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

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 […]