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This week's editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Persecuted beyond borders: why Italy needs LGBT refugee shelters

LGBT refugees fleeing torture, violence and discrimination often find persecution has followed them to Europe. Reception centres are beginning to respond to urgent needs.

Is Liberia's Sirleaf really standing up for women?

President Sirleaf's promise to campaign for women candidates in Liberia's upcoming elections comes too little, too late.

Show me the money: the fight for funding and accountability for women’s rights

Aid donors, governments and the United Nations have made many commitments to gender equality. Their actions have been less impressive.

“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.

“Change can start from us”: Roma women in Italy fight for their rights

A new generation of Roma women is rising up against multiple forms of discrimination, to claim their rights to jobs, education, and healthcare.

Pakistan’s jirgas: buying peace at the expense of women’s rights?

Why are foreign donors so enthusiastic about alternative dispute mechanisms when they deliver second class justice for women?

After Everest: can mountaineering tackle gender myths in Sri Lanka?

Mountaineering is an elite sport, but becoming the first Sri Lankan to summit Everest has given me a rare public platform to challenge gender stereotypes.

Too many Afghan women in London face racism, sexism – and unwanted pregnancies

Recent research on Afghan immigrant women in London has revealed a multi-layered crisis. What can be done to address this, and to empower them?

A fatwa against sexual violence: the story of a historic congress of female Islamic scholars

Can women interpret Islamic law? Scholars who think so recently gathered in Indonesia, where fatwas were also issued against child marriage and environmental degradation.

What could a multi-million euro arts festival offer struggling communities in Greece?

The world-class €37 million Documenta arts festival comes to Athens and brings challenging questions about art’s relevance amid economic and humanitarian crises.

Women as wartime rapists: a new book explores 'the impossible'

Academic Laura Sjoberg argues that our gendered assumptions about sexual violence in conflict limit our understanding of these crimes.

In pictures: female FARC fighters' daily lives in a demobilisation camp

“Welcome to a territory of peace.” Earlier this year, thousands of FARC combatants moved to demobilisation camps as part of historic peace accords in Colombia.

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.

#OpérationRobe: confronting everyday sexism in France

In 2012, then-minister Cécile Duflot was cat-called in parliament. Last week, the dress she wore made a comeback in a new campaign.

Electoral reform is a feminist issue

The next UK parliament will not be gender-balanced. If we’re serious about this, we’d look at what other countries, and electoral systems, have achieved.

Inciting soldiers to rape in the Philippines

Duterte offered immunity to soldiers that commit rape in the current anti-terror campaign in Mindanao. It could make him liable for indictment for war crimes.

"This is a war": Inside the global "pro-family" movement against abortion and LGBT rights

At a recent summit in Budapest, anti-abortion celebrities and anti-gay rights activists gathered with their political allies waging a ‘spiritual war’ for the ‘traditional family.’

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.

Books for bleak times: a reading list from six British feminists

We asked Caroline Criado-Perez, Sarah Ditum, Helen Lewis, Nimco Ali, Joanna Walsh, and Bidisha which books inspire and empower them during bleak political times.

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.

Fighting violence against women: what happens when an organisation fails to follow its values

This is the anonymised true story of the premature death of one women's organisation. Its experience is not unique, and we must do better.

“Men have no idea what we go through”: ending violence against women in the Pacific Islands

Leaders of Pacific Island countries have introduced new initiatives to tackle violence against women – but they're largely missing the mark.

Video: Voices from the 2017 Nobel Women's Initiative conference

Participants at the 2017 Nobel Women's Initiative conference talk about memory, activism after trauma, what women's movements can learn from each other – and much more.

Yoga in Bogotá: imprisoned female FARC combatants look to the future

In a Bogotá women's prison, dozens of FARC combatants remain behind bars – but that hasn’t stopped them from making plans for political, and personal, transitions ahead. Español

What would a world without barriers to feminist solidarity look like?

Citizenship is a duty that transcends borders. Jennifer Allsopp reports for 50.50 from the first day of the 2017 Nobel Women's Initiative conference. 

How to fight gun violence in Trump’s America

We must double down on grassroots, community activism. Even with Trump in office, women can and must organize to end gun violence. This article is part of 50.50's coverage of the 2017 Nobel Women's Initiative conference.

A feminist revolution demands climate justice

To change everything, it takes everyone, and to fight oppression, we must fight it in all forms, at all times. This article is part of 50.50's coverage of the 2017 Nobel Women's Initiative conference. 

Women fight back: from survive to thrive

In the Trumpian world writ large, the feminist struggle is more acute than ever. 13-16 May, the Nobel Women’s Initiative brings activists to Germany to strategise about advancing women’s rights while opening democratic space.

There are more women at Sri Lanka’s universities – but they remain spaces dominated by men

Now is not the time for complacency. Universities should produce critical thinkers – and questioning gendered norms and expectations is a crucial part of this.

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.

Is the Philippines really the best country for female social entrepreneurs?

Social enterprises have helped empower women across the Philippines – but they need support to thrive.

Testosterone Rex: is the hormone the essence of masculinity, or is it far more complex?

Cordelia Fine talks about her new book – and how viewing risk as a “male” characteristic can mean we overlook risks to women’s lives.

Gender and fundamentalism: when religion muscles in on development

The truism that there cannot be real development without women’s participation needs a caveat: women’s rights cannot be achieved while religious forces are involved in development.

Nagaland and the fight for a women's quota

Tribal bodies dominated by men, protesting against a 33 percent reservation for women to participate in public office, have brought parts of Nagaland to a standstill.

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.

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