Until five years ago, Shima Aktar, a student in Gajaghanta village in the Rangpur district of Bangladesh, about 370 km northwest of the capital Dhaka, was leading a normal life. But when her father decided that it was time for her to conform to purdah, a religious practice of female seclusion, things changed.
A pledge by political leaders two years ago to accelerate efforts toward closing the gender gap in the Pacific Islands has been boosted with the announcement that three women will take the helm of the regional intergovernmental organisation, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, headquartered in Suva, Fiji.
As Burundi heads towards the 2015 general elections, and despite a quota of 30 percent women’s representation in parliament, women in this southeast African nation feel that they are yet to have a significant say in the management of their country.
Nine months after she was elected head of her village council, 36-year-old Krupa Shanti has overseen some significant changes in this rural outpost of Mallampeta, 570 km away from Hyderabad, capital of the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
National outrage over women’s security in India – or the lack of it – is nothing new. From the gang rape of a young girl on a Delhi bus two years ago, to the recent rapes and lynching of two teenage cousins in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, gender-based violence has claimed headlines.
“States must make concrete commitments to enable and protect women human rights defenders, so that they can safely and securely carry out their work in support of victims of sexual and gender-based violence,” Amnesty International told the Global Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict that wound up Friday in London.
At the end of this week leaders of the Group of 77 and China will meet in Bolivia to commemorate the 50th
anniversary of the group.
When Malawi's President Joyce Banda said that last week's elections were fraudulent and riddled with rampant irregularities, social media went viral calling her a loser.
“We let the men participate in the workshop discussions, but the training sessions are only for women journalists,” says Mona Khadir, who coordinates the activities of the Filastiniyat Women Journalists’ Club in Gaza.
Nearly 20 years ago, the world came together in Beijing for the Fourth World Conference on Women. There, 189 governments adopted a visionary roadmap for gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
About a third of the voters in the Afghanistan presidential election were women. That still gives Afghan women a say in running the country, as never before.
Morocco stands divided over a proposal for equal inheritance rights for men and women: modernists see this as application of equality arising from the new constitution, and Islamists see in this a violation of Sharia law.
"I don’t dare tell you who the murderers are but their target is just us, Turkmens," says Ahmed Abdulla Muhtaroglu, sitting by the portrait of his brother who was killed last year.
“Men just do not want to give up their seats, it’s as simple as that,” says 67-year-old candidate in the Indian election Subhhasini Ali, voicing a gloomy view across women’s groups in India.
Women’s empowerment and political participation are not only crucial for women: they are essential for effective democratic governance, one which promotes human rights and equity. The same can be said about the importance of boosting youth political participation.