This week's editor

Mariam Ali

Mariam Ali is Associate Editor for openDemocracy's Arab Awakening page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Farkhunda paid for Afghanistan's culture of impunity

How can we interpret the lynching of Farkhunda by an angry mob in the heart of Kabul city? What are its implications for the future of Afghanistan?

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?

Lives of endurance: sanitizing crime against girls

How much longer will it take the global community to recognise the human dignity and worth of the girl child, and ensure the full enjoyment of her human rights and fundamental freedoms? 

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.

CSW: the vital need to defend women human rights defenders

We deserve that you put aside your ideological, political and religious differences and fully recognize and affirm the human rights of women and girls and gender justice. Nothing less. Lydia Alpizar speaking at the UN CSW

The "best time to be born female": the worst to be a feminist advocate

Twenty years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action - a pivotal moment in the women’s human rights movement - governments are arguably less able to serve as torch-bearers than celebrities, philanthropists and popular icons.

Movements, money and social change: how to advance women’s rights

At the UN CSW underway in New York, a statement signed by almost 1000 women’s rights organizations calls out the lack of ambition for the scale of the issues at stake, and for real resources and accountability.

Yarl’s Wood: legal black hole

Women in Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre have become increasingly desperate as repeated rounds of legal aid cuts introduced by the UK Government have made it more difficult for them to access justice.

The missing link in women's human rights

Gender incompetent policies and hierarchical understandings of rights dominate global economic governance programmes. Integrating a feminist political economy into the analysis reveals the interconnections of structural inequalities that underlie women’s subordination.

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

Death at Yarl’s Wood: Women in mourning, women in fear

Abuse at Yarl's Wood immigration detention centre is finally mainstream news. When a woman died at Yarl’s Wood in 2014, a woman who knew her inside spoke by phone to Jennifer Allsopp.

 

Women seeking asylum: closing the protection gap

Globally the British government is pushing for better protections for women, yet the same protections are unavailable to those seeking asylum. Asylum Aid is asking why a quarter of women’s claims are overturned on appeal.

The world's girls: no voice, no rights

How can we address the global threat to women's rights with no space for girls’ - or even women’s - voices at the UN? How will we design a post-2015 framework that responds to the needs of the most marginalized?

Women living with HIV: a matter of safety and respect

Last month the results of a global survey on women living with HIV were published. The survey was designed and conducted by women, and commissioned by the World Health Organisation. Will the findings be acted upon? 

Trapped: women fleeing violence in the UK

The raft of cuts affecting the women's sector, and election promises made by Labour and the Conservatives not to increase public spending, represent the biggest threat to domestic violence services and to women’s lives.

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 cuts hit home: austerity in Oxford

Across the UK different services are bearing the brunt of cuts in different areas. In Oxfordshire, the county which encompasses the Prime Minister's constituency, domestic violence and homelessness services are facing a staggering 38% cut in funding. 

#SetHerFree: a spectrum of solidarity for refugee women

The campaign against detaining refugee women must be part of the movement against violence against women and girls. Agnes Woolley reports from the National Refugee Women’s Conference in London.

The triple whammy: towards the eclipse of women’s rights

Caught in the cross-fire of political opportunism, neo-liberal triumphalism and geopolitical adventurism, feminist platforms are in retreat. Only a politics of coalition building can avert their eclipse.

Ched Evans: football in the eye of a perfect storm

This feels like the first time that sex and violence, football, capitalism and democracy have crashed into each other in a perfect storm. Has the Ched Evans debacle not only shamed UK football, but changed it?

Women defenders of human rights: the good, the great and the gutsy

Harriet Wistrich is a beacon in the darkness that threatens to engulf the British legal system today with massive cuts in legal aid, and the prevailing culture of disbelief of asylum seekers and women escaping violence.

Laurie Penny on Unspeakable Things

Laurie Penny’s latest book ‘Unspeakable Things’ touches upon the unspeakable: “how sex and money and power police our dreams”, and why we need a mutiny against the social, economic and sexual counter-revolution.

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.

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. 

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."

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.

Young feminists: resisting the tide of fundamentalisms

Fundamentalism is a root cause of multiple forms of violence experienced by young women and trans*youth worldwide. Young feminists human rights defenders are key actors in this space.

Women in prison: the cycle of violence

Most women in prison in Britain have experienced sexual or domestic violence, yet the system fails to address their needs and further victimises them. For some, it is the end of the road.

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.

What will it take to end violence against women in the UK?

A decade on from the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, progressive policy, laws and attitudes are being undermined by draconian cuts to legal aid which are drastically reducing access to legislation put in place to protect women against violence.

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 Handmaid's Tale of El Salvador

Poverty, misogyny, and Christian fundamentalism in El Salvador lie behind the prison sentences of up to forty years handed down to seventeen women who were arrested for the crime of abortion, but sentenced for murder.

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