TOPIC: WOMEN

No Prosecutions for Female Genital Mutilation in Britain, So What Is the Problem?

NOTTINGHAM, England — Female genital mutilation has been illegal in England and Wales since 1985. Scotland has similar but separate legislation. Much more comprehensive laws forbidding the practice were introduced in 2003 and again in 2015, creating additional safeguards and stringent punishments for those practicing FGM, as it is known. Yet no one in Britain … Read more

In Iraqi Kurdistan, It’s a Life of Harsh Contrasts for Women and Girls

ERBIL, Iraq — Despite the war crimes being committed against women and girls in northern Iraq since the extremist group ISIS invaded two years ago, rejection of entrenched violence and discrimination against females may be taking root among pockets of the autonomous Kurdish region here. Yet in many ways, life for women and girls remains … Read more

Ending Female Cutting: Cause for Celebration or Worry?

It is not often that the word “clitoris” is uttered in public forums of the United Nations. Yet participants in the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation at UN headquarters recently heard that word repeatedly, along with poignant stories of survivors of the painful, bloody and sometimes-fatal procedure at an event marking the … Read more

The Legal Push to End Genital Cutting of Girls in the US and Abroad Progresses

Almost 20 years have passed since the genital mutilation of girls has been outlawed in the United States, but the traditional practice has continued to grow ever faster in recent years with increased immigration from parts of Africa where it is most common. It is estimated that more than 500,000 girls and women in the … Read more

 

With Mali in Political Turmoil, High FGM Rates Persist

BAMAKO, Mali — In the primarily Francophone and Anglophone region of West Africa, Mali is said to have one of the highest rates of female genital mutilation, with about 91 percent of girls and women having undergone the circumcision — a rate that has not only stayed stubbornly high but may also be inching upward. … Read more

An Italian Priest and a US Health Group Win the 2014 UN Population Prize

Putting a new focus on maternal health and obstetric fistula in particular, which devastates the lives of women and girls in many poor countries, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has given its 2014 UN Population Award to an Italian doctor working in Mozambique and to an American maternal and child health organization with programs … Read more

Vibrant Networking Keeps the Door Open for Arab Women

Women in Cairo protesting sexual harrassment

Throughout the media coverage in recent months of the tumultuous events in Egypt, little attention has been paid to Egyptian women, who may have the most to gain or to lose in any new political order that emerges in the country. Social media and dedicated Web sites are filling the gap for many women eager … Read more

A UN Expert on Women Who Refused to Be Silenced

Nafis Sadik

In the global annals of women’s rights defenders over the last half century, Nafis Sadik’s name will always rank high, though little may be known about her among the broad American public, focused as it usually is on Western feminists with Western issues. As head of the United Nations Population Fund in 1994, Sadik marshaled … 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

A Brave New Role for Thoraya Obaid, Former UNFPA Chief

Thoraya Obaid

The New Year began with a big step for Saudi women when King Abdullah appointed 30 of them to the kingdom’s traditionally all-male Shura Council, an advisory body that serves as a pale imitation of a legislature in the kingdom, which has no parliament. One of the new advisers is Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the former … Read more

UN and US Congress Act to Curtail Female Cutting Globally

Young girls in Sierra Leone about to be circumcised

Only four days before Christmas, when many minds were fixated on the year-end holidays, two important steps were taken almost unnoticed to combat female genital mutilation globally, raising hopes that millions of girls might be spared the excruciatingly painful and harmful yet persistent practice. In what Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “historic” UN action, the General … 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

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

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