This week's editor

Mariam Ali

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

Constitutional conventions: best practice

What does the Stormont House Agreement mean for women in Northern Ireland?

The Stormont House Agreement ended a political crisis, but it brings women no closer to economic equality or equal participation in building a sustainable peace.

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.

This is what a feminist foreign policy looks like

Margot Wallström’s decision not to sell arms to Saudi Arabia demonstrates the fundamental rethink needed to achieve a feminist foreign policy. Herein lies women's power to stop war. 

Walking together: imagining a new chapter in Korean history

The goal of the international women's walk across the De-Militarized Zone is to help bring peace and reunification to Korea, and to open a new dialogue marked by understanding, and -  ultimately - forgiveness.

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.

Awake to the challenge: African women's leadership at Beijing+20

If you randomly pick a person on the street in a remote part of any African country and ask them what they know about women’s rights, whatever the tone of voice - angry or excited, they are likely to mention “Beijing”.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

#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.

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.

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.

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. 

CEDAW and the quest of Iranian women for gender equality

A basic right for Iranian women could be guaranteed within an Islamic framework of governance provided those in government were inclined to interpret the faith in the spirit of equality, says Shirin Ebadi.

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.

Nuclear survivors' testimony: from hell to hope

Participants at the HINW Conference were screened for nuclear contamination yesterday, before listening to testimony from survivors mobilising for the abolition of nuclear weapons in what Pope Francis called "our common home."

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.

Gathering speed to ban nuclear weapons

The Third International Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons (HINW) opens in Vienna today, with arguments for humanitarian disarmament growing in strength. This time the UK and the US will attend. What will be the likely outcome?

The stories we tell about ISIS and women

Political and popular discussions about strategies to confront ISIS are doing women in Iraq and Syria a disservice, and playing into the hands of ISIS.

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?

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.

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