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

So You Want to Be a Furnace Cleaner? Nyet!

Belarus stadium

If you are an aspiring snowmobile driver in Kazakhstan and happen to be a woman, you’re out of luck. The same goes for operating cranes at sea, among other labor-intensive jobs in the country, which bans women from dozens of such positions. It could be worse. In Russia alone, women are barred from 456 types … 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

 

For Many Latin American Women, Abuse Never Lets Up

Bolivian Women in Oruro

Latin American and Caribbean nations have pulled ahead of most other developing regions on numerous measures of economic growth and human progress in recent years. The region has one of the world’s lowest poverty levels; hunger has been reduced to under 5 percent of the regional population; primary school enrollment rivals that of rich nations; … 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

It’s Down to Latin America v. Africa to Lead UN Women

Alcinda Abreu, environment minister of Mozambique

After several months of public speculation at the United Nations, two candidates are now in tight contention for the executive director post of UN Women, the main agency tasked with promoting the treatment and rights of women worldwide since it began operating in January 2011. Rebeca Grynspan, 57, is one contender. Since 2010, she has … 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

 

WORLDVIEWS

Eight Ways to End Poverty Now

Infant in Niger

NEW HAVEN — As the Millennium Development Goals reach their deadline of 2015, the United Nations, international policy partners and governments are already tasked with creating a set of new goals to continue to work toward ending poverty worldwide. They ought to learn four crucial lessons from the MDG experience: 1. The targets and monitoring … Read more

Life for Women and Girls in Afghanistan Grows Deadlier

Afghan woman in a burqa, Kabul.

With the deadline for the departure of American and NATO troops from Afghanistan just a year away, civilian casualties in the country remain alarmingly high, says a new report from the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (Unama). Although the report said the number of casualties had decreased for the first time in six years, … Read more

GOINGS-ON

Michelle Bachelet, UN Women Chief, Resigns

Michelle Bachelet, the head of the United Nations agency promoting the rights of women and gender equality, has told Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that she is stepping down after two years in the job. Bachelet, a former Chilean president, is likely to run for president of her country again in elections this fall. She made the announcement about … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

UN Women’s Conference Agreement Is Under Assault

UN Commission on the STatus of Women

As the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women’s annual conference enters its final week, the political agendas of different countries are reflected in the deep divisions over how to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls, the theme this year. Furious arguments are going on over the use of such language as … 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

Women, Storm Sentinels of the South Pacific

Papua New Guinea women broadcaster and journalist

When hugely damaging natural disasters strike in developing nations, many deaths occur because warnings and lifesaving advice do not reach people in the path of violent storms, floods or other threats. Decades of calls for better communications and disaster preparedness could not prevent 130,000 people from dying in Bangladesh in a 1991 cyclone, nearly 300,000 … Read more

Gender Parity in Upper-Level UN Jobs Remains Elusive

Ban Ki-moon of the UN

This year, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has so far appointed 55 people to high-level positions. Twelve of the appointees, nearly 22 percent, are women, filling roles like the special representative for children and armed conflict and the executive director of the World Food Program. Some of the people Ban appointed include Zainab Hawa Bangura … 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

 

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

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

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

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