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This week's editor

GK

Guest editor Ronan Harrington introduces this week's theme: Spirituality and Visionary Politics.

Ronan is a freelance political strategist and co-creator of Alter Ego, a gathering exploring the future of progressive politics.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

From colonials to corporates: maternal mortality in Assam’s tea gardens

For the women employed in the tea gardens of Assam, pregnancy is a life-threatening ordeal. An interactive exhibition records the struggle of Adivasi mothers across the decades for better conditions.  

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.

 

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.

UN CSW: debating women’s reproductive rights or a “culture of death” ?

In a cynical ploy, conservative religious groups based in the Global North now frame reproductive rights advocacy in the Global South as the neocolonialist imposition of a uniquely western value system.

CSW: groundbreaking US support for sexual rights

With the 60th UN Commission on the Status of Women underway in New York, the decision by the US to support sexual and reproductive health and rights - at last - presents a real opportunity to move the agenda forward.

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

When does the violation of women's bodies become a "red line"?

If people divide their understanding of militarized violence into normal and not normal, acceptable and not acceptable, it makes a terrible kind of sense: violence against women has been "normalized".

Gender lenses and refugee assistance

Gender matters greatly in any form of third party assistance. Refugee camps are not sanctuaries from violence if they are not safe for women and girls.

Welcome to our house: women living with HIV

The largest survey on women living with HIV, commissioned by the World Health Organisation, has revealed the stark truth about the gender-based violence and mental health challenges that positive women face.

16 Days: cutting Black and minority ethnic women's organisations

The EU Victims Directive comes into force this month. Will it prevent the further decimation of Black and minority ethnic organisations offering specialised services to women facing violence in the UK? 

Mapping women's resistance to social and ecological degradation

Women coming together to cross pollinate ideas and build understanding about differing burdens, responsibilities, and solutions is an essential part of worldwide efforts to restore the health of the planet.

Amnesty International: should sex work be decriminalized?

As Amnesty International meets to consider a resolution that calls for the decriminalization of sex work, those in favour argue it would be a step forward for the rights of sex workers.

Nobody Left Behind? The lives of indigenous women with HIV

HIV rates are driven by widespread global inequalities. What will it take to put the human rights of indigenous women living with HIV on the global map?

Breastfeeding is a human right, but does society truly enable women to breastfeed?

We know breast is best, but the challenges of juggling work and motherhood still throw up insurmountable barriers for women.

HIV and AIDS: language and the blame game

The negative and dehumanizing language used by scientists discussing global HIV policy is sapping the soul of those on the receiving end. The call for an alternative language of nature and nurture must be heard. 

AIDS targets: the fear factor

HIV is not just a health issue but a multi-sectoral issue that requires many different players. Is the UNAIDS HIV '90-90-90' fast-track initiative in Uganda achievable?

No experts, saviours or victims: women living with HIV

Beyond bio-medical models, recent research has enabled a better psycho-social understanding of how women can access HIV treatment, if they want to, in stressful daily conditions.

Big infrastructure: getting gender and the needs of women wrong

Infrastructural investment is back on the agenda, but gender is still being sidelined in development and across World Bank infrastructure projects.

The sexual and reproductive health issue you’ve probably never heard of….

Why is one of the most common gynaecological conditions in sub-Saharan Africa, schistosomiasis, misunderstood, under-researched and under-reported?

Conflict widows: agents of change and peacebuilding

The rise of religious fundamentalism and conflict is diminishing widows to the status of a chattel. Their key role as sole supporters of families must be prioritised in negotiations for conflict prevention and resolution.

Abortion in Chile: addressing the false debate of "pro-life vs pro-death"

Chile is one of only four countries in the world that prohibits all abortion, but for the first time in 25 years a law on therapeutic abortion is being seriously considered.

Nepal's earthquake: grassroots women as first responders

Networks of Nepali grassroots women are reconstituting protective guards against increased violence against women, and have compiled core guidelines for relief workers to ensure the particular needs of women and girls are met.

Women human rights defenders: protecting each other

With the continued failure of the UN to implement the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders twenty years after it was passed, women human rights defenders are still their own best support and protection network.   

Awaiting justice: Indigenous resistance in the tar sands of Canada

The Nation of the Lubicon Cree is on the frontlines of environmental destruction, as it challenges the forces behind resource extraction and environmental and cultural genocide, and seeks justice for all.

When austerity in the UK makes the poorest even poorer

Cuts to welfare reform in Northern Ireland, rolled out two years later than in the rest of the United Kingdom, look set to further impoverish women in an entirely predictable way.

Challenging Northern Ireland’s abortion law

The latest challenge to Northern Ireland’s abortion law is a very small step in the right direction, away from a post-conflict settlement in which women can be treated as secondary citizens. 

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? 

Podemos and gender: nods and winks

Are the politics of Podemos as revolutionary as they claim, or are they just the same set of rules in a new format for yet another club for the boys?

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.

Our bodies as battlegrounds

From Kyrgyzstan to Brazil and Sri Lanka, young feminists are trying to shift the debate over sexual and reproductive rights away from a focus on population control and the family unit, to the right of women to have bodily autonomy.

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.

Ebola: exposing the failure of international development

The Ebola crisis has revealed the consequences of deep-seated, unequal global social and economic relations that international development, as practised in recent decades, has had a role in creating.

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? 

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