This week's editor

Mary Fitzgerald

Mary Fitzgerald is Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Trapped: women fleeing violence in the UK

The raft of cuts affecting the women's sector, and election promises made by Labour and the Conservatives not to increase public spending, represent the biggest threat to domestic violence services and to women’s lives.

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.

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?

Changing the behaviour of male perpetrators of domestic violence

Domestic violence shows no sign of abating. There is growing recognition that working with male perpetrators - alongside intervention and protection for women - is essential to reducing the violence that kills two women every week.

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?

Women peacebuilders: transforming the system from the inside out?

Navigating between cooperation and confrontation vis-à-vis institutions of power, as WILPF approaches its centenary it must continue to avoid cooptation into a system that produces the violence it abhors.

The Antis: anti-imperialist or anti-feminist?

A recent article on "imperialist feminism" accuses the US women's movement of being a cheerleader for American empire from the war in Afghanistan to the present. Is this a sectarian strategy that misses the target and attacks the liberals instead of the right?

G20 and corruption: why gender matters

Research indicates that when a gender participation "tipping point" has been reached there will be genuine change in policy direction and ultimate impact. If the G20 is serious about tackling corruption it needs more women leaders.

Why the G20 needs to tackle gender inequality: Brisbane and beyond

The G20 should listen to Oxfam and assess its agenda and actions based on how they support the fulfilment of women’s human rights and lead to gender equality. This is not a question of adding yet another issue to the G20 agenda.

G20: the union movement's fight for gender equality in the labour market

Women are more reliant on decent labour law, minimum wages and conditions, and labour market protections. Yet these minimum protections are continually under attack, and the reach of these safeguards against exploitation is declining.

G20: can women's human rights and economic growth co-exist?

Will the G20 adopt an approach that meets human rights standards for economic growth at the Brisbane Summit? More representation of women at the governance level is essential. Who is at the table matters.

Gender at the G20

If the G20 is serious about 'sustainable and balanced growth' as the 'premier forum for international economic cooperation', it needs to demonstrate its serious intent towards matters of gender equality at the G20 Leaders' Summit in Brisbane this weekend.

The human costs of 'fast-fashion': the power to change is in your hands

A living wage is a human right, and it is crucial that consumers are fully aware of the power in their hands. We’ll be on the right track only when we will see a £5 dress as a red flag, and not as a bargain.

A global sisterhood

A global feminism that transcends narrow national, cultural, religious and social boundaries is crucial. Radha Bhatt says that if feminism is to mean anything it must extend solidarity to those who are resisting oppression in a variety of different contexts.

Frozen progress: beyond the egg-freezing debate

Behind the headlines of Silicon Valley companies offering female employees the chance to freeze their eggs lie more fundamental unresolved questions of gender in the workplace – and the role of work in our lives.

It's time for feminists to Get In, not Lean In.

The practice of patriarchy as a form of social governance has brought us to the brink of a planet crisis. The current model is bankrupt. In the run up to the UK general election in 2015, Finn Mackay urges feminists to engage in all forms of political participation.

Claiming rights, facing fire: young feminist activists

The increased violence against young women human rights defenders needs to be matched by funders prepared to respond more directly to the priorities identified by young people. Ruby Johnson says shifting the framework of how funders work with young people is essential.

Confronting Ebola in Liberia: the gendered realities

In Liberia 75% of those who have been infected or killed from Ebola are women. Last month, a rapid assessment and gender analysis of the outbreak concluded that a gendered perspective on prevention, care, and post admission care is imperative.

Northern Ireland: a transformative strategy for women, peace and security

Moving beyond the paralysing difference of opinion about whether the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland constituted an armed conflict, women peacebuilders have produced a strategic guide which places international women, peace and security goals in a domestic framework for action.

Conscientious objection: Virginia Woolf's ideas live on

In her 1938 essay Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf defined patriarchy, militarism and nationalism as sources of war. Marta Correia finds Women in Black Belgrade acting out Woolf's call to 'disobedience' today - and paying a price.

Power and solidarity at the grassroots

In an age of professionalization, both of politicians and of activists, the journey of self-taught politicization of the Focus E15 mothers is a remarkable one – and an example of genuine, grass-roots politics in Britain. 

Redecorate, repopulate: what next for the E15 mums?

A group of young mothers have petitioned local government and occupied abandoned homes in Newham, London, calling for ‘social housing not social cleansing’. Here they discuss the growing movement to combat the housing crisis and prevent evictions.

Abortion rights: victory for women in Spain

As the political analysts get into their stride over the Spanish Government's decision to back down over mediaeval reforms to the current abortion law, citing everything from conspiracy theories to a feminist victory, the Catholic Church has taken a beating and is busy churning out hate messages.

Our duty to the stranger: Remembering Helen Bamber

Although Helen Bamber has been celebrated as an ‘iconic’ human rights defender, the most fitting way to honour her is to redirect our attention to the marginalised and silenced people to whom she devoted her life. We don’t have to look hard to find them.

Whose recovery?: Gendered austerity in the UK

The impact of government spending cuts, combined with structural sexism in the UK, means that for British women, news of an economic recovery means nothing to their daily lives.

Women and Wikipedia: science and engineering’s forgotten labour

A Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for National Women in Engineering Day addresses both the underrepresentation of female editors of Wikipedia and the underrepresentation of women in science and engineering.  

Migration and craft: reimagining the city

Through creative social enterprise, migrant and refugee women in Britain's second largest city have found a way to celebrate diversity and speak above and beyond the 'hostile' headlines, says Emma Daker.

'None of us have the right to be who we were': a tribute to a peacebuilder

Among Northern Ireland’s peacemakers Inez McCormack was unusual: she was an architect of the parallel peace process, which sought equality as the prerequisite of peace and reconciliation

'Peace will bring prosperity': Northern Ireland’s big lie?

Feminist and trades union activists are leading the fight back against neoliberal economic policies in Northern Ireland, arguing that genuine peace can only be built with women's participation in the economy on an equal footing, and within alternative, progressive and democratic economic systems. 

Women's emancipation and human rights: "Can These Bones Live?"

Is the human rights movement just a couple of big Northern organisations?  The emancipation of women is one of the greatest human rights issues, but Meredith Tax says experts still think they can answer these questions without taking women's human rights work into account

Is war ever justifiable? A divisive issue for women peacebuilders

There is no greater challenge to principled pacifism than intolerable oppression. The surge of nazism and fascism made the 1930s a testing time for those who, like the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom refused all military options.

Mazí Mas, “with us”

Women have played a seminal role in keeping food cultures all over the world alive. Nikandre Kopcke discusses her inspiration for setting up a pop-up restaurant which showcases the culinary talents and diverse cultural heritages of migrant women in London.

African feminist engagements with film

African feminist filmmakers and theorists reflect on the shifting roles of women working at all levels of the film and media industries on the continent, and the task of making films that challenge the existing fictions that misrepresent and distort women's realities.

Women in Northern Ireland: sharing the learning

In the last two years, more than 600 women peacebuilders have met on a cross-community and cross-border basis to share their experiences of working for peace in Northern Ireland. Lynn Carvill reports on the knowledge shared, as the struggle to build a just and lasting peace continues.

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