This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Where your conscience can take you: North Korea

On 24 May, thirty women peacebuilders will walk across 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.

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.

Creating peace: a manifesto for the 21st century

How does an international women’s organisation with a hundred year history put Mahatma Gandhi’s famous call to action into practice in 2015? Marion Bowman reports from the centenary congress of WILPF

Violence is not inevitable: It is a choice

In 1915 a thousand women met in the Hague to demand an end to war. A thousand women are doing so again this week. It is time the women were heard and their vision shared.

The distance travelled: Beijing, Hillary, and women's rights

Hillary Rodham Clinton will need to listen to listen to the voices of women working at grassroots on the frontline, and be prepared to use her power, should she win, to defend the human rights defenders.

Awaiting justice: Indigenous resistance in the tar sands of Canada

The Nation of the Lubicon Cree is on the frontlines of environmental destruction, as it challenges the forces behind resource extraction and environmental and cultural genocide, and seeks justice for all.

Iranian women human rights defenders: challenges and opportunities

If President Rouhani honours his promises and 'de-securitises' the general atmosphere, the work of women human rights defenders could lead to significant and tangible change towards ensuring human rights for Iranian citizens.

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.

Debating the long and the short-term view of sexual violence in war

Sexualized violence is an issue of security.  It is also an issue of women’s equality and rights. It's imperative that we use the traction generated by UN Security Council resolutions to move forward.

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.

The personal is political: the journey of a feminist slogan

All successful slogans are subject to misappropriation: it is a sign of their success. The personal is political – but mind the gap.

Scrapping Trident: the holistic approach

This is a key moment in the long history of nuclear disarmament in the UK, and Nicola Sturgeon's tactics place women’s critical voice firmly in the debate.

Men in charge? Rethinking authority in Muslim legal tradition

The new book Men in Charge? shows that the assumption that God gave men authority over women is a theological fiction that became a legal fiction, whose main function now is to sustain gender inequality. 

Sharia law, apostasy and secularism

Opposing religious fundamentalism is a dangerous political activity. It is not a distraction from ‘real’ politics - the demands of social justice and civil liberties - but a pre-condition for achieving them.

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.

What does the Stormont House Agreement mean for women in Northern Ireland?

The Stormont House Agreement ended a political crisis, but it brings women no closer to economic equality or equal participation in building a sustainable peace.

Labour, life and love: Marxist feminists join the dots

Last weekend two generations of international feminists met at a conference in Berlin designed to prompt fresh thinking on Marxist feminist theory and inspire the renewal of a socialist feminist movement.

Building "a new Turkey": gender politics and the future of democracy

Can Turkey's government eschew gender equality, demonise the country's dynamic women's movement, and still prevent gender-based violence? Can a party that rejects gender equality be a force for democratisation?

This is what a feminist foreign policy looks like

Margot Wallström’s decision not to sell arms to Saudi Arabia demonstrates the fundamental rethink needed to achieve a feminist foreign policy. Herein lies women's power to stop war. 

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. 

Tunisia's fight against fundamentalism: an interview with Amel Grami

In conversations with Karima Bennoune, Tunisian intellectual Amel Grami shares her analysis of the political crisis in Tunisia during the rule of the Ennahda party, and the strategies needed to defeat fundamentalism.

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