A Place for Women at the Table

Vandana Devi and Gulabi Bahadur, two elected women representatives from Jhabua district in Madhya Pradesh listen to UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet speak during the National Leadership Summit in Jaipur, India on 4 October 2012.

  A dozen years have passed since the United Nations Security Council made history by adopting a resolution that addressed women’s rights during conflicts and required their participation in preventing wars and in peace talks. Until Resolution 1325was approved, post-conflict reconstruction had been mostly the realm of those possessing the Y chromosome in the eyes … Read more

In the Mideast, Women’s Hopes Give Way to Harsh Realities

International_women_day_in_Egypt

Overshadowed by daily reports from a horrific war in Syria, lingering violence in Libya and sporadic protests in Egypt and other regional nations, a struggle to salvage and advance the rights of women caught up in the revolutions of the Arab Spring is reaching a crucial stage. Women who joined men in the streets, enduring … Read more

The UN General Assembly Takes Up a Once-Taboo Topic

Nepali woman dancing

  A growing movement within the United Nations to ban female genital mutilation globally has led to the first resolution to be written on the issue in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which will vote on the matter this month. Two Francophone countries in West Africa, Burkina Faso and Benin, have proposed the draft resolution … Read more

‘God Bless the Republic of Nauru and God Bless the United Nations’

Cristina Fernandez, president of Argentina

Many diplomats spoke their piece – if not rambled – at the newest United Nations General Assembly session this week, delivering speeches by at least 120 heads of state on a revolving door of themes. Yet in this sometimes theatrical, often wearying annual event held in New York, no one ranted along the lines of … 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

WORLDVIEWS

‘Songs of the Village’

Fatherless children in eastern Congo

The eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been experiencing cyclical wars since 1996, when the so-called war of liberation began. The fighting started in South Kivu Province and spread throughout the whole country, then called Zaire, until Mobutu Sese Seko, the Congolese dictator, was toppled less than a year later. Since then, … Read more

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

Support nonprofit journalism →
Left Menu Icon

Don't Miss a Story:

Subscribe to PassBlue

Sign up to get the smartest news on the UN by email, joining readers across the globe.​

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously​

Sign up to get the smartest news on the UN by email, joining readers across the globe.

We respect your privacy and take protecting it seriously

Don’t Miss a Story:

Subscribe to PassBlue