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

Putting Women and Girls at the Center of the Future Development Goals

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, chief of UN Women

What happened at the annual United Nations women’s conference this year? Over 10 days of both mercifully brief and far-too-long speeches by policy people, government ministers, UN staff members and a wide array of other experts, the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women ended on a hush. It was as if everyone … 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

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

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

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

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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