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This week's editor

En Liang Khong

En Liang Khong is openDemocracy’s assistant editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Crosstalk: HIV and linking across areas of criminalisation

In a moment of global attacks on civil society, an intersectional approach linking issues across HIV, sexuality, adult consensual sex and bodily integrity is critical.  Now, more than ever.

Choose a woman to lead the UN!

UN leaders and experts have sent an Open Letter to each member of the UN Security Council asking for the selection of a woman and gender equality champion as the next UN Secretary-General.

A lone raised hand: who will become the next UN Secretary-General ?

Six women and six men are competing to become the next UN Secretary-General. As the drama unfolds, it’s still not clear who will make the Security Council’s shortlist when it votes this week.

Feminist Dissent: why a new journal on gender and fundamentalism?

A new journal, Feminist Dissent, aims to create a space to interrogate the multi-faceted links between historical and resurgent religious fundamentalism and gender.

Nepali widows: changing colours, changing mindsets

The growing widows’ movement in Nepal is winning rights for single and widowed women, and challenging the deprivation and discriminatory practices that stem from age-old social norms and customs.

Who are they, these revolutionary Rojava women?

Meredith Tax just had to find out who they were - the revolutionary women of Rojava, bearing arms against ISIS, building a new world...she had to find their story, for herself, and in her new book, for us.

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. Part one. Part two. Part three.

Disembodying honour and exposing the politics behind it

The reaction to the public stripping of a Coptic grandmother in Upper Egypt reminds us of the power of popular campaigns to shame those who use embodied concepts of honour politically.

Whitewashing Sharia councils in the UK?

In an Open Letter to Theresa May, hundreds of women’s human rights organisations and campaigners warn against a further slide towards privatised justice and parallel legal systems.

Piece of Silk: "When story-telling is a matter of life and death"

The play, Piece of Silk, is a powerful study of the experiences of women survivors of domestic abuse - an experience that knows no ethnic, national or class boundaries. 

Myth-busting in defense of grassroots women crisis responders

False claims that deny the impact of grassroots women's crisis responses are diverting much needed resources away from the very people making the best use of them.

Rojava revolution: how deep is the change?

Is optimism in the future of revolutionary change misplaced in a region torn apart by war and a society where patriarchy has been so entrenched?  Part 6 of Witnessing the Rojava revolution.

Choosing the next UN Secretary-General: real change ahead?

For the first time in the UN’s history, the global public is having the chance to hear about the individual agendas and the visions of all the nominees for next UN Secretary-General.

Georgian migrant mothers: never to return home?

Older women migrants are locked into perpetual domestic work in New York, endlessly deferring retirement and returning home because their adult children in Georgia depend on their remittances.

Rojava revolution: on the hoof

Rojava is a fast moving, dynamic place where things change by the minute. What are the material conditions which support this woman-centred revolution ? Part 5 of 50.50's series  Witnessing the revolution in Rojava, northern Syria.

Poland: a total ban on abortion?

With unprecedented political momentum for a total ban on abortion in Poland, thousands are marching in protest and the Prime Minister is receiving coat hangers in the post.

 

China’s “leftover women” and the left-out system

Can a skin brand “change your destiny” in a socially empowering way? A video titled ‘Marriage Market Takeover’ seems to have done a good job, but not without an underlying agenda. 

Rojava revolution: reshaping masculinity

Rojava's battle with ISIS stronghold  Raqqa is not simply a military one, but an ideological one in which the position of women could not be more polarised. Part 4.

'The Devil is in the Details': development, women's rights and religious fundamentalisms

Dealing with the escalation of violence against women across the world requires a wider adoption of a feminist approach to working at the nexus of development, religious fundamentalisms and women’s rights.

Furthering freedom of religion and belief in Muslim-majority countries

Ballot boxes before a culture of toleration for diversity of beliefs takes root in the minds of people can make things worse. Secularization and freedom of religion are a precondition of democracy.

Will Iran’s new parliament improve women’s rights?

The problem was the Guardian Council, a body which has veto authority over any legislature, which in this case rejected all 33 bills introduced by women deputies.

Can porn be feminist? A conversation with Erika Lust

Feminist porn is sex on film showing women and men as sexual equals - that sex is something you do together, not just something that a man does to a woman

Rojava revolution: It’s raining women

In less than four years, the women’s umbrella organisation, Kongira Star, has set up an autonomous, grassroots, democratic structure which has resulted in shifting patriarchal mindsets and reversing gender discriminatory laws. Part 3.

From Pondi to Paris: Pondicherry's marriage market

Marriages between Pondicherrians who took French nationality in 1962, and those who chose to remain Indian, reveals a complicated range of ‘marriages of interest’ taking place today. Français

Rojava’s commitment to Jineolojî: the science of women

Travelling in Rojava is to witness the ways in which the different commitments to the revolution present a conundrum. How can one system satisfy the vast differences in human aspirations? Part 2. Part 1.

What is driving the increase in child marriage in Bangladesh?

Human rights activists in Bangladesh say that if draft legislation being considered by the government is passed it will enable parents to forcibly marry off girls as young as 14.

Hotel: a meditation on the meaning of 'home'

Joanna Walsh’s new book, Hotel, is a memoir of the breakdown of her marriage and the difficulties in leaving a relationship; and an exploration of our relationship with and within hotels.

A revolution for our times: Rojava, Northern Syria

Travelling in Rojava is to witness a revolution experimenting with a form of stateless, direct democracy with women’s liberation, race and class equality at the heart of it. Part 1.

UN CSW: debating women’s reproductive rights or a “culture of death” ?

In a cynical ploy, conservative religious groups based in the Global North now frame reproductive rights advocacy in the Global South as the neocolonialist imposition of a uniquely western value system.

UN CSW: engaging men and boys in ending violence against women as allies not protectors

Without a feminist lens, the expanding efforts to work with men and boys to promote gender justice are often patronizing and reinforce the idea that women need protection by men.

UN CSW: still failing to count all women

When will the CSW agree that without counting everyone, transwomen, lesbians and bisexuals included, gender equality will remain out of reach?

A woman’s place? The British House of Commons

The House of Commons exists to represent the people, yet the history of what constitutes ‘people’ has enshrined it as one of the UK’s most ‘pale, male and stale’ institutions.

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.

Rape testimony: pitting truths against rape culture

Women of the World (WOW) created a public, cultural space where women’s stories of survival and their manner of telling them expanded their particular narratives into the universal and political.

'Showing up': Intersectionality 101

Patriarchy, racism and capitalism are connected. Yet without an intersectional approach, movements forget marginalised people. Addressing Southbank Centre's WOW Festival, Kimberlé Crenshaw insisted that solidarity from allies is an entitlement.

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