Democracy

Democracy’s Contested Territory

This year more than half the world’s population has the chance to go to the polls. That might make it look like the most democratic year ever, but the reality is more troubling. Too many of those elections won’t give people a real say and won’t offer any opportunity for change.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Why Legal Equality Is Key to Women’s Economic Rights and Well-Being

Women’s economic opportunities, rights, and well-being are being denied worldwide by sex-discriminatory laws and policies that curtail women’s access to employment, equal pay, property ownership, and inheritance.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Spare Us the Token Flowers: International Women’s Day is a Call to Action

Marking International Women’s Day as a mere day of celebration is to strip it of its true meaning, a stab in the back of the generations of feminists who fought to make it a cornerstone for gender justice.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Stop Racially-Biased Attention when Dealing with Sexual Harassment of Women of Color

Recently “Days of Our Lives” star Arianne Zucker sued former co-executive producer Albert Alarr, accusing him of sexual harassment on the set of the long-running daytime show.

International Women’s Day, 2024
In a Fearless Gesture, Woman Police Officer Averts Mob Lynching

Since the start of the year, there has been very little to celebrate for Pakistanis. Disrupted social media, escalating electricity, fuel, and food prices, and newly-held elections mired in controversy. But then, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Syeda Shehrbano Naqvi, did something that brightened the days of despair. The 31-year-old’s courageous overture and foresight in the face of a potentially explosive situation have given Pakistan a reason to stand among the countries on this year’s Women’s Day with pride.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Investing in Women is More than just Good Economics, it’s Crucial to a Sustainable Society

Ponny Lim runs a thriving aquaculture enterprise in Cambodia, growing her business with the support of a United Nations programme that guarantees loans to women entrepreneurs who are beyond microfinance but not yet ready for corporate finance.

International Women’s Day, 2024
International Women’s Day/International Life Day

One of the most fascinating aspects of International Women’s Day is an odd subtext. That this is all about and (only) for women. Really? Since when are the realities of one part of humanity – the part that gives birth to the rest by the way – only relevant to that one part?

UN Whistle Blowers Fired for Challenging Risky Investment Policies of the Pension Fund

The UN Ethics Office, established in 2006, has promoted an organizational culture in the world body, including integrity, professionalism, respect for diversity and protection for whistle-blowers. But the UN Pension Fund, whose assets amount to a staggering $88.3 billion, is accused of firing four of its staffers, including senior investment officers, for challenging the wisdom of the Fund’s investment policies.

Freedom of Speech Is Silenced in Nicaragua

Almost six years after the outbreak of the April 2018 protests, there are no signs left in Nicaragua of the violence that reigned in those days. There is no graffiti on walls or banners with demands or opinions against the leftist regime that has ruled the country since 2007.

International Women’s Day, 2024
The Misogynistic Minority

A minority of the world‘s population appears to be misogynistic and continues to oppose efforts to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls. The misogynistic minority cannot be permitted to undermine gender equality policies supported by large majorities of the public worldwide.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Progress Hinges on Feminist Leadership

Investing in inclusion requires more than electing and initiating women leaders. It requires a coordinated effort to change mindsets and systematically increase investments. This will allow feminist leaders, individually and collectively, to fully exercise their agency and counter targeted attacks on their safety and legitimacy.

International Women’s Day, 2024
Support the Women and Girls Fighting for Rights

This International Women’s Day (March 8) comes at a fiercely challenging moment. We can find inspiration, and hope, however, in the women and girls around the world who, often at great risk, are leading the fight for rights for everyone.

Parcels for Prisoners: Exiled Myanmar Activists Keep the Revolutionary Faith

Rangoon Nights is rocking. The bar is on its feet and the cocktail shaker is shaking in abandon as the band Born In Burma starts pumping out its beat. Except we’re not in Rangoon or Burma (officially called Myanmar), but in the northern Thai town of Chiangmai which has evolved into a hub for activists, fugitives, and those taking a break from the war tearing their country apart.

The World Social Forum: The counterweight to the World Economic Forum

This week the 2024 annual meeting of the World Social Forum (WSF) was held in Nepal. There were fifty thousand participants from over 90 countries, exchanging strategies to address the multiple global crises, from climate catastrophes to unfettered capitalism, inequality, social injustice, wars and conflict.

Polycrises are Pushing More Women into Poverty: How can we Help Halt that Trend?

Let’s call her Anita. Four years ago, her life took an unexpected turn when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everything she knew. As businesses closed and economic uncertainty loomed, Anita, like countless others, found herself forced out of work. Providing for her three young children became a daily struggle, prompting her to seek informal work as a subsistence agricultural worker to ease the financial burden.

Yangon—A Junta-Ruled Bubble in a Fragmenting Myanmar

Landing in Rangoon nearly 100 years ago, a young Chilean poet described “a city of blood, dreams, and gold” with “leprous streets”. The flourishing capital of then British-ruled Burma and its major port were a must-see staging post on an Asian tour.

Africa’s Absence as Permanent Member a “Flagrant Injustice,” says UN Chief

As the UN continues its never-ending saga on the reform of the Security Council (UNSC), one of the political anomalies that keeps cropping up is the absence of Africa, among the five permanent members (P5)—a privilege bestowed only on the US, UK, France, China and the Russian Federation.

Is the Reform of the UN Security Council a Good Try in a Lost Cause?

The myriads of proposals for the reform of the much-maligned Security Council have been kicked around the United Nations for more than two decades—with no significant progress. Speaking at the General Assembly’s (GA) annual debate, GA President Dennis Francis told delegates last November that without structural reform, the Council’s performance and legitimacy will inevitably continue to suffer.

Myanmar’s Military Catastrophe: Three Years and Counting

The military must have expected an easier ride. Three years ago, it ousted Myanmar’s democratically elected government. But the coup has been met with fierce resistance, unleashing a bloody conflict with no end in sight.

Blinken’s Visit to Africa: Is US Counterterrorism Counterproductive?

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s week-long tour across four African countries was aimed at strengthening the US-Africa relationship—a relationship, according to some commentators, already waning as China and Russia are increasing their influence.

Serbia’s Suspicious Election

Serbia’s December 2023 elections saw the ruling party retain power – but amid a great deal of controversy. Civil society has cried foul about irregularities in the parliamentary election, but particularly the municipal election in the capital, Belgrade. In recent times Belgrade has been a hotbed of anti-government protests. That’s one of the reasons it’s suspicious that the ruling Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) came first in the city election.

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