In Congo, Listening to Rape Victims to Establish Trust

Justine Masika Bihamba

Justine Masika Bihamba’s work is centered in North Kivu Province in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where for about 12 years she has been fighting poverty and sexual violence, promoting peace and human rights and supporting war victims through psychological services, grants and medical care. The province has experienced tremendous conflict in the last … Read more

Cool Men Don’t Buy Sex

Ruchira Gupta, founder of Apne Aap

After Ruchira Gupta, an Indian journalist, produced an Emmy Award winning documentary, “The Selling of Innocents,” about trafficking of women and girls from Nepal to India, she and 22 other women, from Mumbai’s red-light district who were featured in the film, founded Apne Aap Women Worldwide in 2002. They wanted to forge a world where … Read more

Sexual Violence and AIDS, a Link That Starts at Youth

Girls with AIDS in Vietnam

The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, or Pepfar, announced that it was donating $5 million to Together for Girls, a public-private partnership, to address violence against not only girls but also boys, including harassment, rape and pornography or prostitution activities. Millions of girls are lured into prostitution every year, while about 73 million boys … Read more

GOINGS-ON

A Sierra Leonean Named to Sexual Violence in Conflict Post

Zainab Hawa Bangura of Sierra Leone

Zainab Hawa Bangura, the minister of health and sanitation in Sierra Leone, a country that not long ago rose from a brutal civil war, will take over in September as the United Nations special representative on sexual violence in conflict. Bangura, 52, who replaces Margot Wallstrom, 57, of Sweden, has also been the country’s minister … Read more

In Rural Senegal, Oyster Fishing Is Not a Hobby

Casamance women fishing for oysters.

BOUYOUYE, Senegal – I’m submerged waist-deep in brown water, trying my best to catch up with two fast-moving Senegalese women ahead of me. Jeannette Diatta, 40, thin-framed, and her curvier friend, Therese Diatta, 27, are wielding machetes like butter knives. Both women have protected their heads from the sun with colorful scarves. Bang! Yet another … Read more

It’s O.K. to Talk About Birth Control Again

Melinda Gates

Every once in a while an event takes place in relative obscurity that nonetheless holds the potential to change the world. That is not a small statement, but it may prove applicable in coming years to the family planning summit in London on July 11. Dozens of governments, United Nations agencies, foundations, research institutions, the … Read more

Promoting Women Starts Early, in First Grade

Women marching and chanting for an antislavery protest in Nouakchott, Mauritania's capital, on May 26, 2012. JOE PENNEY

With only three years left to reach an ambitious global deadline, tracking the eight Millennium Development Goals often seems like going around in circles. Perhaps no goal is better evidence of this than Goal 3: promote gender equality and empower women. So often does the empowerment of women, in one way or another, figure in … Read more

The Goal: Using Cookstoves to Change Women’s Lives

clay cookstove

As the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+ 20, opens on June 20 in Brazil, a final document continues to be hammered out with a focus on a worldwide green economy and related environmental issues. Chronic air pollution remains a big part of the dialogue, and one major source of dirty air … 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

The Spotlight Returns to Family Planning

Women's Senegalese soccer team

Almost two decades have passed since a groundbreaking global conference on population and development in Cairo declared that women had the right, alone or with a partner, to make decisions about the number of children they wanted. Nearly 20 years is long enough for a 14-year-old girl – in a rural Ethiopian village, a vast … 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

UN Leaders Call for a Global Review of Women’s Rights

women's conference

In an unusual joint call for action, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser of Qatar, are asking United Nations members to convene a world conference on women in 2015, the 20th anniversary of the path-breaking meeting in Beijing that broadly defined women’s rights and proposed actions to further … Read more

Don’t Women Travel, Too?

anna cooper

On the eve of the current session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Cora Weiss received her new United States passport. Weiss, president of the Hague Appeal for Peace, is well known around the United Nations as a strong supporter of women’s rights — and a globetrotter. Flipping through her 52-page passport (she … Read more

Paying Attention to the Hidden Strengths of Rural Women

commission on status of women

Rural women are worse off than their urban counterparts and their male neighbors. They are generally poorer, less educated, discriminated against and left with limited health care choices and jobs, yet they are classic behind-the scene doers, often performing most of the unpaid work at home and on farms, while producing a majority of the … Read more

Land Rights for Women Transform an Indian Village

In India, a title to land can literally be a passport to security. Everything from bank credit to legal proof of caste, income, residence, eligibility for government housing, admission to schools and colleges – and even bail for a jailed relative or friend – depends on holding land titles. In this report from the eastern … Read more

Assessing the Power of Farm Women: A New Approach

index of women farmers

As the world pins hopes on more effective farming to end cycles of hunger in many developing countries, an important factor holding back food production is a persistent cultural opposition to giving women more power over the land. Nearly half the farm labor in the developing countries is done by women, who are hardworking and … Read more

Unsafe Abortions Add to Global Maternal Deaths

Nearly half the abortions that take place worldwide are now unsafe, with women in parts of Africa and Latin America faring the worst, a new report by the World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute in New York says. A staggering 97 percent of abortions in Africa — 100 percent in regions across central and … Read more

Population Growth Threatens the Poorest

On the heels of the United Nations’ announcement that the global population crossed the 7 billion mark on Oct. 31, a timely report from the organization’s population division has broken down that big number to document where most births are taking place and the stresses they add to life among the world’s poorest people. While … Read more

Quietly, New US Policies Align With the UN

On Dec. 16, without fanfare, President Barack Obama issued an executive orderestablishing for the first time a global American policy to advance women’s roles in making and keeping peace. The absence or marginalization of women from international security affairs has been a cause of much United Nations attention for more than a decade, right up … Read more

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