South African Named New Head of U.N. Women

PhumzileCrop

Three years ago this month, the United Nations merged four offices to create the UN Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women—UN Women—to strengthen efforts for gender equality and empowerment of girls and women worldwide. Last week, South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was named the new head of the organization, expected to take leadership in […]

Malawi Swears In First Woman President

JoyceBandaMalawiFirstWomanPresident

When rumors began to circulate last Thursday that the President of the Republic of Malawi, Bingu wa Mutharika, had died, there was serious concern Malawi would fall into political chaos with an undemocratic transfer of power to the late president’s brother. So the majority of the country rejoiced last Saturday as Joyce Banda was sworn in […]

Does Feminism Need a James Bond?

M&F panel final

When Daniel Craig referred to his Bond character as a “sexist pig“—and then dressed in drag for public service announcement about gender inequality (below)–it was pretty big news. And when Jon Hamm, star of the hit TV show Mad Men spoke out about rape as a men’s issue, he was lauded as a feminist hero. […]

A Ms. Conversation with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee

Portrait of Leymah Gbowee

I had the honor of interviewing Liberian activist Leymah Roberta Gbowee just a few weeks ago, so you can imagine my excitement when she won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize today (along with Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Yemeni journalist Tawakkul Karman). During Liberia’s lengthy civil war, Gbowee organized women across religious, ethnic and class […]

Remembering Dr. Wangari Maathai: “We Must Persist”

wangari maathai

Fearless human rights and anti-poverty crusader. Visionary environmental leader. Global women’s rights activist. Advocate for democracy. More than one phrase is required to begin to sum up the contributions the late Dr. Wangari Maathai made to the global community through her tireless work for a more just and sustainable world. Born in Nyeri, Kenya in […]

No Comment: A “Younger, Hotter” Virgin

virgin airlines younger hotter

Just in case we hadn’t fully internalized the message that women are most valued for their youth and beauty, Virgin America has introduced a new “younger, hotter” advertising campaign with slogans like “Fool around with a younger, hotter airline” (pictured left) and “Dump your old airline for a younger, hotter one.” 61-year-old Virgin CEO Richard […]

Honey, Equity’s A Nag

Kenyan women

Last summer the world watched as Kenya established its new Constitution, more than two decades in the making. The Ms. Blog, in fact, posted a celebratory article last August highlighting the ways in which the new constitution protects women’s rights. One of the keys to this progressive change for women was a constitutional guarantee that […]

A Celebrity Making Change in Africa–And Not the One You Think

SisterFa

This time, we’re not talking about an Irish guy in aviator glasses. Or anyone who has ever headlined a Hollywood movie. Or a billionaire media empress. We’re talking about fearless West African singer and rapper Sister Fa. Not yet 30 years old, Fatou Mandiang Diatta, aka “Sister Fa,” has become a global phenomenon. Her music […]

Women @ Africa’s Tech Revolution

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Much digital ink has been spilled on the cultural impact of technology. People have been, ahem, atwitter about the use of social media in the so-named “Arab Spring.” Technology companies now have their eyes on the African continent as the next big market. Young people are key to Africa’s technology revolution. With 70 percent of the population under 30, the U.N. […]

Across Africa, Women Peacekeepers Needed

Peacekeeping - UNMIL

As conflict rages in various regions of Africa, Ghana has just won dual accolades from the United Nations: for its transparent, democratic elections and, of note to feminists, for its inclusion of women in peacekeeping missions. Ghana has 55 women on the front lines of the 700-person contingent of peacekeepers it has sent to Liberia […]