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This week’s front page editor


Adam Bychawski is an editorial assistant at openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Feminisms contested

In a searching piece in the left-of-centre weekly The Nation, Betsy Reed parses through the debate amongst feminists prompted by the ongoing contest between Clinton and Obama. Many "progressive feminists" reject out of hand the assumption - as posited by a number of their older brethren - that women should vote in terms of gender interests before racial ones. Clear fault-lines in American feminism are emerging as a result of the campaign.

In some sense, this is a clarifying moment as well as a wrenching one. For so many years, feminists have been engaged in a pushback against the right that has obscured some of the real and important differences among them. "Today you see things you might not have seen. It's clearer now about where the lines are between corporate feminism and more grassroots, global feminism," says [law professor Kimberlé] Crenshaw. Women who identify with the latter movement are saying, as she puts it, "'Wait a minute, that's not the banner we are marching under!'"

Feminist Obama supporters of all ages and hues, meanwhile, are hoping that he comes out of this bruising primary with his style of politics intact. While he calls it "a new kind of politics," Clinton and Obama are actually very similar in their records and agendas (which is perhaps why this contest has fixated so obsessively on their gender and race). But in his rhetoric and his stance toward the world outside our borders, Obama does appear to offer a way out of the testosterone-addled GOP framework. As he said after losing Pennsylvania, "We can be a party that thinks the only way to look tough on national security is to talk, and act, and vote like George Bush and John McCain. We can use fear as a tactic and the threat of terrorism to scare up votes. Or we can decide that real strength is asking the tough questions before we send our troops to fight."



Abortion as a human right: the case of Karen Noelia Llontoy vs. Peru

Abortion as a human right

A lot of the speakers at the Global Safe Abortion Conference addressed the right to safe abortion as a human right.

Luisa Cabal, director of the Center for Reproductive Rights' International Legal Program, underlined the fact that human rights are a universal language, a common ground to build on, and a tool for governments to save women's lives. [more...]

Gender based violence linked with reproductive rights and HIV/AIDS

A lot of the breakout sessions organised by the Women Deliver conference focused on AIDS/HIV treatment and prevention for women and girls, and how it should be treated as an integral part of the fight for reproductive rights for all women, everywhere.

One of the most important and recurrent issues underlined by speakers is that the spread of HIV/AIDS is directly linked to gender based violence, especially in unstable regions where rape is used as a weapon of war, or where women have to sell their bodies as a means to survive and provide for their families. [more...]

Sexual violence as a weapon of war

Last Tuesday the UN Security Council approved the use of a hybrid armed force in Darfur, hoping it will help to bring a sense of stability in the region. The resolution also grants the use of force ("necessary measures") to the UN soldiers who will be in charge of securing the region by protecting and assuring the circulation of humanitarian workers, stoping the attacks and threats towards civilians, and encouraging the peace process in Sudan. (more...)

Pathways of Women's Empowerment

by Jessica Reed

To kickstart our collaboration with the Pathways of Women's Empowerment consortium (as part of our 50.50 initiative), we are launching our brand new themed blog, an article and a podcast. Enjoy!

Women's resistance vs. feminism

Is it fair to label any form of women's resistance groups as atoms of the global feminist movement?

Josephine Ahikire was intrigued by the wording surrounding women's resistance and feminism, and how it systematically separates the two. In her view, what a woman resists is mediated by her situation, which is itself affected by gender, class, employment or poverty issuses - so by definition, it is about feminism.

Ahikire cited as a case study the Aba women's riots of 1929, part of Nigeria's struggle against colonialism: was this an act of feminism? Josephine argued that the gendered nature in which those women experienced colonialism and how they organised resistance made it a feminist act.

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