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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

16 Days: asset stripping the women’s sector in the UK

The quality of service in the independent women's sector is no guarantee against the future as the British government continues its assault on specialist women’s services protecting women from violence. 

Women, peace and security: the UN's rhetoric-reality gap

UN Security Council resolution 2242 passed with overwhelming support. but effective implementation was immediately called into question when the Russian Ambassador then spoke out against the resolution’s key provisions.

UN calls for women’s engagement in countering violent extremism: but at what cost?

Women are already on the frontlines of violent extremism. Engaging with them is not about instrumentalizing them but about building and recognizing their agency.

Life with a dissident in China: searching for ‘horizontal freedom’

The role of women in house churches in China reminds us of both the social malleability of religion and the complexity of female agency.

Oscar Pistorius: shooting to kill

Can a white man be morally absolved if it is decided that he meant to shoot an ‘imaginary black intruder’ rather than his girlfriend? Apartheid and patriarchy underpin Pistorius' trial.

The promise of gender parity: Turkey’s People’s Democratic Party (HDP)

The Turkish HDP's egalitarian gender ideology played a key role in the election of a record number of women to parliament in June's election. Can these gains be sustained in the political turmoil ahead? 

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.

Has Ukraine's 'Revolution of Dignity' left women behind?

Ukraine’s Euromaidan revolution called for dignity and justice, but almost two years later gender equality is not a priority on the Ukrainian political agenda – not even for female lawmakers.

Preventing violent extremism: a noose that is both too tight and too loose

The British government's programme to counter violent extremism hands religious fundamentalists the gift of a narrative of victimhood, narrowing the political space for secular feminists and others to challenge fundamentalism.

Fierce Attachments: feminist memoir and female relationships

The re-issue of Vivian Gornick’s memoir ‘Fierce Attachments’ highlights the rich tradition in feminist writing of taking the complexities of female relationships seriously.

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.

On the frontline: women building peace

Gender is a matter of international peace and security. The anniversary of SCR 1325 provides a platform to reclaim the actions and power of women to shape global peace and security in new ways.

The hopes of the pro-Kurdish HDP in Turkey in spite of turmoil and violence

Is Turkey poised on the brink of the violent conflict of the 90s? Or does the entry of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) into Parliament offer shoots of hope for an alternative path?

"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

Why doesn’t patriarchy die?

The prevailing common sense that things can only get better, that men and women are equal – virtually – is confronted by the vigour of patriarchal divisions of labour and sexism in popular culture. 

Faultlines, refugees, and the law

The refugee crisis in Europe has challenged many accepted truths, and shown that the solution lies in applying international human rights law to override political manoeuvring.

The overlooked history of women against feminism

Anti-feminists do not hold an obvious place within feminist history, but the tradition dates back to the late-18th century.

The refugee crisis: demilitarising masculinities

Photos emerging from the borders of Europe weave a new narrative around what it means to be vulnerable, to be a man, to say no to war and to be a refugee.

Jeremy Corbyn and women: a matter of policy not appointment

Media responses have pointed to the lack of women in the new shadow cabinet, but the policy response to austerity will have more impact on women's lives in the UK.

India's wandering women with cameras

The feminist documentary film festival in Mumbai, ‘Wandering Women’, opens up questions of how gender identity in Indian contexts can be explored through film.

Friendship and violence: the genius of Elena Ferrante

Elena Ferrante’s novels have become a word of mouth success, despite the Italian literary world’s snobbery, because they capture the complex inner world of female friendships and women’s experiences.

Unlimited parental leave: progress or PR coup?

The new Netflix employee perk doesn't stand up to scrutiny, but softens their brand.

Separate and isolated: women and cuts to English language classes

Two thirds of English for speakers of other languages students are women, yet the British government is slashing funding whilst complaining about a lack of integration.

Women's working lives in the ‘new’ university

Is there room for any women other than the "exceptional woman", let alone women with children, in the new hyper-stratified university?

RIP NLP: Five lessons from the life and death of New Left Project

If we want a diverse and democratic media landscape, we need to figure out how to fund it.

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.

Jeremy Corbyn and women’s experiences of austerity

Jeremy Corbyn’s bid for Labour Party leadership may also mean that the damage of austerity, particularly to women, is finally being recognised. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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