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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Violence against women in Spain: who cares?

Ahead of next month's election all the political parties have 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.

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?

Girls speaking truth to power at the UN: the global 2030 Agenda

"Invest in adolescents. We’re not only the future, we’re the present, and we deserve to be happy."  Twelve year old Stephanie  Mendez Asturias, from Guatemala, speaking at the UN ahead of International Day of the Girl Child.

"Men get more freedom": women and memoir writing

Juliet Jacques spoke to Dawn Foster about her new book, Trans: A Memoir, and the struggles of gender typecasting in the media

'Disappearing' sex workers in the Amnesty International debate

An Amnesty draft policy to protect women in sex work has attracted a fierce debate, but sex workers' voices are often absent in the opposition arguments.

Amnesty International: should sex work be decriminalized?

As Amnesty International meets to consider a resolution that calls for the decriminalization of sex work, those in favour argue it would be a step forward for the rights of sex workers.

Salvaging the luminosity of a lost city

While the murder of hundreds of women in Juárez, Mexico, eventually attracted international attention – and with it, sensationalist headlines – photographer Itzel Aguilera’s work engages with the complex realities of her city.

Believing women's narratives in Sweden and Norway

Too often women's oppression is sidelined as a lesser cause, and women's experiences dismissed, as two cases in Sweden and Norway show.

HIV and AIDS: language and the blame game

The negative and dehumanizing language used by scientists discussing global HIV policy is sapping the soul of those on the receiving end. The call for an alternative language of nature and nurture must be heard. 

AIDS targets: the fear factor

HIV is not just a health issue but a multi-sectoral issue that requires many different players. Is the UNAIDS HIV '90-90-90' fast-track initiative in Uganda achievable?

No experts, saviours or victims: women living with HIV

Beyond bio-medical models, recent research has enabled a better psycho-social understanding of how women can access HIV treatment, if they want to, in stressful daily conditions.

Wartime rape is no longer kept under wraps in Kosovo

Two recent milestones in Kosovo – an official monument recognising women’s suffering during the Kosovo War, and an art installation commemorating wartime rape – shows that change may be coming to a topic long taboo in the country.

Why are so many Syrian children being left stateless?

Syrian women advocates recognize the links between the crisis of statelessness and the lack of reproductive justice for women, and argue that control over their own fertility and legal status is paramount.

The political legacy of shame - a brief history of women, sex and legislation in the UK

For two centuries, British lawmakers have relied on shame to regulate women's sexual behaviour. Is this finally changing?

Analysing Aaronovitch: a sceptical narrative

Prosecution and conviction rates for sexual crime are lamentably low in the UK. If David Aaronovitch cares about 'genuine abuse', why isn't this what worries him more? Part Two.

Analysing Aaronovitch: has the scourge of ‘conspiracists’ become one himself?

David Aaronovitch claims ‘unbelievable’ notions about child abuse that ‘bewitched’ professionals decades ago are echoed in the VIP historic abuse cases. Where is his evidence? Part One.

Abortion in Chile: addressing the false debate of "pro-life vs pro-death"

Chile is one of only four countries in the world that prohibits all abortion, but for the first time in 25 years a law on therapeutic abortion is being seriously considered.

Don Juan of Kharkiv

Male western sex tourists who have long plagued Ukraine are now capitalising on the disappearance of local men, who have been called up to fight. Globalisation combined with sexism has left Ukraine with soaring HIV infections and gender violence.

Iraq's female citizens: prisoners of war

Iraqi woman human rights defender Yanar Mohammed spoke to Jennifer Allsopp at the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference about grass-roots responses to the atrocities women are facing under ISIS.

"It starts with us": Breaking one of Canada's best kept secrets

A coalition of women human rights defenders in Canada is demanding an end to state complicity, and a culture of impunity in the genocidal violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people.

Shelters without walls: women building protective infrastructures against rape

Women from Colombia, Syria, Nicaragua and Iraq are implementing multi-layered prevention strategies in their communities against rape being used as a weapon of war, offering immediate protection and countering stigma.

Hope as a survival strategy for Defensoras in Honduras

We're living in an undeclared war, staring into the eyes of death daily. People who don’t know the kind of insecurity women human rights defenders confront every day can’t imagine how hope helps us to survive.

Violence compared: rape in Turkey and India

There are striking similarities in the responses to rape and murder cases of women in India and Turkey: a predilection for punitive measures without addressing the root causes of violence.

When scarred female bodies demarcate the Indian subcontinent's polity

The Lightning Testimonies, an acclaimed feminist exhibition, comes to Assam, and its powerful images speak to the region's own legacies and women's often-sidelined stories.

Sex education in the UK: time for a far-reaching overhaul

Sex education in British schools is failing to educate children about consent and healthy relationships, or include LGBT issues and address harmful gender stereotypes. Do the government’s new plans go far enough?

The gender wars in Turkey: a litmus test of democracy?

The pent up fury and grief released by Özgecan Aslan’s attempted rape and gruesome murder reveal deep fault lines and simmering sources of disaffection in Turkish society.

Challenging Northern Ireland’s abortion law

The latest challenge to Northern Ireland’s abortion law is a very small step in the right direction, away from a post-conflict settlement in which women can be treated as secondary citizens. 

Lives of endurance: sanitizing crime against girls

How much longer will it take the global community to recognise the human dignity and worth of the girl child, and ensure the full enjoyment of her human rights and fundamental freedoms? 

Podemos and gender: nods and winks

Are the politics of Podemos as revolutionary as they claim, or are they just the same set of rules in a new format for yet another club for the boys?

CSW: the vital need to defend women human rights defenders

We deserve that you put aside your ideological, political and religious differences and fully recognize and affirm the human rights of women and girls and gender justice. Nothing less. Lydia Alpizar speaking at the UN CSW

Movements, money and social change: how to advance women’s rights

At the UN CSW underway in New York, a statement signed by almost 1000 women’s rights organizations calls out the lack of ambition for the scale of the issues at stake, and for real resources and accountability.

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