Help us tell stories on women’s and LGBTIQ rights in the Eurasia region

We’re looking for stories that track the backlash against women’s and LGBTIQ rights, document the resistance or profile feminist media.

30 November 2020, 12.00am
Illustration: Inge Snip

Wherever you look, far-right and ultra-conservative movements are gaining strength – and even taking over governments. The backlash against human rights and social justice is alive and kicking across the world, from Poland to Brazil to the US.

Here at openDemocracy, we’re committed to exposing the religious and political movements, dark money and elite networks behind this backlash, and also in documenting resistance to it, in particular from women, LBTIQ groups and feminist media.

We’re now looking to expand our coverage of Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Russia, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

Stories we have published on the region include:

Our goal is to inform, challenge and empower our growing audience. We’re looking for vivid, tightly written stories packed with first-hand reporting and expert insight. We’re after thoughtful critiques and rigorous analysis, backed up by research.

These are our key projects:

Tracking the Backlash

Women and LGBTIQ people have won tremendous victories for rights and equality around the world. But organised networks, coordinating with one another across borders, are working to roll back or prevent more progress. Over the last year, our Tracking the Backlash project has published multi-part investigations into Christian conservative support for the far right in Europe and a major series on how vulnerable pregnant women around the world are being targeted with misinformation about their health and rights.

Documenting the Resistance

Empowering new voices and hearing directly from women, girls and gender nonconforming people leading struggles for social justice. We publish first-time writers and we’re particularly interested in proposals from writers from communities historically excluded in the media, including sex workers and indigenous women. For example, our 2020 Documenting the Resistance reporting fellow Claudia Torrisi recently profiled the women uniting across Europe to resist threats to abortion rights in Poland.

Feminist Media

This series celebrates feminist media and calls out sexist and racist media. These stories celebrate feminist investigative journalists, our thinking and how we position ourselves. Stories could be, but not are not limited to: an interview with your favourite author; a listicle of which feminist (media/bloggers/influencers) to follow in different regions; book extracts; how tech enables certain narratives on women’s rights; and reporting and investigative techniques by feminist journalists. As an example, see our recent round-up of the films that scare ultra-conservatives.

How to pitch?

Please email short pitches in English, Russian or Georgian, rather than fully written pieces.

These should be sent to [email protected] with “Eurasia pitch” in the subject line. Include a brief summary (no more than two or three short paragraphs) of your proposed article, along with a few notes about who you are, why you should write this piece, and why now. Tell us how it will add to or go beyond what has already been published (by openDemocracy or elsewhere). Include links where possible. Let us know when you could submit the piece and if you have access to any relevant multimedia assets that could help illustrate it.

Comment and analysis pieces should be 800-900 words. Features can be slightly longer, 1200-1400 words. Pitches for investigations, first-person accounts and photo essays are also welcome. Proposals with unique angles, under-represented perspectives and original analysis or reporting receive special attention.

We foster feminist collaboration in how we work with contributors. We publish first-time writers and we’ll prioritise the voices of black, brown, working-class, indigenous and migrant women, those from communities historically excluded in the media (such as sex workers), and LGBTIQ people being affected by the backlash against our rights and/or leading the resistance.

Please note that we receive an overwhelming number of pitches and tend to prioritise articles by women, trans and non-binary writers.

All accepted pieces will be paid. We commission about two articles a month. We will let you know within one month of receipt if your pitch has been accepted.

Empower and protect, don’t prohibit: a better approach to child work

Bans on child labour don’t work because they ignore why children work in the first place. That is why the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour will fail.

If we truly care about working children, we need to start trying to keep them safe in work rather than insisting that they end work entirely. Our panelists, all advocates for child workers, offer us a new way forward.

Join us for this free live event at 5pm UK time on Thursday 28 October.

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