Police Refuse to Investigate Gang Rape Caught on Tape

Abia Nigeria

“Please just kill me.” The victim begged for death several times during a brutal gang rape at a Nigerian university. The men laughed. They recorded the incident, and the tape made its way around the Abia State University campus before being posted on YouTube. Unbelievably, the initial police response was denial. “From the look of […]

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 […]

High Dropout Rates, No Simple Answers, for Northern Uganda’s Girls

Uganda Girls_1

On the brick wall outside Oloo Primary School in northern Uganda, a small chalkboard displays the “attendance record” for students by gender. From first to seventh grade, the number of girls enrolled sinks drastically, from 51 to 4. The dwindling number of girls in school is the product of many factors, some of which go […]

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 […]

South Africa’s Subversive SlutWalk


In 2008 hundreds of South African women donned their miniskirts and protested at the taxi rank where a young girl was brutally accosted by taxi drivers and hawkers for wearing a short denim skirt. The men who accosted her allegedly stuck their fingers into her vagina and called her a “slut.” Women were outraged. The […]

South African Women March Against Fracking


South Africans celebrate not one, but two Women’s Days every year. First there’s International Women’s Day in March and then there’s the country’s own National Women’s Day on the 9th of August. The latter commemorates the day in 1956 when 20,000 women from all over South Africa marched on the Union Buildings, the administrative seat […]

Don’t Skimp on Aid to East Africa–Women Will Pay the Price


This week, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged a total of $122 million to famine relief in East Africa, putting the total U.S. contribution to the crisis over $580 million. The recent pledges maintain the U.S. position as the biggest donor nation. But is it enough? The U.N. recently called for $2.5 […]

Maternal Deaths Quadruple in South Africa

South African maternal mortality

A disturbing new report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) declares that maternal care in South Africa is “failing.” According to the report, the maternal mortality rate in South Africa has quadrupled over the past decade, signaling the need for deep structural changes to the country’s healthcare system. Documenting abuse by maternal health workers, substandard care, […]

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


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 […]