Wheels of Change: Afghan Women Ride Bikes Despite Threats and Opposition


Even before the Taliban ruled in Afghanistan, women were banned from riding bicycles. Though they’re no longer officially banned, women’s cycling is still frowned upon in the conservative country. But there are groups of women winding their way through cultural taboo and beating a new path to women’s equality, and they’re being profiled in a new documentary […]

Women in Saudi Arabia Register to Vote for the First Time


In 2011, Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah officially granted women the right to vote and run in elections starting in 2015. Now, that decree is taking effect and voter registration is beginning across the kingdom. On August 30, candidates will also begin to register; it’s estimated that around 70 women will do so. There is already […]

Do Women in Muslim Countries Have More Reproductive Freedom than American Women?


When the U.S. House of Representatives voted recently to pass a law that would tighten restrictions on abortions performed after 20 weeks, it followed the lead of state legislators across the country. But U.S. legislators are bucking global trends to increase women’s rights and access to reproductive care. Every day in the U.S., restrictions are […]

Afghanistan’s Women: Safe Enough to Thrive


By Catherine Powell, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and Hannah Chartoff At a White House press conference in March, U.S. President Barack Obama, standing beside Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, announced that he would delay the schedule for U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Rather than bringing 4,300 troops back home by the end of this year—nearly half the force […]

Masha Hamilton: Amplifying the Voices of Afghan Women


This March, for Women’s History Month, the Ms. Blog is profiling Wonder Women who have made history—and those who are making history right now. Join us each day as we bring you the stories of iconic and soon-to-be-famous feminist change-makers. In the words of Masha Hamilton—journalist, novelist, social activist and founder of the Afghan Women’s Writing Project—“to […]

The Pakistani Superhero Who’s Battling Polio


In Pakistan, a woman superhero is saving the day on television screens, spreading awareness about women’s issues and fighting for gender equality. Launched last summer, award-winning animation Burka Avenger tracks Jiya and her titular alter ego. An agreeable schoolteacher by day, Jiya transforms into her superhero counterpart at night, donning a burka and kicking butt […]

No Woman, No Drive

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It’s not news to most that Saudi Arabia is notorious for taking basic human rights away from its female population. It currently forbids them from traveling abroad, opening a bank account and even from working without permission from a male relative. Another way the Saudi government attempts to keep women locked in the Stone Age […]

On This International Day of the Girl, Remember Afghanistan

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As Nicholas Kristof stated, “Talent is universal; opportunity is not.” On every corner of the earth, there are millions of talented children who are denied getting an education due to war, poverty, harmful traditions and lack of resources.  I was one of those children. I could not go to school for five years. I know […]

Policewoman Murdered in Afghanistan; Others Threatened


UPDATE: Five men have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of Lt. Negar. No other details have been made public at this point. Sub-inspector Lt. Negar of the police criminal investigation department in Helmand, a troubled and conservative southern province of Afghanistan, died in the hospital Monday morning after being shot by an […]

First Anti-Domestic Violence Campaigns From Saudi Arabia


“Treat her like a queen, not a punching bag.” “He who hits a woman is a coward.” These are some of the tweets featured in a recent social media campaign from Saudi Arabia. In an effort to call attention to the country’s alarming rates of domestic violence, young people of Saudi Arabia have been asked to […]