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This week's editor

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Rosemary Bechler is openDemocracy’s Editor. She introduces this week's special issue with the World Forum for Democracy, asking "Democracy and Equality: Does Education Matter?"

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Escaping domestic violence: ‘according to the law, you are not here’

Many women survivors of violence in Europe cannot access support services because of their migration status. The right to live free from violence should be based on presence in a territory not legal status.  

On India’s Republic Day, we must remember Kunan Poshpora

As the Kunan Poshpora mass rape hearings continue, we talk to the co-author of a book which seeks to remember the 1991 events as an act of resistance.

Towards a feminist United Nations: a six-point agenda for the new SG

Leading feminist thinkers and UN staff, past and present, have articulated six key recommendations for António Guterres, the new Secretary-General.

The Indian judiciary are paper tigers

In the final of a three-part series dealing with the law on domestic violence in India, we focus on the failures of a patriarchal judiciary to protect women adequately in cases of domestic violence. 

Seeking justice for rape by the state in Bastar, India

For tribal women living in the Bastar region of central India, sexual abuse at the hands of security forces has become routine. The state government has now been challenged to take responsibility.

António Guterres: The Ninth Man

How will UN Secretary-General António Guterres demonstrate the UN's intention to resist the rising tide of misogyny in the US and the global wave of misogynistic nationalism?

The Sharia debate in the UK: who will listen to our voices?

Over 300 abused women have signed a statement opposing Sharia courts and religious bodies, warning of the growing threat to their rights and to their collective struggles for security and independence.

The voice of Berta Cáceres has become the voice of millions

Graffiti on the walls in Honduras - Berta Vive! Teenagers chanting as they march - Berta Caceres Flores, sown in the heart of all rebellions !  Berta didn’t die, she multiplied.

A long road: domestic violence law in China

After 20 years of campaigning by women’s rights activists, China now has its first domestic violence law. The challenge ahead is to make it work to guarantee the safety of women and children.

One woman’s brush with Sharia courts in the UK: "It ruined my life forever"

“My daughter and I appeared before the Sharia court at Regent's Park mosque in London. They were not interested in anything we had to say, the whole process was shocking.”

How will António Guterres tackle the UN’s gender problem ?

Can António Guterres make good on his promises to advance gender equality as UN Secretary-General, or will “politics trump gender” once again in an organization that stands for us all?

Honduras: the battle to protect women human rights defenders

Protection of women human rights defenders must be based on recognizing not only their existence, but also their contribution to creating better societies.

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 demonstrating intersectionality in 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. Abuse directed at Caster Semenya lies at the centre of the AWID 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?

The journal Feminist Dissent creates 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.  

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