, any gains for women and girls translate into gains and advancement for the entire population and by extension, the planet.

Women’s empowerment in Central Asia and movement building

For the first time at CSW, women from Central Asia shared their stories. I realized that this in itself is the empowerment of women. This in itself is the movement building: twelve women talking about the situation of women in Central Asia.

Iran: time to change the question

Parvin Ardalan spoke to Jane Gabriel at the UN CSW about the link between a conversation with her father and her work fighting for the rights and freedom of both men and women in Iran, and why it's time the international community changed the question: how can we help?

Negotiating Bliss

The bliss of an egalitarian and just relationship between spouses cannot be achieved through a sheet of paper. But Cassandra Balchin writes that in Muslim contexts efforts to take a fresh look at marriage contracts is certainly a step towards this goal

New York: no place for women in action

In an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General, the European Women's Lobby declares that "The 54th Session of the CSW...represents a step backwards by its failure to offer a new vision and mechanisms for implementation"

How about equality of respect?

Last week the UN CSW54 was accused by the European Women's Lobby of being a 'step backwards' for women. As it grinds on into its second week Jane Esuantsiwa Goldsmith says the women’s movement needs a new twin strategy around equality of respect and quality of experience

An uncomfortable truth: the gender turf war at UN CSW

Lyric Thompson takes issue with those who argue that men are inherently unqualified to speak as advocates for women's rights, and sees a paradoxical mirror image of the thinking that kept us out of classrooms, voting booths, political offices and boardrooms globally

Courage, controversy and chaos at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

More than two thousand women's rights activists are in New York for the UN Commission on the Status of Women to review the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action for Equality, Development and Peace. The inside story is being covered daily by openDemocracy guest writers.

The table around which we didn't sit

CSW has attracted 1000s of women to its proceedings this year, but there is a danger that we are just talking to ourselves. Two sessions on the financial crisis point to the change that is needed.

The price of peace

“Peace processes are bad men talking to bad government and other bad men.....women in civil society are doing tremendous work on the ground, but they are not heard, they are not respected, and above all they are not funded.” Mary Robinson speaking at the UNCSW....

Women: reflections on our human rights

It's seventeen years since women's rights were recognised as human rights at the World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna. openDemocracy writers examine the struggle to turn these rights into a day-to-day reality for women and girls and examine the challenges that lie ahead

A difficult week for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

The ICTY's struggle to prosecute war criminals causes a further decline in credibility in times when progress is vital for Croatia and the relation between Serbia and Bosnia.

This is my witness

The human voice has a way of piercing through you. Emily Stokes listened to the testimony of the women of Burma.

Haiti's 'restaveks'

Less than a month after Haiti was brought to its knees by an 8.8 magnitude earthquake, another story emerged from the island that briefly arrested international attention and interrupted the torrent of post-disaster coverage...

Burma may save its tigers and not its women

Cora Weiss reports on the International Tribunal on Crimes against Women of Burma - an overwhelming day of stories told by remarkable women of all ages of inhumanity leaving the listeners wondering how the women could have survived.

Defining the new American gender agenda

There has been much debate both within Washington and without as to what the new American gender agenda will be. Clearly, we’ll have one.......
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