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

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

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 […]

“We Are All Amina Filali”

Fury resounds in the blogs and tweets of feminists online in response to the tragic suicide of a 16-year-old Moroccan girl, Amina Filali, who swallowed rat poison rather than remain married to a man who had raped her.  Filali, who was raped by the man–10 years her senior–in 2011, was encouraged by the prosecutor of […]

Sierra Leone: Only a New Government Can Bring Equality for Women

It was the great 19th century American social campaigner Lucretia Mott who stated: “The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of women, the very foundations of life are poisoned at their source.” Since then, many nations and regions of the world have made great progress. Yet […]

New Appointment Raises Doubts About U.S. Commitment to Congo’s Women and Girls

Just as violence flares again in the Democratic Republic of Congo–where women and girls have borne the brunt of decades of conflict–the U.S. State Department has announced the appointment of a new representative to the region. But what sounds like a renewed U.S. commitment to Congo is getting mixed reviews from activists and advocates. The […]

The Next Wangari Maathai?

“I thought about her a lot on the long truck rides from Kenya to South Africa,” says Winnie Asiti, a 25-year-old Kenyan environmental activist, of her mentor, the late Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai. “I thought about my peers teasing me and calling me a treehugger, and how I told them, just wait and […]