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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.

Still no woman at the helm of the UN

António Guterres's election as the new UN Secretary-General is a stark illustration of how male-dominated decision-making means that female leadership is not just rare, but virtually inconceivable.

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.

Women’s equality will not come after the environmental revolution

Climate and environmental impacts are ravaging our planet, and women and marginalized groups are among those most affected.

Our movements and collective struggles thrive despite backlash

Activists across the world are re-imagining their strategies, and engaging in cross-movement collaboration, in response to a global crackdown. Español Português

Classifying bodies, denying freedoms

From sex to race, classification is a tool of oppression. Particularly examining abuse directed at Caster Semenya, this article looks ahead this week’s AWID International Forum’s theme ‘Bodily Integrity and Freedoms’. Português Español

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.

Building a bridge to the future: towards a feminist UN

What will it take for the world’s women to shift the UN away from its paradigm of patriarchy and gender inequality and implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?

Reclaiming Black women’s history: the Montgomery bus boycott 60 years on

With police violence against Black communities giving rise to the #Blacklivesmatter campaign, anniversaries of civil rights victories are an opportunity to bring to light the invisible actors behind historic moments. 

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?

Sharia, security and the church: dangers of the British Home Office Inquiry

Does the UK’s Sharia Review resemble the sharia ‘courts’: secretive procedures and discriminatory advisors? Are the Home Office and the Church ignoring conflicts of interest and evidence of discrimination?

Rhetoric meets reality: ending HIV and AIDS

Ending AIDS by 2030 is redundant rhetoric. It is meaningless without investment in community participation. Code red for action.

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.

The distance travelled: Beijing, Hillary, and women's rights

Hillary Rodham Clinton will need to listen to the voices of women working at grassroots on the frontline, and be prepared to use her power, should she win, to defend the human rights defenders.

HIV, AIDS and holistic healthcare: can spirituality and science meet?

The theme of next week's World Aids Conference in Durban, South Africa is 'Access, Equity, Rights Now'. Will its debates offer the whole answer to those preventing - or living with - HIV?

Feminist Dissent: why a new journal on gender and fundamentalism?

A new journal, Feminist Dissent, aims to create a space to interrogate the multi-faceted links between historical and resurgent religious fundamentalism and gender.

Nepali widows: changing colours, changing mindsets

The growing widows’ movement in Nepal is winning rights for single and widowed women, and challenging the deprivation and discriminatory practices that stem from age-old social norms and customs.

Refusing to recognise polygamy in the West: a solution or a soundbite?

Polygamy in the UK and the West raises many questions and challenges: integration of migrant communities, ensuring adherence to State laws, the role of Sharia courts and balancing freedom of religion and gender equality.

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

Ending HIV: ideology vs evidence at the UN

This week’s negotiations over the UN’s Political Declaration Ending AIDS are rife with circular debates, and sex, gender and sexuality are flashpoints of polarization. 

Choosing the next UN Secretary-General: real change ahead?

For the first time in the UN’s history, the global public is having the chance to hear about the individual agendas and the visions of all the nominees for next UN Secretary-General.

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.  

Rojava revolution: It’s raining women

In less than four years, the women’s umbrella organisation, Kongira Star, has set up an autonomous, grassroots, democratic structure which has resulted in shifting patriarchal mindsets and reversing gender discriminatory laws. Part 3.

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.

Yazidi women after slavery: trauma

Mental health care and support services are in short supply for the traumatized women who have escaped from ISIS slavery to the camps around Dohuk, exacerbating their long term trauma.

Legumes vs. labour rights: how Indian women pay for the cost of dal

A cooking project in Asia’s biggest informal settlement brings into focus the millions of workers denied a share in the world’s seventh-largest economy.

What is driving the increase in child marriage in Bangladesh?

Human rights activists in Bangladesh say that if draft legislation being considered by the government is passed it will enable parents to forcibly marry off girls as young as 14.

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.

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.

Seeking liberation, seeking comfort: women migrants in the UK

The UK Home Office continues to indefinitely detain people who have committed no crime, including pregnant women. Asylum seekers and refugees lead solidarity groups in the movement to end detention.

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.

Is the UN really moving toward gender equality?

New research raises the question of whether the UN is burying statistics on gender representation in order to cover up lack of progress.

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

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