TOPIC: WOMEN

Thank You, UN, for Protecting the Rights of Women

There is still a long way to go to uphold the rights of women worldwide, and UN Women, a department of the Secretariat, is now carrying the torch in this struggle. It builds on the efforts of the UN human-rights program going back to the earliest days of the organization. For International Women’s Day, on … Read more

TOPIC: WOMEN

This Entrepreneur Shows Kenyans That Women Can Prosper in Business

Jennifer Riria, the chief executive of Kenya’s largest microfinance institution, grew up in a village at the top of Mount Kenya, the second-tallest mountain in Africa. Her birth was cause for disappointment: the fourth of her parents’ daughters. Her father abused her mother, and she grew up watching women carry firewood, water, food and children … 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

For Journalists Covering Climate Change, the Topic Goes Beyond Science

NEW ORLEANS — In this urban symbol of disaster unpreparedness, journalists who cover climate change and the environment gathered this month, almost exactly nine years after Hurricane Katrina tore this city apart, to swap stories and advice while brainstorming communally on their beat. In a world that is ever more intertwined, it was clear to … Read more

Women’s Feature Service: Mapping the Struggles of Feminism in India

Pamela Phillipose was editor of the Women’s Feature Service, the only syndicated news service in India with a gender perspective, for nearly six years, until she stepped down this year as editor in chief and director. She wore other hats for the publication as well, writing and photographing. The service began operating in India when … Read more

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BOOKS

Islamism and Politics: Going in Circles

It must be a drag to live in a strict Islamist regime: the legal system stems entirely from Islamic — sharia — law, in which adulterers are stoned to death, thieves have their hands chopped off, and the renunciation of Islam, or apostasy, is punishable by death. Liberal democracy? Gender equality and women’s rights? Forget … Read more

GOINGS-ON

A Norwegian Is Appointed the First Woman to Lead a UN Peacekeeping Force

General Kristin Lund of Norway

A Norwegian, Maj. Gen. Kristin Lund, has been named the force commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Cyprus. General Lund is the first woman to serve in the force commander position in a UN peacekeeping operation. She replaces Maj. Gen. Chao Liu of China in August 2014. The operation in Cyprus is considered … Read more

To End Deep Inequalities, Say Doyle and Stiglitz, Create a Ninth Development Goal

A girl holds an umbrella near the port in Guinea-Bissau's capital Bissau

Two leading international policy experts at Columbia University are calling for more action from individual governments to address inequalities within their borders, in effect adding a bold new goal to the eight measurements of progress reflected in the Millennium Development Goals. Their proposal comes as debate swirls around what the United Nations needs to do … Read more

More Women Sit on the UN Security Council, but What Does It Mean?

Joy Ogwu, Nigerian ambassador to the UN

As increasing numbers of women embark on careers as diplomats, the United Nations headquarters in New York is slowly but surely undergoing a big change in demographics: the female-to-male ratio of diplomats is becoming — dare it be possible — more balanced. Of the UN’s 193 member countries, about 30 women currently represent their nations … Read more

Calling the UN to Account to Stop the HIV/AIDS Scourge

Stephen Lewis of AIDS-Free World

It has been 33 years since the first reports of HIV/AIDS surfaced, and the pandemic, which has never been found to be racial, ethnic or gender specific among the population, is now affecting women the most. They account for more than half of the people living with HIV/AIDS — approximately 16.1 million women out of … Read more

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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

WORLDVIEWS

Women Must Have Control Over Their Own Bodies

Women in Sri Lanka

Earlier this year France was the latest to join a handful of progressive countries to expand access to reproductive health services — with its National Assembly amending the country’s laws to affirm a woman’s right to an abortion through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and criminalize attempts to obstruct this right. What is refreshing … Read more

WORLDVIEWS

West African Businesswomen: Stay Fearless in Your Ventures

Woman at food stall in Douala, Cameroon.

For a half year, I published Neue Afrique, a digital newsletter that explored business developments in the Economic Community of West African States, known as Ecowas, reaching more than 1,600 diplomats, development analysts, international civil servants, institutional investors and entrepreneurs. Neue Afrique, which involved low start-up and operating costs, acted as a prelude to my … Read more

Syrian Women’s Groups Push for Equal Role at Geneva II Talks

Recognizing that women in the Middle East and North Africa must play an active role in their countries’ political processes, especially amid the regional backdrop of upheavals and conflicts, the Netherlands government is providing money for a new program, Women on the Frontline, to help women-run initiatives organize themselves better to assert their rights to … 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

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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

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

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

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

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