This week's editor

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald is Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Report thy neighbour: policing Sisi’s Egypt

A regime bereft of legitimacy, save for its promise to guarantee national security, turns citizens into active players in a new culture of surveillance and reporting.

Debating a 5th World Conference on Women: defiance or defeatism ?

The past four World Conferences on Women have galvanized activism and strengthened women's movement building. Now is the time to assess and rethink the decision not to convene a 5th global gathering of women.

Are we all beheaded Copts?: outrage in Libya

Is the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS in Libya associated with a broader political project of cleansing the region of religious minorities? Would this not deserve demonstrations of solidarity?

Rest in power, Assia Djebar

Why is it that the homeland always rejects its most erudite children? Latefa Guemar pays tribute to the feminist writer remembered for her intellectual honesty and unflinching stance against Algerian patriarchy, even from beyond its borders.

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.

Islam and the "culture of offence": missing the point

In the age of ISIS, dissent and criticism of religion is a life and death necessity. It has been - and remains - key for human progress.

Roast or toast? Mapping changes in violent men

Recognising that we have reached a stalemate in dealing with violent men, and an impasse in policy and research on perpetrator programmes, there is fresh interest in whether men can be engaged in a process of change.

Gendered paradoxes of Egypt’s transition

Four years after the downfall of Mubarak, women face a new patriarchal bargain: abandoning all forms of independent organizing in return for protection of their rights.

The ethics of feminist engagement: discussing feminism-as-imperialism

The responses by Saadia Toor and Deepa Kumar to Meredith Tax's article depend on a one-dimensional and tired discussion of a collusive feminism as the continuing source of justifications for imperialism.

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.

"Truth needs witnesses"

The column Saïd Mekbel published the day before he was assassinated in 1994 remains sadly topical today - recalling murdered journalists everywhere. Republished in tribute to the people killed today at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo

Women's rights have no country

There is no blueprint for holding fast against the arguments used to dismiss women's humanity, or defending our hard won human rights. It's time to meet, to brainstorm and try new formats.

Northern Ireland’s incomplete peace: young feminists speak out

Organising around a belief in feminism’s ability to articulate and represent visions of peace and politics, a new generation of feminists is emerging to challenge the traditional rigidity of Northern Irish politics. 

Article 11: feminists negotiating power in Egypt

Faced with unequal power relations at the negotiating table and authoritarian consolidation, a member of the 50-committee explores how feminist voices achieved leverage when drafting the 2014 Egyptian Constitution to include article 11. 

Military trials in Egypt: 2011-2014

More civilians have been tried in military courts in the three years since the revolution than during the whole of Mubarak’s authoritarian rule. What happened to the revolutionary cry for “bread, freedom and justice”?

Egypt: a reality too dark in which to glimpse hope?

The last known message from the Egyptian activist Zainab Mahdy reads, " It's like we're digging in water...There is no justice…I am aware of that…there is no victory coming…we are just lying to ourselves so that we can live."

Of canaries and coal mines

Are women the canaries in the coal mine, their ill treatment signalling larger problems within a society?  Or is there something deeper going on?  Might male-female relations actually be the coal mine itself?

British democracy and women's right to live free from violence

As the general election approaches in May 2015, women's organisations in the UK have issued the Women's Safety Manifesto. Politicians ignore it at their peril when it comes to the vote.

Progressive Muslims in a world of ISIS and Islamophobes

Ani Zonneveld, president of Muslims for Progressive Values, explains the struggle to organize progressive Muslim communities and institutions in a fight back in the era of ISIS.

Sexualized violence in Iraq: how to understand and fight it

Sexualised and gender-based violence in Iraq, highlighted in recent weeks in relation to ISIS atrocities, has been at the heart of sectarian and authoritarian politics and developments since 2003. How can we talk about it and mobilise against it?

Responding to sexual abuse in the UK: class, race and culture

The failure of police to take seriously the young victims of sexual abuse in Rotherham who reported the crime, reveals the way in which who is and isn't taken seriously ties in with who is and isn't deemed worthless in Britain.

Changing the behaviour of male perpetrators of domestic violence

Domestic violence shows no sign of abating. There is growing recognition that working with male perpetrators - alongside intervention and protection for women - is essential to reducing the violence that kills two women every week.

Masculine violence: call of duty, or call for change?

The much-hyped launch of a new gun-shooting video game this month reveals the thread of gender linking socially-endorsed militarism to criminal sexual assault. Where are the social programmes that would address the reshaping of masculinity?

The right to walk alone without fear

The Reclaim the Night marches through night-time city centres tap into a righteous and rising anger, and are a way to highlight that women have a human right to live free from the threat or reality of male violence.

Reeva Steenkamp: justice?

At the core of a global pandemic of violence against women rage two defining features of patriarchy: male privilege and male violence. Ché Ramsden argues that we must dig deeper to dismantle the culture(s) which make it acceptable to hate women.

Iran: a 'bloody stain' on the nation

The war on women continues to manifest itself in different forms and intensity globally; tarnishing all societies with a ‘bloody stain’. In Iran, hard-liner interpretations of Islamic principles dictate gender norms, violation of which can be fatal.

Abortion: Ireland's reckoning with Amendment 8

Calling for an end to a constitution that bans abortion - and kills women, a deep and broad based movement has sprung up in Ireland to change the constitution, and finally release women's bodies from church and state.

Oscar Pistorius: the South African story

The two versions of Oscar Pistorius presented by the state and the defence fit into a wider narrative of South African patriarchy, and not the other way around; solutions must therefore come from beyond the Pistorius trial.

Is denying a visa to Julien Blanc the wrong strategy?

More than 275,000 people have signed online petitions to stop Julien Blanc from entering the UK. Banning undesirables from entering Britain by invoking immigration laws has a long history, but is this the best way to tackle Blanc's racism and sexism?

G20: the union movement's fight for gender equality in the labour market

Women are more reliant on decent labour law, minimum wages and conditions, and labour market protections. Yet these minimum protections are continually under attack, and the reach of these safeguards against exploitation is declining.

G20: can women's human rights and economic growth co-exist?

Will the G20 adopt an approach that meets human rights standards for economic growth at the Brisbane Summit? More representation of women at the governance level is essential. Who is at the table matters.

A global sisterhood

A global feminism that transcends narrow national, cultural, religious and social boundaries is crucial. Radha Bhatt says that if feminism is to mean anything it must extend solidarity to those who are resisting oppression in a variety of different contexts.

Frozen progress: beyond the egg-freezing debate

Behind the headlines of Silicon Valley companies offering female employees the chance to freeze their eggs lie more fundamental unresolved questions of gender in the workplace – and the role of work in our lives.

It's time for feminists to Get In, not Lean In.

The practice of patriarchy as a form of social governance has brought us to the brink of a planet crisis. The current model is bankrupt. In the run up to the UK general election in 2015, Finn Mackay urges feminists to engage in all forms of political participation.

A safe space to reclaim ‘normal’

When a distorted ‘normal’ oppresses our daily lives and experiences, Ché Ramsden says that feminist conferences like Feminism in London 2014 are not only useful for education and discussion, planning and strengthening activism, but are excellent forms of respite from mainstream misogyny.

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