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This week's editor

Rosemary Belcher-2.jpg

Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Repeal the Eighth: putting intersectionality into practice

A long-established conservative media frames the terms of abortion politics in Ireland. The pro-choice activism challenges dominant discourses with the inclusivity and diversity of the movement exemplifying how to put intersectionality into practice.

The fraught road to justice: Sri Lankan victims of sexual violence

As more women testify about their experience of sexual violence in Sri Lanka the path to redress does not become smoother. What stands in the way of a just response to these wrongs?

A life of hope lived in defiance of violence: Rebecca Masika Katsuva

“They think when they’re raped that their lives are shattered. But we’d like them to know that it’s not the end of the world" - Rebecca Masika Katsuva. (1966 - 2016)


Refugee women in the UK: Pushing a stone into the sea

From personal experience I know that arrival in the UK for asylum seekers does not signal safety, but reform is a ‘chaser game’: refugee women are pressuring the Home Office to improve decision making and end detention, says Beatrice Botomani.

The dishonourable killing of a Pakistani social media celebrity

Qandeel Baloch’s murder fuelled the debate over women’s sexuality, their lives, and their deaths. Her ‘honour’ killing could bring about changes in Pakistan’s legal structure.

Self-care in a digital space

For feminist activists, burnout is the norm. How can we best preserve collective wellbeing while practicing security in the digital world?

The women of the rivers and forests have feminist debate?

Beyond the reach of the internet and television in northern Brazil, feminist activism in the forests, on the boats and in the camps is sowing the seeds of a revolutionary and decolonial movement. Read Part 1.

Between tradition and feminism: modern Amazonas

“We have our world and we are building feminism into it.” In the last two decades there has been a rebirth of the Amazons in the struggle for women's rights. Part 1. Part 2.

Stay Woke: sustaining feminist organising in an uncertain world

Autonomous feminist spaces must be guarded jealously. They are an important lifeline for feminists to re-charge and breath in a world that remains hostile to women’s freedom. We must stay woke.

Feminist Futures: building collective power for rights and justice

In times of unprecedented repression and violence, AWID’s upcoming International Forum aims to transform diverse sites of activism into a powerful interconnected web of new alliances.

Justice and accountability for war related sexual violence in Sri Lanka

As the testimonies of survivors of sexual violence in Sri Lanka’s long war enter the public domain and the government designs transitional justice mechanisms, is an end to impunity in sight?

Questioning rape in China

China is witnessing more and more spontaneous protests and online discussions against rape and the deeper structural issues that lie behind questions of sexuality.

A deadly politics of wealth: femicide in India

Census data shows that poverty and illiteracy are not key factors in India’s female genocide as many assume. The survival of girls is determined by a patriarchal politics of wealth control.

Why the backlash against dowry laws in India?

The backlash against gender-just law which seeks to protect women against dowry violence reveals the full extent of the patriarchal mindset that underpins the criminal justice system in India.

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.

I shall leave as my city turns to dust: Queens of Syria and women in war

In ‘Queens of Syria’, ancient Greek tales of loss and dislocation in conflict echo through to the contemporary realities of Syrian women refugees, whose experiences of war and exile have often been ignored

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.

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. 

For domestic abuse survivors, Kosovo’s justice system can be fatal

Proponents of family values preach respect for mothers, but expect those same mothers to simply endure abuse within their homes in silence - normalizing violence for generations to come.

Transnational marriage abandonment: A new form of violence against women?

Transnational marriage abandonment lies at the intersect of immigration and patriarchal control, allowing abusers and states to enjoy impunity for violations committed against women in transnational spaces.

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.


Sexual violence and the culture of impunity in Nagaland

Perpetrators of sexual violence escape justice, while their victims are trapped between exhortations by women's advocacy groups not to ‘suffer quietly' and the social stigma attached to sexual violence.

'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.

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

Behind the murder of Berta Cáceres: corporate complicity

The corporate denial of violation of human rights in the death of Berta Cáceres reveals the web of complicities and impunity that prompted her assassination.

Does the caste system really not exist in Bengal?

Bengali middle class society is seen as casteless because caste violence lacks visibility. One woman’s story of working as a teacher shows how caste intersects with gender to reproduce discriminatory practices.

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: ending impunity for gender-based crimes against women refugees

The CSW has called on UN member states to "address sexual and gender-based violence as an integral and prioritized part of every humanitarian response". Civil society groups expected more.

Sexual harassment in Kosovo: no longer invisible

A video of a woman walking in Prishtina being sexually harassed 50 times in 8 hours and publication of the first quantitative data on the harassment of women counter the argument that it's not a widespread problem.

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.

Berta’s struggle is our global struggle…

Berta Cáceres’s assassination is a painful reminder of the way in which a trinity of corporate, government and military interests creates a tapestry of capitalist power structures, making for an often deadly struggle.

Millions rising to stop male violence

Annual Million Women Rise marches, started in 2007 by Sabrina Qureshi, give a platform and visibility to women worldwide at the forefront of experiencing, and combatting, violence against women and children.

The global pulse of young feminists organising

Young feminists are organising across movements in an intersectional way, locally, nationally and regionally, and they are using artivism and technology as core tools in their work. 

The confinement of Eve: resolving Ebola, Zika and HIV with women’s bodies?

There are parallels between three major newsworthy viruses, Ebola, HIV and Zika, in relation to the global public health response and persistent and often toxic gender stereotypes. Español

Breaking Free: a women's movement in Indian universities

Female students in Delhi are protesting against their hostels resembling prisons - arguing that restricting women’s freedom is not a way to ensure safety: it is society that must be made safe for women.

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