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This week's editor

MM

Mairi Mackay is openDemocracy’s senior editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Abortion and contraception in India: the role of men

The callous attitude of Indian men that  ‘she can always abort’ in cases of an unwanted pregnancy caused by failure to use a condom needs to be tackled at the root.

Crosstalk: HIV and linking across areas of criminalisation

In a moment of global attacks on civil society, an intersectional approach linking issues across HIV, sexuality, adult consensual sex and bodily integrity is critical.  Now, more than ever.

HIV, AIDS and holistic healthcare: can spirituality and science meet?

The theme of next week's World Aids Conference in Durban, South Africa is 'Access, Equity, Rights Now'. Will its debates offer the whole answer to those preventing - or living with - HIV?

Ending HIV: UN slogans vs the voices of civil society

Last week’s UN meeting exposed the deep divide about whether HIV responses should commit to respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights rather than blaming those who are most affected.

Poland: a total ban on abortion?

With unprecedented political momentum for a total ban on abortion in Poland, thousands are marching in protest and the Prime Minister is receiving coat hangers in the post.

 

Sexual violence and the culture of impunity in Nagaland

Perpetrators of sexual violence escape justice, while their victims are trapped between exhortations by women's advocacy groups not to ‘suffer quietly' and the social stigma attached to sexual violence.

Can porn be feminist? A conversation with Erika Lust

Feminist porn is sex on film showing women and men as sexual equals - that sex is something you do together, not just something that a man does to a woman

UN CSW: debating women’s reproductive rights or a “culture of death” ?

In a cynical ploy, conservative religious groups based in the Global North now frame reproductive rights advocacy in the Global South as the neocolonialist imposition of a uniquely western value system.

UN CSW: ending impunity for gender-based crimes against women refugees

The CSW has called on UN member states to "address sexual and gender-based violence as an integral and prioritized part of every humanitarian response". Civil society groups expected more.

UN CSW: still failing to count all women

When will the CSW agree that without counting everyone, transwomen, lesbians and bisexuals included, gender equality will remain out of reach?

Sexual harassment in Kosovo: no longer invisible

A video of a woman walking in Prishtina being sexually harassed 50 times in 8 hours and publication of the first quantitative data on the harassment of women counter the argument that it's not a widespread problem.

Rape testimony: pitting truths against rape culture

Women of the World (WOW) created a public, cultural space where women’s stories of survival and their manner of telling them expanded their particular narratives into the universal and political.

CSW: groundbreaking US support for sexual rights

With the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women underway in New York, the decision by the US to support sexual and reproductive health and rights - at last - presents a real opportunity to move the agenda forward.

The confinement of Eve: resolving Ebola, Zika and HIV with women’s bodies?

There are parallels between three major newsworthy viruses, Ebola, HIV and Zika, in relation to the global public health response and persistent and often toxic gender stereotypes. Español

Breaking Free: a women's movement in Indian universities

Female students in Delhi are protesting against their hostels resembling prisons - arguing that restricting women’s freedom is not a way to ensure safety: it is society that must be made safe for women.

The fateful marriage: political violence and violence against women

Pervasive and diverse, instances of violence against women can only be fully comprehended in the political contexts that give them purpose and meaning.

Japan's military sexual slavery: whose agreement?

The South Korea-Japan agreement on Japan’s military sexual slavery was announced on 28 December, 2015, but it ignores the  efforts by the victim-survivors movement to seek justice for their suffering. 

Mona Eltahawy and sexual revolution in the Middle East

'Traumatised into feminism,' Mona Eltahawy speaks of her decision to unveil and understanding that 'Muslim women’s bodies are the medium upon which culture is engraved, be it through headscarves or cutting.'

Gender violence in Spain: from electoral tool to decisive issue ?

As political parties in Spain struggle to form a government this week their commitment to dealing with violence against women is being put to the test.

Welcoming gays into the church: voices from India

Following Pope Francis' appeal to welcome gays into the church, Indians of diverse backgrounds and faiths reacted with bewilderment, threats, and in due course support.

Gender lenses and refugee assistance

Gender matters greatly in any form of third party assistance. Refugee camps are not sanctuaries from violence if they are not safe for women and girls.

The Quipu project: testimonies of forced sterilisation in Peru

The mass forced sterilisations of Peruvians is one of the grave human rights violations of our time. But the practice, and its consequences, rarely receive widespread coverage and condemnation.

Child sexual abuse: failing another generation of children?

The Office of the Children’s Commissioner reveals that in England 1.3 million will suffer sexual abuse in their childhood. What’s it going to do about this most secret of crimes?

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.

Welcome to our house: women living with HIV

The largest survey on women living with HIV, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, has revealed the stark truth about the gender-based violence and mental health challenges that positive women face.

UN peacekeeping: blue banner for hope, or red flag for abuse?

For decades the ‘Blue Helmets’ have been sexually exploiting and abusing those they were sent to protect. The UN is complicit in creating an environment in which these abuses can flourish unfettered. 

Politicking periods

Irish women are tweeting details of their menstrual cycles to Taoiseach Enda Kenny, to protest the sense of entitlement the Irish state demonstrates towards Irish womens' bodies.

Elona Kastrati: fame, feminism, and sanitary pads

Nineteen-year-old Elona Kastrati became internet-famous overnight, after she hung sanitary pads covered in feminist statements in a German city centre on International Women’s Day. Then she moved to her parents’ homeland – Kosovo.

Violence against women in Spain: who cares?

Ahead of the election all the political parties commented on the level of violence against women, but public concern remains low. Is this the wake up call?

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.

The end of China’s one child policy: the right to reproduce and the right to live well

China's one-child policy fundamentally changed the most intimate aspects of Chinese lives. It's removal last month may have been more welcome if structural forces did not remain that continue to stifle the ability of individuals and families to build lives of their own choosing.

Men and Lads: Playboy nods to the cultural revolution

Lad mag circulations have been diving and several have closed. The debate about sexual objectification of women isn’t just a joust between men and women, it is an argument between men.

Ireland: policing domestic violence in times of austerity

The difficulties presented by the under-resourced Gardaí in policing domestic violence, and the resulting lamentable status of domestic violence policies in Ireland were highlighted by last week's tragedy. 

Defending ourselves: defining the rights of girls

Exploited in the media, sanctioned by the state, and controlled by religious fundamentalism, decisions about the bodies of young women and girls seem to be everyone's business but their own.

Lifting the ban on women’s shelters in Iraq: promoting change in conflict

There is a crisis-level need for shelter in Iraq, so why does the Iraqi government maintain a policy that stymies critically needed temporary housing and threatens the safety of those willing to provide it?

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