This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Breastfeeding is a human right, but does society truly enable women to breastfeed?

We know breast is best, but the challenges of juggling work and motherhood still throw up insurmountable barriers for women.

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.

Women post-recession: moving towards insecurity

After the recession, the rise in casual and precarious contracts is entrenching gender inequality in the UK.

Doing gender justice in northern Uganda

The efforts of NGOs and international organisations to gradually nudge post-war northern Uganda towards a ‘gender just society’ ignore the fact that gender equality also has real enemies.

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.

Pirates of the European Union

Only when we approach gender equality mainstreaming in a more strategic way can we claim that gender equality is a fundamental principle of European Union Common Security and Defence Policy missions.

Pragna Patel: a politics of hope and not hate

"At the heart of my work is the idea that human beings are to be intrinsically valued, that we can all co-exist through mutual respect and rights."  - Pragna Patel

Cuba: through her eyes

What do Cuban women imagine for their country’s future? In the wake of recent reforms, Cyd Bernstein talks to four women leaders about feminism, culture and cultivating change.

Towards Plan F: planning for a feminist economy in the UK

Feminists must reject mainstream austerity rhetoric and challenge politicians to adopt an alternative 'Plan F' to bring about equality between women and men on the basis of a caring and sustainable economy.

Women's paid and unpaid work, and the colonial hangover

At the International Association for Feminist Economics conference, social scientists, researchers and economists agree that women's work is still undervalued globally, and dogged by an enduring subconscious colonial mindset.

In celebration of African literature: Africa Writes 2015

For the past 6,000 years, Africans have been writing. Africa Writes 2015, a three-day festival in London, explored the continuation of this tradition in all its contemporary forms.

Sick and tired: Sri Lankan domestic workers fight back against violence

As protesters demand justice for domestic workers after a brutal assault, isn't it time we all became sick and tired of violence and exploitation hidden away from the public sphere in the home?

Women of Kosovo: a mirage of freedom and equality

A female President and political discourse that trades in 'gender equality' can't paper over the continued corrosive effects of patriarchy in Kosovo, from property law to social taboos.

Haki Stërmilli’s 'If I Were a Boy': the first Albanian feminist manifesto

Haki Stërmilli 1936 novel If I Were a Boy portrays the contemporary problems of Albanian society that stem from a misogynistic mindset, and deserves to be (re-)read today.

After Tim Hunt: another science is possible

After the widespread reaction to Tim Hunt’s comments on women in science, it’s time to unpick the various hierarchies that stifle scientific debates and practice. 

Jeju island and the war mindset in Asia and the Pacific

Jeju is called the Island of Peace, but in spite of seven years of constant large protests it's where the South Korean military has almost finished construction of a new naval base. 

Race, caste and gender in France

Criminalizing Islam in the name of feminism is fundamentally paradoxical: Anti-racism and anti-sexism must work together. 

Gender and tax justice

The heart of tax injustice is gender dominance, the language of secrecy, and an industry and culture which under free-market rules has normalised the subjugation and exclusion of women.

Are photos of ‘badass protester girls’ really so badass?

In the recent Macedonian protests, as elsewhere, female protesters are treated as iconic symbols rather than as active participants

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.

Where your conscience can take you: North Korea

On 24 May, thirty women peacebuilders crossed the De-Militarized Zone that separates Korean families. Ann Wright describes her journey from serving in the US Army to citizen diplomat walking for peace.

Hope's song: my companion in life's journey

On my way from Zimbabwe to Amsterdam I shared a seat with a man called Musi. He was curious about how I became a feminist and wondered if I was not borrowing western ideology...

"There’s nothing left" - women’s future under the Conservatives in the UK

With a Conservative victory in the UK election, even deeper cuts are looming for women already in poverty and at risk, and the suffering will become entrenched.

Libya: "Rejoicing at our bloody democracy"

For sustainable peace, the UN must refuse to sanction militarism as the default response to unwanted migration and invest in grassroots women and youth human rights defenders.

The feminist parties redefining Scandinavian politics

Sweden’s Feminist Initiative party is reshaping politics in the country – and beyond 

Holier than thou?: The anti-imperialist versus the local activist

Local gender activists in the Arab world face both censure from their own societies, and attacks by US-based anti-imperialist scholars who charge them with complicity with western imperialist designs.

The masculinisation of complexity

You would think a peace movement would be the least patriarchal of all social movements but you can masculinise anything. Feminist understanding challenges what it really takes to make peace.

World disarmament? Start by disarming masculinity

Massive world military spending is driven by the profit motive of the arms industry and politicians’ weaponized notion of ‘security’. But women peace activists also hold militarized masculinity to account.

There are more of us who want peace than want the killing to continue

The ‘utopian’ slur against peacemakers is defeatist propaganda for pro-war, pro-militarisation and securitisation interests and the military-industrial complex. Marion Bowman reports from WILPF's Centenary Conference in the Hague.

The pacifist dilemma: women peacemakers’ responses to Islamic State

Can non-violent strategies defeat the new fascism of Islamic State and its allies? Women peace makers’ hopes and doubts recall the rift in the peace movement when Nazism threatened Europe.

Speaking truth to power at the UN

"This may be the last time our voice is heard here…" excerpt from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom Statement to the UN‘s Conference on Disarmament. WILPF's centeranry conference opens today in the Hague.

Women's power to stop war: rereading Virginia Woolf

Three Guineas was published in 1938 but it remains startlingly relevant. War will not end while women are kept out of power and while power is governed on the historic terms that men established.

Security is not just CCTV: valuing ourselves is security

It feels as if the entire world has been given over to the most perverse notions of 'safety'  that are really about death and destruction, cruelty and conflict, grandiosity and greed. Marion Bowman reports from the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference in the Netherlands.

Women human rights defenders: reigniting the embers

The profile of today’s front line activist is different to that of the freedom fighter of old. We need to see her in her wholeness. Jennifer Allsopp reports from the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference in the Netherlands.

Mairead Maguire: breaking the silence on Palestine

Palestinian women human rights defenders and peace makers, in resisting the injustices being perpetrated upon their people, deserve our support and we must each do what we can to break the silence.

Syndicate content