Kenyan Parliament Candidate Overcame HIV Stigma to Fight for Women’s Rights


During Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement in Kenya, a young Inviolata Mmbwavi stood by as the boys planted trees. Girls didn’t plant trees! Her mother thought, as did most Kenyan mothers at the time, that her daughter should be cooking. “You should be in the kitchen, you should be cleaning and scrubbing pots,” Mmbwavi remembers […]

Women on Waves Arrives in Morocco

women on waves

UPDATE: Moroccan authorities prevented all access by residents to the Women on Waves ship. The ship was also searched by the authorities, and the ship’s captains were told they had to leave the harbor although nothing incriminating was found. The ship will stay near Morocco as Women on Waves plans its next move. The Dutch […]

Women on Waves Sets Sail For Morocco


The Dutch NGO Women on Waves announced last Friday that it will sail to Morocco with its abortion-providing ship at the invitation of M.A.L.I (Mouvement alternatif pour les libertés individuelles). Twelve miles from Moroccan territory, in international waters, Women on Waves can provide safe and legal abortions according to Dutch law. According to the World Health Organization […]

Women in the New Egypt

Egypt women

Election day in the rural province of Minia, Upper Egypt. A procession of women in small painted tuk tuks rattle past farmers tilling fields of green sugarcane by the banks of the Nile. Many cradle babies and toddlers in their arms. They also clasp ID cards and slips of paper with their registration numbers, ready […]

Gaddafi’s Gone–Will Libya’s Women Now Demand Greater Freedom?


When I lived in Libya last year, I spent many evenings sitting with the daughters of my host family in the living room of their apartment. I remember the eyes of our unwelcome neighbor, Muammar Gaddafi, peering at us from a large billboard across the road. The father of the family kept a watchful eye […]

Egyptian Women Refuse To Be Silenced By Assaults

Egypt sexual assaults

Violence against women demonstrators in Egypt erupted again on Tuesday when a frenzied mob of 200 men sexually assaulted a female protester in Tahrir Square. Then, during a rally on Friday to protest the incident, about 50 women and their male allies were themselves brutalized and chased away by another mob. Journalist Ghazala Irshad, who […]

Speaking Truth to Chevron: An Interview with Nigerian Ecofeminist Emem Okon

Niger Delta

Last week, leaders of communities harmed by oil giant Chevron descended upon the company’s annual shareholder meeting in San Ramon, California to demand environmental justice and human rights. Participants from as far away as Angola, Ecuador, and Brazil joined with the True Cost of Chevron network (of which I am a part) and some 150 […]

Moroccan Spring Kindles Push for Women’s Rights


Rabat, Morocco. Zineb Belmkaddem hadn’t ever given much serious thought to political activism. She didn’t believe she could really change things. Then came the uprisings in nearby Tunisia. “I was in awe and shocked that young Arab people can actually do something to change the political scene,” said 27-year-old Belmkaddem in a cafe here earlier […]

Malawi Swears In First Woman President


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 […]

A Muslim Sister in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood–Feminist Friend or Foe?


Azza El Garf, a prominent figure in the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood, offers a profile in political contradiction. She shares her party’s family-first view of a woman’s place, but at the same time plays a pioneering role in the minuscule minority–just 1 percent–of women serving […]