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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Pathways is a partnership with the Institute of Development Studies, which is running a research and communications programme linking academics, activists and practitioners to find out 'what works' to empower women. openDemocracy brings you the voices and views of women working in Ghana, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Palestine, Sudan and Nigeria. Articles for the initiative include contributions by Srilatha Batliwala, Andrea Cornwall, Mulki Al-Sharmani, Cecilia Sardenberg, Takyiwaa Manuh (you can also listen to Takyiwaa's interview here), Firdous Azim, Naila Kabeer, Emily Esplen, Ana Alice Alcântara and Rosalind Eyben. See also the related blog.

The Wrong Turn: an open letter to my sistersRead also The Wrong Turn, a dialogue on feminism in American politics.

We would like to thank The Barrow Cadbury Trust and The Institute of Development Studies, Sussex University, for supporting this project.

Not the Church, Not the State? Gender equality in the crossfire

The challenge to platforms for gender equality comes not just from actors with fundamentalist agendas, but from a conjuncture where women’s rights have been opportunistically instrumentalized to serve geopolitical goals, and neo-liberal policies have severed social justice from gender equality concerns

Spirit, hope, money and a dose of patriarchy

A growing movement of African Christians are making waves at home and abroad with their ultra conservative interpretations of scripture. Far from a naïve embrace of conventional norms or a faithful embrace of scripture, these interpretations are emerging as clear political choices and are undermining women's rights struggles across the African continent

The Tea Party and the new right-wing Christian feminism

Why have American women become so active in the right wing Tea Party movement? Could it be that they are drawn to the new conservative Christian feminism publicized by Sarah Palin? Without its grassroots female supporters, the Tea Party would have far less appeal to voters who are frightened by economic insecurity, threats to moral purity and the gradual disappearance of a national white Christian culture.

Musawah: solidarity in diversity

In her concluding report from the launch of a global initiative to reform Muslim Family Law, Cassandra Balchin finds solidarity in diversity and a growing convergence around human rights values. 

Musawah: there cannot be justice without equality

Muslim scholars and activists from forty eight countries are today launching a global initiative insisting that in the twenty first century "there cannot be justice without equality" between men and women,

Home truths in the Muslim family

Sky rocketing rates of women's employment in Muslim countries and recent scholarship that has developed a vision of Islam that insists on equality between men and women, mean that the global pressure to reform Muslim family law is mounting, writes Cassandra Balchin.

Making women work for development - again

The shift of development policy and discourse away from gender equality and towards market-led growth is a regression that poses new challenges, says Rosalind Eyben.

Women and politics: the Brazil paradox

Despite an established and diverse women's movement, prominent in civil society, Brazil has one of the lowest rates of women's political participation in the world. Ana Alice Alcântara investigates a Brazilian paradox.

Men and gender justice: old debate, new perspective

The expanding intellectual interest in "masculinities" is welcome but needs greater involvement by gender-justice and women's-rights specialists if it is to be the vehicle of progress, says Emily Esplen.

Marriage, motherhood and masculinity in the global economy

The feminisation of labour markets around the world is having new and often unpredictable effects on the family and the social economy alike, finds Naila Kabeer.

Women and religion in Bangladesh: new paths

Islam's rising public profile in Bangladesh also offers opportunities for young urban women to make more of their own lives, finds a research project headed by Firdous Azim.

African women and domestic violence

The experience of using law to address the issue of domestic violence in Africa contains both positive and negative lessons for gender-equality campaigners, says Takyiwaa Manuh.

The right to abortion: briefing from Brazil

A long campaign by feminists in Brazil to reform the country's highly restrictive abortion laws is facing strong opposition from Catholic and conservative groups, says Cecilia Sardenberg.

Egypt’s family courts: route to empowerment?

The reform of Egypt’s family-law system was the outcome of a struggle to advance and guarantee women’s rights. Has the new system achieved this? In search of an answer, Mulki Al-Sharmani looks at the complex effects of the family-mediation process.

Pathways of women's empowerment

The dominant thinking about women and development has become mired in a progressive-sounding orthodoxy that fails to engage with the realities of women’s experience and aspirations around the world. The journey beyond “development-lite” is also the search for a new democracy, argues Andrea Cornwall.

Putting power back into empowerment

The political claim advanced by women in India via the idea of "empowerment" has been appropriated by their adversaries and false friends. It needs to be rewon for a fresh vision grounded in the experiences of poor women, says Srilatha Batliwala.
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