Women’s Issues

Rothna Begum – Telling Women to Hide Domestic Violence Behind Make-Up?

“We hope these beauty tips will help you carry on with your daily life,” said a make-up artist on the morning show Sabahiyat on Morocco’s state television last Wednesday. But this was no typical make-up advice: She was teaching women how to cover up bruises from domestic violence.

It was, to say the least, a misguided attempt to commemorate International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, November 25.

The show sparked outrage. Activists in Morocco preparing for United Nation’s annual ...

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Janet Walsh – Mass Rapes to Mass Protests: Violence Against Women in 2016

From historic convictions to impunity for gang rapes, 2016 has been a year of highs and lows when it comes to efforts to stem violence against women.

The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10) are a time to take stock of progress and failings in combatting this pervasive human rights abuse.

In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) reached its first conviction for sexual violence. It found a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, guilty of rape, murder, and ...

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Agnes Odhiambo – Good News for Child Protection in Malawi

Malawi has made a commitment to amend its conflicting laws on the definition of a child, a move that will help in the fight against child marriage.

Malawi’s constitution and the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act define a child as a person below 16 years. But Malawi is also party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, both of which define a child as anyone below ...

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Kim Willsher – Top French offices stop work in support of gender pay gap protest

Staff at some of Paris’s most high-profile political and cultural offices stopped work at 4.34pm on Monday in solidarity with a protest against women being paid less than men.

Women’s rights campaigners at the feminist newsletter Les Glorieuses had urged female workers to down tools from that time. They suggested that doing so until the end of the year – in effect taking 38.2 days off – would highlight the global wage disparity that experts say ...

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Indonesian woman becomes latest person to be caned ‘for standing near boyfriend’

A 20-year-old woman in Indonesia has been publicly caned for standing too close to her boyfriend, becoming the 14th person to be flogged this month in the same province.

The unnamed woman was accused of breaking Islamic Sharia law, which strictly forbids unmarried couples to become intimate, and was flogged in front of a crowd in Banda Aceh province.

She was escorted onto a stage outside a mosque wearing a headdress and was lashed with ...

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Alexandra Kotowski – Canada’s Feminist Prime Minister, One Year In

One year ago, Justin Trudeau took office as Canada’s 23rd prime minister and promptly fulfilled a major campaign promise by appointing a diverse and gender balanced cabinet that “looks like Canada.” When a reporter asked why appointing women was a priority, Trudeau shrugged and responded with his now-famous quip, “because it’s 2015.”

Trudeau isn’t afraid to identify as a feminist and over the past year he’s taken advantage of his high profile to raise awareness about gender politics ...

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Zoë Corbyn – Smashing the Silicon Valley patriarchy: anti-Lean In strategy puts onus on men

It’s a Friday afternoon at a tech startup in downtown San Francisco, and Valerie Aurora is arming men with phrases they can use to try to make their Silicon Valley environment less sexist: “Not cool.” “We don’t do that here.” “Awkward!”

She wants them to use them against other men when they encounter biased comments or actions aimed at women, and tells them not to worry if they freeze the first time. “Just keep practicing and wait ...

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Florence Low – Law to cut sex-selective abortions in Armenia ‘putting lives at risk’

A new law designed to cut the high rate of sex-selective abortions in Armenia is inadequate, limiting women’s reproductive choices and putting lives at risk, according to women’s rights groups.

The ex-Soviet country, with a population of just under 3 million, has the third highest rate of abortion of female foetuses in the world, behind China and Azerbaijan.

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Harriet Agerholm – Iranian girls ‘given eight lashings each because their parents could not pay school fees’

A group of schoolgirls in Iran have been flogged because their parents owed less than eight pounds in school fees, according to an opposition group in the country.

Ten girls from the Mokhtarabad village in the country’s southern province of Kerman reportedly endured eight lashings each from their school principal after they failed to pay 300,000 riyals in fees.

There has been widespread condemnation of the authorities after a video of the schoolgirls talking about their flogging was shared on ...

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Free tampons and pads added to Brown University campus bathrooms

Brown University students are returning to classes this semester to find free tampons and sanitary napkins in academic building bathrooms.

The students leading the initiative at the Ivy League school say the products are a necessity, not a luxury – an argument that’s being made across the country inefforts to stop taxing feminine hygiene products.

The products will be available in women’s, gender inclusive and men’s bathrooms in nonresidential buildings. Students wanted ...

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