This week's editor

Alex Sakalis, Editor

Alex Sakalis is associate editor of openDemocracy and co-edits the Can Europe Make It? page.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

"There’s nothing left" - women’s future under the Conservatives in the UK

With a Conservative victory in the UK election, even deeper cuts are looming for women already in poverty and at risk, and the suffering will become entrenched.

Holier than thou?: The anti-imperialist versus the local activist

Local gender activists in the Arab world face both censure from their own societies, and attacks by US-based anti-imperialist scholars who charge them with complicity with western imperialist designs.

World disarmament? Start by disarming masculinity

Massive world military spending is driven by the profit motive of the arms industry and politicians’ weaponized notion of ‘security’. But women peace activists also hold militarized masculinity to account.

Women human rights defenders: reigniting the embers

The profile of today’s front line activist is different to that of the freedom fighter of old. We need to see her in her wholeness. Jennifer Allsopp reports from the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference in the Netherlands.

Violence is not inevitable: It is a choice

In 1915 a thousand women met in the Hague to demand an end to war. A thousand women are doing so again this week. It is time the women were heard and their vision shared.

At the margins of visibility: recognising women human rights defenders

Every small act that stands up to patriarchy or to inequality, whether it is asking to go to school, or refusing to marry the man her father chooses, is an act of women's human rights defense.

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.

"It starts with us": Breaking one of Canada's best kept secrets

A coalition of women human rights defenders in Canada is demanding an end to state complicity, and a culture of impunity in the genocidal violence against Indigenous women, girls, and two-spirited people.

Hidden women human rights defenders in the UK

Without recognising the work of women who seek to protect human rights domestically, the UK government risks seeing the activist’s role as a stage of international development rather than as a core function of democracy. 

The personal is political: the journey of a feminist slogan

All successful slogans are subject to misappropriation: it is a sign of their success. The personal is political – but mind the gap.

When scarred female bodies demarcate the Indian subcontinent's polity

The Lightning Testimonies, an acclaimed feminist exhibition, comes to Assam, and its powerful images speak to the region's own legacies and women's often-sidelined stories.

The gender wars in Turkey: a litmus test of democracy?

The pent up fury and grief released by Özgecan Aslan’s attempted rape and gruesome murder reveal deep fault lines and simmering sources of disaffection in Turkish society.

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.

Building "a new Turkey": gender politics and the future of democracy

Can Turkey's government eschew gender equality, demonise the country's dynamic women's movement, and still prevent gender-based violence? Can a party that rejects gender equality be a force for democratisation?

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.

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.

Peace and reunification in Korea: in our life time

Women peacemakers are planning a peace walk across the De-Militarized Zone to bring global attention to the unresolved Korean War and amplify women’s leadership to help reunify the country.

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.

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?

Bikinis and babas: the gender subtext of clichés about Ukraine

In a conflict situation, humiliation of the enemy is frequently gendered. Yet the quasi-Orientalist tropes through which the west views Ukraine refracts both the country’s gender inequalities and its complicated feminist movements. 

#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.

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. 

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."

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.

Young feminists: resisting the tide of fundamentalisms

Fundamentalism is a root cause of multiple forms of violence experienced by young women and trans*youth worldwide. Young feminists human rights defenders are key actors in this space.

"It takes broken bones": authoritarianism and violence against women in Hungary

Right-wing discourse in Hungarian politics is matched by the government’s regressive handling of gender issues, as structural violence against the socially marginalised interplays with violence against women.

Responding to sexual abuse in the UK: class, race and culture

The failure of police to take seriously the young victims of sexual abuse in Rotherham who reported the crime, reveals the way in which who is and isn't taken seriously ties in with who is and isn't deemed worthless in Britain.

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?

The right to walk alone without fear

The Reclaim the Night marches through night-time city centres tap into a righteous and rising anger, and are a way to highlight that women have a human right to live free from the threat or reality of male violence.

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