This week's editor

Heather McRobie

Heather McRobie is an editor at 5050.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Creating peace: a manifesto for the 21st century

How does an international women’s organisation with a hundred year history put Mahatma Gandhi’s famous call to action into practice in 2015? Marion Bowman reports from the centenary congress of WILPF

Violence is not inevitable: It is a choice

In 1915 a thousand women met in the Hague to demand an end to war. A thousand women are doing so again this week. It is time the women were heard and their vision shared.

Why we need a feminist foreign policy to stop war

Feminist foreign policy is au courant, but what does it mean in practice? Foreign policy informed by feminist analysis must confront masculine hegemonies in state military-industrial complexes that fuel and fund conflicts.

Hidden women human rights defenders in the UK

Without recognising the work of women who seek to protect human rights domestically, the UK government risks seeing the activist’s role as a stage of international development rather than as a core function of democracy. 

Violence compared: rape in Turkey and India

There are striking similarities in the responses to rape and murder cases of women in India and Turkey: a predilection for punitive measures without addressing the root causes of violence.

The personal is political: the journey of a feminist slogan

All successful slogans are subject to misappropriation: it is a sign of their success. The personal is political – but mind the gap.

Men in charge? Rethinking authority in Muslim legal tradition

The new book Men in Charge? shows that the assumption that God gave men authority over women is a theological fiction that became a legal fiction, whose main function now is to sustain gender inequality. 

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.

When scarred female bodies demarcate the Indian subcontinent's polity

The Lightning Testimonies, an acclaimed feminist exhibition, comes to Assam, and its powerful images speak to the region's own legacies and women's often-sidelined stories.

Labour, life and love: Marxist feminists join the dots

Last weekend two generations of international feminists met at a conference in Berlin designed to prompt fresh thinking on Marxist feminist theory and inspire the renewal of a socialist feminist movement.

Building "a new Turkey": gender politics and the future of democracy

Can Turkey's government eschew gender equality, demonise the country's dynamic women's movement, and still prevent gender-based violence? Can a party that rejects gender equality be a force for democratisation?

Tunisia's fight against fundamentalism: an interview with Amel Grami

In conversations with Karima Bennoune, Tunisian intellectual Amel Grami shares her analysis of the political crisis in Tunisia during the rule of the Ennahda party, and the strategies needed to defeat fundamentalism.

Egyptian women's rights: no time for dissent

The act of dissent should match the need for equality, rather than the time for equality. In the fight for a right, there are no divisions.

Disposable Girls

The fight to protect the world's girls, whether from sexual exploitation or abduction, is not about saving individuals. It is about profound structural change in the hierarchical power relations of patriarchy.

The madame's story: renegotiating Cairo’s informal service sector

The Egyptian Government’s anti-terrorism measures are causing subtle but significant shifts in Cairo’s vibrant informal service sector - illustrated through the experiences of one middle-class resident and her long-serving part-time cleaner. Read part one of this two-part article: The maid's story.

The maid's story: renegotiating Cairo’s informal service sector

The Egyptian Government’s anti-terrorism measures are causing subtle but significant shifts in Cairo’s vibrant informal service sector- illustrated through the experiences of one middle-class resident and her long-serving part-time cleaner. Read part two of this two-part article: The madame's story.

Women and science: time to cut the Neurotrash

Opportunities need to be made for young girls to identify with science while providing fairer employment for working scientists. It's time to end the 'neurosexism' in education and the media.

Domestic violence in Sri Lanka: the power of alternative discourse

The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act has opened up an important and new discursive ‘space of struggle’ to debate patriarchal privilege, the sanctity of the family, and the ‘meaning’ of domestic violence in Sri Lanka

Shackles different from my own: building an intergenerational women's movement

Inclusion and representation are at the centre of the many struggles for women's human rights, and are equally important in multigenerational organising to maintain the rhythm and longevity of our feminisms.

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.

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.

Addressing 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?

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