“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

dr_-kadie sesay pic

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 […]

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?


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


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 […]