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This week’s World Forum for Democracy 2017 editors

Georgios Kolliarakis

Georgios Kolliarakis political scientist, is a senior researcher at the University of Frankfurt.

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Introducing this week’s theme: Media, parties and populism.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

How anti-abortion extremists are exploiting #BlackLivesMatter to vilify African-American women

Fighting anti-choice campaigns requires more than a gendered approach – reproductive justice demands direct anti-racist work too.

On the warpath: the young women leading Ireland’s campaign against abortion

Next year Ireland will hold a referendum on its controversial eighth amendment. Articulate, millennial “pro-life feminists” are leading the charge against reproductive rights.

Osunality: sex lessons from Africa

There’s what you think you know about sex in Africa. And then there are sensual and beautiful aspects of African sexuality and the African erotic.

“It’s so taboo but we want it so damn bad”: introducing 50.50 columnists Tiffany Mugo and Claudia Torrisi

These 50.50 authors will delight and challenge us with monthly comment and analysis about sexuality in Africa, and reportage on intersecting forms of oppression in Italy.

Reproductive rights on the move: refugee women in Greece struggle to access contraception

Half of female asylum-seekers in Europe are aged 18-34. With little control over their environments, how can they retain control over their bodies?

"They are coming for your children" – the rise of CitizenGo

The right-wing campaigning platform has coordinated mass online petitions – and offline actions. Its reach is growing, alarming human rights advocates. Español

The future of sex in Africa

Stigma and growing religious fundamentalism are preventing women from fully accessing a range of reproductive health services.

Coitus and conversation: the digital realm is taking sex to new levels

What is the future of sex? Forget robots and tech-enabled fornication. There is progressive potential in the digital world to engender healthier sexual practices.

Abortire in Italia: come l'obiezione di coscienza è diventata una minaccia per i diritti e la salute delle donne

Quasi 40 anni dopo la legalizzazione dell'aborto – tra proteste e movimenti di liberazione culturale – le donne faticano ancora ad accedere ai servizi essenziali. Read this article in English.

Abortion in Italy: how widespread 'conscientious objection' threatens women’s health and rights

Almost 40 years after abortion was legalised – amid mass protests and a broader cultural liberation movement – women still struggle to access crucial services. Leggi questo articolo in italiano.

Re-branding hate?: ultra-conservative organising under a "family-friendly" banner

Diverse groups are joining international “pro-family” alliances. Their common cause? To block and roll back feminist and sexual rights gains.

Sexual rights: off-limits for Indian women with disabilities?

Women with disabilities in India face routine violence, coercion and control over their sexual choices that would not be tolerated by non-disabled women.

How do we fight anti-rights fundamentalism at the United Nations?

An extract from the first report of a new initiative tracks how fundamentalist groups have embraced the UN as a site to foster conservative social change.

Monsters, jealousy and “sick love” — how the Italian media covers violence against women

Statistics give partial pictures of gender-based violence in Italy – but the language used to cover such violence can be even more misleading.

Older women living with HIV in the UK: discrimination and broken confidentiality

Women accessing HIV care services in the UK report being told to use separate cutlery, being refused help to shower, and having visitors being told by care workers not to associate with them.

'Faith and family': shrinking common ground at the UN CSW

The Worldwide Organization for Women took a hard line against all forms of comprehensive sexual education, often provided by UN bodies, highlighting ideological differences within the CSW.

Queer and trans issues are sidelined again at the United Nations CSW

The language of sexual orientation and gender identity remains absent from the draft conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women, despite progress made by LBTI advocates.

Feminist pacifism or passive-ism?

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. In the face of increasing femicide, sexual violence and rape culture, we need to confront the question of women’s self-defence.

Out of the box: Megan Prescott on Skins, bodybuilding and busting gender roles

Megan Prescott discusses her experiences of gender inequality, public scrutiny and subverting stereotypes as a young actress, writer and competitive bodybuilder.

India's female genital mutilation: a thousand-year-old secret

So little was known, until recently, about the secretive practice of FGM in a small  Muslim community that India is not even on the UN’s list of FGM countries.

Under Trump, we are all women

The same strategies used against women for decades by the Christian right and the anti-abortion movement are now, under Donald Trump's presidency, being turned on the American people as a whole.

A jail, not a shelter: women’s refuges in India

On the tenth anniversary of a major law dealing with domestic violence in India, we explore how the poor quality of refuge provision impacts on women’s choices. (Part 2 of a three-part series.)

Is the Indian law on domestic violence fit for purpose?

In the first of this three part series, we examine the effectiveness of one of the major planks of the domestic violence law in India: the post of Protection Officers.

Sex work: not prohibited, not permitted

Criminalization sets a context in which the range of human rights violations experienced by sex workers is validated. Cross-movement collaboration on decriminalizing sex work is needed, now, more than ever.

The Sharia debate in the UK: who will listen to our voices?

Over 300 abused women have signed a statement opposing Sharia courts and religious bodies, warning of the growing threat to their rights and to their collective struggles for security and independence.

To exist is to resist: Million Women Rise

March 11th 2017 will mark the tenth anniversary of Million Women Rise's annual procession and rally to call an end to all forms of male violence against all women. It is more important than ever this year to show our resistance.

Suffragists, actresses and activists do it: 100 years of self-defence

Wherever women are confronted with violence, they try to protect themselves. When this resistance becomes collective, women's self-defence has at times been at the forefront of feminist efforts.

16 Days: survivors and activists at the centre

The field of violence against women is an argumentative space. 16 Days offers an opportunity to reflect, to be inspired and moved by women who have survived, our tireless campaigners and re-sisters. 

Dangerous journeys: violence against women migrants in Turkey

Syrian women migrants in Turkey face many forms of violence - sexual harassment, forced and early marriage, polygamy and trafficking for sexual exploitation. The perpetrators include soldiers, border officers and migration officers.

"We are not the women with black eyes."

Women who have survived abuse are changemakers. It’s time to involve companies in creating a paradigm shift in labour integration, to stop the double victimisation and social exclusion of survivors

Are universities preventing violence against women?

Sexual harassment of women students is rife and violence against women in universities is commonplace. Are universities reflecting cultural norms of violence against women instead of shaping new norms?

What lies beneath prostitution policy in New Zealand?

The rosy rhetoric that surrounds prostitution policy in New Zealand is being exposed by survivors of the prostitution system and the way that harm is glossed over by defenders of this approach.

The Italian mafia and violence against women

In the name of “culture” and “honour” young girls born into the ‘ndrangheta mafia in Calabria lose their sense of identity. Those who seek freedom pay a terrible price.  

A move to set free child sex abusers: in the name of “our culture”

Recent law reform initiatives on sexual crimes against children in Turkey reveal the growing danger for women and girls, and the need to interrogate the myths and biases underlying the “our culture” discourse.

Lesbians at the heart of the movement to end men’s violence

Feminist lesbians have been passionate activists from the beginning of the movement against men’s violence and remain an inspiration for women to live independently of men.

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