In much of the Arab world, women's participation in the labour force is the lowest in the world, according to the United Nations, while women in politics are a rare breed both in the Middle East and North Africa.
Supaa Prordeengam, a 48-year-old businesswoman, came to take part in the anti-government rallies that have been continuing in the Thai capital for nearly three months now. But disturbed by the sexist speeches emanating from the protest platforms, she said, “We need to be critical, not invade women’s rights.”
Women’s political representation in the Pacific Islands region is globally the lowest at 3.65 percent, compared to the world average of 18 percent. Leadership is still widely perceived as ‘men’s business’ and voting is heavily influenced by nepotism and money politics. However, Rhoda Sikilabu, minister for community affairs in Isabel Province in the Solomon Islands is demonstrating that women leaders can drive development progress and win voter support.
Unless immediate changes are enforced, Libya is heading towards an "Afghan" model regarding women´s rights, Aicha Almagrabi, a Libyan writer and senior women rights activist, told IPS from her residence in Tripoli.
A new poll following the election of President Hassan Rouhani says that a majority of Iranians oppose Iran’s intervention in Syria and Iraq and believe that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons despite their government’s claims to the contrary.
Amidst a rise in sexual violence in the world’s war zones, the United Nations has begun appointing women to head some of the key political and peacekeeping missions in conflict areas - and also created Gender Advisers as a second line of defence.
"I got married when I was 14 and I already had four children at 20," recalls Nafia Brahim. In her fifties now, she is working hard so that no other woman loses control of her life.
While U.S. and Iranian negotiators prepare for another round of nuclear talks in Geneva next month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been silent about another matter that could be even more indicative of his willingness to take on hardline conservatives.
When Saudi Arabia permitted women to vote but not drive, a newspaper cartoon last year captured the double standard with dark irony.
In the Solomon Islands in the south-west Pacific, where two in three of the estimated female population of 252,000 have experienced physical and sexual partner abuse, recognition is growing that ending the cycle of violence cannot be achieved without the partnership of men as catalysts of change. And initiatives by men are gaining support.
When war erupts, women are often the first to experience the harsh brutality and the last to be called to the peace table. A resolution adopted Friday by the U.N. Security Council moves us one step closer to the full participation of women as leaders for peace and security.
Back in Swat Valley in Pakistan where she comes from, Malala Yousafzai who had been tipped to win the Nobel peace prize this year, has not only left behind more girls in school now than there were a year ago but also large numbers of people who are now distanced – and even hostile – to her.
Despite adopting scores of pious resolutions on gender empowerment over the last 67 years, the 193-member General Assembly has failed to practice in its own backyard what it has vigourously preached to the outside world.
Gender equality around the world has increased dramatically over the past half-century even though the vast majority of countries continue to restrict women’s economic development in at least one way, the World Bank reports this week.
Archaic and chauvinistic practices are being used to prevent Swazi women from taking part in the upcoming primary elections, despite the country having a constitution that guarantees their rights, says political analyst Dr. Sikelela Dlamini.