The Next Wangari Maathai?

Winnie

“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 […]

How Will Women Fare in Morocco’s Pivotal Election?

moroccan women elections

In Morocco’s closely watched legislative elections today, polls have closed and votes are being counted. The results will prove a critical test of the new constitution, passed in July, which promised women more legislative capacity and more policymaking access. The July constitution sprung out of renewed demands for democratic change from Moroccan women and men […]

Will Tunisian Islamists Strip Women of Their Rights?

800px-Souad_Abderrahim

I have personal reasons for caring about what happens next in Tunisia. I was born in 1985 in France to Tunisian parents. That meant I grew up in an adopted country where women’s legal rights were even more firmly established than in my parent’s homeland. I didn’t face restrictions, so I gave women’s rights very […]

Egypt’s First Woman Candidate Begins Campaign

Bothaina Kamel Egypt

When post-revolution Egypt holds presidential elections next year, Bothaina Kamel is set to become the first woman in the country’s modern history to run for the highest office. Although she knows her chances of winning are slim to none, she says she’s doing it out of principle. “I intend to run for president to show […]

Obama Sends Troops to East Africa; Women and Girls Deserve More

Uganda

Last week, the Associated Press announced that the U.S. would be “venturing into one of Africa’s bloodiest conflicts.” That’s a theatrical way of saying that Obama is sending 100 U.S. military advisers to East Africa to counsel the Ugandan government in its fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that has evaded national […]

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 […]