Meet Sapana Malla, a Diligent Pioneer of Women’s Rights in Nepal

Sapana Malla of Nepal

As a lawyer, Sapana Pradhan Malla has pioneered women’s rights in Nepal, consistently advocating for equal inheritance, reproductive rights and women’s participation in politics. She has also been a politician herself, as a member Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, or parliament, from the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist Party, where she fought not only for equal rights for … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

In Kurdistan and Beyond, Honor Killings Remind Women They Are Worthless

A Kurdish woman in Erbil, Iraq.

KURDISTAN, Iraq — For many women in Kurdistan, life is anything but honorable. We have come to this autonomous region in northern Iraq as social anthropologists to research violence against women — particularly, honor killings — by interviewing local experts, including United Nations personnel. We were told by a Kurdish man here that women have … Read more

Russ Feingold on Congo: First, End the Conflict

Feingold boarding US Government plane

Last year marked major progress toward finding a peaceful resolution for the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s achingly long conflict, rooted in decades of civil war, regional incursions, ethnic tensions and resource pilfering. Throughout the many years, women have borne the brunt of the fighting, caught in the crossfire between rival militias and governments and … Read more

A Kenyan Says US Policy Could Advance Women’s Rights Everywhere

Wangechi Wachira-Moeg

Can a bill languishing in the United States Congress make a difference to half the people of a country more than 7,500 miles away? Yes, said Wangechi Wachira-Moegi, the executive director of an organization in Nairobi, Kenya, that works to bring justice to women in the courts and open opportunities for them in political leadership. … Read more

 

Congolese Rebel Leader Faces Broad Charges of Sex Crimes

Bosco Ntaganda

The first step to possibly try Bosco Ntaganda, a Congolese warlord born in Rwanda, for war crimes and crimes against humanity, began recently at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Ntaganda, who turned himself in to the court last year by going to the United States Embassy in Rwanda, allegedly committed the crimes as … Read more

A Rape Accusation in Northern Mali and the UN’s Awkward Response

A woman in Gao after the French attack in January 2013.

Now that Gao, a remote but critical outpost in northern Mali, has become a hub of military personnel — Mali Army, French troops and UN peacekeepers — to fend off terrorist incursions, it is also a simmering spot for sexual assaults and intimidation of women who live there. These acts are committed in the shadows … Read more

Unraveling Sexual Violence in Costa Rica and Throughout Latin America

Memorial femicide protest in Chile

For the past three decades, Costa Rica has carried out progressive steps to reduce violence against women, a major inhibitor of human and economic development in the country and throughout Latin America. While the issue has garnered more attention among the general public in recent years, it remains intertwined in the fabric of Latin American … Read more

In Cambodia, Silent Reactions to Sexual Violence May Be the Norm

Cambodian woman pulling a cart.

  PHNOM PENH — Kunthear Laut, a 33-year-old Cambodian woman, is a child of marital rape and a victim of two rapes as well as three attempts and at least five years of incest from her uncle. “A woman has to obey a man; otherwise he uses violence,” she said in an interview with PassBlue about … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

War Crimes Against Women and Girls Must Be Prosecuted

Three children walk to clean dishes in the Niger river in Gao, Mali.

  There is now overwhelming evidence that conflicts exacerbate pre-existing gender discrimination and put women and girls at heightened risk of sexual, physical and psychological violence. One appalling example of this evidence is the report recently to the Human Rights Council by the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, which highlights the threat and use … Read more

Signs of Transformation From the ‘Pink Ghetto of Gender’

Chad mother daughter

One question about women’s rights that may never go away is how to ensure that women are represented fairly in large organizations, like the United Nations. For now, work on “gender mainstreaming” may suffice by concentrating on small steps as opposed to devising wholesale solutions. As one expert has described the process, it is an … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

Congo Court Reparations Elude Sexual Violence Victims

Prayers in Congo

  At the United Nations Security Council’s ministerial meeting on securing peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the rest of the Great Lakes region on July 25, to be presided over by United States Secretary of State John Kerry, we will likely be reminded that Congo, often referred to as the “rape capital … Read more

Britain Steps Into the Battle Against War Rapists

M23 troops in Bunagana, Congo

LONDON — When Angelina Jolie and William Hague traveled to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in March, the Hollywood star and the British foreign minister naturally attracted attention. But what they came for — to announce a plan by the British government to bring war rapists to justice — might have been met with … Read more

 

WORLDVIEWS

Congolese Women Grow More Demanding of Local Governments

Collecting firewood at the Kanyaruchinya IDP camp, Congo

A global women’s organization with wide experience in peace-building recently brought together scores of prominent women from six African nations to take well-defined steps for dealing with the root causes of the persistent sexual violence occurring in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Declaring that peace in eastern Congo could bring peace to the entire Great Lakes area of … Read more

Nations Reject Gender Violence, but the Suffering Endures

Nepal flash mob

The 57th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women ended in mid-March more with a sigh of relief than with jubilation. The commission, comprising 45 national delegations, managed to reach a final agreement (which it could not do last year) without losing ground on women’s rights that had been gained, at … Read more

The Lethal Effects of Arms on Women

Stop rape in conflict event Colombia

­ The $100- to $120-billion international arms trade in 2012 intensified the internal conflicts in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo but also brought guns into homes in these countries, where men turned them against women. That was the message that the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom brought to an event … Read more

The Recipe for a Better World? Ending Violence Against Women and Girls

57th Commission on the Status of Women at the UN

Thousands of women worldwide flock to the Commission on the Status of Women’s conference at the United Nations every March, and this year is no exception, for good reason: the theme is eliminating and preventing all violence against women and girls. Violence is a phenomenon that all females can relate to day after day, however … Read more

 

For Muslim Women, a Careful Script to Combat Violence

Egyptian women protesting sexual harrasment and violence.

The saddest stories told by vulnerable women in villages or slum shacks across the developing world most often involve violence or subjugation that they must bear because they don’t know how, or don’t have the means, to escape a bad situation. In the poorest countries, women talk of being assaulted or intimidated at home, in … Read more

Misogyny Resurfaces, Everywhere

women solar engineers

As the first United Nations agency for women struggles for more sweeping support from governments, and advocates raise alarms that another international conference on women would be more dangerous than helpful to the cause, women in the United States also find themselves defending their rights as politics erode gains that have been made in the … Read more

Easing Afghan Women’s Burdens With a Hotline

UNDP women's hotline

Sanjar Qiam can readily recite examples of domestic abuse in his country, Afghanistan. “Just last week we received a call from neighbors,” Qiam, the director of a Kabul-based communications business, Gandeeray, recalled in a phone interview from his home in London, where he moved a few months ago. “‘There is a family,’ they said. “The … Read more

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